Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Felted Yarn PODS

Hello All,

This is my newest fun project.  It's super easy, quick and they come out great!  I'm going to make more for the people I work with and fill them with candies or such for Christmas gifts.

I think knitting them up took me all of 3 hours per pod.  I used our newest yarn "Wickford", it's 100% merino wool, in a bulky single.  It takes the dye nicely and felts with little or no work.

I've included the link to the pattern I'm using.  

It's easy to follow, even for me.  Alto I had to review my "Kids Learn to Knit" book to remember how to M1 or increase.  I know, duh!  I was able to figure it out and then the pod just came together by its self.  I knit the first one in a soft turquoise.  It's the color I'm thinking of making Jenn her felted slippers in.  Shhhhhhhh  

Its all soft and saggy so I stuffed it full of paper to keep it upright.  You can see the stitch definition easily at this stage, its stretchy and squishy.

When the knit pod was finished being knit up I threw it into the larundry with our jeans like she suggested.  When it came out it wasn't as felted as I wanted, so instead of starting another load of laundry, that's DH job.  I threw it into a pot of boiling water with some soap.  I mixed it around and took it out to throw it about and rub it together.  After mabie 5 or so minutes of doing that it was felted to where I was happy.  I ran around showing my entire family......like a little kid.  "Look what I made!!!!"

(See no more stitch defination its all fuzzy and when I had dried it stuffed with paper it holds its form)

The first one I followed the pattern and this cute little pod was the result.

Then I took it back down stairs, I wasn't crazy about the color.  Now that I was successful, I had to find fault with it SOMEWHERE.  So I put a wee amount of water back into my small kettle added some more turquoise and then sat the pod into the water.  It only came up to about 2/3 high, which was perfect, the dye wicked up slightly into the lighter area at the top, but left the very top the palest original color.  I just let it sit int he hot dye water until it exhausted all the dye.  Now the bottom is a great dark turquoise that slowly goes off to a pale at the top.

Sooooo sweet, you can see below how small it is.  I stuffed it with paper to hold it's shape again and placed it in the woodstove room. The warm air dried it in about an hour.  I removed the paper and VIOLA!

Now of course I just couldn't stop here, I had to try out other yarns. Uh Oh!  Another addiction??   Hmmmmmm How about handspun?

This yarn is from a scarf kit that I spun but never knit.  It was overspun and not a consistent thickness, I was going to let it rot in my stash.  There was a gray to black on one skein and then a purple to pale pale lilac on the other. I broke the skeins apart and balled them into the same color.  Or as close to it as I could get.  This one starts black then I switched over to the purple.  You can just barely see the change in darkness as it gets to the bottom, the bottom is really dark purple.  

This one is larger like the above picture, I was working with the grays and felt it needed a black stripe to class it up a bit.  Looks like my favorite sweater.

Even the bottom is cool!

See slowly but surely I'm making them bigger

This is more handspun yarn, it has angora and angelina in the yarn but once it was felted you really can't see it. :(
Getting bigger!!  All I did was manipulate her pattern.  More on top on this one before I started expanding the base.

I couldn't leave it there.....I had to do MORE!!

Time to embelish.  
Some seed beads and buttons for this one. Mono-chrome to test it out.

Sweet little un-dyed pod with multi-color seed beads.....I wonder what I can do next??

WOOT another successful craft!
Gonna make a TON of these, some for gifts and some to sell them in the shop.  Keep an eye out!

Happy Felting

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Self Striping yarn - A tutorial

Hello All,
Now that we have our newest KAL going on I thought it would be nice to show you HOW I dye the self-striping yarns we sell in the shop.  Self Striping yarns are a long drawn out process (pun intended).  I have to places that I am able to set up the VERY long skeins.  See the skeins for a self striping yarn are between 20 and 40 feet LONG!  That allows the dye to get attached to a specific amount of yarn.  It's all in the math. (God, I HATE math......)  

We are doing a Self Striping Knit Along in the shop.  Why I agreed to that is beyond me.  So as the custom orders came in from our lovely customers, I began to set up their skeins.  It was a nice day but the back yard was too muddy to skein off in the graveyard (you'll see pictures later and understand it name) so I had to use the front porch.

Here are the orders in plastic bags waiting to be filled.  The cone is on a ladle, yup its a big spoon.  Having the cone ride on something make it easier to get the yarn off smoothly.


