24 Jun

I have not finished a project since April sometime, before my hand injury. (Are you getting tired of my talking about that? Me, too.)

But it appears we have a winner! I can spin. In a few days, including a somewhat marathon on Sunday, I now have a finished project!

Hello, Gorgeous!

Hello, Gorgeous!

A gorgeous, glorious 330 yards of fingering weight 3-ply in Parrot on Your Shoulder. Enough for a pair of fabulous socks (someday). I absolutely adore how it turned out, and I’m thrilled to finally finish something. So much, that I immediately spun up another yarn in celebration.

It's taking a bath now.

It’s taking a bath now.

Seriously, though, I’m so pleased to be able to do something. To be able to finish any kind of project again, hand no worse for wear. The inability to finish something over the last couple of months has really put a downer on my mood. I mean, what kind of fiber artist can’t fiber? Being able to dye again after a few weeks helped, but that also left me longing for all of the projects I couldn’t make with them.

So, the knitter in me may still be on medical leave, but the spinner has been released, and she is a happy, happy girl.

Parrot is the Cure

18 Jun

I have grand designs to finish off my knitting WIPs, but my hand isn’t cooperating. So for now its back to recuperating and trying not to cast on new things. Frustrating is an understatement, but I’ve found another outlet.

My neutral colored wardrobe shakes in fear.

My neutral colored wardrobe shakes in fear.

Bright, beautiful Parrot On Your Shoulder on SW merino. The last time I spun this I did an n-ply and made awesome stripy rainbow socks. This time I’m going to do a traditional 3-ply to blend up all the colors. It’ll be like pointillism (I think handspun is always like pointillism, but some definitely show it more than others). I’m also thinking about knitting socks with this one, although I’m also trying to not think about knitting since it makes my heart hurt a little that I shouldn’t be.

But it doesn’t hurt that Tour de Fleece is also right around the corner, and like most years, I want to participate. We’ll see if, unlike most years, I actually succeed. I already know I’ll be away from here and there, so I may pack up a little spindle-and-silk project to take on the go. My miniSpinner is technically portable, but I don’t always want to have to be setting up and breaking down. I haven’t spun in a couple of months, so I’ve decided to get “warming up” for the event.

It also doesn’t hurt to spin–at least not with my default draft (short backwards draw). Yesterday I spun through the BBC’s Emma (4 hours) and started into Pride and Prejudice and my hand feels no worse for wear. I think we just might have a winner….

Half and Half

10 Jun

Some of the collateral damage of the last few weeks is that I started a lot of projects I haven’t been able to finish. This weighs on me. I hate having outstanding WIPs.

But, at the same time, there are so many other things I want to be making, too! Even my spinning wheel is calling to me again….

My WIPs stand as thus:

  • The Cardigan That Broke My Hand
  • The Hot Pink Man Socks
  • The Opal Faerie Socks
  • The Lacy Baktus

That’s a lot of WIPs to get through before I can make anything else. So I’ve decided to, instead, go (more or less) halfsies. I will finish one WIP. Then I can cast on a new project. Once I finish said new project, I will finish the next WIP, etc.

I don’t know how smoothly that’ll work, and I expect some will go in tandem with another–the stockinette Opal Faerie Socks (so named for the yarn) are a great travel and on-the-go project, so it’s possible they may get taken along places where whatever other project I’m working on won’t do. But the intention is there. And we know the road to hell is paved with… wait.

Well, anyway, I’m going to try to feel virtuous about it. And smack down these WIPs. And play with some of this new yarn I’ve recently dyed up. I really don’t like having more than two projects going at a time. And no, the Beekeeper’s Quilt (soon to enter Year 3) doesn’t count….

It's bigger on the inside....

It’s bigger on the inside….

It’s Downhill from Here….

5 Jun

I mentioned earlier that I hoped to have my Lacy Baktus at the halfway point before it came time to head off on my weekend excursion. Thanks to ride to and fro on the light rail, some lazy afternoons supervising free-ranging baby chickens, and a few episodes of Hannibal (which I’m watching because pretty much everyone I know has insisted I do), I’ve managed to get there!

2014-06-05 16.18.23

2014-06-05 16.18.30

From here on out, it’s all decreases. I’m a little leery that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t weigh it perfectly enough and I’ll run a little short near the end, but I’m willing to take that risk. I know how to wing it if that’s the case.

Of course, since I’m going on a trip, I’m not only going to bring the baktus… I suspect some socks might find their way into my project bag as well….

From the Healer’s Ward

3 Jun

My hand is healing, slowly. I managed to get as far as the Afterthought Heels on the Hot Pink Man Socks, but the DPNs and the tension were killer on my thumb, so I’ve set it aside for the moment.

The cardigan is still banished off in a project bag.

