How to Dress Like a Tokyo Girl

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I recently was lucky enough to take a trip to Tokyo. I had never been anywhere in Asia at all, so it was very exciting! I’ll eventually write a post with lots of pictures about my time there (and it was awesome) but as a little bit of a teaser I’m going to tell you about Tokyo style, which I found to be very inspiring! It was very different from the way that I dress, but everyone I saw looked very chic and put together, so there must be something to it! I made a list of trends that I noticed while I was there, so you can dress like a Tokyo girl too!

Beautiful Basics.

I saw so many lovely outfits while I was in Tokyo, and everything was so beautifully functional! Most pieces were in neutral colors, and you could tell that they could be combined into many different outfits for relatively few pieces. It seemed very efficient, like you could go into your closet, grab a few things at random, and know that they went together. Monochrome is your friend! It sounds drab, and maybe it could’ve been, except for the next point..

Perfect Fit. 

If it didn’t fit, these girls weren’t wearing it. There was lots of beautiful tailoring, trousers that were exactly the right degree of snug, sweaters just the right length, etc. Everything seemed to be chosen both to play up the features of the individual, and to serve as a part of the wardrobe for many years to come. It seemed like they defined the philosophy that a few good quality pieces that fit well are better than a closet full of junk, and I would tend to agree. Additionally, people seemed to have a very good sense of what worked and was flattering for their bodies, which I thought was very nice.

One Statement Piece per Outfit. 

This is something that I still need to learn. I saw many outfits that were mostly basic, but then there would be red shoes, a cabled sweater, a cute hat, a funky bag, or a scarf in an interesting print. Having everything else be simple allowed that one unique piece to really shine, rather than letting it get lost in a bunch of competing items. The minimalism was very stylish.

Experimental Silhouettes.

If you’re doing something in neutral colors, you can get away with some very interesting silhouettes! I saw pleated pants that were almost like bell-bottoms (very voluminous!) coats that looked like cocoons, sweaters that were cropped in the front and longer in the back, but it all seemed to just work somehow. I think it’s similar to the last point, where if you are only doing one interesting thing with your outfit, the final effect is more harmonious and pleasing. I liked it a lot!

Minimalist Hair and Makeup. 

I didn’t see too many adventurous hairstyles or crazy makeup while I was there, except in Harajuku (which is more of a punk/subculture area and is very fun.) However, it seemed like everyone took good care of their hair and skin, so only the most minor touches were needed to look chic and glamorous. If you have beautiful hair, you don’t need to style it too much for it to look nice, and if you take care of your skin, you don’t need to hide blemishes with makeup.  (I’ve also been told that most asian people have oily skin, which, as a former Lush employee, I can tell you is MUCH easier to take care of than dry/sensitive skin. Once you have the right cleanser/toner combo, it looks AWESOME and you’re less likely to get wrinkles as you age. Color me jealous.)

So! Those are the observations of an ignorant american on the style of another city. Honestly, Tokyo seemed like a new and magical world to me, and I absolutely loved it. (I’m sure that the completely stellar food didn’t hurt at all.) People were so kind and welcoming, and it was amazing to finally realize a dream I’ve had for many years. More about the place later, but I hope you enjoy my fashion commentary in the meanwhile!




Off Topic.

Hi everyone,

This post is going to have little or nothing to do with crafting of any kind, but I need to spill about how I’ve been feeling for the last few days. The world is a mess, and I am sad, but that’s only the start of my feelings.

There’s been a lot of anti-refugee rhetoric out there, and I think it really mostly comes from a place of fear. Don’t get me wrong, terrorism is scary! (it’s actually in the name, right? :P) But I don’t think we should let our fear of reprisals from Daesh (I’m not calling them ISIS because that lends them false legitimacy and is also what they prefer to be called, and I’m not inclined to give them ANYTHING they want.) keep us from being compassionate to those who are running from them. We actually have a pretty great vetting process for refugees, which would be used to screen any Syrian refugees this country accepts. This article does a pretty good breakdown of different ways for people to get into this country because they’re running from something crappy in their country, and the refugee vetting process is a more stringent process. If you read the article, you’ll also see that cases of terrorism or attempted terrorism are pretty rare in general, not just among refugees. I’m totally great with a stringent vetting process, but I don’t think that we should just unilaterally block immigration because we’re frightened. I’m not asking anyone to not be scared, because the world is a scary place, especially right now. I just want a little more rationality when thinking about these issues, a little knowledge of statistics, a little less allowing our emotions to rule our decision making.

Of course, now I’ll go straight into an emotional appeal :P Let me tell you about my friend Mohammed. Mohammed is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He worked with Greg for a while, and they became very close. He would even refer to Greg as “my brother.” Every time I saw him, he would give me the biggest bear hug imaginable, picking me up off the ground as I laughed with glee. We had differing opinions on some topics, and came from different cultural contexts, but every discussion I ever had with him was marked by civility, respect, and friendship. This guy was completely and absolutely filled with love. When he smiled at people, it wasn’t a mere upward tilt of the lips, he would beam at them, and this was true of everyone, even strangers. I went out with Mohammed many times, and I personally saw that some people scowled, some people averted their gazes, and some people just looked uncomfortable, for no other reason than that he was a large middle-eastern man. However, all he would ever say about Americans was that people were very kind, and he and his family were grateful to be here. He looked for the good in the world, not the bad.

Mohammed and his family moved to the US from Lebanon, because of the unrest there. I’m sorry that he had to leave his home, but I will freely admit that my life would be a poorer thing if I had never met him. When I think about the refugees from Syria, I see my friend, and I want to extend compassion.

If we let our fears strip away our compassion and humanity, the terrorists win. They want a divided and fearful world. Will we give that to them? I won’t. I refuse, as I mentioned earlier, to let them have anything they want on principle. If my tax dollars go to helping someone else, I consider that to be a win, no matter who’s in office. Way more of my tax dollars go towards the military anyway. I’ve also seen people saying that we can’t take care of any “outsiders” because we have homeless here, and homeless veterans especially, to them I have a few things to say. 1. Nothing in the world is stopping you from caring about more than one thing at a time, so please don’t derail the discussion. 2. This is indeed a big problem, but where was your outrage when it wasn’t a political talking point? There isn’t a finite amount of compassion in the world. We can extend it to both groups, and make efforts to help both, AND WE SHOULD.

A lot of people saying that we shouldn’t offer homes to these refugees also claim to be Christian, and this next paragraph is specifically for them. I imagine that if you went back in time and talked to Jesus about this (and by the way, he probably looked a lot more like a Syrian refugee than he looked like you) he would say “Oh, no, you’re right. I may have simply said ‘Love one another,’ but really what I meant is that you should love one another when it won’t cost you anything. I meant ‘Love one another,’ when the person looks and acts like you, and when they will be grateful for your kindness. ‘Love one another’ only applies to people in your country, and the rest of the world shouldn’t matter at all. You should only love one another when it’s safe and easy. Sorry about the mixup.”

Now, I know that a lot of you are going to be afraid for me now. (Though statistically, you shouldn’t be. I’m much more likely to get hit by a car than to be killed in a terrorist attack, even living in NYC.) However, I’d like to say this. Even if I were to DIE (and really, statistically, it’s super super super unlikely, to the point of being almost irrelevant.) as a result of having an open heart and mind and community, and showing love to people who don’t deserve it, well. There’s way worse reasons to  die. I contrast the likelihood of great good happening (high) with bad happening (extremely low) and I cast my vote in favor of letting them in, even though it might mean that I am .000001% less safe.

So, to all the people who are saying stuff like “oh yeah, in theory you’re okay with refugees, but I bet you wouldn’t want them in your community.” To them I say, yes. Yes, they can live in my neighborhood. Yes, they are welcome in my community. Yes, my tax dollars can go to help with resettlement. Yes, Yes, Yes.  If you live next door to me, I’ll make you cookies. We can be friends.


Life and a lack of blogging.. 

Hello lovely friends!! 
I know it’s been ages since I posted, but I’m going to try to get back into doing it. It’s not like nothing has been going on. In fact, quite the reverse!! 
Some of you may follow me on Instagram, and if so, you probably know that I moved to NYC to start grad school in clinical psychology. It’s amazing! I love New York, and I love my school. It’s incredibly challenging, but I’m soaking up every minute of it. I’m learning so much. It’s making me feel like I did pick the right career path, and shifting from neurology to psychology was a good choice. Yay! 
In more news, my beloved is ALSO moving to New York! He got an amazing job working on artificial intelligence, for IBM Watson!!! The three places he could’ve gone were Cleveland, Houston, or NYC, and I’m sure you know which one I wanted :P He’s moving this weekend, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! He’s going to be in Hell’s Kitchen, and we are going to be fabulous New Yorkers together. Although I need to work on my style, his clothes are probably nicer than mine. Hehe. 
It may shock you, but despite my busyness, knitting is still happening! It’s mostly plain stuff, because I can knit stockinette while reading for class, and let me tell you, there’s tons of reading!! There’s not a whole lot of spinning though, so I’m going to show you pics of my last two projects, which I finished THIS SUMMER. Both of them are earmarked for lovely shawls, and.. >hangs head in shame< I might’ve already knit one up but not blocked it :P The first one is some cormo that I got from Foxhill Farms at last year’s Rhinebeck.  

Pretty, yes? Here’s a pic of it all wound up, and a hint of what it became..  

I’m in love with the subtle variations of the purple, and the yarn is super bouncy and nice. I will admit that I still find Cormo rather difficult to spin, but I think that has more to do with the fact that it’s not familiar to me rather than the prep, which was super nice. 10/10 would buy again. 

My next project is from a dyer I’ve loved for ages, the fabulous Macrina from Inglenook Fibers. I spun up this lovely tussah silk in her Ballet Shoes color way, and it was good. I then realized that I had some mystery gold single ply in the stash, that I could maybe pair it with for a two-tone shawl. It was too heavy a yarn to work with my handspun, so I unspun it, drafted it thinner, and re-spun it! 


For future reference, I do not recommend that anyone else try this. It was super annoying. However, I’m happy with the results! I have about 500 yards of pink with golden undertones, and about 200 yards of the gold. Shout out with your favorite multicolored shawls in the comments!! 
Here’s a picture of my three projects together. I’m so glad I finally wrote a blog post! 


Rainbow Love!

Hi Friends!

Remember that great big yarn party I showed you pictures of? All the many sock yarns destined to keep my feet warm this winter? Well, I’ve been plugging away at them and I actually have finished a pair! (I haven’t had a chance to properly photograph them though, so you’ll have to wait for now.) Instead, I’ll show you a picture of my current pair, which I have so much love for, you can’t even imagine. Look!




Are they not just magical? I love them! They’re absolutely captivating. They’re so fun and funky that they seduce completely conservative dressers into loving them. I sat next to an older gentleman in a suit on a plane, and he told me that my socks were wonderful and fun, and he kept watching me knit during the flight! It might’ve been that the colors are so eye searing, he was unable to look away, but I prefer to think that he went home and bought himself some rainbow socks on amazon.

The yarn is Fab Funky Fibers “The Big One,” which is their 22 stripe rainbow. It’s got about 2.5 repeats of the rainbow pattern, and I’m using another ball of black sock yarn for the heels, toes, and cuffs, so I’m hoping these will be nearly knee socks! I’m increasing for my gigantic calves in hope that they’ll stay up :P (I really do have big calves. They don’t look freakish, but I feel like I need to join a support group for people who can’t find boots that fit.) I feel like these socks will convey luck on the wearer, and since I’m starting school this fall? I’ll take all the luck I can get.

I will warn you, this yarn is a luxury item and it’s priced like one. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it if I hadn’t been given birthday money that was earmarked for yarn. (Thanks Nana and Grandpa!) However, if you take into account the fact that each stripe of the 22 is individually dyed by hand, and how time consuming and fiddly that process is, they are entirely worth it. I’m going to be very gentle and careful with these socks once they’re finished, because they are really amazing. They are getting quite close to being done, which delights me to no end, because…


I may already be considering my next pair.

