Friday, June 29, 2012

Ready... Set...

Tomorrow is the start of the Tour de France, which means it's also the start of the Tour de Fleece! I didn't participate last year, so this will be my first year spinning along.

  As usual, I couldn't do a photoshoot without a cat trying to be in every picture.

I only have a drop spindle, so I only have one braid of fiber I'm going to be working on. I've never really regularly spun, so I'm not sure if a 4 oz. braid is too easy or ambitious. My only real goal for the Tour is to spin 30 minutes a day.

I picked out this braid of Polwarth from Two if by Hand at this year's DFW Fiber Fest for my mom to get me for my birthday. The colorway is called "Whisper," and is a lovely, subtle blue-gray colorway.

I already prepped it a bit by splitting it in half, as I think I'll be doing a 2-ply for this one. Check back tomorrow to see my start of the Tour!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gynx Yarns Picks: Hitchhiker.

I enjoyed picking out yarns I'd use from the Gynx Yarns stash for the Color Affection Shawl so much that I've decided to make it a regular feature around here. This week, I decided to choose which yarns I'd use for the Hitchhiker pattern by Martina Behm. I've already blogged about this pattern here, where I showed the one I knit out of some yarn from this year's Fiber Fest.

The first colorway that popped into my head was Spirited Away #2. What's really great about the Hitchhiker pattern is that the garter stitch helps break up all the colors, and variegated colorways look great in it. This would be a bit of a bright/bold choice, but it would be such a fun piece.

 Changing Foliage would be a very fall-ish choice.

The jewel tones in Jewel Box would make a very luxurious-looking Hitchhiker.

Which colorway would you choose? Or would you pick a completely different colorway from the Gynx Yarns collection?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yarnography: Rubber Gloves.

A day in the life of: My gloves.

Writing out new dye recipes and such.

I bought these gloves when I was still in school, hence my name being on them. A lot of my tools have my name written all over them, and I never had any of them stolen. Success!

So dirty!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

FO: Trillian.

I finally cast this off this past Friday. It was a great project to work on while watching TV or at one of my knitting groups, because I could do most of it without even looking at it.

Pattern: Trillian by Martina Behm
Yarn: Gynx Sock in Totoro #2
Needles: US 3
Ravelry Project Page: Link 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Thoughts on Ravelympics, USOC, and a Funny Cat Picture.

This post will be different from my usual ramblings, but yesterday's news regarding Ravelry's Ravelympics and the United States Olympic Committee are just too big to ignore. All opinions are my own and mine alone. If you disagree with me, that's cool. We can even talk about it if you want @GynxYarns.

For those of you who are tired of the drama or don't really care, here is a complimentary picture of Othello in a funny hat.

 Othello says, "Lighten up, USOC!"

**EDIT** A statement has been released from the USOC, which you can read here.

If you haven't heard yet, yesterday knitters and crocheters created quite an uproar upon reading the letter that was sent to Ravelry regarding their bi-annual event known as the "Ravelympics," which takes place at the same time as the Olympics. You can read the letter and the discussion here on Ravelry, or if you're not on Ravelry, Gawker posted the letter here. Essentially, the United States Olympic Committee is demanding that Ravelry change the name of the Ravelympics.

I'm not going to pretend that I understand all the copyright and trademark legal mumbo jumbo, so I'm not going to even touch on that. What has me upset (and a lot of other crafters) is the hurtful and snotty ways in which they attacked our event and craft. The way this is worded, specifically:

"We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."

In other words, someone trying to knit as many socks as possible for the duration of the Olympic games is an insult to the people with real skill: the athletes.

Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy sports. I support my local teams (I'm wearing a Texas Rangers shirt in that picture above) and my country's teams. Those people do have real skill. And it's inspiring. Inspiring so much so, that it makes those of us in different fields want to push ourselves to be the best at what we do and what we have real skill in. I might push myself just a bit harder in my next workout after seeing an exciting sporting event on TV. A company might use March Madness to inspire a contest amongst salespeople. And the Olympics might inspire two million plus knitters and crocheters to accomplish as much as we can in a few short weeks. We're not making fun of the athletes. We're honoring them.

I have a feeling that if there was a popular online group, say, for running, that had a competition during the Olympics to push their mileage or cut down their best time, and they happened to call this event the "Run-ympics," the USOC would have handled it differently. I'd imagine a shorter letter letting them know that they could not use the name as it is similar to the Olympics, without telling them that they're making the Olympics a joke. 

