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It’s not the end result yet, because I still need to knit it into something. But that wool I was posting about a little bit ago? Well, it’s done! It’s all spun up!

It’s somewhere between worsted and aran weight, sometimes varying between the two. I will likely run it through the pindrafter an extra time on the next batch, but as far as the color and feel goes, this is pretty much exactly what I was envisioning, and I am extremely happy with the result.

Of course, none of this would even exist were it not for the gracious use of the machines and the excellent guidance of Jim over at Good Karma Farm.  Many thanks. And hey, I haven’t given them a shoutout recently, so let me say: nice as my yarn came out, I am only a novice. Good Karma knows their craft, and the most recent batch of sock yarn proves it. Maybe you should try it..?

And now, pictures of the process!

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I’m happy today. There are a lot of reasons why, but the biggest by far is that I finally, finally got back to my real job after weeks of life getting in the way. It’s been nearly a whole month since I got to come home with the smell of lanolin on my clothes! For the record, I view that as a loss.

Other reasons for being happy are as follows. I had President’s Day off and took an 18-mile bike ride; the satisfaction of exertion. Also, I knit myself a sock! The sock was promptly lost last night, but it was rather big anyway. Sorry I don’t have pictures for you. The second sock is coming along, and is much more foot-sized. If it turns out that I have to knit a third just to have one pair, at least they’ll both fit. Plus, it’s my own design, so that feels good. I’ve also been eating good food and seeing friends more often.

Ah, but there’s more than just being happy to my mood. I’m excited. There are some really great things happening at Good Karma Farm lately, and their yarn offerings are becoming a whole lot more robust. I know, I always come off sounding like an infomercial for them, so pardon me. But regardless of whether or not you work there, when one of your favorite yarn providers starts putting out new things, you get excited. There’s some all-Icelandic wool yarn, 50/50 blend in natural colorways, and talk of maybe some straight-up solids. The neurons in my brain dedicated to pattern design started firing again today at the idea of all the new stuff. But hey, you don’t have to listen to my ravings, why not take a peek?

I’ll be whipping this into a one-skein project over the next day or so in preparation for SPA. If you’re going, look for it! And if you’re going and you’re a handspinner, look for the roving with the silk in it, because that stuff could make some really sweet yarn. Especially the navy. Anyway. I’ll show you the socks when I finish them, along with the GKF projects I’ve got in the works. I will tell you that I have at least one pattern that I should be finishing in the next couple weeks, so look for that as well.

Have a good week!

As the Red Hot Chili Peppers once said, “give it away, give it away, give it away now”.

Hello one and all! This may be your first time on my site, or you may be a regular reader, but regardless of who you are, this post is for you. Because you like free stuff, right? Of course you do.

Before we get to the good (free) stuff, we need to confront an ugly truth; namely, that unless you live near Belfast, ME, or your LYS carries their stuff, there’s a chance you haven’t heard of Good Karma Yarns. It’s a shame, because they put a ton of work into making some of the finest worsted-weight yarn I’ve ever worked with. Today, I’m going to give you a chance to experience their work first-hand.

This is “Mouse Ears”, Good Karma’s latest colorway. Soft grays and hints of delicate pink. Just what you’d expect from the name, I think. It’s 210 yards of worsted-weight heaven, 60% alpaca, 40% wool. I’m quite enamored with the stuff, and even bought a skein to keep for myself. The second skein, though, is what I’ll be giving away.

So here’s the deal: it’s a week to the dreaded holiday know as Valentine’s Day. In the spirit of that, I want you to tell me something you love about your favorite yarn, project, or about knitting in general. Each person who comments on this post between now and 11:59 PM EST, February 14th, will be entered into a random-number generator drawing. The winner gets the yarn! If you live outside the U.S. we can work something out with shipping, but for the most part I’ll cover shipping costs.

And hey, I’d love for you to come back and read more of my blog, so comments on future posts between now and V-Day will get you additional entries into the drawing. One entry per post commented on, not per comment. But hey, try to keep your comments substantial. I won’t enter you if you just say “yo”; at least ask me how my day was.

Back when I made Elle’s Hat, there was something I was trying to do with crossed stitches in brioche ribbing. Of course, that something led me to the Celt-ish scarf motif, but that was only a happy accident. What I was trying to do was this:

I decided that working the decreases to the top of the hat while keeping the design orderly was a bit beyond me, so it became a cowl instead. And it worked beatifully! As with the scarf, the reverse side is plain and simple (though there are hints at what’s happening on the other side), the other side being an uneven chain-link fence design. I’m going to be making instructions for this as well, but it will be more of a recipe than explicit instruction. The idea is to get a random variety of squares and rectangles resulting from the crossing diagonal lines, so I’m writing it up in such a way that leaves it up to the knitter, while still being clear enough to follow no matter what they decide.

As always, sorry I can’t get my camera to be more cooperative. Direct sunlight probably didn’t help the washed-out look, but the shadows really accentuated to crossed stitches, and that was the point of this project more so than the color. But here’s a better one for color:

Knit from Good Karma Yarn as always, in some leftover Dragonfly Eye that I had from the poncho I knit up. And yes, I realize that I’ve not shown you the poncho yet, because I have no pictures of it. But it’s a poncho, so you know what the shape looks like.

