Talking Fiber Today

Hello Spinners!  Today I want to introduce a wonderful fiberista, Dedri Quillin of Quillin Fiberarts.  Now a few of you may already know this fabulous dyer, but for those who have not seen her beautiful hand-dyed fibers yet, a visit to her Etsy shop is a must!

I have followed Dedri on Instagram for almost a year now and have not only seen her share her lovely hand-dyed fibers, but I have seen many of my spinning Instagram friends spin up her gorgeous color creations.   So Monday I could not resist her shop any longer and purchased these three gorgeous braids of fiber from her Etsy shop.  

The small braid of fiber in the front of the photo above is a scrumptious blend of merino, yak and silk in the colorway Sleepy Hollow.  I'm super excited to try this blend and hope to achieve enough yardage for mitts.

From Dedri's shop:  Merino Yak and Silk combed top roving hand dyed in our Sleepy Hollow colorway. Deep black, gray and warm ochres combine in this moody colorway. Each braid is 2 ounces. Merino 60%/ Silk 20%/ Yak 20%.

The braid of fiber in the top left of the photo above is a yummy Cheviot in the color way Owls, a mix of black, white and ochre brown.  I have not spun Cheviot, so this will be an enjoyable spin for me.  With 4 oz of fiber, I plan to spin slightly thin and two-ply.  I am hoping to achieve enough yardage for a lace scarf or a cowlette.

Last is the braid of fiber in the top right of the photo is a 22 micron Merino in the colorway Dark Tabby.  I love the warm earthy tones of this merino and think the colors would be scrumptious for a handspun hat.  I am planning to spin this 4 oz of fiber for a finished skein of light worsted weight.  I haven't quite decided if I will chain ply or two-ply.  I might even go for a single ply!

From Dedri's shop22 micron Merino sustainably sourced in South Africa, this combed top (roving) was dyed in our Dark Tabby colorway. Browns and olive green.

Be sure to check out Dedri's shop as she has a sale going on with free shipping to US customers.  You can find Dedri online at Etsy, Facebook and Instagram.

I personally am so happy I finally decided to place an order.

Until next time ~ be creative !

Introducing Chalkboard Christmas 🎄

Sometimes I find certain colors of yarn that just speak to me and I see a design possibility.  

That is what recently happened when I saw Lion Brand Yarn's Hometown USA in the color Salem Creek.  The black, white and pink colors in the yarn made me think of a chalkboard, hence the name Chalkboard Christmas.

Today I'm introducing my new design, Chalkboard Christmas, a slouchy hat with a pom pom and a matching cowl.  This design is created for bulky to super bulky weight yarn and knitted with a size US 13 (9mm) circular needle. 

This super speedy bulky knit project will surely keep you warm during those cold winter days!

I am offering my new design as a free download until midnight Thursday,  November 29th.  After the launch, this pattern will be at full price.

Click Here - buy now

Regular Price will be $ 3.50

No coupon needed when added to cart

The pattern particulars:
Gauge: 2 sts x 3 rows = 1” square on size US 13 (9.0mm) needles
Hat Finished Length: 9 1/2” from cast on edge
Hat Circumference: 19” and up ( due to stretchiness, will fit most sizes)
Cowl Size: 7” wide and 24” in diameter
Hat -
MC 2 skeins of Lion Brand Hometown in Salem Creek 
CC 1 skein of Lion Brand Hometown USA in Springfield Silver 
(Or any super bulky weight yarn to meet gauge)
Cowl -
MC 2 skeins of Lion Brand Hometown in Salem Creek 
CC 1 skein of Lion Brand Hometown USA in Springfield Silver 
(Or any super bulky weight yarn to meet gauge)
1 Pom Pom 
2 buttons 1 1/2” to 2” in diameter

I hope you enjoy my design and I look forward to seeing finished projects on Ravelry and Instagram.  If you're on Instagram, be sure to tag me @mylifewithwool so I can see your finished piece.
Until next time ~ be creative!

Sundays Are Meant For Spinning

I truly believe that Sunday mornings are meant for spinning.  Well at least they are for me as my husband and I tend to start our morning off slow with a cup of coffee, a walk to the park and then back home to enjoy the day.

Today I'm working on my Targhee in the color Chincoteague.  I'm so ashamed to say I started spinning this fiber back in May and the reason I haven't given it too much love is the simple fact I'm still learning to spin on my Flatiron wheel.  Such a poor excuse I know, but it's the truth.

