Monday, March 24, 2014

March Happenings and Contest Winner

Spring is here...wait...is it?  23 degrees this morning makes it feel like Spring has not yet Sprung here in the Miami Valley.  I'm so ready for warmer days!  Though I did enjoy a lovely 70 degree, sunny day on Friday!  It was just too lovely to stay indoors, so I packed my hiking bag with some knitting and headed over to Cox Arboretum in Dayton.  It was a perfect place to spend the afternoon.  I hiked through the woods, sat by the pond and knitted for awhile, and then hiked some more.  

 I began working on Rill Scarf by Miriam L. Felton.  I have wanted to do this scarf for a few months now, but wasn't sure what yarn to use for it.  My stash was lacking in lace weight yarn, which is what this pattern calls for.  After a lot of thought and perusing Etsy shops, I decided I wanted to buy some bare yarn, dye it myself, and use it for this scarf.  I found some merino/silk lace weight yarn on Etsy that was perfect for this project.  As for the color, I dyed it using Kool Aid and Wilton's Food coloring.  It is actually more variegated than this picture shows.  It has areas of lighter green and darker, mossy green.  I absolutely love how it turned out!  I named the yarn "Shamrock".  


Feels good to be knitting again after taking a bit of a hiatus over the winter.  

I finished spinning and plying some merino/silk fiber for a friend of mine.  She had purchased the roving at a local auction and had me spin it on commission.  The original roving reminded me a of a Tribble from Star Trek.

 Here's the yarn I made from it...


 2 ply, 494 yards, fingering weight yarn

This past week, I added some new hand dyed lovelies to my shop.  This organic polwarth top was part of my colorway naming contest in my Ravelry group.  The winning name is "Mermaid's Hair" which was suggested by Ravelry user DKBach.  

 I think the name fits it perfectly!  Thanks to all who participated in my contest!  More contests to come!

Next we have a set of 2 skeins of merino/alpaca/nylon named "Purple Plum Love"  219 yards each. 


Next we have "Cornflowers" on 100% merino lace weight yarn.  440 yards.  

This one is "Marigolds" on merino lace weight yarn.  

And finally we have "Emerald" on lace weight yarn.

       Now to get back to more spinning commissions and knitting!  












Sunday, March 16, 2014

Colorway Naming Contest

I've been dyeing for the last 3 days!  Lots of lovely items to be shown to you soon.  Just letting things dry.  :)  

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about a contest I'm doing in my new Ravelry group.  If you are not a member of Ravelry, you can join my group HERE.  If you are a knitter, crocheter, weaver, fiber artist, or anyone interested in these things, I highly recommend joining Ravelry.com.  

I'm asking for name suggestions for this colorway...

The winning name will be chosen one week from today (March 23rd) and the winner will receive a 10% off coupon to my shop!  

So log onto Ravelry, join my group, and tell me what you think I should name this lovely organic Polwarth fiber!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring is in the Air


I'm sure many of you can relate to feeling like it's time to come out of hibernation.  It has been a LONG winter here in Ohio.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the beautiful snow covered ground, but the bitter polar vortexes were rough!  Looking back at the crafting I accomplished over the last few months has been pretty scarce.  Just difficult to get my creative mojo going when all I want to do is curl up under a stack of blankets and sleep until Spring.

Today it's near 60 degrees, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing (quite strongly too!), and I have been hanging out in my kitchen dyeing yarn and fiber.  It's just been TOO LONG since I've cooked up some pretty items for my shop!

I also realized that my last blog post seems like ages ago!  I have done a few things that I wanted to show you since the items I'm dyeing won't be ready for viewing until a few days later.  

Last night, I finished plying this lovely merino/silk top for a friend of mine.  She had commissioned me to spin it and told me to do whatever I wanted to do with it.  It called out to me that it wanted to be a fingering weight yarn, so here you have it!  This picture doesn't quite do it justice.  It shimmers in the light due to the silk, and the colors range from light yellow, to gold, to orange, tan and deep brown.  It's soaking now and will be ready to pass off to my friend by Sunday.  Then I can start on another spinning commission for someone else.


I got back into the hexipuff making routine thanks to an new friend on Ravelry and Facebook.  She reignited my love of making these little things!  Here's just a taste of some I've knitted up over the last 2 months.




A few weeks ago, I got out my sewing machine and made a few bags out of some sheep fabric that had been sitting in my stash for too long.  

The first bag is a commission sew for a friend of mine.  Made out of organic fabric.  It's a medium sized bag...the pocket inside is big enough to fit a Kindle.  


I have just enough of this fabric left to make a small project bag with it.  If you are interested, I created a Preorder for it on my Etsy shop HERE.  

I also made some other adorable sheep bags for my Etsy store.  All organic fabric.


The bag above can be found in my shop HERE.  

The one you see below is listed HERE.  

The main difference between the two bags is the size.  
One is a medium sized bag and the other is a large.


I also completed two scarfs/shawlettes that I forgot to post for you to see.  One I started on while in DC in January, and the other is one I started in November.

