If you make or sell fibery goodness, contribute to the Yarn School Goodie Bag or Door Prizeaganza!
You’ll get your wares in the hands of dedicated spinners and knitters, plus you’ll get a thank-you link/banner right here on the first screen Thrifty Knitter! (See the Art Club ad, right.)
Please provide either a full-sized door prize or 32 samples (at least 1/2 ounce of fiber for a spinnable sample or 10g of yarn for a swatchable sample). Fiber is fantastic, be we also love fiber-related items like knitting patterns, stitch markers and other notions, lotions and handmade soaps, fiber DVDs or books, etc.
Please make sure everything is labeled (easy way: bag/tag them with a business card) so people know how to get more. Any leftover samples will go into future door prize assortments.
Email me a 150 x 71-pixel banner OR your Ravelry Marketplace banner (which has the same proportions, so I can just resize it for you), plus a link to your etsy or independent site or ravelry yarnie or designer page.
I need these in my hot little hands by Wednesday, 4/27. The safest way to get them here on time is UPS, but if you send early next week or especially if you’re geographically close, Priority Mail is a good bet, too.
Often when I run across a mystery fiber I can make a pretty good guess by touch, sight or smell, but every once in a while I’m flummoxed, and then I look up the burn test details. It won’t tell you if you’ve got BFL or Corriedale, but it can tell you whether you’re dealing with animal, cellulose or synthetic. With the growing variety of both natural and synthetic man-made fibers, that can be handy.
The chief differences are how it burns (does it melt, burn actively, or self-extinguish), the type of ash or residue it produces, and the smell it generates. I found this video that gives you both written descriptions and a nice shot of each burning. Hopefully it will aid in your fiber detection!
And my superdeluxe Valley Yarns Sheffield came today for the Sally Cardigan Knitalong! It’s so, so, pretty. Dark brown is one of my usual colors, but purple is pretty well out of my wheel house. But I love them together! Since brown’s more in my comfort range, it’s going to be my MC. I’m expecting a very different look than the retro original! I’m gonna go get myself some caffeine and cast that baby on!
Craftzine’s running a Sally Cardigan KAL during April & May! Yippee! I’ll be knitting another Sally, and posting a different step each week, so if you like Sally but want some guidance (especially around the steek, which seems to be nervous-making for everyone), please join us! I set up a ravelry group and I’ll make a flickr group tonight. My first post, about yarn ideas & substitutions, is going up on craftzine blog tonight or tomorrow.
Please ignore my stupid gardening hat. I was having hair issues and am now filled with remorse about grabbing the stupid thing. But cute sweater, no?
Now I just need to figure out:
1) What colors I want to use and
2) Whether I want to make an allover pattern or a sort of Nordic-y patterened yoke-and-cuffs only version.
Allover pattern is in the lead right this minute, but I’m giving myself until tomorrow to decide.
I don’t have enough of 2 colors to knit from stash, and I LOVE LOVE LOVED the Sheffield, so I’m definitely using it again, but which color is another question.
At present the Kiwi/Olive color combo is duking it out my my head with Brown/Purple. I’ll let that simmer as well.
I’ve been quite productive lately, but I’m still behind. This afternoon, I realized I’d spaced out and neglected to pay an embarrassingly overdue bill. I’m hoping that idiotic mistake won’t leave me without hot water. I don’t mind the excuse not to shower, but I have dishes to do, puddy-tat.
Anyway, this made me realize 2 things:
1) I can’t say Yes to anything else this month. I foolishly sneaked in a couple more Yeses at the end of March, and I know they’re going to make me pay.
2) I NEED A LIST! Specifically, I need a giant, crushing master list I like to call NAKED FISTFIGHT OVER HOT COALS, MOTHERFUCKER! Yes, that is actually what I call it when I make my giant crazy desperate list.
So, right after this, I am going to:
1) Get myself a cold beer
1.5) (See how I’m getting into the list-making spirit already?)
2) Get a pen and a clipboard
3) Walk the entire building and write down every single little thing that needs to be done.
Tomorrow, I’ll do the same outside and next door, but I’m sure my hand will cramp into an eagle talon just doing that part.
And then? Then hold on to your fucking hat, because then I’m going to get down to TCB all over this place. It’s going to be a Highlander-style fight to the death with my To Do list. And I shall prevail.
A Nostalgic Honeycomb Sweater, inspired by Mad Men’s Sally Draper.
Mosaic/slipped-stitch knitting (=easy! Worked in stripes, one color at a time, not stranded colorwork). With 3/4 sleeves, crocheted buttonholes. Worked in the round with steeked front, with detailed photo tutorial of the crocheted steek and buttonhole placket.
Sizes XS – XL, with guidance on making custom fit/larger sizes.
