Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yarn Yarn Yarn and more YARN

 I've continued to be on a spinning streak, I sold quite a few yarns in October, which provided the funds for more fiber and the need to restock my cubbies at Stash and the shop as well.  The first one up, is a batt from Inglenook Fibers.  The lady whose shop this is, is a Greek Orthodox nun who lives in a convent.  I thought that was interesting.
Next up is an extreme thick and thin yarn from a continuing favorite of mine, Woolgatherings, and she is from Washington..maybe a good choice for Stash? 
 And this one is also from Woolgatherings, Polwarth latest favorite roving blend.
 This one is Sugar and Spice, from Unwind Yarn Company, another favorite shop of mine.
 And this one is from a batt I made from some of that Shetland I bought and washed and dyed and carded with some merino and silk noil.  I called it Grape Juice and Cheddar (wine and cheese for tots).
 And this one isn't a great photo, but the yarn is fabulous, corespun from a Bohoknitterchic batt.  I love it, it has pretty yellow mohair locks fluttering off of the main strand.
There've also been some knitted objects finished in the last couple of months, but I'll save those for the next post.  This one's getting a bit long with all of the pictures.  But I'm sending a big THANK YOU out to all of you who've supported my little business.  You help make it possible for me to keep spinning, and spinning helps me retain sanity in this stressful time in my life!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spinning day at Stash

 Sonia and I hatched a plan for a spinning and carding day at Stash last Sunday.  Amy of Anchovy Knits, and Kate (yarn soon appearing at Stash), and Tracy (yarn at Stash to the right of mine) brought drum carders and I dyed up a bunch of my fiber in anticipation of having some carder time.  Here's the table covered with our stuff! 
And I finally took a picture of my yarn on the shelf at Stash, though not a great picture.  Lighting's beautiful, but difficult for cameras.
 Here a big skein of Polwarth and Silk from Corgi Hill Farms that I finished last week, and is now in the shop.  It's really squishy and soft. 
 Here's another shot of the Jaguar yarn, also in the shop, from Hobbledehoy.  This yarn is so amazing, if you can afford Hobbledehoy, you should, but if you can't, you shouldn't get hooked :)  It's just lovely, lovely, stuff.
 Here's my coils, which I made Brittany (Bohoknitterchic) teach me how to do before she takes off for Montana.  I can't believe she's leaving us!
 And here is my prize accomplishment.  A corespun merino, milk silk, mohair locks, angelina etc yarn from a batt I made Sunday with fiber I dyed myself.  I called it Rumplestiltskin, though I know that's a little self-promoting, it's terribly soft and I love it so much!
 And this one I made yesterday while I was home sick.  Kate graciously loaned me her drum carder, and I carded up the baby teeswater and kid mohair and some other pink stuff that I got from  Brittany on Sunday into a really textured batt and corespun it.  It's very textured and incredibly soft.  I'm calling it Baby Elephant Walk.  I'll get a more detailed photo soon, but this one might end up at Stash. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I have been spinning more than knitting lately, inspired by many things.  I've been hanging out in a chatty, productive group of spinners on Ravelry, and seeing the really neat things produced there gives me all sorts of new ideas.  The blue yarn above is just a simple single spun from an Unwind Yarn Company Batt.  It's up in the shop, whereas this next one is not.  This was an 8 oz braid from Frabjous Fibers, which my mother-in-law Penny, bought for my birthday on our trip to Ashland, OR.
 I got almost 600 yards of light worsted out of it, and was all set to take it to Stash, our new local yarn shop, when I was influenced by others in the aforementioned spinning group to hoard it for myself.
 This next yarn was created from a bunch of yearling (first shearing) BFL locks that were dyed by Uniquely Yours Design on etsy.  They were adorable tiny little curly locks, but a bit matted together from dyeing, so I spent a few hours while watching tv shows pulling them apart for spinning, so this is what they looked like just before spinning.
 And after I corespun them onto sock yarn, one at a time, leaving little tails hanging off, and leaving as many little curls intact as possible, it looked like this.  It's really cute, and I am very proud of it, since I know how much time it took, and because it looks pretty much how I wanted it to.
 This is another of my "most proud of" yarns, from a batt I bought from BohoKnitterChic Spins, at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.  It's really textured, and a few of the fibers aren't really next to skin soft, but it's really beautiful I think.  Some fluffy, some shiny, some curly, lots of my favorite colors, I love it.
 And my most recent yarn, a two ply from a Hobbledehoy batt called Jaguar.  This one was  very soft, and it has a lot of sparkle and a bit of silk noil for texture, but I spun it fairly fine, about 12 wpi in the two ply.  I'm not sure I can give this one up, but I need to pay off my new spinner, so you may see it in the shop soon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer Knitting.

