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Posts Tagged ‘Yarn & Fiber’

Thank you all for entering my recent giveaway featuring Hunter Hammersen’s beautiful pattern, Truckle and Kim Hartman’s hand-dyed fingering weight yarn,  “You have fine eyes, Miss Bennett”.  

The winner was chosen by Random.org, and with that being said, the winner is …..

Maria of Elegant Economy!

Congratulations Maria, you will love your new sock pattern and gorgeous yarn!

A special thank you to knit wear designer Hunter Hammersen for providing the winner with a copy of Truckle and a special thank you to fiber artist Kim Hartman of At Knits End for providing the winner with a skein of squishy fingering weight yarn. 

Be sure to check to visit me next week for another review with a fantastic giveaway!

Until then…. happy knitting, hooking, spinning, quilting and crafting!

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At the end of December I received 100% silk yarn to create a design that I am preparing to send off as a submission to a magazine.  This design is a 100% southwestern inspired wrap that  I’m very excited about it.   The silk is very drapey and phenomenal – more about that soon.  January brought another wave of fun with a joint project with fellow fiber artist Alecia and Maya.  Designing a shawl (shawlette) is very challenging and I truly enjoyed coming up with a pattern that reflects the elements in the fabric that was chosen for project kits – more about that soon too!

So, today is under wraps so to speak but I’m sharing a tiny tease with you ….

My dearest friend in the east, Sara Beth ,has inspired me to start a new project for a friend of mine who is expecting back in Kentucky.   Soon to be on the needles will be a pair of  Saarje’s Booties by Saartje de Bruijn.

These baby booties are adorable and per Sara Beth, are quick and super easy, and even a great way to use up small amounts of scrap yarn.   This delightful pattern seems to be quite popular on Ravelry too,  as over 9,300 pairs of them have been made!  Can’t wait to cast on this fun little project …..

Courtesy of HelloYarn

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I love yarn and yes, I do admit it’s an addiction.  Yarn to me is dreams, designs and possibilities in the making, not just different weights or colors of fiber sitting on a shelf.  When I see certain colors I start to envision what that yarn can turn into and next thing you know, I’m designing. 

There are so many companies that offer great yarns to knit with and so many Indy Dyers to tempt us but for me personally, there’s a couple of dyers that really make me “drool” when I see their latest and loveliest creations.

So, here’s a few favorites to share today that you may or may not know about:

  • Sanguine Gryphon  specializes handpainted yarns, unique one of a kind patterns, and many other goodies. 
  • Blue Moon Fiber Arts is known for the Rockin’ Sock Clubs and specializes in handpainted yarns in a variety of fibers.
  • Indigo Moon specializes in handpainted yarns in wool, wool blends, silk and silk blends.  They also have many yarns that are hand-dyed using natural dyes.
  • Sunshine Yarns specializes in hand-dyed yarns in a wide array of tempting colors and weights.  This small yarn company is known for movie inspired colorways such as the line for Harry Potter and Twilight.  Yarn clubs are available.

Happy knitting all!

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I’m all about showcasing how truly wonderful alpaca and merino fibers are to the core and sustainability, large and small scale.   In this terribly challenging economy, I’ve become even more passionate about the real meaning of ‘sustainability’ and not just living ‘green’ for the environment, but working smart for our own financial and economical sustainability. – Wendy

Courtesy of Peaceful Prairie Ranch

This weeks Fiber Friday Spotlight features Wendy Dittbrenner owner and operator of Peaceful Prairie Ranch, a 10 acre ranch that is home to 60 Alpacas and 6 merino sheep in the high plains of Prescott Valley, Arizona.

Wendy is excited to announce that this year she will now be offering  a Yarn and Fiber C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture Shares) to anyone who loves to spin, knit or just wants to own a “piece of the farm”.  

Many of us do not have the ability of owning a farm, especially if we live in the city,  so to make it feasible to see this dream become a reality, a C.S.A. becomes the next best thing.     By purchasing a share of a C.S.A, you are investing into the farm,  you are aiding the owner with the feed, the care of their flock and the processing of their fiber and in return you receive fabulous produces for spinning and knitting.    This truly is a win-win partnership that brings a small piece of the farm to those who otherwise would not have the ability to own one.

For those interested in this particular C.S.A.,  you have the ability to purchase one share for $100.00 and in return for your share purchase,  you receive $100.00 worth of products, of your choice, from their store.  This means for every “share” you purchase, you are entitled to receive either raw fleece, roving, yarn or even a combination of all.    You not only will have option of receiving soft Alpaca, but even merino fleece products.  Each shareholder will receive their very own certificate of participation, a monthly newsletter,  receive special invitations to the C.S.A. members evening at the ranch and be able to participate in the C.S.A. Members Shearing Day Event. 

