Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dying

Well, I've been at it again. This time I set up my "dying studio" in the third bay of our three car garage. I think I prefer that to getting out all the plastic to cover the kitchen counters. With all the plastic and tape I still worried that I was going to do some kind of colorful damage.


Today I handpainted 8 oz of skeined yarn and 8 oz of fiber. Another 8 oz of skeined yarn when into the crock pot. I splashed in some hot pink and brown and the result is to dye for.

Simmering in the crock pot


Here is most of it hanging out to dry. I currently have another 8 oz in the crock pot. I'm experimenting with balling up the yarn and then cooking the balls in the dye.


I check the fiber before I came up to my office just to see if it was dry enough to spin yet. Yes, it is intoxicating and I can't wait to spin some of this up as well as knit with the yarn.

If you have been wondering what the "Handpainted Yarn Workshop" will be like, this is a little taste of it! We're going to have fun!

Happy Knitting, Spinning or Dying!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Double Point Solutions

A brief note: The Bramble Patch has another double point needle case for sale. I know a few of you were interested in them and wanted to know when another one went up for sale.

Birthday Weekend

The Historic Hendricks-Beall B&B -- it was absolutely lovely!
My dear husband planned the best surprise birthday weekend for me this past weekend. He took me away down to Madison, Indiana. The plan was shop, knit & relax in coffee shops all weekend! I couldn't be happier!
Relaxing in one of the Hendricks-Beall Home's two parlors after dinner. The proprietor had a buffet of wines from local wineries so we could pour ourselves a glass of wine and relax! I sampled a white dessert wine and knitted away!




Breakfast the next morning was amazing! There was another couple staying in the B&B. We met over breakfast and had a great time talking.

I snuck in some knitting in our room while JK packed up after breakfast.


Then we shopped...


...and took pictures of cute doorways....
...and stopped for coffee and some knitting (JK read the newspaper to me)...

...shopped some more and took more house pictures....

...toured the big Lanier Mansion....

By the time we finished the Lanier Mansion it was a little after 5 o'clock and it had begun to rain. So we popped into yet another coffee shop for a coffee and a knit.

Here is the wonderful husband who planned the whole weekend...

... and here is the Birthday Girl who thoroughly enjoyed it all!

Thank you, JK! And thank you mom and dad for babysitting our little doggie!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Great Birthday Present




My sister gave me a really neat birthday present today! I had been complaining about the lack of double point options to her and lamenting that the few options out there aren't pretty. Well, just look what she came up with!


It is a beautiful felted double point case that keeps your double points securely in one place. Because they are all lined up in a row you can easily see what size you need and where it is. Before I had them all in a zip bag and had to hunt through the whole lot several times to find the sizes.


Now that I have fallen in love with knitting socks this present is even more meaningful. My sock needles are all in one place! Hooray!


She is going to sell them in her Esty store. If you are interested in purchasing one you can check her blog for her shop updates! http://www.blackberryrambles.blogspot.com/


Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Greencastle Purchases

As promised I thought I would post some pictures of the fiber I purchased. I didn't purchase much. Since I've now figured out the dying scene a lot of the dyed rovings I can make myself.

I did, however, find the Shetland roving I have been so eager to purchase. Ever since I made my first handspun Shetland sweater I have been dreaming of another. Shetland fiber is soooooo warm!

Luckily the first booth I stopped at was a "Shetland" booth. AND they had the dark, rich chocolate roving I love. The lady said she would make a deal, if I bought 2 lbs she would throw in a half-pound ball for free! I readily agreed.

I spun up one skein of it yesterday and was not disappointed. It is really quite nice and soft. The color seems to darken when it is spun and plied. I LOVE it.



This was a one-ball purchase from Westfield Woolies. It is a wool/mohair blend. The wool still has some lanolin in it, which made it soft and rich to work with. I spun it up into about 200 yds -- Navajo plied. The skein is hanging in the sun room to dry after it's initial washing otherwise I would post a picture.

My mom picked up this skein at the Westfield Woolies' booth and hinted it would make a nice scarf. I thought it would make a great scarf for her so I picked that up for a future Christmas present.



Last but not least is a purchase I didn't made myself, but one that my mom found at the Knitting Notions' booth and bought for me. It is a wonderful little tool for sock knitters. You slide your needles into the bottom and secure them with the cotton ties. Then you can take the pair of socks you are working on anywhere! It is great! I have used it during the weekend and found that I was no longer worrying about loosing stitches as I carried my sock around in my bag!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Greencastle Fiber Event



Yesterday my mom and I went to the Greencastle Fiber Event! What a blast! It was a feast for the eyes and the imagination! We kept walking around saying, "Wow, wow! Look at that!"

I thought I would treat you all to a few pictures from the event, just in case you couldn't make it.


This was a beautiful booth by Knitting Notions. The owner dyes all of her yarn. Her husband makes wonderful wooden table swifts and sock needles keepers (more on that later). Her daughter makes simply stunning wooden shawl pins. I was really impressed with the owner's sense of color. She is an artist with her dyes.




More Knitting Notions' yarn.

A beautiful shawl with Knitting Notions' Yarn.