Here is the front porch.  I have two plant hangers on either end attached to the pillars.  The Porch is 27 feet long so the entire skein is 54 feet total.  I use my trusty calculator to figure out how many laps I need to take to fill an order.  What you can't see is a hanging counter that I click each time I come back to that end.  Ensuring I have the correct amount of laps.  It is a boring job so I wear my shuffle and jam out.  That counter has saved my bacon quite a few times.  I do get my walking for the day in (depending on how many jobs are in my queue) because you not only skein off to dye but you un-skein onto a niddy noddy when its done.  LOTS of walking.

So I walk back and forth and back and forth until all the yardage is walked off then I tie off where the color changes need to be.

Cone, spoon and the much needed measuring tape.  There is also a calculator, pen, twine, sissors and camera just outside the picture.  

All walked off and ready to hit the studio.  Those Custom Order slips tell me who its for, when it was ordered, when its due, the yarn weight and base, yardage and color requests.  I also do my math on each page.  Leaving notes on how long each color will be etc.  That way, if it goes right I can reproduce it or if I'm off I can go back and see what went wrong.

Darn it wrong photo.  Oh well it will work to get my point across.  I clip together color repeats so that they are dyed at the same time.  Using clothes line clips I attach a note on color and mix recipe (if I have one).  It helps later in the process when I have multiple skeins going at once and I'm tired and can't remember what color comes next.  

All of my self striping yarns are a dip dye.  One one section of the yarn is "dipped" into the kettle at a time.  When its done its pulled out and placed into a bucket to cool and wait for the rest of the skein to be finished.
I use tap water with powdered citric acid to set the dyes.  

Do Not Boil the water!  Simmer only.  It will take as long as it takes to exhaust the dye.  Be patient.   The yarn always looks darker when wet.  Don't panic.

Once the yarn is dyed and dried it goes out to the graveyard.  See what I mean with the crosses etc......
I can't put it back on the front porch because there is shrinkage in all dyed yarns.  Another hard learned lesson.  The skein is now placed on the holders, I attempt to keep the strings all from tangling and twisting but that dosen't always work out so well.  I spent 2 hours skeining off a yarn once when the job should have taken 30 minutes max.  It's a lot like painting, prep is EVERYTHING!!  Take the time to skein off and tie up properly and the un-skeining will go well.  Jump the job and you get yarn barf, pretty barf, but barf just the same.  I would have cut and run, and just redyed the yarn if I had not been under such a time crunch.  So I took the time to untangle each and every strand.  It took me so long that I ended up with a flashlight and my niddy noddy, grumbling the whole way.

You can't see in this picture well but there is a third "holder" in the center.  This keeps the yarn from stretching and keeps it off the ground.  The yarn in the picture is Jenn's for the KAL.  Its called Fallen, Raisin, Razzberry, Silver, Lilac and Gold.  The Razzberry and the Lilac stripes will be thicker than the others. (Hopefully)  Damn math.......  My knitting skills are not the best yet and you need to know exactly how much yarn will be used per round to be able to work out the math correctly.  I didn't know her pattern or what gauge she would be working with so I had to guess.  

I walk back and forth with my niddy noddy - that DH made for me out of teak, yeah he loves me - as I un-skein the dyed yarn from the holders. It takes time and more walking but it's worth it.  The placing of the yarn on the niddy noddy cleans up the skein and makes it uniform again.  It also brings the size down in to a manageable length.  From here balling up into a cupcake is easy and quick with the swift and ball winder.

See center holder too.

Usually it's set up on the side yard, but that was still muddy and I needed the back porch light when the sun went down.  The flashlight was for the tangles......

Here is a picture of the side yard during the summer.  Again you can't really see the center holder.  Overall it's a nice walk back and forth.  My neighbors think I'm a crazy pacer.  Back and forth, back and forth, talking to myself the entire time.  Singing actually, but my voice is so monotone I sound like I'm chanting.  

Finally done, this is my yarn for the KAL.  Its called Tuscany.  All jewel tones, Razzberry, Rusty Orange, Forest Green and a Plum.  The stripes are all uniform and on the larger side.  It's gonna look cool as my fingerless mitts.

I've started them and I'll post a picture of how they are coming out soon.

Hopefully you were able to glean some sort of information from this tutorial that will help you make our own gorgeous self striping yarns.  

