Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Know It's Not Christmas

I've had little time for knitting these past few days, but I have managed to find time to start work toward a new project. I've been itching to do some Fair Isle lately so I decided to do a pair of socks.

I know it isn't Christmas or anywhere close, but I happened to have some nearly solid red, green and white yarn leftover from my Christmas sock yarn sets, so I used some of this to swatch. These won't be the final colors, so the actual project will look quite different. I just couldn't wait to custom dye the yarn before beginning the design work.

After playing around with a number of design choices, the partial design above is what I think I've settled on. There's more patterning still to be knit on this little sample and I also have a special little something I'm considering doing for the foot.

It's been quite a while since I've done any color work, so even the testing and swatching is great fun and a nice change. I'm starting to envision how the actual sock will look in the colors I'll be dyeing for this project and it's got me excited to get started.

Not much knitting to share, but hey, what can I do? You can cut me some slack. I'm a busy gal! In fact, after a usual day's work yesterday, I was out in my yard shoveling dirt with my husband until dark. He's got a new project going that required we level a corner of the yard that had a big mound. He rented a rototiller and then we spent the evening shoveling dirt and carting it to a temporary dumping ground in a wheelbarrow. (Perhaps that explains why my hands looks an awful lot like the infamous Seinfeld "man hands" in the photo above.)

Between the physical exertion involved in dyeing, the walks and romping with the new puppy, and now this shoveling extravaganza, I have just one question: When exactly did I become a manual laborer?

Ah well. 'Tis good for me, I suppose.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blue Monkeys

For today's customer project feature, I have a smashing pair of Monkey Socks knit by Vickie.

Vickie used FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Clarity colorway (color not available at the moment, but perhaps to return at a future date). Here's a closeup so that you can see every perfect little stitch:

Simply fabulous socks! You can see more of Vickie's lovely work on Ravelry, where she is knestaut.

Those are also FF Aromatic Cedar Sock Blockers that Vickie used to model her Monkey Socks. Some of you may recall that my husband (the maker of the blockers) was out of commission for a while with an injury to his hand. I've received e-mails from several of you inquiring about how his recovery is going, so thought I'd let you all know that all is well. He is out of his splint and back to work. He has almost full mobility back in his fingers and although there is still some pain, he's well on his way to being 100% again.

It was a great motivation for him to get cranking on more blockers when he saw Vickie's gorgeous socks displayed so proudly on the blockers, along with a lovely note she sent to me about how much she likes them.

A big Thank You to Vickie for sharing her beautiful project photos!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If I Win the Lottery

We've all played the game. You know the one: "If I win the lottery . . . "

It usually starts with a few quick, warm-hearted, altruistic thoughts and then proceeds to the real fun. Thoughts of financial security. Working only if one chooses. A dream home. Travel. Whatever one's own fantasy life may be.

For me, the If I Win the Lottery game is pleasant but shortlived. I'm a simple gal and really don't have any grand dreams for material things. Don't get me wrong. I'd be thrilled to win the lottery and I'm sure I would find some incredibly frivilous ways to spend some of the money. But I don't dream of owning a mansion or a Rolls Royce or fabulous jewelry or any such thing. I'd likely travel a bit, but I'm mostly a homebody and don't really enjoy travel much.

There is one luxury, however, that I would want if I won a honkin' big lottery. I would want to hire someone to do a bit of light housekeeping and cooking. I hate cleaning and I'm a terrible cook. I wouldn't need someone to do everything for me, but a bit of help in those areas would be a dream.

I now have one more thing to add to the list of tasks for this dream employee. I can see the ad now: Housekeeper Plus Wanted. Duties include light housekeeping, occasional cooking and other miscellanous duties. Must have impeccable references. Must be experienced with and enjoy weaving in yarn ends.

Oh my, how I hate weaving in ends! And I just wove over 200.

At long last, I finished up the Ripple Stitch Afghan that I started a year ago. I made this at my husband's request and had intended on finishing it for this past winter. I came close in December when I put myself on a strict "no new project" rule for the month and made good progress on the afghan in that time. But then I fizzled. I faltered. I slowed. And then stopped.

It's wasn't the knitting that got me. It was the mere thought of finishing the knitting and facing weaving in all of those ends. There are five colors in each repeat of the ripple stitch, which means 10 ends to weave in for each repeat.

