Craftie Allie

Knitter. Pug Owner. Educator. Dreadhead.


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070 :: Into the Wool

I disappeared for a while. I needed some sort of crafting break. I was feeling incredibly uninspired and so blah about everything. But I think things have changed.

Murray helped me pack!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first retreat: Into the Wool Fiber Retreat. The retreat was hosted by Dana and Brittany of the Just One More Row podcast and Jessica of Storied Yarns and let me tell you…it was fabulous. This was the first year for the ITW retreat and oh my goodness, those ladies went above and beyond. The location was wonderful, the schedule was great with activities sprinkled throughout that you could or could not attend, depending on what your preference was. And our cabin was fantastic! I am not a camper, so I was really appreciative of the fact that this was more of a “glamping” adventure.

The first night, I had a class on drop spindling that went very well. We got to practice spinning on different types of fiber — roving, batts, rolags — and various types of fiber. I haven’t used my drop spindle in a while and it was fun to be in a class with so many people I “know” from Instagram. I really enjoyed the rolag preparation and took some home; I’m wanting to purchase some more soon. Also on the first night, they hosted a Iron Spinner event where everyone could spin an ounce of fiber any way they wanted, so we could see how different each of the yarns would turn out. I had planned on partaking but my class interfered, so I just watched while other finished up their spins. I spun on my wheel some that first night but quickly realized that I have not yet perfected the art of Spin and Talk and ended up with too much overspun fiber. Goal for next year: Learn to spin and talk, hah!

The second day, we had a fun sock yarn swap and I had a crochet class. The teacher was great and really helped me understand the art of crochet, specifically what the different stitches are for the pattern we used. The yarn I brought was incredibly splitty and it was hard to see what I was doing. So basically, I felt frustrated because I didn’t crochet a granny square perfectly the first time I tried. But the teacher and I spoke at lunch and she said that she thinks I will do better with different yarn, so I’m going to try it again later this week.

Yarn I got in the Sock Yarn Swap. New-to-me dyer and adorable colors!

The second day was when the market place was opened and I think this was perfect for my first one. There were five vendors and a variety of things to choose from. I brought cash so as to not go completely crazy, yet I still went slightly crazy. I don’t regret it one bit.

Fiber and Yarn from Unwind Yarn Company. Yarn from Happy Go Lucky Yarns and FibroFibers Nightfall. Bag from Spartickes Dyes and a cute tin from Jelby. I’ll discuss more about the yarns/fiber when I use it.

Day three was sad. We had breakfast and a bye bye blow out . It was sad to say bye to everyone and the weekend went by SO FAST! I am so glad I went and cannot wait to go next year. The atmosphere was fantastic, everyone seemed to have a great time and it was nice to get away for a little while. The best part, though, was meeting every one and making some new knit-friends! There are already talks for next years and I know that I will definitely be there!

Of course, while there were some classes, yarn buying, and lots of talking…there was also some knitting.

I brought along yarn to start Lisa Mutch’s Heartbreak shawl. I kept forgetting to do the increases, though, so I did not work on it much.

 

How adorable is this tin??? It’s home to stitch markers from the goody bag now. I love it so.

 

Yarn I won as a door prize! I think this will become a shawl.

 

The camp was gorgeous.

 

Seriously gorgeous.

I spent a lot of time sitting outside while chit chatting with awesome ladies, plugging away on this Kirby Wirby sock (which I finished this morning…a sock in 4 days! I think that’s the best I’ve ever done).

 

I’m feeling rejuvenated, inspired and ready to knit again. I took today off from work so I could have a Rest Day and I’m really glad I did. I’m both excited to go back to work tomorrow, plus would love another day of knitting! Hoping this inspiration I’m feeling will bleed over into posting more here. I guess we will see what happens!


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069 :: You Spin Me Right Round

Well, crafting fans, I have hit a wall. Nothing I am working on is interesting to me. Nothing is speaking to me right now. I’m feeling like knitting and I are so not BFFs right now. I have been knitting some. I finished my Hitchhiker finally and have worked on some things for a retreat I am attending in May called Into the Wool. But nothing is really…working for me.

