Hand Dyed Fibers – Brights

Last week I competed four new hand dyed rovings. I love them all and secretly halfway want to spin them all myself. But, I’ve decided to list them in my Etsy shop and share the fun.  As you see, I was having a brightly colored kind of week.

Here’s Acid Spring.

Acid Spring

This makes me think of a Tropical Getaway.

Tropical Getaway

Here is a tribute to Semi-Precious gemstones.

IMG_1530

I also made a roving I called Citrus Explosion.

Citrus Explosion

I also finished two skeins of worsted weight 100% wool yarn.  The colorway is Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas

Soon I’ll be taking a short trip to Western Michigan where the hydrangeas will be sensational. They’re one of my favorite things about summer on the Great Lakes. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for other color ideas while there – watch for more nature inspired colorways in the near future.

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Friday Finds – June 14, 2013

This week I made two Etsy treasuries that I’d like to share. I also have one other item that I think is very cute and I’ll show you that too!

It’s strawberry time here in Central Indiana, in honor of that I made an Etsy treasury called Strawberry Festival which features strawberry items.  Be sure to check out the strawberry beret, which is not in this image, you’ll have to click on the link to see it.

Strawberry Festival

I also found a lot of really vibrant rovings, locks, and batts that would be tremendous fun to play with. That treasury is called Beautiful Brights for Hand Spinners.

Beautiful Brights For Hand Spinners

The last item I wanted to share is a hand made felted sheep cuddly toy from AimeesHomestead.  I would love to buy one of these for myself!  Aimee says he’s lonely and needs a loving home.

rainbow sheep

See you next week.

Spring Knitting, Part 2

People ask me how they can wear hand knit accessories in the spring and summer.  Here are some examples that I think work well.

This frothy lime shawl is knit in 100% pima cotton, so it’s light, soft, airy – just right for cool summer evenings or chilly movies.  It’s an asymmetrical triangle, so it’s a bit unusual, not like anything commercially produced, perfect if you like to be just a bit different. 

Lime Shawl
Lime Shawl

Lime not your thing?  How about coral?  This is a rectangular scarf,  it makes an excellent sarong.  It’s cotton, so it dries in a flash.

Coral Rectangular Shawl
Coral Rectangular Scarf

Perhaps cooler colors are more to your taste?  Noro Nobori knits up into a gorgeous blue and purple rectangular scarf.

Noro Nobori Fishnet Shawl
Noro Nobori Fishnet Shawl/Scarf

Looking for a gift?  Finding it tricky to buy colors for someone else?  Teal looks great on almost everyone, and this 100% cotton is soft, fluffy and generally fabulous.  This is another one of those rectangular scarves that you can wear in several different ways. Doesn’t it look great with the seahorse shawl pin?

Teal Rectangular Scarf
Teal Rectangular Scarf

Spring Knitting, Part 3 will be coming soon.  We just keep creating the beautiful stuff!

Spinning Once Again

I went to a spinning mini-class last weekend at my local favorite crackhouse for fiber addicts spinning shop, The Trading Posts for Fiber Arts. The teacher, spinning/knitting/yarn queen, Kate Larson, got me spinning again, and she gave me helpful personalized instruction on using my Ashford Traveller spinning wheel.   She helped me change my drive band (well, she did it and I watched carefully), showed me how to tighten things up, helped me oil all the right spots and generally just made me a lot more comfortable with my wheel. I spun up some pretty, muted yarn (a very small skein measuring about 69 yards), bought some dyed merino top in a gorgeous deep blue and purple colorway and just had a fabulous time.

The ladies present were quite amusing conversationalists.  Subjects ranged from Abraham Lincoln’s probable Marfan’s Syndrome to traditional Norwegian socks.  Apparently, these socks have a very colorful cuff, then a toothed pattern underneath that, and the rest of the sock (the foot) is white.  This is so any man other than your husband sees only the “teeth” at the bottom of your (long) dress.  Witty stuff.  We all laughed at that.

Eventually I wandered upstairs to the yarn sale area, and came away with lots of skeins of Cascade Eco Duo, my current favorite yarn in the world.  Watch for lots of pretty shawls, scarfs, and maybe an entrelac out of those. All in all, a very educational, entertaining and productive day. And then yesterday, I got out my wheel again.  First I plied some singles I had.  What do you think?  This colorway was called Birch.  I love the little gray parts, it really does remind me birch trees in summer.  I’ll be keeping this yarn for my greedy little self.

