Thursday, October 28, 2010

goodbye Alexandra

Whew, we had birthdays back-to-back and then my best-good yarny friend, Alex, split town forever (?) to move back to Michigan...just in time for winter. Yeah, good luck with that, by the way :)

I spun up a really lovely yarn for her to remember me by, which I was so excited to deliver that I neglected pictures. Again. Perhaps she'll humor us with some in the future, but it was this roving (the blurry one on the bottom, sooo lovely) by local dyer Big Alice.


In return, she gifted me tons and tons of amazing things, including the best ever coat, a brand-new screen printing machine, and a dining room table and chairs...I think I'll keep making yarn for this girl, it pays. But best of all she gave me this beautiful batt she carded up that I've been drooling over for months and months, thanks so much Alex, and I'll miss you for always!


Meanwhile, I have been spinning like there is no tomorrow. I'm ready to take a break soon and knit up some sweaters as it's gotten downright brisk here in the PNW lately, but I have a few more days of hard labor first. And this time, I promise pictures. And selling.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

on sale now...

I love to spin, but once done I am often just as content to send the yarn itself out into the world, with my dearest wishes. Which often means it goes to Twisted, where I sell it. A few of my recent favorites that are there now:

"Wicked", 150yds of worsted/aran that is more silk than wool, and that wool is so soft it might as well be silk. This was a fun one to spin up, especially those bright bits of 100% pure silk. mmmm. A girl could get used to that.

"Beach Glass" (so named by Sorren), 132yds, another 3-ply in a slightly heavier weight out of a beautifully dyed corriedale that blooms and softens into something truly lovely after blocking.

"Pandora's Box", 400 yards of sport/dk weight in a riot of colors. It took a while to get all spun up, but it is a most satisfying skein...

Those are the ones that I reach over to squeeze most often when I'm at work, but I'm also very excited about the things that are on the list for this week (if I have the time...)!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

i heart fiber

No great surprise, I seriously wake up in the morning excited about wool. I recently splurged on The Knitter's Book of Wool and it's like she made that book for me. I want mountains of it, in a dozen sheep breeds, just to play with. If I didn't have a family, I would never leave its side. As it is, it's pretty hard to tear me away.


This happy pile is (most of) my booty from this year's Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, doesn't it kind of make you want to swoon? I definitely had some color themes this year, and it's going to be mighty hard to choose which ones to sell out of that bundle...this cashmere/merino (50/50, i mean really folks, that a ton of cashmere) blend from Lisa Souza in the colorway 'Bhutan' was my only splurge, and I'm saving it for some really dark and rainy winter day.


But surprisingly enough, the one that didn't even make it into a photoshoot until it was already a finished object was this straight up merino by Maiden Skeins I got home, spun up, navajo plied and turned into a hat (with some help from Alex, heh heh) lickety-split. And now it lives on my head (except in pictures, my head doesn't do too many pictures).



That pom-pom is the definition of squoosh. So what's next? Aside from some knitting that may or may not prove to be exciting, perhaps one of these little darlings...


Honestly, a girl can lose sleep over these happy quandaries.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's all about string

It's no exaggeration to say that I've worn this scarf almost every day since I finished it.


It's so eminently wearable, versatile, smooth, and made out of my all-time favorite yarn: Malabrigo sock in Archangel. This yarn was actually the inspiration for the scarf; when I bought it, I kept wearing the naked skein wrapped around my neck because it felt so good and the colors of all those strands was just stunning.


being the self-respecting knitter that i am, that era could not last long (yarn? unknitted! bah!) and String Theory was born. Then friends and co-workers wanted to try it out, too, so it grew up into an honest-to-goodness pattern, with formatting and everything. A heady experience, I tell you what. I'm already on the road again..sshhhhhh. Enough time for that. For now, a word about practicalities.


One of my favorite features of this scarf is its function -- the number of wraps determines its effect, both in style and warmth. And no matter what, it's staying on, none of that Isadora Duncan-style undoing. For all that and its mysterious looks, it's really quite a humble pattern, nothing very fancy about it at all in the making, which makes for some good movie knitting. The transformation is in the bind-off, which kind of is mind-blowing, very caterpillar/butterfly. Written for two gauges, the possibilities are endless; I want to have one out of a dozen different yarns for a dozen different moods. As it is, I'm pretty pleased to have two.


This second one, out of Araucania's sugar cane (!) yarn, Ruca, is definitely much more the diva version. The silky plant fiber is at once cool and insulating, and it somehow feels like water flowing around the neck. And the character of it is so different. Where the sock version is perky, this one is languid.


Incidentally, if you want to get this pattern in your hot little hands, you can do so right here (this technology never fails to amaze) for $6.00 and a little moxie, this scarf can be your best friend, too!

The patterns includes an in-depth phototutorial of that unusual bind-off, and as soon as I wrest the little video I took off Alex's phone, I'll have that up here, too. Until then, enjoy, and happy knitting!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Going live in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Welcome all to the official (half-baked) launch of this website. Thus far my presence on the blogosphere has been concentrated here, which is mostly about my family and the sundries of life. I endeavored to keep my knitting and spinning separate from that space, and the eventual pile-up became Spindleshanks. I also needed a name for selling my handspun yarn and for people to come with questions about my new pattern, String Theory. I shall post more about that exciting little number very soon, I promise, and I even have a multi-media presentation (sounds so posh and pretentious, doesn't it?) to help describe its processes.

Until then, welcome to newcomers and oldcomers and allcomers, and I will try to get all the strange design bugs smoothed out of this site in short order so that we can get down to the very serious business of the fiber arts. And since we cannot leave without a photo, here's one that didn't quite make the cut for the pattern, but deserves its time in the sun: