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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Dallas Fiber Fest 2013

Wowza!

So I know this month is supposed to be all about spring, but I have to show off all of my fabulous finds and good times from the Dallas Fiber Fest this past weekend.

My friends and I did a little whirlwind tour as we couldn’t stay the whole weekend and we didn’t really have our acts together in time to sign up for classes and such. But the trek to Dallas was totally worth it and such a great time (despite my allergy-medicine induced coma – see this IS a spring blog post!).

TWITTER-BUTTONS6Even the four-hour drive up to the Fest was incredible, given some mighty fine stops up north, including these fine moments from my Twitter posts:

Some much needed road-trip grub:

 

Of course, some shopping:

Then, OMG In-N-Out in TEXAS!!

See? Already loads of exciting stuff.

Instead of waxing poetic about all of the cool things I happened upon at the festival, here’s a little photo tour of fibers and fun stuff from the booths, including my knitters and I posing with some ‘staches I made for our trip. The festival had lots of fiber arts vendors, selling yarn, spinning tools, knitting and crochet accessories, even gorgeous bowls meant to hold your yarn. Heaven! We walked around, further stalked the MadTosh booth and were happy to discover lots of local knit stores an fiber producers, such as WC Mercantile in Navasota and Western Sky Knits, based out of Magnolia. I love to shop locally so these two in particular will be seeing me shortly!

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Of course, I have to show you my purchases.I think I’ve taken my goods out to look at the twelve times since Sunday. I cannot hold back my excitement. I was good, thank goodness my scheme worked. I took out my pre-determined budget from the ATM before leaving and I stuck to it, whew!

First up is my fiber purchase from the Madeline Tosh store. Her colors are to dye for (har har, get it? Get it? Yea, I know…sorry). So I was just going to buy something little there, like a pattern (which I did, of course). But I wanted to save my yarn purchases for hte actual festival. But then I couldn’t keep my grimy hands off of this skein of sock weight yarn. Can you blame me? The color is called Saffron, which I also happen to love. yarn 2

As I mentioned, I also bought a pattern for this uber-cool vest. It will take about four skeins of DK weight, which is perfect because I have a gift card from my guy for Valentines that I’m dying to use at Twisted Yarns. I already have a yarn in mind, if they have it by Western Sky Knits, a gorgeous dark turquoise with an undertone of black called Forest Night.

pattern

My purchase at the FiberFest was some gorgeous bamboo lace weight yarn from the FiberLady which I decided I must have after realizing that bamboo is perfect if I want to wear my knits in the summer here in Texas. Have you ever been here? Yea, it is like 110 in the summer with 90% humidity….you’d have to be crazy to put on wool. So this will end up as some sort of summer shawlette. I love the colors, a shimmery teal and grey which remind me of the San Diego ocean (and cooler days).yarn 1

That was my weekend at the Dallas Fiber Fest…you will undoubtedly see my Ravelry queue grow in the next few weeks as I start to find patterns for these. Excitement!

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Fiber Love

Guess where I’m going today?

Woo hoo!398204_10151226358000358_841471363_n

That’s right, my knitting gals and I are jetting over to Dallas to join in the fiber love. I’ve pretended like I’m a gambling addict and took moola out if the ATM to only allow myself so much spending fun at this casino. And to make myself actually but things because I can get a little neurotic when it come to nice yarn… I completely freak and can’t make any decisions because I don’t want to waste money. Ug.

I’ll try to fill you in from the road on my Twitter: @pookahknits.

Will any if you be at the fest too?

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My Fiber Life

This statement should come as no surprise to you.

lovey

 

 

And I love it in lots of different forms: yarn, thread, floss. And I love it in different materials: wool, linen, silk, bamboo. I kinda get around.

Most of you know that I am a yarn addict. Knitting is one of my favorite thing to do on earth, right up there with hugs and roller coasters. This blog has been my place to document and discuss my knitterly successes, my disasters and my attempts at other fiber crafts, such as crochet and cross stitch.

knitting

image, matt forsythe

I don’t think I need to wax poetic here about all of the reasons why I love fiber. I will say this: there is something completely magical about taking a simple, wooden instrument, some wool and nothing else but your two hands and creating something. I’m not quite sure what “zen-like” is, but I bet this is it. It is also paralyzingly frustrating at times, especially when you are trying something new. You become singularly focused on one thing and lord help those who try to come between you and your stitch.

For the next three days, I will be posting bits and pieces of my fiber life, including projects, organization, tools, fibers, and inspiration. And as usual, pictures and links to more of my knitted, crocheted and stitched projects. Some of you may say, well this is just like regular-blog, not theme-blog. And to you I say, you better check yo self. This will be a little more exciting somehow, I think.

For those of you who have stumbled up on my blog for other reasons, such as my rantings on the benefits of owning a library card, you are my challenge. After this week, you better be hunting down a knitting class/book/video. Amongst obvious other things, I have an obsession with creating more yarn-addicts.bookmark

With that I’m going to start sharing right away. Here is finished bookmark from last week. Ta-da!

Wait ’til you see what I made over the weekend. Oh the excitement!

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Obsessed: Week Two

The first week of February was all about my obsession with all things reading related. This week, any guesses?

Okay, how about a hint?

This week my obsession involves lots of sharp objects and soft fibers, destroying objects and weaving bits together. It requires extraordinary patience and insanity, and is born out of fascination and great creativity.

Any ideas?

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lies

It is simple, in fact is the name of this here blog. Simply stated. I like to make things with my hands. I love all things handmade. I find pre-made signs like this one, purchasable at a craft store, truly offensive.

Am I insane? Yes. Am I creative? Yes. Is it always pretty? Nope. Am I alone? Oh hell no. There are more crazy crafters out there than the world could know, and that is probably a good thing because that’s just a bit scary. But you have found me so chances are that you are just as crazy as I am. Hello.

Click to purchase super cute print!

Click to purchase super cute print!

This week will be broken down into two themes, for sanity’s sake.

  • Fiber Arts
  • DIY Inspirations (please note the “inspirations” part, already implying that half-finished projects will be discussed)

And you thought I was crazy last week…

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