Birch yarn

And I found two other little single sections.  Here is one, shown with the Birch plied yarn.  I clearly have a thing for green and purple.

Purple-y Single

After that I spun 2 delicious singles in the new rich blue/purple colorway.  Just need to ply them, and then they will be available for purchase in the Etsy store.  Watch for pictures of that yarn soon.

All in all, I’d say I’m back on track with spinning.  I do find it difficult to take it up again after I haven’t used my wheel for a long time.  Not sure why, maybe just because I’m not a terribly experienced spinner and it’s kind of technical.  Need to remember my advice from my last post about practice making things easier.

I’m wondering what to do with small left over singles.  I’d love to hear what ideas other spinners have about those.  Please help a fellow spinner out and share in the comments.

Winter Grapes and Making Choices

I just finished a new hand spun yarn.  It makes me think of fat and juicy red, purple and green grapes!

Grapes Hand Spun Yarn

I’m really pleased with it.  It was very difficult for me to decide how to spin it.  I was torn between long color changes (think Noro!), or something more barber pole-y.  Barber pole won, as you see.  I just love the bright contrasts I get with this type of yarn.  It’s a very traditional “hand spun” look.

I spun this on my Ashford Traveller and I really loved working with these colors once I finally made a choice on how to do it.

I have a bit of a problem making choices.  It’s quite difficult for me to choose one thing from a long list of options.  It’s hard for me to let go of all the other possibilities, and that’s what has to happen when I choose one thing.

I used to have a very, very hard time in restaurants with huge menus.  It’s much easier now since I just look at the vegan friendly choices.  And, in Indiana, it’s usually a very limited number of items on any menu – so that makes it much easier for me.

I find I rarely eat out anymore; I used to love to dine out, but it isn’t the same now, I sit there looking at the menu thinking “I can make nicer things much more cheaply (and pretty easily) at home”.  So, I’ve found that we just don’t go out very often now.

However, if I lived in a city with lots of fabulous vegan eateries, I’d be at a restaurant all the time!

So, the grape yarn is in my Etsy shop already.  Go take a look if you want to see a few more pictures of it.  It really is luscious!

Let me know how you like it.

Journey to Fair Isle Begins

I’ve had my Fair Isle knitting lesson and I really want to thank my teacher, Wendy. She found my lack of patience amusing (she said I was “funny”, I hope that wasn’t code for “annoying”).  That is a good wake up call for me – I tend to be quite impatient.  Many people have said to me “I couldn’t knit, I don’t have the patience”.  I typically respond  “Knitting helps to increase my patience”.  Clearly, I have a way to go in this area!

I am ready to take the plunge into Fair Isle, and I’ve chosen my first pattern. It’s going to be Temple Cats , designed by Suzanne Frary, knit in Knitpicks City Tweed DK.  I’ve loved this pattern since I first set eyes on it, at least a year ago.

Photo Credit Susanne Frary
Photo Credit Susanne Frary

For the background I’ve chosen Kitten, described as having soft hints of camel, ecru, light wheat and cream, and the kitties will be a watery blue. I have one lonely ball of Poseidon, a discontinued color, that’s been knocking around my stash for a few years (leftover from a sweater). It’s time has come!

I really love this yarn, it’s super soft and very beautiful.  It’s 55% merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca, and 20% donegal tweed.

Why this pattern, you may ask?  Well – I love kitties, of course.  It’s relatively simple, and I think a DK weight yarn might be slightly easier to work with than fingering weight for a beginner like me.  I’ve knit some hats, socks and mitts already, so now will be adding the colorwork as the only really new technique.

Going to push the order button tonight on the yarn and pattern.  Watch this space for progress.

New Mexico Shawl

I finished the turquoise and orange shawl and it’s now available in the Etsy shop. It reminds me of the desert southwest, New Mexico in particular.  As I was knitting it in public (at Panera, waiting rooms, etc.), a lot of people commented on the great colors, and mentioned New Mexico.  It was a favorite of the public!

I’m very happy with the colors (which will look great on almost anyone), the drape, the texture and the shape of this shawl.  It’s a winner, and I’m sure I’ll knit this pattern again very soon.  I have some KnitPicks Chroma that I plan to use on version 3 of this pattern.  You may remember version 1 was Noro Silver Thaw.

I almost hope no one buys this, as I wouldn’t mind at all if I get to keep it.  I seem to say that about a lot of my finished items!