Tag Archives: hand dyed

Pretty Poppies or Sunflowers?

Forward progress has been slow, but it is happening on the Pretty Poppies Socks. But they are now no longer poppies. Why? Mostly because the word Sunflower just looked so much better charted out as opposed to poppy or poppies. So here are what the socks look like currently:

More progress would have been made if I hadn’t ripped out the original heel. The first go ’round continued the Salt & Pepper pattern from the foot. But it was too tight and thick. The shaping was dumpy and I was unhappy. Heels are a pressure/rub point for nearly everyone and you have to get that part right or the socks stink to wear. So I switched to a two color garter. You can see it in this shot:

I’m still not happy with the heel, though. Not because the shaping is wonky this time around (Although the ssk row isn’t as straight as I’d like it to be due to the color changes. But that should block out.) This time I think the combination of the instep pattern, the gusset stripes and the striped heel are too overwhelming. There’s no where for the eye to rest. Luckily, you can work the entire heel in one color and end up in the same place you started from (Beginning of round, where the other working yarn strand is waiting.). So the next sock is going to have a plain green heel. That should clear things up substantially.

I will try to get more knitting done this evening….right after grocery shopping, present shopping, dinner and applying the first clear coat to my kitchen table legs. It’s going to be a busy night!

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Pretty Poppies Socks

I’m back from Sock Summit and sort of almost recovered from the insanity that is planning, working and cleaning up after a retail yarn show. It was great to meet lots of you at the Summit, and you know I always enjoy the yarn show – even if I don’t sleep for a month!

So I’m in just a bit of a holding pattern after the show, while I wait for a large order of base yarn to come in. After being in such a wonderfully chaotic, creative environment, it’s hard not to design something new. So currently on my needles I have my Pretty Poppies socks.

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

The idea is that the flower grows out of the toe, up the foot and finally blooms on the leg. Yarn is: Yarn Love’s Diana in Violet Vale (Background color: non repeating, medium saturated purple, semi solid) and Scarlett O’Hara in Ancient Forest (Accent color: non repeating, moderately saturated green, semi solid). The flower will of course be another color, but I haven’t quite decided what color I’ll choose. I’m leaning towards a new tri color that I dyed up for Sock Summit called Marigold. Notice the entire floral motif thing we’ve got going here?

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Sock blanks and other mayhem

Scarlett O Hara sock blankJust when I get a really good idea….someone else already has it! Oh, well. KnitPicks came out with their new sock blanks recently….just a few days after my Bond Knitting machine arrived for me to work out how to machine knit them for myself. The original plan was to offer these as a new product via Yarn Love….but now I’m going to have to seriously rethink that. I feel like such a copycat – but I wasn’t. I came up with the idea on my own before Knit Picks released their product. Sigh. The good news is that I can use my favorite sock yarns for my own blanks and they can’t. It’s not a total loss; I can always knit them for myself and me content with that!

New Couch – delivered to your door!

I ordered a couch off the internet. It came and I’m happy. There’s a company by the name of HomeReserve and they sell couches that you assemble. You get your choice of style and fabric, and it comes straight to your door where you put it together. The main reason we chose this company over more traditional furniture is that every single piece of fabric on the couch is washable.

If you don’t have children, this probably isn’t a big deal….but for those of you who have ever stared at a traditional piece of upholstery freshly covered in toddler vomit, you will understand the sheer genius of this couch. Better yet, if you have commitment issues, you can replace all the fabric and cushions with a new for $150 – 200 bucks. New look, low price!

They are surprisingly comfy despite the lack of springs. (There are three storage compartments under the seat cushions instead of springs.) The cushions are firmer than our previous, overstuffed couch, but the scale is much better for me. I can sit on the couch without having to prop a large throw pillow behind me. Yay new couch!

I am planning on dressing it up with some pretty throw pillows. Geisha Fans by Amy Butler in the olive colorway are on the radar…right after I finish sewing the girlies’ window treatments and the bra kits that I ordered….I have no idea when I’ll get them done.

Nick and Joe with the first piece

Jack and I with the cushions

Couch assembled

Finito!

 

 

Super Secret Project

Stripes over dyed skeinWell, I went and started a long term, super secret project. It involves yarn. It involves dye. It involves writing. We’ll see how I do. It’s a new venture and one with an uncertain outcome. But along the way there will be lots of yarn and photos and fun. I started it late in the week. Here’s one of the skeins that dyed for it. Over dyed stripes. I’ve been itching to knit it up, but I can’t. It must be saved for professional photography purposes. Sigh. Dyeing new yarn is so hard to resist.

More super secret stuff as I get it done…but not all of it, because then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?