Ending the Radio Silence..

Hi friends!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve even hardly been keeping up with my Instagram, which is waaaay less time consuming! This summer really got away from me. Summers are always super busy, even though we think they are going to be relaxing. Here in Boston, I think we try to stuff them full of all the wonderful summer activities that we only have a few weeks to enjoy, being outside, getting tan, swimming and enjoying the outdoors. I’ve been knitting and spinning, but both of my beloved hobbies have fallen by the wayside. The lure of the sunlight is too strong, and sticky heat and humidity do not mix well with fuzzy wool. I know you’re all going to suggest knitting or spinning with plant fibers, but I cannot. They always hurt my hands and I think I just knit too loosely for them. The stuff I make out of cotton always looks like a pile of crap.

However, I have proof that I haven’t fallen completely off the wagon. I made a giant chunky yarn of rainbow goodness!

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It’s super cool, right? I’ve been having terrible trouble spinning thicker yarn, but I deliberately tried to mess up how I normally spin. I put the biggest whorl on my spinning wheel, didn’t really prep, and just let the fiber be the delicious fluff that it wanted to be, Speaking of the fiber, the colorway is called Extravagance and Cruelty, and it’s a custom blend from Countess Ablaze. To be honest, it’s kindof the bomb.  I’ve had really good experiences with all the indie dyers that I’ve purchased stuff from, but her fiber is a little unusual. It’s really combed out so there are zero tangles. It has a lot of air in it, but the fibers are all pretty nicely aligned. This means you get a yarn that’s really smooth, and you can basically do whatever you want with it as far as the thickness is concerned. I could just as easily have spun this as a laceweight if I had wanted to, but I wanted a big fat yarn that would show off the really dramatic colors. Speaking of which, I should show you a before pic :P I tried to take one myself, but my camera was so full of hate for all the colors, so I stole some from the Countess Ablaze website. customBlendExtravagance2 extravaganceAndCruelty customBlendExtravanganceCruelty

It’s a pretty nifty blend too. It’s mostly really soft and smooth merino, with a little bit of black alpaca, angelina (sparkles) and seacell, which is a fiber that comes from seaweed. The chunks of seacell felt a lot like silk to me, very smooth and slick and soft. I pulled big chunks off of the braid and then tore each chunk into lengthwise strips with one or two colors in each strip. I do that a lot with spinning if I have really great colors that look like they’ll bleed into each other if I let them blend too much. I think the yarn I ended up with is very true to the colors of the braid, which makes me super happy. It’s also soft and super cushy. It’s going to be a yummy hat for me! I got about 150 yards of a chunky yarn, which should be plenty for a hat. Do you have a favorite slouchy hat for a busy yarn that wants to knit up at 3.5-4 stitches per inch?

I have to admit, I get a little bit of a chuckle out of the fact that I created a yarn that a) looks a bit like a cheap novelty yarn and b) is similar to what I was turning out when I had just started spinning. It’s lumpy and thick and thin, and the plying job was a little haphazard because I don’t know how much twist really needs to go into such a big yarn! But this time, I did those things ON PURPOSE, instead of by accident slash by default, so that has to mean something, right? I spun something different and I love it. I’m also happy that I have two braids from Countess Ablaze left, because I’m already jonesing for her super smooth prep. Seriously her roving feels like it’s predrafted when you get the braid. It’s awesome. The other two are much more tonal, which I am somewhat conflicted about. I get bored spinning tonal yarns instead of the delicious multicolored braids that I favor, but I’m always confused about what to do with the rainbow ones once they’re spun. I can find tons of projects for tonal yarns because they’re definitely what I prefer to knit with. So, we shall see. My next spinning project will be an attempt at a proper three ply. We’ll have to see how it goes!

Happy Socks. 

