Posts Tagged fiber

Festival Prep

It’s that time again.  We’re kicking off this year’s festival season (aka – most of the year) with the spectacular Maryland Sheep and Wool.  After M’s fantastic experience at Rhinebeck in October, we are bringing both of my parents to MDSW to ensure that she has all the fun she wants while I still have the time to hit up all of my favorites.  So, what’s the game plan?  Simple: stick to my goals for the year.  No yarn, just fiber.  Oh, and no going crazy and blaming it on the wool fumes.

So easily said.  But let’s face it, with a vendor list full of some of my favorite Indie dyers and local or local-ish farms, it can be incredibly difficult to not get overwhelmed by all the pretty and not feel like I need to buy something from all of them.  This year, however, I will stick to the game plan.  I will be reserved.  I will enjoy all of the beautiful things and not feel the obligation to literally bring them all home with me.  I will hold to the rule of taking a full lap through before buying anything.  Since I will not always have to walk at M’s pace of running and stopping every five seconds and getting side-tracked, I will be able to do said lap much more quickly so that I can then wander peacefully to pick up whatever I could not forget about on my second lap.  I will then relax and take in the rest.  There will be some serious face time with some sheep.  M and I will likely do a follow-up from Rhinebeck and stare at them for at least an hour.

I may sound incredibly crazy and foolish making all of these bold statements and promises to myself.  But I want this to not feel like some crazy, overwhelming race to spend all of my money, to then come home thoroughly exhausted and feel like I didn’t get to truly enjoy anything.  I don’t want to impulse buy and then find that I have no where left to store anything because my yarn and fiber no longer fits in it’s designated place.  No.  I want to come home knowing that I do still have some willpower while being able to get out there and enjoy myself.

The only thing that may make me slip-up: M bringing me a skein of yarn and saying in her sweetest, yarn-loving way: “Mommy, would you knit me something out of this?” or the new favorite “Will you save this yarn for me so I can use it when I’m a grown-up and learn to knit?”.  Gets me every time.

I look forward to sharing my hopeful success next week.  Even if I don’t hold as strong as I’d like to all of the above, I am certain I’ll come home feeling like it was a win.  If you plan on attending fiber festivals this year, what’s your game plan? Also, if you’ll be at MDSW on Sunday, I will be certain to wear my Ravelry button – come say hi!

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Flashing the Stash

With the beginning of a new year, I decided to truly let it all out.  The fiber, the yarn, the UFOs. Everything.  Just in case my not-so-fibery friends happen across this post and start to worry that I’ve added unidentified flying objects to my hobbies, UFO= unfinished objects… but they can be just as scary.

So let’s get that frightening picture out of the way:


2 shawls, 2 sweaters, 1 tee, 1 baby sweater, 1 color work mitten, 1 hat

The oldest project in the bunch is the color work mittens that I started last March.  So it could be worse, but I’d like to not take an entire year to knit a pair of mittens. The good news is the have been started much more recently and consistently worked on.

Next up, my remaining handspun from 2012.  Though there isn’t too much of it, I would like to knit up my handspun yarn a bit sooner.  I’m always to excited once it’s off the wheel or spindle, but then find that it sits there waiting for me to find the right project.  Some of these already have patterns ready and printed, but for some reason I can’t commit to starting the project.  So I’m holding myself accountable for what’s left of last year’s handspun and I hope to knit it all up by the end of this year.  That being said, I hope to spin much more this year, so I probably won’t be able to keep up going forward.



Now, for the real deal.  The rest of the stash.  Keep in mind, this is pictured on a queen-sized bed… just to give some perspective.


To give some further perspective:



And for even more clarification, this spans the entire length, covers more than half the bed and is three skeins high through most of the pile, with most of the fiber hidden in the back.

So where from here? I’m not declaring a “yarn diet”.. I’m not so good at the dieting.  I am going to try not to purchase any yarn or fiber outside of that purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May, the SSK retreat I’ll be attending in July and Rhinebeck (NY Sheep & Wool Festival) in October.  These major events will have all the yarn and fiber I could possibly want with all the vendors I adore.  I plan to save up for these events so that I can buy only the things I will truly love and I don’t already have in my stash.

I also have planned out 13 projects for the year using my oldest yarn to correspond with Stash & Burn’s Use It or Lose It knitalong.  The hat on the needles now is project number one.

As long as I know I use the additions to my stash, I won’t feel so guilty having it.  Also, it maybe cannot grow… when I put it all away (some was still out and not properly put away from last year) it barely fit in the six bins I have in my ENORMOUS bookcase. I don’t have anymore bins……



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A Pound and a Half

Today, I officially have a fiber stash.  An enormous fiber stash considering I only have drop spindles to spin with.  Though I plan to invest in a spinning wheel, I’m far away from saving enough to make the financial plunge.  But this didn’t stop me from buying at the Uniquities Fiber Farmers’ Market in Vienna today.  Not a bit.  Instead, I purchased another spindle to convince myself that this fiber could all be spun.

