Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My last post at this blog address

I want to bid a fond farewell to this blogspace. I am still in blog land, but am making a move. I have news about my spinning, the shop and other exciting tidbits over at the new location. Please come over and say hello! See you soon!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Etsy and more official news

I have officially opened my etsy shop!!!!!!!! So far, I just have my hand dyed yarns listed, but I have some fiber batts ready to go up there as well. I just got my new digital scale today so I can accurately advertise these now. Hooray! Please stop by and let me know what you think! Isn't it exciting?! I would also like to make another "official" move and announce to the world that my Marm and I are opening a yarn/spinning/knitting shop in late April/early May. We are so thrilled to have this opportunity and since we both have a blog, we want to write about store stuff too. We have decided to merge the three into one big coop blog for her, for me, and for shop goodies! I will post here a few more times, since we are still getting the new blog up and running, but I will eventually be moving to this new address. Thanks to all of my faithful readers, and I hope you will join me over there. It can only be even more fun with my mom contributing as well! :) Hope to see you there, please join us on this adventure! P. S. How do you folks out there in blog land pronounce etsy by the way? I have heard it etsy and I have heard it eetsy...just curious! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Drum carders and fiber blending

I am sorry that I have been unable to post for a while. Our internet decided to go on vacation for a few days, but I think we have it back now :) Here's what I did this weekend! We have been working on our craft room, more details over at my mom's blog. So, we now have all this space specifically designed for creativity and fiber-y fun! I broke out the drum carder and decided to blend some roving that I got for Christmas. It started out like this, but I wanted more blended color rather than sections of color.

I pulled the colors apart and pre-carded them on their own-
(By the way, the colors below are true to the way they really look, more so than above)

I took these and split them all up, making little groups of one of each color

I put them on the drum carder like this-

After one layer of the colors in this order, I added another layer of colors laid out in a different order. I pulled it off the carder, pulled into more of a roving and here it is!

I wanted a lot of color definition so I only put it through the carder once. I am so excited about how it turned out, I can't wait to spin it all up! I will be posting a knitting update, turning the heels on my socks and my cardigan! I am on the left front...moving right along! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dyeing self striping yarn and other adventures

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to dye some self striping yarn to knit myself up a pair of socks. I am at a stopping point and can now share my progress with you! I started out by making a gigantic skein, dyeing the yarn, and then re-skeining this huge skein to wind onto the ball winder. Here is my yarn, freshly dried and waiting to be put into a ball and knitted with.

And here is this same skein on my very professional skein winder that made this skein the exact dimensions I was looking for. Exciting, huh? As you can see, one of the stripes will be a mottled blue and Marm's idea :) Brilliant!

Now, I split up the skein into two equal balls, found the same point on both of them This is to get a result of socks that will stripe at exactly the same points...this is very important to me! By no means do I look down on you folks who like mismatched stripes, (on the contrary, I envy you your freedom, LOL) or knit one sock at a time! I only know what I like for my socks, and I do it ;) I also have found that I enjoy knitting toe-up, so that's what I do. I have fallen in love with the Turkish cast on method (tutorial here) because it's SO easy, makes an incredibly seamless toe-up cast on, and looks great to me! Here's what my socks are looking like after the toe increases are all completed.

I love, love, love how this yarn turned out and how the stripes are forming! The colors in the above picture are exactly how they look in the yarn (at least on my laptop). I decided on a simple 2x2 ribbed pattern for this pair. I love the simplistic beauty of ribbed socks, and they hug your foot so nicely! I just realized something- Congratulations are in order! I am knitting something for myself!

Ok, here's the back-

And the front-

So, onto the other adventures. I have been dyeing some fiber lately and wanted to try blending! I started out with about 1 ounce each of pink, teal, blue, white, and a grape color. This is what I got! The colors look pretty well blended, but they spun up very distinctly. My Marm spun it up, knitted a sample, so look for that upcoming bit of loveliness on her blog soon!

Ok, now this is not totally off the topic of knitting (these would show off some hand-knitted socks beautifully!), but I saw these and had to add them to my mental "buy as soon as possible" list :) Aren't they to die for? They're Keens and their shoes are one of my weaknesses. *sigh* I have had a pair of their tennis shoe type shoes all year last year and they have become a staple in my wardrobe. These shoes are addicting!

