Sharing Fibery Goodness Today

Today has been a very exciting "makers" kind of day for me.  I am ready for fall, and the colors of fall.   I have been searching for just the right blend of hand-dyed fiber in fall colors but haven't been able to find exactly what I want.  So what does a spinner do ?  Well this spinner has decided to create her own blend using an Ashford Blending Board and a mix of Ashland Bay Merino Wool that was purchased at Tempe Yarn today. 

Just look at these colors !!!

Left to Right on the bottom:  Dijon, Parchment, Brown and Tangerine
Left to Right on the top:  Juniper and Gold

I am so excited and stoked to make my own fall color blend that I can hardly wait to start.

I also decided to see if I had anything in my fiber stash that had a slight "fall color" to it and decided that my Octoberhouse Fiber Arts panda blend in Apres was close.  The colors are a soft mix of blues, purples and rusty pumpkin (hope that makes sense).  I love this braid very much and it's been part of my stash for a very long time.  

Now on a fun side note friend Sherrill (The 1764 Shepherdess) is planning next year's breed study and I'm super excited as it will be around "breed conservation".  

Here is the proposed list of breeds that we will get to try next year:
January 2019:      Dorset Horn – threatened
February 2019:    Teeswater – watch
March 2019:         Lincoln – threatened
April 2019:           Manx Loaghtan – at risk
May 2019:            Southdown – recovering
June 2019:           Shetland – recovering

Be sure to check out her post today and sign up for her newsletter so you will know when the breed study opens up.  Sherrills love of fiber truly comes through in her blog posts, instagram feed and those fibery people she surrounds herself with.  I've known her for ten years and she still inspires me every day to love wool, spin and create with wool.  Her passion for the fiberarts is truly remarkable and her encouragement to all of us to spin is beyond words.  To sum up Sherrill ... inspirational and motivational!

Speaking of a breed study ... I also forgot to post that I finished spinning my Blue Faced Leicester (BFL), which was the August Breed Study.  I ended up with 28 yards of chain ply in a light worsted weight.  I love spinning BFL, but this particular fiber was a pleasure to spin as it was soft as butter.

I'm ending up the fall breed study with Wensleydale, which is classified as a conversation breed in the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook.  The feel of this fiber is extremely soft and is known to give drape and clear stitch definition in knitted and crocheted items.  This wool is also good for weaving.

**Excerpt From: Carol Ekarius & Deborah Robson. “The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook**

FLEECE WEIGHT  7–20 pounds (3.2–9 kg), often 10–15 pounds (4.5–6.8 kg)
STAPLE LENGTH 7–12 inches (18–30.5 cm)
FIBER DIAMETERS 30–36 microns (spinning counts 44s–50s)
LOCK CHARACTERISTICS Very long, wavy, distinctive, curling locks with brilliant luster and a  
   smooth, supple surface.
NATURAL COLORS White, gray, black.

The Wensleydale is a breed of domestic sheep that originated in the Wensleydale region of North Yorkshire, England Possessing a blue–grey face, the breed was developed in the 19th century by crossing English Leicester and Teeswater sheep.

I am prepping my 1 oz of Wensleydale today and hope to start spinning it tomorrow. To the touch this fiber is very soft.   

What are you spinning today?

Until next time  ~ be creative!

Wednesday WIPS .... A Little of Everything!

I am trying really hard not to have too many things going on all at once, which is really hard as I'm a compulsive knitter, one who can't pass by an interesting pattern just added to Ravelry or a gorgeous yarn that just hit the shelves at my LYS.

I'm rather proud of myself for only having three knitting WIPs at the moment, one which really needs a little knitting love and isn't pictured simply because I haven't made any progress on it.

My Irish Coffee is coming along nicely and I hope to have my sleeves separated soon.  I am head over heels in love with the color of the MadTosh Vintage and I can't wait to see how it looks when my sweater is finished.