I truly love my Flatiron and I'm understanding that I need to slow down a bit when spinning.  I've also learned that pre-drafting highly compacted fiber is a must for me when learning on a new wheel.  I will get the hang of it and I know it will be another much loved wheel in my collection!

I am determined to finish the small amount left today so that I can get it plied and off my wheel to start my Humbug spin along with The 1764 Shepherdess on Instagram.  (#humbugspin15 on Instagram).  

"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"

I purchased this fun kit earlier this month and will be starting my spinning next weekend.Inside each kit was 4 oz of Jacob Humbug, a Humbug charm, spinning oil, a sheep cookie cutter, a sugar cookie recipe, a Jacob Marley humbug badge and a tag.  I love Sherrill's kits and I really look forward to spinning along with everyone on Instagram ( a few have already started! ).

Until next time ~ be creative!

A New To Me Fiber Collection To Spin

My friend Beth of Old Cedar Knoll Alpacas sent me this beautiful collection of her very own Suri Alpaca from her very own farm for my #spin15aday challenge.  I've never spun Alpaca, and as Beth mentioned in her card, it will most likely be a learning curve as it's part of the "exotics" category in fiber. 

I found a great article, and guide, from Spinning Daily called "Spinning Alpaca Ultimate Guide", as well as a free guide to download (please note you have to provide and email address to obtain a link for the guide).  The guide is very informative and I've learned quite a lot, but still a bit intimidated in trying my hand as spinning this beautiful super soft fiber.

Alpaca fiber is among the finest fiber in the world. Soft and long and in a range of beautiful natural colors, alpaca can be a joy to spin if you know where to start and what makes it different from sheep’s wool.   ~ Amy, Interweave/Spinning Daily

I also came across these blog posts and articles too ...

And I found these short videos that helped me understand a little bit more on how to feed the fiber into my wheel.

I'm thinking my Schacht Matchless would be the perfect wheel to use for this spinning challenge and I hope to get started soon!!!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving 
The Sanders Family

Those Colors Are Calling Me

After taking a three year break from designing, I have been rejuvenated to ever so slightly dip back into the realm of self-publishing.  In March of this year I self-published Brenna, a quick knit cozy cowl, and Coppice , a two tone cabled brim slouchy hat. I enjoyed the process of creating both patterns but really didn't think much about moving forward with more designs until our temperatures here in Phoenix have started to drop.  With the crisp chilly mornings of late, I've had the urge, and even a strong desire, to create and design accessory pieces.  

When I finished knitting my slippers using Lion Brand's Hometown USA, I must say that I've fallen in love with this yarn.  I'm not sure if it's the bulky weight of the yarn or the variety of colors I've found, but something has made me pick up my needles to create a hat design.  

I love, love, love the mix of gray and pink and Lion Brand's Hometown USA in the color Salem Creek it the perfect combination of these two colors mixed together.  I wanted to find the perfect complement to Salem Creek and was so tickled to find a color called Springfield Silver. This heathery gray is perfection!

I've had a design theme collection idea in my head since the release of an album by Dan Tyminiski called Southern Gothic .  My idea is to create and design accessory pieces using colors in blacks, grays and pinks.  I'm truly hoping that my idea for my hat, and matching cowl, will be the start of collection centered around the term "southern gothic".

Southern Gothic literature was inspired by early Gothic writing, a genre that was popular in 18th-century England. In Gothic literature, the authors wanted to expose the problems they saw in society. The authors wrote fiction, but included supernatural and romantic elements. They were often stories of hauntings, death, darkness and madness. Some of the more well-known examples of this genre are Frankenstein and Dracula.  ~ 

My design process is a "work as I go" format, writing down my pattern as I knit, ripping back, re-knitting and more.  Once my design is finished and the pattern is complete, I re-knit it to make sure all is good before publishing.  The new hat design I'm working on is being worked in the round and will offer a bit of texture.  I really can't wait to see how this turns out!!!

For those of you who might follow me on Instagram, I'm taking a short social media break so that I can concentrate on designing over the holidays.  I will be back and I might sneak in a post here and there.

Thank you all so much for your continued support and for following me crazy knitting adventures!

Until next time ~ Happy Knitting and be creative!

Goodies in the mail !!!

