Thursday, November 3, 2011

FREE online workship, knitting FO and shop update

so, i realized that i rarely mention knitting these days on my blog. this DID start out as a knitting/crochet blog and has recently gravitated more toward spinning and sewing. in an effort to rectify this little oversight i give you my latest knitting FO, this totally cute little shrug.

i'm not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow i ended up on an email list for and a few weeks ago i got an email invite to do a free workshop featuring this One Skein Knit Shrug pattern by Stefanie Japel. this workshop is still free as of today, November 3rd at 5pm Pacific time!! if i were you i'd head on over there right now and sign up before they come to their senses and start charging for this workshop again. just click the link above that says "One Skein Knit Shrug" and it should take you straight there :)

{ me modeling my new handknit, handspun shrug }

the pattern suggested a single skein of Cascade 220, but seeing as how i've got a closet full of my own handspun that i never do anything with i decided to go digging and this is what i came up with

{ 75/25 BFL/Silk - 261yds approx. worsted weight }

this yarn has been sitting around in my stash since i first got serious about spinning over a year ago, which should really be a crime because it's so incredibly soft due to the mix of silk and BFL. although, maybe i should be glad i hadn't used it for anything until now because it really was the perfect yarn for this pattern. you can see in the pic it's a little thick and thin and i was concerned that might show in the finished product, but as you can see from the closeup below it actually produced a pretty even looking fabric. especially since this pic is pre-blocking (i actually still haven't blocked it yet hehe)

{ closeup to show detail }

i ended up finishing this in 4 days with about 10 yards left over to make a matching cuff or bow or whatever i think up to use it for xD

not only is this pattern really a really cute, quick, fun knit, the workshop format online was really cool. once you sign into the workshop you progress through several pages of instruction with lots of photos that show you exactly how to do everything step by step. and you can also get involved in discussion with everyone else that's taking the workshop, and even ask questions and get responses from the designer herself.

i really think Craftsy has a great idea with these new workshops. there are a few sewing workshops they have for sale that i'm seriously considering buying.

and speaking of sewing i've got some awesome little additions to my shop as of today

{ itty bitty boxy bag: skinny rectangle - black white red }

i'm proud to pronounce that i am once again putting my sewing skills to good use and sewing a new line of mini box bags for my shop. they're really all purpose, handly little bags that i can envision being used for everything form makeup or notions storage to an actual purse for those times when you just want to take a few essential things with you

{ itty bitty boxy bag: fat rectangle - dusty ping and mauve }

so far i've got 2 different sizes, the skinny rectangle and the fat rectangle, each one is just about big enough to hold a travel set of knitting/crochet notions, a handful of spools of thread, just enough makeup/keys/ID to get you through a trip to the store and back.

you can see these two bags on sale in my etsy shop, as well as get all the information about the exact size and materials i used.

well that's all for today folks. check back soon because i'm going to have an in depth review of those banana and ramie fibers i talked about a few weeks ago ^.^

happy knitting/crocheting/spinning/sewing/crafting


Thursday, October 20, 2011

xmas in october and 2 giveaways!

time for a picture-heavy post!

i've been a huge fan of PhatFiber for a few years now, but for some reason it never occured to me to blog about the awesome weekly giveaways here :: scratches head ::

this week there is some awesome fiber up for grabs like this gorgeous loose cashmere/tussah silk fiber package from none other than my fav indy dyer Girl Meets Spindle:

{ click here for your chance to win! }

or if you're more into the cool colors there's a BFL/Silk hankie package being given away by Fun House Fibers:

{ cliquez ici pour votre chance a gagner! }

pardon my french folks, i just hate typing the exact same thing under 2 different pics. if you don't speak french that says the same thing thats under the first pic xD

and now on to my very own XMAS IN OCTOBER!!!!

and why is it xmas in october you ask? well because i got 2 TOTALLY AMAZING packages in the mail today.

this first package came from Zebisis Designs on Etsy. this was my first time ordering from Zebisis but i've seen her richly saturated fibers all over ravelry. much like Girl Meets Spindle, Zebisis specializes in mostly Luxury fibers but also handmade spindles and also takes the time to package her fiber in a wonderfully aesthetically pleasing way. this stuff was pricey, i'll be honest, but when i felt how soft it was it was worth every last penny. not only did i get the fiber i paid for but she also sent me a full 2.3 oz "sample" of some gorgeous hand dyed silk brick, and some matching mohair locks!

