Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tour de Fleece Spinning!

I hadn't spun in a while, so when I heard about the Tour de Fleece, it gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get my wheel out. It's so embarrassing, I have spinning fiber that I bought 5 years ago and haven't touched. I have a goal for next year of spinning enough for a sweater, but I need to work through some of the stash that I have first. There are a couple very tempting fiber festivals coming up this fall, and I need to make some room!

During the Tour de Fleece, despite being sidelined by a back injury for about 2 weeks, I managed to spin 8 ounces of lovely, champagne-colored Suri alpaca roving. I don't remember where I got it, but it was loaded with VM (vegetable matter, for the uninitiated). I don't mind VM... I like being reminded that the fiber I'm spinning or knitting came from a real, living, breathing animal, but holy shit... every time I spun this stuff, I had to sweep the floor. More came out when I washed it and still more when I wound it into balls. The rest will come out when I knit it, wash it and wear it, so I'm not overly worried about it.

Here it is:

I love it. It's crazy-soft. It was almost weird to spin, it reminded me of extremely fine human hair. I liked it, but I prefer huacaya alpaca, and I think I'll stick with huacaya in the future. I hope to score some more of that, along with some wool, at the fall fiber festivals!

I spun it with Jaala Spiro's Bridge Over Troubled Water shawl in mind, and I think I have enough. If I don't, I have more handspun in a color that will coordinate well, so soon I'll cast on!

I think it'll be gorgeous in that natural champagne color, and I think the pattern will look great made from handspun. My handspun looks like handspun. It won't win any county fair prizes, but I love it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sheepual Healing

This last week sucked. A catastrophic, expensive, gross plumbing problem and an excruciatingly painful back injury ate all of last week for me. My back injury sidelined me from the Tour de Fleece and made dealing with the aforementioned plumbing problem, which was expensive enough that we had to wait till last Friday (payday) to fix it, that much more difficult.

So when I saw Jaala Spiro's beautiful Balm to the Soul shawlette in Knitcircus, I immediately bought it, because my soul really needed some balm. Using worsted weight yarn, it was the perfect stashbuster. I had a ball and a half of wonderful Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted sitting in my stash, waiting for something special, so I cast on with it. The project went quickly, and its soothing, simple stitch patterns occupied my mind.

I thought I had enough Lamb's Pride Worsted to finish, but I didn't. I finished the lace section and ran out. But no problem, I just dove into my stash and pulled out half a ball of Noro Kureyon in a pink/red/orange/purple colorway. I love it! I think it's even better with the extra pop of color from the Kureyon than it would have been if it were all one color.

This pattern is so easy and fun, and since the lace section is so simple and the project uses either worsted or DK weight yarn, it would be a perfect first lace project.

Now that my back is better thanks to nice Mr. Chiropractor, I am back to the Tour de Fleece, spinning some lovely champagne-colored Suri alpaca on my Ashford Joy. What do I plan to do with it? I had so much fun with Balm to the Soul, I am planning to use it for Jaala Spiro's Bridge Over Troubled Water shawl.

I can't stop with shawls, and I can't stop with lace. I have a problem! I'm casting on another lace shawl this week, the Winged Shawl by Sarah Fama, from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2010. It's just the thing for a hank of Lanas Puras Melosa Laceweight that I've had in my stash for 5 years. It's been sitting that long because I wasn't ready for lace or laceweight yarn until just this year! Now I'm on a lace shawl knitting tear, with no signs of stopping anytime soon, especially since I took advantage of Knit Picks awesome clearance sale and got enough lovely laceweight yarn for two more shawls for $15. Whooo-hoooo!

Later this year, I want to take a little break from shawls (if I can get this lace shawl monkey off my back) and make a sweater for me, sweaters for my kids and a blanket for my bed. And holiday gifts. Oh God... holiday gifts. It's time to start planning those, isn't it? *shudder*