Monday, May 30, 2011

Make It Monday: Sock It To Me

Can you tell that I have way too much fun coming up with titles for my blog posts? That, or I have a horrible sense of humor. Maybe both.

Ahem. Anyway!

Today, I am sharing my socks. New socks. Socks because I was bitten by the sock bug and I have not attempted to knit any socks for quite a while. I don't like the thought of tons of work going into things that will be hidden on people's feet, but I know that socks are appreciated and they're relatively quick and hey, it's new and it's shiny. For now.

These are the Traditional Gansey Socks by Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits, and out of her Socks From The Toe Up book. The yarn is Springvale sock from Three Irish Girls in the Smoke and Mirrors colorway.

If the boy doesn't want these, I'm keeping them. But I think the sock bug may be here to stay.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Speaking out on Sunday: Bringing in the Bard

Week Four is here and available for downloading now!

(Sadly I deleted the show notes from this page by accident. I will attempt to recreate them again when I'm not worried that I'll just make things worse. ) :)
How to Contact me:

iTunes: Slinging Color
Ravelry: creaturecomfort
Ravelry Group: Creature Comfort Craftwork Fans
Etsy: Creature Comfort Craftworks on Etsy
Email: sarah.hawke [at]
Twitter: creaturecmfts
Facebook: Facebook
Plurk: Plurk

Talk to you next week!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fiber Friday: Back to the dyepots we go.

So it's been a while since I gave you a good shot of anything I've been dyeing. Oh, sure, I showed you the Mexican Chocolate bfl/silk last week, but I don't know if that really counts.

So here are a few of my new favorites. Easy on the brain, since we're approaching a long weekend and really, who wants to do insightful or philosophical writing before the fun starts?

Enjoy the colors!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday on the Wheel: Wool into gold.

You know the Rumplestiltskin fairy tale, with the girl who's forced to spin straw into gold? Back in the day, when I lived on a farm and was seven or so, I used to tear up straw and pretend I was spinning it. This resulted in lots of bits of straw flung around, great fun for me, and not a single strand of actual usable anything.

Fast forward to now, when I can take that pile of fluff from last week, that didn't work for me at all, in terms of representing me out in the wide world of spinning, and turn it into this:

This is the first 95 yards or so of that Mexican Chocolate bfl/silk I showed off last week. Pre-wash, fingering-ish weight.

It's working for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make It Monday: Marking stitches

So as you may have heard me blather on recently, I have been making stitch markers. And oh my gosh, have I been having fun! Too much fun, maybe, if there is such a thing. Most of what I've made so far have been one-off markers that appeal to me and my doodling inner child at the time. I made a smiley face marker and shipped that off to a customer, f'rinstance.

And I made this, which I'm referring to as my Hippy Dippy Marker Set. It's just fun to say. :)

I'm sure there will be more. As I hinted in the podcast, I'll probably give some away if I can come up with a scheme I like. Or you can suggest one, if you have an idea.

Thanks again to Light Brown Hare for holding the giveaway that reminded me how much fun shrinky dinks can be. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Speaking out on Sunday: Ramble heavy, Colorwork light

Week Three is here and available for downloading now!

This week I felt a little rambly, but I also felt more comfortable (which is probably why the rambling, right?) so the episode is a skosh longer.

I talked some more about Shakespeare and my feelings on how it's taught. I'm still looking for suggestions from listeners as to what might be interesting. As I said, I can go for hours about the Bard, so it'd probably good to whittle the broad spectrum of things to talk about down.

I confessed to getting bitten by the urge to knit things that aren't on the needles right now, and I remind myself that I should be talking about more colorwork. Staying on topic is tricky!

I mention an event at the Retzlaff Winery on June 4th, for those of you in the area or close enough to get there. Spinning, potluck food, fleece market. It's going to be fun and I'm going to try to go.

And then there's this:

Shops I talked about:

Moonwood Farms -- I mentioned this shop as one of the places to get Unicorn products, but while you're there, check out her fibers as well.

Patterns I talked about:

Skuld by Anna Dalvi of Knit and Knag. This is a uniquely shaped shawl, part of her Norn series. I talked about Anna quite a bit this episode.

Books I mentioned:

Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield -- I haven't read these, but had them mentioned to me by a Ravelry group member. I will try to do a thorough review in the future.

No Fear Shakespeare -- A series of "translation" books for those who'd like to read or study Shakespeare but find the original language challenging. My recommendation for this sort of thing.

