Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good Things Coming

With the New Year just around the corner, what better than a new yarn just around the corner as well?



This is a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend sock yarn that will soon be available in the Fearless Fibers shop. I have a limited quantity of this yarn, so I've whipped it up in a range of the most popular colors I carry.

In the photo above the yarn is clad in "Blue Raven" and here it is showing off its beauty in "Inner Sanctum."



Keep your eyes and ears open for the listing of this new yarn. It's almost ready to go, so perhaps I'll target listing the new yarn on New Year's Day. What better way to kick off 2010?

If you are not yet on the Fearless Fibers mailing list and want to be among the first to know when the new yarn will be available, just send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to add you to the list.

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season and looking forward to a wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Things Knitters Do



What on earth is that in the photo, you ask? Some sort of pile of scraps organized in plastic bags? Hmmmm ...

Why, they're swatches, of course! And lots of them. Each of those bags contains quite a few swatches.



At first glance you might think that I'm an organized knitter who has carefully retained my gauge swatches over the course of many, many, many projects. Of course, if you happened to know me you would know that I am anything but an organized knitter. I am the sort of knitter who makes critical notes in the form of indecipherable scribblings and hash marks on the backs of envelopes and post-it notes. I am the sort of knitter whose needles are scattered about the house, tucked away in a dozen different places, most often with matching pairs separated from one another. I am the sort of knitter who tosses yarn labels away with reckless abandon, leaving a trail of odds and ends of unidentifiable yarn in my wake.

No, what you see in the photos are not retained and categorized gauge swatches.

Despite my casual and occasionally reckless approach to knitting, I will say that I am reasonably organized about one little hobby of mine. That is what you see in the photo. They are swatches, yes. But they are not gauge swatches, with purpose and intention. They are random stitch swatches, whipped up at various times with odds and ends of yarn.

When I see a stitch that interests me, I often get the urge to knit up a swatch. I want to see firsthand how the stitch looks. I want to feel whether it has a good bit of give or whether it's more structured. I want to know if the resulting fabric is thick and sturdy or fluid and drapy. I want to see what it looks like on the reverse.

For a long time, I satisfied my desire to swatch stitches by knitting a swatch, examining it and satisfying my curiosity, and then unraveling it. Some time ago, however, I became more organized (very unlike my usual knitterly style!) and began making note of where I found the stitch and tucking the swatch away for future reference.

And so now, on days like today, I can rummage through them searching for a stitch or two to meet my needs.

My need today is a new hat design. I recently shared with you the Hot Waffles Hat I knit for my husband. He quite liked this hat. He wore it daily for a few weeks.
And then the devil possessed my little angel, who proceeded to tear the hat to shreds when it was left sitting on the sofa.



Much as I love the Hot Waffles Hat, I've made three now and am not much in the mood for another.
And so off to the swatch pile I go.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Free Sock Pattern with Purchase of Sock Yarn!

Just a quick post to let you all know about a special offer I posted in my shop this morning.

For three days only, I'm offering a free sock pattern of your choosing with the purchase of every skein of sock yarn!

Before ordering, please read the details in our
Shop Announcement.

Great day to all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Once Per Year

For the most part, I've given up on knitting for my husband. He used to wear the socks I knit for him, but over time the allure of handknit socks faded and he rarely seemed to wear them anymore. No point in knitting them if he won't wear them. I've knit him two sweaters, but he rarely wears those either. He's just not a sweater guy.

But hats. Hats he wears.

And so each year I knit him at least one new hat. I can count on him to either lose one or destroy one each year, so there is always room for a new one in the lineup.

This year's hat is Anne Hanson's Hot Waffles pattern. I knit him one of this pattern a couple of years back and it's his first go-to in the hat lineup, so I thought he'd like another.

I used FF Superwash Merino Wool Sportweight Yarn in the Metaphor colorway. The pattern calls for a heavier weight yarn, but it's an easy pattern to adjust with a few added repeats.



So darn cute that I've got to get another shot:



I couldn't resist. Much as Bruce likes his new hat, the pup is still much cuter!
Everyone have a great evening (or day or night as the case may be)!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mmmmmm ... Yarn



It's been quite some time since I've done a batch update of yarn to my shop, but I'll be rectifying that soon.



The update will include a bit of this and that, with some Tight Twist Superwash Merino Sock Yarn, some much-needed replenishing of Laceweight Merino, a sampling of a few colors on the BFL Superwash Sock Yarn that I've offered only once in the past, as well as likely a few items added to the shop's Sale Section.