And recently I’ve started on a Lacy Baktus with some pretty Malabrigo Sock yarn I got at a yarn shop in Hawaii a couple of years ago. When I started it, I had this inane thought that maybe I could have it done before I head off to the Brass Screw Confederacy Steampunk Festival this weekend, and that was the sort of mad thought I could have entertained a couple of months ago–not now. At the moment, I’m vaguely wishing and hoping I can get it to the halfway point via weight, and then begin the decreases in my spare time over the weekend. Honestly, that may be a pipe dream as well.

Please ignore the chicken poo on the patio. Occupational hazard.

Please ignore the chicken poo on the patio. Occupational hazard.

Looking at this in hindsight that I think about what I could have been doing–I don’t feel like I wasted time, per se, while in convalescence, so much as I didn’t use it in creative ways. I could have been hashing out designs. I could have caught up reading trade magazines that I’m behind on (like PLY or Spin Off). I could have tried spinning, although I’m not currently excited about it. What I did manage to do was properly label and organize a year’s worth of shop stock, which was no small task, but still.

Yarn and knitting is my soul and inspiration at the moment. There’s a part of me that feels guilty that I’m not spinning as often feel I should, but these things forever wax and wane. There will be a time again when I’m spinning yarn faster than one can blink, when my knitting falls by the wayside for weeks or months at a time and my handspun stash grows exponentially (well, maybe not exponentially at this stage, but definitely by a large percentage).

All of these things are well and good. There are no rules that say because I spin and knit that I must do them in equal amounts every day or week. That’s one of the things I love about fiber and the fiber arts–there’s always something to do. When I’m weary of knitting, there is spinning waiting for me. When I tire of spinning, the knitting waits. When I’m tired of both, there is my loom, forever taunting me. When I want to challenge myself, there is design of all sorts–yarn, colorways, knitwear, and, of course, other people’s patterns.

There’s always something to do… something to make… something to create. And I love it all.

A Dyer’s Conundrum

27 May

There are many conundrums I run into as a fiber artist. Should I do wholesale? Should I stick to my Etsy store and select shops? Should I focus more on getting dyed-to-order/repeatable colorways out there, even though one-of-a-kind is my is what makes my little artist heart sing? How do all of these decisions (or lack there of) impact my business and sales?

Those are a lot of things I don’t entirely have answers for yet, but there are a couple of others on my mind this morning:

Using my own yarn.

I was at a Memorial Day Game Party on Sunday, and I was knitting on the Hot Pink Man Socks:

These ones. They just need their afterthought heels now.

These ones. They just need their afterthought heels now.

People know I’m a dyer, and so I get the often asked question–“did you dye that yourself?” I feel like, too often, the answer is “no.” (The hot pink socks are Ambiente self-patterning.) Then I feel this weird guilt that I should be using my own yarn. But, then I look at my stash of yarn dyed by other amazing dyers and companies, and… it needs to be used.

I’ve also been playing with dyeing yarn again lately, and I’ve dyed up several very gorgeous skeins. Some of them I’m torn between putting them up in the shop or hoarding them for myself. And since they’re one of a kind… well…. (Oh, and let’s not even get into whether or not I should be knitting with primarily handspun, although I haven’t actually been spinning much lately, either.)

It's more lovely in real life, but you may never know because it might never end up in the shop....


What’s a girl to do? Knit faster? Destash? Alternate? Learn to relax?


20 May

When last I posted to my blog, I had written an ode to my new yarn in which I hoped to turn into a cardigan.

Progress started out well. In fact, it was on its way to being one of my fastest garments ever… and then… well, pride cometh before fall and all of that.

Pretend my camera did not just wipe out all traces of green found in this yarn.

Pretend my camera did not just wipe out all traces of green found in this yarn.

My wrist started hurting a little. I continued on. I was enjoying my knitting. There were exciting life happenings. The wrist would sort itself out.

Except it only got worse. Much worse. A few days into May, I had to retire use of my right hand–and for the last three weeks I’ve been keeping it in some level or another of wrapped up and supported. For a week I could barely my thumb or bend my wrist without pain. The second week, I could do a little bit more, but I was still greatly limited in my efforts. I fell behind on my dyeing. I hadn’t touched my knitting or spinning since early May. I basically had to take medical leave from my business and one of my primary life enjoyments. I was trying to find other things to do with myself, and not be obsessed with the things I couldn’t do, but… human nature and all of that.

By week 3 (that’s now) I regained most mobility, and I’m even able to do a little bit of knitting. Just not on the cardigan. See, at the moment I’m on a sleeve, and in the best of circumstances, Magic Loop tends to ruin my hands. When my hands are already ruined? It’s impossible. My ever-going socks on my size 1 DPNs were okay, but the little needles made my injured hand unhappy as well.

So this weekend I decided to try something completely different, picked up an 8″ mini-circular from my LYS and cast on a pair of man socks.

My man loves hot pink. That's how we know we're meant to be.

My husband loves hot pink. That’s how I know we’re meant to be.

I’ve been blasting through them, almost without discomfort. And maybe by the time I’ve finished them, I’ll be ready to tackle that cardigan sleeve again.

With DPNs.



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