Tour de Fleece 2018

I have two main crafts - knitting and drop spindling. Knitting is number one, with spinning trailing several yards behind. My only experience with spinning - despite the fact that I've been doing it for years - is picking up fiber and a spindle and going at it for a few minutes once a month or so, with no real regard for what I was doing or why.

As I mentioned before though, I just had a baby, and that baby loves watching my drop spindle. It's mesmerizing for little baby brains that haven't ever seen much of anything. I found myself choosing to spin instead of knit. Turns out that if you spin for more than five minutes every few months, things actually get finished. And I did some reading and found out that there is more than one way to spin, and there is such a thing as color management. That's how this skein came about:

Handspun yarn

This is fiber from Created by Elsie B in the colorway "Unicorns." It is a two-ply fractal spin, and I flew through it because I was so excited to see how it would turn out.

 That sparkle though...

That sparkle though...

Once this skein was finished, I ordered 8 ounces of this gorgeous fiber from Inglenook Fibers:

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The colorway is "Nautilus," and it's part of their Summer Blend Series. Made of merino, silk, pearl fiber, and silver stellina, it's insanely soft and has a beautiful sheen. I originally only ordered 4 oz, but once it came I needed more. It was so beautiful that I knew I would want it to be a bigger project with more yardage. 

I wasn't planning on participating in the Tour de Fleece this year, but trying to get through 8 oz of fiber on a drop spindle (making it my biggest spinning project to date) with a newborn seemed like a pretty good challenge. I used my Golding spindle because that was the one that was available (it's all very scientific over here).

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My intent was a two-ply worsted spun, at whatever weight it ended up being. I'm not going to pretend like I have the experience or energy to plan ahead for a specific weight. And as I learned from the Craftsy class I recently watched on drafting, a woolen draft is my default. Not just my default, but the only drafting method I've ever used. So I had no idea what to expect from a worsted draft.

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By the end of the Tour, I completed the full 8 ounces of singles.

 Singles complete with background cattle dog and box of liquor. 

Singles complete with background cattle dog and box of liquor. 

They still need to be plied, and while I was hoping to complete that step during the Tour, I think finishing the singles is not too shabby a result. And my kid was thoroughly entertained by the spindle for the month of July.

The Tour de Fleece was an awesome way to ignite my spinning mojo. It worked so well that I think spinning has moved up closer to knitting on my craft priorities list. I don't think knitting will ever be knocked out of the number one slot, but at the moment all I want to do is keep spinning.

Partners for Single Socks

I'm on maternity leave this summer, and my goals are three-fold: keep my kid alive, knit pairs for all of my single sock WIPs, and participate in the Tour de Fleece. The last two are easier said than done because as you can imagine the first goal is a big one.

 (but a cute one)

(but a cute one)

Plus, as I've mentioned before, I'm not great with crafting commitments. 

I'll talk about the Tour in a different post, but the second sock goal makes sense for a lot of reasons.

  • The Grocery Girls hold a "Second Sock of Summer KAL," so there's camaraderie in finishing up the pairs. 
  • Taking care of a baby, while it's my favorite thing I've ever done, is HARD. It's nice to be able to say, "hey look, I knit a whole pair of socks AND my kid gained two pounds." Tangibility and all that.
  • My big knitting goal for 2018 was to finish all of my WIPs (again, progress report in a later post), so finishing all of my sock WIPs fits in with that.
  • If I didn't make a point to spend three months knitting second socks, they would quite literally never happen. By the time I finish the first sock, I'm bored and ready to move on to a new sock with new yarn. At last count, if I knit a pair of socks every month, I would have enough sock yarn in my stash to last me five years. So I have a lot tempting me. By spending the summer finishing off pairs, I can spend the rest of the year knitting all of the first socks that I want!

I started the summer with this lineup of single socks in need of partners:

 I'm not counting the unfinished sock on the top.

I'm not counting the unfinished sock on the top.

My plan was to finish one sock a week, but we all know how that goes. Instead, it's mid-July and I only have (almost) three done. 

