The Lift Changing Magic of Stashbusting

I recognize that writing a blog post belies my struggles with decluttering. Why am I at the computer and not elbow-deep in stash? Well I didn’t accumulate the stash in one day, so this isn’t going to be easy.

stash-all

I got the idea to sort my stash after being reminded of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying up on the Curious Handmade podcast.

I watched Clara Parkes’s Craftsy Class on Stashbusting. But I really craved more detail in the section on sorting your yarns. Because it wasn’t obvious to me. Where Clara’s class really excels is helping you figure out how to say goodbye to WIPs, frog, re-set your yarn’s twist, matching yarn to projects, combining in new ways. It’s chock full of great ideas, I fully fully recommend it. BUT, I needed much more detail on the sorting step.

I think that is where KonMarie can help. I thought it would be interesting to compare the approaches. Clara Parkes says you should “prune” the yarns, so you are eliminating. KonMarie says only: Keep what you love; there’s only one rule: does it spark joy?

When do you know you have a problem?

Both Clara Parkes and Marie Kondo refer to the invisible stash/stuff. Clara Parkes says, “If you no longer know what’s in your stash, your stash no longer works for you.” Marie Kondo says items, such as books, become invisible when they are stashed away. Even books, which sit on shelves baring their spines, in full view: they become invisible and dormant. You need to wake them up, and make them conscious again.
I think the act of going through the yarn brings awareness to you about what you have and the intention behind it, and knowing what you have. I think the overall aim is to *stop buying stuff you don’t need*.
stash-love
When are you done?
If you love everything in your stash and it makes your heart sing, then you don’t need to declutter even if you have a shed load of yarn. KonMarie doesn’t prescribe the size or amounts of what to keep (33 items of clothing/100 things, etc). She said those methods are pointless, hard to follow and don’t serve the purpose.
The vision is to be surrounded by a joyful environment. If that’s a library full of books, or a spartan white room, it’s totally up to you.

The emotional feelings in fibre

Clara Parkes and Kon Marie agree that there are going to be easy wins, things you just KNOW you want to keep. For books, KonMarie calls this the “Hall of Fame.”
Clara asks you to detect the feelings you’re getting when you sort the yarn. She suggests you’ll feel there’s a burden, for unfinished projects or untouched yarn. Let it go.

What about the “ambivalent” yarns?

This is where I think there’s a difference in the approaches.  Clara says to bag it up and check back in 6 months. Kon Marie would probably just say “bin it!” (or Donate of course!)

Next: Step by step

OK – This was getting a bit long and now it’s bedtime. I’ll break this into another post and break down the KonMarie steps in relation to yarn!

An Irish yarn for St Patrick’s Day

With the Euro having reached parity with the USD and today being St Patrick’s Day, I’m hoping some knitters are considering a trip to Ireland.

One of the most active threads on the Ireland Ravelry group is regarding info for visiting knitters. People also want to know where they can get their hands on an authentic Irish yarn. Visiting knitters are seeking some wooly experience based on images of sheep grazing in the hills of some Craggy Island, with hearty sailors wearing wool jumpers bobbing on the sea nearby. Even if the origins of the Aran jumper are clouded in the mists of marketing mythology dating back to the 1930s. (This can be a touchy subject for Irish knitters, since visiting North Americans, obsessed with authenticity, are known to comment “why did you let this tradition die out?” when actually it was entirely manufactured and not that long ago.)

All of those visions aside, visiting knitters want a proper squish of the good stuff as a take-home souvenir of memories of hillsides dotted with lovely sheep. What they may find is that, yes, there are some great Ireland-based indie dyers, but they use bases from abroad which are, of course, popular and easy to dye. And yes, there is yarn spun here, but much of Ireland’s wool clip goes to Bradford, England for processing, or the mills use fibres from Australia. The Irish wool you see on the sheep in the field, gets clipped and thrown into the melée with any wool of a similar micron count and staple length, mostly over in England. And what mills get back is a mix.