{ 4oz 50/50 Merino Silk roving in "Moody Rainbow" }

{ 2.3oz "sample" of Mulberry silk brick }

unfortunately i have a mohair allergy so i didn't wanna take the locks out to photograph them lest they make my fingers burn :( but i assure you they are equally as lovely

and in box #2 i got my swap package for the Legends of the Underworld swap on ravelry! my swap partner Hygieia really spoiled me rotten, just look at the size of this box!

{ sunglasses are there for reference only, they were not part of the package xD }

when i opened up the box it was just filled to the brim with individually wrapped goodies ^-^

{ all the lovely packages}

i feel so incredibly spoiled, there was just too much goodness to list all of it here. pretty much everything was skully themed, from the bandaids to the stitch markers to the craft supplies, even skully tissues and duct tape!

{ the loot }

but aside from all the skully goodness there were also a couple awesome little gifts she had her brother bring me from Japan because she knew that i love things from foreign countries. i honestly can't even list everything i got here cuz it would just be too much but as you can see from the pic i am one happy camper ^.^

i hope everyone's had a great week, i'm going to have a few spinning fiber reviews coming up soon including the ramie and banana fibers from my last post so be on the lookout for my next blog post!


Monday, October 10, 2011

exotic and luxury fibers, and a little sewing too :)

i got another great package from Girl Meets Spindle a few weeks ago, as you can see below

{ i really do love the way she packages her fiber }

i've had my eye on some of the luxury and exotic fibers in Rachel's shop for quite some time now and so i decided to buy myself a little birthday treat in the form of 2 luxurious oz of 50/50 royal baby alpaca/cashmere, and also a few half ounce samples of Ramie and Banana fibers.

{ 1/2oz steel blue Banana fiber }

i really love the halo on this banana fiber, and it's much softer than i expected. i'm still not exactly sure which part of the banana plant this fiber comes from, but my friend Justin was over the day i got my package and he's now demanding a banana fiber beanie from me xD

{ 1/2oz Ramie fiber in "Winter Morn" }

now, i'm sure some of you are wondering "what the heck is 'Ramei' fiber?" well i honestly didn't even know exactly what it was when i bought it, so i just googled it right now and got this interesting little tid bit:

"Ramie, also known as “China Grass”, is a flowering plant native to eastern Asia. For centuries, ramie fiber has been used for making fabrics and clothing. In fact, ramie has been used for clothes since at least 5000 - 3000 BC in Egypt.

Ramie fibers are one of the strongest natural fibers. Ramie can be up to 8 times stronger than cotton, and is even stronger when wet."

this too is much softer fiber than i had anticipated, and has a similar whispy
halo to the banana fiber.

{ 2oz 50% Royal Baby Alpaca, 50% Cashmere in colorway "Molten Metals" }

but of course the crown jewel of my birthday fiber shmorgasborg is this sinfully luxurious alpaca/cashmere blend fiber. i haven't even had the heart to spin it yet i've just been taking it out to stare at it longingly and stroke it's unbelievable softness hehe

i'm not even sure of how i'm going to spin it yet or what i'm going to make with it, but i think for now i'll just keep it as a fibery pet ^-^

{ my very first hand sewn needle/notions organizer }

and last but not least i'm excited to report that i've actually been bitten by the sewing bug lately. to make a long story short i recently got into Steampunk fashion, which is basically like late 19th century late victorian kinda stuff. i really wanted to get a pair of bloomers, but i just wasn't willing to pay what people were asking on Etsy, not when i knew i could sew them myself with the help of my trusty sewing machine ^^

{ crochet hooks and stitch holders }

needless to say the pics you see in front of you are NOT bloomers xD

i had a bit of a fiasco with trying to get the correct measurements and my first bloomers attempt were far too small :( but i've since bought some new fabric and will be making another attempt soon. in the mean time though i sewed this awesome little needle/notions organizer from some scraps left over from one of my Underworld Swap projects.

{ DPNs }

i created my own pattern for this using my limited sewing knowledge and thought it came out great, although next time i think i'll use a thiner fabric, this stuff was almost felt like and it make doing some of the top stitching a bit tough. if there are any seamstresses out there who would like me to share the pattern with them i'd be more than happy to do so just leave me a comment here with your email and i'll get back to you :)

{ all tied up }

if all goes well this week i should have some pics of bloomers to share, as well as the usual spinning/knitting related goodness.

have a great weekend everyone ^^/


Thursday, September 22, 2011

best TDF evar!

today i'm super excited because i finally got around to taking pics of the prize i won during the TDF!!!