I truly love knitting socks and I love finding fun new sock yarns to knit with.  So today, I'm so excited to share two new fingering weight yarns, both purchased from Corinne/Claire of The Woolly Thistle.  
British Wool direct from West Yorkshire Spinners! "Reared, Sheared and Spun in Britain". This sock yarn consists of 75% Wool - 25% Nylon. The wool content contains 35% luxurious Bluefaced Leicester making this one of the most sumptuous 4 Ply (fingering weight) products on the market. Ideal for socks! ~ from the Woolly Thistle website 

First up is West Yorkshire Spinners Christmas yarn in the color Fairy Lights. I love the colors of this yarn and have been watching many sock knitter's on Instagram posting their projects.  After seeing finished pairs of socks I decided that I had to have a skein of this yarn. Now I'm wondering if I should have purchased the matching solid yarn for the cuff, heel and toe!  I haven't decided if I will do a plain vanilla sock or a patterned sock. Sometimes simple is always better.

There are fourteen different breeds of sheep in Portugal. Some of them are critically endangered after being progressively replaced by foreign, more productive breeds. Retrosaria Rosa Pomar produces and sells yarn made exclusively from Portuguese wool. They create manufactured yarn in collaboration with small manufacturers, breeders associations and shepherds, and they also commission small batches of artisan yarns like Bucos which is scoured, teased, carded and spun by hand in small villages around the country.  Minimally processed yarns: all Rosa Pomar yarns are non superwash, not bleached and have no silicone based softeners. Their woolen yarns may contain traces of vegetable matter. Animal friendly: their wool comes from free range sheep. Mulesing is not practiced in Portugal. ~ The Woolly Thistle website
Second is a new to me yarn called Mondim. This particular yarn caught my eye when looking at the fingering weight yarns on The Woolly Thistle's website.  The colors are really unique and I had a hard time deciding which one to buy.  I decided upon color 207, a mix of browns, creams, pinks and greens.  I have looked at Instagram to see if anyone has used this yarn and only found a handful of posts but found quite a few on Ravelry.  It seems most of the socks were done in plain vanilla, but there were a few patterned designs used too.   I'm rather intrigued to see how this yarn will knit up and what it will look like when I'm done.

For this yarn I'm thinking of these patterns:

Before starting socks in these yarns though I must finish my Cozy Autumn Socks. I want to be able to wear these socks before the end of the month!!!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Slipper Season!

Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

For some reason this time of year I want to make slippers.  I'm not sure if it's due to the the quick construction or the that they don't require a lot of yardage,  but I love making them. They also make great last minute gifts and are a wonderful project for small amounts of leftover yarns.  Slippers are also a great charity project, especially for nursing homes and hospice, as they offer comfort and warmth.

This weekend I finished a super quick knit by Faye Kennington called Mine.  For this project I used approximately 1.25 yards of Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color Salem Creek and a set of US size 10 DPNs.  If you just sit and knit, you can finish a pair in about 3 hours.  

Courtesy of Faye Kennington

Pattern Review:  This pattern is very well written with super easy to follow instructions
for sizes S, M, L and XL.   The unstretched finished foot length is 7 (8, 9, 9 3/4) " that will stretch to fit a women's US shoe size 4 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 10, 11-12 or men's US shoe size 6 - 7.5, 8 - 9, 9.5 - 11).  I love how Faye gives "fit suggestions" and "alternate plans" too.  This is one pattern to keep in mind for those last minute Christmas gifts!

Two other patterns that caught my eye this weekend and went into my Ravelry library fairly quickly, was Stipper and Uppsala.

Stippers by Ashley Knowlton offers a just a touch of cable work around the cuff for a very elegant design.  Worked in bulky weight yarn and US size 10.5 DPNs, this is another quick knit and perfect for holiday gift giving.   
Courtesy of © Ashley Knowlton
Uppsala Slippers by Ram Wools Yarn Co-op offers a contrasting cuff and a simple snowflake motif.  This design is worked in two colors of Aran weight yarn and a set of US size 5 DPNs.  This pattern is perfect for someone who is wanting to try colorwork.

Courtesy of © Ram Wools Yarn Co-op

Do you have a favorite slipper pattern ?

Until next time ~ be creative!

A Feeling of Distraction and A Half Finished WIP

The last few months my knitting (and even my spinning)  has been all over the place leaving me feeling a bit discouraged, disorganized and unproductive.  I've had that desire to cast on so many items but have taken step back from doing so because I'm not sure if things would ever be worn while living here in Phoenix.  Goofy reasoning I know, but that really is how I've been feeling of late.