I want an apology. A lot of us do. And in today's world, with social media what it is, this can become a PR nightmare for the USOC, like the Regretsy vs. PayPal issue at the end of last year. If you agree, use the hashtag #ravelympics on Twitter and get it trending. Let @USOlympic know that you're upset.

If you made it through this whole post, congrats! You've earned another cat picture, this time from the blooper reel:

Come at me, bro.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Knitscene Accessories 2012.

I'm a bit late on this magazine, as I think it came out in May, but I just picked up a copy this past weekend at Barnes & Noble ($14.99). I wasn't sure if I wanted to pick up this copy or not, but I checked out the patterns on Ravelry and fell in love with one of the designs. I decided that I didn't care if I hated everything else, the magazine was worth it for that one pattern.

Once I got the magazine, I was pleasantly surprised. Knitscene really seems to be pushing themselves, and this might be one of their best issues yet. A lot of the photoshoots seem a lot more "high fashion," and although in some instances I don't think it works, it's nice to see that they're trying different things.

I'm only going to feature a few patterns here, but really, there are a lot of beautiful designs. Check out all 35 patterns here.

 First up is the Zora Shawl by Mindy Wilkes. I love the sawtooth edge on this shawlette, and the color it's featured in is right up my ally.

 These are  the Marion Socks by Michaela Moores. Wouldn't these just be perfect worn peaking out from some knee-high boots?

Next is the Aotearoa Beret. The star stitch is beautiful on this. I'll definitely be knitting this up for winter.

 I never really do colorwork, but the Check Slouch by Triona Murphy makes me want to for this hat. It's knit in three colors to make a plaid pattern.

Finally, the whole reason I bought this pattern. This is the Artistida Shawl Alexandra Beck. The blocks of diamond stockinette surrounded by lace, the bobbles, and the fringe are just all perfect (don't tell my weaving professor I'm in love with the fringe!). I was searching in my brain for what fingering weight yarn I have that would work, and then I realized that it needs a bit over 600 yards. I was sad about not having enough in my personal stash (and no real good reason to dip into the Gynx Yarns stash), and then I remembered that I have 800 yards of some wool/cashmere recycled yarn that I dyed an emerald green a long time ago that is a fingering weight. In an emerald color it will be a much bolder piece, but I am very excited about this.

That's only a tiny bit of what this issue has to offer. There are several instructional articles, including colorwork, entrelac, and dropped stitches. There's also a feature on Kim Strang of Imstrang and an article on Green Mountain Spinnery. This special issue costs more than their regular issues, but it is jam-packed with loads of information and beautiful knitwear.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stash Enhancement: MadTosh Sport.

This past Thursday, my friend Lindsay came over to visit and to check out the new MadTosh store. I decided that this would be a good time to buy a sweater's worth of yarn, as I rarely ever do. I looked in my Ravelry queue and the patterns in my library and decided that the Lowry Pullover from Knitscene Fall 2011 would be perfect.

I decided on madelinetosh 80/10/10 sport weight, but then it took me a long time to pick a color. I needed five skeins, and almost all the colors I wanted had only four available at the time. After some help from Lindsay and the women working in the shop, I picked the colorway Rosegold, which is definitely not something I would normally pick.

As the name implies, it's shades of rosey-pink and gold. The more I look at it, the more I like it. I've told myself I can't cast this on until I at least finish my Tempest Cardigan, of which I have the sleeves, button band, and hem left to knit. It will probably be a while. I might cheat a bit though and knit up my gauge swatch before I'm done with it, though.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Gynx Yarns Picks for the Color Affection Shawl.

Chances are, if you're a knitter, and especially if you're on Ravelry, you've at least heard of the Color Affection Shawl by Veera Välimäki. You might also know it as the "Color Addiction" or "Color Infection" shawl, because this pattern has captivated tons of knitters. As of right now, there are over 3500 Color Affection projects listed on Ravelry. I went to a new knitting group at the MadTosh store last night, and there were not one, not two, but three people working on this shawl.

While I haven't been "biten" by the Color Affection Shawl bug, I thought it would be fun to come up with a couple different color combinations using Gynx Sock.

