Back in Bloomington!

Sorry for the radio silence, but I’m pleased to say that I’m back in Bloomington! It’s been a couple of extremely hectic days, what with the 30+ hours of flying, packing for a move as soon as I landed, and the move itself. 90% of the house is organized as it should be, but as with any move, the organizing has revealed to me a bunch of projects and other endeavors that I had given up on and stashed away out of sight for months.

Not even 20% of the stash…

One of the more daunting things on my to-do list is organizing my giant stash of embroidery floss and sewing thread. A few years ago while visiting my fiance’s family, I mentioned that I was interested in learning how to embroider. So naturally I went back home with grocery bags and cookie tins PACKED with vintage threads and floss! I was a little overwhelmed at the time and didn’t have a whole lot of time, so it went to the bottom of my closet. It wasn’t until last week when I was putting things away from the move that I rediscovered the enormous pile, and I finally mustered up the courage and fortitude to tackle the mountain 3 days ago. I’ve got most of the DMC floss wound up into bobbins with labels, though there are a few that are missing the numbers. I’ll have to figure something out with those.

Another thing I have to do is process some fleeces and fiber. When I returned from my holiday, I found that I had acquired quite a bit of fiber during my absence. So far I have one giant garbage bag full of alpaca, and an entire alpaca fleece…and apparently there is more waiting for me to pick up! While I have some experience spinning fiber into yarn, I have never processed fiber, let alone an entire fleece, into spinnable roving, so this should be an interesting experiment. I do have a friend who has invited me over to use her giant automatic carding machines though, so it would be an understatement to say that I am excited about the whole thing.

I also have a couple of commissions to work through. For those of you who don’t know, tablet weaving is another one of my fiber-related hobbies. A lot of my clients are people who are into the hobby of historical reenactment, and it is my job to look at photos of artifacts and attempt to replicate them in weaving. This pattern is based off of a find from the Sutton Hoo site, and it was a lot of fun to figure it out! Now I just have to weave 6+ yards of the stuff…easier said than done, but it makes me happy to know that other people enjoy my work as well.

I also have another knitting commission, and am also working on a project for myself. I am making a pullover for myself, and it will be a lot of “first”s for me: my first cabled garment, my first pullover sweater, my first project incorporating short rows, and my first project using the provisional cast on. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, such as “Don’t attempt cables at 2AM when you’re extremely sleep-deprived”, but I’m taking this chance to learn many more skills that will be important for me to have as an aspiring Master Knitter.

While tackling all of these projects, I have been listening to a lot of various podcasts to keep me company. So far I’ve listened to the Knitmore Girls and Owl About Yarn, though I’ve also received recommendations of other knitting-related podcasts from my friends. What are your favorite podcasts to listen to? Do let me know in the comments section.

As always, thank you for sticking with my blog, in spite of my frequent bouts of hiatuses. Hopefully I’ll be better about maintaining a regular posting schedule (those podcasts are really inspiring!).

Signing off,
Marie

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Fiber Sunday and Anniversary Party at In A Yarn Basket

This Sunday was a double event at my local yarn store; their monthly Fiber Sunday and their Anniversary Party! In A Yarn Basket is my favorite LYS, even if it is further from my home than the other one. Everybody I have met there is super friendly, the store is inviting, and there is a Starbucks just across the road so I can stay caffeinated (even though most of the time the store gives me coffee!).

Today, a friend of mine brought two of her wheels in with her for us to play around with. A larger Canadian production wheel that spun like a race-car, and an adorable and tiny parlor wheel from the late 1800s! The production wheel was much too fast for me, so I got to play with the antique, which spun beautifully.

Another one of my friends took this video of me spinning some mystery fiber on the parlor wheel. As you can see, it needs a lot of pedaling to get going, but it was still a lot of fun!

In addition to all this spinning, there were cookies and cold cuts and cheese to enjoy, as well as door prizes for the anniversary. Guess who won the grand prize???

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Not only is this an awesome knitting/spinning bag, this bag grants me 10% off any purchases I make in the store for the rest of 2016! And for somebody who buys as much fiber stuff as I do, that’s a big deal 😉

In addition to all of that, everybody was given one free sample bag of fiber to spin. I picked up some cotton for myself, as I’ve never spun any plant-fibers, and wanted to give it a go. It’s a gorgeous brown color, and I’ll probably write more on my experience spinning that at some point later on.

Today was definitely a great day, filled with lots of fiber, friends, and coffee. And if you’re ever in Bloomington and are looking for a great little yarn store, definitely check out In A Yarn Basket!

Signing off,
Marie

What Have I Been Up To…?

Apparently it’s been 22 days since my last blog post. Oops! I’ve been so crazy busy with school that I haven’t had time to write anything. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to anything though…here are just some of things I’ve been up to!

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Spring has been fickle here in Bloomington. While it is here though, we have been getting lots of lovely dandelions in our front yard for my tortoise to munch on.

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When I’m not in school, I’ve been at my LYS, working on my lace-weight cardigan. It’s my first large garment, and it’s in lace-weight, so it is taking a while. But I only have half a sleeve and the collar to do and then I’ll be done…just in time for summer!

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I’ve also been buying more yarn (that I arguably don’t need…) from the Farmer’s Market. There is a lady here that sells lovely 100% alpaca yarns, and I think I will be working on a simple slouchy beanie with this.

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Don’t forget the delicious coffee breaks between knitting and studying…

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And decorating cookies with some kids I’m babysitting…

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In between working on the cardigan, I also started on a new pair of socks. I’m hoping to get them done by the end of April so I can participate in a KAL drawing, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m not going to worry too much. Pattern is Hermione’s Everyday Socks, and it can be found for free on Ravelry.

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And finally, a little bit of upcycling! A particularly nasty storm last week snapped my favorite umbrella in half. It was one I bought while in Japan with my mum, at the onsen in Hakone, so I was reluctant to throw it all away. So, with a little bit of craftiness and Google on my side…behold! Another tote-bag to join my growing collection of tote-bags. 🙂

Well, hopefully you all will be seeing me on a more regular basis. No promises though, at least not until May when I’m done with the Spring semester.

Signing off,
Marie