Animal-Range-and-Farm-Illustration-Sheep-with-lambIf visitors do any digging at all for the history, they’ll discover a sad economic tale of systematic market manipulation and deprivation dating back to the 1600s which consistently stifled any economic growth around the wool industry in Ireland. It’s enough to “bring out the Fenian in ye,” as my niece might say.

Is this a rallying cry to “Knit Irish”? No.

As I write this point, I’m worried that this might be seen as some Republican rally cry to “not knit with that English yarn” because of something that happened centuries ago. Don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t eschew knitting foreign yarn as Louise Scollay from KnitBritish has been doing for a couple of years. Making that statement might raise an eyebrow or two, but isn’t that what it amounts to? The KnitBritish efforts are honourable in that KnitBritish is raising awareness of British breeds and her local industry, which I do think is great!

However, it reminds me of some efforts to ‘buy local’ that misdirect well meaning passion away from supporting sustainable industries in other countries which could increase the quality of life all around with fair trade.  Instead, I think it’s important to emphasize we “#KnitLocal” as Louise mentioned on the KnitBritish podcast recently. This ideal in practice connects you materially to where you are and gives you an understanding of what the world around you is made of. Or “KnitLocal” could mean to buy items produced at a smaller scale and where the value chain is shorter and more value is transferred to the source.

So! I wanted to point out there are authentic Irish yarns available but on a much smaller scale. Argue with me if you like! I’m no economist. However, I know that even a single purchase can make a huge impact to these producers and makers, I hope you’ll support them.

Where are all the Irish spinning mills?

From fleece to yarn, there is minimal capability for wool scouring and processing in Ireland. There are a few remaining mills, and the focus from a farmer’s point of view is meat. So from end to end there are challenges if you’re looking for a single-source yarn. Carol Feller’s Contemporary Irish Knits has a great section on Irish yarns and the remaining mills. Carol also wrote an article for Twist Collective “The Last Mills Standing,” highlighting three mills:

Carol focuses on the modern fact that farmers are selecting breeds for meat, and not fleece. And now, people are more selective and prefer softer and softer wools, and Irish farmers aren’t offering a soft enough or clean enough product for use in artisan yarns that people want to knit with. From a manufacturing point of view, Donegal Yarns could argue they need to offer finished designs in Australian merino to fulfill market demands.

I used to assume the limitations were purely environmental in terms of what kind of fleece could be grown here, but there are great sheep breeds that can do well in these climates. I’m highly sympathetic to farmers, and I think opportunities are increasing for farmers to get more value out of their livestock and business, even when market pressures are driving food prices down and threatening food security and sustainability. I think Irish farmers would diversify their flocks if they thought they could get additional value out of them.

Ireland used to produce finer wools and had a burgeoning woolen trade. So much so that the English royalty successfully sought to destroy the competition from the Irish industry.

The_History_of_the_County_and_City_of_Cork_-_Google_Play

In the 1600s, England squashed competition from Ireland by putting in laws to limit both the woolen industry and industry in general in Ireland. By the 1660s, Acts were introduced to prohibit the export of Irish wool, cattle, etc. to England or her colonies, and prohibiting the direct importation of several colonial products into Ireland. So Ireland directed trade to France and Spain and prospered until yet again, the industry was systematically destroyed to improve business in England. Instead the linen industry was encouraged in Ireland, a more labour intensive, much dirtier and more dangerous industry overall.

If you want to know more, a detailed history is outlined on Ferguson’s Linen Mill website, and a three-part article on the the The Irish Guild of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers site gives some more context to the somewhat infuriating History of Spinning in Ireland. The lack of woolen mills in Ireland or Irish yarn did not happen by chance and is not because we currently don’t have fine fleece here.

Authentic Irish Yarns

At the risk of excluding all the of the great indie dyers in Ireland (saving that for another post!),  I wanted to focus on yarn where the fibre actually comes from animals and farms here in Ireland.