Striped yarn ball

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Make grill while the sun shines

grilling in the snowI have to say that my patience is wearing thin. It may even be in tatters. This has been the longest, snowiest winter in memory. Last month alone we had nearly 4 times the normal amount of snowfall. Not 4 inches, 4 times – nearly quadruple! Ug! Over 20″ in a month. In all fairness, I do not live in a particularly snowy part of the world. I live in the part of the world where it’s 63 degrees at noon, starts raining 2 hours later, by 8 pm the temp has fallen to zero and the rain has turned to a layer of ice on the ground and snow from the sky. That was Sunday night. That three inches was the second snow fall of the week. I can’t remember if that was only the third or fourth day this winter that my sweet husband couldn’t get into work because the interstate was listed as 100% snow and ice covered with travel NOT advised.

 Well, I’ve had it. If spring is not coming to me, I am coming to it. You may think that picture is an ordinary picture of a snow covered grill, but I assure you it is not. See the thermometer? It clearly indicates that even though there is snow all around, I was out there preheating it for a spice rubbed pork tenderloin. It was sunny that day. I was pretty sure it was at least 45 degrees, because it was amazingly warmer than the previous 20 or so days. Nick drove up the driveway to see me standing out there in my crocs and a thin hoodie grilling dinner. Oh, yes, and he informed me that I was crazy outside with no coat or decent shoes when it was a mere 28 degrees. You know it’s been a cold winter when you mistakenly think it’s 20 degrees warmer than actual temp and fire up the grill in the snow. The tenderloin was lovely.

Brew In A Bag

Yesterday, the sewing machine made an appearance. I sewed myself a giant, mesh bag for all grain brewing….affectionately known as Brew In A Bag or BIAB. It’s big. Fits my 5 gallon stainless kettle and Brew in a bagwill hold all the grain for 3 gallon batches. It came together pretty well despite the fact that I do not own a serger and had to make due with my sewing machine which isn’t particularly in love with very sheer fabrics. It has a nice elasticized top and the seams are all double sewn: straight stitched and zigzaged for strength. The entire bag is double layered and I’m hoping that won’t inhibit the “sparge” process. (I.E. how fast it drains.) Yes, I am a beer geek.

 I have been knitting, but I don’t have any pictures. I’ve been knitting socks like there’s no tomorrow. I cast on a pair of striping Noro socks on Thursday, and Monday wore them (washed and blocked)!! Not bad for a think yarn knit on size 00 US Hiya Hiya Needles. I don’t have pictures of them though. Now they’re dirty, but perhaps I can still stick them on the blockers for a snapshot and pretend like they’re spiffy and clean. Noro really is addicting. These are the second socks I’ve knit from that yarn. Even though it’s not soft and not very elastic, I’ve found that it wears very well for me. And the colors are heart melting. It also lasts forever for me. Out of the first ball, I got one full pair of size 9 (women’s) socks. Then I used the remaining 50 grams for the two color Noro striping socks. Those were full sized and I still have 15 grams leftover. Not bad for $18.

I have now started on some Garden Path socks by Wendy Knits in Oceanwind Knits colorway Jardin. Jardin is a blush rose color with periwinkle and sage accents over dyed with grey. It came in a bit less pink than my monitor showed, but I like it. In the crappy incandescent lighting at night it looks like shades of tan and grey….kind of like a woodland mushroom. Very pretty. Most likely these will have to be put down in favor of finishing my secret pal mittens, but that’s alright.

New Colors

Here are my new colors for Spring 2008. I hope you enjoy them. They’ll be available at The Loopy Ewe in a couple weeks. I have about 1 lbs of yarn to re-skein, and then they’ll be labelled and shipped off! All are on our Scarlett O’Hara yarn.

 Awakening Earth: Acid green, murky blue, steel grey, charcoal.

Awakening Earth on Scarlett O'Hara

Warm Tulips: Deep scarlet, mango, coral, golden yellow, pale sunshine.

Warm Tulips on Scarlett O'Hara

Cottage Garden: Lilac, coral, blush pink, spring green.

Cottage Garden on Scarlett O'Hara

Mariner: Grey blue, olive drab, celedon, steel grey.

Mariner on Scarlett O'Hara

Early Crocus: Royal purple, lilac, blush pink, golden yellow, buttercream.

Early Crocus on Scarlett O'Hara

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Hi, I’m your designated dyer this evening.

Hand painted Yarn Love rovingI’ve been a busy girl lately. Lots of spinning in the evening going on. Spinning is so wonderfully relaxing, and zen-ish for me. It’s even better than knitting in the sense that it’s less complicated. It’s a wonderful craft to have when you’re still really busy in the post-Christmas rush. I’ve been spinning so much that I’m out spinning my ability to knit. That might not be that hard for some spinners, but I’m pretty slow. That and I’m spinning two ply fingering weight, so that’s some serious singles yardage. Not nearly as much as a Navajo plied fingering weight, but still pretty good.

