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I’ve moved!

Into a brand new, very pretty blog! That’s where I’ll be updating from now on. Don’t worry, I’ve moved all my old content.

Join me! www.dyeingtoknit.com

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Pretties Coming Soon!

You probably have noticed that this blog has been sorely neglected for 3/4 of year. That is about to change. Spurred on by the creativity of the Designer 101 class (taught by the excellent Shannon Okey) I’m giving the blog a complete overhaul and committing to adding regular content.

The overhaul won’t change the focus of the blog much, but will upgrade the look of it. I like pretty spaces, and I’m assuming you do, too. The new design will spruce things up around here and give us a cozy nook to chat in.

One Stop Pattern Shopping

I will be adding more information on my knitting patterns. Dyeing to Knit will be a “one stop shop” where you can find all my designs, regardless of where they’re sold. You’ll also be catching sneak peeks of my self-published patterns while they’re in progress. If you like to be he first to know the latest and greatest, stay tuned.

I have linked all my designs under the Patterns tab at the top of the page.  If you scroll to the bottom, there’s even a free sock pattern. (You’ll need to be a member of Ravelry.com to download. But go ahead, it’s a great knit/crochet/weaving site and it’s free.) Get it while you can – it will only be free for a limited time!

Timely Updates

I’ll also be writing mini-posts notifying you when new yarn and patterns become available. That way you’ll know exactly what yarn is available from which retailer. That should make getting the perfect yarn you’ve been waiting for easier to get.

Want updates emailed to you? Sign up for our newsletter: enter your email into the newsletter field. (Bottom right corner of our home page.) We will never sell your information, and you can change your subscription settings any time you wish.

We’ll be talking soon!

~katie

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Product development & Christmas

E & G's Christmas Tunics - michael miller's Yule Christmas & Dots
E & G’s Christmas Tunics – michael miller’s Yule Christmas & Dots

Snow

It’s really early here. Hubby got up before 6 am to go into work before we get a monster snow storm. The idea is that he go in early and then come home later this morning, safely, before the snow really starts to fly. We’ll see how it goes. The commute is the downside to living in a quaint, small town 30 miles away from downtown… This will be our 7th snow since the beginning of November & in case your child burned your calendar and you’ve been  living under a rock, it’s mid December.

 

Yarn that stripes like Noro

Besides the usual Christmas busyness and familial obligations, I’ve decided that *now* is the best Blanks knit in the new dyeing style!time to pursue new product development. Nothing beats holiday stress like a huge amount of work that may or may not pan out. In my defense, I started working on this project 2 months ago. I need to contract out some very specific, custom fiber work in order to make this venture successful. I found one contractor on the West coast and proceeded to ship yarn with them so they could get a sample worked up and firm pricing. It took 3 weeks for them to acknowledge receipt of the yarn. Then 2 1/2 more to work up a sample. We are currently sitting at 4+ weeks that they’ve had the sample but won’t ship it.

On second thought, I’ll think I’ll skip hiring you.

So the search has continued. I’ve found others who will work, but of course, they are booked up solidly through Christmas. My poor retailer will have been waiting three months before the product is even in production. In the meantime, I’ve been making not-quite-perfect samples for myself and limping through the new dyeing technique. Hopefully, this will come together in a big  ball of beautiful symmetry after Christmas.

Home Improvement

The office is finally usable! We moved the computer desk back down here the weekend before last…so we could put the Christmas tree up in the living room. Since we have been working every available weekend since the end of June, it feels like a *huge* accomplishment. And it’s pretty. Seriously pretty. We have a deep chocolate accent wall, and the other three are painted a warm, harvest gold. The ceiling is finally “real”, instead of an ugly & way too low suspended number. The best part about it, is we have two additional full sized closets in here – completely fitted out with shelves, organizers and crates. Yes!

Things I want

Now onto a random list of things I want & you probably do, too.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Club – it’s taking all my restraint not to sign up.

Mystic Monk Coffee – amazing & fresh roasted. I have the two big, two small pack coming my way.

Twisted Fiber Arts – I love her work & collect it. It’s so beautiful!

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My house smells like spiced pumpkin scones!

Wow. It’s been a while since I blogged, eh? I’ve always had this problem with journaling. If I get out of the habit, it’s months before I get back to it. I must not be very committed to writing down my thoughts.

It was a busy summer. It was an even busier fall. Let’s not even get into what the Thanksgiving and Christmas season are shaping up to be.

