In just over 24 hours I leave for what promises to be quite an adventure. My guess is that I’ll have some downtime in the evenings, and I am sitting here struggling over what to bring with me on the trip. Yes, I’ll be biking all day, and yes, it is going to be very hot. However, I am not sure I can, or want to, leave my knitting at home. Now, I’ve got my spinning and I’ve got a sock. But I’d like a bigger project. At first I thought I’d bring a 2 colored shawl. But then I remembered that I need to get 2 more christmas stockings done before August 11. I rather thought it would be wise to work on them instead. I guess you could say that I am quite unsure of what I should take this time. This goes hand in hand with not being quite sure what I am getting myself into in general. What is really happening here is that I am obsessing over something simply because I have a fear of the unknown. I don’t know what to obsess over during this trip, so it is far easier to obsess over what knitting project I should take!

I’ve been packing all week, a little at a time. There have been huge lists of stuff to bring, buy, do, and pack. I really do have a handle on it all now. These will be my first nights in a tent since I was a teen. This will be my first long bike tour. I am quite excited and as the day approaches, my anticipation climbs and my nerves calm a bit.

Last evening’s project was cleaning up the bike. I cleaned her up pretty well and got her looking sparkly, but I must admit to having help with the chain. Actually, while I had planned just to do the chain, my helper kindly (or obsessively?) decided to work on the chain, derailleur, and cassettes. I am telling you that the bike has never shifted so perfectly and easily before. It is brilliant. I took it out for a very quick spin around the neighborhood, and it practically pedaled itself up a hill. Lets hope that experience lasts all week!



Tonight’s big job is just getting the bags back on the bike so it is totally and completely ready to go tomorrow morning. And then dinner. Tonight is a night to use up a bunch of stuff in my garden so that none of it goes to seed in my absence.

A Second Try

Yes, I know. Long time no blog! I am deep into preparations for my upcoming bike ride across Iowa so crafting has taken a bit of a back seat. I am working on the featherweight cardigan and my noro lace scarf quite often, but not much has changed with them so it feels pointless to photograph them.

Due to the excessive heat during my bike ride, I am hoping to mostly leave in the early mornings. This will potentially mean that I have time in the afternoons for other stuff. I plan to take a bit of knitting. A pair of socks, and a shawl. And also, my new toy.

I picked up this trindle simply because I’ve heard good things about them. My only other true experience on the spindle didn’t go overly well. This was also back in 2008 and I was a fairly new spinner. But it did really scare me off spindles for a good long time. It just seems that recently everyone is taking up the spindle with great results and it seemed like a good way to get some spinning done on the bike tour as well as potentially when I am on vacation. Packing up a wheel and bringing it to the east coast just doesn’t seem the least bit doable, even though I often desire to spin while I am there. The bonus? Loving the purple skull beads!

Of course, I needed to give it a try before I leave, just to make sure all is well. And it is! I pulled out some Dyeabolical fiber in her sid fishious colorway and went to town. Then had to stop myself, reminding myself that the point was to have something to do on vacation!


Not a Swatch

Finally significant progress has been made with my knitting. The featherweight cardigan in particular. I suppose I’ve been working on it quite a bit this week but last night I was able to get to the point where I could divide for the sleeves. So of course the first thing I did this morning was make the divisions.

I can see that I will run out of yarn before I get to the bottom edge of the sweater so more spinning is in order. However, I have some serious doubts as to if I will have another finished skein prior to the end of August.

As for today, I get to make some ragbrai preparations, run some errands, and participate in the owl ride late tonight. Should be a great day. Hard to believe in one week I will be leaving for the longest bike ride of my life!

Not a Natural Runner

I had a bit of a white/silver fleece cardi set back yesterday. Basically, I was not able to work on it at all. Because yesterday I ran my first 5K ever. What does this have to do with my white/silver fleece? Let me show you!


After the run, my hands looked like this:


And it didn’t exactly come clean with any immediacy. Which meant I had no choice but to start a sock in similar colors as to not touch the white/silver cardigan.


I did Warrior Dash but it doesn’t really count as a 5K due to all the breaks for obstacles. This was just a run. I ran it with my running partner, and we both feel quite accomplished now that it is over. For someone who has never been a natural runner, doing this and feeling good about it is a great accomplishment. I don’t get a thrill out of running the way I do cycling, but I enjoy it enough to keep trying. ¬†And yes, you throw a 5K my way and I’d be happy to run it.