However, the longer I look at the POUND AND A HALF of Romney/Bamboo blend, the more it sinks in that I will have to find a way to store this until I have a spinning wheel.

1.5 lbs of magenta Romney/Bamboo from Wool N' Quilts Triple 'R' Farm

I placed my hand in the shot to give some perspective on how much fiber this really is, but I have a feeling that the love seat behind it may also hint at how large of a pile of bright magenta fluff I now have.  But I couldn’t walk away.  Even my mother stopped in awe of its beauty.  Oh, and it’s soooooooooo soft.  I fought the urge to roll around in it after taking its glamour shots.

The event, as a whole, was quite intimidating. As we waited a half an hour to get in… do to some miscommunications within the family about what time we were to arrive, the lobby of the community center slowly filled with spinners, many with their wheels for the spinning circle.  This was my parents’ first exposure to a mass of spinners and the fiber world in general.  It was clear that M was the only one in our group who wasn’t a bit overwhelmed.  But I went in with a plan.  I needed a new, larger spindle, some fiber wash, to walk around and soak in the fibery goodness and maybe walk out with a braid of fiber.  I certainly accomplished this… plus an extra braid, bag of pencil roving and clear trash bag of 1.5 pounds of fiber.

We made our way around the room to give everything a once-over before approaching any booths.  My father brought M to the bake sale table to encourage her sweet tooth and to support the local high schools crew team while my mother and I started digging in.  The first thing that caught our attention was the previously mentioned (and mentioned a lot) Romney/Bamboo fiber blend.  We then made our way back to the Uniquities booth to purchase the spindle and fiber wash.  As you may note in the picture below, I have already started spinning some previously-purchased Shetland fiber I’ve been dying to spin…

Drop Spindle with sheep heads stamped on the top of the whorl.

At this point, my father had taken M outside to eat her cookies, come back inside, washed her up and passed her along to my mother.  I returned to the other side of the room, promising that this booth would be my last stop as I had seen some extraordinary colors when making my first pass through the room.  It was at Wild Hare Fiber Studio that I purchased two braids of “Faux Cashmere” and one bag of “Sparkle Roving”.

2 - 4 oz braids of "Faux Cashmere" (Microfiber Nylon) in the Rose Petal colorway.

4 ozs of 63% superwash merino 20% silk, 15% nylon, 2% silver poly in the Evening Star colorway.

The photos, despite leaving the fiber in their bags, do depict the colors well.  The Rose Petal colorway is full of pinks, touches of red and a bit of coral.  While the Evening Star is royal blue melting into black with silver sparkle throughout.

Luckily, I do plan to replace my falling-apart bookcases with one very large bookcase from IKEA which should provide more storage for the smaller packages of fiber… however I may have to buy the largest plastic tub on the market to store my pound and a half.  Totally worth it.  I may avoid other fiber events this year, or at least until I have my wheel.  But Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is only two months away……

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Crafting Under The Influence… Of Illness

M gets sick… a lot. She’s two years old, so it’s expected. Unfortunately, every time she gets sick, I do too. We are, however, very different when we’re sick. I just want to lie around and do next to nothing, while she wants to be no where near a bed and instead gets rather hyperactive. So when I found that we needed to take a day off for her to go see the doctor, all the while nursing my own illness, I knew it would be rough trying to get some crafting in.

The morning went well, with few tantrums (from either of us) and a lot of snuggling in bed before her appointment. Just how a sick day should be spent. Then we packed up and went to the doctor’s appointment. Of course, I brought both of my drop spindles, more fiber than I could ever spin on a day spent completely by myself, and a simple cable cowl I’m knitting up. Though it was highly unlikely that I would touch any of these at the appointment, I did take the time to carefully choose projects to bring that would require little-to-no brain power. I just didn’t want to risk knitting a challenging project under a cloud of sickness… I needed to just relax and zone out.

It was a beautiful day, so when we arrive an hour early to the appointment, we decided to park, roll down all the windows and talk while I pre-drafted some fiber. After a surprising ten minutes of M sitting still, it was time to go inside. Fortunately, we were seen right away and didn’t have to go through the waiting room torture of M racing out of the room every time I tried to sit down.

After her appointment and lunch, I thought I would get the lazy knitting and/or spinning time I so desired during nap time. I kept waiting and waiting, trying to calm, getting frustrated, leaving the room, sitting in the room, rocking. I did everything. Almost anything to get my daughter to sleep so I could rest and relax. When it was finally clear that this was a giant waste of time for both of us, I gave up. She insisted on watching 101 Dalmatians and let me spin sitting next to her.

It was just what we needed, to revert back to how our morning was spent, lounging and doing very simple crafting. She watched the movie and me spinning and seemed equally fascinated when I relaxed and felt productive at the same time. Now that she’s been on antibiotics for two days, while I continue to get worse, here’s hoping that this weekend is full of relaxing, mindless crafting while lying in bed ignoring the two hour restriction on screen time.

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