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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Quite the Disappearing Act

I’m baaack! So, I’ve been getting the hint from some of my friends that I need to blog again. I feel very loved and happy.

And apologetic. I didn’t mean to abandon you all, I guess the month of madness (aka Blogtober) did me in. The holidays were very busy and then work became very busy, and then my blog seemed to fall off of the face of the Earth. Well, I’m back! But just a little bit, not like October. I will try not to disappear for a week  erm three months again!

So…. dear friends, what’s new? I spent the last few months on a crazy life/craft spree and I loved every bit of it. I’ve been ripping out my garden, knitting, crocheting, learning new crafts, doing home improvement, cooking and of course, giving lots of gifts. Here is a quick look at what I’ve been up to. I’ll catch you up in the following weeks.

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Waiting and Crafting

Isn’t crafting the best way to pass the time? I’m waiting on my car and working on The Second Shawlette while watching some Law and Order on my iPad. Yup, this is one girl who is prepared to avoid boredom at all times!

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How do you like that new craft bag by the way? I’ve found that handy storage is the best way to travel with projects. Mine is from my newest Umbabox delivery!

What’s your favorite craft storage for travel?

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The Finish Project: One!

photo-5Things have been very quiet here on the Pookah Knits blog, but not for lack of crafting. I’ve just been so busy with my Finish Project project that I haven’t had time to write!

Yup, did you hear that? The Finish Project! I finished one!

I realize that I started this in August and shouldn’t be all that proud of myself….but I am. Just try and stop me.

To recap, The Finish Project is my lame attempt at getting my shit together and actually finishing the five hundred half-finished projects I have lazing around my stash. My goal is to pick one of my unfinished projects, whether it is a knitted gift, jewelry I wanted to make, or a recipe I wanted to taste and finish it, dammit!

photo-3For August/September, my goal was to complete the Holden Shawlette which I started for my friend way back in 2012. See that date? I am a terrible friend. Realizing that, I had to challenge myself to finish it already. The other reason why? I am making two of these. Yes, two. I have two wonderful friends back in San Diego who have been my lifelines, I adore them and wanted to make them both something special. So I had to finish this one to start that one.

in progressYou’ll be happy to know I’ve already started my second and it will be this slacker’s focus for the month October. I will finish!

How about you guys? Any Finish Projects you’ve decided to pick up?

The Finish Project: August

I’ve been trying to pump myself up about The Finish Project. It will be great, right guys?! We can totally do this!

Ug.

To recap, The Finish Project is my lame attempt at getting my shit together and actually finishing the five hundred half-finished projects I have lazing around my stash. My goal is to pick one of my unfinished projects, whether it is a knitted gift, jewelry I wanted to make, or a recipe I wanted to taste and finish it, dammit! Well, I may have aimed too high for this month. I’m working on a beautiful baby romper for a baby shower early next month and the time is just dwindling down. Of course, I decided to add a stuffed animal to the list….good job, self!

holden twoSo, I’m a little bombarded with crafts, but I like it this way. With all hope beyond hope, I will have made a large dent in my first Finish Project, the Holden Shawlette which I started for my friend oh not so long ago…Just November of 2012.

Crap.

It’s worse when you have blog documentation to back up your procrastination.

Look at it. What a mess! I’ve got my interchangeable set through it, which means I made the cognizant decision to stop and use the needles for something else I wanted to make. Oh and so THAT’S where all of my stitch markers went! makes me sadI’ve been looking for those. I seem to have stopped right when the lace began and I seem to remember a problem with my counts. I think it is time to unravel all the way to where the lace began so I can start fresh. This won’t be too bad, will it?

Frogging my knits makes me sad.

Have any of you made progress with your unfinished work or are you still hiding from them like I was? I don’t blame you.

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Pookah Tries Crochet (Again)

learning to crochetI feel like this is a never-ending story in my life.

I’ve tried crochet many times and I always get the hang of it for a little while and then, meh.

That is how I’ve felt about crochet.

Meh.

Then people tell me crochet is “oh…so much easier than knitting”. And I want to stab them in their eye with my knitting needle.

Seriously? Then tell me why I am not living in one huge, cute granny square?

Jerks.

Thankfully, my friends found an entire day of crochet classes at a local yarn shop, called WC Mercantile, and now I am officially smitten. I still don’t think it is easier than knitting, but I do feel a whole lot less stabby.

So I spent my entire Saturday with a crochet hook in my hand re-learning crochet techniques. I was so happy to actually have a foundation row matching the actual number of stitches I chained on. Hoorah!

free form crochetI ended the class with a whole lot more knowledge, an understanding of different techniques and this adorable free form thing-a-ma-jig that I am very proud of. I feel much more comfortable with my crochet and feel ready to tackle more patterns. I fully plan on adorning everything with intricate lace, cute flowers and am already eying up amigarumi patterns for crochet.

Because didn’t you know? Crocheting animals is just “so much easier than knitting”.

(Jerk.)

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