This was an imaginative chair made with felted roving! I couldn't believe it! It should be in a museum -- it was definitely a work of art.





There were all sorts of spinning wheels at the show. I was really impressed with this American made, beautifully crafted spinning wheels. I loved the attention to the past with the details of comfort and style this man put into his wheels when he designed them. Unfortunately, I was too amazed by the wheels to get his card or his name. Opps...




Have any of you ever read this new book? I don't know if I'm interested in it yet. The main theme that the author (sitting behind the desk) stressed was that it was "steamy." My mom and I thought that was hilarious.


This book is supposed to be about a couple who own a shop. They get recruited to help solve a local murder and along the way there is some "steam" created. I thought, "There are enough funny stories and sad stories in any local knitting shop. You don't need "steamy" or murder to make a knitting shop book interesting."

I think I'll stick with my good old Agatha Christies' for awhile. I guess I'm just not drawn in by the "steam." I mean, get real; there is enough drama in a local yarn shop without the "steam" and murder. Maybe someday I'll take the plunge, but not yet.



These were some adorable felted birds by "Created from the Heart." She is a local felting artist from Greenwood, Indiana. She does a fabulous job!

Ah, yes, beautiful yarn. Don't you just love it?


And more beautiful yarn just waiting to be worked up into something warm and cozy



I loved this picture. The fiber just seemed to be calling out, "Come play with me." There were so many colors. It was beautiful.


I got a kick out of the Angora bunnies. The dyed angora fiber is above and the fuzzy little darling is below. What a look!


I'll have to post my purchases another day. I didn't buy too much because I didn't want to get carried away. But I did find what I was looking for....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Greencastle Fiber Event


Well, are you going? That is the big question many of us are asking one another this week.


The wonderful, amazing, absolutely hilarious Greencastle Fiber Event is next weekend (April 11 & 12). I have had it on my calendar for months. It is an event not to miss if you are into "fiber" in the least bit. If you have any kind of fiber lust ... you'll have it on your calendar for months.



I have been plotting and planning what I am going to look for this year. There is usually so much to look at, feel and admire your mind goes a bit wacky. The main item I am hunting down is Shetland roving. I became addicted to it after I spun my "Shetland Spring" sweater. It is so soft and warm.




In the mean time I have been satisfying my fiber lust with some fiber from the shop. The Harrisville fiber is one of the more interesting wool blends to spin. It has a short staple and is filled with lots of "berries". The berries make spinning "lumpy bumpy" yarn automatic, you can't spin is smooth and even. It is best suited for an energized single ply. Because of the short staples I would not recommend this to a beginner. However, if you are an intermediate spinner and would like a little bit of an adventure, this fiber is fun.
I was surprised by the amount of lanolin that is still in the fiber. I didn't smell it but I felt it as I was spinning. My hands were really warm and soft after I had spun two skeins worth of fiber.
Also, there was a lot of dye run off when I washed the skeins of yarn. So don't put it in with any other yarn you have spun.
Happy Knitting & Spinning!

Spring at Last

This morning, as I headed out on my early morning walk, I noticed... the bushes are sprouting their green leaves! Spring is here! It is no longer tempting us or teasing us. It has arrived.

I always look forward to the first few glimpses of green. I love that fresh green color -- it is unlike anything else. It starts low to the grown and gradually ebbs upward. For some reason I feel like I can finally breathe a sigh of relief -- spring is here. I guess after such a long and cold winter I kind of felt like spring just wasn't going to come this year.




This was also in the woods to greet me on my early morning walk. I just had to take a picture, it was so amazing. So, from one spinner to another -- "You did a good job, little spider."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Books


Listening to audio books is a mainstay of my life as a knitter. I am constantly reading, ordering more audio books from the library and researching more books to read. I have learned a lot by reading as I knit. I honestly don't know what I would do if I didn't have audio books available.


When I was younger and the library didn't have such a large selection of audio books, I rigged up my desk with some large clips so that I could hold my books open to read while I knitted. I think that really helped me to knit by feeling different stitches rather than looking at the different stitches. Even so, I am so glad there is a larger selection of audio books now!


In light of my love for books I thought it would be appropriate to add a list of books I have just read and books I am currently reading. I would love to hear suggestions of your favorite books!


Happy Knitting!

The Dye Addiction

Hand painted skeins
I am now officially addicted to dying! It is so much fun. I am experimenting with it and am putting together a workshop for later this spring. I will teach how to make hand painted roving and yarn as well as vat or crock pot dying. In the mean time I think my crock pot and microwave are going to be busy on the weekends....

Chestnut Brown - dyed in the crock pot

Socks

Two weeks ago I stupidly thought spring had arrived and I arrived at the shop wearing my cute little flats without socks. By early afternoon my little toes were frozen and I was miserable.

Molli noticed my discomfort and offered to let me borrow a pair of socks Lin had made for her. I was very grateful. As soon as I put them on I saw how cute colorful socks looks with little flats. You know, it really dresses them up!

All of a sudden I knew I had to make a pair of socks. The following day I bought this lovely ball of spring yellow sock yarn and started knitting. I have one sock done and am eagerly working on the second sock.