Dec 28
2015

Christmas spinning

I feel like I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can give away my handspun. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely useable, and it’s fun to share! This Christmas, two of our friends/staff got a skein of my handspun.

The first was 155 yds of bulky faux cashmere that I dyed myself – my first time dyeing fibre! I actually really love the faux cashmere; it’s insanely soft when not overspun. Unfortunately, in this skein, I got a little overzealous on the plying so it’s slightly overplied, and therefore not quite as soft. It still looks good, and hopefully the tighter ply will mean it’s easier to work with for Danielle – she’s fairly new to crochet, so splitty yarns are still a challenge. Here are the pics – from fibre to yarn.

1st ply 2nd ply

My second handspun gift this Christmas was for Sarah. I had planned the blue Louet Northern Lights skein for her, but her challenge for 2016 is to only acquire yarns that are local, traceable, and/or untreated, so I adjusted my gift accordingly. I had just picked up some untreated, natural oatmeal coloured BFL, so the timing was great. I really focused on not overspinning this one – no one wants wiry BFL yarn. It was a little tougher than I typically find BFL, so I’m not sure if it was the lack of processing for superwash treatment, or just that this top was more open/combed more thinly than I’m used to, but it turned out well in the end, I think. I lost a fair bit to sampling as I figured out how to spin it without it drifting apart on me, but in the end, I got 155 yds of bulky out of this one, too. And it’s not overspun! Actually, there are a couple of areas that are slightly underspun, but I hope it will be enjoyed nevertherless. Here it is:

100% natural untreated oatmeal colour BFL

Nov 9
2015

Spin, spin spin!

Things have been crazy since we moved to Dawson, and there’s been little time for blogging, but I have been doing lots of spinning lately, so thought I would start keeping a bit of a log here again. This first post will be a little picture heavy, as I’ll include some of my recent favourites.

This was the first major spinning project I was actually happy with. It’s just over 300 yards of chain plied natural Jacob. The “joins” of the n-ply are pretty visible, but less so than my previous attempts, so I was pretty pleased. I also learned that I really don’t love Jacob with this one, or at least not spun in this fashion. It did make a nice hat, though, and while it’s not soft at all, it’s not really scratchy either, so maybe I’ll make a pair of thrummed mitts with the remaining yarn.

This year’s Tour de Fleece was when I really got back to spinning, though. I finally fixed my wheel, and when I went back to it, was reminded how zen spinning can be for me.

I started out with these skeins, made from Louet Northern Lights wool top. I love the ease of drafting this stuff, and the colours look great, even just spinning end to end, with no colour management at all. The first skein ended up being just over 200 yards of sport weight, and the second one is about 370 yds of DK. Still waffling on whether to keep one of these for myself, gift it or bring it to the shop.

I’m really proud of this one. While I’ve dyed lots of yarn before, I was always afraid of dyeing fibre (either of felting it, or having it drift apart). A friend recently started crocheting, and just loves it, so I decided I wanted to spin something for her. She loves and appreciates handmade gifts, so I was thrilled to find something I could make that she would be able to use and enjoy. She can’t do wool at all, so I tried my hand at dyeing some faux cashmere I had on hand, then spinning it. I dyed one braid in a lighter blue with lots of white, and a second in a darker blue with a little white, then plied them together. At 140 yards for a 170 gram skein, it’s not nearly as much yardage as I had hoped. I guess I squished a lot of air out as I spun, so it’s super dense (170 grams, and 140 yards but it’s somewhere between aran and bulky weight). It turned out fairly well, though, so I think she’ll love it.

This fibre was a Ravelry destash purchase. I had wanted to try Polwarth, so jumped in despite the exchange rate. I was disappointed when I got the parcel, as the colour was quite different than the photo I had seen, but still was excited to try the Polwarth. Until I started trying to spin it. It was horribly compacted and hurt to spin. I was a little shocked given how wonderful everyone said it was. I kept working on it, and in the end. I’m pleased with the results. The colour has grown on me, and my spinning and plying are getting a bit better with each new skein. This ended up being about 180 yards of aran-weight, so definitely a useable skein. I even bought some more Polwarth (which is beautifully soft and uncompacted, to try again).

