No Longer Waiting!

While Sandy was making her way through my neighborhood on Monday afternoon, I got the call I’ve been waiting an entire year for: a vending spot had finally become available to me at the Fiber Festival of New England!

Several of my friends had gotten spots last minute in 2011, so I put my name on the waiting list while I was visiting the festival that year. I didn’t think it would take the whole year to get to the top of the list. Despite the anxiety of waiting, I am incredibly excited to be attending as a vendor this year!

Thankfully, I have been stashing some stock away the last several months. I’ll have most of my fall Maki colorways in shawl and sock sets. And I was able to dye up some coordinating and contrasting neutrals for all those stripey shawl patterns available. I will also have some of those neutrals on Oona DK and some variegated colorways on squishy Jest Aran (perfect for winter accessories!) As always, I will have silk hankies for those you want to try something new. There will be plenty of extras available for those touchy-feely types who (like me) learn by doing. Scrumpet sock will be 30% off this weekend too!

Free copies of my Garter Path Shawl pattern will be available to those who make a purchase. Supplies will be limited though so stop by early. And please do stop by to say, “HI!” The more smiling faces, the better at booth #474/475E.

I hope everyone fared as well as possible through the hurricane. I’m sending lots of mojo and positive fixing vibes to those still cleaning up and waiting for electricity.

Cultivating a Sense of Accomplishment

I finished something! This is a big deal. I’ve been doing a lot of work knitting, many swatches. And I came nowhere near finishing my Ravellenic Games project. But I finished this!

My Neiman (from Knitty Fall 2007) called for a wool/cotton blend for the main color and silk for the contrasting color. Well, I had some cotton/milk and shiny cotton/bamboo in my stash. I love all of Weaverknits designs but had never had a chance to work one up.

I was able to get gauge on the needles the pattern called for. This was a good thing. Working with a mostly cotton yarn on small needles made for achy hands. I can’t imagine having to go down a needle size for the body! The long stretches of stockinette were also a bit tiresome, but the increasing and decreasing helped keep me from being totally bored.

I ended up following the pattern for the 36″ size for the body and the 44″ size for the arms (mine are big) So I had to fudge the decreases a bit when I got to the yoke. The neckband was a bit of a challenge with this yarn and my shape. My shoulders are rather narrow and slope quite a bit. In general, I have a difficult time keeping straps of any kind up on my shoulders. Following the pattern and needles suggestion resulted in a *really* wide neck opening. Too wide, in my opinion.

I ripped it out and reknit it several times. I think a total of 5? What worked was ripping out the entire stranded yoke, doing an additional row of decreases before the stranded section and following the directions for the 34″ size. Then I knit the garter stitch neckband on size #0 needles. I couldn’t get the jogless stripes to work out so I just left the jog. Now I know which side is the back! I love it. It’s too warm for me to be a summer sweater. My timing was perfect

And while I’m talking about accomplishments, let’s talk about Play at Life Fiber Arts a bit.
I’ve been quiet at the blog. Well, everywhere really. Other than shop updates and previously scheduled vending events, life has interfered with some of the business. We (meaning my family) all have been dealing with some things that have been making it difficult for us to (at the risk of sounding super twee) be all we can be. I’m being vague because it’s nothing serious or life threatening, but it has caused me to look hard at where the business is going and what I can do to make it work and thrive.

I have decided a couple of things.

1. Play at Life Fiber Arts will remain small. FOR NOW. I can manage local vending events and shop updates. I can keep my at-home dye studio and workspace. This means I won’t be able to do BIG shows like NYSW, MDSW, or Stitches. But it should be easier for me to focus on the things I CAN do.

2. I am in the process of dividing the Maki, variegated, and self-striping colorways into seasons. This will allow me to focus on a smaller pool of colorways, thereby making it easier to have a variety of yarn weights and bases available. That means something available for you non-sock knitters who would like thicker yarns! I am still working out how I want to deal with the semisolids. Ideally, I’d like to have some fall/winter colors and some spring/summer colors. Maybe even some colorways that have been specifically designed to coordinate with Maki and variegated colorways. Things might be a bit bumpy as I transition into this dyeing schedule.

3. Pattern writing is not my thing. I do want to get Ruivo ( a sock pattern I’ve been working on off and on) to a publishable point, but I have no idea when it will be ready to go. I have several ideas for designs, but since I’m a one woman yarn factory, it’s really not my top priority. I was able to get the pattern published for the Garter Path Shawl, but Ruivo is a bit more complicated an I refuse to put a pattern out that is going to confuse or frustrate knitters. I love you all too much! Well, that came out a bit twee too. I guess I’m in a very saccharine-sweet mood today.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact page here, Ravelry PM, or Etsy convo.

