Friday, October 31, 2014

Worky Work, Busy Bee!

Wow, what a week! I started a new job yesterday, working from home as a transcriptionist- I'm really excited about it, and there's a TON of information that I'm trying to learn and absorb while I get my feet under me. So, my brain feels a little mushy at the moment... bear with me.

I have a new yarn to put up on Etsy this weekend; it just needs to finish drying and then I'll be able to take photos. Until then, though- here's a sneak peek... shh! It's another gorgeous Greenwood Fiberworks creation: a 50/50 Merino and Silk blend called "Paper Roses" that measures out at 315 yards. It's a 2 ply, lighter weight yarn- I'll have the final gauge after it's fully dry.

Oh, back to learning the new job- I'm going to have to adjust my schedule here a bit while I get into the routine needed for work. My plan is to keep posting here at least twice a week, and keep my Tuesday GRIT posting as-is... I'm just not sure how the "Around the Web" and "Friday Photos" posts fit into things, right at this moment. (Besides, it's raining like mad here, so unless you want to see dimly-lit photos of puddles... we may want to just take a break from that for a little while.)

So, whether it's still Monday and Wednesday, or some other assortment of days, I'm not sure. But, I will still be here, at GRIT, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest (and maybe even Twitter from time to time!) as I get my new routine established.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Did everyone get their cowls finished up? I did, and I love mine! I think I'd like it to be a teeny bit longer, say maybe 4 inches or so, but that's an easy adjustment to make for my next one.

I really like the yarn that I used; there's a little more charcoal grey in it than shows in the picture- I think it's lost in the knit sections, in that shot. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get better photos before writing this morning- I wrapped it up last night after dark, and the sun isn't due to come up for another half hour or so...we're in the dark days now, you know. We'll have to raincheck better pictures until later today.

Back to the yarn, though- the color repeats were definitely different between the two skeins. One had much more of the pink-purple in it, where as the other was more green and grey. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but it is something to look for when picking out skeins of this particular yarn.

I thought it was nice and quick to work up- except at the end, when the last purl section seemed to take That's on me, though, and not the pattern itself. I need to come up with a more efficient style of purling that I'm comfortable with- because as it stands, I'm a slow purler. I just can't seem to find a way to hold the yarn that seems right, which is fine when there's just a couple of stitches to make, but 6 rounds of 186 purl stitches gets a little old pretty quick. Again, that's me- and I'm planning on making another couple of these before winter is out, so clearly it's not all that bad.

What did you think? Pros, cons, challenges? Too fast or too slow on the pattern breakdown? Swing on over to FB today to let me know what you thought of the project and show me photos of your cowls, whether they're done yet or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Home Stretch of the KAL

Happy Wednesday, everyone! How's the knitting coming along? I have to admit I got a little off track after this past weekend, but I'll be knitting away this coming weekend so I can finish up with the rest of you. Fortunately for me, I have a reader-submitted photo to share with you:

Thanks, Mom! 
I absolutely love the colors she picked- the yarn is Lion Brand "Amazing" in their Strawberry Fields colorway. Gorgeous!! I've knit some hats and a different cowl using that line of yarn, and I have to say it's never a disappointment.

If you didn't slack off like I did, then you should be on the final bits of the project. This week's assignment is to Knit 3 rounds, cast off loosely, weave in the ends and enjoy!

Not sure about the cast off? It's also called a "bind off", and there's a great video over at Very Pink Knits. I should say another great video- she's my go-to resource when I need a refresher on anything knit related.

Oh, one more thing: I really want to see your photos! Post them over on Facebook so we can all admire your hard work and celebrate our accomplishments together. Also, tell me what you thought about the project... likes, dislikes, what you'd like to see for a future KAL, you know- all that good stuff.

Finally,we're taking a few days off, so things are going to be more or less quiet here from now until Monday. Until then... happy knitting and I'll see you when I get back!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fiber Fusion 2014

Normally I don't *love* the antique machines.
This one, however,... stunning. 
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend.

This weekend marked the fourth annual Fiber Fusion NW, where fiber producers, dyers, knitters and makers-of-awesome-things all get together in little old Monroe, WA for a weekend of fibery goodness. There are judged competitions for raw fleeces and finished hand goods, and a huge marketplace for all of the above.

All in all, it's a wonderful event, and it draws a large crowd- I think this is my second year attending, and it seemed to be much bigger than the previous year. I also found out that there are two spinning guilds in the area- not just the one, like I'd thought. So, I've gone form hemming and hawing about whether or not I should join a guild, to which one should I join? Oh, the problems I have. (Eye roll)

The highlights of my day at the event were the Fleece Judging (Judged by Amy Wolf) and a class I took called "Beyond Braids: Color Ply with Hand-dyed Fiber" taught by Taryn Winegardner of Fiber Haven. This was some seriously good stuff; the class recap will likely be its own post altogether. If you're into fiber stuff, and want to learn a thing or two, see if you can find an open judged wool show in your area. (In the mean time, check out this free Craftsy class called Know Your Wool!) I know our county fair had one as well, but I missed it. Anyway, I learned SO MUCH in the couple of hours that I spent watching the judging- in fact, I didn't realize how much time had actually passed, I was so caught up in what she was saying. Fantastic!