This one was supposed to be cheap learning fibre, just to learn a new technique with, but I liked it so much, I decided to keep the skein. I wanted to spin a less dense yarn, and decided to try spinning woolen (or as close as you can get when starting with top). This was Cheviot I got on sale (less than $1/oz)! Given how rough and wiry the fibre felt, I was shocked at how nice the end yarn was. Yay for semi-woolen spinning, and not overplying! It made a huge difference, so I’ll definitely be using this technique for other spinning projects, too. The yarn is a super squishy, and quite soft, bulky to super bulky yarn; it actually feels softer than it did as loose top/fibre. I’m thinking it may become a hat.

And this one is my absolute favourite. I just finished it tonight, and I’m in love. I won the fibre in a Ravelry spinalong challenge – a 5.4 oz braid of Targhee, which I had never tried before. I think it may be my new favourite. It’s as soft and drafts as easily as BFL, but has much more sproing to it. Soooo squoodgy! And I love the colours, both in the fibre itself, and how they play together in the yarn. It’s probably my best yet, so part of me wants to bring this one to the shop, but I kind of want to keep it all for myself!

 

Oct 6
2012

It’s a good day to dye!

We took over the roommie’s mother’s house while she was away and had a few friends over. It was a blast! We brought all our dyes and a bunch of mini-skeins of yarn, and told everyone to just have fun. No technical dyeing workshop here, just a bunch of friends hanging out over a some stock pots, mason jars and a microwave. Here are some of the spoils:

 

Aug 24
2012

Stash Swaps

Have you been involved with a stash swap before? I participated in one in Calgary, and loved it, so we decided to host one ourselves this year. What a blast!

We took over the shop on a Sunday afternoon while it was closed, and gave everyone a table (or two, or three… apparently I have a large stash). It was all very casual, and we chatted and bartered and pet and squished and oohed and aahed, and it was awesome! I walked away with an entire vacuum storage bag less of yarn (yay for much needed space regained), a fair wad of cash from people who just shopped rather than swapping, and several new skeins of yummy yarn!

I finally get to try some Madelintosh Vintage, which I’ve been eyeing for a year now. I’ll need to find the perfect project first, but that was the trade I was most anticipating (isn’t stalking friends’ stashes on Ravelry fun)?! I also picked up several sock and shawl fingering wreight yarns. Lately, though, I’ve been in the mood to knit larger, simpler projects, so I also picked up a few skeins of Mirasol Sulka. I think the most surprising swap was probably 250 grams of bright tonally variegated green laceweight that I had originally traded with the roommie last year, and traded back for this year. See… I have this plan. I’ve had a vision of a bright green and black scarf or shawl. I’m thinking Stephen West’s Daybreak (or possibly his Clockwork). I may be insane for trying it in laceweight, but I don’t need a big shawl, so I think it will work out… and I can’t wait to cast on!

Aug 22
2012

Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere!

Well, our fall fair ended a week or so ago, and I didn’t even update you guys on all the fall fair knitting!

Last year, we were sad as we walked around and saw very little knitting, and some categories with no submissions at all. This year was a different story! One of our knit night regulars lit a fire under us all to submit tons of projects, and it worked. There were about twice as many items entered, and most of them were projects we recognized from our own knit night! It was so fun to look at all the ribbons and prizes, many for people from our knit night, and even some from the new knitters we taught this fall! I won in the handspun knits category for the Amanda hat in my previous post, as well as coming in second for a yarny christmas ornament, but nearly every category was won by one of our ladies or gentlemen! I think the best part for me personally, though, was to see one of our regulars from knit night win the socks and mitts category, since we provided the gift basket for that one from our shop!

Jan 9
2012

It’s a new year…

Time to turn over a new leaf… or an old skein. I don’t normally do the whole “New Year’s resolutions” thing, but this year, I’ve decided to take more time for crafts and blogging. I’ve also decided that I need to tackle some of my oldest UFO’s. To motivate me toward that end, I’m only allowing myself to start a new project once I’ve finished (knitted or ripped out) at least one old one. So… you may begin to see lots more photos and posts about old projects I started years ago. And a few new ones! Or perhaps posts about my forays into teaching knitting and crocheting, or even a few designs that have been stewing in my brain for a while. Mmm… brains! Well, that’s it for now! See ya soon!

Oct 21
2011

It’s snowing!

You know what that means, right? Knitting season is officially here!

Oct 20
2011

Knitting Classes… and more!

We just started our second Knitting 101 class at the shop this past week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy seeing new people get into knitting. It was so much fun. As our friend Anne puts it, we have to “keep spreading the virus”!