Don’t forget to play today!

The Great Rhody Yarn Crawl

It’s here! The 2nd Annual Great Rhody Yarn Crawl takes place this weekend. Friday, April 13 – Sunday, April 15 visit any or all of the 13 locally owned RI yarn stores for a chance to win their Crawl prize basket. Crawlers can earn an extra entry by bringing a nonperishable food donation for the RI Community Food Bank drive. Last year, we were able to donate 1000+ pounds of food!

Play at Life Fiber Arts will be out and about all weekend for the Crawl. First stop: a trunk show at Fresh Purls. Come by from 10am into the afternoon to squish some of my new bases and check out the Fresh Purls and Great Rhody Yarn Crawl exclusive colorways.

Saturday evening, I’ll be hanging out and knitting at the GRYC knitting meetup taking place at The Healing Cooperative in Middletown, RI. There will be nibbles, door prizes, and hopefully a chance to knit. I’ve been so busy preparing, I haven’t had time to pick up the needles in days. More information is available at the Facebook event page.

And finally, Sunday I’ll be at Slater Mill in Pawtucket from 12pm-5pm for the Indie Fiber Arts Marketplace being held for the Crawl Culmination Ceremony. Come check in your Passport, meet area knitwear designers and browse the Marketplace. Each stamp on your Passport earns you one ticket into the drawing for one of the big Crawl prize baskets. And Providence Coffee Roasters will have their mobile coffee shop on the premises too! If you haven’t worn yourself out with all that yarn shopping, you can take Alasdair Post-Quinn’s Double Knitting workshop being held at the Mill Sunday morning. More details here at the GRYC blog.

I’ll be posting pictures from the Crawl on Twitter and Flickr all weekend. Stay tuned!


WIP Wednesday – It’s Zelda’s Fault

I have WIPs! I have WIPs that I’m actually knitting and making progress on!

This is kind of a big deal because I lost my knitting mojo a bit right after the holidays. No, actually, gift knitting wasn’t to blame. It was the Zelda Skyward Sword game for our Wii. I am not a huge gamer, but I’m addicted to this one. I’ve gotten to a point in the game that I need a break. And I finished my handspun rainbow socks (stay tuned for FO Friday!) so I immediately cast on two new things.

First for Tweenboy, I started Eugenia’s Mittens, a free pattern designed by Mollie Woodworth. I’m using PAL Boundless Worsted, a 4ply conventional merino. It’s soft, but will hold up to melting snowballs. Tweenboy chose Surplus, one of my new semisolid colorways. I finished mitten #1 in a couple of days! I’m so used to knitting with fingering weight yarn, I’ve forgotten how quickly projects work up in worsted.

I vowed to use my Tripping Yarn Balls club yarns for my travel-friendly projects this year. Having just received January’s club yarn from Shameless Twist, I was struck by how beautiful January’s Capricorn and October’s Libra are together. Obviously, they had to become a Stripe Study Shawl. So far the shawl is pretty mindless but very satisfying. I can knit several rows at night before bed without worrying about following a chart or finding my spot the next day. And if late night knitting gets the best of me, it’s all garter stitch so tinking will be easy!

left - right: Libra and Capricorn

This shawl is going to be HUGE. Two 400+ yd skeins are going into this baby. When it’s done, I’m going to wrap it around me like a security blanket.

And The Winner Is…

The Random Number Generator has chosen! The winner of the 3rd Anniversary Giveaway is Aimee of comment #2.

Thanks a billion to everyone who entered and shared the contest with your friends. This was so much fun, I’m planning to make the giveaways a regular thing. If you’re a fiber artists who would like to collaborate with me on a giveaway, feel free to contact me with your ideas.

3rd Anniversary Giveaway

Thanks to my loyal customers and supportive friends, Play at Life Fiber Arts is headed into its 3rd year of business! I’m hoping this year will bring new opportunities, more exposure, and more fun. I’m thinking a giveaway is a good way to accomplish all those things!

What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Leave your answer in the comment section below to enter for a chance to win one of these awesome muslin bags filled with a Sockie Maki set in Loud and Proud and a BIG set of variegated and semi-solid mini skeins. Share the giveaway via your favorite social media site for an extra entry (please leave a second comment if you do so!)

The giveaway will run through noon, Friday, January 13, 2011. I will announce the winner here, Monday, January 16, 2011. The winner will be responsible for contacting via email.