 Every summer I knit a big lace shawl or scarf.  I have become a person who needs a knitting project going at all times.  When there is nothing on the needles I am fidgety and worried about what I should start next.  So this summer I pulled out some Misti Alpaca Lace that I received during the last Outlander group swap and looked through my queue for a suitable pattern.  I found the North Roe Shawl.  It was free, and it would use up at least two skeins of the yarn, so I cast on and a month later I had a largish triangle shawl.  I used almost all of the two skeins, so almost 880 yds.  I have seven leaves when counting from the top triangle, then two lacy leaves, then the edging.  As you can see, it came out to be about as large as I think a triangle shawl needs to be.  I like the pattern, simple, clear and pretty.
 I have been working on knitting some art yarns, and this cowl is from my thick and thin spun from a beautiful Fleece Artist sliver that I got from a local business, Colorsong Yarn.  They were kind enough to write a little blog post about it, which you can read here if you're interested. 
I got a request for permission to use one of my photos on the North Roe pattern page, and I laughed when I saw that it was this one.  Methinks the child is the main attraction of the photo, rather than the shawl, but she's my child, so that's fine with me.  I think she's pretty adorable too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Promotion and Sale

 I mentioned in my last blog post that my yarn is being featured by an etsy shop owner After the Bump.  That's her facebook page link, her etsy shop is chronically sold out because her photo props and baby hats are so popular.  I am very excited to have my yarn featured in one of her OOAK nights.
 In anticipation of this, I've been doing some shop updating, and spinning and knitting like mad.  I spun my first deliberate thick and thin yarn from a Fleece Artist roving in the Beach House colorway.  It is an exquisitely soft 65%merino/35% silk blend, and the thick and thin spinning style preserved this softness.  It begged to be worn next to the skin, so I made a cowl and a baby hat from it.  Both of these are in the shop.
I also wanted to explain briefly how ATB's OOAK nights work.  At the appointed time,  8:00 pm MST, she will upload an album of photos to her FB page of products that are ready to ship, with prices listed in each photo.  The first to comment on each item with their paypal email is invoiced and then she ships out that night. 
In conjunction with this event and in hopes of hitting 25 facebook fans, so I can have a "real" FB page address, I am having my first ever sale.  You can get the sale coupon code at ATB's FB page tonight, or by liking my FB page, it will be posted there.  It will be active for one week from tonight.  Also, I am changing my shop policies to offer free shipping on all purchases over 30$.  I may not get all the individual listings changed by tonight, but if you make a qualifying purchase I will refund your shipping charges. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Much Excitement!

 My very talented friend Kate took some more pictures for me and I love how beautiful she makes my yarn look.  Her shop is The Wandering Wolf, and she's a very talented spinner and dyer as well as photographer!
We had a volunteer model last week too, anything looks beautiful on this dear friend!
 She got some very pretty pictures of one of my TDF yarns, which I should be listing in the shop today.
 And I finished spinning the Polwarth that I dyed with cochineal.  I think it's just the neatest thing ever to dye something with wee bugs, and I love this yarn.  It's springy and bouncy and terribly soft.  I'm somewhat disinclined to sell it, but if I want to continue playing with fiber, I must have funding!
My most exciting news is that my yarn will be debuting in a OOAK night next Monday by a fiber artist who uses handspun yarn to make photo props for babies.  Adorable stuff!  If you'd like to see, it will be hosted on her facebook page. After the Bump next Monday the 22nd at 8 pm MST.  She will be using my green and purple handspun, and there is still a skein of it available in the shop.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My first "event" as a vendor, and some more TDF yarns

