Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ready for Knit Michigan

After a busy week in the dye studio, I am ready for Knit Michigan. Are you?

Panda Cotton.
Nassau- 50% cotton, 50% silk.

Panda Wool. Special order - but she needs one, I made three.
Texas Bighorn. Mohair and Wool - bulky yarn.

And, just arrived: boxes of fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yarn frenzy

It is no secret that I love the yarns from Habu textiles. As a weaver and knitter I have been a big fan for several years.  In fact, at my shop I have set up a corner that Ava refers to as my "Habu Shrine".  The shrine is actually much fuller than it appears here, as we received a big shipment yesterday. Can you spot the newest addition to my Habu Family?  
Shosheni Paper!  A paper yarn made from linen. Durable, and washable. It knits into a wonderful feeling garment that rustles softly as you move about.  For more ideas of what you can do with this yarn, go here.

The same day I got in the Habu shipment, I also got a great big box of new Tofutsies!  Some great colors in this shipment. Have you tried this for your socks yet?  They have a wonderful cool and silky feel. 

In addition to unpacking boxes, most of my time this week has been spent meeting with yarn reps, and ordering Summer yarns.  I had the nicest conversation yesterday with a woman at Tilli Tomas.  I had a little problem.  Woven Art will be going to Knit Michigan in just under two weeks.  I will have my Sahara sweater in the fashion show, so I want the yarn in my booth. I dyed a great green to match a skein of disco lights just for this sweater. When I got to the shop - guess what. Yep - the green was all gone.  So, panicked phone call to Tilli, and she really helped me out. They ship my order today.  In addition to a restock on Disco Lights, ( a handspun sequined silk) I'm also getting in several colors of Voile de Mer - a lace weight silk and seacell fiber.  
Some people get through the cold Winter by looking at seed catalogs. I buy yarn.  
It is a quicker way to get color. And you can't wrap your self up in a tomato plant! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One Warp

Two completely different results.  The warp is 12/2 cotton sett at 24 ends per inch.  Pictured above is a scarf woven with a  slub yarn, and high twist wool crepe, both from Habu Textiles 
I was hoping that the wool crepe stripe would cause this fabric to buckle.  It didn't, and I think it is because the weave structure itself has too many intersections.  I'll need an overshot draft, or something that will allow for floats longer than three threads. Or maybe it would help if it were woven for more than a quarter inch!  Even though I didn't get what I expected, I still like the scarf it produced - very light, and has a good drape. It would make a nice "business" scarf, to complete a suit or jacket. 

And these are new towels for the bathroom at Woven Art. Yes - same warp! Same threading. This is done with a loom controlled shibori technique that I learned from Catherine Ellis' book Woven Shibori.  I have more of these books at the shop, if you are interested. 

So, next? I'm gonna do it again.  I want more towels and I want to collapse some fabric, dang-it! I haven't decided on the weave structure yet. Probably go for a 3/1, 1/3 twill threading, with a variety of treadlings.  I am looking for long floats, and good pattern.  

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dye Weekly

From left to right; Kona Superwash, Mikado, Prime Alpaca, and Panda Wool.  

I dye yarn every week. Every Monday, and most Tuesdays.  My hand dyed yarns are sold at Woven Art.  My customers like to know what's new in the hand dyes, so I try to bring on some new yarns every week. The above is a sampling of what was dyed last Monday. I have between four and six of each skein.  If you are interested in more information about these yarns, or other yarns I dye, please visit my website: www.yarnandfiberart.com.
There is a space there for you to send me a message - and I love to get messages! Stop in and say "Hi!". 

I am dyeing as much yarn as possible this week (and next!) to get ready for "Knit Michigan"
Please put this on your calendar, and plan to come have a great day. It is a very successful fundraiser, for a very good cause.  But it is also a day of fun for fiber fans. Don't miss it!  I spent much of last week creating my contribution to the goodie bags.  If you get a goodie bag, in addition to surprises from the other 13 yarn shops, you'll get a "mini-yarn-tasting" from Woven Art.  Two ten yard reelings of two different Woven Art hand-dyed yarns. Enough to edge a neckline, or do a swatch to see if you want a project out of it.  
There also will be a lunchtime fashion show, and door prizes!  Knit Michigan is on February 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Birmingham. Complete info at: www.knitmichigan.com

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mitten class and colorways

I am developing a new class for me to teach at Woven Art. It is a basic mitten class that uses a gauge swatch and a drawing of your hand to create a mitten pattern. I am having two people test out my process, and their feedback has been very helpful. The mitten I made fits my hand just the way I like it - kind of tight. Some may prefer a little more ease - but if that's true, your pattern can be easily adjusted.
Above is my finished mitten. The yarn is my own handspun alpaca and silk slubby yarn. Yay! If you areinterested in the class, the details are posted at http://www.yarnandfiberart.com/. Look under class listings.
This stuff here is some bamboo from Habu textiles. It is pictured on my gray kitchen counter. I am planning on weaving fabric for kitchen curtains using this, and a turquoise batch from last week's dye pots. Probably use a white linen warp. I haven't decided on the weave structure. Maybe Summer and winter squares. Maybe a complex crackle weave. The decor is a cross between French country and 50's modern.
This glowing stuff here is Kona petite. Ragnar has already snapped up the golden one on the bottom. To be fair, I dyed it per her own request. I can't wait to see what Fair Isle magic she comes up with.
And this fun stuff is hand dyed Panda Cotton. Great sock yarn, I have also seen it made into tank tops, and have heard tell of bathing suits as well. This is in my primary colors color way. A personal and shop favorite!

