Paradise Fibers has decided to run a Spinning for the Throne Spin Along for the month of May. For their Fiber of the Month box they created four different merino silk blend colorways and they sent them out in two different combinations. One set of combinations was “Not Today” and “Blue Eyes”, the set that I received is “He Who Knows Nothing” and “Mother of Dragons”. We also received one of two tweed blends, “Ice” or “Fire” and some green Angelina they named Wildfire.
Right now I am in the process of spinning up “He Who Knows Nothing” in a short forward draw from the fold on my Ladybug using my Woolee Winder.
The spin is supposed to be inspired by the Game of Thrones, however I have not watched very much of it so far. What I have watched, almost 10 minutes of the first episode, contained a lot of blood. Since I am willing to bet that this trend continues, I have decided to add in some splotches of blood to this mix, I do enjoy how it is turning out so far. I had originally thought to felt some Dragon Wings and add them into the mix at random spots, however I am well aware of my artistic limitations, not to mention the time constraints of this SAL (Spin Along).
Once this batch is done I will start spinning up “Mother of Dragons”, I still have the winter gradient that was sent, I think in December 2018, and two of those colors will go beautifully with the Mother of Dragon set. My tweed is “Fire” which will also go well with the blues of the second set of fiber. I am not sure if I will keep these as two separate skeins of yarn or see how they look when they are plied together, only time will tell. In addition to all of this fiber, we were sent a magnet, sticker, an amazing stitch marker, and pattern for fingerless gloves that look like dragon scales. I am really looking forward to having the chance to try and make the gloves.
Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!
I am an extreme fan of Sherlock, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I had signed up for Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V which was created by Susan Woodly, the pattern cost $11.99 (there was a sale) but there are quarterly prizes for the trivia and word scrambles. This is going to not only give me a reason to listen to the Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I purchased but never got to, but to take the year to knit a very large project. I began purchasing some bits of worsted weight superwash yarn so that I could begin knitting March 16th when the first part of the pattern is released. I had already ordered Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Yarn – 1305 October Sky from Jimmy Beans Wool for $8.10. I also ordered a skein of Malbrigio Worsted yarn from Darn Good Yarn for $11.60. This means that I was about $31.69 into this project already. I was hoping to get one brand/type of yarn for the entire project, but since I would need 14-16 skeins of yarn and most of the Worsted Weight Superwash Wool yarns are 8-25/skein this did not seem like a reasonable goal.
However, I had a $100 coupon from Paradise Fibers Points system and they were running a 20% off flash sale. These two things combined were enough to have me order one yarn for the entire project. Originally these 14 skeins of Cascade 220 would have been $154. Because of the flash sale, $30.80 was taken off of the top, and then I had a $100 coupon. This means that for these skeins that would have been $11 each I paid less than $1.70 each shipped. I am pleased that this will mean that all of these squares will be made out of the same yarn, ensuring a form of continuity throughout the project. This would not have been the case if I had continued to piece together the project, especially since the Malbrigio is a singles yarn.
This brings the total spent for this project so far up to:
$54.90. If I only use the Cascade Superwash this will be reduced to $35.20. Since the true cost does include the $100 coupon that I spent on this project, it is safe to say that this is the reason that crafters cannot get what they deserve for things like this afghan. Even with the simple 3X your supplies cost this blanket would be $405.60. That calculation does not include the time spent actually knitting the project. Oh well, these purchases should be enough to keep me happily crafting for an entire year, if not longer. If I do not wind up using my initial purchases for this project they will be great for a hat, arm warmers, fingerless mittens, cowls, and more. I was trying to think of what the moral of this experience is, but unfortunately all I get are conflicting ones. I guess the best I can come up with is: Keep your eyes peeled for a good sale, but have a backup in mind (or stashed).
Paradise Fibers decided to have a Spinlympics again this year even though it is not any olympics year. Since I had a grab bag pack of the merino wool they recommended I decided to see if I could make something with it. I decided to use my Brother Drum Carder to blend some silk and bamboo into each of the colors I chose. There was a sky blue, yellow/gold, and bright yellow. When I pulled the fiber off of the drum carder I created rolags instead of a batt. In addition to the merino/bamboo/silk I added a couple of rolags of Yak/Silk I already had on hand.
Once I had spun the singles in a long backward draw on my Ladybug I created a center pull ball to ply from. I know that a lot of people have trouble with this method and I will concede that there is probably a twist difference from the outside strand and the inside one. However I find that as long as I take care when plying to ensure even tension as well as taking care that the inside fiber does not tangle as it comes out, I love the results. Also the lack of waste really appeals to me.
Once plied I ended up with about 110 yards of a yarn that I believe is sport weight. Once this yarn is washed I will have a better idea of what size the finished yarn will be.
As I was spinning the quote from S.E. Hinton’s the Outsiders kept floating through my head, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”. With the shades of gold, a bit of blue skies as well as a bit of shades of grey, I am calling this skein, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”. I had so much fun experimenting with the long draw, and I cannot wait to see this washed up.
I really enjoyed taking the sock fiber from the February Paradise Fibers box and using coffee to dye it. I will have to wait until I can get a good photograph outside, because the color does not show very well at all in this photo. It was so much fun saving the grounds from my k-cups and turning them into a great fiber to spin. Should I decide to overdye this, the brown as a base will add a lot of depth to the new color. I cannot wait to spin this, but I have a couple of projects before I can get to this one.
Speaking of Spinning Projects I have made progress on my spin for a pair of anklettos/wristlettos. Using the Ezee Twist tool I managed to spin my yarn at about 16wpi singles which should be 8 wpi 2-ply yarn. I finished off the singles, they are currently resting.
