WIP: Lady Sunnyside

It’s that awkward time of year where the majority of my works-in-progress are holiday gifts. Nevertheless, it’s exciting. My pile of items to be washed and blocked is growing at a good pace and I should actually have everyone’s gifts done by the necessary dates! But that does mean my stuff to blog about is limited so I figured I’d share what’s currently on the blocking boards: my Lady Sunnyside cardigan.

Pattern: Lady Sunnyside by Tanis Lavallee (Rav link)
Yarn: Squoosh Fiberarts Ultra Worsted in Vino, purchased from Eat. Sleep. Knit.
Additional info on my projects page
Lady Sunnyside

It’s officially Fall in Texas now. The AC hasn’t come on in days and I’ve been wearing sweatshirts around the apartment in attempts to put off turning the heater on. The cats are more cuddly so there’s a plus side for sure. Anyway, the cardigan was pure pleasure to knit. It’s actually still drying. The fan is blowing on it behind me and I’m super ready for this one to be done. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. There’s even 2 collar design options – a cable version & a lace version – the latter is what I chose for mine. I just need to choose some buttons and weave in the ends so I’ll probably have this ready to wear in a couple of days.

closeup of Lady Sunnyside blocking

I alternated skeins throughout but there are some portions where I can see when I switched to a new ball. The yarn itself was very nice to work with. It produces a lush fabric that is consistent in gauge and does not grow wildly after a bath. In the end though, I’m really pleased with it all around. The pattern, the yarn & the color form a trifecta of cardigan happiness. I’ll share some more photos when the final touches are added. :)

Stranded knitting hack

I could never catch on to the knitting with both hands method of doing stranded knitting. I’m much more comfortable keeping the colors running from my right hand (I’m a thrower) but when working with more than one color I would get frustrated with my yarns twisting together. I started dreaming up elaborate contraptions to keep this from happening but ultimately all it took was a humble condiment tray (aka “Lazy Susan”) to keep things straight.

stranded knitting on tray

I got this tray for less than $10 at Walmart and it’s been worth every penny. Now I can twist or untwist my yarn in a few quick turns of the tray rather than pick up each yarn ball and spend a few minutes untangling them. Do you have some knitting hacks that you enjoy using?

Mittens shown are the O.W.L. mittens by Celeste Young from the “Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, Special Issue 2013″ published by Interweave.

Spin to spin

Hi! It’s been so long since I last posted I almost feel like I have to reintroduce myself. I spend so much time in front of a computer screen at work when I get home all I want to do is watch TV or read a book rather than open my laptop. Today, however, I figured I’d do some updating. I hope you like the new look to the blog! It’s been the same theme for years and it was time for my blog to have a new outfit. It feels a bit like a breath of fresh air. Alright on to the fun stuff! :)

Although I started spindle spinning in March 2013 I didn’t really get much spinning done until I purchased my Schacht Ladybug wheel last October.

Ladybug spinning wheel

Since then I’ve spun about 24 skeins from a variety of fiber dyers such as Pigeonroof Studios, Spun Right Round, and Becoming Art.

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some unwashed skeins

My fiber stash isn’t too extensive but it has taken over a nice amount of space in some of my bookshelves. The top shelf houses the finished spun yarn on the right hand side (the left is some sweater quantities I need to get to).

fiber stash

Quite frankly, I really have been spinning to spin. Until a few days ago I hadn’t knit with any of my self-spun skeins, however, I’m hoping to get some holiday gifts made over the next few months and would really like to use some handmade yarn for a few of them.

Some favorites that were recently washed:

Spun Right Round – Falkland in “Party” 2-ply, 168 yards, Worsted weight

Spun Right Round Falkland in Party

Pigeonroof Studios – South African Merino in “Nighthawk” chain-ply, 358 yards heavy-fingering weight

Pigeonroof Studios merino in Nighthawk

Malabrigo – Nube merino in “Mostaza” chain-ply, 184 yards, DK weight

Malabrigo Nube in Mostaza

My finished skeins aren’t perfect but I really love how they’ve been coming out. Spinning has been so rewarding, I’m really happy to have gotten into another crafting endeavor that helps not only augment my yarn collection but also provides additional reasons to knit something awesome.

Cheers! ♥

FO: Bray Cap

A few weeks ago while I was binge-watching Battlestar Galactica (the newer version) I knit this beauty of a hat: Jared Flood’s Bray Cap.

Bray cap in PRS Superwash Merino Worsted - Golden Moss

Admittedly, it’s a copycat version of Pigeonroof Studios hat in that I used the same yarn and colorway she used. When she posted about her hat I had to have that green in my wardrobe. Once I finished knitting it I decided to forgo blocking just so I could wear it immediately. It’s my new favorite item to wear and this cold spell (or actual Winter) we’ve been having in Texas has allowed me to put it to use.

The yarn:

I am such a fan of Pigeonroof Studios’ yarns and fibers. Krista has an amazing eye for color. The yarn I used is her Superwash Merino Worsted base in Golden Moss. Aside from being a beautiful color, the yarn itself is scrumptious and cushy, a real pleasure to work with. The yarn comes in 200 yard skeins and for this hat I used about 60-65% of the yarn. As you can see the cables truly pop. I look forward to the day I can get a sweater quantity of this base, what a lovely sweater that would be!

The pattern:

Jared Flood continues to amaze me with his wonderful knitting patterns and this hat is no exception. It’s perfect for when you get the urge to do some cabling but don’t want to invest in a larger project. The pattern is super easy to follow. I did, however, decide not to do the tubular cast-on. I’m incredibly happy with the result. I don’t often repeat patterns but this hat is such a winner I will probably be adding a few more hats in different colors to my collection. : )

Close-up of Bray Cap

What’s with the name?

Yet again I have disappeared from the blog. I wish I could say it was just because I was busy, but ultimately it was because writing something became this THING I avoided for some reason. That and I spent the past few months watching many seasons of TV shows available on Netflix and spinning my heart out on my Schacht Ladybug wheel. I want to thank the folks who have stopped by this blog for one reason or another, found it through Pinterest and have followed me through email or Twitter. Y’all are pretty awesome and this post is dedicated to you. :)

So! Now where to go from here? I still don’t know what to write about. Should I go back and cover the topics I missed over the past year? Seeing as I only wrote 9 posts in 2013 but finished tons of projects and started spinning, there’s actually a lot to write about. But I still continue to knit and spin and um…add to my enormous stash so I hope to put some newer up-to-date content up to. Today, though, I wanted to explain the name of my blog. This is something I’ve wanted to share for a long time but simply never got around to. Why “Compositions of Wool”? Three years ago when I was entertaining the thought of starting a blog I tried to think of a name that would allow me to talk about a few different areas of fiber-love, not just knitting. Since I tend to write about yarn and fiber artists in addition to knitting I really wanted something to encompass what we do as, well, artists in our own right. My sister is a painter and her color sense heavily influenced my interest in the spectrum.  She has paint brushes and acrylic paint but for me wool is just my way to experience color and to share my craft. There’s another thing… compositions. Have you considered that your knitting or crochet pursuits can be seen as a sort of writing and knitting needles/crochet hooks are your writing instruments? It’s a way to speak and express your passions and creativity. So thus, Compositions of Wool was born and since then I tried to write about yarn, places to buy yarn, what I’ve done with yarn, and occasionally have giveaways for others to share in that yarn adoration. I hope to get back into that and will push myself to not let months at a time go by without a post. It’s nice to have an outlet and share the love of yarn with others. I appreciate your stopping to catch my posts and rambling more than I can say.

Cheers! ♥

Assorted yarn