Silk Road Socks by Hunter Hammersen. Published by Cooperative Press, an independent publisher with fantastic projects in the works.

Shaping Shawls by Anna Dalvi. In pre-order only, but if you're interested in designing shawls, like me, this might be the book for you. Another Cooperative Press book.

All That Other Stuff:

Be sure to check out the Clothed in the Lamb podcast to hear Janeen's newest episode and find out who won the skein of worsted weight merino I dyed up for her listeners!

Swing by and check out the Knitmore Girls podcast. Jasmin and Gigi are a mother-daughter team who talk about knitting, sewing, weaving, spinning and so much more!

And don't forget to leave a comment here or in my Ravelry group for a chance at winning yarn and a set of KnitPicks DPNs.

How to Contact me:

iTunes: Slinging Color
Ravelry: creaturecomfort
Ravelry Group: Creature Comfort Craftwork Fans
Etsy: Creature Comfort Craftworks on Etsy
Email: sarah.hawke [at]
Twitter: creaturecmfts
Facebook: Facebook
Plurk: Plurk

Talk to you next week!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fiber Friday: The Shetland has Landed

So if you listen to my podcast, or if you recall earlier blog posts, I mentioned that I wanted to try some shetland. I was thinking roving, but I was offered a bit of a shetland fleece, and I happily leapt at the opportunity.

And it has landed.

I was warned that it was dirty. I think I need to seriously downgrade my expectations when it comes to smaller indie fibers and fleeces. I'm still quite new to all of this, so when I hear, "it's dirty", I don't expect, well. Dirty.

I'm learning.

This has already been through a soak and dunk and wash since taking the picture. I was thinking it was a lovely sort of blend and brown and white. It's... not so much now. But it smells better! And it's clean-er. Next step: carding the heck out of it and hoping that more of the vm falls out.

No wonder people think we wool people are weird. Look at what we do for fun! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday on the Wheel: What happens when...?

Accidents happen. We all know that, right? A few stitches get dropped when knitting, a splat of dye ends up on the wrong section of fiber or a project ends up being too danged small once it's all finished up. It happens. Not happy-making, but forgivable.

I had one of those days a while ago. As I've mentioned, I sometimes contribute to the Phat Fiber Box sampler. I did so last month, if you remember my butterfly yarns. I meant do to so this month, for the spice box. I had all good intentions. I picked one of my favorite fibers (bfl/silk for the curious), I came up with a gorgeous colorway, Mexican Chocolate, which looks like this:

And I sat down to make mini-batts to be sent as samples. Or I meant to anyway.

I have, once before, tried to do fiber samples for the box. Those turned out all right, and I would have been happy to send them off to this day. These new ones...didn't come out so well. I do not have a carder, so I pulled mini-batts by hand, and though the colors were lovely, the actually little rolls just looked sloppy and hurried (despite the fact that I started making them early) and unprofessional. Not what I want out in the world to represent me.

So I opted not to send them, sadly. And then looked at the pile of fiber and realized that I had 8 ounces of fiber, all pulled apart into chunks that couldn't be sold, and I had to figure out what to do it it. It's too pretty to do nothing with and I wouldn't ever throw it away.

So I'm spindle spinning it. Who knows what it will become? I've got a ton of it, though. I might manage 400 or maybe even 500 yards of yarn. And then? Then the sky's--okay, the yardage's--the limit!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Make It Monday: Making it Home

It's Monday and I have...nothing to significant to report.

I have been out of town, my friends, working on my other career which is writing. There was no Friday Fiber update, nor was there a podcast on Sunday. I simply ran out of time to get everything done and set up in advance.

So! I will be playing catch up this week and getting things back on schedule again. Fair warning, there will possibly be another interruption like this at the end of June when I'm off for writing things again. Until then, however, I promise to be present and at least moderately productive.

Apologies for any disappointment and please come back to keep me to my word. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday on the Wheel: A work in progress.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am a s l o w crafter. I'm apologizing a lot more for that because I'm sharing my crafting life, but really, I shouldn't, because things are still getting done, just at my own pace.

It's been kind of a busy week here at Chez Stitches and as such there hasn't been as much progress as there could have been. It's also a short week as I am out of town this weekend and the Engineer does not (yet!) know how to spin.

But for now, here's how the Fall Creek Fibers superwash wool is spinning up. It used to look like this:

And here's the progress today:

That's about 75% of the way through the fiber. It's going to be a very pastel yarn. It's not too late for Easter colors, right? :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Make It Monday: Anemoi Accomplished

It has been a busy, eventful week, but that is no excuse not to keep up with Make It Monday, right?