My Arrowhead Socks are also coming along nicely.  I think I will have the first sock completed today and hopefully will cast on the mate.  It's been rather refreshing knitting DPNs again.  I've enjoyed this process so much that I might continue knitting with them for another pair of socks I'm waiting to cast on.  I truly love my set of Knitters Pride Symfonie Dremz Double Pointed Needles.  They are super smooth and I love that they are colored code for the size.

As far as my small cross stitch project is coming, well I haven't really done too much with it lately.  I need just to sit down and concentrate on it. It will be so cute when it's finished and fun to hunt for just the right frame for it.

Still Languishing on my needles:

KALs Not Started and Ending Soon:

Still Languishing on the Wheel:

Want to Cast On:

How's your WIPs going this week ?

Until next time ~ be creative!

Spinning Update - Getting really "spooky"!

As posted earlier I'm having fun learning to spin rolags and I'm loving my hand-blended color creation for #spookyspin15 (on Instagram).  

Just look at these colors!!!

For this spinning project I'm using my Schacht Side Kick.  I love this little wheel and it spins like a dream. I plan to use my Lady Bug to chain ply this finished yarn and I can't wait to see how it turns out!!

Project ideas for the finished handspun include:

I hope to achieve enough yardage to at least make something matching, like a hat and mitts or cowl and mitts.  Fingers crossed this will happen!

Until next time ~ be creative!

What's In Your Bag ?

Back in June I shared a post about my knitting bag and a few new accessory pieces I picked up that matched my bag.

Today I wanted to share what I keep in my bag, as well as how I display my knitting tools, etc. 

Every knitter has different things inside their bag but there are some things that are essential.

For example: 

  • Needle gauge
  • Calculator
  • Stitch Holder
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Markers (various sizes)
  • Yarn Needle
  • Tape measure
  • Sock Ruler (wonderful for toe up sock knitting)
  • Cable Needles

The sock ruler can be purchased online at

Not only do I have my accessory pouch filled with these essential items, I also keep this handy little organizer on the table next to me where I sit to knit.  It house a few additional pieces, such as needle protectors and row counters.  I also tuck it into my knitting bag when I travel to make sure I have everything I need for the projects I'm working on and carrying inside my bag.

I also like to carry my small tipped Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Needle Set.  This comes in handy when knitting hats or sleeves and cuffs on a sweater.

I like to keep this little antique tray on my craft desk with a few fun things, including my collection of embroidery scissors, LED portable lights and a needle keeper. I also like to use my antique pressed glass vases to keep my collection of Tunisan Crochet Hooks, DPNs, Straight Needles and stitch markers in.  Pretty and well contained.

I also like to keep all my interchangeable circular needle sets and my Brittany Walnut straight needles inside this basket.  I also keep another pouch of essential knitting items as a back up, along with a small container of stitch markers.

How do your knitting tools organized ?
Do you carry something else in your knitting bag that you consider a must ?

Until next time ~ be creative!

Book Review: 40 Timeless Designs by Norah Gaughan

I was so fortunate to receive 40 Timeless Designs by Norah Gaughan to review.  This gorgeous book published by Six & Spring Books features intricate cablework, colorwork, texture, lace, simple, classic and yes, timeless designs.  

Over the years Norah has been known as the "cable queen" and rightly so as her cable designs are truly innovative and unique.  To me personally, she has taken cable work to a whole new level and mindset, which is shown in many of her gorgeous creations.  From her first design published in 1987 by Vogue Knitting, a classic cable vest, to her most recent designs for Brooklyn Tweed, Norghan truly is one of the "brightest stars" when it comes to knitwear.

From the Publisher:  Over the past 30 years, Norah Gaughan has contributed an astounding 120+ patterns to the iconic Vogue Knitting magazine. From inspired textures to spellbinding cables to innovative constructions, she has created a legacy that will last for generations. To honor her achievements and contributions in knitwear, 40 of her patterns from Vogue Knitting magazine have been gathered into a single volume. From a timeless cabled vest, her first Vogue Knitting piece published in 1987, to a striking Fair Isle pullover from 2018, each garment will dazzle knitters. Fun and engaging to create, these patterns and their construction will broaden a knitter's understanding of what knitwear can be.