I have no firm date yet for the update, but it's coming soon. I'm just waiting on a few more things to dry in my workshop, then I've got some photos to take, listing descriptions to write, labels to put on, and other such minor details before we're off to the races.



Mmmmmm .... yarn :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Knit, Sweat or Sleep?

I still haven't found my missing knitting motivation. From time to time, I pick up the sticks and fiddle around for a while, but the end result these days is usually just a few minutes of swatching followed by some frogging. Occasionally, I get a small burst of knitting inspiration and finish a quick project, like the Ivy Vines Neckwarmer I showed you in my last post. (And to answer the question posed by a couple of people, the yarn in the project is my FF Sportweight Cashmere. The cashmere is pretty much sold out right now, except a few odds and ends, but will eventually return for another appearance.)

My spare time these days has been spent - now steady yourselves here, for if you know me at all this will come as something of a shock - at the gym. Yes, that's right. The gym!

My husband talked me into joining a gym a month or so ago. Perhaps "talked me into" isn't the right phrase. "Guilted me into" might be more appropriate. He basically told me that it will all be downhill for him from here forward, he is rapidly ageing and becoming increasingly decrepit. It will be one quick downslide toward death if he doesn't do something soon. All of this comes from him, mind you! This is the same man who is only 42, plays softball and bowls, works in the yard and on the house constantly, and - although admittedly overweight - is as strong as an ox. (I can't tell you how much I appreciated hearing about his inevitable and accelerating slide into death's door, given that I'm three years older than he is and in worse physical condition as well despite his being more overweight than I.)

Anyhow, the guilt got to me and I reluctantly agreed to join a gym with him. Reluctant is an understatement actually. It was more of a dragged kicking and screaming and whining sort of a thing. I've never gone to a gym and the whole thing was so foreign to me that I had it worked up in my mind to be some sort of torture chamber. Oh my, that first week or so was so awful!

Now that I'm getting used to the drill of going to the dreaded gym, I'm finding I rather enjoy it. Well, again I think perhaps I've chosen the wrong word. "Enjoy" isn't really right. But I don't hate it anymore and I am feeling pretty motivated to try to get into better physical condition.

And so now when I have free time, I'm off to the gym rather than to my recliner for a bit of knitting. Even in the house, I find myself flicking on the TV for an On Demand Exercise TV workout when I've got a half hour to spare.

According to this website, I could burn off around 90 calories an hour knitting. Then again, it also says I burn off around 55 calories an hour when sleeping. I guess I better stick to sweating it out at the gym.

Perhaps I can learn to knit while on the treadmill or stationary bike?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Quickie

As soon as I saw Anne Hanson's finished Ivy Vines Neckwarmer, I knew I had to knit one. And knit one I did . . .



This was just what the knitting doctor ordered. A quick, but satisfying knit. It only took perhaps three hours of knitting or somewhere thereabouts (that excludes the hour of rummaging around my house in search of needles that I know I have in duplicate or perhaps triplicate, muttering under my breath about how on earth the exact needles I need always manage to hatch a plan and execute a great escape right when I need them, and finally finding the needles hiding in plain sight).
I haven't blocked it yet, but I still think it's oh so pretty just as it is.



This was such an enjoyable knit that I might just have to make another or two!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I haven't purchased any new knitting books in a while and I'm starting to get the itch! One that I know I'll want to buy is the soon-to-be-released Sock Club: Join the Knitting Adventure by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott.

The topic in general, of course, interests me but regardless of that fact I simply have to own a copy just the for the fun of seeing my yarn in print :)

Remember the Acorn Sock from my first sock club, The Seven Deadly Sins?



This sock pattern, knit in the colorway called "Greed" and designed by Anne Hanson, is one of those included in the book!

Very exciting to see my humble little yarn in print (and in a book by such luminaries of our industry!). I brought the Greed colorway back into the lineup in honor of the upcoming book.

As always, I HUGE thank you to Anne for gracing my yarn with her immense talent!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sometimes You've Just Got to Laugh

Before I dive into today's post, a huge Thank You to all of the kind folks who welcomed me back from my blogging hiatus! You truly have no idea how good it made me feel. After suffering such pangs of guilt for my long silence, I feared I would be met with stony silence upon my return. You are all too kind to forgive me :)

Now on to my laugh of the day. Have a look at this.

