Wednesday, July 17, 2013

the Tour de Fleece, Phat Fiber, and shop updates

The Tour de Fleece is almost over!!!!

and i'm just now getting around to blogging about it lol.  I chose a hard road this TDF by trying to spin a fingering weight 3 ply yarn on my spindle.  it took me the first 16 or so days of tour just to do the spinning alone and it's going to take me a good 3 days just to do the plying!  here's a pic of me spinning out by the pool at my friends house 4th of July weekend

{ pool spinning time }

I should be finished with the plying by tomorrow so i'll get some pics up of what may be my 1 and only finished yarn of the tour this year.  after this one i doubt i'll be spinning this thin for a while, it's been a real test of my patience and endurance  ::whew::

in other news i've contributed to the Phat Fiber box 2 more months:  May and July.  i had to skip June because during May i was finishing up spring semester at Cal State Long Beach and just didn't have time to dye.

May's theme was "Superheroes" and i've been enamored of Gambit from the X-Men since i was a kid so i chose this pic as my inspiration:

{ the one and only Gambit <3 br="">

and here's a pic of the samples i sent in, hand carded roving buns ^.^ they're a mix of Corriedale, Superwash merino, Merino, Faux Cashmere, Milk fiber and Firestar.  

{ Gambit samples }

 since i missed the June box who's theme was "Villains" i decided to make my July samples a mix of that theme and the "Under the Sea" July theme and came up with one of my favorite Disney villains, Ursula

 { Bitch be fabulous }

I really like the way the fiber came out, so much so i might just save one of the full size braids to spin up myself!

 { Ursula samples and full size braids }

The theme for the month of August is "Entomology" and i have to admit i'm having a hard time coming up with inspiration for it.  not sure if i'll be contributing this month if i can't come up with something soon, so i guess we'll just see how that plays out.

In the mean time i have been working on a new item for my shop that i'm really excited about, my new "Sox Box" bag sets :D

{ the first Sox Box bag set }

I've had this idea floating around in my head for some time and just recently decided to get to work executing it.  The sets are made up of one of my original itty bitty boxxy bags for notions and a new cubic box bag that's perfect for knitting socks.  the little bag still snuggles perfectly in the bigger bag like my original Big n lil box bag sets, but this new design is a bit more compact so it can easily hang off your arm for sock knitting on the go.

{ a perfect fit for sock knitting projects }

I found this adorable owl fabric and bought a bunch of it so i made 3 of these Sox Box sets and have enough to make up 2 of my Big n lil sets i'll be sewing up this week.

but that's not all!!  I've also started dyeing a new "European Vacation" series inspired by beautiful pictures from different European countries, but i'll tell you all about that in my next blog post.  for now i bid you all adieu and wish you happy knitting/spinning/crocheting/crafting :)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Quarter yearly catch-up....again

i can't believe it's already been 4 months since my last blog post.  Life continues to be busy busy busy for me.  I'm now in my 2nd semester back at Cal State Long Beach and it's keeping me busy as ever.  I have however also been busy with my contributions to the Phat Fiber Sampler box, so here's a little catch up on what i've been doing :)

~ December ~

i have a friend in Norway who sent me this amazing picture a few winters ago, so when i heard the December Phat Fiber theme was going to be "Nordic Culture" i knew right away i wanted to use this pic as my inspiration.

{ Trondheim, Norway.  circa 2011 }
i was a total dope and forgot to snap pictures of my actual samples before i sent them in for this month so all i have is a pic of the full size below.  i tried to capture the dark periwinkle of the trees, the icy blue of the snow, and the pale blue, pink and white of the sky on lovely soft and crimpy BFL combed top.

 { "Snowy Norway" - December 2012 Phat Fiber Colorway }

after my december contribution i took a little hiatus from conrtributing while i was helping my boyfriend move in with me in early January hehe.  there was a lot to do to man-proof my apartment so i just didn't have the time.  I also started the new semester right at the end of January and so didn't end up contributing in February either.

~ March ~

but i came back with a bang last month contributing again for the Celtic themed march box.  being of irish and scottish ancestry myself i simply couldn't miss this one and chose as my inspiration the Celtic goddess Arduinna "Lady of the Forest."  I found this rad depiction of her below: 

{ the goddess Arduinna and her companion boar }

and this time i was smart enough to take pictures of my samples before sending them in.  this month i did a variegated gradient on superwash merino top, drawing on the brown of her boar, and the different lovely shades of green, blue-green, and yellow-green in this gradient. 

{ "Arduinna: Lady of the Forest" - March 2013 PF colorway }

~ April ~

and that brings us up to April.  this month's theme is "Secret Garden" and i chose to use rare orchids as my inspiration.  after perusing through pictures and finding 3 or 4 i liked i finally decided to go with this little beauty, Lockhartia Bennettii:

{ Lockhartia Bennettii orchid }

these rare orchids native to peru are less than 2cm in wide and have a flowering period of only about 2-4 weeks at the end of autumn/beginning of winter.  they are so lovely and delicate with such vibrant colors i knew they'd make a great dyeing inspiration.

