Finding creative ways to keep busy and use things we have around the house.

spinning sample along

After months of neglect, my spinning wheel was displaying a thick coating of dust. Every day I looked at it and thought that I should spin, but without a specific project in mind other than an overflowing bin of spinning fiber, I wasn’t sure how to return to regular practice.

I was delighted to discover that Jillian Moreno planned to host a low-key sample along. What a wonderful way to ease back into the practice of regular spinning. Over the course of the sample along, I also hope to take my spinning out of the predictable yarn I’ve been making and create something different.

I decided to spin this beautiful braid of Anzula Superfine Merino in the colorway Earth. I’d picked it up a few years ago with the intent to design a project with it, mixing it with Squishy. That’s still the eventual plan! Samples are how spinners swatch.

Why am I posting here and not at little acorn creations? This part of the process feels right to talk about here. Once I start analyzing the samples and turning them into swatches, then I’ll write about this project there.

Anzula Braid

getting ready

Of course, it was quickly apparent that I’ve become more accustomed of late to writing instructions instead of following what someone else has written.

One evening, I read through week one, getting ready.

The following day, without reviewing the instructions, I photographed the fiber. Then I prepared it, based on my memory. What did I do? I split it into quarters horizontally, not vertically. While I will be working through Jillian’s different types of playing with color the effect of different methods won’t be as apparent in my samples. That’s ok. My primary goal for this sample along is to return to regular spinning.

first sample, as it comes

Earlier this week I began to spin the first sample, As it Comes.

It felt good to sit at the wheel and spin. Fifteen minutes doing something other than sitting at my desk didn’t cause the world to turn inside out (it’s doing that all on its own). Hopefully I’ll be able to keep practicing this renewed habit.

updating my CMYK watercolour dots

A few weeks ago I bought a hand mulled watercolour dot card from Wanderlust Watercolours. I love dot cards because they let me try different paints without investing in an entire half pan (or more).

Wanderlust Watercolour dot card & sample paint swatch on a very messy desk.

Unfortunately I haven’t done much painting or sketching lately. I wanted to find a way to make this sample one I would take out and use … and get back to experimenting. A few weeks ago, I changed what is in my EDC (every day carry) mini palette. That’s helped, but I needed a spark of something completely different. This set fills that need.

I have empty half pans however I wanted something tiny. There are companies that offer slim watercolour palettes, but I wanted something now. So I went to the store and bought an eyeshadow set with the plan to replace the makeup (since I don’t wear it anyway) with my paints. Ok, I only finally bought it this evening but I do think it’ll work out. Let’s take a tour of what I did.

wanderlust watercolour dot card and eyeshadow palette

Ready (Prepare)

First I pried out the makeup. Don’t worry — I’m keeping all but the pinkest shade and experimenting further.

emptied eyeshadow palette

Then I washed it well in warm water. I didn’t bother drying it too much. I tried to pry the inner tray out, but it’s well affixed. You can see that some of the eyeshadow pushed through to the case. That’s ok.

cleaned eyeshadow case ready for pigment transfer.

Set (Transfer)

These paints experienced the same gross humid NYC weather as I have so they weren’t too thrilled about being pulled off the card. I persevered and got everything into its new spot. The two larger spaces are for mixing.

watercolours transferred from the dot card to the new case

Then I wet them down well, this will help them get sticky in their new home. I went a bit overboard with the hansa yellow light, but that’s ok.


New CMYK dot palette

This CMYK collection consists of

  • C – cobalt turquoise light – pb28
  • M – quinacridone magenta – pr122
  • Y – hansa yellow light – py3
  • K – mars black – pbk11

and while it’s currently sold out at Wanderlust Watercolours, please let Kata know if you are seriously interested. While I can’t promise she’ll make more, she might. I highly suggest signing up for her newsletter and following @wanderlustwc on instagram.

Here are some quick scribbles as I didn’t feel like going to get my favourite water brush. I look forward to making a proper chart of these colours tomorrow and getting back to painting and sketching.