Thanks to the generosity of my friend Kate from Wandering Wolf (blogger and it's link issues are driving me mad,) I was able to participate in an event called Albany Crazy Daze, or Days..not sure the actual title. My participation forced me to do some things I'd not done until then, such as make some ball bands and labels for my handknits, and make some business cards. I won't say they ended up being terribly beautiful, but they were accurate and informative.
The event fortunately was fairly inexpensive to enter, because it turned out to be less than ideal for vendors of handmade yarn and knits. Most of the people who came through were not the kind of people who are willing to pay extra for getting unique items made by local artisans, and there was a Scentsy booth down the way, which, in my opinion, doesn't belong in an artisans market. I did sell one item, which paid for my part of the booth, and I learned some things about where I want to be in the future. I also had a fun day hanging out with my friends.
And here are some of the yarns I spun from the wooly cupcakes I got from the Wool Peddler I love the results I get, even from the groups I think I will dislike.
All these have been listed in the shop along with a couple handknits from my handspun yarn.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011: Day 1 and 2

I'm desperately trying to keep up with posting pictures of what I'm spinning, spinning itself, and posting new things in my etsy shop. I'm pretty sure if I let it pile up, it will be too overwhelming to tackle! I started off Saturday morning of TdF with a treat, a llama and angora luxury batt from Plum Crazy Ranch ( that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last weekend. ( I'm not sure what the deal is with blogger lately, but between being unable to load photos about 75% of the time lately, and now not allowing me to highlight and hyperlink properly, I'm tempted to switch blog hosts.)
Anyway, back to the point, I really enjoyed this stuff, there was only one ounce of it, and very textured, which is why I started with it. I tend to get stuck in the rut that many spinners seem to, spinning thinner and thinner yarns just because we can. I firmly believe that we as handspinners should be doing what we do best, which is create something a machine cannot. I understand that there is a sense of accomplishment in having the skill to spin a very fine yarn, I do it sometimes myself, and I understand that sometimes it is appropriate to what we are spinning for, perhaps a lace shawl, or socks, which require finer gauge yarns. I just spun a laceweight single ply for a shawl, and got great color sequences, so I'm not knocking the spinning of fine yarns in general, just saying that in my own spinning life, I'm at the point where I'm trying to develop range. I want to be able to spin a variety of styles and weights of yarn, and since I tend to be a little obsessive when I get focused on something, this batt was intended to break me out of my thinner and thinner yarn rut, and it did, with a bang. This yarn is bumpy and colorful and probably the softest stuff I have even spun. And fluffy, poufy, just all around WOW! My pictures don't do it justice, but then, when do pictures ever adequately capture yarn, it must be touched as well as seen to be fully experience, but since I can't hand it to you through the computer monitor, you'll just have to trust me.
Next I spun some angora and silk, and I haven't got the picture for that right here, but I bring it up because although it was equally soft, though much smoother while I spun it, when I soaked it and hung to dry to set the twist it got hard and stiff. Does anyone know what happened? I'm going to look into it.
On day 2 I opened up my 1 lb bag of wooly cupcakes and sorted them into colors that sort of went together, and then I started with this batch. I am the kind of person who always saves the best for last, so this is what looked like my least favorite colors.
Oddly enough, they turned out a beautiful yarn. This is why I am on my second one lb bag of these things. They have produced some of my loveliest handspun ever, though I can't take the credit. If you want some for yourself, go on over to Wool Peddler on etsy, she'll set you up.
I tried a new thing with this yarn that was suggested by the Plum Crazy Ranch lady (owner?) at Black Sheep Gathering, I was bemoaning the high cost of extra bobbins for the Hansen mini Spinners (49$! do you believe it?), and looking at a pretty electric spinner she had there in the booth, and she said she never plies from the bobbins anyway, she likes to ply with the fiber in the same direction as it was spun in, so she winds each ply off the bobbin into a ball and plys from the outside of the ball. She said it creates a more balanced and softer/smoother yarn. I did that with this yarn, and it is very lovely, though since I didn't do any of it my usual way, I don't have something to compare to. This yarn is extremely sproingy and soft, as are all the cupcakes I have spun up so far. They are always a mix of BFL, fine merino, and sometimes tencel. I have one more skein from Day 2, but the pictures aren't great yet, so I'll save it for the next post.
Happy Spinning everyone, I'm having a blast participating in my first Tour de Fleece. I keep looking at all the pretty fiber, clicking through to the fiber shop, and then talking myself out of more fiber, I'm pretty sure I have 3-4 lbs of fiber to go before I actually need more!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grace Lace Beret

