Monday, June 29, 2009

The Woolen Anniversary

Today is my 7th wedding anniversary, which also happens to be the Woolen anniversary. A fact which my dear husband now knows all about. Since our anniversary is on a Monday, we did most of our celebrating over the weekend.

My husband suggested that we go visit Woodland Woolworks. I have been wanting a drop spindle since Black Sheep Gathering last weekend. I kept watching the other vendors there peacefully spinning away on their spindles and it really made me want to spin. So he bought me a pretty spindle and some lovely fiber to go with it. I am going to borrow another spindle from a friend of mine too, so I can try out a couple of different kinds to see what I think. We'll see if it actually sticks, since I have always been very pro-wheel! Oh, and just so you don't think my husband got the short end of the stick we also went by Fry's Electronics and went out for a very tasty lunch at Gustav's. Mmmm...

On with the happy woolen things. I knit my husband a pair of socks! These are knit out of my Superwash Worsted yarn in color Columbia River. The pattern is Gardiner Yarn Works Underwater Basketweaving Socks. I love these socks! They were very quick and easy to knit, which is saying something for my husband's size 12 feet! What really helps is the worsted weight yarn knit on #3US needles. The only downside I had was I ran out of yarn a bit before the toe on the second sock, which meant I had to dye up some more to finish off the socks. Now when Chrissy's new Toe-Up book comes out that will no longer be a problem!

Look! I also got a pair of socks! It only took 3 years, but my husband finally finished this lovely pair of socks for me! I just love them! They fit my feet perfectly and I can't wait to wear them this next fall. I know they will keep my feet toasty warm and I will think of all the love put into them every time I wear them. Blair is actually wearing his socks today to work, which I think is amazing. One thing I can guarantee is that he will love and wear every pair of socks I make for him!

Happy Anniversary Sweet Heart! Lots of love this year and many more to come!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Black Sheep 2009

I am home and nearly settled back in from all the excitement of Black Sheep Gathering!

Here is the inside of our booth. It has a slightly different layout because we were lucky enough to be on a corner. I managed to get this shot between groups of people. The booth was filled with happy knitters and spinners most of the weekend. We sold a lot of yarn and patterns. Gardiner Yarn Works was there with me too with all of their lovely samples, including the new ones for Chrissy's Toe-Up book. We had such a blast! I am definitely going to go again next year!

I even had a little time to shop. Donna and I had a lot of fun in the booth. We even gave each other little breaks to go shop and check out the other wonderful vendors. I couldn't resist these beautiful fibers dyed by Capistrano Fibers. I managed to restrain myself pretty well otherwise, mainly by not looking too closely at the Blue Moon or Dicentra booths. There is still OFFF in September, where I am sure I will cave and buy some pretty things from both.

Meanwhile, Blair had a lot of fun visiting every bookstore and 2nd hand store in the Eugene area. He was also on standby for emergencies like printing more of my patterns when I somehow forgot to pack them. He also stopped by the University of Oregon Bookstore and bought me some new color pencils with erasers and a cool case to put them in. I never seem to have an eraser with me when I need one, so these will be a lifesaver. I can pack them in my knitting bag and sketch pattern ideas or new colorways while on the go. How cool is that?

The shop is now open and updated. I need to add in a couple of new colorways and maybe some new yarn. We'll see! Sock Summit is less than 6 weeks away, so I will be spending a lot of time in the dye studio! Also I am teaching a dye class in Welches, OR for Mt Hood Fibers on Saturday, July 18th. If you want to learn all about dyeing pretty yarn and fiber, make sure to check it out and sign up!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New! Gardiner Yarn Works Patterns

If you are feeling the need for a summer of lace, then boy do I have the answer for you:

Gardiner Yarn Works has just released 6 new lace patterns for summer. They include 3 knit scarves, 1 crocheted scarf, 1 cowl, and one shawl. The pattern pictured above is the Cappuccino Scarf. I just love its elegant simplicity!

The one I definitely need to make is the Ivy Wrap! I just love those Ivy leaves! So pretty! I am thinking it would look really lovely in Sea Turtle either in Silky Sock or Tencel Sock. Mmm... Anyway, make sure to check out the whole collection! Lace scarves are great for summer knitting and make great gifts throughout the year!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Knitting with Handpainted Yarns

So, one of the really cool things about being a vendor at Black Sheep is being asked to give a small presentation on something that would be useful to knitters/spinners. The topic I chose is pretty fitting, it is Knitting with Handpainted Yarns. I am constantly getting questions about how my yarn knits up, and the answer is, well, it depends. Here, I'll show you:

This sample, and all of the samples I have included are knit out of my Superwash Worsted Yarn on size #3US. The first four samples are out of colorway Dragon Fire. With this sample I cast on 60 stitches and knit in the round in stockinette stitch. I did this on purpose to show the dreaded pooling that can occur when the number of stitches matches up with a particular repeat in a colorway. Pretty much any yarn can do this that has multiple long stripes of color. So how do we avoid pooling? There are several ways we can do this, as you will see.

