October Mojo Challenge

I felt like we needed a new challenge.  A little mojo pick-me-up so we can continue with our spinning and finish out 2019 strong. I’m proposing 3 challenges that will round out the year not necessarily with techniques but with themes.

In this way we can each make interpretations and choose colors, fibers, yarn styles, to meet these themes for each of us and keep up the desire to spin. Let’s spin together and spin something that inspires us all.

I taught a class last weekend in NJ and I’m always inspired the folks that show up for classes. I want to combine colors and make crazy things and socks. More socks.

The challenges to finish the year:
October: Spooky
November: Cakes and Pies
December: Clean off the bobbins

Each month I’m going to talk about what I’m doing and some ideas to inspire you all as well. October, with Halloween being a favorite of mine, I have a lot of inspiration.
Spunky Eclectic has a colorway theme for the month that matches this Mojo Challenge theme and I pulled out “Haunted Slay Ride” and “Candy Corn” which are 2 different ideas but totally still both spooky in their own right.

Maybe just plain blackish, smokey browns are colors that you find scaryOr maybe you think white is scary to spin!
Maybe you find a fiber type or a technique spooky. Its all up to you. What do you want to do this month? What do you want to spin?

This month I’m going to spin some murder red. I spun my duo spin of  “Haunted Slay Ride” and I really feel like it needs a blood red to go with it. I’m not sure what I want to do with it but they definitely need to be paired up. This is what I plan to work on and finish by the end of month…. around working on finishing up my Rhinebeck Sweater and prepping for the Fiber Festival of New England.

These next three Mojo Challenges are being run through the Spunky Eclectic Ravelry group – {This Thread} but you can still use the tag #mojochallenge on Instagram. Whichever way you choose to play along, I hope you’re spinning and want to tell us about the awesome things you’re working on.

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Spinning a Duo

Duo is a name that I’ve given a type of fiber put up that I dye for Spunky Eclectic. These fibers are put up in 4 ounce bundles but the difference is that one 2 ounce section of it is a gradient/progression and the other 2 ounces is an almost solid.

What this does is it makes it sets you up to do a 2 ply that has a subtle striping without having to use up bits and pieces from other full 4 ounces bunches. I mean, there’s a ton of possible ways you can spin these and you don’t even need to use them together necessarily. Maybe you want to have a progression and a semi solid and stripe them while you knit? Maybe you weave and you use the progression for the warp and the solid for the weft. There’s a ton of ideas but I wanted to show you how I set up for a subtle 2 ply stripe with this.

This sock was made from fiber similar to what’s shown with it. It’s a different dye lot but it’s the same idea. One ply was the progression color and the other ply was the almost solid.

I’m going to be making another pair of socks or mittens (I haven’t decided yet) from this fiber:

How I set up to do that is the progression I split as equal as I can down the middle lengthwise…. once. And now I have 2 bundles. A pair of socks or a pair of mittens?

And then because I want the almost solid to be more broken up and homogenous then splotchy, I strip that out into smaller bundles. This is very similar to how you’d break up the fibers for a fractal but the overall effect is slightly different then a fractal.

Keep an eye on my IG and FB for finished yarn pics.

Here’s the companion video:

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My First Flax Sweater

I completed my first “Flax” sweater a few weeks ago and it’s finally cool enough to show it off.  So without getting too wordy, I’m going to get to right what everyone cares about, pics and details.

Pattern: Flax by Tin Can Knits.

Ta-da!!!!

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic

Look at that neck and garter insert

Colorway: Spiced Chai

No seriously. That sleeve! Simple awesome detail.

Size made: L

It fits like the best sweatshirt.

Mods: None and I want to make this again. Do I make it in handspun or some other Spunky Eclectic yarn? Next one, I think I’ll be making it a bit more fitted. But right now I’m pretty much obsessed with stripes so I’ll be putting this off for just a moment until I can work through this new obsession. Or possibly I need a Flax in stripes. I posted this all to Ravelry if you want to see my page.

 

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Making a custom gradient to spin.

Sometimes you have a fiber that you love and you want it to be more gradient. You don’t want all the blending. You want it to be more striped or progress from one color end to end.  It’s a fairly straight forward process and it’s a lot about planning first and then execution. Let’s talk about how I go about making this happen. The video explains it all in real time so hop to the bottom if you want to see that.

I lay out the fiber and I take a good look at the groups of colors I want to do.