I like my little vintage buttons, but I think it would have been even cuter with those little hand-painted Russian strawberry buttons from Peace Fleece, but I only had one card (4 buttons) in the shop and couldn’t wait. The great thing about the crocheted buttonholes is that if you change your mind later and want bigger/smaller buttonholes, you only have to frog and re-crochet one single line of slip stitch. I’ve been wanting to use this buttonhole again ever since I created it for one of the Naughty Needles Burlesque cardigans (which I accidentally threw in with a hot wash load and felted badly last year), and I think they’re just the right amount of adorable on this sweater.
Did I mention I love this sweater?
Before steeking! There’s a step-by-step photo tutorial on the crochet-reinforced steek with the pattern, but here’s the fun part:
Now I’m trying to finish up a new Knitty submission and a gazillion worky/taxy/money-y and Yarn School prep details. Busy, busy! But I’m suddenly feeling energized by it instead of melancholy. After a little flirtation with spring, we had the usual bummer return of winter with a big PSYCHE, SUCKERS! snow last Sunday. It’s been cold and damp since, which made me a little depressed for a few days. But then I realized it will help me focus on TCB instead of longing for the garden. It also helps me want to spend time in the basement (where it’s warm), testing new recipes and stocking my freezer so I won’t have to cook (or eat nothing but takeout pizza) the week before Yarn School.
And! Shearing’s on the calendar for April 20. This year, I’ll be sure to take up their hay the night before to minimize wiggles/shearing mishaps. Last year, Marilyn (Danny the shearer’s wife, an experienced spinner and fiber grower) helped me skirt as we sheared. But I am a big sissy titty baby that it kinda really stressed me out, so this year, we’re tossing all the belly and legs into the mulch pile, and spreading each fleece onto a sheet, folding it up, and putting it aside for later. I know I’ll be tempted to fuss with them right away, but I’m officially vowing to wait until after Yarn School. Actually, that’s even better because we can unfurl them at Yarn School & Jen can show how to skirt a fleece. It’s always way more fun with a nice fresh one. And I think I may get everyone made into yarn this year! I really love the beautiful yarn they make.
Had to update the old list again! Got in a couple new techniques at MO Fiber retreat!
Garter stitch Knitting with metal wire Shawl Stockinette stitch
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up Mittens: Tip-down Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting) Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn Slippers
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street) Continental Knitting
Designing knitted garmentsâ€¦im doing it now! or trying anyways
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patternsâ€¦hmm i think so!
Publishing a knitting book Scarf
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting Dying with plant colors Knitting items for a wedding Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea coziesâ€¦)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting Knitting with someone elseâ€™s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit Bobbles
Knitting for a living (sort of…) Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking Dying yarn Steeks Knitting art Fulling/felting
Knitting with wool Textured knitting Kitchener BO
Purses/bags Knitting with beads Swatching
Long Tail CO Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Baby items Knitting with cashmere Darning Jewelry Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Intarsia Knitting with linen Knitting for preemies Tubular CO Freeform knitting Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Pillows Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine Rug
Knitting on a loom Thrummed knitting Knitting a gift Knitting for pets Shrug/bolero/poncho Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories Knitting in public
The free pattern will go live on Craftzine late this week or early next, so you only get a little peek right now.
In other knitting, I just unraveled the first sleeve of Kid’s Superman sweater and learned that the happy fun knitting adventure I’d planned won’t be materializing. I had assumed I’d be able to spit-splice the broken yarn from the ragged sleeves and just knit them straight down. Then I’d just darn the main body. But it turns out the wool won’t split splice. I don’t know if it was superwash, or if it’s been damaged by dry cleaning (it kind of has that crunchy dry cleaned feel), but in hindsight I should have realized the stitch definition was too clear and the pits were too pill-free for regular wool.
But as usual, I dived in without actually thinking it through.
I should still be able to pull it off, but there will be much heinous end-weaving. Gross.
Around Cupcake Ranch, one unlucky lady has a particularly unfortunate hairdo right now.
Poor Faith already has kind of a wild, hawkish look to her that makes her the stringy misfit of the flock. And her new molt-driven mullet is not helping matters. She’s rocking sort of a bearded lady look. No wonder she’s so mean.
Okay, I forgot my stupid memory card, so I couldn’t take any pictures, but the Missouri Fiber Retreat was super fun! Marta, Jen & I all took different classes, which was awesome, because I got a sense of what I might like to take next year. Definitely basket making, which didn’t appeal to me at all before I saw Jen’s basket.
Anyway, here’s my wrap-up:
Friday afternoon, I took the indigo dyeing class with Bex Olinger. She had 3 different kettles going for the class: one indigo thiox/lye vat, one woad thiox/lye vat, and one saxon (indigo/sulfuric acid) bath. We learned how to dip/oxidize fiber in the thiox/lye vats, how to mix stock solutions, how to balance the vats, and lots of wonderful historical & cultural information about indigo. It was most excellent!
