wool

Fibre-East 2012 breakdown

Woohoo, Fibre-East was SO. AWESOME! The Knitters and I had a wonderful time, got lucky with a one-day let-up in the constant rain (this photo makes the sky look ominous and it was getting a little cloudy right as we were getting ready leave, but the rest of the day was lovely), and went home with some beautiful yarny / woolly treats!

My savings jar worked out better than I could’ve imagined:

Which was just the change, there was also some cash stuffed in there and some I had set aside too, so I ended up with about £110 – I never, ever expected the change to be so much though, I will totally do this for events like this from now on! I didn’t notice the little wee bits of money going in there, so I got to enjoy a totally guilt-free shopping spree. Last year I focused on undyed wools and yarns because I had a much smaller spending budget. This year, my jar let me buy a few luxury treats as well.

Fibre-East Loots - dyed

There’s some dyed Wensleydale from the amazing Yarnscape, a big beautiful vampy batt from Boo’s Attic (no website that I know of, which is maybe just as well because I’d never leave it), and a deliciously hot pink Merino / Seacell (a blend I’ve never tried before) from Fluff ‘n’ Stuff (which was the hardest choice ever, I really could’ve spent my whole budget there in about 15 minutes and gone home totally happy).

The Skein Queen yarn is stunning, intended for a Winter Sparkles Shawl. That pattern has been in my queue for-ev-er and I finally found the perfect dreamy yarn for it. The gold is from Oliver Twists (who doesn’t have a website, which is both a shame and maybe lucky, because they had some of the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever seen!) – laceweight silk, totally for no reason other than being beautiful like liquid gold. I couldn’t bear to leave it behind, though I have no specific plan for it.

Fibre-East Loots - undyed

As for undyed treats, I did pretty well there too. I was surprised not to find more stalls with unusual breeds; I wouldn’t say it was disappointing, but that was something I was hoping to find. There were some, definitely, especially in more raw forms, but I was hoping to find more processed wool of new-to-me breeds. I did get some Masham and some Swaledale, neither of which I’ve tried before. These are supposed to be on the less-soft side, but I thought they felt lovely. A little rustic, sure, this isn’t the finest merino, but I actually like a more woolly wool. Those came from Adelaide Walker, where I also got a little bundle of BFL / silk blend – my favorite wool in the world, mixed with silk?! No brainer. Actually, my only regret of the day was not getting more of these small bags from Adelaide Walker, just to try different wools, but honestly, I probably won’t even get to spin all this before Fibre-East 2013 anyway! The bag of fluff is angora straight from the bunny, kind of stinky in a nice animal sort of way (my dog can’t stop obsessing over it), though lovely and soft. The skein is sparkle sock from DT Crafts, which I plan to dye a deep-dark-midnight-blue.

Better get to work, eh? Oh, but wait – first, admire the face on this guy, who really, really wanted to come home with me:

(Anyone know what kind of breed he is? Just curious!)

Rhywd

So … my laptop is all dead. Well, hopefully not actually dead. It seems to be stuck in a comatose state for the moment. A trip to the Apple shop and their “Genius” team allowed me to save some of the most important files, thank goodness, though not all of the music I’ve accumulated since my last back-up (which is not irreplaceable, but still: sob). But at least I’m not panicking anymore. That’s quite nice. I am, however, stuck with my old laptop for now. He’s a hardy old lad, but it’s just not as easy to do stuff without, you know, my stuff.

Hilltop Cloud spin-to-knit kit test

But technology be damned. I can still tell you about a project I finished up recently even on this old creaking laptop. I was lucky enough to be given the chance to test a new spin-to-knit kit by the super-duper-amazing Katie from Hilltop Cloud Fibers. Seriously, if you’re a spinner (or knitter really, because she also sells handspun yarns), you need to check out her etsy shop. Though I secretly kinda don’t want to tell you about it because I’m a little afraid you’ll buy up all the pretties and there won’t be any left for me. Not that I’d ever be greedy about it, of course.

Hilltop Cloud spin-to-knit kit test

Katie’s got an eye for color that just matches my own color sensibilities, such as they are, perfectly. Browsing her shop is like taking a peek into the color section of my brain (it’s all science-y up in here today!) – the combinations she comes up with are breathtaking and totally unique, and her fibers are the loveliest quality and beautifully blended. This yarn came from handblended baby alpaca / silk / merino roving which is every bit as soft and fluffy as it sounds. I promise I’m not affiliated, just a very happy customer.

Hilltop Cloud spin-to-knit kit test

Which is, of course, why I jumped at the chance to test this new kit out. Spin delicious loveliness and call it a “favor” to someone else?! Hecks yes, I’ll do that. Snap. The pattern is called Rhywd, a lovely drapey scarf that suits handspun and variegated yarns perfectly, and the kit comes with enough fiber to spin the yarn and knit it up. I’ll let Katie tell you more about it herself, but I will add that the whole thing was a very nice experience and I’d happily do it again in a minute. So stop wasting time around here, go buy Katie’s pretties!

Total Christmas Insanity: Spinning a Vest

Christmas present #2 and the one will most definitely be my downfall: a handknit sweater vest for my father. Not really that crazy on paper, but if you know about the rules, you’re definitely thinking that there’s no way I can do this for £10 (unless I already have suitable yarn, which I sadly do not).

Total Insanity - Christmas spinning

And you’re right, no way can I buy a man’s sweater vest worth of yarn for under £10. But I can, in theory, spin that yarn myself for under £10. This is undyed Falkland wool from the excellent Wingham Wool Work. I’ve never spun Falkland before but I needed something on the cheaper side and a quick search on Ravelry uncovered a ton of Falkland fans. Having spun up five bobbins and plied three so far, I’m definitely with them. Soft, buttery to spin, fluffy and sproingy when washed – yumyumyum.

Total Insanity - Christmas spinning

With three skeins plied and washed, I guess I should start knitting my ass off now but here’s the part that makes all this extra fun: I haven’t exactly sorted out a pattern yet. I’m spinning it to about a DK weight, and kind of have my eye on the Conservative (but Pretty!) Dad Vest by Julia Trice (Ravelry link). I’d have to do a little gauge fudging maybe, and figure out size-changing stuff. Which just can’t fail, of course, since I’ve never done any of that before. Oy vey. This one makes me really panic – ohmygod, what was I thinking?!

Total Insanity - Christmas spinning

If successful, this could be my best received handmade gift ever. I know this because every time I’m knitting around him, my Dad asks if I’m knitting him a vest. I’d love for it to finally be true. But at what cost? At what cost, I say?!

Totals so far:

Wool: £7.50 (if I use it all, the rules say you only need to count in the budget what you actually used, assuming you have a real use for the rest. Of course it’s always possible I’ll need more.)
Pattern: free (if I stick to my plan as it is now)
My sanity: I don’t even want to think about it. Wish me luck.

Total (so far): £7.50, subject to change.