Monday, January 14, 2008


How can a crochet hook and some acrylic yarn make you laugh, and make you think, and call the question of anonymity and individuality? Agata Olek
learned to crochet as a young child in Poland, but stopped for six years, taking it up again when her head got cold from having shaved off her hair. Then she stopped again until she got a job making theater and dance costumes. It wasn't until an art professor challenged her to make a sculpture using yarn, twine and rope, that she became fully obsessed. You can read the full article in the Jan/Feb issue of FiberArts magazine. But for fun and inspiration right now, click on her name above.

For yet more fun and inspiration visit this link: www.burningman.com

There are more articles in this issue that I want to share, but really, you should probably just go get your own copy. This issue is focused on Art to Wear. Mostly not Art you Would wear, but Art that needs a body in it to be complete.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Project Progress

Habu Sweater Kit #53 - a side to side ribbed cardi.  Made with two strands of wool stainless, and one strand of 2/17 Tsumugi silk.  The fabric is so yummy - soft, great drape. Very light! I am here almost halfway through the back.  Deidra just told me a funny story about knitting on her kusa kusa scarf on a  to New York.  She was detained by airport security, because the cone of stainless didn't make it through the x-ray machine.  She wouldn't let them confiscate her yarn, good girl, but she ended up in the "little room" for questioning.  I guess she won, because she was able to make good progress on the scarf during her trip. Once knit up, the scarf posed no problems on the return trip.  I wonder if anyone else has had an experience like this with the metal yarns? Another young girl was also stopped and questioned because her plastic bangle bracelet (given to her for Christmas by her VBF) had a trace of metal in it. Wow.  They have those detectors set to "stun". 
Above you see my entrelac sweater, sleeveless so far, from Sarah Peasley's entrelac sweater design class. Hard to tell, but it has a very deep V-neck, that will be finished with gray I-cord. The sleeves will be solid gray, but will continue in the entrelac pattern. I can't wait to see how this happens. Huh, Sarah? How do we decrease the sleeves?  I didn't want my sweater of boxes, to look well, boxy.  Again, it's hard to tell here, but I did some subtle shaping. For the middle portion I simply dropped down a needle size. I have tried this much of the sweater on, and lo and behold, it skims my body.  Just enough of a curve in it.  I am counting on the puffy look to subside with blocking. I made those down vests back in the 80's as a token of true love to my hiker dude. His was blue and mine was green.  I have pictures of me crossing a river on a log wearing mine. It wasn't flattering then, and I don't think the puffy look will be good for me now. 

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blurry blue bamboo

Here below are some products of my dye pots this week:

Can you say Blurry Blue Bamboo from Habu? This is not the soft drapey bamboo most commonly found in yarn shops. This bamboo is fiesty!  It is what would happen if you pounded open a stalk of bamboo, and tied the fibers together. Can you see the little bends and bumps?  It takes the dye surprisingly well. I cannot wait to weave with it. This skein  will go into the shop this week.  But it could end up in kitchen curtains if no one snaps it up. 
Red Silk.  Lace maybe?
Eggplant Prime Alpaca.  Really dark in real life. Dark purple and black.
Celery green prime alpaca.
Sky blue prime alpaca. 

My color choices this week were dictated by a special order for rug wool.  Not wanting to just dye one skein in any one pot, I threw in the ones that you see above.  

Yesterday was such a wonderful day at Woven Art. We hosted an artist reception for Kelly McRay and her show: "Gestures" which is a series of gesture drawings developed into fully realized drawings.  I'll post one or two later this week.  It also was a meeting of the Woven Art book club, and they were discussing Advice they would give to their younger selves.  I always enjoy the book club discussions, as I get to know a new side of my friends each time. This time was especially satisfying.  Great group! And very open, new members really are welcome!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Resolution #1, get more fiber

Weave a little, spin a little. Every day. Those would be two of my New Year's resolutions. Luckily I am surrounded by looms, wheels, and fibers most of the time.  Pictured here is some bamboo and silk roving I dyed.  I am spinning a little of it. Beginner that I am, I feel challenged by it. How can something so slippery be so grabby?  Pre-drafting helps, plus all it shiny goodness make it worthwhile. I plan to ply what I get with a little lime green merino (I am spinning the stuff on the left).  Maybe just enough for some fingerless mitts.  Maybe for my Arizona daughter. 

I found a new-to-me website that is full of fun patterns. Like this one, for a little black dress in Hempathy.  That is one great yarn, and one I try to keep in stock.  It is wonderful for knitting, crocheting and weaving.  

Now that the Winter Holidays are a glowing memory, I am turning my attention to ordering yarns for Summer.  I'd love some suggestions!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Two kinds of lace on New Year's Day

May you find the new year full of beauty and interesting challenges.