{ my new lovely locks, that happen to match my sheets hehe }

i got a wonderful goodie bag a few weeks ago filled with locks in 4 different colors and a few generous sized samples from Prancing Pixel on Etsy. i won this awesome prize from a challenge in the Team Fun Onion group where we were asked to spin the most unusual substance. as i think i've mentioned before i actually spun up some of my own hair clippings after a homemade haircut one day and entered it as my submission. thank you so much to Prancing Pixel for this great prize, this was the first time i ever won a prize for the Tour de exciting! ^-^

{ Doomsday Mitts - for mah Underworld Swap partner }

and on to knitting news, my 2nd go at my "Doomsday Mitts" pattern is shaping up quite nicely in some randomly self striping yarn i spun. the fiber came from FeltingSunshine on Etsy and it's 100% Falkland fluffiness that i spun single ply to preserve it's squoosh. i have to admit that doing the same pattern in both a plied and unplied yarn has taught me a lot about the properties of each. i used a 2ply BFL yarn for my initial cast on and found that my mitts were almost a bit too tight. using this single plied Falkland i actually had to adjust the pattern a bit because the fabric was a bit too stretchy. these are really good things for a knitter to know, word to the wise knitters; get to know your yarn ;P

{ closeup of the detail }

this pair is going to my swap partner for the "Legends of the Underworld" swap in the Legendary Swaps group on ravelry. i can't talk about it too much just incase she's my spoilee as well and is stalking my blog, but i think just posting pics of the mitts won't give anything away :: fingers crossed ::

and lastly in non knitting/spinning news i've started getting my first bell peppers in my garden ^^

{ baby bell pepper, oh what color will you be? }

i've always had a passion for growing things, but unfortunately i've got a teeny little back porch and no back yard so it's really hard to grow things. the light is always shifting because of the buildings all around so i have to grow in small pots like the pic below to be able to move things around for light exposure.

{ i can't wait to harvest these beauties }

i HAVE been attempting to grow tomatoes too but it seems that something is killing them :(
if anyone out there had any idea how to keep tomato plants alive i'm all ears :D

i hope everyone is having great return of fall (la rentrée as the french say) and don't forget to get started on your holiday knitting...xmas is just around the corner!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

spinning and knitting a nebula

{ "nebula in the garden" - i'm not sure why this one pic came out so big :} :scratches head in puzzlement:: }

happy saturday everyone ^-^

i've been quite a busy little bee since my last post here. i finished spinning up that beyond gorgeous cotton fiber from Girl Meets Spindle and i was so smitten with the end result that i had to knit it up right away into a cowl. and THEN i still had a teensie little bit of yarn left over so i just HAD to knit myself up a new bow to go with my cowl :)

{ nebula up close }

i just realized i forgot to take some decent pics of just the cowl so you can see the stitch pattern and all that goodness but here's one i took earlier with me modeling it.

{ lol that you can see my work shirt logo in the pic...i'm not the greatest camerawoman xD }

and it seems that i've developed a thing for bows lately. i think i wear them because i'm jealous i can't wear hats since my hair is too poofy. i totally need to knit and felt myself one of those little teeny steampunk hats that just clip on to your hair to further abate my hat envy (upcoming design idea maybe??)

i honestly can't wait to see what Girl Meets Spindle dyes up next! i hope she keeps dying this awesome pima cotton roving though, it was totally worth the frustration of dropping my spindle a million times to spin it :P

and that's not all i've been up to :3 i'm also test knitting my "doomsday mitts" pattern right now as i knit up a pair for a swap i'm involved in that i shall tell you all about next time (gotta save something to blog another day)

i hope everyone's having a great weekend :)


Friday, September 2, 2011

katydids and fingerless mitts

i had really hoped to be blogging again sooner but this year has been a tough year for me health wise. i injured my back at the end of last year and it seems to be having a hard time healing because i re-injured it again a few weeks ago and was actually laid out on my bed for a week :(

but fortunately i'm feeling better so i can finally stand to sit in my computer chair long enough to get a blog post done ^.^

so what is a katydid?

i was tending to my garden a few weeks ago, accompanied by my friend Dave, when suddenly he points to some flowers and say "what is that?" i took a close look at it and i honestly had no clue what it was, i'd never seen one before, but it looked like some kind of grasshopper.