I think the one main reason of my discouragement and distraction with my knitting is due to a bit of "stress" going on in my life,  which I will share has to do with the possibility of moving.  The possibility of moving itself is not the stressful part as it's an exciting thought and it would mean I would finally be able to live in an area that is conducive to wearing my hand knits, spinning wool and more.  

The stressful part of the equation is a slight change of what I might end up knitting if we were to stay in Phoenix or what I might give up in my love of wool itself.  I know that might sound a bit silly to the average person out there, but hopefully those of you who are as passionate about wool, fiber, knitting, and spinning as I am will kind of understand my feelings.  I love wool and I want to live in a place where I can wear and work with what I love.  With that being said, I'm not only excited, but so hopeful that my husband and I have made the right decision, and that we will pursue our dream of returning back to the place we love the most, Kentucky.  

Do you ever have these kinds of issues ?  Sigh ... It's a challenge I've personally been dealing with for a quite a few years but I will not give up wearing wool!

Now on to the fun part of today's post ...   I am so happy to report that I have finally finished one sock and have casted on the mate!!!  

Courtesy of This Handmade Life 

I love the Cozy Autumn Socks pattern by Olivia of This Handmade Life.  The pattern is very well written but I have ended up making two slight modifications that can be found on my Ravelry project page.  I'm really looking forward to finishing the mate and have plans to have it finished by Thanksgiving weekend!!

Until next time ~ be creative, and thank you for listening today!


Project Planning: The Throwback Sweater

I have been wanting to make Andrea Mowry's Throwback Sweater every since she published her design in August and even more so after seeing so many finished sweaters posted on Instagram.  Many knitters wore theirs proudly for Rhinebeck this year too!

Courtesy of © Andrea Mowry
This sweater was inspired by my childhood and weekends spent in northern Michigan on the sand dunes. It is my favorite cardigan for layering and keeping warm all Autumn and Winter long! This sweater is worked flat from the top down, seamlessly, except for the sleeves which are knit in the round.

This weekend I decided to go through my stash of yarn to see what I could come up with for the main color and for the accent colors.  One thing I decided was the fact I wanted to use my own handspun for the accent colors in this sweater.  I wasn't sure if anyone  else had done this, so I decided to take a look at the finished project pages on Ravelry and found several gorgeous sweaters that either incorporated handspun or was knitted completely in handspun.  Talk about inspiring!

So here's what I decide to do ...  For this project I will be using my stash of Cascade 220 Heather in the color 8836, a light blue or even a light denim, along with my own handspun.  My handspun is Funky Carolina Fiber in the colors Poisoned Lilac, Smores and Haunted - shown below (and above) from left to right.  The three colors compliment each other nicely and go very well with the Cascade 220.

I really love how the colors all look together and think this will be a great combination for this sweater.  Now to find the time to make it ... 

Until next time ~ be creative!

Saturday Road Trip with a Splash of Stash Enhancement.

Do you ever wake up on a Saturday morning and decide it's the perfect day for a road trip ?  That's exactly what my hubby and I did this past Saturday, and I'm so happy we did as it was a gorgeous day for a drive.

We headed up to Prescott, which is a favorite go to town located about an 1 1/2 hours north of Phoenix, and throughly enjoyed our day.  We always take the back road to Prescott to avoid the hum of the interstate and the rude drivers.  It's quiet and the scenery is so beautiful!

The one thing I love about Arizona is the wide open spaces and the beautiful blue skies. On clear days like Saturday, you can see for miles.

I was excited to be able to stop into Fiber Creek for a little spinning fiber stash enhancement.  I picked up three bumps of Malabrigo Nube in Archangel, Diana and Hojas (shown below from left to right).  

I also picked up a lovely handcraft Celtic shawl pin by Crafty Flutterby

On our way back home, we stopped into Isabelle's Parlour where I picked up 7 skeins of Kraemer's Naturally Nazareth worsted weight in the color Fire and another skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn in the color S272.   The Naturally Nazareh will be destined for a show sleeve cardigan or maybe even a vest.  I even thought about spinning the Malabrigo Nube (pictured above) as accent yarns for the Throwback sweater but decided it wasn't a good match, especially after I got home and placed everything into the natural light.