Bristol by Amy Christoffers in Knit Picks Pallette.

Bristol by Amy Christoffers in Knit Picks Pallette.

I’ve even tried a new technique to me — afterthought heel — and loved it. I thought that THAT was what was going to bring my mojo back. But nope. Not yet.

Afterthought heel, after picking up stitches.

Afterthought heel, after picking up stitches.

Maybe if I worked on some WIPs, that would do it. Finished my long overdue Hitchhiker (pictures soon) and have almost finished my honey cowl (one row and a bind off away). But still…no real interest. I’m just in a knitting funk.

Honey Cowl in Northbound Knitting, Skeleton Key colorway.

Honey Cowl in Northbound Knitting, Skeleton Key colorway.

Oh, but today! Today, something magical happened. I attended a spinning group at my LYS with the intention of hanging out and knitting while talking to some lovely ladies. Lucky for me, my friend Caffeinated Gert of the Caffeinated Knitting podcast brought me not only a drop spindle but some fiber. She got my started and can I say…I am hooked!

My first little ball of yarn!

My first little ball of yarn!

She told me what the fiber was, but I honestly don’t remember. At the retreat we are attending in May, I am taking a drop spindling class for beginners. I’m glad that I have the chance to get some practice in before then. After two or so hours of spinning at the group, I came home and immediately got the fiber and spindle out again. I can definitely see some improvement already with my drafting and I am excited to continue going with this new craft.

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Maybe knitting will stay on the backburner for a while, but I am glad to have something to work on for the time being! And just look at those awesome colors! I’ve already been fiber window shopping on etsy. Oooh my, this is going to be fun!


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068 :: FO Friday: Dissent by Lisa Mutch

I’ve discussed recently the back problems I have been having. Before that started, I was given the pleasure of test knitting a new shawl design by the lovely Lisa Mutch. Unfortunately, the back pain led me to not be able to knit as much as I would like, so this test knit took longer than I expected — roughly, a month. Regardless of the time it took, I am happy to say that I a had the wonderful pleasure of knitting this shawl and I could not be happier.

 

Dissent by Lisa Mutch

Dissent by Lisa Mutch

 

This little beauty is called Dissent¬†and my oh my is it fun! Now, I am a sucker for striped shawls and short rows, which you may already know, so this was right up my alley. PLUS, it used stash yarn that was at least 6 months old, which made me very happy (I still haven’t weighed what’s left over but I will do that this weekend so I can update by stash on Ravelry).

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Lisa really hit it out of the ball park. The way the stripes and wedges play together make this an incredibly fun knit. Knit using garter stitch and short rows, this is a great knit for afterwork and also a great shawl for a beginner shawl knitter. Super fun, easy yet still challenging, and just a blast all around.

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The green is Northbound Knitting BFL/Silk Finger in Malachite and the purple is Spud and Chloe Fine in Dragonfly. I wish I could explain to you just how soft this is. It’s like a cloud around my shoulders and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I tried to venture out of my general purple/grey color combos a little…. It isn’t much of a step but it is one, so there’s that.

I wore this out the other night for dinner, sat it in the seat next to me with my coat. When we finished eating, I grabbed my coat but somehow left the shawl. Luckily, we live like three minutes from the restaurant and I realized it almost immediately after we got home. When I returned, it was still there in the seat. I hadn’t even photographed the shawl yet! It was like I was asking for trouble. That was my first Almost Lost Hand Knit experience and I would really appreciate not going through that again.

Overall, I am incredibly happy with this shawl. The color striping is interesting and the way the wedges occur makes it more interesting than just a striped shawl. Very fun to knit and I can definitely see myself knitting another one in the future.


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067 :: Daydream Knitter

I’m sure you realized from my last post, I am obsessed with shawls. I have one I finished blocking this weekend that I will be photographing for a post on Friday. It only makes sense that the majority of my daydreams consist of shawls.

