Agujas

The Art of Knitting

December FO: Chimborazo Textured Hat

This year, my niece Victoria started college. She is an exceptional student who finished in the top 5% of her class. (It’s my blog so I am taking editorial license to be a proud aunt). She is a scholar-athlete who competed in both individual and team sports and even broke a track record. She received scholarships and grants but it was still a stretch to cover all those college costs. I honestly don’t know how regular middle-class Americans can afford to send their kids to college. So, she is living with us and commuting to school every day. We emptied the guest room, picked up a great daybed from IKEA that pulls out into a full-size bed for guests. We also got her a desk and a really cool chair and let her decorate the rest of her “dorm” room. She has black-and-white posters of Marilyn and Audrey and the New York skyline on her walls and small LED lights around the perimeter. It has been a delight to have her in our home. We have two boys so she is the daughter we never had.

As the weather started turning a bit cold, I decided to knit her a hat. I found this pattern which she promptly approved of with the request that it be in a white or cream color. I found this off-white bulky yarn at the fiber festival. It was half off and perfect for the hat. It’s Yearling by Juniper Moon Farm, a wonderful blend of 60% merino wool and 40% cotton, and it has been discontinued. I love this yarn! I already have several skeins of it in bright colors in my stash. It’s a great yarn for knitting in Texas because the wool brings warmth but the cotton tempers it a bit.

Juniper Moon Farm Yearling Color 01

Once I got past the brim, the basket weave texture started to show itself.

Chimborazo On the Needles

I love the look of it! My niece loved it too.

Chimborazo Back View

I topped it off with a big pompom.

Chimborazo Full View

Chimborazo Side View

Now she can keep her head warm as she goes from class to class.

November FO: Regular Guy Beanie

Finally, the Fall season begins with all of its colors and cooler weather. Between work and stressing over my son’s college applications (he’s a senior), it has been busy. After not getting any knitting done in October, a warm hat seemed just right for November.

Regular Guy Beanie 1

For the yarn, I took this lovely variegated skein in Autumn colors out of my stash. I picked this up during a business trip to Nashville, Tennessee (Brentwood, actually). I made it to Bliss Yarns on the one day they are open late. It was a lovely little yarn shop with a large choice of colors and brands and a very helpful staff.

Regular Guy Beanie 2

I wanted something local so they pointed out a bin of MissBabs Hand-dyed Yarns & Fibers out of Mountain City, Tennessee. I selected Yowza – Whatta Skein, approximately 560 yards of 100% Superwash Merino. This skein was “hand-painted” in luscious colors called Rumor Has It.

Regular Guy Beanie 3

I used the Regular Guy Beanie pattern, a free Ravelry download. The one departure I made from the pattern is that I doubled up on the yarn to give the hat a cozy thickness. This one is for my middle brother who was just elected to my hometown’s school board. I am so proud of him!

A Day at the Fiber Festival

My very first spinning lesson was at the Kid’N Ewe And Lamas Too fiber festival a couple of years ago. This past weekend, I revisited this annual festival which is spread out over three large barns at the Kendall County Fairgrounds. There was weaving, spinning, felting, knitting and crocheting everywhere!

I spent hours swooning over fibers from animal and plant sources including camel, yak, buffalo, sheep, goat and silkworm as well as hemp, bamboo, and cotton. Many were hand dyed in stunning colors like these wool batts …

Gorgeous merino, bamboo, and angelina batts from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Gorgeous merino, bamboo, and angelina batts from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Luscious browns and golds from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Luscious browns and golds from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Glistening waves in a deep blue sea from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Glistening waves in a deep blue sea from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

… and this hemp fiber in deep tones.

Hand-dyed natural plant fibers from the Fiber Lady. (www.fiberlady.com)

Hand-dyed natural plant fibers from the Fiber Lady. (www.fiberlady.com)

There were countless hand crafted tools throughout including this lovely assortment of spindles and shuttles.

These wooden spindles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn't pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

These wooden spindles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn’t pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

Turkish and top whorl drop spindles from Heritage Arts. (www.heritageartstexas.com)

Turkish and top whorl drop spindles from Heritage Arts. (www.heritageartstexas.com)

Unique hand painted wooded spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Unique hand painted wooded spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Hand crafted glass and wood spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Hand crafted glass and wood spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

These wooden shuttles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn't pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

These wooden shuttles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn’t pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

Behind rows of vendor stalls in one of the barns, several teams were in full swing for the Fiber to Fashion demonstrations. Spinners using spindles and wheels were busily turning fiber into yarn. The yarn was fed to the weaver who meticulously wove it on a loom. The goal was to create a finished product – a 20″ x 72″ shawl – in one day.

One of the Fiber to Fashion teams working on their woven shawl.

One of the Fiber to Fashion teams working on their woven shawl.

The team pictured here held a raffle for their shawl. I bought one ticket for $1 but, alas, did not win. I watched them as they were making the fringe and putting the final touches on the shawl. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The air was cool, the sun was out, the animals were adorable, kindred spirits were plentiful, and there were three barns full of fibery goodness – perfect!

Spotted at the Fiber Festival

What’s a Fiber Festival without goats and alpacas!

Angora Goats Duo 10/2014

Cibolo Creek Alpaca 10/2014

Adult Angora Goat 10/2014

A Place for Weaving

During our trip to Comfort in search of yarn, we discovered another little gem in the quaint historic district. Comfort Crockery is immediately across the street from The Tinsmith’s Wife. The main area is dedicated to original artwork by local and regional artists. The items included pottery, glassware, jewelry and mesquite furniture. But what really drew me in was a sign that read “Loom Room.”

It turns out that Comfort Crockery offers weaving classes and all the tools needed by spinners and weavers alike. They had spindles, spinning wheels, fiber and looms. I chatted with the owner who gave me a preview of wonderful things to come. She led me through a hallway that opened up into a cavernous room that was to become the Loom Room. There were piles of lumber, saw horses and tools scattered throughout. The room was being carefully renovated.

As I soon learned, Comfort Crockery is housed in a historic building designed in the mid-1800’s by architect Alfred Giles of San Antonio. The town itself was settled by German immigrants who were “freethinkers.”

Freethinkers were German intellectuals who advocated reason and democracy over religious and political authoritarianism. Many had participated in the 1848 German revolution and sought freedom in America. They strongly supported secular education and generally did not adhere to any formal religious doctrines. They applied themselves to the crafts of physical labor and divided their time between farming and intellectual pursuits. Freethinkers advocated universal equal rights, and their moral values were dominated by their respect for life. They actively supported such social issues as the abolition of slavery and the rejection of secession. (Source)

So our quaint afternoon in search of yarn became a wonderful mini history lesson. These are some of the things I saw at Comfort Crockery.