Then there was the vendor area...and the fleece sale... making yarn isn't an inexpensive hobby. I did manage to show some restraint, however, and came home with a new braid of Huckleberry Knits hand-dyed roving (the colorway is called Allegretto" and it's the blues, greens and purples of a peacock's tail), a nice big bump of a heathered silvery-gray super soft Romney roving, and -get this- a second place winning fleece from the show. I had no intention of buying a fleece, but in addition to being gorgeous, the price was impossible to walk away from. I mean, really. There was no way I could sleep at night if I hadn't brought it home with me.

And last, but not least, were the people. I forget sometimes that there's a huge community of folks like me out there who like to do things that the mainstream considers "old fashioned". I absolutely loathe crowds, but going to events like this is actually alright by me. There were so many people there, in every possible age bracket and demographic, all  getting along because they share the same love for fiber arts, and making beautiful things. (Next up is Madrona, in February!)

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Web Surfing

One of the Inky Cap mushrooms.
Here's a snippet of what I've been checking out online this week. You know, in between running around snapping photos of mushrooms, knitting, spinning, working on the sock machine and putting up the last odds and ends from the garden. I don't know what I'd do with all the free time, if I didn't have so many interests!

  • This post regarding Vitamin D deficiencies is pretty interesting. Decreased D levels are linked to many things, and particularly here in the PNW, our levels can drop dramatically as daylight decreases. 
  • Potted Cheese with Bacon and Shallots, what? This would be perfect to have on hand through the holidays for the impromptu cocktail hour. (I'm going to make two batches, one with Port added- Port and Cheddar are one of my favorite combos. I'll keep you posted!)
  • As always, some great insight from the Head Farm Steward- this time regarding raising pigs. We're hoping one of the neighbors (from the beef project) will raise pigs next year. If so, that means broiler chickens are on us. Well, we're probably doing that anyway, but I need to sort out the logistics over the winter. But pigs! I'd love to run a few pigs myself, someday. 
  • Thai Stir Fried Chicken with Chile Jam, courtesy of David Lebovitz; already on the list for dinner next week.
  • Local Fibery folks- don't forget Fiber Fusion this weekend! I'm looking forward to spending the day there on Saturday, to meet up with the ladies from the local spinning guild (I'm thinking about joining!) and to take a class in the afternoon. 
  • Jane Goodall... such an amazing woman, and definitely on my Hero list. (If you like her too, check out her talk on TED.)
Alrighty, then... time for me to get moving today! I need to hurry and get the yarn I'm working on wrapped up, so my wheel is free for class on Saturday. What have you been up to, lately?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shop Update: Two New Additions!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the quiet, but I've been busy cranking out some new yarn for the Etsy shop. Check it out when you have a chance!

Monday, October 13, 2014

KAL Status Report

We're one week in to our knit-along; how's it going? I'm enjoying this project quite a bit... It's coming together quickly, and is not overly complicated. Any challenges? How about the cast-on!?!?! That took a little getting used to, for me.

This week's goal is to Purl 6 rows, Knit 6 rows, and Purl 6 rows. That will take us through the bulk of the cowl, and all that's left after this section is one more chunk of knitting and the cast-off / weaving in ends. Sweet!

I'd love to see photos of how yours is shaping up- stop by FB and show me!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Photo Friday: Mushroom Edition

Well, not *just* mushrooms... but quite a few. Right now, here in the PNW the weather is perfect for fungi and they're popping up everywhere! Each evening, when I let the chickens out for their free range time, I wander around with them and take pictures of all the different mushrooms I can find, so I can try to ID them later.

Shelf fungus on a standing dead cherry tree.

Last of the tomatoes and peppers.


Gem-studded Puffballs.

Shetland sheep whose name I can't remember.
She (and her friend) want to come live here with us, though. 

Beautiful morning at the farm.

Unknown variety; still working on ID. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Links: Craft Daily Free Trial, TBT Video and More!

How's the knitting coming along? I'm loving how my cowl is turning out, and my mind is blown by how the moebius is actually coming together. I understand the concept, but it's another thing entirely to see it in action on the needles. Crazy! Post photos of your work in progress (WIP) over on the Facebook page!

Also, while I'm thinking about FB- please feel free to post harvest photos while you're there too! It's a community page, after all, and I'd love to hear from you. 

