Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thought you might like to see a picture of Toki at 4 months old. He's growing really fast! Long legs--or at least it seems so because I'm used to dachshunds. It's hard to get a good picture of him unless he's sleeping, so I sneaked up on him while he was gnawing a rawhide bone. Other than my occasionally leaving knitting where he can get at it, we aren't having too many problems with wanton destruction of property. I now have a bag or basket for all WIP's and am careful not to leave anything out within puppy jaws range. His chewies are strewn all over the house, too, so there's usually something to distract him or keep him busy.
Yammering about yarn
I am continually captivated by the work of other indie dyers, especially when I see something radically different from my own repertoire. This is wool/bamboo/nylon Panda Sock in "Fall In", dyed by Susan of Susan's Kitchen
. We were booth neighbors at Sock Summit. I love the short splashes of color, the interplay of colors she chose, and of course the yarn! Soft and shiny.
Decided to keep it plain stockinette to show off her dye work. I'm on the heel flap of the second sock.
Shhh...don't tell anyone, but I heart big box craft stores!
Guilty pleasure #247: I shop at Jo-Ann's. A lot. I'm a die hard coupon clipper, plus I'm on the mailing list for weekly flyers. Being in the store almost often enough to warrant a cot in the back, I saw this new yarn called "Stitch Nation", of Debbie Stoller's Stitch & Bitch fame of course. I was intrigued by the natural fibers. The best color selection is in the single ply 100% wool. There's also an alpaca/wool blend. I used a coupon and scored a trial skein of the wool/bamboo blend for $2.99. At 177 yards, I'll be able to get a hat or mitts out of it. That way, I can see if it would be a good choice for sweater knitting. Speaking of sweaters--I was in the Ravelry forums this morning and saw that Patons has this slick booklet of sweater patterns
which I had to have. Not that I don't have sweater yarn galore in my stash, but I'm of the opinion that a knitter can't have too many yarn options!
Those coupons also helped me get this spiffy set of Crystallites knitting needles and Silvalume crochet hooks for Marischka for just $20. The beads and yarn have been in my stash for a long time; I'm just glad to have found someone that wants 'em.
Stitchjones is hitting the road next weekend for a spin-in down at the beach in Newport. It's sponsored by the Yaquina Fiber Arts Guild. Was there last year, and it was a blast! I'm looking forward to it. Our schedule is whirlwind, so there probably won't be any beach pictures, but maybe I'll have some new hand dyed goodies and/or a FO to show off! And of course, I hope to see many of my local spinning buddies down in Newport.
Monday, January 25, 2010
in case you were wondering
I just wanted to confirm that the children's home "Marichka" in Ukraine is really real. Jason wondered if I was perhaps being solicited by a bogus charity, because it does happen, but even before I received a detailed email from Elena the needlework club director, I felt it was true because I was being asked for craft supplies, not money.
Elena told me that there are over 100 children in the orphanage. Many of them are from alcoholic and/or poverty stricken homes. They have plenty of donations of food, clothing and toys, but there are more kids who want to participate in crafts than there are materials available. In addition to yarn, needles/hooks and beads, they would like fabric and cross-stitch kits. Among these kids are some budding designers, and this impresses me down to the ground. Elena also sent me some very sweet pictures, which I would like to share with you.
Top: Darina and her little sister ; 2nd from top, Marina
some Needlework Club projectsNeedlework club group photo
A busy dye schedule has kept me from finishing any of my knitting projects--I've even had to set aside the sparkly bolero! Although I'm glad to be busy, I don't think I've even introduced my new yarn on the blog yet. I have been looking for a great Bluefaced Leicester wool, and I've found one that is superb. It's called Kensington BFL Aran, and it debuted on Ravelry and Etsy last week in a half dozen kettle dyed colors. Put ups are 100 g/181 yards. The stuff is so soft and shiny, I can't stop petting it! I only got in two cones to try, so all of this shipment is dyed and/or spoken for--however, I will be getting in a larger quantity next month.
