Gettin’ Hitched! 

Big news! My guy popped the question early last week, much to my surprise and awe. I am beyond thrilled that I get to marry my best friend!

Expect a few posts of exhaustive wedding planning over the next year while we plan the big day. I don’t know when, I don’t know where and I really don’t know how. My “I Do” Pinterest board is growing and with it my shock about how many things I’m supposed to care about and plan. All I know is it will be a party with everyone we love and I’m super ecstatic to become his Mrs. And that’s all that matters!

 

Completing my First Tour de Fleece 

IMG_9851The Tour de Fleece. My biggest challenge yet.

Wait, that is probably too dramatic. It really was a challenge though. No, not because I was trudging up hills like Lance Armstrong. I was just sick. Painfully, feverish and tired with some sort of stomach bug that is still not completely over. But, just like all strong athletes, I overcame. I tired to sit up, take a big chug of Gatorade and got back on that wheel.

Dramatics aside, the gist of this event is to spin every day, you can join a few teams on Ravelry so that you can share photos and keep track of your progress throughout the Tour. I am super proud to say that I spun each and every day of the Tour, even on rest days, and even if it was just for 15 minutes in between nauseated spells. Those short times were much needed because without I know I would not have finished in time.

The first week was focused on finishing up my hand-dyed fiber I am calling Fiestaspun. I’ve talked about this fiber endlessly in posts past so I’m not going to go on about how much I love it. Just to say, I’m pretty proud of myself right now.

fiberFor the second week, I accepted a huge challenge: Finishing an entire braid of fiber PLUS spinning an entirely new fiber. All in one week.

I purchased a simply gorgeous braid of “Following the Butterflies” from Into The Whirled, which may just be my new favorite fiber company. Their fibers are beautiful and I lucked out because they seem to sell out very quickly, I caught them just in time! Plus, they included a sample of another fiber in the shipment, bonus love.

IMG_9505The fiber that I purchased is a blend of 80/20 Polworth/Silk. The silk was a challenge for me. I’ve been working on my ability to spin a lighter weight and it was super hard with the silk to spin so small. Plying was equally tough because the bits that I thought were passable broke upon trying to ply. So, no…no Lance Armstrong. Just an angry spin-learner working with a new fiber.

bobbinI also tried to plan my spinning and plying a bit better since I wasn’t 100% in love with my last ply….but it makes my brain hurt. I decided to split my braid in parts of equal color, but made a big mistake while trying to break up the blocks of color. Some of the bits I had were far to short to spin. Ooops. rookie. So I have a little bundle of tiny odds and ends that maybe I will learn how to needle felt with some day? Except that some are silk and they will need to be picked out. Oh bother.

IMG_9961Truly though, I am happier with this ply. Instead of multiple colors together, this one turned out a more balanced mix of two colors, sometimes only one. There are purples with blues, pinks with blues, purples with purples and blues with blues. It will be interesting to see how it knits up!FullSizeRender

I am also very proud to say that this was my first time using the niddy noddy without watching my video! I decided to go for it and it worked out! I also decided to soak all of my recent spins in a very nice smelling solution made by Soak. My bathroom only smelled like wet sheep slightly. I was told my yarn would blossom and I think it has.

This ended up being one of my favorites yarns. Totally worth the challenge of the silk fiber plus the challenge of spinning every day. I feel like I have become a better spinner because of the challenge. I thought for sure that I would be completely tired of spinning after the Tour de Fleece. But nope, I’m hopeless. I’ve been knitting a lot more because there was barely any time for knitting during the Tour. But I’ve also already put one of my hand-dyes on the wheel.

Right round, round, round.

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Pookah Visits Houston Fiber Fest 

Last month, my lil group of knitters were super happy to hear news of the first ever Houston Fiber Fest! Right in our amazing city! Since it was super close, we spent a quick day at the fest shopping our hearts out.

IMG_9959The Fest was at the Berry Center in Cypress, a community north of the city which is super close to me, so I was thrilled. The organizing group did a great job planning and had fiber artists yarn bomb the center outside. Plus, we knew we were in the right place! We had only wished there was a big sign of the super cute HFF logo for us to take a group picture next time. Hopefully next time! Next year, I must knit something for the bomb and can hopefully participate in the KAL of their adorable little mascot, Lester the Leicester.

For the inaugural event, I think they did a simply amazing job. There were so many fiber lovers in attendance, a great mix of vendors and lots of pretty things to squish. I think we looped that event center twelve times before going to lunch only to return for a few more loops before making our purchases.

Which brings us to the important bits, the shopping. I wish I had more money to spend because there was so much that I loved. My favorite shop was an easy pick. I absolutely fell in love with the Park Avenue Yarns purchasing choices. So many interesting yarn choices, super cute examples of work, patterns and friendly staff. There, I purchased the most gorgeous skein of yarn I’ve seen! It is Spun Right Round Squish DK in colorweight Escape From Prison. Isn’t that name just the best? I’m thinking a sweet winter hat would be perfect with this.