I have been a negligent blogger for a long time now, and I wish I had a great explanation or a more graceful way of jumping back in. Wait, I have the Grace Lace Beret. I would link to the Ravelry page, but Blogger won't allow me to hyperlink, I can get the pop up box, but I can't highlight the text. If anyone knows how to fix that, I'd love to know~
Having an etsy shop has made me more interested in what a knitter can make for the summer months, and I thought a lacy hat out of a non-wool yarn would be just the thing. This hat is made out of Berocco Remix, which I love despite the somewhat high non-natural fiber content. 30%Nylon/27%Cotton/24%Acrylic/10%Silk/9%Linen and all recycled fiber, if you haven't tried it yet, you should.
I had to adjust the number of repeats to fit the gauge of the yarn and my head. I started with 48 stitches, which doubles to 96 on row 2. I really enjoyed this cast-on method, but I don't know what it is called. You start with a crochet chain provisional cast on, then K1 yo for the next row, then there are two rounds of double knitting I think, where you are slipping all the knits, then all the purls on the next row, then you start with regular K1P1 ribbing. Anyway, if someone knows what it is called I'd love to have the name for it.
I do love this hat, and I made two, so I may put one in the shop, so someone else with a big head (literally not figuratively) can have a properly slouchy hat.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A bit of catch-up

I have been knitting more than blogging lately, but I decided to try and catch up a bit. I started knitting socks again. I didn't for a long time because I have such weirdly shaped feet after all my surgeries that most women's sock patterns seemed unlikely to fit. Up to this point I had only knitted top-down socks. I have a Lucy Neatby book, Cool Socks Warm Feet, which helped me with directions for the short-row garter heel and I finally sat down with the youtube video, and learned Judy's Magic Cast-on, so now I think I am a convert to toe-up socks just so I have an excuse to keep using it. I had to increase right before the heel and also do the heel on more than half the stitches to accomodate my high instep on the right foot, but not the left. I did a leg pattern that is sort of a fisherman's rib adaptation. I am quite happy with these socks and went on to knit another pair soon thereafter. I took a class at our LYS about stranded knitting and made this Opus Spicatum by Kate Gagnon Osborne using Mirasol Miski, an incredibly soft yarn that is 100% llama. It is not very slouchy on my large head, but it went to my sister-in-law Carolyn for Christmas, and it looks great on her.
I learned to knit with both hands finally, and though it was awkward in the beginning, it was loads of fun once I got going and I made a second Opus that I'll talk about later.
I also made a Lotus Hat that Alexa loves out of Eco Alpaca, and she wears it often, so it has been one of my most rewarding knits this fall. I finally made something out of some Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande that used to be a hat that was too large for my head. I knit it from the top down in a broken rib pattern and liked the way it looked on the wrong side best. This one went to my nephew Christopher for Christmas.
And finally, one of the prettiest pictures of my yarn ever, taken by my friend Kate.
This is some nice stuff I got at Black Sheep from a lady whose business is New Hue Handspuns. It is an 80-20 mix of merino and angora. I got 344 yards of laceweight out of it, and I love it so much I priced it a little high in my etsy shop.