I wanted to pick one set that used some neons, as they seem to be pretty popular right now and I love them. I keep thinking about a shawl using Margarita on the Rocks, especially after Kristen of the Yarngasm podcast used it for her Harmony on the Rocks shawl.

Left to Right: Catbus, Natsu, Ulquiorra

The past week or so I've had fall colors on the brain (which has been coming out in a lot of the colorways I've been putting up lately), and I wanted to build a color scheme around one of my new favorites, Natsu. I liked how it looked with Ulquiorra, even though I used it in the first color combo. After I put this together, I realized they were all anime-inspired yarns, so now it goes together even better.

There are lots of other color ideas I had, but I wanted to try to only pick colorways that I currently had in stock in sock yarn. What Gynx Yarns colorways would you put together for a Color Affection?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Spun Something?

I spun some yarn? I actually worked on this for a while, which it really shouldn't have, as it was less than 3 ounces. I finished plying it and washed it yesterday, so it's finally ready to show off.

The fiber came in two little batts, without much blending between colors. I spun each batt from lightest color to darkest. The way I plied this, the yarn goes from that tan/dark brown to a pink/green, and then back to the tan/dark brown at the end. I think it will probably end up being a cowl (I know, I just said I don't need more cowls). I thought about a hat, but I don't really want the three stripes of color on a hat, I don't think.

Fiber content: Merino, SW Merino, Polwarth, BFL, Tussah silk
Seller: Dripping Fiber Studios (KaleidoscopeKim on Etsy)
Colorway: Dead Until Dark
Weight: Not sure yet, but from eyeballing, maybe about a worsted
Yardage: Approx. 197

Neither cat would let me get many pictures without a face or tail... This one got one of each :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

FO: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret.

On Friday, I decided I wanted to use some of my handspun yarn that's been laying around waiting for a project. I couldn't really decide what to do with the small yardages I had in worsted to bulky weight handspuns. Sure, I had enough to use them for cowls, but I have a lot of cowls and really didn't want to make another one.

Then I thought of hats. I never wear hats, as I didn't think I could be someone that pulled off hats. I've knit a couple, but I never wear them. I don't know why though, but on Friday I decided that I was going to start wearing hats. Therefore, I needed to knit some.

I grabbed some 100% Polwarth that I got from Stone & String Studio at Fiber Fest last year and had spun up, and settled on the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern that so many others have knit and loved. It had been in my Ravelry queue since 2009!

I started the hat on Friday and finished Sunday morning. It was a really fast pattern, and if I had really wanted to, it could have been done in a day. I blocked it around a plate and by this morning it was ready to wear. I don't think I'm going to be wearing it any time soon because of the heat, but I'm very happy with it!

Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Handspun 100% Polwarth (fiber from Stone & String Studio)
Needles: US size 10 & 11
Ravelry Project Page: Link

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 5 WIPs and Gynx Yarns News.

I really only have two things I'm working diligently on. The first is my Hermoine's Everyday Socks in my Another Crafty Girl yarn (Companion Cube colorway). I cast on for the second one today in hopes that I'll avoid Second Sock Syndrome.

The other is my Trillian scarf/shawl, using my Gynx Sock in Totoro #2. I'm loving how this colorway is working up in this pattern.

Now, on to the Gynx Yarns news. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or get my emails, you've already heard that I am moving to weekly updates in my shop, instead of listing a little each day throughout the week. This way, you can check in once a week and not miss anything. Updates will be on Tuesdays at 4:00 pm Central time. The first one is today! It's a smaller update, but here's a sneak peek a few hours early ;)

The update will go live at the Gynx Yarns Etsy shop.

Friday, June 1, 2012

FO: Hitchhiker.

A simple garter stitch shawl, and yet as of the moment I'm typing this, there are 5661 Hitchhiker projects on Ravelry. After knitting it myself, I see why.  It's strangely addicting and simple enough that you don't have to look at the pattern for almost all of it.

It took me almost an entire month to finish this (May 1 - May 30), but really it could have been a much quicker knit if I didn't work on a million things at once. I quite enjoy this little shawl, and I've already cast on the designer's Trillian pattern, which is really quite similar, using my Gynx Sock in Totoro #2. It's looking awesome. 

Pattern: Hitchhiker by Martina Behm
Yarn: Western Sky Knits Aspen w/ Nylon in the colorway Fire Burst
Needles: US 3
Ravelry Project Page: Link