Now, don't think me cruel. I'm truly not poking fun at anyone's choice of what they knit (or in this case crochet). Nor am I poking fun at the designer. I just have a thing about these snuggies. If ever I'm feeling blue, all I need to do is picture a snuggie and I'm all smiles again.

In reality, a snuggie is quite practical. I'm always chilly and am often wrapped in a blanket curled up in my favorite chair. Getting up for a trip to the kitchen involves a whole production of flipping and flinging the blanket around, walking with it flung around me cape-style, often tripping on edges along the way. Knitting while wrapped in a blanket is another challenge and certainly not ideal. And so I truly don't mean to diss the snuggie.

But it's funny. It just is.

Have you seen the commercials that introduce the fashionable snuggies in animal prints and such? They kill me. The best commercial, however, I've only caught once. If you've not seen it, you simply must stay glued to your television until you do. It includes video snippets of people enjoying their snuggies in public places. There's one shot of a group of people all wrapped in snuggies at the bleachers of a ballgame. Again, I entirely understand the practicality of this. Being a frequent attendee at my husband's softball games, I can vouch for the fact that half the people there are wrapped in blankets. The vision of a group of people all wrapped in snuggies though just tickles me to death. I think I've embellished this memorable commercial in my mind a bit. I see them not only in the bleachers, but also doing the wave, rising from their seats in a row, snuggie-covered arms rising to the heavens. Oh my.

And then there's the absolute best part of the commercial. An older couple sits all snuggled up in their snuggies in the midst of a crowded movie theater. Again, my mind may be embellishing here, but I believe they are snacking on a bucket of popcorn. Oh my. Just thinking of that picture of them sitting in the movie theater crowd all wrapped up in their snuggies just kills me. I get tears in my eyes just thinking of it. Do they go to the snack bar or restroom in their snuggies?

Again, I shouldn't laugh. It's really not funny at all. Many of us knit or crochet blankets (myself included), so why not a more practical snuggie? I suppose as a yarnie I should hope that the knitting world collectively decides that nothing would be better than a snuggie made of luxurious hand dyed yarn. Forget the Red Heart! A hand dyed snuggie craze could lift our little industry out of the dumps.

Who needs another poncho craze to ignite a knitting frenzy when there's the snuggie?

Great day to all!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Going Dark

If anyone is still around, lurking in this corner of the cyber world to read this, my apologies for going dark for such a long time! It started innocently enough with a Monday that slipped away from me. Although I had no regular schedule for blog posting, Monday was the one day that I tried never to miss, but one Monday slipped past me and it was several days before I realized it!

I had every intention of returning to blogging soon thereafter, but time slipped away from me, the sunny days of summer called out to me, and personal affairs drew me away. Before I knew it, I had officially gone dark (you know, like a spy who is suddenly incommunicado).

I'm back now and trying to get myself geared up for regular posting again. I must say, it isn't easy though. I've had little time for knitting lately and my personal life is far from the stuff of fascinating reading. With so much time since I last posted though, I do have a bit of knitting to share and will do that in the coming days and weeks.

Anyone else a Seinfeld fan? Remember the episode in which George pretends to be a tourist in NY while dating a gal who works for a visitors' association of some kind? He eventually pretends he's moving to NY and tells the gal that he got an apartment and a job in a day or two. In telling Jerry about it, he says something about how if you take all of his accomplishments in his life and boil them down to one day, "it looks decent." That's how I feel about my summer knitting. Along the way through the course of the summer it was far from an impressive amount of knitting, but looking at it now all at once, it looks a bit better.

Again, my apologies for my silence. I've had bouts of guilt about it on and off all summer. It's given me that squishy feeling I get when I haven't written to my mother recently.

After a summer of crazy work on my never-ending project house, along with minor but quite annoying illnesses and injuries, I am at last back now and will do my best to get back on track with my sadly neglected blog.

I hope everyone has had a glorious and happy summer (or winter, as the case may be in your locale)!

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Sock Club Now Open!

I am very happy to announce the opening of signups for membership in a new sock club from Fearless Fibers!



This club is designed for simplicity and great value. The club includes yarn only and the price reflects a substantial discount below the price of the yarn if purchased individually.

You can find all of the details about this upcoming club in the
shop listing. Signups will remain open through the end of July or until all available slots are filled.

Thanks for looking and have a wonderful day!