I did a few here and there along the way and should have forced myself to do all of them that way, but I was living in some sort of knitterly denial. It won't be so bad. It will be much quicker if I do it all at once at the end.

It's done now and I'm very glad to have it behind me. Whew.

On a side note, if you're wondering about the little creature in the photo, that's Indie. He's the new love of my life. We got him two weeks ago at a local shelter. He's about 4.5 months old or so and he's the world's best puppy. My new best friend.

I've wanted a dog for such a long time, but never had the right set up. At last, with our new home, the time was right. My workshop and inventory are completely separated from the rest of the house, so the dog has no access at all. We have a nice sizable yard that's fully fenced. I'm home almost all the time. At last, it was time for a dog. We searched quite a while and met many before we found Indie. We knew immediately that he was the right dog for us and brought him home a few days later. He's already settled right in as one of the family.

But don't worry. I won't be giving up knitting lace and socks and winterwear in favor of doggy sweaters! Not my style. I promise.

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Abundance of Knitterly Goodness

For this morning's customer project feature, I have an abundance of riches to share with you in the form of three different projects all from the sticks of one knitter.

Before I dive into the projects for today, one quick reminder about the sale in my shop: today is the final day! Although many items are gone now, there's still a great selection of the heavier weight yarns available, so pop on by if you haven't had a look yet.

Now on to today's project photos!

All three of today's projects were knit by Suzy. You can see even more of her work on her blog or Ravelry (where she is DragonsChest).

First up is Suzy's Cinnabar Pullover from Interweave Knits.

She used FF Superwash Merino Wool Sportweight Yarn in the Saltillo colorway. The sweater used about 4.5 skeins. How beautiful! Love it! Check out the unique detail of the neckline, along with the great buttons that Suzy chose to finish it off:

Next are a pair of socks knit with FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Wildflower colorway.

Suzy didn't use a pattern for these. She used a basic top-down sock method, adding the cabled detail and also using a short-row heel for the first time. The jury's still out for Suzy on whether she likes the short-row heel method. Regardless of whether the short-row heel is her favorite, there's no doubt that she made one fabulous pair of socks!

Suzy had enough yarn left after finishing the socks to make herself a scarf as well. She used the FF Migration Scarf Pattern. The pattern is written for a non-superwash laceweight, so the result is a little different with the springier superwash, but as you can see it worked out to be just lovely! Suzy ran short of time to finish it and so went with a shorter version.

Here's the scarf again, just hanging about and showing off a bit in the outdoor light.

Now that's what I call a great start to a Monday morning. A huge Thank You to Suzy for sharing her work! Such a lovely variety of projects really puts me in a happy knitterly mood.

Great day to all!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh More Sneak Peek

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm all set to introduce seven new Laceweight Merino colorways to my shop tomorrow. At the same time, there will also be a sale on the heavier weight yarns in my shop. Everything heavier than sportweight will be on sale, starting tomorrow (Friday the 16th) and running through Monday.

Here's another sneak preview of one of the new Laceweight Merino colorways coming. It's called Ocean Breeze. (Scroll down a couple of posts for a sneak preview of "Majestic.")

I'll start listing the new items and marking the sale items as soon as my coffee kicks in tomorrow morning. That will likely be around 7:00 a.m. Pacific.

Hope everyone's having a great week and getting some knitting done!

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Springtime

The Spring knitting theme continues with two new customer projects to feature today. First up are these Marigold Socks (click for the free pattern by Flint Knits) knit by Jennifer using FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Butterscotch colorway.

These lovely socks with their sunny golden tones just make me want to sit outside in the sun all day and knit a pair for myself! Here's a look at the beautiful detail of Jennifer's handiwork:

To continue with the Springtime theme, what could be better than a lace cashmere shawl?

This gorgeous shawl was knit by Heidi with FF Laceweight Cashmere in the Tranquility colorway. (My apologies . . . my cashmere stock is just about completely gone right now and I just can't seem to find the time to replenish it!)

Heidi used the Queen of the Waves pattern by Ilga. The photo above is a bit dark, but here you can see the gorgeous and unusual stitch detail, as well as a more accurate look at the colors:

You can find more of Heidi's lovely work on Ravelry where she is Saccade.

