Experimental Yarn

A few weeks ago I decided to dye some wool. I had my soon-to-be-born niece in mind here when I picked the colors. I broke the fiber into pieces to start off with. The majority was in one piece, then 3 much smaller pieces. I decided to go with purple for the main color then teal, pink and yellow for the mix-in colors. I knew that I wanted to try to use my drum carder to blend the colors. Other than that I was completely winging it here. 20130601-175251.jpg

The dye did not take evenly at all. In fact, there were so many white spots in the purple wool that I dyed it again. To even out the color I decided to try running each color through the drum carder a few times.


Which worked pretty well.


Then it was time to try mixing the colors together. I evenly divided all of the colors into 6 sections and made 6 bats by randomly picking a color and running it through the carder.


Then I randomly chose a bat and started spinning. I was able to fit 3 bats onto 1 bobbin, 3 onto another and then plied them together onto the third bobbin.


Didn't turn out exactly how I expected (although I really didn't have much of an expectation to begin with). I was going for a darker purple and lighter yellow, but too late now. I think it might be ok for a baby jacket or something. We'll see...


Rose City Yarn Crawl

This past weekend was the Rose City Yarn Crawl. The yarn crawl involves visiting 18 Portland area shops in 4 days (Thursday-Sunday). I was able to hit a few Thursday and Friday after work, but I hit most of the shops this weekend. My husband came along for the ride on Saturday and we hit 10 shops. I hit the rest on Sunday. You print out a passport to take to all the shops to get stamped. Once your passport is full you turn it in to the last shop you visit and are entered into a prize drawing. Ever since we moved to Portland I have wanted to visit all of these yarn shops, but hadn't made it to most of them. So, the yarn crawl was the perfect opportunity to see all the yarn shops in the area.

I ended up with a good bit of new yarn and fiber.





Clockwise from top to bottom:

  • Mountain Colors Hand-painted yarn in the Harmony Sweet Grass colorway
  • Debbie Bliss ecobaby in Brown and Denim colorways
  • Sweetgeorgia sock yarn in the Boheme colorway
  • Madeline Tosh Vintage in Teddy Bear
  • Blue Moon Socks that Rock in Aurora Borealis
  • Woolgatherings fiber 70% BFL / 30% Seacell

I am super excited about all of these yarns. With the exception of Madeline Tosh I have never knit with any of these brands before so they are all new to me.

This year they even had a tote bag that you could take from shop to shop and pick up a pin for each shop you visit.



I had an awesome time participating in the yarn crawl and can't wait to do it again next year!



My Little Helper

I am almost done with the little baby top that I showed you last time I posted - it just needs buttons. Yesterday I washed it and pinned it out to dry. 20130224-182244.jpg 20130224-182316.jpg

(The picture of the back side is more true to color than the first picture.)

Lily was very interested in the whole process and especially liked the smell of the wet wool. It made me laugh that, while I went to work on other things, she stayed by the sweater. She just liked to lay next to it like she was helping it to dry or something.

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She kept getting up, walking around, then going back to the sweater. What a funny little dog!

While she was "helping" the sweater to dry, I was winding some skeins of yarn into balls. (She loves to watch the ball winder, too.)

I got them all wound, and here's a sneak peak at my next project:


Lilliput Yarn

4/10/14 Edit: I have recently started dying some commercial sock yarn. Soon I will have an etsy shop named "Lilliput Yarn." Once my shop is all set up, this website (lilliputyarn.com) will re-direct to the shop.


I like to spin, but I have ended up with more yarn than I can knit in the near future. I have tried to sell it on my Etsy shop with no luck. The problem with selling something like yarn on Etsy is that people want to touch it and see the color in person. Luckily, the owner of  Black Sheep has agreed to sell some of my hand spun yarn in the shop.

I wanted to make up a cute label for the yarn, and what's cuter than a corgi puppy? So I decided to call it "Lilliput Yarn." (Lilliput is Lily's registered name and is a reference to the small people on the island of Lilliput in Gulliver's Travels.)

Lily and I had a little photo shoot. Many pictures were taken and this one was chosen:


Next, my awesome husband offered to photoshop the picture to make it look like a drawing. He did a great job and his final product ended up on the label.

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There are a total of 8 balls of yarn in a variety of materials (wool, silk, alpaca...) and weights.

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Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Hello, I'm back again! I don't know how long this posting more than once a week business is going to hold up, but I really want to get through some of this backlog of projects. Also, I have made some progress on that yarn that I dyed last week that didn't quite turn out as expected. This next project goes along with the falling leaves hat. When I was done with the hat I had a ball of yarn left over and thought I should make something to go along with the hat. Someone from the knitting group at my local yarn store (Black Sheep) was making some fingerless mittens that I really liked. The lace pattern doesn't match the hat, but the yarn does and I think they look just fine together.