S-Twist Wool The fleece is hand-selected, and hand-scoured using an ecologically friendly scouring method with minimal waste of energy and water. Diarmuid runs his own spinnery producing yarn on a small scale. Here’s a nice in-depth review of the yarn. This fella actually gave me my very first spinning lesson!

Cushendale / Zwartbles sell finished products and yarn from this lovely chocolate fleeced sheep. There are two mills in Ireland that handle raw wool and they won’t process less than an half a ton of wool. So collectively, participating farmers’ clip is combined with other Zwartbles fleece from around the country and sold through Cushendale Mills. See pics of the wool being collected and the wool getting processed at Cushedale Mills on the ZwartblesIreland.com website.

Dupre Knitwear produce made-to-measure handknits for clients. Literally, you give them your measurements, and knitters from their local area knit the finished goods. You can also buy the yarn in kits. Siobhan and her family keep a flock of Leicester Longwool sheep. The fleece from these elegant looking sheep is long, lustrous and in a range of true greys and warm greys. They send it to The Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall who will process and spin the yarn in small batches. I’ve heard the more recent yarn is worsted spun, and even lovelier than a previous year’s yarn.

I’m hoping my list isn’t exhaustive and someone is going to see this point and say “Hey you forgot about this one!” If you know of more Irish Yarns, please comment below!

FYI, if you’ve made it THIS far, you might be interested in this upcoming book: These Islands: Knits from Ireland, Scotland, and Britain

Colours for KnitBritish’s Hap-pening!

I have NO business doing this, but I made an impulse to purchase wool for the Knit British Hapalong, (Hap-KAL?) A hap is usually a square shawl, more like a blanket you can cuddle someone up in. Here’s a bit about the history.

I found out about it through Ravelry in the Knit British group. Leira posted a thread asking if there was a “Hap Interest.” 300+ posts later, I think you can say there’s an interest. By coincidence, Gudrun Johnston is also doing a hap-knit-along (Ravelry). So I expect to see the place covered in rolling waves of flowing haps.

Pattern choice

I love the Quill pattern by Brooklyn Tweed. Knit British has an article of other Brooklyn Tweed designs. She also has a spotlight on Gudrun Johnston’s Haps, and I love the 5 colour combo of the Hansel pattern.

I also like that you can take a craftsy class to learn the techniques and more about the history.
shetland-hap-shawl-craftsy

Yarn choice

So! Hansel calls for Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight. I had the Blacker Yarns Shetland Bargain Pack in my sights. I hemmed and hawed and finally picked two contrasting colours, a dark and a white. Boom, too easy, right?

2015-03-04 14.24.50

It doesn’t start until April, so, ha ha! Maybe I’ll clear my knitting decks!

Konmarie: Turning your stuff into Tertris

I patiently read the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. After reading the first chapter I wanted to get stuck in immediately, I certainly need to make changes. I’ve finally got started, and now just waiting for all the magic to trickle in!IMG_1656

The concept is very simple and imbued with the Japanese appreciation for the material world that isn’t materialistic. You should touch each item and sense your intuitive response. As yourself, “Does this item spark joy?If not, it should be donated or discarded.

I was reminded of this method from the Curious Handmade podcast recently. She gives a good run down of some of the challenges and benefits of the KonMarie method. She did a massive clear out of stuff, including a proper yarn stash revision.

When I taught in Japan I was always amazed at how even the littlest children would come into the classroom, remove their tiny shoes and point them out of the classroom door. Then, as they were exiting the room, the shoes were pointed in the right direction to slip them on quickly so they wouldn’t hold up traffic. In Japan you won’t waste time struggling to get packages opened because they have what my husband and I call “A Japanese Notch.”

The Japanese attention to detail isn’t just an appreciation of order but a consideration of reducing waste of materials and time, and at an atomic level, your life and earthly matter.

