Summer Travels

What a summer it has been! I have so much to tell you, so I’ll start with the biggest thing: I went to Manila! I work with a company that has offices in several places in the world, and most of my department happens to be in Manila in the Philippines. Over the last year and a half that I’ve worked in this department I’ve been emailing, messaging, and calling my team, but there is nothing quite like meeting someone in person. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel for work. I never thought I would be a jet-setting world traveler, but I suppose I’ve had a taste of that now.

My trip was 2 weeks long in the beginning of June. I packed 2 knitting projects and some spinning for good measure, but I barely touched my projects at all while I was away. Let’s dive right in with all the pictures!

The flight from the US to Manila is no joke. I had 3 flights, the longest of which was 14 hours. The total travel time including layovers was about 24 hours, so by the time I landed I was beyond exhausted. But my day wasn’t over yet. I knew if I went to sleep immediately my internal clock would be messed up all week, so I pulled myself together and went into the office long enough to say hi to everyone.

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The next few days were a blur of work and meeting new people. I ate a lot of good food every single day. If you are ever hungry in Manila, that is totally your fault because the food there is awesome!! Or as they say in Tagalog, “Masarap!”

The Philippines is on the other side of the world from the US, so our night is their day. In order to work smoothly with the US offices, the Manila office is most active at night. Working night shift long term would be a big change, but it was quite convenient not to have to change my day to day schedule. Over the weekend we had a team building activity planned during the day, so we had to switch over to day shift. This was difficult, to say the least, but it enabled me to go out and see a little of Manila.

We went all over: The Manila Hotel where the President of the Philippines holds special events, the oldest church in Manila, the National musums… And friends, I found YARN!

We got food (of course), and rode a Calesa, which is a kind of horse-drawn buggy.

The next day was our team building. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Pro tip: Filipinos love Karaoke, so if you’re traveling over there brush up on your singing!

The next day (Monday, if you’re keeping track) was time to transition back to night shift. But, this was my best option to go shopping while I was in Manila. A few of my friends took me to the mall to buy ALL THE THINGS.

I tried something called Kwek-kwek, which is hard-boiled quail eggs that are then battered and fried. Delicious, and very fatty.

The 2nd week was similar to the first, and before I knew it the time had come to leave for the airport. But wait, the team couldn’t let me live without a party!

I had such a wonderful time getting to meet my team and form personal friendships with them. I can’t wait to go back and see my friends again!

SAFF 2018: Part 2, The Haul (and Sheep)

It’s been a while since SAFF, but I bought too many beautiful things to not show them to you.

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The Tools:

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I have been wanting a Turkish spindle for a while, so I bought this beautiful beech spindle. Her name is Tigris (like the river, which I learned has roots in Turkey). Also, I bought a pair of Schacht curved-back hand carders (112 TPI). I’m learning to spin woolen rather than worsted, but it’s so much easier to find combed top than woolen preparations like rolags and batts. With these carders I can convert top to a woolen preparation so I have more spinning options.

The Yarn:

I only bought 1 skein of yarn this year (I know, who am I??), but it’s so beautiful! This picture doesn’t really show the soft rose colour off properly.

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The Fiber:

Since I took a spinning class at SAFF I went a little fiber crazy. Abby was so inspiring and she made me want to spin all the things RIGHT NOW! I bought a lot of combed top, since worsted spinning is my default method and I have the tools to change a worsted preparation to a woolen preparation now. This silver/grey fiber at the top is a yak/silk blend, and the plain white at the bottom is a BFL/silk blend. I’m completely in love with BFL – it’s such a lovely fiber to spin!

I did buy 1 beautiful batt, and my first locks! I have no idea what to do with locks, but they were rainbow dyed and I couldn’t resist.

I also bought my first cotton, and I’ve been having a fabulous time learning to spin it (tip: cotton makes it so easy to spin a superfine long-draw single!).

SAFF is not just about shopping and classes, though. There are also all sorts of fiber animals to see and pet.

So if you have a chance to go to a fiber featival, especially if it’s SAFF, go!! You won’t regret it.

My First Renaissance Festival!

I have wanted to go to a Renaissance festival since I first heard about them as a teenager. Alas, growing up in Arizona I didn’t come across many. However, now that I’ve moved to the SouthEast, I have more options (also being an adult with a car and spending money helps). A few weeks ago my Sister-in-Law invited me to go to the Renaissance Festival with her. I had already been playing with the idea of making a Medieval dress for Halloween, so a few days after we finalized our plans I finally caved in and bought fabric.