If you are curious about what designs are included in this collection, please click here to see the full listing.  A few of my favorites mentioned on my video review include:

Full Tweed Ahead - wide diagonal cables with twisted stitch lines.  Size ranges from medium to extra large in a kimono style design.

Courtesy of SoHo Publishing

Guernsy Pullover - Tradional Guernsey textures and mitered knitting is combined to form the beautiful rounded yoke with raglan style sleeves.  Sizes range from small to large, with positive ease.

Courtesy of SoHo Publishing
Cabled Counterpane - A beautiful yet simple motif repeated four times in the round with the addition of cables. This design is created in six sections and then sewed together. Sizes range from small to large, with the finished garment being more fitted.

Courtesy of SoHo Publishing
If you haven't seen this book yet, it is on the shelves at your local Barnes & Nobles, as well as a few of the local yarn shops.  It truly is a gorgeous collection of designs that will not disappoint.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Ohhh... Spooky!! ~ Part 2

Yesterday I shared my fiber preparation for my Spooky Spin project.  As mentioned,  I created rolags using my Ashford Blending Board.  I really learned so much, and loved how the fibers blended, almost melting together to form my own unique colorway.

It's so important to learn new techniques to help shape and mold your creative pursuits.  The more you learn, the more you can expand your knowledge and become an expert in the things you enjoy the most.  Learn from others that share the same passion and craft.  Their tips are invaluable and will help you grow even more.  Don't be afraid to ask questions either, the crafting community is very giving and knowledgable, we like to share.

Last night I couldn't resist starting to spin this fun fiber blend up in orange, black, green and purple.  The finished spinning will indeed create a unique colorway, one that will be rather tweedy looking.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Ohhh... Spooky!! ~ Part 1

Sherrill, over at the 1764 Shepherdess, decided to have a bit of "spooky" fun for October and created this adorable kit. 

Inside the kit is 4 oz of fiber in the color Witch Stockings, a blend of orange, green, black and purple, a fun Halloween themed knitting bag, a spooky pin, a spooky charm and a spindle.  This spinning event is on Instagram and can be followed with the hashtags of #witchstockings15 and #witchstockings15

I love the colors in the fiber and think I might blend the colors together like my friend Lara ( @spinninglara on Instagram).  The colors really pop when blended so I think I might get out my blending board and do the same.

You can see her blended fiber on her Instagram page here.

Here's a close up of the fiber ....

I have decided to blend these colors together and create rolags.  I used my Ashford blending board and while I’m still learning how to blend fibers, I can honestly say had loads of fun doing this.

Just look as these little rolag buns!

So all the fiber has been blended into rolags and I'm ready to spin!

Until next time ~ Be Creative!

It's Spinzilla Time!!!

Many spinners are gearing up for Spinzilla, a spinning event hosted by TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) that runs from October 1st through October 7th.  This global event is not only to challenge spinners to see who can spin the most yarn in a weeks time , but to challenge spinners of all levels to try new fibers, new spinning methods, new spinning tools (wheels and spindles), new techniques, and really just to bring awareness to the hand spinning community.  While this is truly a fun event, like Tour de Fleece it's quite competitive in some groups but the end result is the celebration and joy of spinning.   

Key Dates 
August 1 - 30: Team registration 
September 4 - 27: Spinner registration 
October 1 - 7: Spinning Week 
October 19: Yardage Results Posted
Speaking of competitive, Kate Larson's post on Spinzilla: Tips for Spinning Under Pressure is very good to read, especially if this is your first time joining Spinzilla.  I have always loved Kate's approach to spinning.  She shares the best tips and techniques!