Now this is the same exact yarn only I have cast on a different amount of stitches. The change to the cast on means that the colors will line up differently and thus not pool. For this sample I cast on 45 stitches. Of course this won't make the same project that you first started out to make, but it will make something else. As in if you cast on for a pair of socks for your husband and it pools in a way you don't like it might just end up being a pair of socks for you instead at a smaller cast on number. Unless your husband is attached to the yarn, then it might just turn out to be a hat for him instead with a larger number of stitches cast on. Don't be afraid to change the project if the first idea doesn't turn out as well as you thought it would.

Well, let's just say that your husband is set on having those socks out of that particular colorway, as I know mine would. Another option is to knit from both ends of the ball. Wind your yarn into a center pull ball or use 2 different balls of yarn. For this sample I cast on 60 stitches then knit 2 rounds with the inside end of the yarn and then 2 rounds with the outside end of the yarn. This breaks up the pooling and creates a different set of stripes. You can experiment with 1 round, 2 round, 3 round, or however many rounds to break up the stripes. You can even try changing it up and doing stripes randomly. There are lots of options!

The next idea is to add a stitch pattern, especially one with slipped or purled stitches. Slipped or purled stitches take a different amount of yarn than just knit stitches which will make the yarn line up in different ways than the pooled sample. For this sample I cast on 60 stitches and used the Brick Rib Pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works' Brick Rib Socks. It is just amazing what the simple addition of a stitch pattern can do to break up pooling!

Lastly, if none of these samples appeal to you, then consider knitting with a semi-solid. Semi-solids can contain all of the colors of your favorite handpainted yarns without the fear of pooling. For this sample I cast on 60 sts. It is made with my new colorway Snapdragon. It contains the same colors as my Dragon Fire yarn only all mushed together into a semi solid.

If you would like to see these samples in person, I will be giving this presentation at 4pm on Saturday, June 20th at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. Any feedback would be appreciated, so I can give the best presentation possible!

If you are going to Black Sheep, which is June 19th, 20th, & 21st at the Lane County Fairgrounds, then please consider signing up for Black Sheep Bingo! It's a great way to meet new people and have a little extra fun at BSG. The deadline is June 12th, which I know is short notice. I am signed up to be a square and a player. I think it will be a lot of fun!

If you can't make it to Black Sheep and you will be in the Portland Area, consider cheering on Lorajean of Knitted Wit! She is taking part of Take Steps, a walk to support the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, which is taking place in downtown Portland at 4pm, on Saturday, June 20th. You can donate to her walk here. She has some lovely prizes posted up on her blog. For every $5 donated your name will be entered to win one of these wonderful prizes. Make sure to check it out!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Things You Will Find at the Coast

So, yesterday was my birthday. For my birthday I got a brand new camera from my mom & dad. Then Blair and I went off to the coast for 3 days. We saw lots and lots of pretty things and I took lots of pretty pictures, so I thought I would share some of the neat things we saw at the beach:

This is my 20 Things to See at the Beach Slideshow. You can also see all of the photos here in an album. It was a really awesome trip. The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places to go. I can't wait to go back again. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Community Sock Club!

Happy June everyone! For the June special I have decided to promoted Chrissy Gardiner's new book Toe-Up! It's such a neat book I really hope that everyone will buy a copy! I don't think that I have mentioned it here, but Chrissy has put up a preview page of some of the awesome patterns that will be in the book. You can check it out here:

Ok, onto the Community Sock Club! Deb Accuardi, who I have mentioned here often, is hosting a brand new sock club! This sock club is super special! As well as having a wonderful selection of indie dyers (myself included) and a great selection of local knitwear designers, she is going to host lunch at her restaurant Gino's! So every other month you will meet up with the other members of the sock club and you will get to meet the yarn dyer and pattern designer for that particular kit! Not to mention having a kick-ass meal from Gino's! There are some pretty awesome people on the list, so definitely worth checking out! Sign-ups started June 1st, so make sure to get yourself on the list!