{ "Lockhartia Bennettii Orchids" - April 2013 PF colorway }

i have to admit i'm a little bit in love with this colorway.  one of the things i love so much about contributing to the Phat Fiber box is that it's expanded my palatte when dyeing.  i've been using color combinations i don't think i personally would have thought of to use if not for the unique inspirations i've gotten from the box themes.  for this month i got some lovely soft faux cashmere combed top as my base.  it was the perfect base for this colorway because it's naturally a brilliant white, much like the snow white leaves of the lockhartia bennettii.

and there you have it folks, my Phat Fiber dyeing exploits for the past 4 months....whew.  i know i always say this and never make good on my promise, but i really am going to try to keep up more with this blog, hopefully at least once a month post pics of my Phat Fiber contributions now that i'm back contributing regularly again.

until next time happy crafting to all, as always :)


Monday, November 12, 2012

Phinally a Phattie: my quarter-yearly catch up post

happy veterans day everyone :)

it seems as though i always think i'm somehow going to miraculously start having time to post here regularly but life always seems to have a different plan.  most recently i moved a month ago AND just finished up my midterms last week so needless to say things have been rather hectic in my life haha.  I'm finally returning to Cal State University Long Beach to finish up my bachelors degree after about 10 years of life getting in the way and it's really good to be back but definitely an adjustment to say the least.  i've been at community college for most of the past 10 years slowly chipping away at my general ed. requirements but now i get to take all the fun classes actually related to my major.  getting used to a full time class load again, and foolishly moving out mid semester, has kept me pretty busy but since i had a lovely 3 day weekend due to veterans day today i figured i should take some time out to update my blog ^-^

the most awesomest of news is that i'm finally a contributor to the Phat Fiber Sampler Box after years of being a devoted fan!  the month of October was my first time contributing and the theme was "Dia de los Muertos" which was a totally rad theme to get in on for my first month.  for those of you who aren't familiar with Phat Fiber, this wonderful woman named Jessie had the brilliant idea of gathering up a bunch of samples from indie artisans and consolidating them into a great sampler box that she sells every month.  there are stitches boxes full of yarn samples for the strictly knitly, fluff boxes full of fiber samples for all the spinsters, and mixed boxes with a combo of both for those of us who are bi-craftual.  and of course all the boxes have great little extras like knitting patters, stitch markers, buttons, sometimes yarn gauges and orafice hooks, heck sometimes you're even lucky enough to get a hand sewn project bag or a spindle!  it all depends on what the contributors happen to be sending in that month.  the whole idea is that you get to try little samples of yarns and fibers from many different indie artisans before you buy them, so you know what you'll be paying for.  the woman really is a genius and i love the way she's brought together the indie fiber artist community and given us a great way to get our products out there, as well as giving knitters and spinners everywhere a chance to try before they buy.  if you'd like more info on Phat Fiber check out their website  there are links to the phat fiber blog, lots of info on how to buy the boxes and how to become a contributor as well as info about current contributors like me :)

 {fiber samples for October}

I did both fiber and handsewn samples for my first month because i was just so excited by the theme and wanted to contribute enough samples to earn myself a contributor box.  i'm really happy with how the fiber turned out, that pic i found for inspiration was just great and i wanted to do something different from the bright neon colors of sugar skulls that so many people were doing.

 {hand sewn samples for October}

my hand sewn samples were little teeny reversible stitch marker bags in this awesome Dia de los Muertos fabric i found which match with the Big n' lil box bag sets i sewed for my shop.  i'm excited that 3 of the 4 sets i made have already sold i just have one set left in the pink colorway.  

{full sized box bag sets}

And even with the stress of moving and midterms i actually did manage to get the minimum amount of samples sent in for the month of November as well, which has a "Harvest Festival" theme.  i suppose my samples are a bit more Octoberish seeing as how i went with this awesome pic of the Beltane Fire Society's Samhuinn Festival below:

 {inspiration pic for November}

But once again, trying not to run with the pack, i wanted to do something a bit different from what "Harvest Festival" brings to mind for most people, falling leaves, pumpkins, apple reds and the like.  Samhuinn (the holiday most people think of as being the precursor of our modern Halloween) is a harvest festival after all though so it was actually very much on theme with the November box.  i'm pretty happy with the way my samples turned out, this time i opted to dye up some top and hand card my samples with some amazing firey firestar.

{fiber samples for November}

i wish i'd been able to take a better pic of this sample, this one just doesn't do it justice, it's a nice blend of yellow and orange falkland i dyed, mixed with a jet black commercially dyed merino and that awesome firestar.  as soon as i get the full size carded up i'll take some much better pics.

i'm already working on my samples for the December box as well and i have an awesome inspiration pic for the "Nordic Culture" themed box, but i'll save that for my next post.  i'm going to try to motivate myself to blog more now that i have exciting Phat Fiber news to blog every month so i need to save some material for next time hehe.  I'll probably be blogging about that once i get my samples dyed up.