Most recently, I returned from Stitches East in Baltimore. Sharon and I were both there with Yarn Love and Three Irish Girls. Our  booth looked beautiful….but I don’t have photos. The camera unfortunately, suffered an injury on the plane which caused LCD screen to die. Technically, you can still take photographs via the viewfinder, but you can’t make adjustments to any settings because those options are always displayed on the screen. It makes for Zen Photography (i.e. Crappy Photos!). Oh well. We are getting a new camera next week. One that’s well rated….and actually inexpensive for the sheer number of favorable reviews about it.

Now, I’m working on getting the above sweater pattern ready for public consumption…including technical editing, photography, and layout. This is all new to me, since my only other published pattern was very simple and edited by the kind people over at Knitty.

Here are few pictures of things I knit over the summer to keep you going until the next time I actually blog:

Boo Socks in Twinkling Pink & Fresh Celery:

NeverMore Socks in Bump in The Night:

Netherfield Hand Knit Socks in Netherfield (Dutchess Dk yarn):

Sensational Colorwork Socks in Cove and Fresh Celery:

(These were by far the most popular sample I took to Stitches!)

Revenge of the Mummies Socks in Robin Hood and Delicate Aquamarine:

That’s not everything, but it’s all I’m going to post right now. Enjoy until another bout of motivation takes hold and I post more!

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Embroidered Owl Lacing Card Tutorial

My four year old lacing

My four year old lacing

My twins (according to the Montessori method of education) are in a sensitive period for learning hand crafts – sewing, knitting, etc. I’ve noticed this, too. If I happen to knit during the day, which doesn’t happen often, I will have at least one of the girls sitting in my lap with their hands under mine on the needles. They also love the lacing cards my mom has at her house. However, I was disappointed that all the lacing cards I found available online were made from cardboard. Yes, I understand that cardboard is stiff and sturdy but generally speaking, people don’t sew cardboard. So I made my own lacing cards. Constructed from inexpensive craft felt, they have the feel of actual fabric, but are stiff enough for small hands to use. Plus, I think they’re darn cute.

Materials:

  • Three colors of craft felt. I picked up a variety of colors 5 for $1 at JoAnns. It’s the recycled poly felt.
  • Heat in Bond – heavy weight to fuse your pieces together
  • Embroidery thread – your choice of colors – for the embroidered accents
  • Eyelet tool – for cutting and setting eyelets
  • Fray Check
  • Metal eyelets to insert (optional)
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacing (optional)

 

Step One – make your pattern pieces

Cut your pieces. I use the pictured template from the book Doodle Stitching. I’m not going to give away that exact pattern, but I’ll help you draw your own. It’s a simple shape. Feel free to freestyle it. Below, I’ll give you more specific instructions.

If you have a printer, simply save this scanned image and print it at the appropriate size (The owl body should be about 5 1/2″ tall and the chest accent should be about 3 1/8″ tall.) These are patterns that I designed myself and I don’t mind if you print them for your own use. Skip all the foofarah for the pattern drafting below and proceed to cutting and sewing!

Owl Outline

Using a straight edge (I used my grocery list note pad!) draw a central line – at least 4 1/2″ long.

At the bottom, draw a straight line at a 90 degree angle to the first, at least 3 1/2″ long.

Step One

Measure the central line where it intersects the bottom line and make a hash mark at 4 1/2″. Measure the bottom line 1 3/4″ out from the central line and make hash marks to the right and left.

 

Step Two

Step Two

Using your notepad, draw a straight line across the top, at the top hash marks. (Also 90 degrees from the central line – it should be parallel to the bottom line.) Measure 1 1/4″ from the central line and make hash marks to the right and left.

Step Three

Step Three

Measure 1/2″ from these hash marks and make another. These two hash marks indicate the width of the ears.

Centered between the two outer hash marks on the top line, measure up 1 ” and make a hash mark on each side. (This will be the top of the ears.)

Step Four

Step Four

Now that you have your guidelines, its time to freestyle your curves. Draw a curved line between the two inner marks along the top line. Draw a similar curved line between the two hash marks on the bottom line.

Step Five

Step Five

Starting from the upper curve, draw the ears on either side.

Step Six

Step Six

 

 

Join the ears to the bottom of the body by drawing a gentle curve. Don’t worry about matching things exactly.

Step Seven

Step Seven

Fold along the center line & cut along the side that you like best.

 

Step Eight
Step Eight
Step Nine

Step Nine

Chest Accent

Draw a straight line, mark the top and bottom at 3 1/8″ tall.

Step One
Step One

Draw a straight line across the bottom hash mark. (I used a note pad to get a 90 degree angle and straight line.) Mark hash marks so that the line is 1 1/2″, centered on the first line. There should be 3/4″ on either side of the tall line.