Monday, June 29, 2009

One of My Own

Remember the Woodsmoke Socks I had in progress some time back? You know the ones - in the color I not-so-fondly called "Sewer Sludge." The socks are at long last done!



The yarn is FF Tight Twist Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn and the pattern is Woodsmoke by Anne Hanson. Only such a lovely pattern could save this ugly color from the fate of languishing its life away in my stash, never to be touched or knit.



In the end, the pattern did the trick and turned this ugly duckling into something at least passably attractive. Leave it to Anne to design a pattern good enough to save the life of a poor, sad little skein! (In case you're wondering how on earth this awful skein came into existence, it was part of an army-related project I did as a favor to a friend. This particular skein was so putrid that I couldn't even bring myself to force a soldier to wear it and so I hid it away in my own stash where it endured months of teasing and cruelty from the other skeins.)

Great day to all!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tudor Grace



This beauty was knit by Kyrie with FF Laceweight Merino Wool Yarn in the Rubicund colorway. The pattern is Tudor Grace by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot.



How lovely is that?! Not only is it beautiful, but it's going to a very worthy cause as well. Kyrie knit this to donate to her riding club's raffle for breast cancer research.

You can see lots more of Kyrie's beautiful work on her blog. A big Thank You to Kyrie for sharing her work!

On a side note, I know I've been an absolutely terrible blogger for some weeks now. All you've heard from me are these Monday posts. Perhaps I overdosed on blogging in the Spring when I was updating almost everyday for a while there. Or perhaps it's the chaotic state of things around here right now, as we work to put in a new HVAC system to replace the funky old baseboard heat that was all this house had when we bought it. Regardless of what excuse I find, my apologies! I'll try to rectify that later this week with a long over-due post.

Great day to all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sloth

From time to time someone will ask why on earth I named one of the colors in my line "Sloth." Such an unattractive name for such a pretty color! Those of you who have been around a while know that the color was part of the FF Seven Deadly Sins Sock Club all the way back in 2007. Light blue is the symbolic color for laziness.



These socks were knit by Vickie in FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Sloth. I love the way the photo shows the socks enjoying a moment of quiet lounging and reflection. Perhaps not sloth or laziness, but certainly they are enjoying a bit of relaxation and the pure joy of doing nothing but enjoying a beautiful day.



The pattern Vickie used for these beauties is Stansfield 196 by Charlene Schurch. You can see more of Vickie's lovely work on Ravelry where she is VickieK.

Great Monday to all!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Worth the Wait

Here it is Monday evening and I only just realized that it is in fact Monday (Monday, of course, being the day for posting customer projects here)! My apologies for my tardiness, but isn't this worth the wait?



This beautiful piece is Opal's version of the Shetland Triangle by Eveyln Clark (published in the book Wrap Style). Opal used FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Lust colorway.

Check out the gorgeous details and perfect stitchwork:



You can see more of Opal's lovely work on her blog. A big Thank You to Opal for sharing her work!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Rite of Spring



The lovely sock above is the Rite of Spring Sock by Tess Mattos of Polar Bear Patterns. It was one of the patterns from my recently concluded lace club. (The pattern is now available for general purchase both in the FF shop and from Tess on Ravelry.)

Not only is this a beautiful sock pattern, but it has a fun twist: it's written to be customized with ease. You can knit the pattern just as written or you can mix and match the stitch motifs to create your own version.



This is Angela's version of the Rite of Spring Socks. She used FF Tight Twist Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Spellbound colorway.



In Angela's version, she added her own touch with an extra repeat of the beading after the cloverleaf eyelet panel and extra repeats of the little leaf stripe at the end. She also ended the foot with transition rounds and beading.



Lovely work! You can see more of Angela's work on her Ravelry project pages.

Great day to all!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Springtime in Italy






These are Vickie's rendition of the Primavera Socks by Natalja. Vickie used FF Tight Twist Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Peace of Mind colorway.


What a beautiful job Vicki did on these socks!






It's also great to see the Peace of Mind color holding up to the stitch detail. It's a fairly new colorway and although the colors are gentle, they are highly varied.






It's nice to see that the pattern details shine through, despite the complexity of colors. (The Peace of Mind colorway is out of stock at the moment, but it is a new one and so won't be going anywhere anytime soon. More is drying now and will be available in the shop soon.)


To see more of Vickie's fabulous handiwork, you can find her on Ravelry where she is VickieK.