{sock blocker keychain}

And because i like to have a least a little knitting news in every post here's my latest FO, an adorable little sock blocker keychain.  i received the keychain, pattern and yarn from trishaknittin in the Silly About Swaps group on Ravelry for my birthday a few months ago and knit this cute little sock up right away, as well as another one in a variegated green.  i've seen these little sock blocker keychains for years but never had one of my own so i was so excited to receive this gift.  I actually had a totally awesome birthday this year thanks in part to all the wonderful and generous people in the Silly About Swaps group.  it's a pretty small swapping group that i can't remember how i stumbled upon but the people there are really friendly and welcoming.  even though i was a relatively new member people were very kind in gifting me lots of awesome patterns and sending me little birthday treasures for the Birthday Swap 

if you're a swap lover like me and you're tired of your normal swapping haunts you should come by silly about swaps and check out the fun :)

well now that i've caught you all up on my life and fiber arts exploits over the past few months i'm off to finish my homework and start working on the 2 term papers i have due in about a month.  happy knitting/crocheting/spinning/dyeing/carding/prepping to you all and with any luck i actually WILL start posting regularly to my blog now haha


Sunday, September 2, 2012

catching up once again and a Labor Day sale

well well well....

what a trying few months it has been since i last posted here.  i've been battling a back injury for the past few years now, but i ended up getting seriously hurt at the end of May this year and have been completely sidelined, unable to work and on disability.  at least this time i have a darn good excuse for not keeping up on my blog lol.  i don't know if any of you out there have ever had to deal with a slipped disc, but i tell you it's been the most painful experience of my life.  my particular slipped disc was putting severe pressure on my sciatic nerve and for a few months i was in so much pain i literally could not sit for any period at all, and couldn't sleep but a few hours at a time without waking up in extreme pain and having to hobble around for hours before it subsided enough for me to get back to sleep.  i'm really not the kind of person to seek pain medication, but the pain was so bad it was just unbearable and i ended up in the ER 5 times over the course of just a few weeks before my mom offered to pay for me to see a real doctor who prescribed me something for the long term pain i faced. 

however,  i'm doing much better now although still not 100%, but i'm waiting on a county sponsored insurance before i can see if i'm going to need surgery.  at the very least i'm not in constant excruciating pain anymore and can sit for reasonable periods of time to keep up with my blog again.

 {"Gangrene" socks}

during this period of disability i've come to realize i just don't knit as much as i used to.  and since this did start out as a knitting/crochet blog i figured i'd share my latest knitting FO, my Gangrene Socks.  it's really the "Peacock Rib Socks" pattern by Jocelyn Blair, but of course i almost exclusively knit with my own handspun these days so i named my socks after the yarn i spun for them which i had already named Gangrene.

 {Peacock Rib}

below you can see one skein of my handspun gangrene yarn.  spun from a nice blend of 75/25 Merino/Nylon from Heavenly Fibers on Etsy.  Leilani has got some wonderful fiber in her shop and i snagged this lovely stuff at the beginning of this year specifically to spin for socks.  this is my 3rd pair of handspun socks and i'm really proud of how both the yarn and the socks turned out .

 {Gangrene handspun}

i'm also really excited that i'm finally well enough to do more dyeing.  i've really gotten into dyeing and fiber prep this year but sadly was injured shortly after my first few dyeing experiments so i haven't been able to add much to the shop recently.  yesterday i had a wonderful day dyeing and added 4 new braids to my shop in various fibers.  below is some Shetland, my first time dyeing this fiber and i have to say i love the way it takes color.

 {Shetland variegated gradient in greens and blues}

 {Shetland variegated gradient in reds browns and purples}

i did have my first dyeing mishap though on the braid below (of course it had to be the Merino/Silk right?)  you can't see in this particular picture but a few drops of the purple made their way into the green sections so i'm practically giving that one away. i couldn't in good conscience charge full price for a braid with such a big "oopsy"

{80/20 Merino/Tussah Silk in a green to purple spoted gradient}

it's funny, i always have an idea of what i want the dyed fiber to look like in the end, and usually i get there but sometimes i'm a little surprised by the finished product.  that was the case with this fiber here which i've dubbed "Giraffe Gradient."  i had no idea when i was finished dyeing it that it would look so much like a giraffe hehe.  i think it's probably my favorite dye job of the day.

since it's a holiday weekend i've got a sale going on at petite vache designs on Etsy right now, just use coupon code LABOR10 to get 10% off your entire order, less shipping, now through Midnight on Tuesday the 4th.  and now that i'm finally able to sit again i'm also planning to sew up some more of my boxbag sets because those things went like hotcakes!  if you liked them and missed out be on the lookout for more coming soon.

i hope everyone's having a great holiday weekend, happy knitting, crocheting, spinning, dyeing and fiber prepping to all!