Thursday, May 30, 2013

Announcement

I think it's time I made an announcement.  I'm going to be opening an Etsy store soon!  I'll be selling my hand dyed yarn, roving, hand spun yarn and other goodies.  It's been in the works for a while, and I'm hoping June will be the month I open shop!  Just getting my inventory together and creating my store now.  This is a whole new business move for me; from Hypnotist to Fiber Artist.  Go figure.  Life has a way with twisting, turning, and creating new and interesting paths for me.  

My store will be called "The Purled Ewe," the same as this blog.  That way I can keep the two connected.  

Stay tuned for my launch date!  :)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mini-Skein Hexipuff Swap

I've been hosing a Knit-A-Long (KAL) with my friends on HAPL (Healing After Pregnancy Loss group on Ravelry).  We had a mini-swap for mini-skeins of yarn to make hexipuffs.  My partner sent me a lovely package that I was finally able to rescue from our apartment complex office today (it was stuck there over the holiday weekend).  

Oreo and I opened the box together.  He always has to see what arrives in boxes.  :)


Gorgeous teal gradient mini-skeins (though this picture does not show the beautiful teals accurately...I have such a hard time getting teals to show properly with my camera).

Pretty purple mini-skeins!  :)

Local honey sticks!  I can't wait to taste these.  

Last, but certainly not least, a pretty honeycomb card.  



Monday, May 27, 2013

A Fiber Filled Weekend!

This past weekend was filled with fiber fun!  Saturday, my friend Catherine came over to my place to dye yarn.  We spent the day using Wilton's food coloring and Kool Aid on natural colored yarns and overydyeing.  It was her first time doing crock pot dyeing, and we both tried squirt bottles for the first time.  I highly recommend squirt bottles for hand painting!  So much fun!
We came up with some lovely color combinations and had a blast while doing it.  

Catherine's yarns. 
The pic above shows Catherine's yarns.  The one on the left was a pale pink, that she overdyed in the crockpot using Watermelon Kool Aid.  She was very pleased with the result.  The one on the right was a natural wool/nylon mix that she dyed with Buttercup Wilton's and Teal Wilton's.  
The above are my yarns.  The one on the right is an overdye of some scrap rainbow colored yarn I was gifted.  I overdyed by hand using purple Wilton's.  The one on the left is a wool/nylon mix that I hand painted with Wilton's teal and green.
Top view of Catherine's Yarns
Below, is Catherine's yarn.  She overdyed this in the crockpot using Wilton's.  It was originally a pale green and yellow.  Love how it turned out!


On Sunday, Catherine, Eileen, and I road tripped up to Wooster, OH, about 2 1/2 hours from here.  I drove while Catherine knitted in the passenger seat, and Eileen knitted and spun on her spindle in the back.  It was a beautiful, cool, sunny May day for a fiber festival (we had heard tales that last year it was in the 90's).  We were able to show off some knitwear thanks to the cooler weather...I wore my Color Affection Shawl, Eileen wore a cardigan she knitted, and Catherine wore her knew shawlette she just finished up.  

The Great Lakes Fiber Festival was probably on scale to the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs.  It was held at the Wooster fairgrounds, in the buildings, while there were a few booths outside.  There were rows and rows of fiber and yarn vendors in each building.  Going on a Sunday was perfect because it wasn't over crowded, and some of the vendors were offering sales.  


I was very impressed with the amount of fiber at this festival!  Some already dyed, some natural, some from heritage wool breeds, some from around the world...my  hands were so soft by the end of the day from petting all the fiber and fleeces!  



I really enjoyed chatting with farmers and vendors there.  Learned a lot from them.

Though I hadn't really planned on this, I ended up buying hand carders and not one, but TWO fleeces to card and spin; one BFL and one Lincoln.  I'm getting deep into this fiber business, and I want to learn everything I can.  Plus, I couldn't pass up on the BFL which was marked from $50 down to $10 and the Lincoln fleece from $50 down to $15!  So I have some work to do!



We had such a great time at the festival.  My friends were excited about Fiber Optics being there, and other yarn companies they adore.  I was enthralled with all the fiber, didn't buy a single skein of yarn this time!  Even saw some alpacas, loads of sheep, and an Angora bunny.  I would definitely go to this fiber event in the future if I'm still in Ohio.






Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My first time at the UVFF

The Upper Valley Fiber Festival (UVFF) was today.  My friend Catherine accompanied me on the 40 min trip North to Troy, OH.  It was a dreary morning for a drive, but the lovely company made the trip go very quickly.

The UVFF was held at the fairgrounds in one building; a very small event.  As we began perusing the tables, I was a little sad at the lack of roving, other than alpaca and anogra.  The yarn selection was a bit slim too.  Though once we walked to the end of the building, turned, and went down the other aisle, I became much more interested in what I saw.  Beautiful sock yarns on sale, merino/silk roving, undyed yarns, the things I had been hoping to find at this event.   