Everyone have a lovely Spring day!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charade

These lovely socks were knit by Kathy using FF Merino/Tencel Sock Yarn and the Charade sock pattern by Sandra Park.



The color is one of the exclusive color choices from the FF Sock Club last year, so if it looks unfamiliar to you, that's why.

So lovely! A big Thank You to Kathy for sharing her work. You can see more on Ravelry where she is antinova.

Great Monday to all!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SALE + Changes Coming

For the first time ever, I am having a store-wide sale in my shop! Here are the details of how this will work:

- Sale starts now and will end midnight pacific time on Friday, May 15th

- Prices reflected in the shop are regular prices

- All purchases less than $50 (excluding shipping) will receive 10% off the purchase price (excluding shipping). Purchases $50 and over will receive 15% off!

- You may proceed with your purchases and payments through the usual process. I will then refund the 10 or 15% discount. If you prefer to wait for a revised invoice to pay, simply note that in the Message to Seller field at checkout and I will send you a revised invoice through PayPal.

This is the first time I've ever held a store-wide sale! With all of my yarns regularly priced to provide great value for your money, discounting items across the board is simply not generally feasible. This sale is a bit different: I'm holding this unusual sale event to prepare for upcoming changes for my Fearless Fibers shop.

Many of you know that I've made occasional mention for some time now of my plans to eventually offer a bit of spinning fiber in my shop. Well, I'm not much closer to ready to do that than I was some months ago. In more than three years in business, I've always worked towards ensuring a good selection of a core number of products, with consistent availability. Although I still believe in this basic premise, it does limit my ability to offer new products and new color options.

The changes I have planned are to scale back on the core inventory I carry and to offer more variety on a periodic basis. I plan to continue to carry a scaled down but still reasonable selection of four core items: Lightweight Superwash Merino Sock Yarn, Tight Twist Superwash Merino Sock Yarn, Laceweight Merino Yarn, and Superwash Merino Sportweight Yarn.

In addition to these core items, I will be updating the shop with a selection of a wider variety of items. Sometimes there will be new colors that may or not be added to the core selection going forward. Sometimes there will be entirely new base yarns, offered in smaller quantities here and there. Occasionally (I hope!), some fiber will be thrown into the mix.

It will be a while still before I can shift to this new model. The first step is to move out some of the inventory I've worked so hard to build over time.

I'm excited about these future plans and I hope you are also! I hope to strike a balance between the consistent availability of core products that you've all come to expect from Fearless Fibers together with a more varied selection. There are so many base yarns that I'd love to offer, but I've been limited by time constraints in the past as I focus on ensuring the wide selection of current offerings remains fully stocked. When it comes to colors, I've also had some limitations, as consistent and repeatable colors have been central to how I operate. This new model will allow greater flexibility to work with complex recipes and techniques that may not work well for repeatable colors.

Again, it will be a while before you see these changes begin to occur in my shop. For now, you can advantage of the scaling back on current inventory with this store-wide sale!

Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Foot and Eye Candy



How's that for a gorgeous photo? Lynne's socks are even more fabulous against the glorious floral backdrop. (If only I had such a green thumb!)



Lynne knit these socks with FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in the Coral Pink colorway. The pattern is Hearts-A-Plenty by Monica Jines.



You can see lots more of Lynne's gorgeous work on Ravelry where she is LynneE. Go have a look at Lynne's project pages and you'll be in for a treat.

A big Thank You to Lynne for sharing her work, both knitting and gardening!

Monday, May 04, 2009

As Cute as Can Be



Is that not about the cutest little cardigan for a wee-one you ever saw? So cute in fact that I'd like one in a full size for not-so-wee little me!

It's Micki's rendition of the Cardigan for Merry, adapted by AnnyPurls from the pattern for a Cardigan for Arwen by Kate Gilbert.

Micki used FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Inner Sanctum colorway.



Another homerun project by the talented Micki, whose work you can see on her blog or on Ravelry where she thing4string.

A big Thank You to Micki for sharing her work and starting off the week with a healthy dose of knitting inspiration!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lest You Think I'm Down for the Count . . .

Thank you all for your well-wishes yesterday about my little foot injury. I'm on the mend and very much appreciate your kind words.

Just because I'm stuck in a chair these past days, that doesn't mean I don't have any new yarn to show you!