Don’t forget to take breaks, stretch, and take a deep breath every once in a while. Release the Spinzilla stress! ~ Kate Larson

Anne Merrow also has written a great article, 5 Ways A Busy Spinner Can Rock Spinzilla. While I love Anne's approach, I have joined several Spinzilla events since it started and usually joined as a Rogue member.  I like to take my time and spin for the pure enjoyment of spinning and not to be rushed.  I have found that if you join certain teams you are trying to keep up with the teams spinning goals, making it not only challenging but exhausting, especially if you work.  

So just do it. Sign up for Spinzilla. Challenge yourself to find a group, and remind yourself of this: You deserve to be there just as much as anyone. ~ Anne Merrow

Be sure to check out the Spinzilla Ravelry Group too.  This is a great place to check out teams, tips, fiber sales and more.

Links to great articles from past years:

Due to so much going on in my life, I have opted to sit out this years Spinzilla but plan to cheer on all the spinners who are competing in this fun event.  Oh course the more I read online about Spinzilla, I may change my mind and join as a Rogue Spinner again.

Until next time ~ Be Creative !

My Love of Ink

As I mentioned at the beginning of my blog I am a well round crafter with many loves.  My main love has been wool, and pretty much anything that is fiber related.  I enjoy knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving.  However, I also enjoy pen and ink. 

Today I'm sharing a few of my projects that I've been working on, as well as one that I have finished.

I am working on this floral piece in my small art journal that measures five by seven.  Like most of my projects I use a Sakura Micron pen .01 and .005.  

I am also working on a piece measuring  11" by 14" (drawn on Strathmore mixed media paper) that is the state of Arizona.  This will be a Zentangle Inspired Art piece with a few other fun bits thrown in to show off the essence of this beautiful state.    Please forgive the shadow in the bottom right of my photo, it was taken early in the morning and I had many shadow issues.

The piece I recently finished is a Zentangle Inspired drawing of the state of Kentucky.  Kentucky has always been home to me and I always hope some day to be able to return home.  The finished piece measures 18" by 24" and drawn on Strathmore mixed media paper.

I love art just about as much as I love the fiber arts and will periodically share what I'm drawing.

Until next time ~ by creative!

Seeing Stars

I often find myself searching for fun projects to use up left over yarn and came across a new pattern by Hunter Hammersen (a favorite designer of mine) called Scintillation.  

First of all, this pattern is simply adorable and yes, I had to buy it.  Second of all, it's so perfect for using up leftover bits of yarn.  Like many knitters out there I always end up with several yards of fingering weight yarn after making socks, or a few yards of DK and worsted weight after sweater, hats and shawl projects.  I simply cannot bare to part with these bits of leftovers but really don't know what I might want to do with them. Hunter's pattern is perfect for this dilemma and I can't wait to cast on a "star".

Courtesy of Hunter Hammersen
Scintilation noun
- a flash or sparkle of light

You know those bits of gorgeous yarn left over from your favorite projects? The ones you just can’t bear to throw away? Well why not turn them into a pile of adorable little stars!
There are no seams to work when you’re done, no stitches to pick up, and only two ends to weave in! Each one takes only a few yards of yarn (these took between 10 & 30 yards each) and about two hours to knit. That’s about as close to instant gratification as knitting gets!
As for what you’ll do with them? Well that’s limited only by your imagination!

If you're interested in joining other knitters in making these delightful stars, Hunter has started a KAL (knit along) in her Pantsville Press Ravelry Group  and per Hunter's post in this KAL, "If you want to post about it on instagram, you can use the tag #scintillationkal to help everyone find your pictures!" 

I'm off to see what bits of yarn I might have left over in my "can't get rid of these pieces" stash.  I know that I have a few solid color sock yarns and maybe a couple of varigated colors too that might work.  If all else fails, I'll dip into my stash of Jamison's Shetland or my Elemental Effects Shetland .

Until next time ~ be creative!

Such A Nice Surprise Came in the Mail !