How do I want my gradient to go? I labeled the pic with the colors and piles I chose to break my fiber out into.

There is one really important thing you should know about separating your colors. You may want to pull out a few bunches before you make a final decision on piles because staple length is going to play an important part here. You can see in my piles above that there are staple lengths that are 2 colors. That’s a large part in my decisions of color piles. Though, in a gradient if I had shorter staples and most of my bits couple be pulled out in one color, I would still choose to blend some so the gradient would blend.

You might not want more blending. If you want stark color changes then you may want to choose a shorter stapled fiber to do this with. If you’re playing around and have fiber to test then dig around in your stash find something that has good color changes like this:
If your fiber is super splotchy and no clear color groups then it will be a lot harder to do this technique. Not that you can’t, just that if you’re starting out, go for the easy win.

Ok. Here’s the video:

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Let’s talk planning…. again

So let’s talk a little bit about planning again. And I’ll do it again and again and again because planning is important. I get asked how I get so many things done. Some of it is planning. Actually a lot of it is planning. When I stick to my organized schedule then I can manage to get a million things accomplished. Or at least it feels like I can.

This post and video aren’t about getting a million things done. I could talk more about my other secrets another time. This posting is about planning. Planning and changing with what life throws at you helps to keep on track. And lately life has been throwing things at me and I haven’t been planning. Part of it is that my planning book is lacking.
The white pages are the pages that I purchased at the end of last year to do my 2019 planning on. They are really similar to what I used and liked in 2018 but this year I keep finding them lacking and I’ve been resorting to using too many post it notes. Now, I have talked about using post it’s as a part of your planning but when it’s your entire planning, it’s not quite as helpful. I have a lot of notes and pages and it’s a little all over the place. Too much all over the place for what works for me.  Too unorganized.

Yet I need some sort of weekly planning. There are kid activities, meetings, appointments, and there’s how I plan for shows and events. All of that needs to be in there and I can’t just use a big ole calendar. I know that I need some sort of scheduling pages. Maybe you do too.
Here’s the scheduler for the week on one page.
weeklyscheduler-1page-A5

Here’s the scheduler for the week on 2 pages
weeklyscheduler-2pages-A5

I’m going to keep alternating my weeks with these 2 different types of pages and we’ll see which one ends up working out best for me.

If you want to hear me talk about planning (and there is more in the video then I have blogged about) here’s the video:

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Castonpalooza

Sometimes a gal needs to read the same book she’s already read and sometimes she needs to cast on a million things without feeling like she has to finish anything. Sometimes stress means you gotta do what you gotta do but in a safe way. For me that’s re-reading books and casting on with no plan to finish.

I mean, I might finish something. I might not. There’s no guilt and no holding myself to it and that’s what I did recently. This is the whole lot of it:

Here’s each one, one by one in alphabetical order because I feel like being that kind of anal today.
Bubble Wrap Slouch Hat by Toni Lipsey
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Classic in Dusk

Ceri Beret by Jimenez Joseph
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Targhee Biggie in Ginkgo
This was too big after it was about 2/3 done so I ripped it and will redo another time.

Free For All Cowl by Webster St Knittery
Yarn: Handspun – 2ply  Corriedale Fiber – Spunky Eclectic Color Thunderstorm.

Less Is More by Amy King for Knitty
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Super DK in Ginkgo, Grassy, Steelmen, Merlot, and Teeny Bikini

Pop Crop by Ambah O’Brien
Yarn: Handspun – 2ply Shetland – Spunky Eclectic Discontinued Color that I no longer remember the name of. ooops.

Ripple Bralette by Jessie Maed Designs
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Panda Sock in “Better Life”

Sandbar Cardi by Toni Lipsey
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic…. soon to be released yarn. shhh…..

Siki Shawl by Dawn Henderson
Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Cloudfoot in Oatmeal

And if you want to see the video about it:

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Bobbin Leftovers

I posted a skein of yarn on Instagram/FB earlier this week and it was requested that I do a video of how I make it. I wish I could take credit for this idea but I forgot who I got the idea from so I can’t give proper credit.

Basically this yarn uses all the little ends of yarn left on a bobbin where when you plied and they didn’t quite match up. If I need the yardage on my project, I make a plying bracelet splice in the yarns and finish off that full 4 ounce skein. If I don’t, this is what I do with all the little ends of a bobbin

If want to see how I do it, click on the video:

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