The really cool thing about the thiox/lye vats, which are pretty much the more modern version of the traditional indigo vats (but made with checmicals instead of pee), is that you have to soak the fiber and then expose it to air to activate the blue color. The bath itself is green, and you have to be careful not to aerate it. When you first pull the fiber out, it’s green as well, but as soon as the oxygen starts to hit it, it turns blue before your eyes! It’s really fun to watch, and it happens each time. The whole process is not for the impatient though, as dark colors can take dozens of dips to achieve, and you have to balance your vat (both in pH and chemicals), or you can actually end up removing the color from your fiber! We had this happen toward the end with the woad vat.
The first vat was woad, which comes from the cabbage family and can be grown locally (though you need a special exemption and have to take precautions because it’s considered a noxious weed).
The samples show 3, 4 and 5 dips (from right to left). The top skein is from the dyed corriedale combed top, which has been spun & plied (so gradations are gone); followed by wool yarn, cotton muslin, and raw silk.
The last pot was a saxon blue vat, which uses indigo and sulfuric acid. Unlike the other vats, this one doesn’t require oxidation and makes brilliant blues. The wool turned a gorgeous peacock blue.
The top samples were wool, the first one was combed top that was spun so the colors blend. The other three samples show saxon blue dyed over samples dyed rich yellow with Osage orange, while the right samples were dyed on natural ecru colored fabric. Wool yarn, cotton muslin, and raw silk on the bottom.
My personal project for the class was Shetland wool lace in a pale heather gray. First I soaked it all in woad, removed to oxidize, dipped about a third in indigo, oxidized. Then I rewet the whole skein to get a soft, watery transition and dipped it to about the 2/3 point in saxon, then immediately pulled it out about halfway, then pulled out another 3 inches ever 10 minutes. I’m really happy with the result!
Saturday evening, Bonnie Ahrens gave an excellent keynote speech on felting and her inspirations and travels.
Saturday morning, I took an entrelac class with Tamara Lasely. Entrelac in the round isn’t overly difficult, but it is complicated and physically challenging, since you have to knit backwards and, even harder, pick up backwards. I don’t know that it’s a technique I’ll use much, but I’m glad to know how to do it, both because it’s one more thing to check off on my knitting master list, and because I think it would have been very difficult to learn on my own, and Tamara was a great teacher. I never thought I’d like any entrelac clothing, but Tamara had on this amazing single color lace entrelac skirt that was fantastic.
We made a 2-color sampler bowl. Since I’m an over-achiever, I worked in a couple extra rows of entrelac to make more of a vase shape, and after I felted it, I cut a slit for the handle of my little Bee House teapot, which wanted a cozy.
Saturday afternoon I took the soap making class with Gary Olds. It was fantastically informative and interesting, and I’m really glad I got to see exactly what the different phases looked like. The best part of the class was the math, if you can believe it. He explained the why and how of formulations and showed us how to figure out the correct formulas with the fats we have, and how different fats contribute different properties. If I had seen the same information in a book, I would have given up before starting, but now it’s crystal clear and seems perfectly easy.
I stuck to my resolution not to start any new hobbies this year by NOT buying the nice wooden molds he had on offer. But I do think I’m going to make a single batch at home with what I have on hand. Since I already have all of necessary tools and all the ingredients but lye, and since I really want to make a batch to cement the process in my mind, and since the point of the resolution was to stop me from buying up a ton of gear and falling into the money and time suck new hobbies generate, I think I’m spiritually safe from breaking the resolution if I stick to a single batch using only what I have on hand. (Wow, that was one hell of a sentence.) I’ll use either juice cartons or a clementine box lined with foam core for my mold, and I’ll render this giant bag of beef fat I have in the freezer for my fat.
Sunday morning was felt boots with Joi Chupp. I went a little bananas and made them really gaudy, for which I’m feeling a fair amount of remorse, but the good news is that it’s exactly what I wanted: thick, hard felt boots, much like my valenki. We started with a flat linoleum resist that we made ourselves to felt the basic shape, and when it’s well felted, you cut it off the resist and continue to felt it on and off your foot until it’s the desired shape and fit. I’ll definitely buy some linoleum scraps and demo the resist technique (which also works for mittens, bags, hats, etc.) at the next Felt School.
I made them a good deal thicker than most of the class (since I was the only one to use up my full half pound of wool, plus some extra I bought during class), and I also made my template extra large to begin, because I knew I wanted thick boots. I might try again when it warms up and I can work on them outside in the sunshine. But they came out nice and thick, not quite as heavy as my valenki, but the same method would totally work to make them–I’d just need to start with a somewhat bigger resist and several more layers of wool.