The class was an absolute blast. It’s a larger class this time around, so I recruited perian to help, and it was a great success. I can’t wait for Monday to roll around again! I also got to rave about Ravelry as part of the class, which is awesome in all sorts of ways. I think the best part was how enthusiastic everyone was. We provided a 50 gram ball of yarn to start, and one student asked if she knit the whole thing between the first and second class, whether she should tear it all out or if she could get more yarn. Hmm… I sense a challenge! Actually, all the ladies caught on really well, and everyone was laughing all evening, so it was a really fun evening.

Some of our knitterly friends have also been listening to us drop hints about new things happening at the shop. Faking Sanity, which started as hand-dyed yarns and knitting accessories before it was a bookstore/cafe, is returning to its roots. We’re just waiting on our last shipments to arrive, and in the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out our new yarn and knitting section! We’ll have an assortment of sock and lace weight yarns to start, from pretty but basic Araucania Ranco, to luxurious Malabrigo, to yarns with a more modern twist, such as Tofutsies, or Austermann Step, which is infused with aloe and jojoba. And lots more to come, so stay tuned! We’ll also be carrying an assortment of interchangeable circular needle styles, dpns and crochet hooks. The most exciting addition to the needles for me, though, is the cubic circular needle. I just played with a sample one for a bit last night, and I think I might love it!

We’ll be posting an announcement once we launch this, but wanted to give our loyal readers the opportunity to hear it here first!

In somewhat related news, we’ll be starting a Ravelry group for the shop to discuss all things knitterly, so let us know if you would like an invite to the group once it’s up and running.

Sep 8
2011

Faking Sanity has Knitting Accessories Once Again!

We try to keep this blog to our crafty sides, rather than cluttering it with our business stuff. However, since Faking Sanity first started as hand-dyed yarns and knitting accessories, we thought this one might fit here as well as on our business blog.

While the Faking Sanity Yarns are taking a back seat right now due to the time it takes to run the Faking Sanity bookstore/cafe, there is still knitting!

We’re currently planning our second Knitting 101 class to take place this fall, we have a weekly Knit Night that is slowly growing, and we’ve even got a few skeins of Faking Sanity yarns. But the big news? The BIG news? You can now get Namaste bags in Dawson Creek! Our first shipment flew out the doors, but we’ve gotten a new shipment this week, and we’ll have more again by the end of the month. Here’s a sneak peek at a few:

So, if you’re in Dawson Creek, why not hop over to our store blog or Facebook page and stay up to date on the new stock as it arrives… or pop in and have a look for yourself.

Oh, and I’ve been knitting too! I’ve started a Koolhaas for my dad. I had forgotten how much I love this pattern. This one will have slightly softer lines due to the use of handspun yarn, but now that I’m starting with row 1 of the pattern (don’t ask!), it’s looking great. I’ll try to have pics for you once I get home from tonight’s knit night.

Jun 21
2011

A little yarn bombing and WWKIPing

We decided to subtly introduce the city of Dawson Creek to the art of yarn bombing! Have a peek.

These flower boxes outside the store normally have ceramic gnomes and mushrooms. They gained a few knit flowers for the event, as well as a knit mushroom. There was also a giant crocheted snail in the window just behind them (left inside due to the fact that it was on loan from a knit night regular, and that we weren’t sure whether it would start raining during the event).

Inside the store we had several vases of knit flowers, as well as many knit items on display, loaned from our personal project stashes, and those of our regular knit night attendees. Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of those onto this computer yet. I could have sworn I had, but I guess I’ll just post those pictures in a new post later. The mushroom and most of the flower vase flowers were done by blog co-author Perian and I, while the flowers and snail in these two pictures were done by our most regular knit night attendee, who had never heard of yarn bombing, but was thoroughly enjoying it!

We also bombed the tree outside the store. Pretty small scale as far as yarn-bombing is concerned, but you should have seen the stares and laughs as people saw it! I think it was a success for this small city! Here’s a wider shot of the whole tree. There’s a crocheted wrap for the tree trunk (in red and black, of course!) and an assortment of leaves, flowers and butterflies. Many of the leaves were green, so not very visible now that the tree actually has leaves. We also did a wrap and butterfly for the lightpost on the corner, but they were taken down before I had a chance to get a picture.

And here’s a close up of some of the flowers and butterflies in the tree. You can also see a leaf  and finger-knitting strand ( knit by our youngest WWKIP attendee – 6 year old Seby) in the background.