My intention was to make the Easy Lace crochet scarf in the Noro Silk Garden Sock that I mentioned in Friday's post but I didn't care for the way it was looking so frogged what I had started and decided it would be more suited for a knitted scarf.

I hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed your time with your loved ones.  It's the beginning of cooler weather here in Phoenix, so I am so excited about knitting and spinning right now!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Friday WIPs ... I Need More Time !

My basket of WIPs is really a sad state of affairs but I really am making some progress on each project. Inside is my Modified KitSap, which I am now working on the second sleeve, and my little Gnome.  In front is my Night’s Watch shawl , which has been languishing on my needles for some time, and my Cozy Autumn socks, which I should be done with the first sock this weekend.

I have also decided I needed a travel project, something I could have for weekend road trips, so I will be starting a crochet project using my stash of Noro Silk Garden Sock.  The pattern I’ve chosen is Easy Lace by Kraftling and will be using my Furls crochet hook size G. The pattern is written using bulky weight yarn, but I think it will be perfect in my Noro.

I am also very behind in my spinning and still working on my wool/tussah silk blend by October House.  I did manage a bit of spinning last night before bed, which was very relaxing.

How’s your WIPs coming ?

Until Next time - Be Creative 

Here We Gnome Again !

Photo courtesy of © Sarah Schira
Meet Gnancy and Gneville. Gnancy likes to read The Fellowship of the Rings while sipping mead. Gneville can’t sit still and enjoys rugby and Quidditch. ~ Sarah Schira

Back in July I mentioned an adorable pattern by Sarah Schira of Imagined Landscapes called Here We Gnome Again.     The pattern is very well written with step by step instructions that are clear and concise, with a chart included for the cable design (written instructions for the cable pattern also included).  I would say this pattern is geared more for an advanced beginner to an advanced knitter who is familiar with cable design and working in the round, but can be easily made by a beginner knitter who is looking for a new challenge.

Yesterday I had to cast on this fun pattern and must say I'm quite excited about it. I am following the directions for the fingering weight version and I'm using my stash of Knitted Wit Gumballs in the color Carbon. Once this one is finished, I plan to cast on for the worsted weight version,  which I should be able to stash dive for that one too

I think this will be quite fun to make and can't wait to see how my Gnome turns out.  The only thing I'm missing for this project is cream or white fingering weight yarn for the beard and nose.

Until next time ~ be creative!

A New Cast On in the Works!

2005 Louisville Kentucky
It's really hard for me not to cast on a new knitting project, especially with the end nearing on my KitSap Cardigan and the weather starting to cool off here in Phoenix.  

As mentioned in a few earlier posts, we have a very narrow window of time here in the Valley of the Sun to wear our much loved hand knits, especially those that are wool or wool blends, and I find that I want to wear my hand knits as much as possible, along with new things I've made.  

As the nights become cooler and the mornings crisp and chilly, I start to get the urge to cast on as much as possible so I can enjoy wearing things before the summer heat hits again. I have to be careful not to over due the cast on frenzy and try to keep it to a minimum of two sweater projects, with an accessory or sock project thrown in for good measure.   I have narrowed my thought of a new project down to two patterns that I absolutely love, Aidez ....

Courtesy of © Cirilia Rose
I plan to use my stash of Cascade Ecological Wool in Silver, which will show of the cable design quite nicely and since it's a neutral color it will go with just about anything.

and Cusp ....

Courtesy of © Brooklyn Tweed
I plan to use my newly acquired stash of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Hayloft.  I love the fall look of this color and think it will be a fun piece to wear.

I am very excited about both of these projects and hopefully I can decide which one I want to cast on first.  I know that I won't be good and will most likely cast on another project or two along the way but at least I have some sort of a plan in mind.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Drawing Time ... Once Again, It's for the Birds!

I am so in love with drawing again. It's soothing to my soul and hours can truly go bye without me even realizing it.  I am also finding that my knitting and spinning has been suffering greatly due to my rekindled love, but that's ok as there is time in the day to still give those crafts the attention they deserve.

I finished up October with a little Robin Red Breast that I started in ink and finished with water color pencils.  I'm still learning to use a light touch with water color, which is hard for me to manage but I'm getting there.

I've started November with another Cardinal and decided to leave it as black and white.  I started my drawing with the thoughts of a floral piece but couldn't resist adding a Cardinal to finish it off.  I love how it turned out!

Until next time ~ be creative!