It all started because my boyfriend and I both have a thing for watermelons. Almost two years ago, I bought some superwash fiber in a very clever configuration, where you could split it down the middle and have two identical pieces of roving.. Yes, you read that right, this is a post that was years in the making. And somehow, I feel like I need to do it justice, (which means I’m completely tongue-tied, naturally.) Anyway. Heather, the lovely genius behind Mad Color Fiber Arts, dyes beautiful roving that looks like other things. (she had some in all the colors of a Blue Tang that still occasionally keeps me up at night.) But the one that immediately stole my heart was one that looked like a yummy slice of watermelon translated into wool. I snatched it up like a greedy child stealing sweets. Also, she was super nice and sweet, and that’s one of the easiest ways to get me to buy things from you. So I turned that into yarn..  

          Two skeins of  nearly matching chain plied sock yarn, but then they just had to sit for a while. I don’t like to use my handspun yarn right away. It makes me nervous. I like to set it on a shelf and walk by and smoosh it occasionally, until I figure out what it wants to be. I feel like I’m not alone in this, handspun is too precious to waste on any project other than the perfect one. So they went into hibernation. Greg also may have threatened to steal the socks I made even if they didn’t fit him, but I told him that he’d have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. 

A good long while afterwards, I was engaged in one of my hobbies. I call this one “trying to convince Greg that knitting is actually cool.” He likes to tease me by begging me to just accept that I am extremely dorky. I accepted that long since, but his counterpoint when I say knitting is cool is that doing anything as much as I knit makes you a geek. Even if it’s. breakdancing or flying fighter jets. Anyway, I was once again engaged in this most noble of pursuits, and this time I was showing him the yarny stylings of Yarn Enabler. Her stuff is way cool, her biggest claim to fame being that she makes sock yarn that knits up to look like other stuff. Like blue ones with rainbow toes, strawberries.. or watermelons. When Greg saw those, he lost his freaking mind. He had to have them. He made grabby hands at the screen. Any yarn thing that produces that kind of reaction in Greg (who is knit friendly but definitely in no way obsessed) is sure to be a present for him sooner rather than later. So I sneakily ordered the yarn (as well as some for myself too. If you’re paying for postage from Canada anyway..) 


Those socks were my traveling companions for months. They were just way too fun. The yarn itself was gorgeous, smooshy and soft and tightly plied, and I knit on them constantly. On the subway, on the bus, during my lunch break, these socks really got around!  They were finished pretty quickly too. Greg has smallish feet, and he doesn’t like his socks super tall. So before long they were finished. (we will ignore the part where I let them sit around for several weeks when all they needed was a bind-off, because I hate doing stretchy bind-offs.) 
And then, well, I started feeling envious. Greg’s watermelon socks were super cool.. So I started knitting some of my own! My handspun sock yarn was considerably thicker than the commercial yarn for his socks, more like a sport/DK weight. so I cast on..  

And I had a finished pair of socks in nine days!!! It would’ve been a week if I hadn’t made them way too big at first and needed to rip back. They’re still by far the fastest pair of socks I’ve ever made. It felt like they took longer to dry after blocking than to knit. So now? Finished semi-matching socks!  



I know that there’s a completely gratuitous number of pictures in this post, but I’m really quite proud of these. That’s a lot of time and effort wrapped up in those two pairs of socks! 

And maybe the best part? I asked Greg if we could take a picture of our feet next to each other in their matching socks, and he thought it was a great idea! He’s usually anti matching because it’s too cutesy, (although we do both have purple jeans that we sometimes accidentally wear on the same day) but matching watermelon socks are so seriously awesome that they’re immune to his hate of matching. Woooo! He loves them and I love mine too. One pair closer to wearing only hand knit socks during the winter. 

Adventures in Dyeing! 