It's always so nice to receive something totally unexpected in the mail and that's exactly what happened to me a week ago.  I received a box from the publisher of the 2019 Knitting Calendar to find that two of my patterns published in prior years were re-published for their 2019 edition.  How exciting is that!!!

Courtesy of Amazon

So the two patterns re-published in this calendar is my Paddington Hat ( Rolled Brim Cabled Crossed Hat in the calendar) and my Painted Cables Scarf.  Both of which have been favorites among accessory knitters.
Remember the bonnets our grandmother’s use to wear? Or how about Paddington Bears hat? This hat was inspired by these childhood memories. The super bulky yarn made this a very fast project and if you’re a very fast knitter, this is a day project. The brim on this hat can be rolled up for a very stylish look, or brought all the way down to provide warmth on those cold winter days.

This is a beautiful pattern for using Noro Silk Garden yarn, which shows off the cable edging, as well as the traveling cable that is reversed in the middle.  

Until next time ~ be creative!

The Hints of Fall

Are you starting to feel the subtle hints of fall in the air ?  I am noticing tiny hints that fall is around the corner. The morning air is a bit cooler, the skies are getting much bluer and the days are quite as warm, well at least here in Phoenix.

When you're a wool lover like me living in a very hot dry desert it's often hard to imagine "fall".  My Instagram feed is packed full of beautiful fall inspired photos and I know that soon I will be seeing so much more.  But that's ok,  it's inspiring and makes me want to knit beautiful sweaters, shawls, hats and socks.

This past weekend my husband took me to my favorite shop, Jessica Knits, over in Scottsdale.  I had no real intention of buying yarn, but needless to say I walked out of Tammy's shop with a sweaters worth of Swans Island and two skeins of scrumptious Elemental Affects Civility Yarn.

Elemental Affects Civility - Sport weight is homegrown, hand-dyed and spun here in the US.  I love this yarn and used the fingering weight in the color City Shadow for a test knit a few years ago for Brandy Velten's Ysabel.  This yarn really knits up nicely and holds it's shape.

I couldn't resist buy City Shadow in sport weight, along with a truly fall color called Clove.  I haven't quite decided yet if I want to knit a shawl in a single color, or use both of these colors together.

Here's a few thoughts on what shawls I'm considering....

I think I've been missing shawl knitting lately, so hopefully I can decide on a pattern so I can cast on soon!

The Swans Island I purchased it a warm raspberry in the color Fig.  For some reason it rather reminds me of the colors I picked up in a photo of mine that I had fun with, along with a poem.  I have 1,500 yards of this yarn and I'm having trouble deciding what pattern I should use for it.

Here's a few of the patterns I'm thinking I might use ....

And to end my post, here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.  It's exactly how I feel about fall weather.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Wednesday WIPs: A Sweater, A Sock and A Drawing

The last few mornings have been so wonderfully cool that I've enjoyed my coffee and knitting out on our patio.  The cool air is is teasing us with hopes that fall weather is just around the corner.  

I haven't made too much progress on my top down raglan but I can say I'm nearing the end and will be starting the ribbed band this coming weekend.  My Arrowhead Socks and Mirkwood Scarf haven't gotten too much love as I've been focused on my sweater.  Once my sweater is done then I can focus on getting my socks and scarf completed.

I am so excited to have finished my Zentangle Inspired art piece - Kentucky.  This drawing took me almost 20 days to finish and I love how it turned out.  This finished piece was created on a piece of 18" x 24" Strathmore Mixed Media paper , a LePen Techinical Drawing Pen .1  and a 3b pencil for shading.  

Now that this is finished, I have started the state of Arizona.  For this project I'm using Strathmore Mixed Media Paper size 11" x 14" , a Pigma Micron Pen .01 and a 3B pencil for shading.  I'm deciding on what Zentangle and Doodle pieces to use for this drawing, maybe something a little more southwestern.

