Saturday, April 28, 2007

Handpainted Yarn: A True Life Story

There are 6 stages from birth to maturity in the life of a handpainted skein of yarn. I happen to have them in all of the stages around my studio (living room) at the moment, so I thought that I would share them with you:

Stages 1 & 2: The Cone & Skein

During this stage the yarn is serene, even happy, though tightly wound. It is all grouped together in one stately mass of cones and balls, ready to go forth into the world. It is then separated from one another, cut free as it were, into skeins and thus begins its journey to find out what it really will become. (This is the 3 lb cone of tencel that will soon be skeined up and dyed for my shop in the next couple of weeks).

Stage 3: Drying
Sure there was a short lived intermediary step between here and it's skein stage of life. It was washed and colored and steamed, etc... Consider it a short lived teenage rebellion of self discovery. Now it is happy to just hang out and dry off. (These are all skeins that are going to Knot Another Hat & Woolgirl this next week)

Stage 4: Skein into ball
Now after drying out the wild child skeins need to be reorganized and rehabilitated into grown ups. Here they are partying out while waiting to become orderly balls of yarn.

Stage 5: Ball into Skein
Now that the wild childs have been rewound into grown up balls they can now wait patiently in orderly lines for their turn to be reskeined into fully formed adult yarn.

Stage 6: Mature Skein
The finished mature skein looks dignified in its existence, but don't forget that it was once a wild child and will never quite loose that wild side. It is ready to go out in the world and be made into it's final form, but only you will know what that will be.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Couple FOs & more to come

I have been busy as ever. My superwash sock yarn has finally come in, but that doesn't necessarily mean good news for my shop. I got 8 lbs, but all of it has a home already in various commissions. Though I do have a few skeins of knee-high that will probably go up after I get everything else done. Anyway, onto the finished objects:

I finished the bag for Shokay. I'm not sure if you can notice it, but it is a bit different from the original pattern. For one thing, I seem to not be able to read a chart. My chart to be exact! So, instead of starting it all over when I realized that I was halfway through the snowflake at the top of the chart, I decided that I would make the Shokay bag its very own design. I should have it posted up on my website in the next couple of days, time permitting. As for the Shokay yarn it is really soft, like cashmere. I also love the wonderful stitch definition it gives. Though, I didn't block it, so I'm not sure how fuzzy it will get after it is washed.

My second finished object isn't a knitted one at all. I have been experimenting with sewing. My mother is an expert seamstress, so I know I have those genes floating around in me somewhere. Though, probably not to the far reaching extent that my mother's go. So, I thought that I would make a couple of little baby dresses with matching little short pants (in case you haven't noticed, I am a total sucker for baby things right now). This is my first attempt and is going to a coworker of my husband's. The same one that got the bitty booties, but now they know that it will be a girl and that makes all the difference. My mother did look it over when I was nearly done and noticed that I only hemmed the skirt, instead of doing a rolled hem. So, I did a rolled hem on the shorts. She also told me that I am so good at knitting, why not stick with that and give up on sewing. I know she meant well, but it is a bit disheartening. I tend to see sewing as a bit of a challenge and a quick little break from all the knitting I do. It isn't like I do it all that often. Anyway, I am hoping that I will be able to get photos of the little one in it sometime this summer, since it is the 3 month size.

Ok, so some actual work in progress. Here is the Croisette Top. It is coming along nicely. I am already up to doing the back shaping. This is a super fast top to knit up. I probably have gotten all of this done in about 3 afternoons. I just love the colors and the croisette is really soft and fun to work with. The yarn is croisette in color Monet #203 and the pattern is Dovetail Designs Cap Sleeve Sweater.

In other news: I have joined Sockaplooza 4. I have been stalking The Blue Blog for some time now waiting for her to post it up. I had such fun last time with my pal Krafty1 that I just have to join up again this year. Now I just have to wait patiently until I get my new pal!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Button Me Up!

Yesterday I went off to the Button Emporium in Portland with Sarah, Nicole & Julia (who are both blogless, sorry!).

Nicole set up a special appointment for us to be able to go on a Monday, since they are normally closed that day. This is my button haul. Some of it will be used for some secret projects I am working on currently and some will be used for some projects in the future. I think that it is just as important to have a button stash as it is to have a yarn stash.

After spending around 2 hours in the button emporium we headed off to The Yarn Garden. It is an alright yarn shop, but after our sensory overload from all of those buttons none of us could totally appreciate it. I think each one of us ended up getting our own koigu, but then who can resist that? This is the color I chose and will be added to my ever growing sock yarn stash.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Socks, News, & Tools

I have been a bit busy lately. I have a finished object and pretty new things to show you:

These are the socks that I have been secretly working on for my husband's birthday. He has complained quite a bit that he has never received any handknit socks and now he can't do that anymore. I finished them up just in time for his birthday yesterday and he was very surprised.

