Dyeing Yarn

I’ve been having so much of a good time dyeing yarn. I got about 100 skeins of fingering weight yarn last month. I have been using different methods and they all achieve different results.

Candy Rush

Candy Rush

Huntsmen

Huntsmen

Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit

Chrisalis

Chrisalis

Stubborn

Stubborn

 

 

Pathway

Pathway

And the last but not the least, this is my Equatorial yarn. I got inspired by the Selvedge magazine cover from the Summer of 2013 issue.

Equatorial

Equatorial

They are all listed now in my Etsy shop. I think I still have about 80 blank skeins that I need to go through. Fun!

Patricia.

Knitting and Spinning for a Blanket

 I had this urge to spin for a chunky blanket. I spun about 1 1/2 lb of Polwarth Top to be able to make it. I didn’t know how much yarn I would need before, so I just made a rough calculation as how much I needed to spin. Even that the logistics to make the blanket was simple (spin and knit a basic square), knitting it was another story. I used US 50 mm needles and it was a little hard at the beginning to get used to holding the gigantic needles. Nonetheless, I’m very happy with the end result.

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Big Needles

Chunky Blnaket

 

See you soon!

 

Patricia

On the needles

This “little” project has been on my needles for a while. Way too long. My intention is to make a knitted shrug in a circle. It sounds simple, right? That’s what I thought. That this project would be a no brainer. This is my third try so far. I’ve been trying to do a flat circle with not much luck at the beginning. I either made a concave shape out of it, or it started to grow with ruffles all around, meaning that, I wasn’t increasing enough to keep the circle flat, or working too many increases. I almost finished the project the first time but it didn’t look right, so I decided to unraveled and start again. The second time it was beginning to look like a bowl again. 😦 Unraveled. Started once again. This time it seems that the circle is flat. No bowls, no ruffles. Third time’s the charm and now, I’m happy knitting away.

Circular Shrug

Circular Shrug progress

Circular Shrug progress

The yarn comes from a local source. The sheep was raised here in Bolinas and the wool I believe was processed near Davis at the Yolo Wool Mill. The color has a dark brown shade that doesn’t show in the pictures.

I finally got hold of some Vodka to soak my Osage Orange to extract the color. I’m using this method that I found here. Next time I will try with madder roots.

Osage Orange soaking.

Have you seen Christopher Walken knitting? Ha! Funny!

XO,

Patricia

Hand Spun

I’ve been spinning for a few years now, and my stash of hand-spun yarn keeps growing and growing. I know this is not news for any of us that spin our yarn, but I’m selling and using less of my stash and producing more. When I want to knit something in particular, it gives me a special joy going through my stash and finding something suitable for that particular project. A few days ago, I came upon a “forgotten” skein hidden in a bag inside another bag. It is single strand dyed in a variety of pastel colors spun from Merino wool. At that moment I didn’t know what I wanted to knit with it, but I left the skein sitting in a place where I could see it form time to time. I wanted to knit something in the round, but not another hat. Since Merino is perfect for next to skin garments I thought that a scarf would be suitable for my skein of yarn. So, I started my project with a crocheted circle made with 16 sc, and then I casted on 16 st around a to start knitting my circle.

Casting on

I’m using 9 inch circular knitting needles, which is a little pain in the… It took a while for my clumsy hands to get used to handling such a small length but after the second circle, I got a bit faster. I can’t imagine people with big hands being able to use these needles without any problem. The next day, my hands were a bit sore and I’m suspecting that it is from using the needles. I might switch to double pointed from now on.

Knitting circles

I managed to finish a couple of circles for my scarf. The idea is to connect them later on using a crochet hook.

Knitting int the round

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There is a nice pleasure that comes from knitting with a hand spun yarn. I really enjoy when small bumps, color changes and twists pass through my fingers.  It’s something that I don’t get when I knit with mill spun yarn. It has a different character that shows well in your project. The yarn blooms with every stitch and I love that unique quality and funky look that it gives to my projects which I don’t usually get with commercial yarns.

Hand Spun

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I still have a few more circles to do at this point, but I won’t be knitting today. I will be busy working on some felting pieces for an exhibition at the Bolinas Museum this coming March. There is so much preparation to do that I better get back to work…

Patricia

The finished piece

I finally put the piece together. Well, actually I just had to seam the two sides where the armholes are. I’m very happy with the colors, however, I could add a few more stitches at the bottom of the piece for a more comfortable fit.

But I like how the fabric drapes without the feeling of a heavy garment. The yarn worked perfect for this project.

I’m working on a hat now and maybe a scarf later on using the leftover yarn, but so far I’m not very happy with how the hat is looking. I’m working on the round using the same stitch, but I’m noticing signs of a biased fabric. Hmm… I’m wondering why. Any take on this?