This is the one I started on in DC...
This is Pogona pattern from Stephen West.  If you are on Ravelry, you can check out my project notes HERE.  My friend, Beth, gifted me some lovely Mountain Colors Barefoot yarn for Christmas.  She knew I had not knitted with Mohair before, and this yarn is a blend of wool, mohair and nylon.  Unfortunately, my sensitive skin can't handle it next to it, but it does drape nicely over my shoulders.  I just love the color!
This yarn was gifted to me by Beth as well (she spoils me!) for my birthday last year.  She dyed it with Kool Aid.  I made a "Whimsical Wallingford" scarf out of it.  So soft and light to wear this time of year.  The Wallingford pattern by Jen Lucas can be found on Ravelry HERE.  My project page is HERE.





Before I sign off, I wanted to let those of you who are on Ravelry know that I started a group for my business!  The Purled Ewe now has a home on Ravelry!   Please join us there! 

Now back to cleaning up my Kool Aid mess in the kitchen and putting away my dye stuffs for the day.  :)  


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Inventory Reduction Sale

INVENTORY REDUCTION SALE 
at 

15% OFF an order of $15.00 or more through February 1st with Coupon Code JAN2014 (to be used at checkout)

Handspun, Hand dyed, Merino Silk Wool Yarn, "Longing for the Beach", 362 yards

Japanese Knot Wristlet Knitting/Crochet Bag, 100% Cotton, 

"French Vintage"

Fans of The Purled Ewe on Facebook have already known about this sale for two days.  Don't get left behind on sale notifications and shop updates.  If you aren't a fan of The Purled Ewe on Facebook, LIKE US HERE!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Yarnie Gifts, Traveling, and Knitting Plans

Given the bitter, Arctic cold here in Ohio, I've been in hibernation mode this week.  Staying inside has given me some time to organize my fiber tools, to go through the items I received for Christmas, and to think ahead to my future knitting projects.  

My friend, Jessica, gave me such a fun, creative, and interesting gift that I unwrapped yesterday.  I received this ball of yarn, and peaking out of it, were little surprises that she had wrapped inside!  I had no idea what I would find by unwrapping this yarn ball, and I have to admit, there was a lot of "oohing!" and "giggling" as I unwound it.

The yarn is Knit One Crochet Too Seda Rustica, 70% silk and 30% baby llama.  OMG it's so soft!!!  It's also enough to make a pair of mittens.  Perfect!

As I unwound the yarn, items started popping out at me!  Candies, knitting items, tea bags, all sorts of goodies!  


It was quite amazing how many items she was able to fit into this ball of yarn!  
Candies, sheep ruler, lip balm, row counter, chocolate, teas, and stitch markers!

THANKS JESSICA!  Now to pick out which mitten pattern I want to make!  :)

While traveling to DC, I met up with Jessica and went to Looped Yarn Works.  It's a small yarn shop that was in walking distance from one of the conference hotels.  They did have space for knitters to sit, which was nice, and they had quite a selection of yarns from all over!  I couldn't pass up buying some new yarns and needles while there.  

I bought two skeins of The Fibre Company Road to China Silken Jewels yarn. 65% Bay Alpaca, 15% Silk, 10% Camel, and 10% Cashmere.  SUPER SOFT and lovely!  I think these two are also going to become a pair of mittens.


I needed some longer size 5 needles while on our trip, so I thought I would try some Knitter's Pride Karbonz circulars.  At first, I thought they were really weird to knit with, and I regretted spending $15 on it.  After knitting for a while, though, I changed my mind, got use to them, and now I'm really enjoying them!  


While on our trip, I started a new shawl.  It's my very first Stephen West pattern called "Pogona".  Very simple pattern that is just repetitive enough to not have to look at the pattern constantly.  I'm using the lovely Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn that my friend Beth gave me for Christmas.  60% merino wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon.  I've never knit with mohair before, and I'm not sure how my skin will like it, but I'm loving how it knits up!

Another thing I did yesterday was count up the hexipuffs I made last year.  I threw them into  a basket and just smiled as I looked at all the colorful, squishy puffs!  How many do you think are in here?  (answer below)

77 total!  Not enough for a quilt yet, but it does renew my motivation to make more!  







Sunday, January 5, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from The Purled Ewe!

2013 has come and gone in quite a hurry, or so it feels that way to me.  Now we are in 2014...a New Year for knitting, spinning, and dyeing adventures!

I've been in the process of writing this post for over a week now.  We have been super busy with traveling for the holidays and this past weekend, we were in DC for my husband's work conference.  Now we're home, and I can take a deep breath, organize my thoughts (and my new stash items) and plan for the new year.  

I pulled up the post I wrote last year on the knitting goals I wanted to accomplish in 2013 to see if I accomplished everything.  

*Master Brioche Stitch:  CHECK!  It was fun learning this new stitch and though I only got around to making one cowl, I can now use this stitch for future projects.  