so we got on google and did some research to find that this little guy is a Katydid. i have to admit i had no idea what a Katydid was, i'd never heard of them or seen one, but there are 2 of them that seem to have taken up residence in my garden now. i see them back there almost every day now, chewing on those bright yellow flowers ^.^

on to knitting news, i'm glad to announce that i've finally finished knitting my Doomsday Mitts:

i designed these mitts especially for this gorgeous gradient yarn i spun because i wanted to be able to make the cuffs as long as i could go and waste as little of my yarn as possible. it was a bit of a challenge designing top down gloves, most knitters would know that gloves are almost exclusively worked from the cuff down to the fingers. the thumb gusset had to be cast on instead of bound off so i had to scour the internet for techniques to acheive that.

i'm really excited for how they've turned out and now i just have to wait until it gets cold enough for me to actually wear them, hehe. i also need to try to remember HOW i knit them so i can write the pattern out (oops, i probably should have been doing that as i went ::facepalm::)

i've also been slowly plugging away at spinning up some absolutely devine cotton fibre i got from Girl Meets Spindle.

{ Girl Meets Spindle 100% Pima Cotton - Nebula }

anyone who's ever spun with cotton can tell you just how frustrating it is to spin with, but this stuff is really not so bad. i'd be lying if i said i hadn't heard my spindle drop more often than when spinning wool, but not nearly as much as other cotton i've tried.

i'm actually done with the spinning now and have moved on to plying so i should have some FO pics of this yarn very soon. i can't wait to get it plied and skeined up, just look at those colors!

and i leave you all today with this awesome reflection i saw on my wall about a week ago. as far as i can tell the sun was being reflected off a van window outside and in through my sliding glass door. there are some poorly manicured bushes in the path of the beam that projected this really cool image. it took me a while to figure out where it was coming from, but now i just hope that van will park there again sometime so i can see it again ^.^

happy labor day weekend everyone, and happy knitting/spinning too!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

the tour de fleece is over :(

man i am really bad at keeping up with this blog xD

i know i said i was making my triumphant return to blogging at the end of June, but then the tour de fleece started and shortly after that a houseguest from the far off land of Ohio arrived so i've been swamped ever since.

but i DO have a wide array of spinning FO pics from the tour for your viewing pleasure ^.^

{ Metal Rabbit - 3.4oz, BFL }

this was my first finished yarn of the tour. this BFL was bought from Play At Life Fiber Arts as a set of sister batts, one black, one orangy/salmony gradient. it is so incredibly soft and squooshy, i'm not sure i even want to knit something with it. i might just have to save it to pet and smoosh as stress relief xD

{ Habitable Moon - 4oz, Polwarth }

and here's my first Polwarth yarn. i purchased a Polwarth roving/combed top combo pack from Friends in Fiber because i never knew there was a difference between roving and combed top. the two words are used pretty much interchangeably even though they are actually 2 different preparations of wool. combed top is the preparation you usually see in braids in most indie dyer shops on Etsy. roving, however, is a preparation that is pulled into 1 long length of fiber that's usually wrapped into a ball. it have to admit that i prefered the combed top preparation for spinning, i found the roving to be a bit neppier, but maybe that was just that particular roving.

{ Chocolate Caramel Ice cream - 47 grams, 100% Merino }

this fiber is actually left over from last years tour de fleece and i used it as practice for spinning a 3 ply laceweight yarn. i was unsuccessful at getting an even laceweight, but i think i came pretty close overall ^^

{Fishbowl - 1/4 oz, 100% Mulberry Silk }

i think this little sample was my favorite spin of the tour. the colors are sublime, thanks to Girl Meets Spindle. if you're a spinner and you haven't checked out this shop yet go do it nao! i'm in love with her colors and luxury fibers.

{handspun hair - my hair}

i guess i went a little spin crazy this tour because i actually won a prize for spinning a most unusual substance - my hair! i was evening it up a little bit one day during the tour, and i looked down at the hair clippings and my brain equated it as fiber so i had to try to spin with it. i have to admit i'm surprised i was able to spin it but it did work, even if it's just a teeny sample. my hair doesn't grow very fast

{ Forest Floor - 3.2oz, Falkland }

i actually started spinning this during the tour but didn't get to finish until after tour was over :(
this was a tour of exploring new fibers for me, first the Polwarth, then the Mulberry Silk, and then this Falkland. i got this fluffy Falkland from Felting Sunshine, i really love her rich, saturated colors.
{ Fawl Shawl - my first full sized shawl! }

i loved this yarn so much that i had to take a break from spinning to knit this Monarch Shawl. I think i'll tell you all about my adventures in shawl knitting next time though. have a wonderful weekend everyone ^^/