Friends, all has been rather quiet on the blog front lately, but that’s mostly because I’ve been knitting only at a medicinal level. (That means enough to take the edge off of some stress, but not enough to have much to talk about.) However, I’m still working on my crazy sock plan, and I finally got the last skein to finish my plotting!!! It’s some prettiness from Desert Vista Dyeworks!! Now, the yarn is lovely, squishy and soft and tightly plied. However, my monitor was a BIG FAT LIAR about the colors of the yarn. I contacted Susan about it and she offered to re-dye it for me, but.. I felt kinda bad. Self striping yarn is super labor intensive, and I didn’t feel like making her redo everything was at all nice when differences in color are just part and parcel of ordering online. Desert Vista Dyeworks has great customer service and loads of awesome colors, and I will definitely order from her again, so I don’t want you thinking that I’m blaming the artist. But the yarn was definitely much more Halloween than the roller rink/Pop Rocks colors I had planned on. So I hatched a Plan. 

I decided to overdye the pale green stripe to make it a turquoise blue (my favorite color!) but I’m also totally cheap, so I decided to use some food coloring. I went to the store and got some of the McCormick’s neon colors, because after doing some searching online it looked like the neon blue was just the ticket! I wound the yarn around a plastic egg carton, wrapping the stripe I wanted to overdye at the bottom and all the other colors on top. I really should’ve used something else, because the heat from the dye solution warped the plastic a bit. Fortunately it didn’t melt :P After getting it all arranged, I soaked the part of the yarn that I wanted to dye in water and vinegar for about half an hour. Vinegar helps open up the wool so it can take in the dye. I then put a pot of water on the stove on very low heat, and added dye until I had the color I wanted. It took almost nothing! I got two packages of dye because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough.. and had way too much. Oh well, guess I’ll have to do it again! I dipped the yarn into the dye bath, and separated the strands of yarn with a wooden chopstick so the dye would cover all the yarn equally. It seems like dye needs some encouragement to go on evenly, but after a little fussing with it, I was pleased with the consistency of the color. My dye bath was still a very pretty blue, so I decided to try dyeing a few other things too! I had a little skein of handspun silk, which had a delectable sheen but was a rather boring shade of cream. I also had a mini-skein of a polwarth/silk blend that I had spun up as part of a color blending experiment, and it came out a pretty uninspiring shade of greyish yellow. Into the dye bath they both went! 


Here’s what they looked like wet.. 

And here’s the final result!!  





 They’re quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. Dyeing is a lot of fun, but very time consuming even on such a small scale. I have new respect for the people who do it for a living!  

I actually did some spinning.

Are you shocked? I’ve been working on the same thing for a WHILE. I had reached the point of acceptance. Without a word of a lie, I thought I was going to be spinning this for the rest of my life. There was a small logical part of my brain that knew that wasn’t the case, but the rest of it was completely convinced. Part of the reason why it took so long is that the fiber is absolutely lovely. I didn’t want to mess it up. Then I messed around a lot with the colors so that I could get a near-perfect gradient. (I love being obsessively controlling about my spinning.) I knew I wanted to chain ply, and I wanted a very lightweight yarn, so that meant that I’d be spinning three times the final length of the yarn, with very skinny singles. And then when you’re chain plying, you have to pay particular attention to the evenness of your spinning so you don’t get those dreadful unsightly lumps.. All that goes to say that I’ve been spinning on this fiber for over 10 weeks (*sigh* I’m terrible.)

Here’s the gorgeous fiber:

It’s superfine merino from Melissa at Hey Lady Hey, in her Laguna colorway. It’s speckled, and there’s a ton of depth to all of the colors in the braid. There’s deep plummy purple and vibrant blood red, a pretty pale green, a grass green, and an aqua green color. It’s beautiful as it is, but me being me I decided that I needed to rip it up and organize the segments by color (which I did with actually pretty remarkable success.) What I ended up with is a gradient that starts in deep purple, progresses through blood red to pale green to grass green to aqua green at the end. To make it even more fun, all the green sections have at least a small amount of red speckling. I love it.