Bit blurry as I was walking and using my iPhone.  But just one of the yarn booths at the festival.

Beautiful shawl that Elizabeth bought yarn for.  Japanese Waves shawl which is a free pattern on Ravelry.

In this picture, you can see some different looms and spinning wheels at the festival.
I made some purchases, and in an hour and a half, we were done with the festival and ready for lunch with our friend, Elizabeth, who was already there at the festival working at the Miami Valley Knitting Guild table teaching people how to knit.  We carpooled our way to "downtown" Troy to go to the Caroline restaurant.  Unfortunately, it was not open at that time, so we will have to make another trip to try it in the future.  There was, however, a bakehouse open and hopping!  We took the last table there and settled in for lunch, knitting, and chatting.  

Elizabeth helped me get started on a toe up sock using double pointed needles.  One of my goals for this year was to make socks in this way, I've been having a terrible time getting started.  Thankfully, Elizabeth had the skills to get me going and I was able to knit a few inches while there.  


After lunch, we parted ways with Elizabeth, and Catherine and I decided to check out Tipp City, OH, which was only a 10 minute drive away.  We were hoping to check out a yarn and fiber store there, but when we did find it, it was closed.  We walked around and went into one cute shop there, where I helped Catherine find a very cute purse.  

We had a great time and enjoyed a fiber festival event day.  Now to plan what colors will be going onto these luscious fibers and yarns!

Here are some pics of my loot...

 ON Live Supersocke 100 self striping yarn.  Don't you just love the colors?  This comes from The Yarn Shop in Columbus, OH.


These fluffy clouds of merino & silk were too soft and lovely to pass up.  

This merino/nylon sock yarn was too yummy to pass up too.  The above roving and this yarn come from Sheepish Creations.  


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spinning Yumminess

I've been working on three separate singles on my wheel lately.  Wanted to show everyone my progress so far.  

The first one here is a single I've been working on from Three Waters Farm called "Fall Apple Redux."  It's a combination of Polwarth and Silk and it's absolutely lovely to spin!  


 Next, we have some Corriedale mix that I dyed using Wilton's.  I call it "Spring Green."  

And last, but not least, I started working on the Columbia, Rambox, Silk mix I bought at a fiber festival back in March.  It's so interesting how each one feels so different in my hands as I spin them on the wheel.  
Will continue working on these before starting something new (though I'm really wanting to start on the Tomato Medley colorway I won).  I'm so not a monogamous spinner or knitter.  :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My New Spinning Wheel Cover!

My talented mother-in-law, Carolyn, made me a gift that I wanted to share with you.  After much planning, measuring, and brain-storming, we came up with a spinning wheel cover for my Kiwi 2.  I picked out the fabrics and Carolyn created it with her mad sewing skills.  

                         Isn't the sheep fabric cute?  I thought it was so perfect for this project.  
  


The cover slips on over the top, and has elastic down around the bottom to keep it on.  Now my spinning wheel will be more protected when I take it places, and will gather less dust!  I love it!  


Monday, May 13, 2013

Color Affection Shawl

A friend of mine turned me on to Color Affection one day, as we were knitting here at my house.  She showed me the pattern page on Ravelry, and we purused all the lovely variations of this colorful shawl.  Given that I have "do more colorwork" on my 2013 goal list, I put that shawl into my Ravelry queue to do at a future date.  Thankfully, that future date came sooner rather than later, when a friend of mine on Ravelry gifted the pattern to me one day.  So very sweet!  I immediately started searching through yarns in my stash and shopping online for the perfect colors.

The Knit Picks Tonal collection caught my eye in a few of the Ravelry project pages.  I liked how they added even more color variation to this stripey shawl.  I purchased the colors I liked and waited for them to arrive.  The colors were not exactly as depicted on the Knit Picks site, but I came to love them anyways.  

I took time to read through the notes on Ravelry from others who had knit this shawl.  There was talk about making sure the edges weren't too tight (which I knew would be an issue for me since I'm a tight knitter), different ways to do the increases, and talk of it being boring because it is straight knitting (all you do is knit back and forth, back and forth, repeat, and repeat).  Straight stockinette stitch does not bother me, nor does short rows (which there are a lot of in this pattern).  I love mindless knitting while I watch TV at night. 

It took me quite a few false starts to get going on this pattern.  I tried the increases noted in the pattern, which didn't look right when I did them.  Switched to doing KFB (knit front and back) and that looked better.  I also slipped the first stitch purlwise, which made it really difficult for me to add the new colors in.  What worked for me, after starting and restarting probably 6 times, was knit one, yarn over, knit front and back (K1, YO, KFB) for the edges and increases.  When it came time to add in the colors, I didn't do any twists like I read some people had done, but instead, would just grab the color I needed, pulled it behind the others, and began knitting with it, making sure to keep my edges loose as I did that. 

