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52 Weeks of Wool: The beginning

January 8, 2016

A few podcast episodes back I shared about a new project I’m embarking on over the course of the next 52 weeks…well 51 now. I thought it might be good to share a bit about my hopes and goals for this project.

For the past year I’ve mentioned off and on about my hope to learn to spin on a wheel, while at the same time agonizing a bit over the thought that it will take precious time away from knitting. However, the desire to spin has nagged at me ever since I took an Intro to Spinning class at A Verb for Keeping Warm exactly a year ago, and so I decided to go for it.

I am a total newb to spinning. I’ve only spun with a drop spindle twice. I’ve had a wheel in my house for the past 6 months and only practiced treadling on it. When I decided to do this project, I purposefully opted to wait and not practice, so that my first week and first spin would truly be my first.

Years ago I learned a nifty thing from Kate Bingamam-Burt called ‘Automated Directives’. You can find more info here, but the gist is to set up a sort of rule system to give some direction to your creativity. It’s something many of us already do in lots of ways, but I found the more rigid system helpful when I really want to learn and reflect my creativity in a specific task…in this case spinning. So I set up my guidelines and here they are…

-Each week, for the next 52 weeks, I will spin a different breed of sheep wool or fiber
-I will learn a bit of the story behind each fiber and share here on the blog. This includes the farm it came from and any other details I can share, such as photos.
-I will share my learnings from spinning and handling each specific fiber, as well as my learnings of spinning in and of itself.
-Each week’s wool, after spinning, will be knit into a swatch, and once all 52 weeks are complete, I will join all the swatches to create a blanket. I am SO excited about that part.

And my goals…

-Learn to spin. This goes without saying, but there’s so much I don’t know with hands on experience. I plan to learn a lot.
-Become a skilled spinner. Improve drafting, tension, speed, plying, etc.
-Experience as many different types of sheep breeds as possible, familiarizing myself with the different wools and their qualities.
-Improve my processing of wool. Some fiber I’ve received is neither washed or carded. My own fiber from my sheep is still unwashed or carded…so I’m looking forward to getting better at this and improving my efficiency.
-Share these wools and fibers stories with all of you, spreading the love for small farm yarns and celebrating the hard work of these farmers.
-Finish the project. I’ve got a lot on my plate these days and I really hesitated for awhile as to whether this was something I wanted to take on. But with some encouragement from David, I dove in and my greatest hope is that I’m able to keep up and finish the project and knit the blanket from these wools/fibers. I do however believe in grace, so if this project takes me a few extra weeks come the end of the year, so be it. 🙂

Lastly…I’m still looking for more wool breeds for this project. If you are a farmer/rancher or a fiber folk who knows a fiber farmer/rancher and would like to be a part of this project by sending me a small amount of wool to spin, I’d love to have you and hear your story! Send me an email at

Ok, I think that’s it for now. If you’re on Instagram you may of seen my photo this morning of my first week’s wool. I’ll share more on that specific wool and it’s farm, so stay tuned.


Woolful Knitalong: The Portland Pullover

January 1, 2016

Today marks the beginning of the latest Woolful KAL, although if you’re like me you don’t even have your yarn yet. 🙂 So I’ll be swatching with some leftover Brooklyn Tweed Shelter and getting ready to cast on the moment my yarn arrives.

When I first got the latest issue of Taproot, aptly named ‘Shelter’, I wasn’t totally sure how I felt about the Portland Pullover. I’ve recently made the discovery that I prefer set-in sleeves far more than raglan shaping because of its fit and I had made a momentary mental note to ‘only knit set-in sleeves’ from here on out…until I realized how silly that is. So when I picked up the issue and flipped through it again, I lingered on the pullover pattern a bit longer, admiring it’s neck shaping and simple silhouette. Ok. Done. I’m in. I realized then how great it would be to knit my first sweater started in the new year with friends…so, here we go.

What: Portland Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge. You can find this pattern in the most recent issue of Taproot, Shelter. Go grab a copy or subscription if you haven’t already!
When: January 1st-ish through March 31st 2016.
With: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter OR your preferred worsted weight yarn (stash busting time?)
You can find Brooklyn Tweed at some of our friends shops in person and/or online…

Brooklyn Tweed
Tolt Yarn and Wool
Fancy Tiger Crafts
A Verb for Keeping Warm
Knit Purl

And for those that join along, make sure to post photos of WIPs and finished projects on Instagram or on the Knitalong Ravelry page so we can all follow along. Use hashtag #woolfulKAL and after March 31st I’ll announce the lucky random folks who won the gifts. I’m still working to finalize all the gifts, but they will include a Taproot subscription, some Brooklyn Tweed goodness, a copy of Carrie Bostick Hoge’s newest book Swoon Maine and more.

So, go find your yarn and start swatching! xoxo -ash




Summer Knitalong: Home and Away – Share your knits

September 30, 2015

The Summer knitalong had an incredible energy…so many folks joined in knitting a pattern from Hannah Fettig’s most recent book Home and Away…and they were ALL lovely. It seemed that out of all the patterns, the Lesley pullover was the most knit, with the most unique being that from Whitney @whit_knits who handspun the yarn for her Lesley. I think a close second was the Boothbay cardigan, with another unique take from @garmenthouse, who added a purl stitch here and there to create a beautiful stitch pattern.

It was wonderful to see everyone’s such positive response to this beautiful collection of patterns and come away with a new hand knit for Fall. I just finished my own Georgetown this past week and it may just be my new favorite sweater, it’s so versatile and the Quince and Co Owl I knit it with was just the blended tweedy-type goodness I longed for in my wardrobe.

And for those of you still finishing your projects or wanting to knit something from Home and Away…Quince and Co has a “Knitbot Knitalong” starting tomorrow…so keep your eye on their Instagram @quinceandco and blog for more info!

Tomorrow we start Fall Woolful Knitalong…so make sure to join along as we knit a pattern (of your choice) from Cecelia Campochiaro’s new book Sequence Knitting. More info to come this week on our picks, suggested yarns and such.

And without further ado, here are the lucky random winners and prizes for the Summer knitalong…

$25 Quince and Co gift card – Jennifer Fleck @jenninmaine
$25 Quince and Co gift card – Michelle Hughes @thevintagejunky

$25 Woolful gift card – Marie Carter @mariecarter
$25 Woolful gift card – Eve @thimbleandacorn

$25 Knitterly gift card – Ruth Werwai @rwerwai
$25 Knitterly gift card – Kristin Tolle @kristin_tolle

If you’re one of the winners, shoot me an email at!

Thank you so very much for being a part of this and supporting amazing designer’s like Hannah. Can’t wait to get going on the next one from Cecelia!

@whit_knits and @garmenthouse

@lmelnick12 & @evergreenviolet

@_claire_brennan_ & @kristin_tolle

@thevintagejunky & @barnescountry

@thimbleandacorn & @woolful

@randkin & @woolenviolets

*header photo by the lovely @dreareneeknits