The KonMarie method appealed to me very much. My mother is a proper hoarder. I’m not exaggerating, we’re actually afraid she’ll have a fall and no one will be able to find her under a mountain of stuff. In various times in my life I’ve been completely deluged with stuff. The international moves I’ve made are always points where I shed my skin and stuff. But now that I want to *stay* somewhere I won’t be doing that again. I know there’s a tendency for me to become a pack-rat when things are tough. I don’t know why – but my inner order matches my outer order.

So – by that correlation will my inner order fall in line when I get my outer order literally lined up? I need some help for sure right now. Work is far more stressful than it’s ever been in the 5 years at my current job. There have been multiple deaths and diagnoses of terminal illnesses in my family and my husbands. Other things that have happened which I can’t even talk about I get too sad. My hair started falling out in clumps in December and it doesn’t appear to have stopped. So! If this method is magic, I could really use some magic right about now ;)

Starting with clothes

KonMarie says start with clothes. The books, “komono” (stuff) and sentimental possessions come later. She does say to “do it all at once”, but I don’t have gobs of time like that. So I hope to complete this over the next couple of weeks.

To start- I piled all of everything onto the bed. I didn’t do shoes, I’ll tackle that next. I have done clothing culls in the last year, whereas I usually reserve them for when I move. It seems like way more stuff than I thought I had.

The KonMarie Pile

Scene of the crime

Next I had to handle each item of clothing. DOES THIS SPARK JOY. That is a really hard question. I think there’s maybe 5 items that genuinely make me feel joy when I touch them. Items that I would run in to save from a burning building. Grey velvet jeans! Long soft cardi! Socks with sheep on them! For these items it’s obvious. Others are more ambiguous, a pair of lounge pants? I’m not going to get a sense of joy, but KonMarie says to think of what good service that item has given you and appreciate it for what it is.

And this is when you start excluding stuff. Get rid of anything from which you can’t sense joy or from which you derive no value.

  • Gone are the ill fitting tops and socks with holes in them.
  • Gone are the items you said you’d repair but never bother to because, really you don’t care for the item.
  • Gone are the freeking “slimming fat pants” which just make me feel fat instead of making me feel slim.

Apparently all of these things do not spark joy! It’s a bin full of stuff which doesn’t fit, needs repair, feels scratchy, or makes me feel bad. Byeee!

IMG_1606

Folding

Next you set about folding. the KonMarie method would really work best if you have drawers. I have more shelves and two drawers in the shared chest. You fold the items into rectangles and then fold them onto themselves. You get a nice little package that stands on its own. This is a huge advantage because if you remove an item, you don’t mess up a stack.

I used shoe boxes and shoe box lids to corral my smaller items. She explicitly says: this isn’t a storage problem you don’t need new storage equipment. But couldn’t figure out how to make this work with shelves otherwise. I also couldn’t figure out how to handle bulky cardis and sweaters, so for now I had to stack them.

And I realised something as I wedged the little rectangles together. This “gamifies” your clothing. Folding underwear always seemed an entirely DAFT concept. But now I see that you’re playing a puzzle game as you put the item away.

IMG_1655

Clothing Tetris

She mentioned the little “click” you’d feel when you reach the right amount of stuff, or when something is folded “just right”. This reminds me of the research put into the addictive appeal of quest based RPGs. A continual flow of positive response reinforces these activities and you will actually look forward to folding your underwear.

The KonMarie method gives you the puzzle pleasure of Tetris and the reinforcement of an RPG.

I don’t recommend starting as I did on Sunday night after you’ve been away all weekend. But I’ve been away so much there really wasn’t a better time. I notice already that I can’t pop on that shirt that doesn’t quite fit right and I don’t “have to wear” that pair of socks that itches my toes because of the seam. So far the method is working!

For now, I can enjoy the things I have an hopefully when I go to make a purchase again, I will be more discerning and avoid accumulating things just because. Let’s see if the game is enough to keep me interested long enough to reinforce these habits.