The short rows are not as hard as some might imagine.  Especially since you don't have to pick up the wrapped stitches.  The color changes were also easier than expected, especially once I got the hang of it (which took numerous attempts!).  The pattern, while easy to read, does not tell you how to do the color changes in great detail.  It assumes you know how to do color work.  That was disappointing to me, as I would have liked the pattern to be a bit more detailed on that topic.

I learned a new bind off for this.  A friend taught me to knit 2 together, then pass that stitch back onto the left needle and continue on.  Made for a nice, stretching bind off.

When I first finished, I was very disappointed in my shawl.  It was squattier than I had imagined it would be.  Here's a pic to show you what I mean.  It's a little over a foot vertical, and far more than that horizontally.  


Looks rather wonky doesn't it?  And it was more of a long scarf than shawl.  I went back on Ravelry, and asked around about how to fix it.  The answer?  BLOCKING.  Luckily, I have a friend down the road with blocking mats and wires that I can borrow.  Also good that I did laundry, and I didn't put the sheets back on the spare bed yet.  I didn't have enough floor room for this shawl, and needed a room to block it in that could be closed off away from Oreo.

Looking much better already!


I think I'm going to be much happier with it after it dries.  It did stretch quite a bit, and the wires helped me to get it into the right shape.  I didn't have great lighting for these pics, unfortunately, but you get the idea.

This project has taught me that blocking really does do wonders!  I'm so happy with the results of this after I blocked it.  It's soft, squishy, and has become my go-to carry along shawl in my purse.  Perfect for keeping me warm in cold restaurants and stores, and on chilly Spring days like today (it's May 12th and only 53 degrees here in Ohio!).  I've already had some friends and family members drooling over it, so I foresee making more in the future.  :)


Pattern:  Color Affection Shawl by Veera Välimäki
My Color Affection page on Ravelry
Yarns Used:  Knit Picks Tonal Sock Yarn in Pacific, Pearlescent, and Springtime 
Needle Size:  US 6, 32" circular needle

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Won A Contest!

After purchasing some beautiful roving from Three Waters Farm, I recently joined their Raverly group.  In doing so, I learned about some nice contests that they offer. There is a contest each month for things you are currently spinning from Three Waters Farm, and a new colorway contest was added just a few weeks ago.  I'm excited to announce that I won the colorway contest!  I posted this picture of heirloom tomatoes that I found online in response to theme "Eat your Fruits and Veggies."  Here is the pic I posted...

Heirloom tomatoes always make me think of summer time.  The colors are so varied and rich.  Growing up, I had no idea there were so many colors to be found in tomatoes (which I thought were gross until I was, oh, in my twenties).  

My picture inspired these lovely rovings from Three Waters Farm...

Both are on sale until June 1st for 10% off!  

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Perfect Carry Along Project

If you are like me, you rarely go anywhere without your knitting.  Some projects are too big, or too complicated to carry along with you, but some are just right.  The hexipuffs I'm making for my Beekeeper's Quilt are the perfect carry along knitting project, in my opinion.  They are small, knit up fast, and give you instant gratification and satisfaction.  Plus you get to play with lots of different colored yarns to see what they look like in a hexipuff swatch of sorts.  Just too perfect.

The last 3 months, I've been knitting hexipuffs.  I've had a few generous people gift mini-skeins of yarn to me for them, some of the yarns I've spun myself, and some are just leftovers from other projects.  I'm going a hexipuff Knit-A-Long on Ravelry, and a mini-skein swap with a few friends.  These things are much more addictive than I thought they would 
be!
This one I hand dyed using Wilton's food coloring.
 



I don't have a set goal in mind just yet of how many hexipuffs I want to make, but to make a quilt, I'm going to need at least 150!  
Made out of my handspun yarn.
I bought a little bag that fits my hexipuff tools perfectly.  A friend gifted me a mini-crochet hook, I have my size 4 circ needle, a darning needle, a yarn cutter, and yarn.  It's not quite big enough for the bamboo fill I'm using, so I keep that in a separate ziplock nearby.  


What can I say, I'm addicted to Hexipuffs!  :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Day to Dye For: Part 2

I promised to post pics of my dye job yesterday to show you the results.


My mini-skeins turned out quite well.  It's really hard to show the teal colors accurately with my camera, but they are pretty close.

 


From this....









                                   
                             





                                                       TO THIS!  :) 













From this......


                                          To THIS!







This was my handspun single wet and dyed....
 
                                             
And this was the result after it was steamed and dried.  Lovely rose color!

Here are the Knit Picks Bare fingering weight mini-skeins I dyed after drying...



Last, but definitely not least, my roving!