The first was out of self-striping yarn from Scrumptious Purl, in the colorway "Cake for Breakfast." When I pulled this one out I was actually surprised that I didn't finish the full pair when I started it *cough* last fall */cough*. I REALLY love these colors together, so much so that I'm planning on knitting a shawl with these same colors in 2019, once my year of WIPs is over. I knit the first sock on a trip to New Hampshire with my husband for our anniversary. I just found out I was pregnant, and pretty soon after I finished this sock, knitting started to make me nauseous. Being pregnant is a blast. 

The second finished pair is from Hedgehog Fibers on the Twist Sock base in the colorway "Wild Thing," which was a club color from a few years back. Twist Sock is a BFL/nylon blend, and I love knitting with it. I knit the first sock this February. Another 2018 knitting goal I had was to knit a pair of socks a month. This lasted until... February. Nailed it.

And finally, I'm planning on finishing this pair later today, since I only have the toe left, though I probably just jinxed myself. This is my own hand-dyed yarn in the colorway "Midnight" on my Crayon base, which is a multi-colored tweed. The toe is "Coral" on Ballpoint Sock, my 80/20 sock blend. I couldn't even begin to guess when I knit the first one. 

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Six socks and seven weeks left. Sounds doable, but given the fact that I've only knit three in six weeks, probably not likely. I'm fine with this though because I have a happy baby, a dog who is only slightly neglected since the baby came home, a husband I still have time to talk to on occasion, and a house that is a contained disaster rather than a straight up dumpster fire. Anything else is a bonus :)

Introducing the Killer Fall Collection - Six new colorways of hand-dyed yarn and one new DK base

I'm so excited to announce the launch of With Pointed Sticks Yarn's newest colors and base - the Killer Fall Collection!

Inspired by imagery from songs by The Killers, these colors are perfect for autumn!

 Killer Fall Collection on Ballpoint Sock

Killer Fall Collection on Ballpoint Sock

I heard The Killers' debut album, Hot Fuss, at my best friend's house in 2004. We were almost 15, and baking cookies to impress boys we liked at a pool party later that day. Those boys are long in the past, but Hot Fuss and all of their albums thereafter still live in my heart, and remind me of being a kid dancing in a kitchen with her best friend.

This collection features six new colorways and one new base.

  Sunsets on the Eastside   Inspired by imagery in the song "  Smile Like You Mean It  " by the Killers

Sunsets on the Eastside
Inspired by imagery in the song "Smile Like You Mean It" by the Killers

  Shimmy and a Shake   Inspired by imagery in the song "  On Top  " by The Killers

Shimmy and a Shake
Inspired by imagery in the song "On Top" by The Killers

  Current Lets You Go   Inspired by imagery in the song "  River is Wild  " by The Killers

Current Lets You Go
Inspired by imagery in the song "River is Wild" by The Killers

  Talks Like a Gentleman   Inspired by imagery in the song "  When You Were Young  " by The Killers

Talks Like a Gentleman
Inspired by imagery in the song "When You Were Young" by The Killers

  Gold-Hearted Boy   Inspired by imagery in the song "  All These Things That I've Done  " by The Killers

Gold-Hearted Boy
Inspired by imagery in the song "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers

  Blue Jean Serenade   Inspired by imagery in the song "  Dustland Fairytale  " by The Killers

Blue Jean Serenade
Inspired by imagery in the song "Dustland Fairytale" by The Killers

New Base!
Flex DK
100% Superwash Merino
231 yards/100 grams

I'm thrilled to introduce With Pointed Sticks Yarn's newest base in the lineup - Flex DK! This 4-ply yarn is soft and squishy, and perfect for winter accessories or garment knitting.

The Killer Fall Collection colorways will be the first to be featured on this base, and others will follow.

 Killer Fall Collection on Flex DK

Killer Fall Collection on Flex DK

This collection will be in the shop on Wednesday, August 10th at 7:00 pm EST in the With Pointed Sticks Etsy shop. Full skeins of each color will be available on Ballpoint Sock and the new Flex DK bases. Mini skein sets of all 6 colors will be available as well, on Ballpoint Sock.

Hope to see you there!!