I have also signed up to take part in the Paradise Fibers Spinlympics again this year, even though there are no winter olympics. I already had a grab bag of the merino fiber that they recommend using, I have carded up the yellow, orange, and blues with some silk I had around and made rolags. I hope to start spinning this since the spinlympics are ending by the end of February. This will put me, although I am already, behind on spinning for my hap. That is supposed to be knit up by the middle of March. I don’t think I will make the deadline, but I certainly hope to have the spinning done for that by then. I do not have any photos of my Spinlympics rolags nor my Hap rolags, so we will have to skip to sock progress.
I have the first two socks made from the pattern in Interweave Crochet 2011. I did not do any extra shaping around the ankle in the blue worsted weight yarn sock. However for the multi-colored fingering weight sock I added a few decreases before I turned for the heel. This causes the sock to be a much better fit around my ankle. Since I used the same size hook for both the fingering weight yarn is a looser fabric than the worsted, this will result in a sock that will wear out faster, but I have already noticed that the fingering weight sock breathes better on my foot. Right when I finished the fingering weight sock I started on the second sock. I am not too worried about the worsted weight one, but I really do want to have a pair of socks in this fingering weight yarn. I had also purchased two skeins of Felici in the Baker Street colorway from knitpicks. I adore the BBC show Sherlock (though I hate Mary) and so I had to have these Sherlock inspired socks. I went down a size in my crochet hook, and I am also making the ribbing a bit longer than previously. I have tried the cuff on, and 36 stitches should still be the right amount. I am very excited to see how these are going to turn out!
That is all of my progress for now, Happy Crafting!
I am always surprised when I realize that there is something that I have not even attempted. I consider myself a fairly tech savvy person, while I do not like how I look or sound on camera I did think that I made a conscious decision not to get involved with uploading videos to Instagram and Youtube. WRONG!
It turns out I was just a big chicken. With the help of iMovies and my photo library I have been able to upload unboxing videos and tutorial videos quite easily from my iPad. I admit that I have added no verbal commentary nor any music to my videos, since I tend to mute those anyway I choose to believe my lack of sound does not detract from my videos. My explanation of how I am spinning my fiber is in this video. I am very grateful for the Paradise Fibers challenges with this month’s Fiber of the Month Box since it required me to think outside my usual box and try something new.
On another note the first yarn for my first set of curtains has arrived. As soon as I figure out how long I want this first warp to be I will warp a loom for my first set of curtains. The yarn is a cottolin blend that I hope will turn into amazing curtains.
I have not set up my 2019 crafting goals, so that is in the works. Until then, try something new!
I officially have my Spinolution electric Firefly spinning wheel ordered. Since they are an American based company and they make each wheel to order it will be between 4-6 weeks before mine is shipped. This is actually a good thing, it will give me time to enjoy the anticipation and look forward to seeing if there are any huge sales that are going to occur for the other crafting materials I hope to obtain.
I know that this seems like a sudden spree, and fairly irresponsible. Truthfully I have ensured that I am spending less than half of what I have come into, saving what I can when I can, and that I have enough left over to cover the major expenses that are going to come up in the next year. These three purchases are not going to significantly impact my financial situation, however they will significantly improve my productivity.
For the rest of 2018 I will be working and learning to enjoy what I have and what I can do. For most of 2019 I will be figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life, what my priorities are, and how I am going to achieve them. At present I am overwhelmed by possibilities, and need to have time to settle down and figure out where I want my energies to go. I know that spinning and weaving are two things that I want to have as a priority in my life.
Paradise Fibers November 2018 box was themed around Harry Potter, to the extent that they are running a house cup. Once specific goals have been accomplished then points are assigned and the house with the highest number of points will win. The prize is 500 paradise points for each member of the house, which in reality is five dollars off of an order, nothing to sneeze at.
On another note, my first Green Chef box was scheduled to be delivered this past Saturday, I thought Wednesday but checked again and it was supposed to be Saturday. This did not happen, due to the weather, and I am anxious to see how the ingredients have held up over the weekend. I will report more about this in my next post.
So, major life decisions are on hold, but pending. Expenditures are not beyond what is feasible at this time (though some house repairs might have to be accomplished using loans). This is going to be a year of self exploration and renewal. It will also be a year of renewal for my home and sweeping out what I do not (realistically) need.
Okay, so I actually didn’t show you the rolags I have been making throughout September in Preparation for Spinzilla. From left to right, top to bottom, we have:
Paradise Fibers Scarlet ‘n’ Silk, a 50/50 merino tussah blend. This should spin up beautifully, I hope to hit a sport to worsted when I am done.
Ashland Bay Moorit- I think this is considered a heritage breed, I am looking forward to seeing how it spins from a rolag. I have a lot of trouble spinning some of these from top and hope that the change in prep will help.
Yak Silk Blend from Paradise Fibers- I love Paradise fibers, but they try and get me out of my comfort zone quite a bit. I have been terrified of this blend ever since I received it. So I decided to get out of my comfort zone and turn these into rolags to spin up. Wish me luck!
Allegheny Fiber Arts, they have an etsy store. This is from a lovely young woman that belongs to the weaving and spinning guild that I do out of Bradford, PA. I love her fibers, I had previously purchased a roving that she called Mango and it spun up beautifully. Now I have this batch, I forget what she called it but the colors are so perfect for an autumn spin I could not resist. (Though I did add sparkle when I carded it, I am a sucker for sparkle).
I also created a few batts, but I think I will wait and show those as I spin them.
Wish me luck! Happy Crafting, and Happy Spinzilla!