Ready for some links? Here we go:

  • This one is HUGE so I'm putting at the top. Craft Daily is offering another completely free 4 day trial, and sign-ups start today.  I signed up for the last one, and I can't tell you how great the site is- there are over 500 videos on pretty much every craft imaginable- fiber arts, jewelry, papercraft, and more. Anyway- CLICK HERE NOW and use the code CDFT500 to sign up. (Registration for the free trial closes on Monday, so don't miss out!) 
  • Did you see my post over on GRIT this week? If not, click here
  • It's not too late to think about cold frames.
  • A new to me blog, all about cooking on a wood cookstove.  Now, I don't have a wood cookstove, but I do have a wood burning stove that we use just about daily, in the winter. It'd be nice to learn how to cook on it better- other than just for emergencies and random baked potatoes.
  • I really like recipes that can be adapted to use what you have on hand... and take the thinking out of what to make for dinner. This "Easy No-Recipe Frittata" definitely fits the bill tonight!
  • Swimming in basil, still? I wish I was! Here's a great pesto recipe from The Elliot Homestead that will use up the last of your basil before the frost hits.
  • An oldie but a goodie on introverts, from The Atlantic.  Fall, by its very nature, seems to really have an effect on us. 
  • TBT: The Carol Burnett Show... bloopers. Because sometimes you just need to see Tim Conway and Harvey Korman together. 
Have a great day, everyone! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Let's Knit it On

Got your pattern, needles and yarn all set? Cool! Let's Go!

I'd recommend getting Cat Bordhi's video from the last post all queued up and ready to go, before you start the cast on. I got a little sideways with mine, and I'll tell you, it's a tough one to undo if you need to start over. So take your time, and watch your tension- you really don't want this cast on to be too tight. If your yarn starts squeaking, it's WAAAY too tight and you need to loosen everything up before you proceed. This will make a big difference, when you start working on the first round.

All told (even counting tearing out my first cast on and starting over) it's taken me a little over an hour and a half to get the cast on and first full row done. It didn't feel like a long time, though, so I was kind of surprised when I checked the clock. 

Take your time, and if you've never used circular needles before, get accustomed to how they feel in your hands- it is different than working with a pair of straight needles. Try not to fight them, though- again, it's all about tension. Go slow for now; once you get the first full round completed, things start to look normal and you can speed up quite a bit. 

So, this week's homework is to get through the cast on, knit 5 rounds, purl 6 rounds, and knit 6 rounds again. I like writing little tick marks on the pattern itself to keep track of where I am, but there are some row counter apps out there for smartphones, if you're so inclined. Whatever works for you!

For our new knitters- check out the videos over at Very Pink for very clear and easy to understand tutorials on Knit and Purl stitches. I can't say enough nice things about Staci's site and her excellent tutorial videos. 

Happy knitting! If you have questions, or want to post pictures of your work in progress, please post them on Facebook! I'm looking forward to hearing from you. :)


Friday, October 3, 2014

Yarns for the KAL

I picked up my yarn! It's Red Heart Boutique 'Unforgettable' in the Echo colorway. Click on the link to see their other colors.

It's 100% acrylic but it has a nice feel to it, and it's machine washable. Oh, and it's a third of the price of Noro- which makes total sense, since the Noro yarn has real silk in it.The gauge appears to be a match as well- the pattern calls for using a size 8 (5 mm) needle, and so does this. The skeins are also labeled as being 280 yards, so 2 will do the trick nicely.

I considered getting Red Heart Boutique 'Treasure' but I liked the colors in Unforgettable more. Treasure has more of a marled/heathered look to it, and Unforgettable was more silk-like. Plus, the skeins are only 150-ish yards, each. I think that Treasure would work just fine, but you may want to go up one size on the needle, since they call for a 9 instead of an 8 on their labels. It's close enough that the pattern would work just fine, if you happen to love one of those colorways.

One more possibility for you is the Lion Brand 'Amazing' yarn. Same thing on the gauge, though- you may want to up the needle size to a 9 instead. (Although, I used that yarn for one of my cowls, and I'm pretty sure I knit it on 8s.) It's a little more rustic-looking (less silky) but again, they have some gorgeous colorways to choose from. These skeins are also in the smaller side, at 147 yards each, so make sure you buy enough.

I found mine at Michael's, but if you don't have one nearby you can check the manufacturer's site for a local retailer. (Oh, and if you go to Michaels, hit their website first for a coupon.) All three of these should be readily available... the hardest part will be deciding on the colors! Happy hunting, all. :)

Spring Moebius Cowl KAL

Image by knitomatic, on Flickr and Ravelry. 

The people have spoken and the Spring Moebius Cowl, by Haley Waxberg, will be our first-ever Knit Along (KAL) project!

Click here for the link to Ravelry, where you can download the pattern and supplies list. If you're not already a member, you'll need to create an account. It's totally worth signing up for, as that are LOADS of project patterns available, both free and for purchase.

A note about the yarn: as much as I love Noro yarns, they can be on the spendy side. Feel free to swap in a comparable yarn in the same gauge, if you can't get a hold of Noro. (I'm going to head over to my local JoAnn store later this morning, to look at substitutions, and I'll post those this afternoon.)

We'll kick things off on Monday, so over the weekend, gather up your supplies and take a look (or three) at the Moebius cast-on video from Cat Bordhi to get familiar with the start of the project.

Questions? Drop me a note either here or on FB, and let me know. This is going to be fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Around The Web

Recently, on the interwebs...

Happy Thursday, Everyone!