On another note…

My yarn got highlighted in the One Brown Crafter’s Blog to encourage readers to buy and support handmade. Yay! Tracy has been a good supporter of my work through her website. Thank you Tracy!

Knitting with local wool

I’ve been itching to knit something using this new yarn that I bought a couple months ago. I felt that a shrug would be very appropriate since the weight of the yarn (fingering) seemed light enough for a pattern with an easy lace stitch. Easy peasy… Twirl yarn is made with local wool (Napa Valley) from the sheep of Mary Pettis-Sarley and dyed using local plants. How cool is that! Check out my palette: Twirling Moona (CVM-Merino), Rudus (sp) Calcyanoides (CVM), and French Toast.

I was able to knit this in week in a half, which for me, it is really fast, considering that I’m a slooooow knitter.

I will put it all together sometime tonight. It was definitely a fun knit.

Take care,

Gee!

Yeah, it’s me again. Do you remember me? I used to be more frequent with my posts here, but it seems that I’ve been out of the loop for a while. I’ve been spinning, felting (which brings me so much joy), a little bit of traveling, and just having a good time since I decided to quit (how do I put this nicely) an old job I had before,  and now I have more time. Yes… I have more time on my hands (and not posting anything here, uh?). I’ve been finding a little difficult to re-structure my day and my week. But I’m sure I will manage just fine. Good thing I did it in the middle of winter, so I can find an easy escape for my excuses and stay home on rainy and cold days like today. My studio happens to be about a mile and a half from my house and is where all the dyeing process happens. The place can be cold especially during the winter, because there is not insulation, and unless there is a little bit of sunshine, I freeze my ass out there, so going on a rainy day can be a little overwhelming for me right now. I’d rather stay at home and knit, spin or work on my felting. Still plenty to do here. Knitting is another of my favorite activities I love, and I HAVE to find the right place and space to do it since I used to knit while I was tending the shop (my old job) and never knitted at home before. So that needs to be re-structured too.

I’ve been trying to knit this hoodie with a cable pattern that I found in the “The Encyclopedia of Knitting” by Stanfield & Griffits and I’ve been enjoying knitting without a cable needle. It seems that it goes way much faster than using an extra needle that gets tangled between my clumsy hands, but I have to be really quick to catch the loose stitches before they disappear before my eyes. I also found on Etsy this useful magnetic bookmark that I can place right below the row I’m working on, that way my eyes go where my knitting is happening without getting lost and cross eyed. Brilliant idea! Well, I get a bit excited because I’ve never seen this clever idea before.

I just finished spinning a pretty batt I got from a trade I did with Lanitium Exmachina. The batt was carded with Masham, Camel, Tencel, Alpaca and so much more! Nea really packs her batts with so much yummy fiber.

I also got from Nea some Polwarth which I’ve never spun before in the form of fleece. This is really soft and clean, and the picture doesn’t do any justice to the actual fiber.

I still haven’t decided if I want to spin it from the lock or having it carded into a batt. We’ll see.

The days are getting longer, and hopefully I will be able to have full days again at my studio like before. But for now, I’m here happily enjoying winter wrapped in a warm cocoon. Well, I get out once in a while too.

Tomorrow happens to be Valentine’s day, so have a HAPPY VALENTINE DAY!

A knitting prank

I had to share this video about a prank that Tom Hanks played on Julia Roberts. She has mentioned how much she likes to knit, and Tom took the opportunity to put the entire crew to knit before Julia walks into the set. It is so funny to watch that some of them don’t know what to do with the needles. : ) But they had a good laugh.

My first project of the year

It is funny sometimes how fast I start a project without following the correct protocol of blogging about it. This shawl was a custom order for a friend that wanted something soft with ruffles.  She let me surprise her with the design, but she was very specific about having the ruffles. After I made my swatch I decided to cast on 270 plus stitches and started knitting a beautiful lace pattern. About 20 rows later (I’m a slow knitter by the way), I realized that the pattern wasn’t right for this yarn. The tweedy effect of it made my pattern disappear. Mmmh… Not good. I should have paid attention to my swatch. That’s why we make swatches, right? But I think I was in denial about the texture of the yarn taking over the lace design, or, maybe I was excited about knitting with something very soft and warm during the winter. Without thinking too much about it, I unraveled about 12 hours of work and started again with another pattern in mind. Something really simple.

 

And this is what I came out with.

 

I’m thinking about using this stitch with another design that I have in mind. Maybe with the same yarn. By the way the yarn this is Prime Alpaca from Henry’s Attic.  I really liked the stitch-yarn combination. It made a soft fabric with a wonderful drape that wraps the body nicely. Well, after finishing the shawl, I sent it to my friend. I got a nice call from her telling me how much she love her new shawl. It made my day!

Katie (the shawl owner) is a painter with a unique and bold style. You can check her website here: Three Feet

 

Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
Mark Twain