For more information on purchasing your share of Peaceful Prairie Ranch, visit Wendy online or on FaceBook.   If you are local in Arizona and want to visit the ranch or interested in purchasing Alpacas, please click here for contact information.

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During the holidays many are drawn to the luxurious cashmere sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves as thoughtful gifts.  Even knitters find themselves knitting with a bit of cashmere here and there for someone extra special.  But often one asks, how should a cashmere garment be taken care of?

Cashmere is still one of the most expensive and much sought after fibers today, even in a down economy.  This luxurious fiber is pure heaven and takes up to four years for a single cashmere goat to produce enough down for just one sweater.   Unlike many other exotic fibers, the more you wear cashmere,  the softer your garment will become.  

To care for your cashmere, simply start by turning your garment inside out and hand-wash in lukewarm water, using a specially formulated cashmere shampoo for cleaning.  Once soaked, gently swish your garment in the water, then rise thoroughly in lukewarm water.  Next, gently remove from the water and roll in a towel to remove any and all excess moisture.   Cashmere, like wool, needs to be re-shaped to the garment’s original size and laid flat to dry.  While drying, make sure to keep away from direct heat or sunlight and never place your cashmere garment in the dryer. 

To keep your cashmere garments looking fresh and new, wash and store them inside out, make sure you wash each garment separately and protect them when stored.   To avoid creasing, fold the arms over the front of the sweater and then fold the top down to meet the bottom.  Never hang cashmere on a hanger as this will cause your garment to loose shape and can cause hanger “bumps” in the shoulder area.  If you are putting your cashmere away for the summer, make sure to store your garments in an air tight container and layer with clean, plain white tissue paper.

So, after spending a small fortune on cashmere yarn, make sure to care for your garments through proper storage and laundering.  For further information on caring for cashmere, visit the Laundress online.

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When I called my hubby yesterday to tell him I was on my way home from work, his answer, “well someone made out like a bandit”.  As innocently as possible I replied, “I don’t understand.  What do you mean someone made out like a bandit?”.  I was then informed he was looking at four packages on the counter, and they were all from yarn companies.  I couldn’t believe that my yarn had already arrived, especially since I just ordered it on Friday.  Talk about excellent shipping service!

I was giggling with delight as I opened each package and hugged the luscious  fiber that was carefully wrapped inside.  As I laid each skein out on the counter, my hubby peeked over my shoulder and commented that they were indeed “very pretty”.    I was in awe at the gorgeous fiber that was in front on me and started thinking about what projects would be best suited for the yarn or color.  

My hubby then started picking the skeins to really look at the colors.  He was amazed that the yarn was so soft and told me that I really should buy more if it was still on sale, afterall a knitter is only as good as the yarn she has to knit with.   Can I just say right now to the whole world, I love my husband!!!

I really did get good deals from The Fiber Fix, Eat.Sleep.Knit, The Backwards Loop and One Planet Yarn and Fiber.

From top to bottom:

  • Handmaiden Casbah Sock Yarn – Casbah Boreal  (still 30% off at the Backwards Loop)
  • Handmaiden Casbah Sock Yarn – Casbah Cedar  (still 30% off at the Backwards Loop)
  • Malabrigo Sock Yarn – Rayon Vert
  • Malabrigo Sock Yarn – Indiecita
  • Malabrigo Sock Yarn – Candombe
  • Fleece Artist Sock Yarn – Boreal
  • Fyperspates Sheilas Sock – Orange Pansy 

So, did you score any good deals!  If so, please share … I really would love to know.

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Hanna’s Dyeing Philosophy:

I try to infuse my dyeing with environmental mindfulness. The base yarns are certified organic merino wool. Most of the dyes are plants that I grow or locally gather, such as juniper, marigolds, pomegranates, pecan hulls, walnut hulls, oak galls, eucalyptus, creosote bush, and African sumac leaves. I also purchase whole cochineal insects and madder root. For mordants, I use alum and cream of tartar, which are the safest mordants possible. I also use recycled iron for my “Iron Green” color; this is not as benign as alum but is safe with a few precautions. The plants are all composted after dyeing. The mordant and dye baths are reused a few times, after which they’re used for watering my dye garden and compost heap.  Both of these ladies carry an excellent choice of specialty yarns.

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Combining a piece of thread with two needles into a piece of fabric.—Knitting as defined by Wiktionary

What draws us to knitting? Is it the pleasure we find in the pure simplicity of the craft? The feel of the yarn in our fingers as it glides from needle to needle? Or is it an escape from the stress of every day life? When we think of knitting today, we think of soft luxurious yarns, of patterns and books that teach us new techniques, of knitting needles in exotic woods or smooth metal and of endless possibilities that a few loops can create in the form of a unique garment.