*Do more color work knitting:  CHECK!  My Christmas gifts to my family this year was all about color work!  

*Master socks:  Mini CHECK on this one.  I did make a few pairs this year, but still do not feel I have mastered the heels.  Will continue to work on this goal.

*Stash Bust:  CHECK!  I did make some lovely items this year from my hand spun yarn!


Time to make new goals for 2014!  These goals are not just about knitting...but also include spinning, dyeing, and sewing.  

1.  Continue enhancing my skills with color work knitting.  For Christmas, I was gifted the Knit Picks Lofoten sweater pattern and all the yarns and items to complete this project.  I don't have the exact colors shown in this picture, but pretty close to it.  I've never made a fair isle sweater before, so looking forward to this challenge!  

2.  Spin my own yarn and knit it into a pair of socks.

3.  Get Holiday knitting done PRIOR to November!  This year I made the mistake of doing all my holiday knitting in the month of December.  That was just crazy to say the least!  So this year, my goal is to think ahead and start things EARLY.

4.  Get back on the Hexipuff wagon!  I have been so busy with other things that I haven't made a hexipuff in MONTHS!  I would love to be able to put all my hexipuffs together by the end of the year to make my Beekeeper's Quilt.  Now, to calculate how many I have and how many I need to make per month to finish this project.

5.  Learn to use a drop spindle.  I so enjoy spinning on my wheel, but there are some fibers that would do better on a drop spindle (like the camel fiber I have).  I got a starter drop spindle for Christmas that is so much lighter and less wonky than the one I have already.  

6.  Learn how to work with the silk hankies I have.  I now have 3 silk hankies that have been gifted to me and I have been trying to decide if I want to try knitting directly from them, or spin them, or continue to stare at them and think "my these are pretty!"  OK, the third idea isn't really the best option.  ;)  

7.  Write my very own lace shawl pattern!  My MIL gifted me a Craftsy course on how to design my own lace shawl pattern.  I have been wanting to learn how to do this for some time, so this year, I'm going to do it!  It would be great to be able to offer my own patterns and shawls in my Etsy shop.

8.  Continue enhancing my sewing skills.  There are so many projects I'd like to do this year!

9.  Continue creating new and fabulous yarn and fiber color ways using Kool Aid, Wilton's, Greener Shades Dyes, and natural dye sources.  I've really enjoyed doing more dyeing lately and this year, I will do even more!

10.  Ok, might as well make this an even 10 for this list.  Maybe I'm going overboard here?  My final goal for the year will be...hmmm....what have I not covered here in my list.  OH!  I remember now!  Learn how to knit 2 socks with one being inside the other as you knit.  My friend, Jeni, came across this idea online and shared it with me.  I just need to find the link to be able explain to you how to do this.  

What are your goals for 2014?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Check out my Kool Yarns!


I spent most of last week at my dye pots playing with Kool Aid and Wilton's food coloring recipes.  Some of the recipes were given to me by my good friend, Beth, and others were happy accidents or new creations by me.  It's quite amazing the depth of color and range of color you can get simply with food coloring and Kool Aid packets.  I have learned much in this week and wanted to share my latest creations as well as some tips.

The above picture is one of my creations.  I call this "Forest Nymph."  This one was dyed using a combination of different Wilton's food colorings.  The brown food coloring broke a bit, which is why you can see a bit of red in the brown sections.  I like the effect and it makes it more of a chestnut colored brown.  This is super wash merino and nylon yarn, fingering weight, and a whopping 462 yards!  You can find it in my shop, HERE.  

Meet "Red Brick Schoolhouse" my lovely red color way I created with a recipe of Kool Aid I created.  The yarn is a soft twist merino fingering weight, 400 yards.  You can find it in my shop HERE.  

TIP:  When dyeing with Kool Aid, I HIGHLY recommend using Kool Aid packets and NOT the canisters.  Yes, buying the canisters is less expensive overall, but the ingredients are not the same.  The company puts sugar into the canisters while the packets are unsweetened.  In dye attempts using grape from canisters, I found that the grape color isn't nearly as dark and vibrant as it is when using the packets.  The sugar also lends to making the yarn stickier and can cause issues with burning (I haven't had this happen, but read it on a forum).  Unsweetened Kool Aid packets or even generic packets like they sell at Kroger are your best bet.

My friend Beth passed on a recipe to me for the above color way.  She named it "Moody" and was sweet enough to let me keep the name.  The first attempt I did of this here at home came out very dull in color, especially the purple parts.  Of course, I was using grape Kool Aid from a canister so I wasn't getting the color result I wanted.  I over dyed this skein with grape Kool Aid packets.  I LOVE IT!  It's so soft and squishy too.  Super wash merino/nylon yarn, 462 yards, fingering weight.  CLICK  HERE to see it in the shop.  

This is "Blue Ice"  on soft twist merino yarn.  This is based off a recipe from my friend Beth.  It's a vibrant blue with a few hints of purple and white in it.  You can find it in my shop, HERE.

OK, back to holiday crafting!  :)