In class, we used white merino blend batts–I pulled mine into large, thin layers like a silk hankie–then I made the final layer from bits of pink batting I bought from Bonnie Ahrens’ booth. Next time, I’ll use colored wool throughout, in different colors so I can keep track of the layers and have a nice color sandwich when I cut them off the resist. Maybe woodsy greens?
Whew! Sick of my own whining and ready to quit wringing my hands and get back to work!
I have a busy day today (hence the procrastination blogging) because tomorrow morning, we’re heading of the the Missouri Fiber Retreat, yippee! I am incredibly excited about all my classes! I’m taking:
Indigo Dyeing–We’re dyeing samples of various fibers, but we also get to dye another 4 ounces of whatever we bring. I don’t know what to dye! Maybe I’ll bring a few different options and wait to see how the samples come out.
Entralac Knitting–I’m hoping this will be a nice stash eater for blankets. I don’t really approve of it in clothing (too fussy/bulky), but I love it in blankets. As a knitter, you really have to guard against letting fun techniques impair your judgment. If you let yourself knit whatever is the most fun, if you wander into clothing, you can come out looking like the wacky spinster aunt all the time (this is not my actual aunt, but the imaginary wacky spinster aunt you always see on TV and in movies–eccentric clothing, lots of feathers, an “artistic” nature, lecherous comments about younger men, sort of a horny Madwoman of Chaillot type). It’s a constant struggle. Of course, there’s always mittens. Mittens are a safe haven for fussy techniques. Yay, mittens!
Soap Making–Although my vow against new hobbies this year means I won’t continue the soapmaking at home, I’m really eager to see how it’s done for future reference. It sounds like a science experiment, and it will be nice to learn it without investing in supplies and worrying about another mess to clean up.
Felt Boots!–This is the one that thrills me the most! I’m hoping this means valenki, but even if they’re just floppy slipper things, I’ll be pleased.
Marta & grasshopper Jen are coming too, though they’re taking totally different classes. Whirled Jen was supposed to be coming, but her husband’s down with the flu. She’s so much fun, so I’m disappointed/hopeful he’ll have a speedy recovery & she’ll be able to join us later. But either way, it will be a blast! We’re all in the same cabin, too!
Now I just have to figure out what WIP to bring.
I don’t have the yarn for the rest of my upcoming craftzine pattern, so that’s out (sadly, because it’s both fun and easy to knit).
My stash cardigan is kind of a pain in the ass for traveling, what with the 5 different balls at once in play, so that’s out.
I also have a year-old WIP I could bring, my Drops cardigan. But first I need to track down my annotated version of the pattern, because I changed the gauge/math. Eek. I hope that’s not lost to the ages. I guess I could always start counting stitches.
Oh! What about my crochet potholders for the swap?! That’s what I was working on last year at the retreat, too.
Now that I’m feeling a bit less mopey, I’m evaluating my crafty Überlist goals from last month. (But before I do, can I just mention that my Überlist list year is CLEARLY too ambitious and runs completely contrary to the spirit of the Überlist; that is, to chose super-easy goals that make you feel like a genius instead of super-hard resolutions that make you feel like a loser. I’m already firmly in the second category.)
The funny thing is, yesterday, I thought I’d done a terrible job for February. But when I actually tallied it up, it’s quite impressive! The only think I failed on was the building scarf, my little woolly albatross.
8. *FIX: Mend or eliminate an item of clothing every week. Fixed a dress and some vintage PJs, sewed a button back on Ron’s coat, and hemmed 2 pairs of his jeans.
50. *MAKE: Photograph and document each foot of building scarf and make a giant scrolling panorama page for it. I got this photographed and spliced into a giant image file, but have yet to make a page.
63. *ORDER: Destash NET 100 balls and 10 pounds of fiber I’m down another 20-odd balls between destash and knitting.
60. *MAKE: Write, photo, make a pdf and publish a new free pattern every other month. (Free!)Two free hat patterns.
104. *TCB: Write, photograph, make a nice pdf and publish one pattern for sale each month. I did write and photograph a couple new patterns, but I didn’t seal the deal with a new pdf in my ravelry store, so no countsies there, either. Refined & PDFed Thrifty Critter pattern, along with a bunch of new clothes for him.
And on this I fell behind again:
47. *MAKE: Knit 2 feet a week on the building scarf I think I got about 5 or 6 feet done.
Man. I should have reviewed that yesterday, when I was feeling shitty! I got a lot done in February!
And here are my crafty Überlist plans for March:
1. Finish Craftzine sweater (#57)
2. Spin 8oz Funky Carolina BFL, Christmas 2007 present from my mom, and 8oz Hello Yarn BFL, Mitten School 2010 (#58).