Step Two

Step Two

In the top 1/3 of the central line, measure out 1 1/8″ and make a hash line. In the bottom 1/3 of the central line, measure out 1 1/4″ and make a hash line. These are simply a guide for the outside curves of the eyes and chest.

Step Three

Step Three

Starting from the bottom line hash mark (see pink star) measure up 2″ and make a hash mark. This is a guide to indicate the bottom curve of the eye.

Step Four

Step Four

You want the inside of this hash mark to end 3/4″ from the central line. See pink stars.

Step Five

Step Five

Now, following the guide markings, draw your upper curve and lower curve. Use the hash marks as a guide, and feel free to make adjustments to suit your personal taste.

Step Six

Step Six

Fold along central line. Cut the pattern out.

Step Seven

Step Seven

 

 

Cut Your Pieces

Cut a square of Heat N Bond approximately 5 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ – make sure it covers your owl outline piece.

Layer the black, Heat N Bond and gold craft felt. Either pin on the Own Outline pattern, or trace it onto your felt. Cut all three layers using sharp scissors simultaneously. This way your pieces will be identical. You can opt to cut them individually, but this can allow the Heat N Bond to peek out and smudge your iron and you will need to trim the edges when you’re done.

Cut one accent from aqua.

* If you’re using fusible interfacing for an extra stiff card, cut two Owl Outlines now.

Felt Pieces, labelled

Felt Pieces, labelled

 

Embroider Your Chest Accent

Using the colors of your choice, back stitch the (gold) branches at the base of your Chest Accent. I free styled this, and it’s not really worth tracing a pattern.

Add the (purple) french knots.

Satin stitch the diamond shaped nose (purple).

Position the Chest Accent piece on the gold Owl Outline. Be sure to leave at least 1/2″ of gold showing on all sides of the accent. Using the color of your choice (light pink) outline stitch the chest accent to the gold owl outline piece.

Embroidery Inspiration
Embroidery Inspiration
My actual embroidery

My actual embroidery

Fuse Your Pieces

Warm up your iron to the Medium setting.

* If you’re using fusible interfacing, fuse one piece to the wrong side of each Owl Outline now.

Layer the gold Outline piece and your Heat N Bond together. Make sure the Heat N Bond is on the wrong side of your Gold Owl (The side with your embroidery knots.) and that the paper side of the Heat N Bond is to the outside. The rough side, which is the glue, should be against the gold outline. Using a pressing cloth (old t-shirt or kitchen towel over your work.) Press the iron down and hold for about 30 seconds. Check to see if the Heat N Bond has fused, repeat as necessary. Allow the piece to cool.

Starting from a corner, peel off the paper backing of the Heat N Bond.

Position the black Owl Outline, sparkles out on top. Fuse together using your pressing cloth.

Allow to cool and stiffen.

Eyelets

Using the largest eyelet cutter (Mine was 4 mm), a cutting board and a hammer, pound eyelets evenly around the outside of the shape. Allow at least 1/4″ of felt between the eyelet and the edge to make a sturdy lacing card. My owl has 28 holes.

Use fray check to stiffen the inside of each eyelet and allow to dry.

Install metal eyelets according to the manufacturer’s directions if you like.

My eyelet tool

My eyelet tool

Teach a little one to sew!

Thread a plastic yarn needle with a smooth, thin yarn and teach a little one to sew. (Feel free to use a shoelace with sturdy ends for smaller children.)  With a little patience and some assistance my four year old twins are enjoying their lacing card.

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The bad thing about summer is….

Gradient dyed Swirl socks on Yarn Love\'s Scarlett O\'HaraIt’s too freaking hot to wear socks. At least where I live. I’m sure all you gentle readers in Alaska and Iceland would disagree….but in Iowa, the summers are just too hot to warrant socks. Sure, I could bypass convention and comfort and wear them anyway, but then I would not only look stupid with them on, but would acquire a farmer’s tan (A farmer’s tan is when you have obvious and awkward tan lines.) from the ankle down. Not a good idea.  Summer is wonderful for knitting socks and this leads to a dilemma. Do you keep knitting socks during the summer and stockpile for cold weather – ignoring the building resentment of not being able to wear a fresh hand knit? Or do you take up knitting tank-tops and other summer friendly apparel which you can immediately put on, once it’s cast-off, despite the increase in overall project size. (I.E. – you will have a lap blanket of a knitting project for anything larger than a pair of socks or gloves….) I don’t know the answer. Perhaps you do…. or maybe it’s one of the deep mysteries of the universe. At any rate, I’m knitting socks. I have been knitting socks all year long and will probably continue to knit them. They’re easy, I can ad lib patterns on the fly and they’re wonderful for that intoxicating and addictive feeling of instant gratification.