CMYK scribbles

some interesting projects using sticks and string

It’s been a while since I last wrote here about my knitting and crochet projects. Please, take a moment to get comfortable and maybe grab your favourite beverage. I would like to tell you the stories of three hand dyed yarns I worked with recently and the projects they became.

crochet & cashmere

Art Yarns Crochet Triangle ScarfFirst crochet, with an exclusive pattern for the Artyarns Cashmere Triangle Scarf Kit. It was one of those serendipitous projects, the yarn literally fell into my lap, so I asked a question, and I was able to crochet the answer!

As I swatched the yarn I knew I wanted to keep the stitches simple. It creates a beautiful fabric that needs to be shown off, I didn’t want to obscure that with anything complicated. I loved the effect that half-double crochet created. For this design, I added stripes to ease the colour transitions, it makes for extra ends to weave in (or you could make a ::gasp:: fringe of sorts), and I think makes it a beautiful design.

The luxurious kit includes 5 hand-dyed skeins of Artyarn’s 1-ply Cashmere (a laceweight) for 600 yards total. If you don’t crochet (this is a great beginner project), there is a wonderful quick knit design by Iris Schreier. Why quick? The yarn is held doubled throughout and it’s knit on 4.5mm (US 7) needles starting with a very small number of stitches cast on and increasing from there. Find out if your Local Yarn Store carries the kit, or you can order directly from Artyarns. This is beautiful cashmere that you will enjoy knitting or crocheting.

I wrote more about this project at little acorn creations.

I now have warm hands!

Houldsworth Glove & Foster Kitten on book "Encyclopedia of Textiles"This is proof that projects don’t knit themselves, they do require a knitter to work on them. Due to neglect, these were over a year in the knitting, I now have a pair of gloves! (If I weave in the ends before this time next year I’ll be surprised!)

They are the Houldsworth Glove from Kate Atherley’s Knit Mitts: Your Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens & Gloves (reviewed here). I knit them in Anzula‘s hand dyed Gerty, a 100% 3-ply American Targee (a fingering weight).

I’ll be working up a few more swatches in crochet so I can write my Meet the Yarn post. It’s super squishy, bouncy, and has the most amazing … spring and elasticity. It’s a tightly twisted 3-ply and I’m so curious about how it wears I bought a skein over the summer that destined to be a pair of socks! (I know — no nylon I’m that curious!)

They are a special project to me as it’s one that Buddy helped me to begin. And our current foster kitten, Sky helped me finish it. (No, don’t get your hopes up, Shadow doesn’t like him.)

They aren’t an exact following of the pattern as I got a little bored knitting the fingers and didn’t bother the read the instructions for the second hand and the stitch counts for a few of the fingers became off. It’s ok. They fit. They’re warm. I do need to figure out a modification so they help me not slip on the steering wheel as I’m driving.

For those curious about the book on the table, I picked it up at a library book sale over the summer. I think it was half price day. At most I paid $4 for it. It looked interesting and I don’t own anything like it! Now I have to try to find time to do more than use it as a photo prop! (For more fun on library book sales, please enjoy this comic … and the next day’s strip.)

A trio of knit hats!

Three knit hats - Fascicles, Parallu, and Tres SpectreThe third and final yarn I’ll talk about today is yummy blend of 40% Superwash Merino, 30% Mulberry Silk, and 30% Baby Alpaca (a worsted weight), hand dyed by The Yarnbrary. It’s a worsted weight, and I knit with the most delightful of colourways, Copperfield. This yarn is part of the December 2018 Artisan Crate from Knitcrate.

It features three hat designs (by me!) that find inspiration from nature, science, and the swirl that is December.

Fascicles was inspired by dwarf pitch pines’ bundles of three needles. Clustered trios of textured stars adorn Tres Spectra (are you watching Geminid shower tonight?). Parallu came about from thinking about swirling snow, people, and activity that is typical this month.

While I hope you will pick up a kit, the patterns are also available for individual purchase at Ravelry. If you were to substitute yarn, please swatch! I wrote a little about this project at little acorn creations.