Hey. Know what I’m thankful for? A sweet workstation. You can find a similar item on Pottery Barn’s website for a measly $1000, or you can make it yourself. See, it’s really just two 9-cube bookshelves with a tabletop across them. So if you buy the shelves separately and get a piece of wood cut down to size, you save yourself about $900. Nice!

Mind you, we still need some nice stools and a coat of paint to unify the pieces before it starts to look complete, but at this point it is a fully functional craft station. And given that my life basically revolves around crafts (I make yarn at work, I make yarn into things at home) I kind of need a suitable home office, right?

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Finish a lace shawl. Breathe in, then out. Cast on.

Okay, that’s not quite accurate. I slept and ate before casting on, but only to keep my body alive during the interim period.

I didn’t get a picture of the shawl, but I’ll have one later this week. I’ll be picking up dye this Wednesday, and maybe getting that whole process done soon. I’m so excited! I mean, I know it looks good now, but I can’t wait for the blocked version of it.

So, the new project; let me preface. CKU recently had an outing to Lorna’s Laces, in which we toured the facility, saw about 20 skeins of yarn dyed in the “Zombie BBQ” colorway, and shopped the mill ends. If you know Lorna’s Laces, then you don’t need me to tell you that it’s good. I mean, their mill ends are better than a lot of what I knit with regularly, so that’s a good indicator of A) the high quality of their retail-worthy product and B) my boundless miserliness. I bought a good deal of great yarn, and already had some projects in mind for it. Here, just imagine along with me.

THE POTENTIAL

Green Line DK. These are vertical-striped gloves.

i can see it so clearly!

Shepherd's Worsted. These are syncopated brioche scarves.

Shepherd Sock. These are a His and Hers matching sock set.

Helen's Laces. This one, I'm just going to enjoy owning for a while.

So much I could knit… Problem: I haven’t gotten a ball winder yet, and it’s all in hanks. Frig. So when I finished Rock Island, I had to face facts. My yarn sickness is so bad that I couldn’t wait two frigging days for the next CKU meetup so that I can use their swift and winder.

Luckily, I had some AslanTrends Guanaco on hand, already wound. Remember my flip-top gloves (that I still haven’t bothered blocking or tying in ends)? Well, a certain lady of mine is getting a matching set. Guanaco is a little more alpaca than merino, but it’s close enough that the gloves will go together. Also, those new needles? They’re dead-on perfect for magic loop knitting! My sanity and restless hands are saved!

I’m still being lazy about getting pictures of Vermouth up here, so you’ll have to wait a bit. Maybe I’ll get them done tonight? Maybe.

But that doesn’t mean a lack of content! I’ve got two non-knit projects to mention. And one is actually knitting related, so that justifies it. Onward!

The first is that yarn I’d skeined up in my post about the DIY swift. Getting it out of a ball made washing it much easier. Just fill a pot with some relatively mild shampoo and warm water, then slosh the yarn in and let it sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I wasn’t concerned with the proper way to do this, really. The sweater was hideous and cost a few bucks–anything, even destruction, would improve it, and I would hardly be put out economically. But it turned to be a recipe for success.

After rinsing and letting the stuff dangle from a jury-rigged mop and stack of encyclopedias an official drying rack, the resulting yarn was… surprisingly good. Soft, clean, and squishy, the sort of thing that would probably tempt me at an LYS at the right price. For comparison, I kept a yet-to-unravel-and-wash sleeve set aside. Feel the washed stuff: lovely. Feel the sleeve: greasy sandpaper that was used as a dust cloth. It’s even better wool than I expected, and I feel okay making something from it now. But just what to make…

Project the second: oils.I could give you a long paragraph here, too, but I’m going to (try to) flex my underused brevity muscles. There’s a grocery store that sells outrageously cheap natural oils of various herbs, spices, and other things. But, the caps on the bottles lose their thread, and do not make for good storage. Luckily for me, there’s this other store that sells sweet lab equipment (and more!), amber bottles, eye droppers, and corks among them.

Cumin, Ginger, Clove, Onion, Juniper, Rosemary, Lupine, Peppergrass, Almond, Garlic

Combine the two, and you have a handy set of oils ready for cooking, baking, candy-making, and even home remedies! Instant mashed potatoes need pepping up, but you neglected to buy fresh herbs? Add a drop each of rosemary and garlic oils! Making cookies? Maybe a drop of ginger oil! Added bonus: hilarious English translations. Who knew that peppergrass oil contained “wishes”? I intend to go back sometime when anise and fennel and cumin oils are in stock. And maybe I’ll fill a bottle with something innocuous and label it Snake Oil.

Anyway, the week’s half done! Here’s hoping it’s all coasting from here out.

Shawl note: 27 of 71 repeats of the edging pattern. Getting there, but I may not be able to keep lugging this around on the CTA for the shawl’s sake.