The timing was fortunate with my mishap, as I had just finished up a batch of new yarn that was already drying in my workshop when my clumsy nature put a temporary halt on dyeing.



If this looks familiar to you, that's because it's not actually "new" but rather a throwback to days gone by. The items I listed this morning are ten of the most popular colorways I've carried over the past three plus years in business. These colors - originally available on my Lightweight Superwash Merino Sock Yarn - eventually ran their course and were put on the backburner. This was before I carried the newer Tight Twist Superwash Merino Sock Yarn.

After several requests for these olders colors on the Tight Twist yarn, I decided to bring out the old recipe book and whip up a small batch of ten of the most popular ones, this time on the newer Tight Twist yarn base.



I listed four skeins of each of ten colors this morning. You'll find Thoroughbred, Sizzle, Midnight Blue, Smoke, Glorious Green, Gentle Peach, Midnight Passion, Peace, Chocolate Pink Cherry, and Raspberry.

Whether you find an old favorite in the group or something new to you, I hope you enjoy this latest shop update!

Great day to all!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy the U.S. is Not Japan Day

Last week, I fell in a hole. A trench actually. Two feet deep. I stepped backward while navigating with a wheelbarrow and stupidly forgot the trench that I'd warned my husband about a million times over the preceding days. SLAM!

Left foot went straight down. Right foot stayed planted on the ground two feet above. Body swayed backward. All weight slammed down hard on that left foot.

@#*$%*%%$**(%!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, it hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt enough to send me to the emergency room. It hurt enough to force me to agree to be wheeled into said e.r. It hurt enough that I passed out cold while sitting in said e.r. waiting room. (Tip: If you want faster service in an e.r., it helps to pass out.)

I'm fine. Really. It's OK. Nothing is broken. I just strained the tendons and muscles in my foot something fierce. My poor little foot -- usually so cute and delicate and happy and pink -- has been quite ugly and balloon-shaped and unhappy and green for the past six days.

It's getting better, but my oh my, am I a cranky girl! I just don't do well with the whole sedentary thing. It's been particularly frustrating because I've been on such a great course with the daily exercise routine, as well as the hard labor I've been doing together with my husband on the landscaping of our yard.

No exercise. No yardwork. No dyeing. No bowling. No housecleaning (yes, even that sounds like great fun right now!).

Mostly, I've been sitting on my rear, foot packed in ice, knitting in hand, eyes glued to the television.
And thus we come to the title of this post. Something I've likely never mentioned here before is that I'm a wee bit of a financial news junkie. Not a big one, particularly the last few years when the business has dominated my time and yarn has dominated my thoughts. With the forced downtime this past week, however, I returned to my old ways and found myself flipping between CNBC and Bloomberg all day.

And so I wish you all a very happy first ever "The U.S. is Not Japan Day." Today was dubbed with this title by Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC. I like Cramer quite a bit. His ... shall we say boisterousness, perhaps ... can be a bit grating, but he's a smart cookie and he's right, we're not Japan.

Go and eat some cake and celebrate this Cramer-dubbed holiday.

And do some knitting!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Two Whispers

For today's Monday project feature, I have the first two finished Whisper of Spring Lace Shawls from the FF Lace Club!



This is Guru Nam's version, so pretty and delicate in pale pink.



Angela's whisper is done in the Designer's Choice club color. Here's a closeup during blocking that shows a bit of the different stitch motifs up close.



Such fun for me to see these project emerging! I can't believe how quickly some folks whizzed through the project. This club pattern is also now available for general purchase, either in my Etsy shop or Ravelry pattern page.

You can see more of both Guru Nam and Angela's work on Ravelry where they are gurunam and kachelmeier.

A big Thank You for sharing the photos of your work!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Long Time No Progress

It seems like ages since I've posted any of my own knitting or spinning! I suppose that's simply because I haven't had much time for any, but at long last I managed to knit a single sock:



This is the first in what will be a pair of Woodsmoke Socks (that is, if I can sit myself down long enough to start the second one!). When I originally mentioned my plan to knit a pair of socks with this yarn, I proclaimed the color quite ugly. You all disagreed with me, but in this photo you can really see the truth. It's just gross. In certain lighting and when feeling in particularly good spirits, it looks a bit olive green and not all that bad. Most of the time, however, it looks like this photo. I've fondly named it Sewer Sludge.

It's taken me forever, but I've also finally finished a little something on my spindle.