IMG_1605

Shibori – Indigo dye workshop with Mottainai

Catherine Quinn of Mottainai Textiles taught a dye workshop in Buncrana. I had no idea she was from Belfast! It was still a lovely day to visit Buncrana and the next day I was able to pop into the Hinamatsuri festival in Derry. Both events were organised by Junko and the group from Yarn Spinners of Inishowen.

Samples of work by Mottainai

2015-02-28 13.09.52

Steps!

Step 1: Fold your fabric. How you fold changes the pattern you make. I chose the equilateral. This should have come out looking like hexagons. Hmm…

2015-02-28 14.56.15-2 2015-02-28 15.01.08

Step 2: Soak the fabric. Then sew and completely bind the fabric.

2015-02-28 16.20.45-1

Step 3: Catherine mixes up the dye bath

2015-02-28 15.42.37-1

Step 4: Dip it in and out. I didn’t get any pics of the colour change since my hands were in very blue gloves.

It goes from Yellow, to Green to Blue as the dye oxidizes. It’s like magic.

2015-02-28 16.21.38-1

Finished student work

I wish I could remember everyone’s name! We were amazed how everything came out so unique, even though we followed the same processes.

2015-02-28 21.29.02-1

2015-02-28 17.42.39 2015-02-28 17.37.31 2015-02-28 17.16.24

These two were mine. I have to admit, I loved the other student work 100x more than mine. But this just makes me want to try it again!

2015-02-28 17.15.51

Hinamatsuri festival in Derry

I couldn’t stay long since I had to get a train. But it was long enough that I got to see Catherine talk and give a talk about indigo dyeing.

2015-03-01 14.02.592015-03-01 14.03.09-1

Patterns for handspun part 4: Modular knitting patterns

So far in this series, I’ve covered different ways to make the most out of small amounts of yarn, combining it with commercial yarn, or combining it with other handspun. In this final post, I wanted to focus on patterns which could particularly show off the awesomeness of handspun.

There are many great example of modular knitting patterns on Ravelry. Modular means the knitting is done in smaller parts or modules, usually by knitting a portion, then picking up stitches on a contrasting edge and knitting on. In a similar way, short row shaping will put variegated yarn at angles to itself, making the most of the colour changes.

ravelry-pattern-search-modular-handspun

 

  1. Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
  2. Queen of Diamonds Scarf by Sybil R – freebie.
  3. Mandelbrot by Alex Tinsley – freebie.
  4. Short Row Scarf #70531AD by Lion Brand Yarn – freebie.

 

That concludes my round-up romp through my favourite handspun-friendly knitting patterns on Ravelry. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear.

Related tutorials:

Best tutorial ever is Carol Feller’s free craftsy class on Short Row Shaping.

With modular knitting, you’ll need to do some picking up of the stitches.

Patterns for handspun part 3: Layering garments

The likelihood that you’ll reach your hand into the stash and come up with a sweater-weight of wool is highly unlikely. It’s more likely to find you have enough for a shawl or a cowl, and that would be a pretty clear solution. However, how many shawls can you wear? I’ve already rounded up some accessory patterns as well as using handspun as an accent yarn.

Another idea is smaller garments. (No, I don’t mean kid clothes.) It’s easy to find sleeveless vests, tanks, shrugs and boleros through Ravelry. There are also some examples using unique construction ideas and shapes. These smaller garments could be worn layered with other clothes.

This is my super favorite, L’Enveloppe by Sally Melville. She has made this work in a variety of gauges. Here’s a quote from the project page.

“Because I want everyone to knit this in whatever yarn they like, I offer this in 5 sizes, 4 gauges (13, 14, 15, and 16 stitches to 4” /10cm) and 2 stitch patterns (seed or the easier garter). AND, it is worth noting that I’ve seen swatches that combined yarns–from a shop or a stash: for eg, a light worsted + a lace yarn will give you gauge, a dk + a sock yarn will give you gauge. (You will need the full yardage for EACH of the yarns you combine.) Because of all these choices, the yarn amount (as shown above) is very inaccurate: the amount of yarn you use will depend upon a) your size, b) your gauge, c) your stitch pattern. All of this is clear in the pattern.”