Turkish cast on tutorial

This was the only video tutorial I could find of this cast on method...There is also a step by step tutorial with great pictures over at Debi's blog.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Which Austen Heroine Are You?

You Are...Elinor Dashwood!

Elinor Dashwood!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see. Take the quiz!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Noro Silk Garden Scarf

I finally finished my scarf, here are the details:

Pattern: Free Noro Silk Garden Scarf
Yarn: Evening Forest hand dyed (I am not sure which store, my Marm got it for me from Etsy), fingering weight...I made mine 7 feet long, it took about 475 yards to knit it to that length.
Needles: Size 1 circulars, Harmony from Knit Picks
Started: December 18, 2007
Finished: February 8, 2008 (keep in mind that I only worked on this at out weekly Barnes & Noble knitting group, so don't be's so easy!)

So I am very excited to have this scarf done, but now I have to start something new for Tuesday nights at B&N! I am planning a pair of socks for myself, still unsure of the pattern. I do know that I want to hand dye the yarn and I have a very specific idea of how I want it to look. Keep an eye out for that, I want to get that done in the next day or two.

Speaking of dyeing, check out the newest addition to our hand dyed family!

Isn't she beautiful?! She's still waiting on a name...I haven't named any of my yarns so far, but that will change :) Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Things that I am totally in love with!

-This wonderful platter that my Marmee got me for Christmas. Isn't it so charming?! She and I saw it on our trip to Cincinnati, OH at one of my favorite shops, Ten Thousand Villages, and I fell completely in love. If you have never heard of Ten Thousand Villages, you have to try and find one near you. They have some very incredible, unique items for sale and it all directly benefits the craftsmen and artisans who created them. Everything is surprisingly reasonably priced too! Their "employees" are all volunteer and, not only do you find something you can't live without (every time you visit, I might add, lol), you feel great about supporting them. Here's what they have to say at their website:

Since 1946 Ten Thousand Villages has supported the work of literally tens of thousands of artisans in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, making us one the largest fair trade organizations in North America. Working with more than 100 artisan groups, we purchase fine pieces from craftspeople with whom we have longstanding, nurturing relationships…helping to bring dignity to their lives.

Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of the International Fair Trade Association, an organization that includes over 200 members in 55 countries, including many artisan groups in developing countries. We are part of a worldwide movement that is striving to improve the livelihood of disadvantaged people in developing countries through the expansion of fair trade.

-My "I love Mr. Darcy" sweatshirt. I got this for Christmas also, and it's so perfect! Of course, who doesn't love Mr. Darcy? He's tall, rich, and tragically misunderstood. The perfect gentleman... every thinking woman's hero :)

- Little needle felted animals. They are so irresistable! I am so enamored by them, I may have to learn how to needle felt just so I can start a collection of these adorable creatures! There are so many on Etsy, but I am drawn to this one and this one. They do sell kits, so I may give in to the temptation sometime out world! :)

- My knitting bag. It's not intended to be a knitting bag, but it has 4 pockets inside and is so roomy that I can fit everything that I need in there. It's a Red Tango bag, and they have so many cute bags that it's hard to choose a favorite! I am warning you though, don't go look unless you are prepared to buy, lol. This one is real leather, and such a luxury. It's perfect! I never want to have anything else for my knitting as long as I live!

-My elephant painting...
My brother, Jared, got this for me as a gift a few years ago. I love it so much! It's an original, one-of-a-kind painting done by an african elephant name Jana. She lives at the Knoxville Zoo and participates in the painting program that is intended to give the elephants there an opportunity to do something creative that they can look forward to. Isn't it fascinating? You can buy their artwork here and the proceeds go toward the Elephant Program at the zoo.

-And last, but not least, My Bailey Marie.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Like The Sun- RyanDan

This is a group that Aubrey introduced me to, they call themselves RyanDan. They are identical twins, and their voices are great! Their style is similar to Josh Groban, sort of a classical/pop. I have really enjoyed their album...check it out!

Friday, February 1, 2008

You Made My Day!!!!