Moving Beyond the Swatch

First of all, I have an announcement. I currently hate my brown fleece cabled sweater. I made a mistake on the collar and thought I could live with it. But after working half the collar, realized I could not. I was just not happy. So, I ripped out another weeks work and restarted. But honestly? I don’t know how long that one is going to sit in time out now. I am so uninspired right now.

However, my white/silver fleece cardigan is just lovely! I know it doesn’t look like much more than a swatch, but here it is!


I am hoping that people will understand that the silver is not dirt, just a different color. I guess anyone who knows me would know this.

This morning has been comparatively cool, so I was able to get a bit more spinning done as well. My 535 yards of laceweight isn’t going to get me all that far!

One Year

Last night I found myself with some time to knit. I worked on the brown cabled fleece sweater collar for awhile, until I got truly bored and my hands began to ache. I put that down, and picked up my white/silver fleece featherweight cardigan and worked on that. And I realized what is truly capturing and keeping my attention these days is the entire fleece process. The washing, combing, spinning, then knitting something with my handspun, rather than using commercial yarns. So, I’ve been giving it some thought and I think it is time to go on a year long commercial yarn diet. I’ll say until next July 4. I have no plans to go to any big yarn events in the upcoming year so I don’t think there is anything that would make me regret such a decision.

This decision does contain conditions though!

#1-I can spend gift certificates.

#2-I can purchase yarn for christmas stockings for family IF there is cause to do so.

#3-I can purchase yarn for commission knitting.

#4-fiber and fleece are not included in this yarn diet. Though I am hoping to keep any purchasing to just fleece.

This will force me to do a few things. I will have to knit from stash. I will have to get quite creative with my stash and my choice of patterns. I will have to make the yarn I have in stash fit the patterns I choose to knit. It may force me to spin more. And to spin with purpose. It will force me to be less selfish about the yarns I have in stash. Rather than saying “My yarn is too nice to use for that project” I’ll be forced to use it anyhow. After all, there is always more where that came from! It will also give me some time to do a few other interesting fiber related things that I’ve been wanting to try. Like blending colors on my drum carder and dizzing from the carder. Or making a basket to wash fleece in. Or do some more fiber/yarn dyeing. Or even allowing myself to try something completely new.

So there it is folks. I wrote it down, so it must be done.

And just so you aren’t truly bored with this post, it contains one picture of my Road Not Taken scarf. I’ve now gone through one entire color repeat. I’ve got this one sitting at work, so it gets my attention during lunch hour.


Happy Fourth!

I’ve spent the morning relaxing and preparing for more relaxation later. It has been lovely.

I spent a bit of time spinning while drinking coffee. And inspecting my garden which my mom has done some work in. It looks fantastic, but then I noticed something special. The eggplant I’ve been nursing along despite something eating at its leaves all spring is starting to look very healthy!



To my knowledge I have only ever posted a picture of a swatch one other time on this blog. It was for my first February Lady Sweater 4 years ago. This I know because it was directly prior to the last summer olympics. Last night found me swatching for the featherweight cardigan with my handspun corriedale. If I haven’t mentioned how much I love this yarn, stay tuned. I believe it will be quite a long love affair. I made up a little swatch and then admired it rather than measuring it, simply because I didn’t have my pattern at my fingertips. Since the yarn is particularly clean now, all that is left is the natural and silver tones. While I think this will make for a lovely featherweight cardigan, I am also wishing for a Forest Path Stole. Since that particular stole is knit entrelac, I think it might really highlight the silvery bits of yarn. This means I may be spinning corriedale thinly for 2 ply laceweight well into the coming year.


Handspun Corriedale

So my white and silver corriedale is coming along swimmingly. I couldn’t resist plying the bobbin I had, I plyed it back on itself. I ended up with 535 yards of 2 ply laceweight, but I suspected it might be still a bit dirty. And I couldn’t have that, I want to be able to see the natural colors in the wool, and I don’t want any dirt disturbing those tones. I soaked it and washed it in wool wash. It immediately clouded right up and I could tell I was pulling out more dirt. So I dumped that, squeezed out my skein, and filled with more wool wash and hot water. Then I left it to soak for a good long time. I pulled it out, hung it up, and went for a run. By the time I got back it was dry, but also very very felted. Far more so than I expected. Which is why you don’t get to see it in a hank. It took a little effort to get it into a yarn cake, but while doing so I noticed that the felting strengthened the yarn and also gave it a fabulous halo.



What does this mean for my evening? It means I finally get to swatch for my featherweight cardigan. I am using US size 4s to start with, I’ll let you know how that goes.

And if this yarn cannot turn into a featherweight cardi? I know exactly what shawl I am going to turn it into.