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


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:


Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Sale Item

This is the latest in the Mohair/Wool Yarn added to the Sale Section of my shop. There are just four skeins available of this lovely Raspberry color.

I've still got a fair supply of this yarn as well as a bit more of the Sock Weight Classic Merino. I'll be continuing dyeing the remainders of these yarns in April and moving them out in the Sale Section of my shop.

Everyone have a great day!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Milestone Check

Today marks week five of my little effort to lose a bit of weight. I've been weighing in once weekly, each Wednesday morning, and this week was a weigh-in I was particularly anxious to reach. My initial goal was to lose 10 pounds and I knew there was a chance I would make it this week.

Yeeha! I did it! Ten pounds on the nose lost as of this morning. Woohoo!

Now that I've reached this goal, I'm ready to up the ante and go for at least 15 total, perhaps 18 (which would bring me back to my fighting weight that I've rarely seen since I was in my early 20's).

I have to give you all a big Thank You and virtual hug for your supportive words!

I just have to say one more time again: I feel so good! The combination of super healthy eating and exercise has spiked my energy level through the roof. It's truly amazing to me the change I've seen in only five weeks.

Now that I've lost a good portion of the weight, I'm much more focused on the fitness aspect. I've been using the free exercise videos on the "On Demand" section of my cable tv to workout. When I started, I kid you not . . . I felt as though I was going to keel over after limping my way through a 10 minute cardio routine. Now, I'm doing an hour of cardio and strength interval training each and every day, plus another 15 minutes of upper body strength work. Not all at once mind you. Usually two 30 minute cardio sessions a day, or sometimes three 20 minute sessions.

When I started this, I would have thought that it was not only impossible for me to physically handle that level of exercise but also that I simply didn't have the time. The thing is, with so much energy now, I have more available time each day. It doesn't take me a half hour to wake up and get going in the morning. I don't need to sit for a half hour break after lunch before getting a second wind. I don't konk out at 5 o'clock and slow down to a crawl for the evening. I just go, go, go from 6 in the morning until 9 or so at night, when I finally try to sit down for a while to relax a bit. Fitting the time in for exercise is no problem; I feel as though I've gained a couple of hours in each day!

Alrighty. Enough of my rambling, but I'll shout it one more time from the rooftop: I feel SOOOOO good!

Lest you think this focus on healthy eating and fitness has taken away from the yarn, I'll leave you with this:

And this:

These are the first tastes of cashmere in brand spankin' new colors that will be coming to my shop soon. There are more waiting in the wings, with the last couple drying now. Once I get all the photos and listings ready, we'll be off and running. I'll be sure to post here and send a note to folks on my mailing list when they're listed.

Great day to all!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Three Beauties

For this week's dose of customer project features, I've got three to share with you, all knit by Viki.

These are Go With the Flow Socks (pattern by Evelyn Clark in Interweave Knits Summer 2005) in FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Imagine colorway. Could they be any prettier?!

And how about these Mystery Socks in the same yarn this time in the Blue Rain colorway? The pattern is by Kirsten Kapur of Through The Loops. Remember ... I told you about her designs just a few weeks ago. Here's proof positive of how just how pretty Kirsten's patterns are, particularly in the hands of a skilled knitter like Viki!

Finally, there's this Ribbon Scarf (pattern by Veronica Avery published in Knitty Spring 08) that Viki knit once again with FF Lightweight Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn, this time in the Lust colorway.

Wow! What a collection of beauties! A big Thank You to Viki for sharing her work. You can see more of Viki's lovely knitting on Ravelry where she is Viki.

Great day to all!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Acquisition

I'd heard several times through the the knitters' rumor mill that a Japanese supermarket in Beaverton (one town over from where I live) has a bookstore in back that includes a good selection of knitting books. I've been to this particular market several times, but never noticed the bookstore. When an urge for sushi struck my husband a few days ago, I learned that the rumor is true.

The store is called Uwajimaya and there are also a couple of locations in Washington. The bookstore, however, I think is a separate entity. It has a different name, although for the life of me I can't remember what it is or find the receipt.

The books are, of course, in Japanese, but I was most interested in the elusive Japanese stitch dictionaries that I've heard so much about. As it turned out, they had quite a few crochet stitch dictionaries but only two knitting stitch dictionaries in stock. One was devoted to cables and the other was actually half and half crochet and knit, with a bit of everything. Although the cable book looked really interesting, I don't knit cables all that often and so I found it difficult to justify shelling out $33. I settled for the other book.

Since the stitches are charted, I figure it won't matter that the text is in Japanese (despite the English cover). My husband, of course, had to point out that many of the charts have asterisks that refer to notes at the bottom written in Japanese. I've chosen to assume those aren't important.

I love the type on the cover title. Here it is in close-up (please excuse my over-exposed photo):

As I type this, it reminds me that I still haven't gotten through the spindling book I recently purchased. I read about halfway through in the first day or two I got it and then promptly set it aside and forgot it. Off to hunt for that now. Great day to all!