My other purchase was from my favorite local knitting store, WC Mercantile, who had a booth at the Fest. I had seen a Facebook post of their gorgeous dyed fibers and knew that I wanted to purchase one to alleviate my new addiction. I chose a stunning teal/grey braid in BFL, which is easily becoming my favorite fiber to spin.  I cannot wait to get my hands on this. I was in the middle of Tour de Fleece so already had my hands full. Interestingly, I bought it because I thought I didn’t have anything like it in color. Then when I got home, I realized it went perfectly with the fiber on my wheel at that moment. Which is perfect because I feel like I can do something amazing with the two together.

We hung out at the Fest for a little while, but the room was actually so packed there was not much room to sit and knit. A very impressive turnout, which I hope means the Fest will continue for years to come and will grow in size.  I am so glad to have something like this locally and I cannot wait until next years Fest.

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Fiestaspun 

Today I spent my entire lunch break standing in my office, with my bobbin in a bottom desk drawer, fussing with this niddy noddy. I promise you, every time I use this thing I have to watch a video. I’ve watched quite a few videos to try to figure this thing out, but this video by Camaj Handspun Yarn is my absolute favorite.

I think the fussing was worth it though, don’t you? I am loving this yarn. I’ve named this colorwork”Fiestaspun” because the colors are a crazy party.  The ply is definitely imperfect. I tend to not get the hang of plying until I’m one-third of the way through the skein. The end is definitely a tighter and more uniform ply. This time around, I started to think about the plying process a bit more and want to try out different techniques. I love the yarn, but I think I liked it better as a single strand. When two-plying, I got even more variation in color which blended them together so much that some lost their vibrancy. I would like to learn to plan my spinning and plying a bit better for next time….but it makes my brain hurt.

It is crazy to think that it was a mere speck of beautiful, pure wool until I put my crazy colors on it and then spun it into a huge, imperfectly pretty and bold skein of yarn. I was in hate with this ball of fluff, then ended up being in love with it. You never know.
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Tour de Fleece – Week One

As a new spinner, I am participating for the first time in the Tour de Fleece. So far it’s a lot of fun. The gist of this is to spin every day, you can join a few teams on Ravelry so that you can share photos and keep track of your progress throughout the Tour.

I am into groups, the first for WC Mercantile my LYS here in Texas. This is where I purchased my wheel so it’s really fun to celebrate my first Tour in this group. The second group I am in is a fiber company I recently discovered called Into the Whirled, super cute name right? I purchased my first fiber from them which arrived in the mail on Thursday so I’m going to start spinning that up next week.

The Tour de Fleece started during Fourth of July weekend and I didn’t have my Into the Whirled fiber yet (because I’m irresponsible and complete forgot about the Tour). So I started off my tour by spinning with my hand dyed fiber from yarn school. Again I’m super happy with how this has turned out. I thought that it was super ugly when I died it but the colors came out bright and beautiful and spent together or just a lot of fun.

I also reached a new benchmark in my fiber obsession. Last weekend I decided to bring my spinning wheel with me to the coffeeshop for knitting group and took a picture of the wheel of my car. I’ve now become that crazy fiber lady… and I’m okay with that.

Here’s some photos from my first week of the Tour de Fleece. I’m hoping to ply tonight so stay tuned!

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Lessons Learned

I’m on to my next handspun. This is another dye experiment from Yarn School. We were encouraged to being an inspiration collage, mine was jewel-toned and covered in flowers of course. My favorite was this gorgeous poppy covered, gold lined shoe, you can see in on the right side of the collage. These are the kind of shoes I would love to own but probably couldn’t walk in anyway. 

   

From my collage I created this color work which was utterly a disaster while I was painting it. It looked like vomit. Seriously. So I felt dejected and I decided that I was just terrible at colorwork. I absolutely hated it and refused to take a picture of it. Now I wish I did! 

 When it “cooked” in the microwave the brilliant colors came out and it actually wasn’t so bad at all. In actuality, it was the yarn I got the most compliments on.

Now that I am spinning it up, it is even more gorgeous. I love how the colors meld together if I take the time to try to spin two colors together. Pictures to come!

Lesson learned: Have a little faith in yourself.

Spinnin’ & Grinnin’

Finished my second skein of handspun!

{Spinning has officially become a problem….I am abandoning all other projects….send help}

I am extra proud of this one as it is my very own handspun AND hand-dyed creation. This was the crockpot dye from Yarn School back in October. Funny enough, in my mind it was going to all different shades of red, using deep russet colors and bright scarlet. Instead, it turned out to mostly be all shades of pink with a smattering of red and purple. I still love it and couldn’t wait to see how it “spun up”.

Well here it is it all of it’s pinky loveliness.

image_medium2This spin wasn’t as smooth-going as my first and I think that is because I was trying very hard to spin thinner threads. The plying was extra difficult because my threads kept snapping, so this skein has lots of knots tied throughout it. I also didn’t really get into the groove until about midway through, which resulted in some inconsistencies.

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But you know what? That means it is homemade so take that! Truly, I am very pleased with how it came out. Now I just need to figure out what to knit!

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