Because I'm having trouble manipulating photos in Blogger, I'm unable to display the new yarns here. However, Kensington has its own category in my Etsy shop; to see all the colors, click here
As a customer driven indie dyer, I as always welcome inquiries and custom orders. In case you might be thinking about a sweater's worth of this luscious yarn, I give a volume discount on 5 or more skeins. Just a little food for thought!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Destash and help others
By now we probably all know that the fiber craft community's financial response to the recent disaster in Haiti has been overwhelmingly generous. I have heard the question raised about sending yarn and/or knit & crochet supplies, but since it is a hot weather climate, those items are probably low priority. I myself have been wondering where in the world I could send some of my vast personal stash of yarn, beads, knitting needles and odds & ends I will never use. The answer came to me yesterday in the form of an Etsy conversation. I wanted to share it with you, so
I've reprinted it verbatim below."Hello, I'm heading for the knitting club at the orphanage "Marichka". In our club, do girls of different ages. They are very passionate about crafts and show diligence and perseverance. Girls are trying to learn the secrets of knitting and needlework, weaving of beads. But in our club has a problem - we do not have enough yarn for knitting, knitting needles and hooks, beads. Perhaps you have the opportunity to help - please contact us by e-mail in our club. The girls are waiting for your participation. We would welcome any assistance. (Perhaps you have a very old, but a working model of of laptop. In our orphanage burned down the computer) Our address: dreams-yarn (at) ukr. net Sincerely, Elena"
Although I don't know exactly where it is, the dialect and "ukr.net" suggests it is in the Ukraine. I emailed back this morning for their mailing address, and am waiting for a response. This morning I picked out some items from my stash. I checked usps.com, and they do ship to the Ukraine but there are limits on package dimensions - I believe 12" on any one side.
I included the email address so that anyone interested can contact the knitting club leader. If you do, please let her know you heard about them from My Mom Made This/Stitchjones on Etsy, so that she knows I passed on the information.
Thank you, have a wonderful weekend, and God bless.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Sometimes sleeves won't wait
Have you ever been knitting something that was coming out so cool that you wanted to tell the world, even though you thought you would keep it a complete secret so that when it was completely finished you could whip out this stunning masterpiece at the next knit night that nobody even knew you were working on, and all your friends would be blown away?...anyone? Bueller?
*sigh* I guess it's just my head that needs work, then. (Which was never a secret.)
But seriously, you guys, look at my awesome glitzy bolero sweater! All I have to do is give it sleeves, weave in the ends, sew on the buttons, and steam it--I'm not going to wet block, I have a feeling that will make it grow too much--and it's good to go!
Here are the down and dirty details. Feel free to skip this part. For me, the blog has taken the place of that "Knitting Journal" I half-heartedly tried to maintain about 10 years ago pre-blog and digital camera. I knew people who actually put photos of their finished projects in those books, along with detailed notes and yarn samples, can you believe that? I think it was only in the last 5 years that I became a "real" knitter, whatever that means. And I consider myself still learning.
But I digress. Here, then, are my Knitting Journal Notes (to make me feel better)
Project Title: Glitz Happens Bolero
Pattern: Women's Neck Down Bolero from Knitting Pure & Simple
Size: 36" (will get to that later)
Yarn: 9 skeins Southwest Trading Company Yang (MC) a wool/bamboo blend with a sequin thread wrap
2 skeins Southwest Trading Company Yin (CC) a lusciously soft wool/bamboo DK to light worsted weight
Needles: Size 8 (body & sleeves) Size 7 (ribbing)
I found the yarn on sale at The Naked Sheep Yarn Shop and had to have it. I bought one skein of each, started knitting with it, and immediately called the shop to make sure I could get enough for this sweater! If you look up the pattern on Ravelry, someone has made it out of Yin & Yang, and I thought it would be spectacular in the blue. It is a pleasure to knit, I'm having about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on, and it's not even done yet!
You may be wondering who this is for, because if you know me you know I'm a big gal. If I were going to knit something for myself with sequins, I'd do a scarf or maybe a shawl. And I like my sweaters long, so boleros are out. Well...I have 2 slender, beautiful sisters-in-law. Annette is married to my brother Rick, and Darla was married to Jason's brother Jonathan who passed away in 1998. But she is still my sis-in-law, and a great friend. I don't think it's the right style or color for Annette, and I'm not sure if Darla would like it, so I have to give it some thought. I'm considering donating it to the local UU church auction which is held every fall; however, handknit items tend to not bring in much money and I have to admit, I'm kind of attached to this project. I'm mulling it over. All I know for sure, is that I love sparkly yarn whether it's metallics, beads or sequins. However, I'm way too lazy to do bead knitting; I want that part already done for me!
In other news...I've come up with a slogan of sorts for Stitchjones in the new year/new decade. It's called "Rockin' a little harder". I have 3 new sock colorways in the works, which I expect to unveil in about a week, and when you see them...provided they come out looking close to what I envision in me head...the slogan should make sense!
Now I need to talk a little bit about Haiti.
I have had to stop watching TV news coverage; it brings me to the verge of tears every time I let myself think about the morass of poverty, disease, violence and death. Forces of good willing to help but there's barely a way into the country right now because of the devastation. We donated what we could afford as a family, to the relief effort. I am part of a global knitting community of extremely generous souls. The Yarn Harlot has been spearheading Knitters Without Borders, knitwear designers are donating part of their proceeds to disaster relief, and local folks--not just the fiber network--are doing amazing things. This is Portland, Oregon, USA--Grass Roots Central. As a fiber business person, I feel it is incumbent upon me to do more, to follow suit. However, right now I'm not in a position to do so. I absolutely would if I could, though.