They are surprisingly warm considering the amount of holes in them. The pattern is called "Mericash wrist warmers" by Jean Gray and is free on Ravelry. (By the way, I'm crystalcrafts on Ravelry if anyone out there wants to check out my project pages.)

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On another note, remember that roving from last week? I spun it and plied it into this:

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I was not such a fan of the colors. I decided to make up a dye pot of dark blue (Wiltons royal with a little black) and throw it in. After round 1 of dye it looked like this (sorry for the bad picture):


I still wanted it darker so I added more dark blue and put the yarn back in. Here's what it looks like now:

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It's weird, but I can't decide if I like it. I definitely like it more now then how it was. I just don't know. Although, after getting a great response from my knitting group yesterday I'm feeling a little better about it. You just never know what you're gonna get when dying yarn.

Dye Oops!

Sorry I haven't posted in so long again! I really will start trying to post on a more regular basis. I thought today would be a good day to dye some roving that I've had sitting around for a while. It is 4 oz of a wool/bamboo/nylon mix. (I have discovered that it takes about 4 oz of fiber to spin up enough yarn for a pair of socks.) For a while I have been trying to decide what colors I wanted to use. This morning I decided to try something new and go with orange, brown and green. This part always scares me because there is no turning back with dying. You can unravel knitting but there is no turning the roving back to white. (Although sometimes you can over dye and get a decent result which I will show you in a later post.)

I decided to go with the slow cooker method so I put the roving in with some water and vinegar to soak for a while.


While that was soaking I mixed up some Wiltons icing coloring to use as my dye.


After waiting a little while I added them to the pot. Green first,


then orange,


and brown last.


Not my personal favorite colors but it was looking like it would be promising. Especially once it was spun and all the colors kind of blended together. So, I put the lid on and let it sit for a while.

When it was time to take the roving out I felt really silly. I had just thought that the dye would make it all the way through to all of the roving. It didn't. So, now I essentially have a white roving with scattered chunks of green, orange and brown.


At this point I feel like I have 2 options:

1: Just let it dry and spin it up. Maybe once it is spun and plied it will look ok?

2: Lay it out so that the colors match up again and hand paint it. This would make it more like what I was originally going for, but I don't know if it's worth it.

What would you do?

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival

Ever since I started spinning almost 2 years ago I have wanted to go to a fiber festival. (I would have wanted to go before I started spinning too, it's just that I didn't know such a thing existed until I started looking for spinning fiber.) One of the big ones on the West Coast is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFF). I have been planning on going since we first moved to Oregon and it was so much fun! I have never seen so much fiber in one place before. It was an entire fairground full of fiber animals, fiber, yarn, spinning wheels, drop spindles, knitting supplies, weaving supplies and basically any fiber-related thing you can think of.

First we got to see some alpacas

and sheep.


Then it was time to watch a border collie heard some ducks. The border collie had a great time, but I'm not so sure about the ducks.

Then we decided to go back to the barn to see the goats. This cashmere goat likes to pose for pictures apparently.


Once we saw all the animals we wondered around all the booths. There were so many to see and Jason patiently went with me while I ooed and awed over all the yarn. I wanted to buy everything but had to keep reminding myself that I already have tons of yarn and spinning fiber at home.

Once we made sure that we had seen all the booths we decided to go home. But then we noticed a barn that we hadn't been to yet. We went in to find that it was the lama barn. Not only that, but the lama obstacle course was in progress. Yes, I just said that there was a lama obstacle course.



We stayed to watch 3 lamas go through the course then decided to call it a day. I had a great time and already can't wait to go again next year.

Yarn Fest '11

Last weekend was Yarn Fest '11 AKA a trip to Portland with my husband and his parents. Did you know that there are more than 15 yarn shops in Portland? This doesn't even count the ones in the cities around Portland. So, once I found out that there are so many yarn stores in Portland I began doing my research. I visited their websites and made a list of shops that I wouldn't mind visiting if we had the time. The one thing that I wanted to get from one of these shops was a pair of sock blockers. These really don't have too much of a purpose (for me, anyway) except that I would like to start making more socks and I think that the pictures of socks just look better when the socks are on the blockers. Of course I ended up with much more than just sock blockers.

These are my 2 new pairs of sock blockers (large and small). Also shown here is a magnetic notebook from KnitPicks which is awesome for keeping track of where you are while reading knitting charts. But there is more.