The fabric I used was a deep red Polyester knit velvet – not what they used in the time, but comfortable and it looked good. I used the Alabama Chanin Long-sleeved T-shirt as a base pattern for the bodice and angled my skirt pieces out to the edge of my fabric. I used the remaining triangular pieces as gores to widen my skirt. Pinning took ages, and then I used a simple running stitch to sew all my seams. In a perfect world I would have also felled the seams, but I was sewing the dress completely by hand and running out of time. Miraculously I found a perfectly matching trim for the neck and sleeves. Even though the trim is woven and the dress is knit, the edges lay pretty well. The hem took me ages. I folded it under about 4 inches and just basted it down to the inside. Maybe someday I’ll go back and finish the hem properly, but the important thing is that the dress was done on time and I wasn’t tripping over it all day (although I did end up ticking the train into my belt so other people wouldn’t be tripping on me all day). The final piece was braiding a wire circlet and borrowing a leather belt to complete the look. My SiL and I had a fabulous time and I felt so pretty (and comfortable!) in my costume!

 

Kumi-what-oh?

I somehow managed not to tell you about my exploration into Kumihimo braiding! In February I decided to try something new, and that something was Kumihimo. I looked it up and watched some videos and then I bought some beads and a Kumihimo disc and tried it out.

I wanted to start with black beads, fade into peach, and then fade back into black, so I did some math and wrote down the order I needed to string my beads on. The round Kumihimo I was making had 8 strands, so lines 5-8 were a copy of lines 1-4. In order to keep the very long strings under control you wind each strand around a bobbin. I didn’t want to make a huge investment in this craft since I didn’t even know if I would like it, so I cut out a few pieces of cardboard and used them as bobbins. They tangled a little, but worked very well for the most part.

In the end I had a very lovely necklace. I had bought some clasps, but didn’t want to bother gluing them on, so I tied the ends into a square knot and wrapped the knot with wire. Easy and effective.

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I would definitely recommend trying Kumihimo braiding. It takes a good bit of time to make something like this necklace, but it’s easy to learn, the materials can be as costly as you want them to be, and the finished products are striking!

Slowly

Do you remember when you were a kid and life seemed to go by so slowly? A single day lasted forever, let alone the length of time until it was until Christmas or your birthday. Lately life seems to be going so, so fast and just speeding up every minute. I’ve been in desperate need of something to slow me down. Crafting does just that.

I started spinning some superwash BFL quite a while ago – long enough that I forgot about it. I never thought I would be the kind of person who would forget about a project. I finished spinning the singles, and decided this yarn needed some beads.

It turns out that if you add scads of beads to a yarn, it takes a lot of effort to slide them all down the yarn as you ply. The tension and abrasion from this broke my single, so I took most of the beads off, and I’m periodically adding more to the yarn in more manageable amounts. Won’t the finished yarn be gorgeous, though? I’m thinking of using it for a shawl.

I have shawls on the brain right now, and beads, it would seem. I’m reading through the Knitter’s Almanac again, and have come to the conclusion that I desperately need a Pi Shawl. A little search through the stash, and I came up with my Rumpelstiltskin yarn that I finished last year. I love this yarn so much. It’s recycled sari silk with beads every few inches. The drape of this yarn is incredible! Every time I see it I can’t help but think of a pile of treasure!

So that’s me, slowing down. I have a kitchen to clean and laundry to do, but yarn is just so much more interesting!

Pattern Testers Needed!

Hey friends!¬†One pattern has just been published, so that means it’s time to get the next into testing. My next pattern is quite different from normal for me, in that it is a crochet pattern. It all started on my vacation last October, when my husband’s grandma taught me how to crochet broomstick lace. I got an idea at that time, and now I’ve made it a reality: I made a Broomstick Lace Shawl!

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The beauty of this shawl is that it can be made any size, and with any weight yarn, so the possibilities really are endless. Mine is a shawlette, made with a skein of Miss Babs Yowza (Worsted, 560 yds/ 512 m).

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I’m looking for 6 pattern testers – 2 each to make a shawl in fingering, Sport or DK, and Worsted weight yarns. If you’re interested, all the details are here.

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Also, I need a name for this beauty. “Broomstick Lace Shawl” is descriptive, but not very evocative. What would you name this shawl? Leave a comment and include your Ravelry name. The person who comments with the best name will receive a free copy of my Ribless Hat as thanks.

Would You Like to Win a Gnome?

christmas ornamentsOver the past few months I’ve shared lots and lots of gnome pictures with you. I can make a needle-felted gnome in an hour or less, and that means I have a lot of them. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many gnomes a person can have, but they are starting to build up into a bit of an army, and I’m a little worried about an insurrection. In the interest of keeping the peace and the Christmas Spirit, I want to share my bounty with you. If you would like to have this adorable gnome ornament, leave a comment below telling me about your favourite Christmas ornament.

I will announce the winner on Christmas Day.

*Small Print: Due to postage costs, I will only be able to ship to US addresses.

Good luck!