Sunday, June 26, 2011

divorce and new beginnings

believe it or not, i didn't actually forget i have a blog xD

in July of last year my marriage came to an end and since then i've been on a long, emotional, but ultimately rewarding journey to pick up the pieces of my life.

it's funny how sometimes in life we lose the ability to see things for what they really are. when Christophe told me he was leaving me i really didn't understand why. i knew we had our problems, but i think the stress of a long distance marriage consumed me so much that i couldn't see how unhappy we both were. i fell apart for a few months, trying to figure out some way to fix things, some way to make things better between us until i came to a point where i realized i didn't WANT to fix them. no matter how much it hurt to be left, i came to realize that i'm the one who always wanted to leave. and at the same time, i realized that i have never fully lived my life.

getting divorced i think forces one to confront themselves. at so
me point i had to look at my own life, and how i'd been living it, and take responsibility for the hand i had in the demise of my marriage, and the hand i've had in most of the bad things that have happened in my life that i always just chalked up to "bad luck." in all honesty, my divorce is the best thing that ever happened to me. it's put my life in perspective for me, probably for the first time ever.

it's an odd place to be in, to be 27 years old and realize you never truly learned how to live life on your own. to realize you've just been depending on others, and blaming everyone and everything else when things go wrong. i guess there's nothing like a divorce to make one realize it's time to grow up.

so here i am, a year later, and i've never been happier in my life. obviously i'm still working through a lot of emotions, even though i've found closure it's still a lot to deal with. but for the first time in my life i truly feel like i can deal with anything, i feel like i'm in control of my own destiny, and thats a great feeling.

but enough of my personal life journey for today, this is a knitting/crochet/spinning blog after all and although i have forsaken my blog this past year, i've still been spinning up a storm. this is some sinfully soft and lofty BFL that i bought from Color Craze Fiber on Etsy. i spun it up and andean plied it to make really cool color transitions.

{close up shot so you can really see the colors}

i'm using it to create a new design, Doomsday Mitts (yes i'm still designing here and there :P)
they are so named because i started the design on the day of the supposed apocolypse last month. i'm sure everyone remembers that little debaucle xD

the design is actually done, i'm just finishing up the ribbing on both mitts and the mitts themselves will be done too ^.^

and now for your daily dose of fiber deliciousness:

{100% Merino Batt: Into the Sunset}

i've just discovered a new favorite indie dyer on Etsy:
Girl Meets Spindle. I recently ordered the Batt pictured above and the cotton roving below (yes i said COTTON ROVING!!!) i live in California so spinning with wool isn't always too appealing in the summer. sadly not very many indie dyers chose to die cotton, so i was just THRILLED to find Girl Meets Spindle
{100% Cotton Roving: Nebula}

Rachel from Girl Meets Spindle probably has the m
ost beautiful, bright color combinations i've seen do date, and not to mention some of the most crave-worthy fibers like Royal Baby Alpaca and Cashmire blend, or her Camel and Tussah silk blend. I haven't had the pleasure of trying out any of those luxury blends yet myself, but the merino and cotton i got is amazingly soft so i can only imagine ^.^

If you're a spinner you'd be crazy not to click the link and go check out her shop. it's not just her colors that are amazing, it's her attention to detail. i don't know about you, but i'm a sucker for awesome packaging and this package i got from her did not dissapoint.

everything was wrapped up tight in bubble wrap and individually wrapped in tissue paper or in the case of the cotton a celophane bag, all labelled with her adorable little stickers ^.^

and the tiny little orange package just so happened to be a gorgeous little 1/4 oz sample of pure Mulberry Silk...i could have just DIED

{100% Mulberry Silk: Fishbowl}

this horrible blurry picture really doesn't do it justice, but you can still see how vibrant the colors are and the beautiful sheen it has.

I'd just like to thank Rachel for this lovely package, and also tell everyone that right now she's having a sale on batts to help her pay for a new drumcarder. so if you're wondering where to make your next fibre purchase, or fueling up for this years TDF go give some support to Girl Meets Spindle and help her get a drumcarder so she can make even more beautiful batts!

well folks, that's all for today. i don't even know if anyone will read this because all my followers have probably stopped following my blog after a year of absense. but if you're still out there and still following and reading thanks for doing so ^.^ i'm hoping to start blogging again regularly now that my life is getting back to normal so hopefully i'll be able to tempt you all into following again :)

Peace & Love