Good luck and happy dyeing.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Time Flies.....When your Froggin'

Hello All,

It is about time I post something new here.  You probably figured I fell off the edge of the earth.  But I did not and I do have a bunch of new stuff to tell you about.  Today, However, is all about my FINALLY finishing the Spearmint Tea Shawl.  Its beautiful, I wore it at the North Jersey Fiber Festival this past weekend. It will definately get all sorts of usage. Soft and colorful, it drapes nicely and will go with all a bunch of different outfits.

Of course the pictures are taken on an ugly and ripped old PINK towel down in my basement but ladies, I'm proud that I even remembered to take the pictures before I took it off the blocking board.   I was so anxious for it to be dried so I could take it with me.  It was the day I was going to wear it before I wove in the ends.....

The colors are just about true in these pics.  Its bright and it looks like an upside down sunset.

The lace pattern at the bottom gave me a bit of troubles, but after a bit I figured out what the designer was attempting to achieve and was able to keep up the flow.  It would have gone easily if I had maintained the correct stitch count in between each set, but noooooooo that would have been too simplistic.  I had miscounted and was unwilling to frog out the lace yet again.  yes, I said again.  I frogged it a total of three times before I just said "Nope, it is what it is" and kept going, hoping no "helpful" customer would point my mistake out to me.  Oh, believe me it happens.

Problem is I get distracted.  Trying to fit in a few rows before the patients start, or at lunch or during a lull.  But then the people show up or I get mayonaise on my hands or the damn phone starts again.  Then I put it down and pray that I can remember where I was.  Most times I can't so I just guess and keep going.  Then of course the stitch count is wrong but I would muddle on too lazy to frog or even tink.

Honestly, I just wanted to finish, to have the pretty knitted item I could point to and say "I made that".  


Next week, It's all about my newest favorite designer Toby Roxane, check her out on her website http://tobyroxanedesigns.com/. Just met her at the North Jersey Fiber Festival. She is lovely and fun and very talented.

Later!  Happy Knitting


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The KAL Begins.......

Hello All,
The lovely ladies who follow my shop have started a KAL (knit along for those of you not in the know) using my sets of mini-skeins.  As most of you know I an horrible at these things.  I don't know if it's my time management or ADHD but I can never seem to get them done.  Refer back to the SAL/KAL blog post.  I still haven't finished the scarf!!

So here we go again, the things I get talked into.

I have chosen to dye "Flame" on my Saunderstown Sock Line.  It's a MCN base (Superwash merino, CASHMERE!!, and nylon) Yum!  I've chosen the Spearmint Tea Shawl by Kateryna Golovanova. It's a simple knit, that I should be able to finish.  Cross your fingers.

Flame!  I will start with the palest color and work out to the dark red.

Here are my balls (tee hee) all ready to be used. I am using a project bag that Jenn made for me to keep them all tidy. 

Now, I'm not proud of this but I cheated......shush......stop gasping, they will hear you!!  I'm a SLOW, a very slow knitter. I HAD to.  Started on my birthday, just 3 days early, to get cast on and etc all set. I also had to spend a large chunk of time on the phone with Lia trying to understand what "KYOK" was.  Told ya, not very good at this.   But practice makes perfect, blah, blah, blah.  

Here is the very beginning at the end of 4 HOURS of work on the first day.

Woo Hoo! Finished the first ball and was able to start with the next yarn WITHOUT knotting them together, like I was gonna..really.......until Lia said that wasn't the way big girls knit and to suck it up and stop whining and *ah yea*....you get the idea.  So second color on and knitting, after last night I am 11 whole rows into the orange.  Pattern says it should only be 19 so I'm close.....

OK I didn't understand what all the "accomplished" knitters were talking about when they said it would be a boring knit, and they could do it in the dark and they'd have to fall on their DPN's if they knit this, but now I do.  Really.  The only time it actually takes my attention is to do the last three stitches. Then its back to mind less knitting or purling depending on what side I'm on.  It is giving me a chance to really keep an eye on my gauge and perfect my stitches.  It is also a FANTASTIC pattern to show off the wonderful dye job, so don't get me wrong I'm not complaining.  I am, however, looking forward to the boarder, which looks to be a bit more detailed. (And it will be closer to being finished:)

More later!
Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Funky new Craft for Leftovers

Hello all,

A little while back my wonderful mom, sent me a link with a notation "what to do with the stuff that dosen't sell".  At first I was sorta offended, what me?  Not sell all of my lovely yarns?  What was she thinking???  But then I started looking around, I had bits of yarn EVERYWHERE!  Mini balls of hand spun or hand dyed yarns.  Beautiful bowls full of colorful balls.  And then it hit me, my mom could be right. God help me.