Especially when I feel so accomplished and I've actually got something to show you.

That's right: the Anemoi Mittens are finally finished! I mentioned that they were in yesterday's podcast, but I didn't have pictures at that point. Now I do. So, what do you think? Stunning pattern, wouldn't you say? And the yarns from Into The Whirled are just amazing. Definitely a satisfying project all around. I'm glad to have them finished, but they're not the last pair I'll make and not the last of the ITW yarn that I'll use.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Speaking out on Sunday: Knitting and...

It's week two! This podcasting thing is a lot more complicated than making blog posts or rambling about what I'm currently up to, on Twitter, but I think it's all very much worthwhile.

So the big news this week is that the podcast is on iTunes! *throws confetti* That means that not only should you be able to subscribe from there, but you can also leave comments and ratings there if you're so inclined. If you have an iTunes account, you can get to the show page here.

The other big news -- big for me, anyway -- is that I talked about my first marketplace outint as a fiberista in the real world. I went to the Midtown Bazaar on Saturday, May 7th and had a surprisingly good time. Here's a picture of my not-so-elegant booth. It's my first time out, and yes, I'm all crooked, but things will get better.

I'm looking forward to going back. If you're in the area, swing by and say hello!

Shownotes for Ep 2

Shops I talked about:

Rogue Adventures -- one of the first indie dyers I ever bought from. Trish is an awesome talent!

Ethnicity Goddess -- She doesn't appear to be selling spinning fibers anymore, but check out her clothing designs.

Patterns I talked about:

Radiance Shawl by Helen Stewart -- A beautiful semi-circular shawl with lots of different stitch combinations. The pattern has a page that allows you to track percentage completed as well. Genius!

Lovisa Armwarmers -- My next colorwork project when I have some needles free. Aren't they pretty?

Books I reviewed:

Colorwork Creations by Susan Anderson-Freed. Lots of cute charts, Sanquhar motifs and new garment construction.

All That Other Stuff:

Be sure to check out the Clothed in the Lamb podcast to hear Janeen's fantastic tips and information and to get in on my giveaway and discount code, specifically for her listeners.

Swing by and check out the Brass Needles podcast if you're interested in SF, steampunk, costuming and more as well as knitting. Miss Kalendar is awesome!

And don't forget to leave a comment here or in my Ravelry group for a chance at winning yarn and a set of KnitPicks DPNs.

How to Contact me:

Ravelry: creaturecomfort
Ravelry Group: Creature Comfort Craftwork Fans
Etsy: Creature Comfort Craftworks on Etsy
Email: sarah.hawke [at]
Twitter: creaturecmfts

Talk to you next week!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fiber Friday: Fun, right? Fun!

It's another late post! I apologize, but I have been running around like a chicken with no head. Funny to watch in a fashion, but I feel a little like I'm completely unprepared for tomorrow, and I probably am.


Tomorrow, I'm doing my first fibery craft market showing at the Midtown Bazaar in downtown Sacramento. I'll be there by myself, setting up and attempting to be friendly throughout the day. Believe me, for someone who is an introvert, this is a scary, scary prospect. Yes, I've acted, yes, I've spoken in public but this is different, somehow.

So in my frenzy, I thought I'd show you a couple not-so-great shots of my craft room mid-preparation. With any luck, I won't bring as much home with me as I'm taking. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'll be crossing my toes. I'm going to need my fingers tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday on the Wheel: Back on the spindle again.

That's right, it's another spindle-focused post. Well, not focused so much as, the spindle is the tool I'm using this time.

And, to change things up, this is neither one of my handmade spindles, nor one I use for spinning singles. Today's spindle is one of my first, one that I learned on and one that's excellent for plying and spinning bulkier yarns than I like these days, but not so great for fine weights.

This, my friends, is an Ashford Student spindle. I refer to it as a boat anchor spindle, a term used to refer to big, heavy spindles. This beast weighs 2.75 oz, which is a lot when compared to my usual collection, all of which weigh well under an ounce. Still, it has it's use.

Plying, as I mentioned. I used it today to ply up the merino I mentioned I wanted to use with the cormo from my current project. I ended up getting about 85 yards of not-so-smooth chain-plied yarn out of the ounce of merino I had. Not bad, really. I believe I'll be using these in combination for a pair of Lovisa Armwarmers, since I think that pattern would tolerate my bumpy yarns. I'll know for sure when I have some needles cleared up and can cast on!