The superfine merino is perfect for spinning really thin. It’s CRAZY SOFT even with tons of twist in it. Don’t you love all the colors in the finished yarn? They blended and mixed in the coolest ways. I was originally thinking that I’d knit a Zuzu’s Petals with this, but I now think that the colors are too vibrant and would obscure the lacework. Plus I have way too much yardage and I want to use the whole gradient. I’ve got just over 400 yards, so I’m going to try to knit a Citron instead. So many people have knit one that I’m feeling left out :P I also think that the half-circle shape would perfectly highlight the shifting colors of the yarn, and the gradient will make it look like a really wild slice of citrus, something you might find in Willy Wonka’s factory.

I love this yarn. I think that it’s really one of the loveliest things I’ve ever spun, and it’s definitely my best effort so far as regards chain-plying. I still have to do that on my spindle in order to get it to work for me. I think that I could eventually teach myself to do it on my wheel, but I’d have to ruin a fair amount of fiber in order to figure it out. So the spindle works for now :) I would also like to point out that this skein hasn’t been washed, so its imperfections are more obvious than they will be after a bath. (I have my pride, you know. Don’t want to seem like a worse spinner than I actually am :P) So I really have been working! I’ve just been overly meticulous and it took me a long time to finish this pretty. I want to cast it on soon, which is usually the opposite of what I do. I like my stash to hang around for a while as I figure out what it wants to be. This just wants to be wrapped around my neck right now!! It’s so soft and squishy and the colors are awesomely fun. Also, you should know that the prep was AMAZING. I could’ve spun it right out of the braid, and I’m terrible at that usually. So go forth and buy stuff! I might cast this on tonight and ditch all my other projects (and they are legion.)

My First Handspun Shawl. 

So I have frequently waxed poetic on the blog about shawls and my love for them, but my love has doubled, perhaps even tripled. 

Everyone loves Hitchhiker shawls, right? You see them everywhere! I think it’s probably because they play so nicely with those variegated yarns that we feel compelled to buy and then have no idea what to do with. Well, they work just as well with crazy handspun. 

I very frequently buy roving because I’m compelled by the colors, and then I spin it and it’s pretty yarn, but I know I’ll be mad about how it knits up. It turns out that I’m really bad at just letting things happen and feeling the zen. I like to know how things are going to work out, and I require balance and proper color mixing and well. I may be just the teensiest bit controlling about my knitting. (This is probably good actually, because it enables me to let stuff go in life. Knitting is probably responsible for how much I don’t pester Greg.) 

Anyway, I bought some of the Malabrigo roving that everyone seems to have such strong feelings about. A lot of people have complained about felting, but I didn’t have that problem myself. Merino can be fussy though, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to get some felting in an industrial dyeing operation. I got the Archangel colorway, because it’s stunning, but it was all crazy sunset colors so I didn’t want to ply it and muddy the gorgeousness. So I decided to spin it as fingering weight singles, with the idea of eventually making a scarf or shawl. 
Then I saw someone else’s handspun Hitchhiker and its destiny was revealed. I wish I could remember whose it was, but all I know is that it was on Instagram about four months ago. I have been working on it for a while, and now it’s finished!!        Isn’t it beautiful? I totally love it!! The colors are lovely together, which is very typical of Malabrigo. I feel like it looks like a tropical sunset or the wings of a phoenix. It’s also incredibly soft. The slight unevenness in the yarn combined with the garter stitch makes it look like the striations of a rock formation in the desert, or the grain in a piece of petrified wood. 

I adore it. I want to make it a friend yesterday. I did spin up a super colorful Hobbledehoy batt that needs a purpose.. I’m thinking a similar shape if not the same pattern. 

I do have one quibble. I ended up with one side of the shawl being longer than the other. The point definitely isn’t right in the middle. That may be because I knit until I ran out of yarn, and I had more than 500 yards. Has anyone else had that happen with their Hitchhikers? Is there a way to get it to come out more balanced? Mine has 48 teeth and the pattern recommends 42. I don’t really care that much, I still love it, and it will look TOTALLY SLAMMIN with my purple biker jacket. (yes, my shawls have their own wardrobe. why do you ask? 😝) 
Until next time! 

Epic sock party in the making.

Hi friends!