How's that for a happy start to another week of Spring!

Friday, May 09, 2008

More Good Things Coming

I've been quiet on the blog front since Monday, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! Today I have a sneak preview for you of good things coming.

Just around the corner, I have seven brand-spankin' new colorways on my FF Laceweight Merino coming!

The sneak preview above is called Majestic. And majestic it is, with dark and varied shades of royal purple and deepest almost-black charcoal, peppered with lighter touches of lilac purples and deep grays.

I'm targeting next Friday to release these new colorways, but that's not all. I also hope to have my new shawl pattern ready to go (scroll down to prior posts if you missed that) and I'm also planning a big sale on heavier weight yarns. With Spring in full swing, it's about time for me to pare down the heavier yarns more commonly used in Fall and Winter so that I have plenty of room on the shelves for new colors when the cold weather seasons approach. That means all of my yarns that are heavier than sportweight will be going on sale soon.

As I always do when there is hot news, I'll be sending an e-mail with info to let everyone on my mailing list know when the new colorways and sale are here. As mentioned, that will likely be next Friday (May 16th).

Hope everyone has a glorious weekend!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mom and the Kids

This past Thursday was the end of the fourth quarter for my bowling league. This is our fourth year bowling and each year until now, our team has "won a quarter" (meaning that we were the a winning team for one quarter of the season and thus qualified to bowl in the finals for the league championship that year). This year, our fourth season, we had not yet won a quarter but went into the last week before the finals feeling hopeful. We were in second place, just two points behind the leaders.

Unfortunately, our dreams were dashed by a team called "Mom and the Kids." Ah, the pain of defeat.

What does this have to do with knitting? Not much really. It just occurred to me as I was trying to think of what to entitle today's Monday project feature post. The post today features three projects by Erica, one knit for herself and the other two knit for her two little ones. Mom and the Kids popped into my head. Yes, the heartbreak of bowling defeat is haunting and taunting me! I guess I'll have to be strong and try to let all the knitting goodness cheer my defeated soul ;)

First up are these Leprechaun socks that Erica knit with FF Sportweight Superwash Merino in a now-defunct colorway called Emerald. She used a 1X1 rib cuff and a slip-stitch/garter stitch edged heel flap.

Check out the cute little detail of a lace clover to go with the Leprechaun theme:

For her son (aka "Little Man"), Erica knit these darling mittens, also in FF Sportweight Superwash Merino. This is also an old colorway (handpainted) called Alaska:

Finally, for her daughter (aka "Little Miss"), Erica whipped up the cutest pair of leg warmers, also in FF Sportweight Superwash Merino:

What a well-outfitted little knitting family! You can see more of Erica's work - as well as pics of her adorable wee ones - on her blog, Dreams in Fiber or on Ravelry where she is dreamsinfiber.

Ahh. Now that's better. The pain of the bowling defeat is fading and being replaced by dreams in fiber, thanks to Erica!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn is Here, along with other knitterly goodness!

I am pleased to introduce the newest yarn in the Fearless Fibers line: Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn! Additionally, the latest set of Virtue and Sin sock yarns are now available, along with a new pattern.

Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn: The first seven colorways on my new Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn are now available in my Etsy shop: Initial quantities are limited, so stop by at your earliest convenience to see them while they last. If you miss out, never fear! There will be more available in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, the yarn doesn't photograph very well (or perhaps I should say that I'm not a very good photographer, to say the least!). After spending hours yesterday trying to get photos that do the yarn justice, I finally had to make do with what I had. I did my best to at least capture the colors accurately but you'll just have to trust me that the yarn has a lovely sheen and rich variety of shades.

New Virtue/Sin colorways
: I am also pleased to introduce the next set of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Holy Virtues sock yarn colors. “Pride” and “Humility” are now available in my shop.

New Sock Pattern: A new sock pattern designed specifically for the “Humility” Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn is also now available. The pattern is by Tess Mattos and is called “Kenkyo Socks.” Kenkyo is Japanese for humble or modest. The sock features a lovely twisted cable and rib pattern and includes instructions for both the commonly used method for cable construction, as well as a unique and challenging Japanese technique for twisted cables.

I hope you enjoy these latest additions to the Fearless Fibers line!