I am so happy to announce that, not only did I receive this award (many thanks to Jenny Girl and Angelika...I am so honored!!!), but that I get to turn around and give it to ten other people!! I have never gotten any kind of award for my blog and it's thrilling! The rules accompanying this award are:

“Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”

I have the happy duty to list 10 blogs that make me feel happy and warm and fuzzy inside :) These are in no particular order, by the way.

1. Marmee- Now, she insisted that I not include her in my award ceremony, but she deserves it and she's the reason for anything that I in a way she has already (or should have already) gotten this award :)

. Heather- She always has something wonderfully charming to say in her posts, her photography is she's as crazy about classic literature as I am!

3. Jen- She has some pretty dyed yarns and some good tips about dyeing. Her knitting is splendiferous!

4. Amy- She has some scrumptious looking cooking posts, oh and she knits as well :)

5. Deb- She can do everything, this woman. It's overwhelming looking at all her handy work. I am so jealous!

6. Shannon- I am warning you before you check out her blog, you will drool over her many stash photos!

7. Laurie- She has a charming blog and some beautiful knitting! Check out her Noro socks!

8. Carolyn- You have to go see her beautiful mittens and gloves! This gal is a glove-knitting

9. Suse- You have to go see the wonders that can be done with dyeing. Suse has a great tutorial on (having your kids help you) dyeing yarn using food coloring!

10. Eren- Her blog is full of beauty...photographs, classic looking sewing projects and other wonderful goodies!

Well, there you have it! I have seen so many great blogs, it's hard to only choose 10! Thanks to everyone who makes my blogland existence worthwhile! You know who you are even if you aren't listed here. Keep it up! :)

Dyeing 8 skeins!

I have had a busy dyeing day today! I have set a new record for myself at 8 skeins in one day :) These are all 60% bamboo/30% merino/10% nylon. The only drawback to this whole process is the drying! I can't wait to see what they all look like dry and put on the niddy-noddy into 1 yard skeins.

I have been trying a new technique, putting the yarn into a ball with the ball winder, then dyeing wedges of far (after 2 attempts) it has been unsuccessful. The middle never takes the color, no matter what I try to do! The ironic thing is, after rewinding these 2 "failures" into skeins and overdyeing them...they are some of my favorite yarns! LOL Isn't that just the way?! These skeins that I did today were all done with dip dyeing rather than squirt bottle-ing. My wrist got really sore the other day after a couple of hours of the squirt bottles, so I went back to this method.

Now, for my knitting, I have been working tirelessly on my attempt at pieces with the cardigan I mentioned here. It's coming along nicely, only 9 more inches to go on the back...whew! I am thinking it might have been worth it to translate the pattern to circular. Oh well, next time I will :) Plus, I get the benefit of practice putting pieces together. Wish me luck!

My sister, Aubrey, is in Australia right now for 3 months...she will be back in early April and I am feeling her loss keenly. Fortunately, we get to talk almost every night. She is 16 hours ahead of me, so the timing is difficult to work out so that it's good for both of us to talk! Can't wait 'till you're home Aubrey!

Well, I have another post for tomorrow, so until then...Knit on!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Socks everywhere!

As you may know (if you read some of my older posts), I made socks for all the littles for Christmas. I finally got them all together to get a picture. Please note that I did not dye any of this yarn. Next year will be different! :)

Excursions into the unknown

Firstly, the most exciting event to occur recently was a trip to the salon. I have red highlights! It's not blatantly obvious in this picture, but there are chunks of deep red wine color there. I love it! There is still a little bit of blonde left over from my last coloring, but I didn't want any new blonde this time. Getting your hair changed is so much fun! I am really loving mine this time.

I have been busy dyeing and have three new skeins to show off. The first two are bamboo/merino/nylon blends and the yarn is so shiny and luxurious! I used my acid dyes on this yarn and it doesn't seem to take the color as thoroughly as an all wool yarn would. I still like the result, but there is one skein (not pictured) that I will be over-dyeing due to it being such a pale color. I think I will try adding more vinegar next time I dye with this yarn. I have been trying new methods of dyeing, and these were done with squirt bottles rather than dipping. I really like the effect that it gives. It makes the shades of color vary a lot so its not such a definite block of one solid color for each section. This is what I personally, prefer in a handpainted yarn and I am so excited to be able to get mine to do this.