Remember how I promised to show you all of the yarn that was distracting me from my current socks in progress? I couldn’t wait, I’m doing it today. It involved another trip to the park across the street for yarn photography, but my neighbors already think I’m odd so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.

I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog dedicated to self-striping yarns. I have a bit of an obsession with them, and I’m going to fill my sock drawer with handmade woollies that will cradle my tootsies in cozy warmth and insane colors. I purchased quite a few skeins with my birthday money, and I had a few hanging around already, but I’m having the hardest time just taking the plunge and knitting with them! They seem too precious. So I’m confessing here on the blog, and promising all of you that I will actually knit with my precious self-striping skeins. They will become my travelling socks for the foreseeable future. I’m going to compare and contrast all of them, so you can decide what you might like to get for yourself. )I’m nothing if not an enabler.)

I want to start with a baseline for comparison. I know that it’s discontinued, but I think that Knit Picks Felici is going to be my baseline yarn. It’s self striping and pretty, and it’s a commercial yarn. All the others in the series are hand dyed in small batches, and I’m interested in highlighting the differences between commercial yarns and yarn from indie dyers. So I’ll probably start with these skeins:

It’s Felici in the Jellybean colorway. They’ll be my basis for comparison.

I’ve got Yarn Enabler:

This should knit up into nice fat stripes, which I totally prefer to skinny ones. I can be seduced into knitting skinny stripes by lovely colors, but wide stripes charm me more.

I have this joyful amazingness from Fab Funky Fibers5.1.15.3:

Appropriately titled The Big One, it is a 24 stripe rainbow. My love for it is pure. These socks are either going to be so loved that they have holes immediately, or so cherished that they only get worn once a year. Only time will tell, but I’m totally doing an afterthought heel so that when it wears out I can replace it. They may only be worn when I need exceptional good luck, because I have a firm belief that rainbow socks are lucky, and handknit socks made from hand-dyed rainbow stripes must be extra lucky.

I have this neon brightness from String Theory Colorworks:

This is their Orbit base, a nice tightly plied sport weight sock yarn. I’ve never knit sport weight socks, so I’m interested to see how much more quickly these knit up than my typical socks. The colorway name is Strontium-90, which I am enchanted with. Doesn’t it actually look radioactive?

No list of self-striping yarns would be complete without a spot for Turtlepurl Yarns.

I absolutely had to get this set. It will stripe in the colors of Burberry plaid. That in itself is totally enough, but I am a little obsessed with Burberry. I can’t afford it at this point in my life, but at least with these socks I can pretend to be posh. The coordinating red is for matching heels and toes and cuffs. These will be some tall socks!

I couldn’t decide on simply one, so I got two skeins from White Birch Fiber Arts5.1.15.6

The skein on the left will alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of blue sky, and the skein on the right will be all Dark Side of the Moon style and alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of black. Very styling.

I got some lovely and coveted Vesper Sock Yarn:

It’s all peaceful blues and greens with a little bit of sand and a dark rich brown. I love these colors together, they’re perfectly harmonious. It looks like a forest spirit was trying to disguise itself as a skein of yarn. Doesn’t it seem just perfect there, nestled in the grass?

Last, but certainly not least, I got some yarn from Twisted Limone Designs.

Isn’t it perfect? Don’t you totally want to come over and fight me for it? The colors are, according to the shop description, blackcurrant, raspberry, dark charcoal, white, grass green, lime green and sea green. If that doesn’t charm you, I don’t know what will. (also you might need to look up some cute pictures of kittens, because your crankiness might be terminal.) I also love the presentation, the hand-wound ball feels like a special gift. I also know that it’s super labor intensive, but it’s so beautiful, opening the package was thrilling.

So that’s everything! A few other skeins may eventually join the party, (I’m currently stalking Coloring Book Yarns, I want some BMO sock yarn because I love Adventure Time.) One last picture with all the yarns together:

Doesn’t it look like almost too much fun? I feel like this will really motivate me to knit socks more and faster. (Also, I so desperately want to just be done with the socks from my last post so I can just enjoy all of these. Maybe they can be short socks. Ankle socks anyone? :P)

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide.

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