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Camp Loopy July and Tour De Freaking Fleece

Hello! I ended up finishing up my Camp Loopy June project right on time, however I’m not thrilled with how it came out. I ran out of yarn to do the edging so I bound off early. What my plan is, is to take the leftover from my Camp Loopy July project since it’s out of the same yarn and use it as a contrasting border. I’m going to start work on that once my July project is over which is…. Rock Island! I’ve said for awhile I’ve wanted to do this pattern and I cast on July 1st and I’m still on the edging. Now that I have the hang of it, it’s progressing better but my attention has been focused on school of course and my first Tour De Fleece!

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I started by plying up some lace weight (most likely) shetland that I’ve had in my stash forever and moved quickly along to my Fiber Optics gradient. It’s wool and silk which is one of my favorite combinations and I’ve got both bobbins spun up, it’s time to ply them! I’ve already got my eye on my next goal – some beautiful Skein Queen BFL and then my Sock to Shoe kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. So much to spin, so little time.

Lastly, we welcomed a new family member this past Independence day. My sister in law had a little girl named Bailey so I’m hard at work at an adorable sock yarn bunny and a pair of booties to send her. They didn’t find out she was going to be a girl until she was born, so I held off on any handknits and if they didn’t live in Canada, we would bring the gifts to girl ourselves. Hopefully we’ll get to meet her in the near future!

Of course where I’d like to be right now is in France instead of spinning with the Tour De Fleece. Hopefully we’ll go again sometime soon!

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Summer Travels and Camp Loopy Update

I’m sailing right along on my Camp Loopy project. I have the first half done and the second part is coming along nicely. I’m expecting to graft the halves together tomorrow so I can get started on the edging. I would be further along if not for some gift knitting and a few commission projects that needed to be finished up. More on one of those gifts a bit further down. I’m looking ahead to Camp Loopy July already and my yarn and project have been chosen and I’m thrilled with what I’ve picked out.

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I spent this past week in Delaware visiting my Dad. It was a solo trip and it was really nice to see my Dad and Myra even if only for a few days. My last day there, there were a couple of gigantic storms that drove us inside and made me a bit nervous since his house is surrounded by huge trees. It ended up being a lot of rain and thunder but other parts of Delaware weren’t so lucky. I wish I had gotten to spend more than three days with them but maybe later in the year I’ll be able to go back up.

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I finished a pair of socks for my Dad while I was there. He has been a bit difficult to make socks for over the years and I think this was his fourth pair and they were a winner! I got a lot done on these socks while in waiting rooms the past few weeks with Mike who got hurt on his job. He’s in pain but getting better. He starts physical therapy this week so I’m going to guess it’ll be more waiting room knitting! You can see one of the first pair of socks I made for him in the background there.

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Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in black. I liked knitting with the yarn but I don’t know if it was the color or yarn but every single piece of cat hair seemed to get attached to this. I’m not sure I would use it for a gift again. Of course I know I already have some set aside for more socks in my stash.
Needles: US 1.5 done with magic loop.
Pattern: Harris Tweed adapted for toe-up with a short row heel. This has become my go-to men’s sock pattern for the past couple of years. Always a crowd pleaser!

We had lost most of the light by the afternoon on my last day and my camera battery and iPhone had both died so these pictures aren’t that great but I had to photograph the occasion of how much my Dad enjoyed these socks. Before I left we also picked out the next project I’m going to make for him and picked out the yarn which should be arriving this afternoon. I asked him because I had seen the pattern and thought of him but I wanted to make sure it was something he was going to like. If all goes as planned I should be swatching this evening!

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Camp Loopy: June

This year I decided to join Camp Loopy. I’m not sure why I didn’t participate the past two years but this year when Sheri announced it, the wheels in my head started turning. The first challenge is to knit a one skein project using at least 375 yards of fingering or lace weight in a base you’ve never used before. I spent a good hour going back and forth between shawl projects and drove poor Mike crazy in the process.

I finally settled on this yarn – Madelinetosh Prairie in Corsage and I’m going to turn it into…

The Print o’ the Wave shawl!

I got my yarn about two weeks ago and cast on early June 1st and with only two really straight of knitting I’ve finished 10 repeats which is a good ways into the body.
I have a couple of other knitting commitments to work on this week before I go out of town on Tuesday and since they’ll (hopefully) be done by then, I’ll be able to take my shawl and another pair of socks I’ve been working on for Mike with me. It’s only for a few days but of course with travel time, car time there and evenings I’m going to have a lot of time to knit.

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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.

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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.

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Link Roundup

What I’m digging right now:

This ring from wearthou on Etsy. It would go so nicely with the yarn ball earrings my mom made me.

-Really liking the look of this fun blanket. I have so many blankets on the needles but you can never had too many right?

-On the subject of too many blankets. You can’t go wrong with too many mittens either.

-I’ve made two of these market bags already and I’m looking for a third. They’re huge!

-Considering what to make for The Loopy Ewe’s Fourth Quarter Challenge.

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Knitting Up a Storm

I have been knitting and spinning up a storm in 2013. Also school, yes lots of school – but I am trying to get as much knitting and spinning in as humanely possible.

Spinning

This is one bobbin of a merino/silk blend by Tempted Yarns that I bought from The Loopy Ewe years ago. I’m determined to spin down a lot of my fiber stash before the Kentucky Sheep and Wool fest so I can buy more guilt free.

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I’ve also been working on getting my stash down. This is part of the January Stashdown Challenge sock on Ravelry. It’s Bloomin’ by Jeannie Cartmel. I’m knitting it out of some Trekking XXL I picked up driving through Maryland a few years ago. (ignore Mad Men in the background, I was too lazy to get up and take another photo of it.)

MomsSwissCheese

A couple of years ago, my mom visited me and lost her beautiful Swiss Cheese scarf so I’m making her a new one out of Classic Elite Silk Alpaca lace. So.much.knitting.

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And finally… it’s been awhile but I guess I should officially go through with getting my married name huh? My wormhead hat in the foreground out of Cherry Tree Hill Possum Sock.

This week I’m pondering putting together a pom-pom garland to brighten up our computer room. We’ll see… Also Happy Birthday to my awesome Dad!