What she had sent me was a link on how to make yarn bowls.  Not the bowls that hold your yarn when knitting, I think I CAN make one of those, but more onthat later, more like bowls made out of yarn.  Lacy or solid, colorful or plain....hmmm could be fun.

This is how it goes.  You take white glue, not all white glues are the same, I found out the hard way, so before you buy in bulk try a small bottle, mixed with a bit of water to loosen.  Now, don't go crazy here, just loosen it, it will take FOREVER to dry if you add in too much water.

Cut (or Don't) the strips of yarn and saturate them with the glue mixture.  Cover SARAN WRAPPED BOWLS. Please don't wrap it tightly, I thought a cleaner single layer would be best but NOPE, its harder to get off, so be messy, lots of layers with wrinkles works best.  Then wrap the yarn around these bowls and let stand to dry.  Takes about a day in warm weather. and you get the coolest bowls.  They are light and sorta fragile but beautiful.

Here is my work box.  The knitted bowl was there to soak with the starch and get it to stand up straight.  Worked wonderfully, while messy, but worked. I'll post a picture another time.

See all the different yarns?  Thick or Thin dosen't matter, you will need a TON of glue tho......and by the way the glue you see did NOT work I had to go get a bunch of good old Elmer's Glue.  Stick with the classics my friend.  ha ha A pun "stick" with the classics....get it? 

This was my first attempt, a commercially dyed and spun Dk weight I got during a yarn crawl 2 years ago, it was a shawl at first but was WAY too small, I repourposed it into this cool bowl.   Pretty huh.  Too me forever to take off the bowl, because I only used one layer of saran wrap.  Almost broke it trying to remove it.

I love how lacy it looks with the sun coming thru it.  The inside isn't as textured, like a true bowl would be.

 This one is a yarn I dyed and had a bit left over.  Again it was glued as a solid bowl, isn't the striping a neat effect?

This was one of the last I did, before I ran out of glue.  Its a commercial spun hand dyed that I was trying to do as a lacy "art bowl"  once I got it off,  I learned WAY too late about multiple layers,  It looks really really cool.

Check out other images of yarn bowls made by the rest of the world

And here are some instructions for those of you who need them:

Hope you will think outside the "bowl" with your left over scraps of yarn and enjoy this craft as much as I did.

Happy Crafting,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bump to My Grind

Hello All,

Now that the spring show season is over, Jenn and I regroup, relax, and re-stock.  I was able, for the first time, to purchase what is called a "bump" from our fiber supplier.  This is 22 POUNDS of fluffy, soft, wonderfulness.  I chose BFl for my first bump.  Easy to dye, beautiful to spin and well liked by our customers.

I thought I would share my babies, first pictures.....  Here she is fresh from the postman.  I honestly thought it was gonna be a HUGE box, but alas, no it was a normal/average sized container.

See what I mean, it's sitting in the dry sink so it can't run away as I put out its guts, normal in size.  No fork lift needed to drop this guy off.

I started breaking down this bad boy into 4 ounce balls....... After about  5 pounds and not seeing a dent in the box, I stopped for the evening.  The rest of the bump was placed in it's own snug rubbermaid container to wait until I needed more.

I was attempting to clean stuff up in expectation of my new arrival, remember I was thinking this was gonna be HUGE.  Look how tidy and all the empty bins.....  Since this picture was taken I have removed the gray cabinet (left hand side of the picture) and moved it to another room,  to give myself space for another countertop.  Jenn and I are looking at doing some wholesale, and I wanted to make sure I had enough room to dye in bulk.  Sweet huh? 

Thanks for looking at my baby's pictures ;)
Happy Spinning

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spinning to Knit!!!

Hello All!
We have been spinnning like crazy for this kit.  Let me give you some back ground on what I've been doing.
This is the green section of my scarf kit.  I've ripped it into sections and laid them out from darkest to lightest.
Then I stack them into a large plastic bag from darkest to lightest.  If I can keep them tidy this should lead to a seemless gradiation of color.  Should.......