There is also another concern that is vying in my heart for that "price of a skein of yarn", or percentage of sales of a given colorway. It's something that was recently mentioned in Letters to the Editor of the local newspaper. It's a need right here in America, and I imagine relatively few people are aware of it.
As more help is able to get into Haiti, I am hoping that a lot of the violence and disease that threatens to become widespread will abate. I give thanks for all that I have, and I can't say enough that I appreciate those who actually read my late night ramblings. If blogging is the cyber equivalent of open mike, I'm pretty sure my time's up for tonight!
Friday, January 08, 2010
Here I am again, with pictures of knitting projects that are close to finished. First up is a pair of man socks in a plain 3 x 1 rib, with Kroy sock yarn. Mr. Stitchjones likes solid, muted colors, and boy is this color meh! I try not to think about it too much, that I'm a dyer with "Color Goes To Eleven" for a slogan and I knit socks for a husband who likes only the plainest colors and styles. Kind of like being a gourmet chef cooking for people who will eat only bologna sandwiches. Oh well, he's my man and I'll knit anything he likes.
Anyway, I haven't decided whether this yarn is brownish gray or grayish brown. "Taupe" I guess would be the closest, although on the label it lists the color as "Flax".
Whatever. I'm now on the heel flap of the second sock, so these should be finito soon.
I'm not much of a cable knitter, but this Caera Cowl
(Ravelry link) had me at hello. I bought several skeins of Alpaca With A Twist Highlander with a gift certificate from one of our many LYS. For some reason, the color refuses to photograph accurately; it's a pale celery green that I think is very pretty although it looks greyish green in the photo. Maybe because of the black background. The yarn is so soft and comfy, I'm tempted to keep the item but I'm sending it to my MIL. She's in Spokane where they have longer, colder winters than here, and she hinted at wanting me to knit her a cowl. I'll also send her my copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club" which I think she'll enjoy.
Cable action closeup. Although this is the most intricate cable pattern I've ever knit, it really isn't that hard. Making my Loppem
gave me a chance to practice cables.
Because my fortune told me to flash them colors, here is a new sock colorway for the new year. "Blackberry Sage" was a colorway I did on fiber last year. Two of my knit sibs
spun up fiber in the same colorway and made gorgeous shawls. I think the colors look pretty good on Titanium Sock. I'll be offering lots more fiber colorways on yarn, and vice versa, this year.
That's about it for now as far as yarn and knitting. I have other things in progress, including several projects I'm completely stoked about, but I'll save them for another time. Here's one last photo, which is captioned by guest blogger Toki.
Oh hi, ladies! Did you miss Toki? Here I am. I may be little but there's plenty of my kisses and snuggles to go around. In this photo I am keeping Mommy's favorite chair warm. I've had a very busy week. Yesterday I tasted Alpaca yarn for the first time. Yummy! Sometimes I don't understand Mommy but she seemed kinda mad. Today she bought me some little rawhide chew bones to keep me busy. They're good but I would rather chew on her hands, feet, ankles, brand new slippers, and anything that is soft and belongs to Mommy. She told me I have these little things called "testicles" and I had better enjoy them while I can because they're coming off very soon. I wonder what that means...
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Obey the fortune cookie.
Happy 2010, everybody!
During my formative years in the 1960s and 70s, I read my share of popular science fiction authors of the day--Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury. (That was before women sci-fi authors could get published; we've come a long way, baby!) Back then, the "Year 2000" and beyond seemed so, well, futuristic
, for lack of a better word. Me, I'm just glad I'm still around to see it come to pass. As a species, we have quite a few pesky problems to lick, but today finds me optimistic for the future.
My family's annual Christmas Eve Chinese feast was great fun--even if a few of the usual suspects did have one too many and started singing Christmas carols at the table, which drew some strange looks from restaurant patrons. Now I love fortune cookies, but I know they are as transient a thing as snow on the valley floor (during normal circumstances, anyway)! You break it open, read the message, crunch, and it's gone. However, I particularly liked the fortune in my cookie. So much so that I decided to make it my motto for the new year.You are a creative person. Let your colors show.
It just so happens that I have new yarns and lots of new colors planned for this year. Hey, who am I to argue with 3,000 years of Chinese wisdom?!
Hope Santa Claus was as good to you as he was to me! Look at the beautiful knitting books I got.
I also got other nice gifts and some spending money, with which I bought a whole lotta yarn. I have a metric ton of new projects on the needles. Most of them have managed to escape the jaws of Toki, unfortunately some did not and are now in that place where all UFO's trashed by puppies go. I want to show you what I'm working on, however something is wonky in Blogger and I can't move photos around! So I guess I'll have to post again later today or tomorrow with lots more pics.
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