Monday, April 21, 2014

Very Pink Blanket

After Christmas I decided that I needed some really easy knitting. Mindless garter stitch came to mind. For awhile I have been saving some lovely Alpha B yarn to make something spectacularly pink for my daughter. Here is what came out of it: 

The pattern is the Tweed Baby Blanket by Jared Flood (rav link). I love this pattern because it starts with just a single stitch, then increases until it is big enough then decreases back down. All of it is in garter stitch, so it is super simple. Just the project I needed while moving!

Then when the garter stitch is all done the pattern has you pick up stitches all the way around and knit a border. For the yarn, which I have mentioned was Alpha B, I doubled it. You could double any sock yarn to get the recommended DK weight for the blanket. I chose two different solids for the body and then two different, but similar varigated yarns for the border. I also followed the patterns color changes, which are kinda hard to see in the picture. I like how it breaks up the border a little bit. I still have plenty of the yarn left, so I'm sure it will go into another project for the girl child. 

It passes the ultimate test! She likes it! Though would be even happier if it was a super hero cape. She does enjoy cuddling with it. I'm sure it will make a great car blanket too. I've also finished one for her brother, because when you have 2 kids you have to make 2! It just needs to be blocked and I'll share it here too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First Woven Scarf in a Very Long While

Back in college I just about ate and slept around weaving. I have a degree in textiles and business. Most of the textiles part of it was focused around weaving and then surface design and dyeing. After college I didn't really have the room for a loom and the looms I had weren't very fun to use. So I ended up selling them a few years ago. Recently I have seen a lot of excitement over the Rigid Heddle Looms. So, I was intrigued by them and thought it would be nice to have one. So my husband got me one for Christmas. I got a Schact 25" Flip Folding Loom. This is my first project: 

It sure feels good to be weaving again! This is one skein of my Panda Silk Sock yarn in color Mountain Sunset. I love it so very much. The colors are just beautiful in it. Honestly, I couldn't take a photo which did them justice!

That's a little better. I'm still not as fast as some! I can't quite whip one out in an evening, probably because I'm a bit of a perfectionist about my weaving. However, I did assemble the loom and weave this scarf in under a week. So, I feel pretty good about that! I have all sorts of ideas for projects, which I am trying to keep notes on. I have a whole Pinterest Board devoted to weaving patterns and ideas. It's a lot of fun! I even have some ideas for classes, so we'll see what happens there!

I will have this lovely scarf on display in my booth at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival starting Friday night through Sunday. Make sure to stop by and check it out! Also, if you have any questions about weaving, feel free to ask me. I have a lot of experience and love to give advice!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Felted Scarf

This week I am getting ready for the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival! Yay! It's so nice to have a show practically in my own backyard! Anyway, while I was organizing things to take to the show I realized I never blogged about this wonderful scarf I had commissioned out of my Merino Tencel Roving

Isn't it gorgeous? The artist is Judy Nicols of Hood River. Her scarves are currently on display at the Oak Street Hotel. She bought fiber for me and showed me a few of her beautiful scarves. Each one is a work of art! I knew I had to have one for the booth!

Each scarf is made from 2oz of Merino / Tencel Roving. Which means that you can get 2 scarves out of one 4oz bundle of fiber! This one is out of Poppy Field. I love the transition of the colors and how well they work together. I'll have it on display at CGFF. Make sure to stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Freya Dress

I designed and made my baby girl a dress out of some handspun yarn I had made before she was even born. 

The yarn was some fiber I bought back when we traveled to Colorado. I plied it with some fiber I got when Woodland Woolworks went out of business. So, I definitely wasn't going to get more of it any time soon. I decided that I wanted to make the dress top down, but I didn't want to do a lot of cutting because the yarn is so special. So no running out of yarn and limited cutting! Check! So I thought I would do some experimenting with short rows. I started with the back and made it to the sleeve holes, then started the front and made it to the sleeve holes, then attached them together and continued in the round until it was long enough and added the bottom border. So that's only one cut of the yarn. Then I crocheted around the sleeve and neck openings adding the button holes at that time. I might try knitting the next time to see if I can make it work. I have ideas! Making that only 3 lengths of yarn!

What I love about it is it works great as a dress. It can be worn on it's own with shorts or tights or layered over a long sleeve shirt and pants in the winter. As she grows bigger it will work great as a tunic. I see her getting a lot of use out of this outfit. Also, it's so cute, I kinda want to size the pattern up for me.

I have also been working on letting the little miss pick out her own clothes. Note the black turtleneck and pink stripe pants for underneath. I especially loved the addition of dinosaur rubber boots, so had to snap a final picture of the whole ensemble. I plan on knitting her more of these dresses. I think it would be easy to size up and down. So, when I get a few moments I plan on writing it up. Maybe I can even make one for the booth in the near future!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Black Bean Dyeing

So, I saw online some examples of people using Black Beans to dye where they got blues and purples out of it. I have done a little natural dyeing, so I thought I would give it a try see what would happen.

I soaked my black beans overnight. I decided I would try following a recipe from the Food Network and then use the leftover "juice" as my dye. Best of both worlds! Most dye recipes call for soaking for upwards of 3+ days to get deeper, richer colors. However, this was my experiment, so here we go. After soaking overnight I put the beans through a strainer and I saved the juice. Then where it says to skim off the foam I added that too. There was also a bit of extra juice in the final product so I saved some of that too. All together there was about 2 cups.  

Then I got together my supplies. 2 cups of bean juice (or one large ziploc container full) and some distilled vinegar. Not shown is my fiber, which was superwash merino roving and weighed 74 grams.

Into the pot it goes! This is after I added 4 cups of water (or two large ziploc containers full) and 1/2 cup of vinegar. I used a large pot that allowed the fiber to move around pretty freely. Typically I would use a dye pot for this type of thing, but since everything was kitchen safe I went ahead and used a stainless steel kitchen pot. The vinegar definitely turned it toward the pink side while in the pot. It also did the trick for setting the color. I might try it again using alum or some other mordant. I simmered it about an hour and then let it cool completely so it would soak up the most amount of color

The finished result is rather stunning. It's a soft purply grey color. I'm thinking I might blend it with some other superwash I dyed and then spin it into something. What, I don't know yet, but something pretty for certain. So, if you have black beans on the menu and want to do a little experimenting with natural dyeing, make sure to save that juice!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


When I was sorting through some things I found these neatly handwritten recipes: 

They are my grandmother's recipes hand written down by my mother when she was in high school. They are both for Whole Wheat bread.

You will notice the scale for these recipes is rather large. The first one, I think, makes 2 loaves of bread and the second makes 4 loaves of bread. 

My mother was 1 of 7 children. They were fairly poor and so made everything from scratch, including their bread for the week. My mother said her mother always made the best bread. She said they would take bean and mayonnaise sandwiches on homemade bread to school and all the rich kids would fight over who got to trade them for their store bought bread sandwiches. =)

I haven't made the recipe yet, but plan on doing it soon. Maybe scaling it down a little... Feel free to make it yourself. If you do, let me know! I would love to hear how it turns out!