 I’ve also been dyeing up some roving…..which I’m then spinning and plying. I’m hoping that the roving Cherub - roving from Yarn Lovewill go out as samples to our retailers and can be another Yarn Love goody that easily found. Roving has always been in my thoughts for Yarn Love (Notice how our tag line says “fibers” and not “yarn”.) but until recently, our retailers have not carried roving as a product. So I’m busy dyeing up a variety of rovings, and then spinning them up so that I can wow the vendors with a cute package of roving samples and accompanying hand spun yarn. I think that will offer them a good way to visualize how the fiber spins up, and what they can expect from the yarn, post spin.

 India Spice singles on my Jensen bobbinMy main wheel is a Jensen Tina II. She’s my first wheel, and I just can’t get past how wonderfully she spins. I’ve had her since I was a sophomore in High School. I sold my French horn and worked many hours at the local McDonald’s to save money for her. Then my dad taught me how to stain, and I stained and finished the cherry wood myself. I feel a deep sense of personal connection to this weel. There’s something so rewarding about saving up for a beautiful tool that you can invest yourself in and reap many years worth of satisfaction from. Plus, she’s amazingly beautiful. What I consider a kind of fairy tale wheel. I know the more ornate style isn’t appreciated by everyone, but I love her just the way she is. Plus, now that the original wheel maker has retired, she’s probably gone up in value…..not that I could get rid of her in the foreseeable future…

India Spice roving from Yarn Love Up for your perusal: Amy March roving in (brand spanking new!) colorways of India Spice and Cherub. The India Spice might have to be renamed before going into the catalog to better reflect the romantic nature of the company, but that’s what the singles reminded me as I spun them. You can see the difference in color blending between the original roving and the singles. The singles all seem to be steeped in tea – deep, rich colors with a sepia tone to them. I haven’t spun up the Cherub, but that’s definitely next.

Amy March is a medium-fine wool fiber with a great staple length. A great choice for a  newer spinner and certainly a very rewarded spin for a more advance spinner. She’s super-wash treated, so easy care is an added bonus.Spring Morning hand spun yarn

The yarn cake and sock is Spring Morning, super-wash merino spun up into a light sport weight sock yarn. It was originally intended to be fingering weight, but the fiber is so fluffy that it really increased in size when I plied it. I might actually have to take this sock out and redo it, as it’s a bit stiff. Plus, the toe yarn has some very pink parts to it, and that’s what I intended to have for the contrast instead of a marled pink/burgundy. It’s not exciting me. What’s a few hours of knitting frogged between friends, anyway.

 More pictures soon. I have a pair of Valentine’s themed socks to show you, knit from hand-spun but they’re still wet and currently un-photogenic.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thrummed MittenI’m late. I actually did have another blog post nearly ready before we left on Wednesday….until my 3 year old grabbed the mouse and erased it as I was typing. Fortunately, Word-Press has this feature where your post is automatically saved. Unfortunately, it re-saved about 15 seconds after she had erased it, but before I could figure out how to restore the post. Therefore the new, saved post had nothing in it. It was a great waste of 30 minutes. Lovely.

 We had a nice Thanksgiving. This was our year to travel to visit Nick’s parents. We trade off holidays. Thanksgiving last year was at my parents (who live 5 miles away) and so Christmas was spent with Nick’s family. This year we’ll be here for Christmas, and we were there for Thanksgiving. It was a nice visit, despite the fact that it means 20-22 hours in the car with three toddlers by the time we drive there and back. All I can say is thank God for portable DVD players. at 8 hours + our kids get a little cranky!

I knit all the way there and back (when I wasn’t driving). You would think that 10 hours of uninterrupted Gobble Sockknitting tie would be enough to knit an entire sweater. Or at least something big. Something substantial. Something amazing. As it turns out between hopping over the seat to attend to the kids, rest stops and generally chatting it up with Nick, all that car time did not translate into something amazing, something substantial, or even a sweater. I did finish up a pair of Fetching. They’ve been languishing in a drawer around here for two years. Yes, they were 90% finished, but got put down for something else, and it took me 2 years to get back to finishing up the last set of cables and thumb. I think part of the problem was that they were well hidden. They are Fetching and really nice. It was cold in the Rockies, and these babies were warm and handy. I knit them from either KnitPicks’ Ambrosia or Elegance. I’m pretty sure it’s the Ambrosia, but they no longer carry the very light grey color I knit them up in. That’s what I get for storing a project with no ball band for two years. They’re not nearly as thick as I’m sure the original Aran weight ones are, but they are plenty warm with all that alpaca and cashmere. Yum!