The same thing was done with the bright pink.  I was kicking myself all thru this process.  See, I threw together this kit at the last minute.  I was so busy dyeing for everyone else I forgot I needed to spin one also.  SO, I was not very careful to get the gradients smooth and there was A LOT of mottling.


Normally I don't mind mottling.......it leads to a fantastically tonal yarn, BUT in this instance I needed clean clear non-mottled colors.  Bummer......  That's what I get for rushing the job.......

The yarn singles themselves came out OK.  There was more middle/medium color than anything else.  Because I had to pull the roving apart alot more than normal to get the same colors together.  After the singles were spun, clockwise, I plyed the singles in a Chain Ply, or Navajo Ply, counter-clockwise.

Navajo Plying is the greatest plying technique I've learned.  It allows you to keep colors clean, if that is what your going for, and to make a fluffy well spun 3 ply yarn from just one bobbin.  Don't get me wrong, I love using my lazy kate, my youngest son made it for me.  It stacks one on top of the other and there are tension nuts to keep the yarns from getting tangled.  He even stained the base to match my wheel.  Its just lovely, BUT working from one bobbin to another gives me the freedom of having multiple projects going at once.  Instant gratification and all that.

Here is the green all spun up. Not sure if you can see with this picture how the gradient is heavier on one end.  It's still pretty and soft and squishy and came out to be a little bit bigger than a large DK.  That's a big step for me.  I have difficulty getting the single small enough so that when I 3 ply it, it's not HUGE.  I think it will look beautiful against the bright pink yarn.

OK next step is knitting!!!!! 

Happy Spinning.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SAL Has Begun!

Hello All,
Our First Annual SAL has begun.......well it actually began on the 1st but you see what I mean.  Did you get your scarf kit?  What will you be spinning?  Merino Tencel?  BFL?  Oohhhh something exotic like Yak?  That being said, Jenn and I are talking prizes now.  We think first will be a beautiful set of project bags, second price will be some fiber and thrid will be a cool set of stitch markers.

The winners will be picked by their FO pictures by the other contestants.  If, gasp, we have very few people joining us, then as long as they send us a picture of the finished scarve they will probably get something.......  It's so hard getting the word out when your a little fish like us. 

Enough "woe is meing".  This is going to be great!

Here is my newly cleaned and oiled wheel.  Isn't she a beaut?  I love this wheel.  Louet made some mighty fine spinning wheels.  This S10 is a very hard worker.  I've decided to spin up here instead of the basement, where the TV is.  No Arrow to disrupt my concentration.  Him with that flat stomach and the brooding Viking good looks, no not gonna do it.  I'll sit up here, all alone, in the natural light and spinn for 2 hours every day. 

You can see the package of ripped and ready roving all set to be spun in my basket. Along with my fingerless mitts, made for me by my friend, Lia.  I use them when its chilly but I still need to be able to feel the yarn. 


Happy Spinning

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spin to Knit A-Long

Hello All,
It's almost time for our Spin and Knit a-long!  7 days until we start.  Ohhh getting excited!  Do you have your kit?  You can get into our shop and order one ASAP and I will make sure you have one in your hot ready hands by the time we start.  This will be such fun people!!
Below is the kit I spun up for my dear friend Lia.  Poor, poor Lia does not have a wheel.  She claims she does NOT need another hobby (liar, she craves the wheels freedom). She is, however, and extraordinary knitter.  She can do anything.  I swear, hand to God, she ROCKS!!  So she will be joining along in the knitting portion of our program. :)

Palest of blues out to dark royal blue. 

I Navajo plied this (3 ply) to keep her colors crisp, NO barber poleing. Is that a real word?

It came out to be about 98 yards (?!?!) I thought it was gonna be a bit longer.  But with the red should make a decent size scarf for TRHM (the red haired man) her wonderful boyfriend.  Yes, we love him too.

Here is the other half of the scarf.  Palest of blush pink out to a very strong scarlet.
Again just about 98 yards (arggh) 

Look how cool they look together.  They will accent each other nicely and look fine on a man. 

Here is the kit I will be spinning.  As you can see it will NOT be for one of my three men, this will be for MEEEEEEEEE!  Woo Hoo finally making something for myself.

I dyed this and it is called "Spring is Here!"  Whadda ya think?

Looking forward to seeing what YOU will spin.  Remember we start March 1st.

Happy Spinning