Spinning, Cassidy, Coastal Knits and a new job!

The past few weeks have been incredibly eventful and I have so much to share! First, at the Reno Celtic Celebration I met the ladies of the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers, and after a brief lesson I was completely hooked on spinning. It is so cool to take a pile of fiber and turn it into yarn. I am not very good yet and my yarn is coming out a thick and thin approximately bulky weight, but I am still learning! At least the yarn is soft and brightly colored, and hopefully I can find something perfect to make with it! Give me time and I intend to create perfectly spun, beautiful yarn!

As for knitting, my Cassidy cardigan is progressing beautifully. The Miss Babs Yowza Whata Skein is gorgeous and soft and so far I just love it! I have completed the back and two fronts and am now working on the sleeves. I decided to use the sleeves as an opportunity to try a new technique. I am doing them two at a time magic loop. I have never tried this before, however, the concept of magic loop knitting seemed simple enough so I decided to give it a try. I have to say, for the first few rows I kinda hated it. It is hard to keep the cable twisting and looping the way you want it too until there are a few rows of knitting on the needles to help weigh it down. In the end though, it is worth it to me because now I can be absolutely sure that each sleeve is coming out exactly the same. After I finish the sleeves it is the home stretch with just blocking, sewing, button bands and the hood left to do. Wait, on second thought, that is actually a lot of work...that's ok, the end product will be worth it! Plus I am eye balling the Rocky Coast Cardigan from Coastal Knits and as more and more gorgeous projects pop up on Ravelry I am sure that I won't be able to wait too long to cast it on.

Speaking of Coastal Knits...go buy it now! I can't recommend it more, and nearly every pattern is going into my queue. It is a joint publication by Alana Dakos of Nevernotknitting and Hannah Fettig of Knitbot. Though they have very different styles, the coastal thread maintains cohesion throughout the book and the end product is ten beautiful patterns that flow together perfectly. Also, they have a story for each pattern which gives you an inside look at the creative process behind each design, making them even more appealing in my opinion. In addition to the Rocky Coast Cardigan, the Gnarled Oak Cardigan, the Cambrian Cowl and the Rustling Leaves Beret are all on my list! In short, check it out, and I am sure you won't be disappointed!

The final piece of news I have is that I have a new job! As of yesterday I am the newest employee of Jimmy Beans Wool, a fabulous yarn shop based in Reno, but with a large online business as well. I am so excited to be working there, and can't wait to get started next week. I attended a dinner Thursday night where I meet most of my new coworkers and they are a fabulous group of ladies! Although there is a part of me that is sad to be leaving archaeology behind, I think that I am going to be much happier with this job.

The Reno Celtic Celebration

Last weekend, Chris and I headed over to the annual Reno Celtic Celebration. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, having never been to anything like this before, so I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting and fun it was. We saw the opening ceremony which included two pipe bands, the Sierra Highlanders and the City of Sacramento Pipe Band. I know a lot of people don't like the bagpipes, but I really love the sound of the music they make. Plus, they have people who do cool drum stick twirling as part of the routine!

After that we headed over to the dance stage and saw some great traditional country dancing and Scottish Highland dancing. When I was in college I took an aerobics class to fill the sports/recreation credits that Carolina required. My instructor happened to be part of a highland dance team and she gave us several classes on the technique. Can I just say, it is REALLY difficult. You are on your toes the entire time, and each move includes a hop. It is very aerobic and requires incredible calf muscles all at the same time. It was an amazing workout, even though I was terrible at it (of course, I've never been much good at dancing)! Anyway, I have so much respect for the girls who can perform this type of dance.

While we were observing all of this, one thing I couldn't stop myself from doing was spotting all of the hand knit socks! Or, I suppose they would be called kilt hose, since most of them were worn by men in kilts. They must have some knitters in their life that really love them because some of them were crazy complicated! I saw some in the aran style, with cabled diamonds and seed stitch in the center. Also, another pair had lovely cables all over. Generally speaking, they all had complicated, but beautiful, cableing and they have made me want to knit a pair. If I am feeling ambitious, perhaps Rhiannon, by Cookie A. or Kilravock, by Sharon Rose which are a little less complicated but lovely!

And now, the highlight of my day. We were on our way out when we spotted some spinning wheels set up in an out of the way corner of the festival. Naturally, I made a bee line for them and that is where I found the Carson Sierra Spinners and Weavers. I spoke with several of the ladies, and I even got a quick spinning lesson! I have been thinking about getting into spinning for a while now. There is something so satisfying about creating a project from beginning to end, and I think my ultimate goal is going to be spinning enough yarn for a sweater, and then knitting it as well. After my short encounter, I am hooked on spinning and watch for future posts on how it is going!