This is a 100% merino yarn and I really loved how the colors vary so much.

So, moving on a bit, I wrote in my last post about the sweater I was starting for myself...well, please disregard all of that! I got a couple of rows into my sweater and realized that I didn't have enough yarn to complete the project. No problem, I tell myself, I will just head over to Knit Picks and order some such luck. Turns out that is one of the colors that they are sold out of and won't be reordering until May! So, back to the drawing board and onto a new project that requires less yarn. I have been trying to work on some of my previously undeveloped knitting skills and I have combined some in my new project. I am knitting a child's cardigan, in pieces, with cables! Now, I have only knit a project in pieces once and it was many years ago. I haven't done cables before, and I am really enjoying that!

I chose a Debbie Bliss pattern, from her book Great Knits For Kids, that is so very cute it called out to me. I intended this to be for my youngest sister, Mallory (since she is the smallest, lol), but I am not sure who it will be for now that I have almost finished the back. It may be too big for her, but it will fit someone in my family! :) This is an exciting adventure into the unknown...I will keep you posted!

This weekend was a great chance for me to get all this knitting done. We were watching the Buick Invitational all day Saturday and Sunday. It was so great, not only did I get the chance to watch golf while knitting, but Tiger Woods won! Now, for those of you non-golf ethusiasts that may not mean much, but it makes my weekend complete :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My first FO of the year

I am so excited to announce that I have my first FO (finished object for you non-knitters) for 2008! Introducing, the Guernsey! Levi has been wearing it for a few hours today and is all smiles. That makes it so fulfilling...there's nothing better than having the recipient love your knitted garment as much as you hoped they would! It's difficult to see the details here in these pictures, but it was my first sweater with a stitch pattern. I really like how it turned out. I added an underarm gussett, and knitted the sleeves from the top down.

Here are more details:
Pattern: Basic Guernsey pattern from Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts.
Yarn: Plymouth Encore, worsted weight, wool/acrylic
Needle size: US 8
Started: January 6, 2008
Finished: January 20, 2008

I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn cast off for the neckline and it's beautifully stretchy! It was so easy to do and looks nice and neat. There's a great tutorial for this method here. If you haven't tried it before, its perfect for cuffs on toe-up socks and necklines!

Now, on to my newest project. I have decided (with some gentle prodding from Marmee)
that I will make something for myself. I already have some yarn that I bought for the Tomten (and I decided not to use)'s Marine Heather. The sweater I am making is Age Of Aquarius by Kathy Zimmerman. You can find it in the book The Knitters Stash. I got it from Interweave Knits Fall 2001 issue. I did find one picture of it here at Ravelry. So, I haven't gotten very far on it yet, but wish me luck! :) I am trying to make some photo jewelry with pictures of my Bailey. I found a few adorable pics that I just have to share!

Friday, January 18, 2008

More dyeing results

My skeins finally dried today at about 2:30 so on to the niddy noddy they went! My personal favorite is the brown yarn there on the left. It's difficult to see on my computer screen, but there is some burnt orange in there as well. These were done with a combination of Jacquard and Gaywool dyes, both are acid dyes. These are in fingering weight merino and, after being dyed, fluffed out very beautifully. I am working on streamlining my dyeing techniques so that I can speed the process up a bit.
This is really fun to do, but I know that my mom eventually needs the kitchen back, lol.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Dyeing

Today we got our order of bulk yarn to dye. It's so exciting! This is what I have done so far...more pictures will follow when they are finally dry :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kool Aid Dyeing

As promised, here are the details of my kool-aid dyeing process.

I don't have any pictures of this part of the experiment, but the skein of yarn is soaking in warm water with a drop of dishwashing detergent. Meanwhile, we mixed one packet each of strawberry, grape, lemon-lime, lemonade mixed with orange and strawberry lemonade, with water. Be sure to use the unsweetened kool-aid. We used tepid water this time, but I think it's more effective if the water is warmer. It doesn't matter how much water you mix the kool-aid with, the yarn will absorb the dye out of the water. Oh, and by the way, although we didn't discover it this time, kool-aid does stain granite...especially the berry blue flavor, lol.