Picture Credit: Deborah Frank, taken from the Swerve Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

To continue my love of shawls — and S shawls at that! — I present to you Deborah Frank’s newest design, Swerve. Swerve features a crescent shape and short rows and stripes — my most favorite of combinations. And the one that Deborah knit looks like an amazing cloud of softness. I want to curl up with it and nap.

The sample piece was knit with mohair which is a fiber I haven’t knit with before. I’m considering ordering a skein and giving it a shot with this lovely shawl. It’s a light shawl, a lovely size and I can imagine wrapping it around myself in multiple ways.

Picture Credit: Deborah Frank, taken from the Swerve Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

 

Look at those airy stitches. Aren’t they just heavenly?

Playing with the idea of a grey main color and a self striping for the contrasting color. Nothing in my stash currently. I’m realizing that while my stash has some lovely, lovely items, it isn’t really meeting my needs. My goal, stash wise, for 2014 is to knit it down as much as possible. My goal for 2015 will be to fill it with practical yarns. Without having those yarns for projects I really want to knit, when something as beautiful as this comes across my path, I’m not able to knit it immediately. And that’s just a sad thing.

Currently on my needles are two shawls. Hoping to pick some yarn up for this soon and cast it on once I get some other projects completed (non-shawl projects, I might add).

What are you daydreaming about this week?


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066 :: Daydream Knitter

I’m busy right now. And with my back issues, I’m knitting less than I want. So, I am daydreaming about knitting. A lot. Probably too much, really. So I wanted to start a new weekly (hopefully!) post where I discuss patterns — both older and recently released — that I am obsessed with and that I cannot wait to one day knit. Currently, my daydreams are full of a week off in a cabin with Netflix and knitting All The Shawls. Also, these daydreams may take it for granted that I do not need to eat/sleep/etc. But who cares? They are daydreams after all.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from the Slain Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

Earlier this year, Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting released a three pattern book of lovely shawls entitled S. Now, we all know I have a Lisa Mutch obsession anyway but my goodness, this e-book. It’s perfect.

The first shawl I have posted is entitled Slain and I am OBSESSED with Slain. I technically probably shouldn’t include it in this post since I have started Slain (I have knit 10 rows because I couldn’t NOT knit it). It is perfection and I cannot wait to get started on it. The construction is fascinating and the striping detail is incredibly thoughtful. I’m doing mine in two shades of purple and a skein of grey. I think it will be pure perfection.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from the Scold Ravelry Page. Click the picture to see pattern.

Second in the book is another gorgeous shawl entitled Scold. There is something about Scold that relaxes me when I look at it. It seems so comforting and warm. I’ve been trying to imagine what colors I would use and I think with this one, I would want to mimic Lisa’s choices — though I may change the red out for a blue, just so A. it’s not purple (trying to branch out a little) and B. it will go with more of my outfits.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from Smite Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

Last in the e-book is Smite. Smite excites me greatly. After Slain, this will be the next one I knit because I have three yarns in my stash that have been waiting for months to find their pattern mate. Originally, they were going to be part of another Color Affection, but I’m not sure I want to knit another one right now. Those yarns have been calling to me. I will talk more about specifics when it comes time to knit this but I will say the colors will surprise you (no purple or grey to be seen!).

This is just a small taste of the patterns I am daydreaming about knitting. Do you knit in your daydreams as well?


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065 :: January 2014

So, my intentions of this new year included being more active on the blog. I enjoy reading blogs, I enjoy communicating with other knitters with blogs and I enjoy keeping a record of what is going on in my life. But January did not occur as hoped.

A few weeks ago, I was dealing with some back pain. It was a daily annoyance but I just dealt with it. I had planned on going to the doctor but when I was able to go without taking off from work. While at work one day, I felt a muscle pop…and then I was unable to stand. After this happened, I decided it was time to take myself to the doctor.

