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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Working my way through the fibre stash, since I put some onto my Christmas wishlist…

First, I wanted to spin something cheerful! I picked this BFL from my fibre stash; it’s from Sheepish Creations. The look of the heathered BFL really appealed to me! This picture is from Sheepish Creations; I forgot to take my own pic of it but my braid was considerably more rainbow-ish than the pictures led me to believe. I liked it anyway, fortunately! It was just a little surprising when I opened up the braid.

sheepish-creations_seafoam_bfl

I didn’t want a rainbow gradient yarn, so I tore the fibre in half and spun it so that I wouldn’t get too much colour matching. It worked out pretty well, coming out to 190 yards of two-ply yarn. The colours are toned down without getting muddy; they’re still bright and cheerful.

sheepish-creations_seafoam

After that, I wanted to spin some more BFL. I went for a bag I’d picked up at MDSW this past year, eight ounces of pencil roving from Pucker Brush Farm. I just couldn’t resist these stormy-sky colours, and the price ($20) was excellent as well. Last year I spun up some merino pencil roving that I’d gotten from them, and I’m planning to pick up another bag next year.

Pucker Brush BFL

Unlike the merino, I went for a slightly thicker yarn this time. I didn’t try to split the fibre into thirds; I just grabbed bits of it from the bag and spun until I had one very full bobbin and one about a third full. Then I chain-plied it all together, which went surprisingly quickly, and came up with a 230-yard skein. It’s squishy and pretty and some of my favourite colours put together.

pucker-brush-farm_stormy

I should probably start making some plans for some of this handspun. I’d thought to sell some of it on Etsy, and I may yet try that. It’s accumulating considerably faster than I can knit it! Spinning is so meditative, and the yarn seems to be a byproduct of that practice. I’ve only knit up a few projects with my own handspun, but I’d definitely like to work on some more. As nice as it is to wear handknits, it’s even nicer to wear handspun handknits!

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I don’t know for sure that it was Kipling who befouled my couch-pillows with the contents of his stomach, but I’d lay odds that of the two cats here, it was the spotted one. As a result, I had to bring out the backup pillows… and it didn’t take long for Floyd to sit on them, despite their odd shape and his relative discomfort.

floyd_pillow1

floyd_pillow2

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Last year at Rhinebeck, after much waffling about which colourway to get and whether my spinning skills would do justice to the beautifully prepared fibre, I bought this braid from Fiber Optic.

2013_rhinebeck_fiber_optic_gradient

It was an absolute pleasure to spin. Rather than going for a laceweight, which seems like the popular thing to do with gradients like this, I spun and chain-plied 152 yards of yarn as a slightly thin worsted weight; it looks similar to the grist of Cascade 220, but feels denser and less fuzzy due to the silk content.

fiber-optics_gradient

One reason that these gradient braids lend themselves to lace spinning and shawl knitting is that the length of each section of colour isn’t equal. There’s a lot less of the lighter aqua than the darker shades. If I were knitting a crescent shawl starting from the center, the stripes of each colour would come out approximately even as each row would take up more yarn.

Fiber Optics Gradient

Instead, I decided to knit a hat from the top down, something I’ve never done before. I looked at patterns on Ravelry, but nothing really jumped out at me to say “This yarn needs to be THIS HAT.” So, I opened up Excel and began to chart out the pattern for my next hat design. That meant delaying the pleasure of casting on for a new project, but ultimately I think I’ll be happier with something I’ve designed myself! It will be slightly textured for interest, but not so complex as to hide the beautiful gradient of colours. Maybe I’ll even put a pom-pom on top! I think I’ll call it the Rego Park Hat, after the place I was born… even if I only lived there for six months.

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As I said a few weeks ago, I’ve learned to keep the guitar case closed. Still, it attracts a cat every time it’s out.

floyd_guitarcase2

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