Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arkansas Yarn

I didn't really realize it until I was winding this into the niddy noddy (228 yards of fingering to sport weight), but this is a completely local yarn.

It's a 2-ply.  1 ply is llama from this fleece I was given by a local breeder (hmm, that was a while ago).  The 2nd ply is Shetland from a sheep named Ruth, who came from here.  I talk about it here.

It was grown in Arkansas, prepped in Arkansas, and spun in Arkansas.  Well, I guess I should knit an Arkansas pattern with it, shouldn't I?

Now the only question remaining is....natural color or hand dyed?

Pin It Now!

Friday, October 25, 2013

October House Fiber Arts - Shop is open!

Open for business!

I've been busy dyeing fibers for the past month, and loving every minute of it.  My studio has smelled like wet wool for days on end!  Thankfully, Jimmy likes the smell as much as I do. I love wool, and I love working with wool.  It's such an amazing fiber.  Add to that the fact that I'm getting to splash color around like a kid with watercolors and paper, and I'm in creative heaven.

So, I hope you'll take a peek at my shop...I'm starting small, but passionate.  I want to offer beautiful colors that you will love spinning, with personal and caring customer service.  

Below is a sampling of what's available in the shop:

Here's the link to my etsy shop :  octoberhousefiberarts etsy shop

Take a look and if you find something you like, you can use the coupon code RSDBLOG to get 10% off your order! (This offer is good through the end of October.)  In your shopping cart, look for "apply shop coupon code" and enter the code in the space provided.

Happy spinning!

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shawl Season

I've worn three different shawls in two days, so I think it's safe to say that shawl season is finally here!
And what better way to celebrate than to cast on a new shawl?  I've wanted to make the Lillia Hyrna Shawl by Shelia January from The Knitter's Book of Wool ever since I first saw it.  (I'm trying to commence knitting some of those knits that have been in my mind, or in my queue, for a long time.  What am I waiting for?) So this past week I cast on, using Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in the colorway Treacle Toffee.

This is some seriously soft yarn.  I think these will be a good combo.

Pin It Now!

Friday, October 18, 2013

A little color for Lucy

After a good while of staring at beige and white, Lucy Ladybug (my spinning wheel) was in need of a little color to cheer her (and me) up....

Green (merino/silk) is good!  Very good.

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dye Days

I've been dyeing a lot of fiber lately.  (Hint, there'll be some new things coming to my Etsy shop shortly.)

I love playing with the colors...I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy watercolors so much. There are a lot of similarities between acid dyes for wool and watercolors.  They are both transparent, so you can layer and glaze the colors.  You can decide how saturated you want the color based on how much water you add, you can mix colors to create a custom blend and so on.

Anyway, I've been having a lot of fun with it!

Pin It Now!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review : Cast On Bind Off, 54 Step-by-Step Methods

This is one of those books you want to keep by your knitting chair, or in your knitting bag all the time.  Or at least whenever you need to cast on or bind off.  Talk about handy!

The book is divided into 2 main sections, obviously:  Cast ons and Bind offs.  From there, it's broken down into types of cast ons or bind offs.  Need something stretchy?  Flip to the stretchy cast ons and you'll have several to choose from.  Want details on an i-cord bind off?  Check out the decorative bind offs chapter and you're set.

If you're a visual learner, like me, you'll love the photographs of each step in the process.  And the clear, bullet-point type instructions are easy to follow.  There is a picture of the front and back of each cast on and each bind off, and most of the time a view of it on edge.

Inside the front cover are all the cast ons included in the book and the page number where you can find them.  The back cover has all of the bind offs and where to find them.

And the last great thing about this book is it's size.  It's small.  Not too small, where you can't quite see the photos, but not too big to tuck into your knitting bag.  And the spiral binding makes sure you can lay it flat and work without the pages flipping over.

So, if you're looking to enlarge your repertoire of cast ons and/or bind offs, you'll enjoy this handy little book!

Pin It Now!

Monday, October 7, 2013


I almost always have at least one pair of socks on the needles, usually two or three.  I try to always keep a simple sock with me in my purse.  I've found that not having something to knit in my bag is the surest way to end up waiting or stuck somewhere!