This is superwash merino and it's kind of a mess. I took off the training wheels of park & draft and drafted this as I spun. The first time I tried that, the results were better, but with superwash being so darned slippery I had a hard time controlling how much fiber I drafted through. The result is pretty inconsistent in thickness and also has some flat-out fuzzy messes. Ah well. It's part of the learning process and plying did help to even it out and hide the flaws at least a little bit.

I haven't decided what to do with this yet. There's about 175 yards of 2-ply, roughly sportweightish (probably will knit on a size 3 needle). I'm thinking fingerless mitts, mostly because those are what I seem to actually wear most of everything I knit. If I find it knits up into too much of an ugly mess, I might just whip up a pair of ankle socks that can be hidden away where nobody can see them.

That's about all the progress I've made on the knitting and spinning front. I've been itching to do some stranded colorwork soon, but right now it's dyeing, yardwork, and other such mundane things taking up my time.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Elm and Orchid

Remember a couple of months ago I showed you these lovely Orchid Mitts knit by juniperjune in FF Laceweight Merino Wool Yarn in the Brunette colorway?



Now these beauties have a mate in the form of the Elm Row Scarf (also a KnitSpot pattern).



How's that for a lovely matching set (and how adorable is their creator modeling them)!



You can see more of juniperjune's lovely handiwork on her blog or on Ravelry where she is juniperjune. Lovely work and Thank You for sharing your photos!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Digging and Digging

I can't believe it's Friday already! My apologies for my relative silence this week. I've been digging in and working hard, quite literally.

With the weather turning nicer each week, my husband and I found ourselves suddenly bitten by the bug to attack the landscaping our front yard so desperately needs. We've been in this house for a year and a half now and have been very slowly making some of the seemingly endless improvements needed. The yard was low on our priority list, but with the sun shining and the birds singing it became irresistible.

I wish I'd taken a "before" picture of the front yard, but alas, I didn't think of it. It was basically a mess of shabby plants and flowers that I doubt were ever particularly attractive but were particularly shoddy because of our neglect. There were a lot of various bulbs planted everywhere, which I personally just don't understand here in Oregon. Why anyone would want to go the flower route is beyond me. They're beautiful, of course, and great fun to watch grow and bloom, but Oregon is so green and lush year-round that I can't understand planting things that will only look nice during a short period of the year. My husband and I are both of the mind that Oregon's made for evergreens. (Low maintenance is appealing as well!)

We set about with a bit of planning and then dug right in. And we dug and we dug and we dug. We basically dug up everything except a few of the nicer bushes. We then dug and dug and dug some more, as we removed a perimeter of grass all the way around the front yard. It's about 8 feet deep in front and 6 feet or so deep at the sides and toward the house. Then we tilled and tilled and compacted and compacted. We pretty much just have some edging to go and then we'll be ready to plant. We found an amazing and huge nursery nearby that specializes in evergreens (no flowers at all, just shrubs, bushes, trees) and spent an afternoon browsing and planning. We hope by this afternoon to be ready to go make our purchases.

Once this is done, we still have a walkway we'd like to add and a little trim fence toward the front walk. Then it's on to the side yard. (Can I stop here and say that I am sooooo glad I started an exercise binge 6 weeks ago? I could never have done this if it weren't for that. Several days this week, we literally spent more than 5 hours with shovels in hand, digging and pushing wheelbarrows around and such. I feel like Superwoman!)

Anyhow, all of this - combined with my usual daily dose of dyeing - has drained all of my time this week and thus my relative silence here. Perhaps you'll forgive me when I share with you the latest in the series of Sale Items that I've been listing in my shop:



There are four skeins of this "Classic Merino Sock Yarn" listed in the Sale Section of my shop this morning.

Everyone have a glorious day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bzzzzzzz

Spring is in the air, flowers are beginning to bloom and the bees are starting to buzz about.


What better time to show you Rachael's completed Honeybee Stole! It's a KnitSpot pattern, done here in FF Laceweight Merino in the Notorious colorway.



Check out the perfect little bee details:



Fabulous job, as always, by the talented Rachael! You can see lots more of Rachael's lovely work on her blog.

Thank you so much to Rachael for sharing her beautiful work and helping to usher in the long-awaited Spring!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cashmere is Here!

Just a quick note to let you know that promised cashmere is now up in the Fearless Fibers shop! There are all new colors available on laceweight and sportweight.

Here's a little taste for you:



Enjoy!