12 Sep

Angora

I really wish that intending to blog actually resulted in a real blog post.

Kid Hollow Angora Goats

I spent last Saturday with these guys and I totally meant to share it. Aren’t they cute? They are baby angora goats and I love their curls!

Pretty much as soon as I arrived in Charlottesville I joined a knit night group because that’s an easy place to relax, meet people, and work on projects. Many of the members are also members of the C’ville Fiber Arts Guild and it didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to join their ranks. September’s activity was to go to Kid Hollow Farm and not only meet the cute baby goats, but to dye some angora yarn for ourselves.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

The first step was to fondle all the yummy fibers in Pat’s little shop and then choose a color combo that we’d like to make (a few of us also purchased some yarn already dyed by Pat, ahem). Then we picked the raw yarn and wet it.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

We were each given our own recipes for our color combos and cups of the necessary colors.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

We poured and smooshed until we were happy. One recipe involved sprinkling the dry dye powder on the damp yarn, letting that spread a bit and then adding dissolved dye of the same color. It reminded me of the blotter paper and black marker experiments you do to see that blacks are made up of many different colored pigments. I’ve long known that colors separate and speckle when you don’t mix the dye powders well enough, but I never thought to work with that as a feature. The yarn turned out beautifully.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

The dyes were heat set in the oven (the dye studio was of course completely separate from any food prep sinks or ovens).

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

Piping hot out of the oven, our yarns were then ready to be rinsed and spun out. Mine’s the one in the back.

Dyeing at Kid Hollow

I hung the yarn at home to finish drying and then wound it in a ball. At first I was worried that a few areas were too light compared to the rich browny, greeny, purple combo I was going for, but when the strands separated in the ball, it all looked sparkly and great. Now I just have to decide what to knit with it. I’m not ready to attempt socks, but maybe fingerless gloves.

05 Feb

Ripple

Today is my mom’s birthday! Which means, I can now show the Ripple Afghan I made for her. Like the one I made for me, it is attic24‘s “Neat Ripple” pattern.

I started with a chain of 157. After some trials, that was the right length to get two stripes from each skein of yarn. I don’t have the right kind of stitch markers for crochet, but the rolling hook thingies for track-mounted drapes worked just fine, and I have lots of those.

I used Mission Falls 1824 (3 Thyme, 3 Sprout, 6 Earth, 2 Denim, 3 Oatmeal, 2 Russet, 3 Amethyst), superwash merino wool and 2 balls of Dream in Color Classy (Blue Lagoon and Strange Harvest). I’ve completely forgotten the final size, though it’s perfect for snuggling on the couch.

And this is all that’s left of those 26 skeins of wool.

23 Nov

Craft Eugene

Our visit to Oregon is primarily to spend Thanksgiving with Grama and Grandpa and the step-family, but there’s crafty stuff too. Yesterday my mom, the kids, and I went to the weekend market’s Holiday artisan edition. Lots of good jewelry, ceramics, clothing, glass work and more to admire. The kids came home with sparkly stuffed dragons.

Last night my mom pulled out some old family quilts. I really liked this one. It is all hand sewn and quilted and she guesses it was made in the 1800s. All four quilts are in disrepair due to many many years of love. They are much too delicate for me. But, don’t be surprised if I sew up something obviously inspired by this simple, graphic, design.

Today we divided into boys and girls — the boys went to the running store and the girls hit the fiber shops!

First stop: Mindy’s for Valdani perle cotton and whatever other wonderful goodies I could find. The store is in an old chicken farm/factory converted to a mall and only three blocks from my mom’s house. It’s filled with wool and floss for needlepoint, but there’s enough high quality ribbons, buttons, and trims as well to appeal to a broad range of sewists and crafters.

After Mindy’s we went to Soft Horizons. I had a list, but more importantly, I just wanted to fondle the luscious yarns. What’s not to love about a victorian home stuffed with cotton, silk and wool? They’ve got a ball winder and swift in the back room for customers to use and Katja was more than happy to be my official skein-to-ball winder.

Thanks to Kelly’s comment yesterday, Piece by Piece was the next stop. Piece by Piece is bright and fresh and oozes happy quilting. Kelly is also very nice and friendly, as one would expect from a quilter (and is working on a wonky red and aqua log cabin quilt that I am inspired by). I had no plans to buy fabrics, but I spotted a bolt of my all-time favorite Kaffe Fasset “paperweight” in brown right away. As long as I was going to replenish my paperweight, I might as well pick up some of those nice blue circles too, and hey, those blue bubbles would look nice with some fabric I have at home earmarked for a bag, and that splatty bug fabric is just too cool to pass up…..

Yup, my stash is now up to date.

After a quick lunch stop (oh, how happy I am to find that every eatery has fresh greens on the plates and identifiable ingredients), we closed out our craft supply adventure at Harlequin Beads. All I really needed was ends for some velvet cord purchased at Mindy’s to use as a necklace for my Starborn pendant at home. It doesn’t hurt to look though…

This time, it was the kids who walked out with a bag full. Katja chose a lampwork crocodile and I knew her brother would want one too. At home we made jewelry for their Nintendo DSs. I have to give props to Harlequin — not only do they have a big shop full with every bead and beading supply imaginable, but they gave Katja a little bag and told her that any beads she found on the floor were hers for free. I could browse in peace, and she left happy with a little bag of sparkly goodness.

And did I mention we walked to all these shops?! I absolutely love both the convenience of urban living and the wonderful creative vein running through Eugene.

25 Jan

Hey Teach

Do you knit? Then you’ve no doubt contemplated this pattern. I even contemplated it myself, despite my novice knitter status (so it can’t be too intimidating a pattern). Lucky me, my sister jumped in and knit one up for my birthday!

I have got to say that it fits great, looks great (IMHO), and is perfect for those chilly Hawaiian winter mornings and evenings. I love it both fluffy like mine, and lighter like the Knitty one. OK, go now. Knit one for yourself, it’s worth it.