Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Enter to win a free skein of yarn!

I'm being featured on the Phat Fiber Giveaway! Just read the post on the Phat Fiber blog and leave a comment on it for your chance to win this skein of my handspun alpaca:

Thanks for featuring me Jessie!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Got my April Phat Fiber box!

And I suspect I'm about to add to the unfinished projects list! But it will be fun.

I'll mention some of my favourite items first and then the rest are in no particular order. Everything is lovely!

OK, if someone asked me to pick my favourite five things from this box, they would be the following. If you are trading any of these items from your box, please get in touch with me!

1) "Earth Day" Jacob wool and Firestar from Desert Gardens - a lovely blue, green white and copper firestar batt

2) A green pepper stitch marker from Yarndemon Designs - I don't know why, I just love this little guy! And I don't even USE stitch markers! I think this may be the start of a collection...

3) "Dafodails" batt (wool, mohair, alpaca, bamboo) in green, white and yellow from Silver Sun Alpacas - I hven't spun much alpaca and wasn't hugely keen on what I had spun, but this is a) sparkly and I love anything sparkly, and b) looks to be much easier to work with than the other alpaca I had!

4) Icelandic sheep wool samples from Cedarland Farm - I LOVE natural tones of wool between black and white, and this is a lovely collection of grey, deep brown and light tan.

5) "Greener Pastures" from Moonwood Farm - green batt from reclaimed fibre. Small but adorable! It's like a little Tribble...

OK, in NO particular order - just as I took the pictures - here's everything else!

A red, purple and yellow braid of Merino fibre from Abstract Fiber

"Calypso" purple green and brown merino braid from Greenwood Fiberworks

A green and brown "Ofelia" New Zealand Merino braid from Maude and Me

A bundle of wool/mohair/cotton ticking fibre from Farmgirl Chic

A purple luxury batt, wonderfully packaged, from Zebisis Designs

Dark green yearling mohair from Flying Wright Farm

A very soft silklike yellow/gold bundle from Polyart Design, I'm not sure what it is but maybe it says it inside the label, which I haven't removed yet.

A bright yellow-green variety batt from Serendipity

Green Border Leicester cross locks from Altered Visions

A snowflake-shaped needle gauge from 7 Yaks Design - now traded for more Silver Sun Alpaca fibre!

Knitting-themed notepaper from Becky's Paper Creations

A Phatfiber button that says "You can feel the difference" from Wild Hare Fiber Studio

"Oh My Aching..." salve from Desert Gardens

Cream de Mint Biscotti from Matilda's Italian Cookies

A beaded brown and white stitch marker from In Stitches

And a blue strawberry (blueberry?) stitch marker from Blitzknits!

Click on any of the pics to go to the Flickr page for the photo, where you can enlarge the shot for more detail!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday Update: The Land of Half Finished Projects

I'm sure you can relate to the title of this post.

At this very moment, I have the following projects on. In some cases, on hold.

* knitting imperfect socks from the toe up, a training project. I love how the stripes are turning out. I'm going to look like the Cat in the Hat.

* knitting my Gotland shawl. I can't wait to wear it. But it's still too small. And I need to get a shawl pin. I'm worried that it will end up too heavy to wear. Definitely not lace weight!

* knitting a Fuzzy Mitten lamb. It's all done except for the eyes. I made it larger than usual and I can't find my stash of different-size safety eyes.

* dyeing Shetland fibre. It's cooling in the bathtub. I hope my husband didn't want to take a shower tonight...

* carding Corriedale/Romney cross fibre on the drumcarder. Takes A.G.E.S. I've done about a dozen batts already but it still seems like there's a sheep's worth of fibre left!

* crocheting a blanket in strips. This one has been snoozing for a while. I can't remember what size hook I was using...!

* washing a light brown crossbreed fleece. I got nearly all of it done a few weeks back and ran out of steam....

* my never-ending Irish non-Jumper project. It's been washed, dyed and spun but I haven't found a suitable pattern for the amount of yarn I have! At about 720 yards it certainly won't be a jumper. Curse my bulky-weight spinning!

Whew. I'm going to be a pensioner by the time I finish all the projects I have going on. (Because, of course, I will not learn from this and will continue to add projects.) But it sure is fun!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

spin knit spin knit dye spin fun!

April's Phatfiber samples are starting to turn up in people's photos! It's great fun to see them. Remember, if you received a Sheepshape sample in the April box then you can get a discount on any purchase between now and mid-May by responding to the feedback request on the enclosed card.

And...the MAY samples are already winging their way to Phatfiber headquarters! Nothing like being part of the Phat Fiber contribution team to make the month fly by...