The latest and greatest pair to fly off my needles are some nice Swirl Socks in Scarlett O’Hara, gradient dyed Detail of the color shift within the gradienton a sock blank. I originally intended these babies to have five large bands of color, but I made the bands too large. Usually I only use 2/3 of a 4 ounce skein of yarn, and hence these really only have 2 1/2 color repeats in them. Lesson learned – shorter bands for more color change. Another bummer, the first color change occurred while I was working the short row heel. The heel looks awesome, slowly fading from light green into the darker, but at the ankle there is a sharp color break as the light ends and the dark takes over. I’m not sure there’s really any way to plan around that without doing an inserted heel. But farther up on the ankle, the color shift from green to blue is subtle and fun and lovely.

I want to wear them, but I’m resisting. It’s a good thing that my new summer Birkenstocks have a toe post that prevents me from wearing them with socks, or I’d look like a total nerd running around in socks and sandals in the 90 degree heat and 85% humidity.

Mariner on Marianne Dashwood - diagnal stripesI liked the first pair of Swirl Socks so well, that I’m now knitting a second pair from another dyed blank. This time, it’s diagonally painted stripes in the Mariner colorway on Marianne Dashwood yarn. Marianne is a 100% super-wash merino, sport weight yarn with lots of spring. I love knitting with her. She wears pretty darn well, too….although I do recommend a sweater shaver every 3-4 washings. (Or just turn these babies inside out when you wash and forget the sweater shaver.) The color mixing is coming along really well at this point….although I must confess I’m only a couple inches into the socks. I’ll keep you posted.

There are a couple adjustments that I need to make to this colorway to compensate for the differences between dyeing blanks and a skein of yarn. The contrast between the celedon and the drab is not as sharp as I’d like it to be, and I might need to increase the color concentration to achieve the very saturated tones more easily attained when dyeing skeins. Now, if I could just find someone to knit me up some yarn blanks at a reasonable price!

Lastly, I’ve been working on new colors for the fall. More specifically, semi-solid colorways that match current multi-color colorways in the Yarn Love collection. I’m starting with the most ordered colors and branching out from there. Here’s a sneak peek at three of the skeins. From top to bottom these will match Valentine, Mariner and Awakening Earth. What do you think?

Possble semi-solid additions to the Yarn Love line

 

 

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Happiness is:

The love of my life being home. Sigh. He made it. They only watched the river for an hour and a half and he made it in before midnight. Not much before midnight, but still before. Of course, they had scheduled him for meetings this morning while he was out, so he got up and went into work. Double sigh. At least his pillow smells like him again.

I am so tired. I don’t sleep well while he’s gone. In fact, I avoid going to bed. The first night I was laying on my stomach on the couch at midnight reading Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day. I fell asleep face first in the hardbound book and woke up two hours with a screaming neck ache. That was pleasant.

The next night I opted for a pillow, the couch, and the latest Persuasion. That was better. I’m still tired. Probably a combination of keeping the kids clean, fed and happy, as well as running the household.

I did some knitting while he was out, but don’t have much to show for it. A pair of overly green socks knit from a gradient dyed knitted blank. I’ll have to shorten the color repeats. They’re too long. So I’m going to end up with a pair of mostly green swirl socks. Sigh. Oh, well. I guess that’s what experimenting is for. Figuring things out!

Maybe I’ll go to bed early tonight. Then I can write perkier blog entries where I feel more like myself…. I sure hope my coffee beans come today. I’m embarking on a new adventure of roasting green coffee beans at home. My ridiculously cheap popcorn popper came in the mail on Saturday and the beans should be here today. So if you’re around the Midwest and see some crazy, pink haired lady, looking slightly dazed while smoking coffee beans in a popcorn popper on her back deck, don’t worry. It’s just me! (If you want a decent popcorn popper, don’t buy this one. I hear it’s horrible for popcorn. But since coffee roasting voids the warranty I wanted the el cheapo one. Funnily enough, if you search popper reviews via Amazon, this one has several good recommendations for coffee roasting and ALL bad for popping popcorn.)

If you’re wondering what going to bed early tonight has to do with coffee and feeling myself…well I was simply reflecting that I’d probably feel more energetic and cheerier with a little coffee in me…and hence the comments about awaiting mail order coffee beans!

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