We then draped the damp skein into the bowls, separating as much length as we wanted between each of the colors. I found out that you need to be sure to move the strands around in the kool-aid mixture to be sure that the color gets to the inner layers. I also had to move the skein to make the colors overlap each other...the colors didn't bleed into each other like I had anticipated they would.

Next step is to either wait until the water is clear, or until you can see that the yarn has taken the color as much as you want. Surprisingly, this only took about 3-5 minutes, and I was using cool-ish water. It varies from color to color, but it's pretty obvious and the colors stay true to what you see there.
The skein can then be wrapped in plastic wrap and the dye has to be set. I have found two ways to do can steam it or microwave it. I chose to microwave it on high for about 4 minutes. They say that if you microwave, it should be in one that you don't use for food preparation, but I think that is more for the acid dyes than for kool-aid. This isn't a problem at my house, but it may be a concern for you. If you do choose to steam, be sure and line the steamer basket with newspaper so the plastic wrap doesn't melt to the metal of the steamer. With the steaming method, it should take about 30 minutes.

After setting the color, be careful because the plastic is very hot. I unwrapped my skein and let it sit out to cool on its own. When it's cool, rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Amazingly, I never had any color rinse out of this skein. Even on the very first rinse! I was so surprised! Now, I have discovered that a bit of time in the dryer removes the fruity smell. I have put some of my kool-aid dyed yarn in a mesh bag and thrown it in there for a few minutes, but be sure your yarn is superwash before attempting this :) I took this yarn and made the hats that I talked about here. The dyeing was so fun, easy, and and really colorfast. I didn't re-skein this, but you could get it to be more striping if you re-wound it into a really long skein first, therefore dyeing longer sections at a time but still having enough room to dye more than one color.

Now, to be completely off topic, I had a request for my finished puzzle picture. Yes, June, I was going to post it, but the picture wasn't on my laptop yet. Thank you so much for reminding me! Just for you, here is the completed puzzle...a thing of beauty!

Dyeing, knitting...catching up!

I know that I haven't been much of a blogger lately, but I have been busy nonetheless! I have been working on perfecting my dyeing and knitting skills. My first project was a kool-aid dye experiment with sock yarn. Here's what I have left of my 500 yards :)

I was very pleased with how it turned out and I subsequently used it to make two hats. As you can see here with my very first fair isle, I think you are looking at strawberry, pink lemonade, lime, orange and grape LOL. I will be making a separate post about the kool aid dyeing process itself. It was really fun! The only thing to remember is that your project will smell like kool aid for awhile!

The fair isle hat is a blended version of two different hats in the book Hats On by Charlene Schurch.

My next hat with this yarn was a modified version of the free In A Flap Cap that that I found on ravelry. I added a ruffle around the edge an then put a flower on it as well. Doesn't it look so cute on Mallory?!

So then, moving right along...I have also been dyeing using Louet's Gaywool Dyes and I am enjoying the results of those as well. Here's what I have done so far. This is merino superwash, fingering weight yarn. The one on the left is kool aid, the other two are Gaywool. It's so fun! All the yarn I have used to dye so far is from Knit Picks, the bare yarns that they sell to dye. They turn out pretty well, and I would recommend them for small dyeing projects.

Now, as I mentioned before, I am wanting to get some experience with knitted items that I have not done before. So, I started a guernsey sweater for my younger brother. It is exposing me to several unknowns, the first being the cast on that I used...Channel Island cast on. It's supposed to make something like a picot edge and it did, but I am not that thrilled with it.

The details are difficult to see, I know, but it will be easier once I have it completed and he tries it on. I only have a little bit of this sleeve and then on to the second sleeve! I am using a basic guernsey pattern from Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. So, that's what I have been up to least what is worthy of mentioning here, lol. Please forgive me for the length of time between posts (especially you knitting gals from B&N!). I hope to be a lot more consistent in the future :)

Be sure not to miss The Complete Jane Austen going on right now on PBS. They just aired Persuasion this Sunday and it was fabulous! They are showing so many great classics, you have to see them! The versions of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility are all brand new adaptations. Here's the schedule for these exciting films!