Yesterday I took an advanced sock knitting class at I Knit London where I learned a couple of different ways to start toe-up socks. It was fun, but I think I would have preferred an intensive project workshop like the beginner's class, where we went through the entire process. I struggled a lot with the process at home last night and am also VERY wary about how to deal with the heel when I get that far. But it's good to know how to do the toe at least, and two people at the class admired my sock yarn. I was using a skein which I had dyed myself so I was very pleased about that. It's bright blue and red stripes - click that link for a photo from my Flickr site.

Of course, since it's the weekend, I have also been spinning! Yesterday I finished some lovely lavender and off-white Corriedale two-ply, and today I am working on a wild mish-mash of colours form a bag of waste rovings from a British wool mill. Since it's waste they can't guarantee whether or not the rovings are synthetic, so I'm putting them all together in a completely random way and seeing what happens!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Monday Update

The April Phatfiber boxes have been released into the wild! I have spotted three of my samples in photos so far. I wonder who will get the glowing yarn and the mini sheep...!

This past weekend I refused to leave the house as I was having so much fun spinning, knitting, and dyeing - not in that order though. I have decided to participate in the May Phatfiber box - I should have time to get my samples in if I can finish them up this week - and so I dyed some pencil roving in bright springtime colours for the "Showers and Flowers" theme. I'm not sure whether to call it yarn or fibre though, as it can be spun or knit!

I also finished spinning the spare Gotland fibre that I had around, and have decided to make my Gotland shawl bigger, so I unpicked the castoff row and have been adding length and width to it. I can't get over how much fun it is to work with Gotland. I keep having to stop myself stroking the shawl as I work. Her'es a photo of it from back in's bigger now.

I also managed to get some knitting done and made two more animals for the Sheepshape Shop:

The top one is a sheep made of Corriedale and Merino, and the bottom is a bunny rabbit made from Alpaca. They turned out really well and I will miss them when they go!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

I love Gotland fibre

I love working with Gotland sheep fleece. I really do.

Last night I was spinning up some mid-grey Gotland because I am making more little knitted animals. I decided to make a bunch of sheep for my shop because they have been selling better than the other types of animals. Plus I had nicked a little grey Gotland sheep out of my own shop to keep - technically I suppose I've bought it from myself!

I have finished most of another sheep, but ran out of yarn before finishing so I needed to spin up more. I have the most lovely, pillowy soft Gotland batts from last year's IKnit London show. It's SO nice to work with. I am really glad that I got 1.5 kgs of the stuff at the time! I can't help but stop and touch it while spinning.

Since then I have also managed to get some Gotland roving from an online shop and some scoured locks from a Ravelry trade. Haven't used those yet, but knowing I have more Gotland is making it a little easier to use the stuff from the IKnit show.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Monday Update - the final April preview!

The April Phat Fiber Boxes will be on sale soon! Here are the last preview pics of the items that I sent in. I am really excited and I hope everyone will love their sample items.

First up - the glow in the dark yarn featured on the YouTube video. I wasn't able to send in lots of these but I will aim to have a few sent in every month. These are made of Alpaca:

And finally, we have a little friend for someone! This is a sheep made of sock yarn, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. He's got BIG ears and is the only Big-Eared Pocket Sheep I have ever made.

I spent the long holiday weekend working on a ton of spinning, dyeing and knitting, which is why the Monday Update is a little late. There's several new things in the Etsy shop, though, and more animals will be going up soon!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Monday Update - Phat Fiber peeks, and my house smells of sheep.

I have had a large black plastic bag in the bathroom closet for nearly a year, so yesterday I figured it was well past time to take care of it. I knew it was from Wonderwool Wales in 2008 but couldn't remember what was in it, so I was looking forward to the surprise!

It turned out to be a large crossbreed fleece, a lovely midbrown colour. Here's a pic from Wales when I got it:

It's the big one on the bottom right.

I spread the whole thing out on the bathroom floor yesterday (my husband is so understanding!) and started trimming and sorting it. I have washed about half of it now; I had to stop yesterday because I ran out of places to dry it! I'm still depending on the radiators for drying, and with the warmer weather they don't kick in till about 7 PM. I'm hoping to be able to finish the rest of it tonight.

As it's Monday here is the next round of sneak peeks for the April Phat Fiber box! If you're not already on the mailing list to find out when these go on sale, pop over to and sign up!

Today I'll be showing you some more yarn samples and some crocheted goodies:

These samples are spun from the same green merino rovings that some of you will be receiving in your boxes. The roving samples were shown on March 16th.

And these are a bit of fibery goodness to keep with you all day long!

Crocheted star keychains made of handspun yarn. Two of them also glow in the dark! They're about 2 inches across, if I recall correctly.

The April box isn't even out yet and I need to do my May samples, though! The May theme is Showers and Flowers and I suspect most of my Easter weekend will be spent preparing for it.