I finished these socks (below) a month or so ago, but didn't blog about them.  This is Alice Yu's Shur'tugal pattern.  I knit it in Knit Picks Stroll in the Gold colorway.  I've always loved this stitch pattern.  I like it so much, I made fingerless mitts out of this stitch pattern.

I knit this pair for Jimmy in Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Harmony Woods colorway.  He loves this yarn (I think it's the mohair), so I'll be buying more Bearfoot in the future.  The heels and toes are Madeline Tosh Sock, so they are nice socks.  He's already worn them a few times, as you can tell in the photo:

Are you a sock knitter?

Pin It Now!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

5 Favorite Ravelry Features

Everybody uses Ravelry in different ways.  It seems like in the last few weeks I've noticed new little features I hadn't seen before.  And then there are my favorite ways of searching and browsing on Ravelry, not counting the great new spinning & fiber related features I've already mentioned in this post.
So here are 5 of my favorite ways to use Ravelry.

1.  Friends Activity

-This is a great way to see what's being queued, favorited and stashed.  You can usually get a good idea of what's trending by taking a look at your friends activity.
-You can also look at different sets of friends to narrow the field.  For instance, if you create a set for fiber-related friends (as I've done), you can see what's being spun, what fiber is being stashed and what folks are knitting with their handspun.
-You can also look at friends activity in groups that you are in.  For instance, if I select "Spinning Knitters" group, I see all the activity of my friends who are also in that group.

2.  Pattern Recommendations

There are 2 ways to use this feature.
First, you can look at your personalized pattern recommendations from the Patterns page.  You'll see new pattern highlights personalized just for you based on your preferences and projects.  Nice!

Second, you can see what other patterns people like based on a pattern you are currently viewing. See that little heart I've highlighted in the following photo?  It's at the bottom of a pattern page. If you click on that link, you'll get a page of pattern recommendations.

3.  Hot Right Now

If you're looking to see what new and popular on Ravelry, this is a good choice.  You can see the top 20 most popular patterns on the Patterns page, or you can use the advanced search and sort by "Hot Right Now".

4.  Your History

If you haven't taken a good look at the patterns page in a while, it might be a good idea.  Not only can you access your personalized pattern recommendations from there, but you can also see your viewing history from there.  If you looked at a pattern a week ago and now you can't remember it, you'll be able to find it here.  Very handy.

5.  Remember and Compare

If you're looking for a certain type of pattern, say, a stockinette shawl with a lace border.  You can search through the shawls and "star" the ones that have a stockinette body and lace border.  This lets you look at your choices on one page and make your comparisons.

What's your favorite way to use Ravelry?

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Desktop Background

October is finally here.  My favorite month of the year!  Let's enjoy it.

Click on the links below to download the calendar of your choice (choose the size you need for the desktop & iPad/iPhone versions):

Click here to download the October Desktop Calendar

Click here to download the October Desktop background (with no calendar)

Click here to download the October iPhone/iPad Background

Click here to download the October Printable Calendar

Please note:
All images and elements are copyright Robin Sample.  You may not reproduce, recreate, or sell in any way.  But please feel free to download for your own personal use.  If  you share (I'd love that!) please direct your readers to this post to download the file.  Thank you!

Pin It Now!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back to Knitting

After severely restricting my knitting and spinning time, in order to give my hand & wrist a chance to heal, I am easing back into my knitting & spinning projects.  I'm not sure I can describe how happy this makes me!

Knitting is one of those things that occupies many places in my life.  I knit when I want to relax.  I knit when I want to be creative.  I knit when I want a challenge, and so on.  So, I really missed my knitting.

Right now, I'm working on these :

L to R :  Socks for J; new sock design; Bartok Tunic; Unwinding Hours Shawl; Summer's Over Scarf
And, since I've had a lot of time to look at Ravelry, knitting books and knitting magazines, I'm considering casting on for these :

L to R:  Marion Tunic, Quaker Yarn Stretcher, Quant
And then after that, these:
Top:  Carp, Autumnal Cardigan
Bottom:  Hiro, Rikke Hat
And that doesn't even count the spinning & weaving projects:)

Pin It Now!