FO Friday – Mon Petit Pullover

P1080849Once upon a time, I spun 5oz of merino/silk top into 500+ yards of chain-plied, self-striping fingering/sport weight yarn. What to do? I am generally not a pastel person and I likely wouldn’t wear a shawl in these colors.



Several months later, I had two minor seconds of Boundless Sock in The Grey and I knew they should be together! So I planned a pullover version of Mon Petit Gilet Rayé. I knit a goodly-sized swatch, did some maths and cast on. And it worked! It came out a tiny bit longer than planned, but I love it. I can throw it on with jeans or a skirt. It’s not fussy, but it’s together enough for vending events. I’m totally in love with it. You can read my notes (gauge, stitches cast on…etc) at my Ravelry project page!


2013 – Life as a Yarnie

2013 was filled with a lot of personal ups and downs Chez Play. But there was always yarn and fiber to wind, dye, and label. Thankfully, I have Instagram to document the daily goings-on of a full-time “yarnie.”


HAPPY NEW YEAR, PALers! Here’s to another 12 months of fluffy color and steamy dye pots.

Screen shot 2014-01-02 at 12.06.23 PMClick to view video

Merry and Bright

IMG_7400Christmas was very merry and bright Chez Play!

We followed all of our usual traditions with only a little bit of last minute shopping. Things were a bit hairy for a week when we were down to one car. Thanks to the USPS pick-up service, I was able to get orders out in their usual timely fashion. And we were able to get my husband’s car sorted out in time for me to be able reclaim the van and get his stocking stuffers. It’s difficult to fill one of those things for a person who doesn’t like candy and has expensive hobbies. I was quite pleased to find mini cans of WD-40. He almost ended up with fast-food-themed boxer shorts.

Our Christmas highlights:

Cookie baking and decorating is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The 8yo thought the blank angel cookies looked more like a squid. He has the best ideas.

I started a pair of two-at-a-time socks with my Nerd Girl Yarns Bounce and Stomp from the Tripping Yarn Balls Come as You Are Club. This one was inspired by Epic by Faith No More. It’s pretty darned epic!

And I gave myself this awesome tshirt from Busted Tees. I hope you all had a chance to hang out with people you love and enjoy the day! It’s back to the grind today. The After Christmas Sale is in full swing and it looks like I’m going to have quite a few big orders to pack and ship. All Maki and fingering weight yarns are 15% off so this is a great time to stock up! Time to get the dye pots going and update the site with my 2014 vending schedule. I’m looking forward to another busy year of yarning. Happy New Year, PALers!


That 70s Club – January/February

They have arrived! The January and February shipments for That 70s club have been delivered to the club members, so I think it’s safe to show them off.

P1050601January’s shipment, There Be ‘Shrooms, was inspired by all those mushroom things that were around in the 70s. Do you remember those ceramic flour/sugar containers? Specifically this one? Someone I know had this exact set. And my grandparent’s furniture matched it perfectly. I think they still have that furniture!

February’s shipment, Corduroy, is a deep, red/brown coordinating semisolid. This will definitely become a regular colorway! I can’t wait to knit myself some colorwork socks with these two.


Knitterly Resolutions

541755_4674793841208_48625760_nI don’t really make big resolutions. BUT, I do like to have some crafting goals and last night I had a good reason to add one to this year’s list. I broke a needle!

My husband bought me this set of Denise Interchangeables when I first learned how to knit. At that point, I had purchased all my yarn from area “lot” stores and big-name retailers. I didn’t know about local yarn stores or Ravelry, and had never even met another knitter, crocheter, spinner, or weaver.

This is not meant to be a dig against Denise needles. I actually like them for flat, worsted+ knitting. But I work mostly in the round and/or with fingering weight yarns and I think I’ve simply grown out of of these. I don’t think I’ve invested in any knitting equipment that wasn’t directly related to the yarn business since this set. I already know what I’m getting (Chiaogoo red lace FTW!) Time to save my pennies!

I’m also going to continue to work down my stash of sweater quantity yarns. Several of these were purchased at the aforementioned discount stores *and* I still have thrift store sweaters to frog. Right now I’m working on Girasole with BRIGHT orange Lion Brand Cotton Ease.

And then there are monsters. I made two in the week between Christmas and the new year. I want to make one more before I ship them off to 600 Monsters Strong.







I will continue to participate in Nerd Wars. I’ve had so much fun AND I’m using my languishing fingering weight and handspun stash. In December I made a handspun hat.


In shop news, it’s Play at Life Fiber Arts’ 4th anniversary!  To celebrate, I’ll be including a special gift in each order throughout the month of January. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PALers!

That 70’s Yarn Club

I vividly remember the colors and kitschy patterns of the 70’s with great fondness. Growing up, we had an avocado car and stiffened crocheted wall hangings in our dining room. I wore corduroy everything. I loved it all!

That 70’s Yarn Club celebrates avocado, orange, owls, and mushrooms. Colorways will be fun, wearable interpretations of those wonderful, cringe-worthy combinations.

Shipments will alternate between striping and gradient Maki (or fiber) and coordinating semisolids. Pair yarns together for a large, striped shawl. Or ply a long color repeat with a semisolid for a marled, self-striping yarn. This club will give you many options beyond a single skein or braid.