It’s a funky layering garment, something different than a cowl or shawl. I love looking at the projects, people have taken different approaches to the length and size.

LEnveloppe_pattern_by_Sally_Melville

Here are some more interesting projects from my Ravelry faves. I tend to pick ones which use heavier weights because I’m not able to spin that thin yet myself. Handspun is more textural so it doesn’t need complicated knitting stitches, plain stockinette or a garter will do.

Cursor_and_Ravelry__Pattern_Search_-_garments_handspun

  1. VuxenVinkel by Yarn-Madness – freebie. Uses 350 – 580 yards (320 – 530 m) in Aran.
  2. Simplicity Cardigan by Mary Annarella
  3. Villeneuve by Espace Tricot – freebie
  4. Casablanca Side to Side Shrug by Cheryl Beckerich
  5. Verdant by Gina Bonomo. This is similar to the boleros, but without something that closes across the front.
  6. Alpinia by Claire Slade – There are many cap sleeve cardigans, I like this simple yoke pattern.
  7. All About The Yarn Jacket by Iris Schreier – This is only available in a pattern book purchase with yarn.
  8. Diagonal Shell by Laura Bryant – freebie

There’s some interesting ideas there!

Also see:

Patterns for handspun part 2: Contrasting yarn

I still can’t seem to spin anything lighter than Aran/Worsted weight. So the yardage I get from a 100g braid of fibre is going to be pretty low. As I mentioned in my first post on Patterns for Handspun, Part 1, the obvious thing to do is simply search for patterns are 150 yards or less. However that will ignore many projects which combine contrasting yarns.

Using handspun as the contrasting yarn means you can get a larger project by combining with commercial yarn. You could pick from many striped patterns and the many colorwork patterns, but I’ve tried to find ones which would make the most out of nubbly bumpy handspun and variegated colours, and not compete with the colourwork. Of course not *all* handspun is coloured! But that is the focus in this post.

Loop by Casapinka is a perfect example. This pattern does indicate 400-600 yards. But actually it only requires contrasting yarn 130 yards for the small version and 200 yards for the large in a 4ply/fingering/sock weight. I’ve just completed Casapinka’s Dot shawl which requires 225 yards of fingering weight for the contrast yarn, and this is a great example of a hand-spun loving pattern.

casapinka-loop

Selected contrasting colour work patterns to show off handspun

Colourwork is a gigantic category, there are some useful projects for “scrap yarn” too. However, I tried to think of how plain commercial yarn would work with a more textured and coloured handspun. These are some of my favourites.

Cursor_and_Ravelry__Pattern_Search

 

  1. Moonraker by Melanie Berg
  2. Cap Sleeve Lattice Top by Purl Soho – freebie. This would be cool with the handspun as the bodice, and a plain commercial yarn as the yoke.
  3. Loop by Casapinka - love this! It’s been outlined for fingering, but there are examples of heavier even worsted weights, you can stop whenever ya like.
  4. Pop Spots by Juju Vail. That looks like fun.
  5. Dot Shawl by Casapinka. I knit this and I can attest to the addictive nature of this pattern. I really miss working on it.
  6. West Desert Hood by Virginia Catherall – freebie.
  7. Pigment by Lee Meredith – Pigment can worked at any gauge in any weight yarn, which is a nice bonus!
  8. For the Love of Remnants by Kate Hiester – freebie. This was made specifically for remnants, but I think handspun would work for the yoke too.
  9. Fibonacci Twist by Ela Torrente
  10. Col Très Perso by Camille Coizy – freebie. How cool is this? A simple idea where the creative hand spun yarn with tortillons really makes this project special.