Edit: And I totally forgot one of my reasons for doing another spindle post! Spinning Daily (from Interweave and put together by Amy Moore, the editor of Spin-Off magazine) is offering a free ebook on learning how to spin on a drop spindle. Registration is free! Go check it out, if you're interested!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make It Monday: A needle of a different sort

Another Make It Monday, and another apology for a belated post. I'm getting ready for a show this weekend, so I'm running around like crazy making sure I have enough stuff and everything in order. I also had to make a trip to the dentist, (boo!) but here I am and here you are and here we go!

Firstly, a big hello to people visiting the blog because they've heard about the Slinging Color! podcast. Glad to have you stop by. Please feel free to leave a comment and say hi. :)

So, as with most fiber crafting people, I have a huge range of needles in my home, from the very large to the hefty. Not all of my needles, however, are meant for yarn. Some are meant for much smaller items.

Like beads!

I started doing beadwork in college and I've been at it on and off ever since. I particularly love working with teeny tiny seed beads. These days, I mostly work with Miyuki Delicas, which are cylinder shaped beads cut to uniform sizes, which means that they stack neatly and are ideal for beadwork with crisp patterns and the occasional corner.

So I thought I'd show off some of my favorites. The jewelry pieces are all things I designed on my own. The beaded box design is by Julia Pretl, but I stitched it with my own two hands!

You can see more at my other etsy shop, Beadskinz.

More fibery stuff coming soon, promise!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Speaking out on Sunday: Slinging Stitches ... in Color!

It's here, it's here! And you didn't even know it was coming, did you? Not really, anyway, but it is and it was and ...SURPRISE!

Today marks the beginning of a new project for me, one that I have (nervously!) enjoyed starting and one that I (likewise nervously!) hope you enjoy as well.

Today, I launch my podcast, entitled Slinging Color! In it, I'm going to talk about knitting and spinning, of course, probably some dyeing, but the main focus is going to be colorwork. Stranded, Fair Isle, intarsia, entrelac... I haven't done all of them, but I'll give them a shot and talk about them, from a beginner's perspective!

And the first episode is in the can, so to speak, and ready to be heard. Clicking on the link should play the file for you. You can also copy it from here ( and paste it into any player you prefer.

If you'd like to subscribe, the RSS feed is: I have submitted it to iTunes so hopefully it will be available there soon.

And, of course, there are show notes!

Show notes for Episode 1: The Inaugural Podcast

Shops I mentioned:

Fat Cat Knits, owned and run by Ginny, one of my favorite indie fiberistas. Go and check out her shop and pick up any of her amazing fibers. You'll be glad you did.

Into the Whirled, owned and run by Cris, and another of my favorites! Hope of the Inspirations fiber club, and amazing colorways. Stop by and say hello!

I also mentioned Brie and Fall Creek Fibers, but she's on hiatus until June. When she's back, I promise, I will post a link.

Patterns/Designers I mentioned:

This week I'm talking about a couple of colorwork patterns by Eunny Jang.

First, her amazing Anemoi Mittens. I also talked about her free pattern for the Endpaper Mitts.

Contests and Giveaways:

Janeen Puckett, host of the Clothed in the Lamb podcast contacted me and invited me to be a sponsor for her second season. The first episode of Season Two will air on May 5, 2011. To celebrate, I'm donating a skein of worsted weight yarn to be given away to her listeners.

This is a brand new colorway called "Earthside" and I'm really, really happy with how it turned out. Take a look:

To find out what you have to do to win, go have a listen to Janeen's podcast! There will also be a discount code for her listeners, good for 10% off of anything in my Etsy shop. But again, you'll have to listen to find out what it is.

I'm hosting my own giveaway, btw, to celebrate the launch of Slinging Color! I'm giving away a 6-dpn set of US 2/2.75mm needles in harmony wood from KnitPicks and two balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply (100% extrafine superwash merino, 189 yards/180 m, 50 g) in the following colors:

Want to win? Leave a comment on this post or visit this thread in my Ravelry group. You can say hello, tell me how you're feeling, or talk about your experiences with colorwork! I'll draw a random number from all entries at the end of May!

Real World Sightings:

I will be vending at the Midtown Bazaar next weekend, on May 7th. If you're in the area, stop by and say hello!

How to Contact me:

Ravelry: creaturecomfort
Ravelry Group: Creature Comfort Craftwork Fans
Etsy: Creature Comfort Craftworks on Etsy
Email: sarah.hawke [at]
Twitter: creaturecmfts

Thanks for listening!