Club spots will open on this site on Friday, November 16, 2012 at noon. Spots will close November 30 or when the club is full. Your first shipment will go out by January 15 and will continue each month (by the 15th) through 2013. Yarn, fiber, paid-in-full, and monthly subscription options will be available for the entire year or the first 6 months. I will be listing any available spots for the second 6 months in May 2013.

Stay tuned for spoilers and other fun!

Nerd Wars – IT’S ON!

Have you heard of Nerd Wars? It’s a friendly fiber-centric competition held in a group (of the same name) over on Ravelry. Whether your craft is knitting, crochet or spinning; whether you’re a gamer, Dr. Who fan, or math geek, there’s a place for all nerds in Nerd Wars.

This is my first time competing and it was difficult deciding which teams to list as my first, second, and third choices. Members from previous tournaments get preference over newbies and some of the teams fill quickly. I got into Team Bazinga (my 3rd choice) this time. Fans of Big Bang Theory will be familiar with Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s favorite way to let his friends and colleagues know they’ve been pranked.  My team mates have been great! Fitting a project to a challenge and finding a team tie-in has been a blast.

Serendipitously, the day before the October challenges were to be announced, my oldest son decided he needed a hat. The pattern he chose happened to contain a stranded colorwork chart. Perfect! Rajesh Koothrapali is always wearing stranded colorwork knitwear on the show.

This project also fit in to the Power of Two, or Three, or Four challenge which requires participants to use either a variety of yarns in one project or the same yarn in different colors in the same project. Yes, that is a basket of laundry in the background.

One week into the first round of tournament 6, I was finished. It seemed too easy. Having revealed that my nickname (often used sarcastically) is Princess, I decided I must have a tiara. Crocheted in campfire colors, this project fit the Let’s Dress Up! challenge and our Team Unity project (campfire themed) and I ended up with a snazzy headband to keep my hair out of my face. Beautiful and practical, Amy Farrah Fowler would approve.

I went into Nerd Wars hoping to use up some of my sock yarn stash. But my handspun and spinning fiber stashes could use some paring down as well. I can’t wait to see what our challenges are next round!

Long on Color Club – Not So Guilty #1 – Ascension to Skyland Mountain

The newest Long on Color club (Not So Guilty) has been a great way to explore different themes while offering a variety of colorways. And I get to use some of my favorite things for inspiration!

First up is The X-Files. My husband (then boyfriend) got me hooked on the show. I made the mistake of blowing through several episodes (on VHS, by the way 🙂 when I was home alone one night. And our surround sound speakers have the uncanny ability to pick up passing CB radio broadcasts. I may have jumped out of my seat a couple times that night.

I came up with this colorway while watching the “Duane Barry” and “Ascension” episodes from season 2 . I love when quirky, vulnerable characters refer to themselves in the third person (nope, can’t explain it) and Duane does so throughout both episodes. I decided, aloud, “Duane Barry needs to be a colorway.” So to Google Image Search I went.

I came upon this still which became this color palette.

And then became Ascension to Skyland Mountain.

As a special surprise, members received matching stitch markers crafted by Mary-Lyn of Lucid Sunshine.

We’re both very happy with the pairing! And I am absolutely positive that this colorway will end up in Play at Life Fiber Arts’ regular colorway list.

Testing…1, 2, 3

Customers and friends have been asking about heavier weight yarns. So, I spent part of my work week testing some bulky yarn samples and trying out a new colorway.

Up first is an exaggerated bulky thick and thin. It very soft and squishy and perfect for cowls. PERFECT.

Then we have this heavy worsted merino single. Again, very soft, but with a much less exaggerated texture.

And last is a merino/silk single, also in a heavy worsted weight. This one is drool-worthy.


Here they are side-by-side. I knit them all with the same stitch count and on the same needle. There are pros and cons for each yarn. And I have more samples on the way to test! I have no idea how I will choose which one to stock. The yarn-lover in me wants to buy all the yarns!

WIP Wednesday – New Base, New Project

I’ve been concentrating on expanding the shop’s yarn offerings and have been testing some new DK weight yarns and soft spring colorways. I settled on this 3ply 100% conventional BFL. Like Pounce Fingering, it is softly spun with a little more twist, making it a lofty, plump yarn great for lightweight garments. And because it isn’t superwash, it’s a great candidate for stranded colorwork or felting. Though, I think it’s too lovely for felting!

I’ve been able to put Pounce DK up in generous 350yd/125g skeins! That’s plenty for a cozy shawl, set of mittens, or small shrug. I’m doing a test knit of Liesl, a top-down, yoke cardigan designed by Ysolda Teague. I’ve had to adjust for the different gauge, but even knit for a 38″ chest, I’m well past the armhole with plenty of yarn left. I predict that I’ll be able to get a good 7″ down the torso and still have enough yardage to make the sleeves a bit longer than their current capped state (ugh…cap sleeves do my upper arms no favors.)

Now I just need to decide when to debut it! My next trunk show? The Great Rhody Yarn Crawl coming up in April? Hmmm…

Speaking of which, I’ve added some new gigs to my vending schedule!

April 1 – Sisters of the Wool trunk show

April 14 – Fresh Purls trunk show (during the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl)

May 26-27 – Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair (a first for me!)

Sept 7-9 – Fiber College of Maine

Looks like I’ll be very busy this spring!