Michael’s mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the next thing I knew there was a shared spreadsheet for us to keep a running wish list. I was having trouble thinking of things to ask for, when I had a lightbulb moment and realized that luxury spinning fibre would be the absolutely perfect present. So I asked for this braid of 50/50 yak/tussah from Greenwood Fiberworks, an Etsy shop that’s been in my favourites for a while.

greenwood-yaksilk3

The gift itself might not have been a complete surprise, but the fibre itself – ohhh, WOW. The pictures don’t do it justice. It is without a doubt the softest thing I’ve ever owned. The sheen of the silk, the soft squishiness of the yak, the way the colours fade into one another… it is simply beautiful.

greenwood-yaksilk2

The hard part will be deciding what to make with it! I want to be deliberate and spin with a project in mind, but so far I’m drawing a blank. Perhaps a cowl like this one would be nice to wear on supercold days (like today, when it’s only 20F/-7C out), or I could spin it in stripes and make long cabled armwarmers?

(Note: pictures are from Greenwood Fiberworks and were used with permission.)

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This is the official end of 2014 tallying-up post!

Pucker Brush BFL

Incoming fibre in 2014:
19 oz Corriedale in a variety of colours, for drum carding
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel, rust and cream
4 oz Coopworth gradient, greens and purples
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, multi-coloured
4 oz gorgeously luxurious YAK AND SILK braid

39 oz

2014_blog-week1

Outgoing fibre in 2014:
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel in blue became 350 yards of two-ply fingering weight.
12 oz Mulberry Fibers (green, pink, and greeny-blue) spun into fingering weight two-ply for a commission.
4 oz Fiber Optic gradient, chain-plied into 152 yards
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, chain-plied into 230 yards
4 oz Sheepish Creations BFL in rainbowy colours, two-ply, 190 yards

32 oz (almost! allllmost!)

online_supersocke_paradise-1444

Incoming yarn in 2014:
11 balls Loops & Threads Impeccable (2112)
2 skeins Cascade 220 (440)
4 balls ONline Supersocke 6-ply (1640)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Vintage (459)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Paradise (459)
1 ball Patons Kroy Socks in Navy (166)
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks Stripes in Rainbow (332)
1 ball Berocco Sox (440)
4 balls Plymouth Monte Donegal (436)
1 ball Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (125)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
3 balls Cascade 220 superwash (660)

32 balls / 7549 yards

Sekrit Sock

Outgoing yarn in 2014:
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for my Fleeps Redux (294)
2 skeins Cascade 220 for Morry and Shirley’s Hats (440)
0.5 skein Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver for Teri’s armwarmers (210)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for the Choppy Seas socks (387)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 for the 1986 Socks (459)
1.5 balls Elann Silken Kydd, sold on Ravelry (348)
2 skeins “Starry Night” handspun, given to Mom (256)
5 skeins KnitPicks Swish Worsted, given to Mom (550)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for Kroy Me a Rainbow socks (387)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)

20.6 balls / 3803 yards (Way more in than out, but only because I bought the afghan yarn and didn’t make the afghan!)

fiber-optics_gradient

The Year in Crafting:
I knit three pair of socks, four hats, and two glove-like things! Not too shabby, eh? They’re all together on a 2014 Projects page. There was a lot of spinning too, and I’m pretty excited to knit some of that up next year. I also made a video about how to do yarnovers!

acres_wild4

Favourite project:
Probably the Acres Wild hat. The yarn called out to me so strongly, and I couldn’t resist buying it. Then I couldn’t resist finding the perfect stitch pattern to show off the variegation, and I couldn’t resist working on the project. The way it all came together at the top makes me grin. And I’m really proud of myself for knitting that bit over and over until I got it just right.

Not to mention raising over $200 for charity with sales of the pattern. That was pretty awesome, too.

snowflake1

Least Favourite project:
I got lucky this year and thoroughly enjoyed everything I worked on. There is no least favourite! …well, maybe the crocheted snowflake. But even that wasn’t really *so* bad.

choppy1

Patterns Published:
Choppy Seas, a textured sock pattern – available for free!
Acres Wild, a hat pattern to break up pooling in variegated yarn.