Gobble Sock Top DetailI also finished up the first sock of a pattern I created out of some Gobble yarn from The Painted Tiger. The pattern is my own and very simple. Toe up socks, with yarn held double for the short row toe and heel (I hate that these areas wear out so quickly. Plus, I generally wear loose fitting shoes during the winter like Birkenstock clogs and Croc Mary Janes, so this works pretty well.), with and offset cable running up the outside of the foot and ankle. The pattern was created on the fly, and really is pretty. It’s also very uncomplicated, which means it works up fast, and I think the single, side placed cable creates great impact. The down side is that with the cable placement, you essentially have mis-matched socks, so you’ll have to watch it when you put them on, so you get the right sock on the right foot. Hopefully, I’ll be up for this when I’m choosing my socks early in the morning.

Oh, and I also took along my Hum Drum mittens, but opted not to work on them. I need to cast on for the Mushroom Color Detailsecond mitten, and since that involves a lot of necessary attention I’m waiting until this week. They should come together pretty quickly. I love the first one, it’s all complete, except for the thumb. I have to decide whether or not to thrum the thumb. I’m thinking I won’t because that will make it so snug-fitting. But I’m worried because it might not look right. I can always try it without and then change my mind. It’s only a thumb!

 More later. I have great photos from the brewery and also from my good friend and photographer (Think Christmas card fodder!) but I don’t want to make this post overly long. I’m already late posting mitten progress, so the knitting photos need to go up now!

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Brand New, Shiny Blog

I’ve been meaning to start a personal blog forever. So here it is. I’m starting this one up especially for my No More HumDrum Mittens exchange pal. That way I won’t need to post my questionaire to the Yarn Love blog. If you just so happen to me my Mitten Pal, then you can check me out over at www.bungalowmum.blogspot.com. It’s more related to my yarn business, but there’s lots of info about me there as it’s been around significantly longer. Yay!

No More HumDrum Mittens Exchange Questionnaire

 Btw, I really like the name of this swap! It’s great!

How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? My mom taught me how to knit and purl as a child. However, I disliked it and only took it up again when I was pregnant with our first babies. That was a little over 4 years ago. I’ve knit constantly since then, and now I have a yarn dyeing business.

Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I’m somewhere between intermediate and advanced. I still feel like there are a lot of techniques out there that I’d like to try, but I have quite a few under my belt.

What are your favorite colors? Any you dislike? Well, I really don’t have a favorite color. However, my winter coat is bright fuchsia. I mean, this sucker is really bright. It’s a knee length down coat that is bright fuchsia. So if my pal would include perhaps an accent of fuchsia in the mittens, that would be awesome! I’m considering knitting my hat with a main color of chocolate brown or black and an accent of fuchsia to match. I really do adore color, and don’t be afraid of bright.

Do you like Latvian type patterns? If so, what are your favorite patterns? I do love Latvian type patterns, here are some that I found that I like. (I’m open to more patterns, too.)  http://www.liis.lv/cimdi/frame1.htm 

http://www.liis.lv/cimdi/frame1.htm 

http://www.liis.lv/cimdi/frame1.htm 

http://www.liis.lv/cimdi/frame1.htm 

Do you desire mittens for yourself, your “special someone else” or your child? For me!

What other things do you enjoy knitting? Socks and sweaters, hats and mittens. I’m up for about anything, really.

What sort of needles do you enjoy working with? (straights vs circs, bamboo vs aluminum) I’m a die hard nickel plated circular needle girl. I have a complete options set, a bunch of Addi turbos, and now just a few Harmony needles. I love the pretty colors of the Harmony needles, although they do slow me up a bit.

What’s one project you’ve not yet tried but are dying to make? Felted clogs. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

What’s one yarn you’ve not yet tried but are dying to work with? Cashmere…and most other indie dyers. I love indie dyed yarns. I did just purchase some Alpaca Sox yarn which I’m really very curious about, but I haven’t had time to cast on, yet.

What other hobbies do you have? Do you spin? Sew? Garden? Cook? I love to cook, I do sew, but not nearly as much as I used to. I spin fairly frequently, and I own two spinning wheels. The vast majority of my time is spent watching my kids, dyeing yarn, and knitting.

Besides yarn, do you collect anything? Not really….unless you count dessert. But I really don’t collect that, I consume it.

What kind of goodies do you enjoy? Sweets? Salty? Anything you hate or are allergic to? I love sweets like no other. Especially chocolate. I don’t have any food allergies, but I don’t prefer most fish or shellfish. But I doubt you’d mail me fish, anyway.

Do you have any kids? Pets? I have three toddlers. My oldest are three year old twins (both girls) and we also have a son who’s nearly 2 years old.

What is your favorite part of Winter? Snow! I love snow. I love how pretty it looks and building snowmen and sledding. I even like to shovel.

What is your least favorite part of Winter? How cold it gets here. -20 is not uncommon. Plus, I live at the edge of town and the wind sucks. I also hate trudging to the mailbox through the snow. It’s cold and it makes a mess in my house….but pretty yarn comes in the mail…and i love how the snow looks on the ground. I guess I’m picky.

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