The resurgence of knitting is somewhat of a phenomenon in today’s society as we are incorporating something back into our lives that dates back to the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, if not even further back. We are enthralled with the colorful Fair Isle techniques that were created by the Scottish during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and by the stitches that soon followed in the twentieth century, the elaborate cable designs that formed traditional Aran sweaters.

Knitting has always been an occupation among many cultures to produce the much needed warm clothing, such as sweaters, hats, and mittens, or the elegant linen clothing of the wealthy. During the early 1940s, women found themselves “Knitting for Victory” and creating items for the Army and Navy to wear in the winter.  Knitters of this time also learned to Make Do and Mend, and recycle old woolen sweaters to re-use the wool for other knitted garments. Then by the 1950s to the 1960s, we were introduced to a large spectrum of colors and styles of yarn. Knitting was fashionable and very “Haute Couture.”

Young ladies were taught to knit in school, as it was considered to be a very useful skill; it was not just a hobby, like today. The most popular pattern during this time was the infamous “twinset.” But as women began to leave the home and go out into the workforce the popularity of knitting soon became passé and by the 1980s, the craft of knitting was almost non-existent, a faded memory of an old-fashion craft that our mothers and grandmothers pursued.

Like a breath of fresh air, the twenty-first century arrived and with it a desire to rekindle an old friendship with a craft that had diminished in most eyes of the world.  We have found ourselves drawn back to the magical rhythm of clicking needles that turns fiber into a wondrous creation, to the rich textures and colors of yarns that we must simply caress, while at the same time our minds are meticulously creating a garment of what we are touching and visualizing. This new century has brought to the avid knitter a never ending supply of natural fibers, colors, textures, patterns, possibilities, and a connection with others that share the same passion and desire.  Knitting is no longer considered to be that old fashioned craft of long ago, but very high tech. With the spur of technology, knitters can now connect from all over the globe and share their experiences, their knowledge, their patterns and their techniques. Knitters are finding new friendships and forming bonds that were never before imaged.

It will be interesting to see where knitting takes us in this new century of discovery. Will it become passé once more? Or, will it stick around for a while? Whatever the case, this age old craft will give you the desire to create and to be harmonious with the fiber in your hand.

For further information on knitting, please remember to visit your LYS, your local library and the internet. Also consider joining a local knitting group in your area for support or for learning new techniques.

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Sponsored by the Yarn Market,  purveyor of  high-quality yarns  from over 70 leading manufacturers.

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Once the plentiful staple support of the American Plains Indians, in 1885 there were fewer than 1,000 American Buffalo (or “bison,” the scientific name). Due to the efforts of dedicated ranchers and environmentalists, buffalo have made a comeback in the past 125 years so that the wonderful down is now available for spinning.   With a combination of painstaking dehairing to remove the guard hairs and “hands on” processing makes Buffalo Gold yarns distinctly different from other bison down products on the market today.

New to the shelves this fall is Buffalo Gold Moon and Moon-Lite.   Moon, a 4-ply twist DK weight, is a blend of 75% eco- friendly Tencel and  25% American Bison down, offers knitters a soft heathery color palette  in 10 hand dyed multi-toned shades of 170 yards/50 grams per skein.    Moon-Lite, a 2-ply twist lace weight, is also a blend of 75%  eco- friendly Tencel and 25% American Bison down and available in 10 hand dyed multi-toned shades at 330 yards (50 grams) per skein.

This new line of s super soft and luxurious yarn is the most affordable Buffalo Gold yet and is perfect for scarves, shawls, shawlettes and anything else that touches your skin. Both of these new yarns are truly a pure joy to knit with and offer a wonderful drape to any garment created.

You can purchase these gorgeous fibers directly from Buffalo Gold or at your LYS.  Follow them online at Etsy, FaceBook, Raverly and on their website.

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This weeks Fiber Friday Spotlight features Susan Booth of Coolyarnz, a family owned business that was previously located in the UK but now located in the beautiful country of  British Columbia.

Photo courtesy of Susan Booth

Susan’s shop features gorgeous hand dyed Uruguayan Merino Wool available in an array of beautiful tempting colors.   Each skein is approximately 214 yards (100g or 4 oz.) and is soft enough even for baby garments.

Susan also carries hand-knitted items, needle cases and accessories and for those  of you who prefer to spin your own wool, she also offers hand dyed fiber in a blend of silk and merino wool.

Follow Susan online on her Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry.   Also, be sure to visit Wool n Love, her sister Etsy shop that specializes in yarns, patterns, needles, hand knit and hand dyed items.

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