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Adventures in Crochet

This past winter, I took a couple of crochet classes at Rebelle. The first one was basic crochet and the second was a granny square class. My crochet skills were very basic and limited but I knew enough that I didn’t fall behind in the class and happily hooked along.

I have started a granny square blanket (I guess technically two) which I’ll talk about at some point, but I haven’t actually finished a project bigger than the starter fingerless gloves we learned in class. I was going through my Noro stash a few nights ago and I came across an embarrassing amount of Noro Taiyo sock. I got on Ravelry to look for patterns and found the Half Granny Square Shawl by Anastacia Zittel. I dug into my hooks and had the right size and got busy. I’m loving the process so far it’s been so mindless and who doesn’t love the Noro color changes? I have found one knot but otherwise I’m really enjoying this project and I do a row a couple of times a week when I need a break from whatever I’m knitting. It’s the perfect project to get your feet wet with crochet. Here’s hoping it will be my first finished project.

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Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Fest

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Last weekend, Mike and I took a trip to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. This was the first year that I either was in town, not working, or had money to really enjoy it. We got up nice and early on Saturday and arrived at about 9:30 to get a jump on the crowd. We browsed and talked to vendors our first pass around. I wanted to make sure to see everything and not buy something for the sake of buying it. We found it was very easy to get overwhelmed quickly.

One of my goals for the day was to check out the Fiber Optics booth. I fell down and ended up with a few quality items. She’s got such wonderful colors and I’m looking forward to knitting up the yarn I bought. I’ve already started on one project but more on that later in the week.

My other goal was to find a fleece and we did from Sara at Equinox Farm. I’ve been reading her blog for years and met her a few times. I went out to her farm for Hug a Sheep Day once and I was excited to get the opportunity to buy one of her fleeces at the fiber fest. I ended up with a gorgeous Jacob fleece from a ewe named Casper Belly. This is my first fleece and after talking with Sara I’m going to go ahead and process it myself. I was torn between Petunia (the cute brown sheep up above) and Casper Belly, both were really nice quality fleeces but I know I made the right choice. I still have about 8 oz. from a wether she lost last summer that I need to spin up but I’ve been waiting until I was good enough to spin it evenly.

I spent a long time talking with Laura from The Unique Sheep. She’s got a farm in Lexington and we talked about raising sheep and our plan for the future which will hopefully involve sheep. I ended up purchasing some sock yarn from her and I think I’m going to make another linen stitch scarf out of it. At some point I’m going to have to buy the yarn for Now in a Minute from her.

On Sunday, we spent the late afternoon at the Bluegrass Stockdog Trials. It was interesting to watch the dogs at work and the partnership they have with their owners. It’s impressive when you think about the amount of work that goes into building a team like that.

It was a great weekend and I’m already counting the days until next May. My ultimate goal is to spin/knit all of the yarn/fiber that was purchased this weekend before then but we’ll see. Thanks to the folks who put it on once again and the great vendors that came out. This wasn’t around when I first started knitting and I’m going to try to catch it every year that we live here in Lexington.

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Two Pairs of Purple Socks

I’ve been on a huge sock knitting kick lately which stemmed from the past few weeks that I’ve been organizing my stash and UFOs. I have a lot of socks on the needles. An embarrassingly large amount of socks.

For this pair – I had cast on a few months ago using Susan Anderson’s How I Make My Socks. I stumbled across this tutorial from Rock Granola on Zite and realized I had a pair of mini-circs that I had tried to use years ago and quickly gave up on. Inspired, I pulled them back out and cast on with some Knitpicks yarn that had been in my stash awhile (see the trend?). I made it to the gusset, got confused and then abandoned them in my WIPs pile. I’m a toe-up sock knitter and the only top down socks I’ve done have been anklets. I picked these back up two weeks ago and was determined to finish them. I sat down and carefully reread everything. Within a day I got the first one done and moved on to the second. For this one I had to switch back to magic loop. I don’t mind the mini-circs but it was a bit too much while I was trying to get the hang of top down construction. The second sock breezed through and now I have a finished and very badly pooled pair.

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Now I did say two pairs. After finishing the first pair, I stumbled across a pattern for baby socks. No, I’m not pregnant but I wanted some to have around for gift knitting. They worked up quickly and they’re adorable!

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And as all cats must, Pumpkin had to get in on the photo shoot.

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Confession Time

I have a confession. I have never knit a Stephen West pattern. I started his mystery shawl two years ago, but I can’t remember what happened after the very beginning and I set it down never to touch it again except to rip it out a year later. About a week ago after seeing a gorgeous Spectra at Magpie I had to go for it and went straight home to buy the pattern. I knew with my overflowing stash, it was going to be a stash dive for the yarn, but here’s another confession… I have a ton of Silk Garden Sock which is one of the yarns used in the pattern. The problem was deciding which color to use. I settled on S84 and a ball of Madelinetosh sock in the lichen colorway that I bought years ago.

Spectra

I’m only a few blocks into it and I’m loving the pattern. Now which Stephen West patterns to knit in the future. I can already see a Daybreak or a Pogona jumping onto my needles as soon as my Spectra is done. I’m thinking about using more of my madtosh stash for the Pogona and maybe some leftovers from other projects for Daybreak. Both will most likely be knit this year.