They ran an X-Ray and luckily my only problems were muscle related, nothing wrong with my spine. They gave me some medicine, stretches and I scheduled a visit for later this upcoming week.

On Tuesday, it will have been two weeks since I went to the doctor. My back has only just started feeling better the past three or four days. I’m happy that my back is feeling a lot better now. Unfortunately, my back pain has led me to not be able to get in as much knitting as I would like. I haven’t completed anything this past month but I have been working on things, though not a whole lot. One thing I am almost done with I cannot talk about yet. But here are the other things I am currently working on:

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Fruit Stripe Gum in Lollipop Yarns, Dancing Queen

I started this sock in December of 2013. The patter in Fruit Stripe Gum and it is such a fun pattern and really works great with self striping yarns. The yarn is my first skein of Lollipop Yarns¬†and the colors are so much fun! This was definitely one of those “just one more stripes” cases and the pattern was incredibly easy to memorize. I have the first sock done but haven’t felt like casting on a project so the second one has yet to be cast on. Soon.

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Sock 1 of Fruit Stripe Socks done.

I also have a pair of Monkey socks on the needles and two pairs of plain vanilla socks, one of which I am planning on attempting a new heel (short row, I think) to participate in the Eat Sleep Knit challenge on Ravelry (we are supposed to use a new technique). My original plan was to knit two socks at once but I found it too finicky to deal with right now. I would like to attempt it again, maybe when things are no so…crazy.

Since I cannot yet post about the project that has taken up most of my January (soon!) and the other projects are basically hibernating, this is all I have so far. Hoping to get back on track and to get better at recording my knitting life and keeping up to date on blogs.

So, how has the first month of 2014 treated you?


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064 :: New Year, New Goals

As part of the Stockinette Zombies group on Ravelry, I’ve put together some knitting related goals for the new year. In the past, I’ve made Knit x This, Knit X That goals. This year, I’ve made some changes.

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First, I wish to knit more from my stash. I am currently working on projects with yarn that has been in the stash for 4 to 6 months. Having my stash out in the open now has made that easier. Plus, it’s lovely to look at.

Second, to be more thoughtful with yarn purchases. Last year was the first year I had a Big Girl Job and I went a little crazy buying yarn. My goal this year is not to not buy yarn, but to instead really think about my purchases. When I choose a project, I plan on shopping the stash first before heading to my local yarn store or Etsy or hitting up my dealer.

Third, I want to knit more socks. Specifically, for me. I have come to the realization over these past few cold days that I have one pair of hand knit socks for myself. Now, there are three now four socks waiting on a mate and another pair that has a hole that I’m trying to decide if it’s worth mending. I need more.

Fourth, I would like to knit more shawls. With concentrating on socks and shawls, this will aid in bringing down the majority of my stash. And since the majority of the shawls I want to knit (currently obsessed with Lisa Mutch’s newest designs) require more than one color, it should be easy to combine shopping the stash and maybe sneaking in a new skein occasionally.

Fifth, I want to knit more for me. I still want to knit for others because I enjoy it but I don’t have much of my own (two shawls, a pair of socks, a pair of mittens, a handful of hats). I think I need to add more to that. I will still knit for others — I owe people some projects that I haven’t been able to get done because:

Sixth, I want to enjoy my knitting. If a project isn’t fun (and I’m knitting it for me), then I’m done. If I’m knitting it for someone else, I will see it through but I’m going to take my time with it. Knitting takes a long time and I work a lot. I want to spend as much of my knitting time as possible enjoying it.

Along with these things, I’d like to post here more often. I think I need to start making plans for posts instead of just randomly sitting down to write a post. I’d like to update at least once a week, but I’m not going to bother with making specific goals like that. Instead, I’d rather write about things that interest me that I think will also interest you. Plus, I’d like to be better at using Ravelry, updating my stash regularly, keeping up to date on projects, tagging projects better.

How about you? Have you made any resolutions or goals for this new year, knitting related or not?

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