 

Patterns for handspun part 1: Small projects

As I’ve been sampling and building my stash of handspun, I keep an eye out for patterns which would show off handpsun very well. So I wanted to make a round-up post of some of my favorite patterns. I’m breaking this post up into parts so it’s slightly more digestible. I have a habit of super-long posts!

First: A note about using Ravelry

With Ravelry hitting 5 million members, I’m still surprised when I meet people who haven’t tapped into the rich ore of their pattern search tools. The pattern browser on Ravelry is super powerful. I have no idea of the mechanics behind the platform, but my guess is that it’s easier for them to optimize to logged in users, so you won’t be able to use the pattern browser unless you login. Even just checking the numbers of projects with < 600 yards, we’re taking about hundreds of thousands of patterns.
ravelry-search-yardage

Best knitting patterns for handspun

In a blog post on working with handspun, Camilla Fiber Company says you can knit anything as long as you get gauge for a specific pattern. But there are some patterns that show off handspun better than others.  Depending on the handspun, even a plain stitch pattern would come out pretty exciting. In fact, more complicated stitches will compete with the yarn. I made the mistake of using a garter stitch on my first handspun knit, and I don’t think you could really see the yarn very well which had a special plying technique.

The main issue for me is the amount of yardage you can get.

  • Find projects with lower yardage. The obvious choice is the array of lovely cowls, hats and mitts.
  • Work in the round. I just learned that working in the round will take up less yarn than working flat. That makes sense, since you don’t need a selvedge.
  • Plain knit or garter stitches look super fine.
  • Modular knitting and short rows can contrast variegated yarns or stripes well.

Some of my favorite handspun-friendly knitting patterns

ravelry-handspun-knitting-patterns-accessories

 

 

  1. Simple Chevron Stripe Scarf by Karin Martinez – freebie. This is set for fingering, but you could do it in any gauge and stop when you like.
  2. Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho – freebie
  3. Non-felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura – freebie. This uses super-bulky yarn, 100 – 102 yards (91 – 93 m).
  4. Bulky Mobius Cowl by Haley Waxberg
  5. Luuk by Annis Jones
  6. toast by leslie friend – freebie
  7. Straightforward Cowl by Bethany Hendrickson – freebie
  8. Allways the same by Tuna :-)- freebie. This is so cool because it would show off the variegated yarns really well. And it works for ANY gauge!
  9. Hoodie Cowl by Susan Sheby
  10. Best Friend Cowl by Ela Torrente

 

More info

Knitty.com – 3 tips to get started knitting with handspun

The talented Mr. Thayer Syme of TravelKate

My theory on Lazy Kate is that Kate was sick and tired of making plying balls.  She thought of a way she could pop the bobbins down on her a contraption so she could spin away. And boom, the Lazy Kate was born. Her sister, Lazy Susan was impressed!

I went to the US in December last year mostly for work, but also got a chance to see my family. And even met a very talented craftsperson, Thayer Syme of Travel Kate.

When I contacted TravelKate about purchasing a lazy kate and having it posted, he said it would be cheaper for him to just drive over to meet me!

Thayer Syme of TravelKate.com

Thayer Syme of TravelKate.com

He brought an array of the woods he had available.

travel-kate

Each of the woods was beautiful on its own, but I especially liked the shimmer of the Tiger Maple. If he didn’t have that, then the Black Walnut would have been awesome too.

I was worried about the heaviness of the hickory, but now that I’ve used it, probably the weight is a good thing. Depends on how you travel!

“Tool Based” Solutions

Something interesting I read the other day. On a beginner spinner thread on Ravelry, Abby Franquemont mentioned that people in the US tend to focus on a “tool based solutions” and they get really geeked out on technical aspects of the tools they use.

I find that kind of fascinating if something like that is true.

What I do see in the US is lots of invention and small scale manufacturing. I think it owes to the accessibility of manufacturing and even just the tools required for wood crafting for example. Anyway, something interesting to think about!

 Many lovely woods available Visit: http://travelkate.com/

travel-kate-lazy-kate