Year of Projects, Year 2: Spinning, Take 1

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I had a bit of a cliffhanger in my last Year of Projects update (you might have missed it since it was hidden between pictures of yarn): would I be able to take the Basic Dropspindling class at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival? It turns out that there was room for me.  But, um…  well, you can be the judge.

Is that what you call handspun?

Clearly, I have a long way to go before I can actually spin some yarn that anyone (myself included) would ever use.  While I did resist the urge to buy a stunningly beautiful hand made drop spindle from Hearthwise, I couldn’t stop myself from getting some super cool roving.  You know, for that day when I’m an accomplished spinner and stuff.

Yum.

So from here on out, I’ll be relying on these spinning teachers: Abby Franquemont (via Respect the Spindle) and Maggie Casey (via Start Spinning).

If these don’t help, there’s always Drucilla Pettibone‘s Craftsy class.  I think spinning is something I’ll need to set aside a fair amount of time for (since a 90 minute class was definitely not enough!).  That probably means that my next self-guided spinning lesson will take place over Thanksgiving weekend or the break from work between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This seems as good a time as any to share an update on my general YOP progress so far.

1) Crochet 52 granny squares for charity. I’m furthest along here.  I have 25 blocks finished (I made 26 but one was frogged).

2) Knit my first complete pair of socks.  It appears I’m not a sock person.  My socks have stalled since the end of the Ravellenic Games.

3) Make my mom a special bedspread for her milestone birthday.  I might need a little help here.  I already started working on these squares … and then I realized there’s a Tree of Life crochet pattern.  I started thinking maybe I should switch to a Tree of Life project?  What do you think?  (If it helps you decide, the yarn is a little more cream and less yellow than it appears in the picture.)

4) Learn to spin.  See above for update.

5) Design my own Bruges lace pattern. Done!  I released Visit to the Kantcentrum this week.  If you’ve never done Bruges lace crochet before, there is a photo tutorial inside.  As a thank you to all my YOP friends for your support, you can download it for free on Ravelry with coupon code BrugesYOP (or by following this link) through October 31.

Visit to the Kantcentrum, a Bruges lace crochet pattern with a photo tutorial for newbies.

6) Learn overlay crochet. No progress yet.

7) Create my own hairpin lace pattern.  No progress yet.

8 ) Try double knitting. No progress yet.

9) Try domino (modular) knitting. I’ve looked over the book, and even had a false start.  Perhaps I should make a charity domino square?

10) Make a small project inspired by Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch.  No progress yet.

11) Learn knit entrelac. No progress yet.

12) Design a crochet lace shawl pattern or recipe for my DC 37 crochet class students.  As I’ve mentioned before, this is actually finished.  The design has even been tested and edited.  You’ll just have to wait until it is ready for release…

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

FO Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

I’m excited to be participating in another I Love Yarn Day on my blog!  To celebrate, I’m sharing some charity projects and showing off some of my recent yarn acquisitions.

Finished charity projects

I’ve been working on some charity projects with stash yarn for the Hats 4 the Homeless drive at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Men’s hat and child’s hat.

I had plans for more creative (read: flashy) hats, but then I remembered these guidelines on the Bridge and Beyond blog about donating handmade hats to homeless people:

Choose colors that don’t show the dirt, that are appropriate for the group you’re donating too.  Wild colors, bold stripes aren’t a good choice for homeless people…  Homeless [people] don’t like to call attention to themselves with wild colors.  Dark colors work for everyone, kids, teens, women, and men.  Light colors limit who can benefit from your warm hat.

With that in mind, I pulled out the charcoal yarns and went work.  I made both hats very bulky and warm so they will provide a little extra protection in harsh weather.  I’m also planning to make some scarves before the drop off deadline.

Yummy yarn stuff

When I wrote my post for I Love Yarn Day last year, I was already thinking about thinning out my stash.  This year I’ve been participating in Surmount the Stash and I started my own Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I’ve made a lot of progress towards reducing my stash and increasing the proportion of natural fibers in my collection.  I’m not even going to enter the I Love Yarn Day contest where you can win 365 skeins of yarn.  Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it up.  So what changed?

One of my best friends and I took part in the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge with Frugally Sustainable in January.  As New York natives working in the public/non-profit sector and watching prices rise astronomically, we are always worried about our finances.

My frugality is still a work in progress – there is much that I haven’t changed yet – but I have been pretty good about keeping a 30-Day List.  Last weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival and the New York City Yarn Crawl, and I’ve been planning for months to go wild.

The yarn and roving I bought at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.

From top to bottom: Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki in Aella and in Anastasia, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red, and Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace in Night Sky and Hand Dyed Merino Roving in Harvest Festival. I only had time to visit three of the ten yarn shops participating in the New York City Yarn Crawl last weekend.  (After all, I was in New Jersey for two days for the Festival!) My first stop was (of course) my favorite NYC yarn shop, Knitty City, where I picked up two skeins of madelinetosh tosh vintage. On Monday, I visited Downtown Yarns, my favorite stop for knitting needle shopping.

Believe it or not, I actually went there hoping they would have some super jumbo circulars, and I was not disappointed. (These are US size 50!)

I found this lovely skein of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock right next to the needles. My final stop was The Yarn Company.  I’ve done a fair amount of browsing in the shop since it came under new ownership and the vibe is much better than it was in the past.  Other than a few skeins of sale yarn that I bought when ownership switched over, I had never found the “right” yarn for me when visiting.  It is in my neighborhood and I appreciate the work the new owners have put into rebuilding the store’s reputation, so I decided to stop by during the Yarn Crawl.  And I wasn’t disappointed when I found this lovely skein of Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in Violets in the Grass. I have ideas for these yarns, but honestly, I almost never make exactly what I planned when I’m buying the yarn!  (Does this happen to anyone else?)  By the time I get through the things I’m making now and the projects I have deadlines for, I’ll be interested in making other things.  At least now that I started using Ravelry’s stash feature (thanks to this tutorial from FreshStitches), I can easily scan my stash before starting a new project. For more I Love Yarn Day excitement, check out the inspiration webpagePinboards, and Facebook page, and follow @iloveyarnday or search #iloveyarnday on Twitter.  And for more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.