Now in the new tools area, I just got this electric ball winder. I am so very excited about it. I have already tried it out and it works beautifully. It will save me so much work from having to hand wind, which means that I should be able to put yarn up faster after dyeing it. I must say it is a very happy thought.

I do have quite a bit of news too. The first bit of news is that I have been asked by Shokay to make up my holiday bag(.pdf) out of their 100% yak down yarn. Their yarn is really really nice and soft. It feels a lot like cashmere. I also like their company philosophy of helping the nomadic peoples of Asia be more sustainable by marketing their one of a kind yarn around the world. Make sure to go and check out their site, they are a really cool company. In exchange for making this lovely bag I got my very own skein of their yarn to play with. They are also going to give out my pattern for free (since it is free on my website) with my name and website where ever their yarn is sold. Now that is some great marketing for me right there. I am excited about it and can't wait to get started on my bag.

The second bit of news that I have is that Woolgirl is up and running. I have my very own page right here. She also is carrying a lot of other indy designer's yarn, so make sure to check out her whole site. I am so very happy to be a part of the Woolgirl website. Now if my sock yarn can just come in then I will be super happy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring is Slowly Coming Along!

I meant to post this up yesterday, but we received some bad news. Instead of my husband being hired on full time he has instead received another 6 month contract. It just is depressing to put our plans back another 6 months. A lot of the other guys are pretty depressed too. So, send some happy thoughts our way! It isn't the end of the world, but it is so hard to be patient.

Ok, so back to the topic at hand, Spring time! Spring is in the air! All sorts of flowers are up and it is making me want to garden! Of course it is raining today, but this weekend it was absolutely gorgeous. We went out for a good long drive because tomorrow is my husband's birthday. He will be a full quarter of a century!

We'll start with this lovely picture of the orchard in bloom that we can see from our front porch! It's so lovely to see that shade of spring green and then all the little blossoms in contrast.

Then here is my ever so handsome husband. He is very happy to be out on a drive enjoying the sunny spring air.

Here is Mt Adams and a view of my uncle's orchards. This is the same pear orchard that my husband worked in last summer. It just is such a happy thought to think of the cycle that provides us with food and tasty pears is starting all over again with these delicate blossoms.

Here is a close up of the blossoms on the tree.

The bees are out buzzing too. They are set out to pollinate the orchard and they make tasty honey!

Here is a lovely shot of Mt Hood for posterity's sake. This is definitely where my inspiration comes for my Mt Hood colorway. Look at all those blues, purples, and whites come from. It is even more purple in summer as more of the snow melts off.

Here is a picture of the whole valley. Well, most of it. Mt Hood is off to the right, you can kinda see where the hills start going up to make the mountain. It is just so gorgeous when it is in bloom. Spring is definitely my favorite time of year.

It started to get cloudy and stormy, so we decided to head home where it was warm and cozy.

No knitting content today, at least not from me. Check out my husband's blog, he finished one sock for me and did it in a little less than a year! By next year I should have a whole pair!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Alpaca lace, Silk, & Petite Silk, Oh my!

I have three new yarns to present today (they should be up in my shop soon)!

This is a super lovely alpaca lace yarn in Bad Girl, Chocolate Raspberry, & Provence. I just love it! I think that I am going to have to start a lace shawl this summer out of this pretty pretty yarn. It is 1275 yards for 4 oz.

This is a natural silk yarn in colors Espresso, Wild Violets, and Chocolate Raspberry. Natural silk is made from cocoons where the silk worm is allowed to develop into a moth. The yarn then has natural texture to it that is from the final cocoon. The yarn is like a soft, drapey cotton. It would be perfect for a lacy scarf, baby clothes, or a summer top. I think it might be interesting to make socks out of it, since it is a sock weight. Just think, silk socks! I'm just not sure if it would have too much drape for socks. I think I might have to use a skein for myself and try it out. It is 440 yards for 4 oz.

This is the natural silk petite yarn in Dragon Fire, Jeans, & Sea Turtle. It is the same as the natural silk, but in a finer gauge. It is made out of the same great environmentally friendly fiber as the regular natural silk. It too would be great for lace or finer gauge work. It is 660 yards for 4 oz.

So, why am I so interesting in lace weight lately? Well, KAH just got in Victorian Lace Today and I have been totally drooling over it. It is so gorgeous that I think I am going to have to buy it and have myself a summer of lace!

In Knitting News: I have started this lovely summer top for Knot Another Hat. It is made out of croisette Color #203, which is a super springy, soft yarn. I love it a lot and it is in my favorite colors. The best part, though, is that it is in size 11s and I got this far in a single afternoon!

In other shop news: Abbie Road has created a blog that features etsy items, much like the treasury on etsy, only it lasts for more than 2 days. She has chosen my Americana Superwash/Tencel yarn for her feature on the grand ol' red, white, & blue.