Jan 21
2011

patterns and knitting

I have been looking at Ravelry a lot lately since I need stuff to do while stuck at home because of the snow and have finally decided on buying a few patterns. I decided on buying the Pole pattern and a toy pattern Carmel the little Spanish girl I can’t wait to start knitting them. I have the yarn for the sweater though I have to spin it into balls to use which I will more them likely do tomorrow after the house work. It will be nice to sit and relax with some great yarn and a nice pattern to get into. It will be just like Saturdays I used to have in Calgary knitting and watching TV, though I will be on my own not with the Dork squad. The other crafters I know here don’t knit, they do other crafts so a stitch’n’bitch isn’t possible and they don’t really live near by so it makes it even harder. Oh well knitting doesn’t have to social, I would just prefer if it were.

Nov 9
2010

christmas knitting

I am starting with my christmas knitting finally I am making my family back home super simple slippers for christmas they are quick easy and exactly what my whole family needs. Hopefully I can finish all of them in time to send off and have them arrive in time for christmas.

Aug 14
2010

What’s going on?

Well, the only knitting I’ve managed to get in lately is about half a coffee mug sleeve/cozy. Why? Our new shop is very slowly taking shape!

Jul 6
2010

New beginnings

You may have noticed an absence of knitting or knit bloggin on my part of late.

I am still knitting and dyeing yarn, though to be honest, I haven’t done so in the past two weeks at all. What has captured my attention so fully? I am starting a business with a friend, whom you may know as perian (a co-author on this blog). The business will be a used book store/coffee shop, with a knitting group and perhaps a place I can sell my yarn, should i find time to dye more.

We’ve thought about a business in the past, but it was always a “pie in the sky” scenario. In the past two weeks, we went from not even thinking about it, to having discussed nearly all aspects of this business, including funding, marketing, stock, daily operations – you name the topic, we have a list with thoughts about it.

So, being the geeks that we are, we’ve decided to start blogging about the process of planning and starting our new business. Please check us out there if you’re interested in this not-quite-so-crafty side of our lives – the blog is at http://www.faking-sanity.net. Come check us out!

Jul 3
2010

Finally done

I finally finished the shawl there was quiet a bit of ripping back and starting over but it is finished I just have to block and take pictures of it to show you all

May 25
2010

first attempt

Well I’ve been thinking about trying to make a shawl for the longest time now and I finally broke down and found a pattern that I think may be simple enough for me to do without screwing up too many times. I already had to restart it once because I couldn’t find were I had dropped a stitchand have gotten only as far as the first part of the shawl, pretty close to knitting into the chart pattern soon so I will post pictures when that gets started.

Apr 17
2010

I’m still here

I finally got to go to a great real yarn shop again, now that I am working and got my income tax check back I had a bit of  extra money that I could spend. I decided to find a list of good yarn shops in Toronto that I could visit and when we went last week I walked into my new favorite yarn shop The Purple Purl. Coincidentally it happened to be one of the yarn shops that Amy Swenson teaches at and I had just missed her when I walked in. I wish I were closer to Toronto so that I could go there more often I am going to have to settle with going every couple of months to pet the pretty yarns even if I can’t buy any. Can’t wait to go back .

This is it:  http://www.thepurplepurl.com/

Feb 6
2010

See?

It’s here! I was a good girl this year, and Santa brought me something so big it took over an extra month to get here!

lazy kate

No, no. That’s not the big thing… that’s just my pretty new lazy kate and some extra bobbins… This is the big thing:

Mach II  - partly assembled Mach II - back

I just need to find some plyers to get the e-clip off so I can attach the flyer assembly, then throw the washers and eclip back on, and we’re ready to roll! Err… spin!

Feb 4
2010

Can you guess?

I got a package today. This was part of the contents. Can you guess what it was?

surprise

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Jan 24
2010

Sommersaults and Lost Projects

Well, the project from the last post will forever remain a WIP. On a trip to see the Snowed in Comedy Tour, we rolled our car, and my knitting bag was found, but my knitting remained somewhere near Ponoka… Sad, I really liked the project. I may have to try it again out of my Handmaiden Sea Silk.

On the “upside”, we were incorporated into two separate comedians’ sets. The evening highlight was at the end of the evening, when we got to meet Ed Byrne, who asked again to make sure we were all ok. Sweet, and a funny, funny man. See?

Snowed in Comedy Tour 2010

Of course, the wine, painkillers and A535 when we got back to the hotel room were also welcome, and possibly, just as big of a highlight.

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