Last Year’s Resolutions and Plans:
– spin more, YES!
– knit something with handspun yarn, NOPE
– design and publish two new patterns… YES!
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks. I… uh… don’t think I knit more than two stripes on the Stripy Socks.
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks, NOPE.
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase… big fat NOPE.
– get some stock in the Etsy shop. Well, I suppose I could list some of the yarn I spun? I did spin three skeins/twelve ounces on a commission, so that does count as selling some of my handspun, doesn’t it!

Plans for 2015:

They’re just about the same! Let’s see how much I can accomplish:

– spin even more
– knit something with handspun yarn
– design and publish two new patterns
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
– crochet a blanket
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
– knit a sweater
– and, of course, post to the blog more regularly…

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I had the bright idea to crochet a snowflake as a Christmas gift for Michael’s mom, who is a crocheter herself and appreciates these things. So I pulled out the #10 thread and a wee steel hook, and set to work on the Savannah Snowflake, which is a free pattern available on the Snowcatcher website.

It was not an easy project. The thread was slippery, I wasn’t sure about where to place some of the stitches, and the original plan to wrap the flake around a colourful ornament was scuttled when it didn’t turn out to be large enough. But the more rounds I did, the better I felt about how it looked, especially as I worked my way around the final round to create the points of the flake.

The snowflake then took a starch bath. I mixed a quarter-cup of cornstarch into a cup and a half of cold water, and brought it up to heat on the stovetop. It didn’t take long for the mixture to become thick and translucent. When it had cooled down enough to touch, I got the flake thoroughly saturated with the goop, and then patted off the excess with paper towels before pinning it out on cardboard to dry. The next morning, it was completely solid and only a little bit stuck to the cardboard, but it came right off with some help from a kitchen spatula.

Then I completely forgot to take a photo of it before wrapping it up and giving it away. But here it is in its place of honour on the tree:

snowflake1

snowflake2

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The heat exhaust for my laptop is on the left side, and Floyd is a lot less subtle than he thinks about sitting next to it. First he’ll hop up on the table. Then he’ll casually stretch and sit down near the laptop. Gradually, slowly, as he shifts positions, he’ll get closer and closer to the keyboard, until…

floyd-keyboard

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It’s winter, so I’ve swapped out my laptop’s background for something seasonally appropriate!

Floyd is still trying to get as close as possible to the heat exhaust. Me, I’m happy – knitting, beer, internet, and a warm cat. Life doesn’t get much better than that… until the laptop overheats. Maybe I should move the cat.

floyd-helping

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If I leave my phone on the table, a cat will sit on it.

kipling_phone

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With last few purchases of the Acres Wild pattern trickling in, the final total through the end of November was 101 sales (or $200.99). I covered the paypal fees and then some, and sent the donation to St. Baldricks.

st-baldricks

I had no idea what to expect when I released the pattern. Five sales? Ten? Maybe twenty-five, if I allowed myself to think big. So I can’t thank you enough for blowing right past those small hopes and helping me make a significant donation. Our contribution will help make a difference!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. (And happy knitting!)

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Floyd can look so intently at anything but the camera… in this case, I think he had his eye on a squirrel.

floyd_window

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Happy Thanskgiving, one day late, from Floyd and Kipling! I wonder if they know how good they have it, and if they’re capable of being thankful. (I do, and I am – very much so.)

floyd_intense

kipling_intense

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There are only a few days left! Through 30 November, all proceeds from sales of the Acres Wild hat will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.

acres_wild1

We have raised two hundred dollars so far! I honoured and giddily pleased that we’ve come together like this to make such a significant donation. When I send in the money, I will cover Paypal’s transaction fees so that St. Baldrick’s will receive every single cent of your purchases. You sent $1.99, they get $1.99 – not the $1.61 that came through Paypal to me.

I can’t thank you enough for buying a copy of Acres Wild and contributing to the St. Baldrick’s donation! Knitters truly are amazing people.

Get your copy here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat or click here to purchase:

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