I will share that I'm trying really hard not to start any more projects until the ones listed above are completed but knowing me that's not going to happy.  As the weather starts to get cooler here in Phoenix, I will have the urge to cast on more projects and spin more wool.

Until next time ~ be creative!

It's All About the Tools !

I'm really enjoying my current WIP, a very simple top down cardigan in Tahki Vermont.  

Due to yardage constraints for the length I'm shooting for, I've decided to go ahead an knit the ribbing for my sleeves.  Typically I use DPNs for my sleeves but I opted to try my short points by Knit Picks and oh my, I love them!!

If you haven't used Knit Pick interchangeable needles, it's something I would suggest giving a try.  Mind you I have just about every knitting needle set out there (Lykke, Addi, Knitter's Pride, etc), but my often go to interchangeable are my Knit Picks Caspian Circulars

Since I love this set so much I purchased their Options Short Interchangeable Caspians and I'm thrilled I did. These needles are typically used for hats, but I find them very useful for sleeves and ribbing.

The Short Options Interchangeable Needle Set is designed with shorter needle tips that connect snag-free to our distinctive emerald cable. This set includes two cables - simply attach the needle tips to create a versatile 16" interchangeable circular needle perfect for hats, sleeves, and other, more compact projects. Tip sizes are US 4,5,6,7,8,9,and 10 (3.5mm,3.75mm,4mm,4.5mm,5mm,5.5mm,and 6mm), and each tip is 2.75" long.

Featuring smooth joins, perfectly tapered tips and flexible cables, this set includes 7 of our bestselling needle tips and 2 cables to create a 16" circular knitting needle - all of which are stored in a handy vinyl case. Two small cable keys are included, which allow you to tighten your needle tips to the cables. Working on multiple projects that call for the same needle size? Use the included endcaps to safely store your project as you start the next. 

Needles are the most important part of knitting and it's smart to have a couple of sets to trade off on and to try out.  It's also important to find the needles that suite you and your knitting style.  As a knitter we often fall into the trap of the "latest and greatest" needles only to find out that they aren't quite what we hoped for or they just don't meet our needs.  Always read reviews from others regarding needles before purchasing too and see what the pros and cons are before purchasing.  As my husband often tells me, you are only as good as your tools, so make sure you choose what suites you best.

Until next time ~ be creative!

An Anatomy of a Knitter .... Does This Look Like You ?

Every time I see this illustration by Missy Martin pop up, I smile and nod my head with that "yep, that's me" kind of knowing nod.  But what else does this illustration say about us as knitters.  Does it tell a tale of how unique, creative and adventurous souls we knitters are or does it show that as we knit our minds are going in every direction (new stash possibilities, new designs, new projects) ? 

Like the young woman portrayed in this illustration, I often find myself thinking about many things when knitting.  Sometimes I'm solving problems, working out personal life matters and then other times I'm drifting off thinking about all the other new projects I would love to knit and find myself matching yarn in my stash to patterns.   

And socks!!! Yes, what this illustration says about hand knitted socks is so very true, a private luxury I love to indulge in often.  I love knitting socks  and wearing them.  They are pure comfort and knowing that they are something I made makes me quite happy and content.  Over the years I have knitted my socks on two circulars but recently have  returned to DPNs and I have to admit that I rather have missed using them.  Using DPNs is traditional and I do like tradition.

Then comes the pure excitement of a new project and with giddiness of delight I find myself  laying my  knitting down to create a Ravelry project page just in case I decide to move forward with my thought.  I try to my a monogamous knitter, but at times I find this very hard to do as the pure joy of the possibility of a new project overwhelms me so much that I must cast on.

A monogamous knitter works on just one project at a time and finishes it before they cast on the next. A polygamous knitter has numerous projects on the go, darting from this one to that, usually simultaneously gathering numerous lovely project bags in which to store all their WIP's (works in progress).  ~ Truly Myrtle

Do you relate to Missy's illustration ?  How do you view yourself as a knitter ?

Until next time ~ be creative!