The yarn! On the left is yarn that Mary and I just couldn't pass up. (She got some, too.) In the store it was knit up into a spiral scarf. I don't know how else to describe what this scarf looked like. I will just have to show you someday when I finish it (but don't hold your breath I have lots of projects going on...). Up at the very top is some hand-dyed blue faced Leicester (a kind of sheep) roving. While I have quite a supply of spinning roving, I just couldn't pass this up. It is so pretty! Below that, there is some pink yarn. This yarn is in the collection because it is superwash merino that was 40% off. I just couldn't not buy it. Below the pink is some green lace weight yarn and below that is some purple lace weight. I have decided that I love knitting lace! Yet I have never actually knit with lace weight yarn, so this yarn was a must. :)

While all of this is great, the best part is still to come. When visiting Portland, a visit to Powell's Books is a must. This is the best bookstore ever. It is HUGE. We had been exploring for quite a while when Jason and I decided to venture up to the top floor. Halfway up the stairs there is a sign announcing author events. I skim through the list and notice a familiar name. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I say to Jason "I know who she is, that's cool that she will be here. Wait, is today the 28th?" Yep, it was. She was there the day we were. If you don't know who she is, she is a knitting writer and blogger, and she is hilarious. She is also known as the Yarn Harlot. I read her blog (www.yarnharlot.ca) on and off and she is a fantastic knitter and writer.

My husband and in-laws were kind enough to stick around for 2 hours until she showed up and read from her new book All Wound Up. Mary even sat with me and listened while the boys went to more interesting places. This lady cracked me up! And Mary even seemed to enjoy it. If you check out the Yarn Harlot blog post from Portland you may even be able to spot us. There are 4 audience pictures at the beginning of the post. Look at the bottom right corner. Mary is between the man with white hair and the lady with the light blue sweater. I am to the left of her (right next to the big white beam).

Overall, it was a great weekend. We had a fun time visiting with Jason's parents. The Yarn Fest part was really just a bonus. Anyway, I think Mary ended up with more yarn than I did!

Spin, Spin, Spinning

Well, my week sans husband is almost over. I still have tons of knitting and crochet projects that I didn't get to this week, but I did get lots of spinning done.

From left to right: baby camel, alpaca/silk mix, and the last three are corriedale.

The baby camel is so soft! I tried to spin it pretty thin so that I could make something lacy out of it. This yarn is darker brown than it looks in the  picture on the right, and I think it would make a pretty shawl or stole for the fall. One thing I discovered with yarn is what a distinct smell wet camel fiber has. Good thing it was so hot outside I just hung it up and didn't have to smell it for long!

The three yarns shown above all use a new plying method I just learned called Navajo plying. This is a way of making 3 ply yarn from one strand. If you want to see a video of this technique in action check out this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmlwtojLXI8 (you might want to fast forward to about a minute into the video). You might recognize the colors of the first 2 yarns shown above. These were the 2 colors that I plied together to make the yarn that I showed you last post (or far right on the first pic of this post). I still had a bobbin of each color left and decided to use the Navajo method to ply them individually. The orange/pink yarn turned into a really pretty variegated yarn. The third picture above it a 50/50 alpaca and silk mix that I got from the Paradise Fibers fiber of the month club. I also used the Navajo ply method, but made this a much thicker yarn. I think this may end up turning into a nice, thick pair of mittens.

While that's all for the finished yarns, I have some roving that is being dyed as I type this post. It is also one of the fibers that I got as part of the fiber club. It is Masham wool, and I decided to dye it a deep red/purple color. I have 6 ounces of roving, and I used 6 packets of black cherry Kool-Aid and 2 packets of grape. Here is the before picture:

And the after...

As soon as it dries it will be spinning time again!

Did someone say yarn?

This weekend was all about cataloging and organizing my yarn stash. I'm not sure how it keeps growing, but it does. Ok, I know exactly how it keeps growing but I just can't seem to stop accumulating more of it! I have been meaning to go through the yarn for a while and enter it into my ravelry.com stash to keep better track of it. This weekend was the perfect weekend for this event because while my husband is out-of-town for the week I have turned the living room into the yarn room. I'm starting to like it this way. I think it should stay this way permanently, unfortunately my husband probably has other thoughts... Here's the entire collection pre-sorting. A yarn mountain!

It has now been entered online so I can keep track of what I have. It is still sitting in the living room, but somewhat more organized so I have space to work:

As you can see, the wheel is positioned to see the TV, all my knitting needles are accessible, my knitting project (which I will tell you about in another post) is out, and the computer sits in the middle so I can type this post.

After seeing how much yarn I have I decided that I need to start making some projects to eat through the stash. So, I decided to do a scarf. It is a simple scarf knit the long way in straight garter stitch. I used size 11 needles, cast on 200 stitches and went to town with all kinds of scrap yarn. Here is the end result that I finished this morning:

I'm still not sure if I really like how it looks, but it successfully used up some odds and ends that I had hanging around.

When I wasn't working on the scarf, the spinning wheel has been running. I have been working on the red/pink/orange roving that I showed you in the last post. I spun the red on one bobbin, then alternated the pink and orange on a second bobbin.


Then, I took one strand from each bobbin...

...and plied them together.


I didn't know what to expect from this, but it turned out interesting. If I were to try this again, I would probably use one of the lighter colors as the main color since the red is kind of overwhelming. I can't wait to see it knit up into something! :)