Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I Can't Believe I Made This!!!

I am so excited about this skein of yarn that I made from scratch!! Words cannot describe the feelings I felt while I plied these two colors together and it ended up so beautiful!! Too bad I only have about 35 yards of it, but that is OK! It was a great learning experience for only my second skein of finished yarn!!!! The next will be much more usable because I ordered a full pound of blue faced leicester soft soft wool that I am spinning and professional dyes to dye it with vs kool aid!! I started with wool which I dyed with koolaid. I used a handspindle and spun two spindlefuls of singles and then plied them together also using the spindle!

Isn't it beautiful!!? Here are the photos. The first of just the plain wool I started with and then some shots of the beautiful skein which I wish I could frame or something!! That is how much I am in love with it!!

Happy New Year! Love, Lisa

Friday, December 23, 2005

First Dyeing & Spinning Project

Well....I am totally hooked on fiber..dyeing, spinning and using! I know all the mistakes I have made along the way in this first project too, but I really have to document this in my blog!! Someday I will look back at it with laughter!
My friend Kathy gave me a big bag of "mystery wool." It is pretty fluffy though. I thought I would experiment with trying to dye it with food coloring/easter egg dye and then work on learning to spin with the spindles she gave me.

Here is the wool in its undyed state:

At this point, I hadn't done any reading on dyeing to realize how complicated it is! I didn't know that with protein fibers, I needed to add acid or that it even needed heat to set! So with my first experiment, I didn't know why the dye didn't stick to the wool. Here is the wool in a pain with the dye on it!

After some reading, I changed my approach and added lots of vinegar and heat in the microwave. This is not the approach I am going to stick with, but it did work. Here are a few photos of various wool rovings dyed with different colors of easter egg dye in the microwave. You can see the wood spindle in some of the photos along with some of my first handspun yarn. I think I accidently felted the first green batch but I was able to retain the fluffiness in the second!

And I am proud to show my very first spun totally on my own skein of handspun yarn. It has a TON of things wrong with it believe me. Including the fact that the dye is still coming off on my hands!! And talk about "thick and thin yarn!!" BUT, I have a lot of roving left that is dyed perfectly and this weekend, I will start spinning that and then ply the various colors together. Very fun and great learning experiment. Now I am going to order (yes I swore I wasn't going to buy anything else:)) some good dyes and experiment and also experiment with some natural dyes from plants as well. Fun. Fun. Fun.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Presents In The Mail!

How Fun! I think I had better STOP though now. I have indulged myself for my birthday enough.

First I got a box from Knitpicks that had the yarn for Rachel's Afghan and for my new Top (called Picovoli) that is part of the Sexy Knitters Club KAL (knit a long). Here you can see the beautiful Blue (Twilight) Suri Alpaca Yarn that Rachel is going to use and then the Violet Cotton Yarn called Shine that I am going to use for Picovoli.

I also ordered a few books. Modular Knits has beautiful patterns in it. I am part of the Multidirectional Knitting yahoo list. Exquisite Little Knits also has beautiful accessory patterns. I also got a few books on dyeing...One is called the Twisted Sisters Sock work book, another is called Wild Color and the last is called Hand-Dyed Yarn Projects. How fun is this?? I have enough to keep me going for quite awhile now.

My mantra for the next month will be....I do not need anymore yarn or fiber or related paraphernalia. I do not need anymore yarn or fiber or related paraphernalia. I do no not need anymore yarn or fiber or related paraphernalia......

Happy Holidays to Everyone.....
My Birthday is on Christmas Day so you can see why I have been indulging so much!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lexie Really Is a Model

She just loves to model!! Her mom, my cousin Beth, sent me more photos of Lexie and I had to put them up on the blog since she is mixing and matching the hat and scarfs I knit for her and she looks so beautiful. I love the purse too Beth! She looks "ready to go shopping" with you and your mom and Rhonda! LOL. Have fun. And thanks for taking the photos and sending them to me.
Love, Lisa

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lexie Models Again!!!

I just had to make little Lexie, my cousin in NY, a very warm hat and scarf for the cold east coast winters. The beautiful and glamorous fru-fru fizzy items I sent her before were lovely but will not keep out the cold! This was very fun to knit and it was my first hat attempt!! The pattern was so fun! I believe I am going to knit more of these for charity. There are a ton of organizations that request knitted items for poor people in other countries and right here as well.

I heard that Lexie loves to model for herself in front of the mirror!! Here she is wearing the watermelon colored hat and scarf I just made for her. SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!! I think someday, she really will be a model!!

Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Blue Sky Sunset Shawl Finished

Oh, I LOVE how this shawl turned out. I bought the yarn from a wonderful online site called Kpixie. If you sign up and register with them, they will give you 10% off your first order and then they send you coupons after that. I like their selections, and their service was great! This yarn is made by Blue Sky Alpaca yarns using their kettle-dyed bulky and sports weight yarns. They were both super soft. Some hints to anyone who makes this. I am glad I knew these things ahead of time because I read them on someone elses blog! First, you definitely have to cast on and off EXTREMELY loosely or the whole thing will rip when you go to block it. Second, the blocking step is crucial and you can't skip it. It stretched another ten inches in blocking and made a huge difference. When I took it off the needles, I didn't like it and it didn't look like the pattern photo, but luckily I had been told ahead of time that could happen! This really would look great in all one color or different colors as well.

I went out to lunch last week in old town Scottsdale with a new friend Robyn who I met in watercolors Class. We ate at my favorite lunch spot, Arcadia Farms. YUMMY. And she helped me take these photos of the shawl and both of us wearing the shawl after lunch!

What is great about Alpaca is that it is warm and soft and not itchy at all. I just love it!

Hope you like these.


Rachel Finishes Her First Scarf

My thirteen year old niece Rachel recently learned to knit and she just finished her first scarf! She did a great job with it! It is purple and I think the yarn is Lambs Pride or something like that. She has another beautiful ribbon scarf that she is working on.

I also just ordered her yarn from KnitPicks for Hannukah to make an afghan for her room. It is going to be made from a very thick turquoise blue (TWILIGHT) suri Alpaca from knitpicks. It is a beginners pattern but is really beautiful. Here are some photos of her knitting and with her first scarf. GO RACHEL!

PS Hey Rachel, keep using that "wool."!! :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Noro Multidirectional Scarf Finished!!

Here are a few photos of the Noro Silk Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf I just finished. I loved making this for several reasons. First of all the yarn changed colors as I knit along and so it was never boring. Plus it has a very interesting thin and thick texture of silk with wool. The colors are very vibrant!! The pattern is fun to knit. It did not come from the book Modular Knitting that I just ordered from Amazon, but it seems based on very similar concepts. The pattern was given to us in my class. I am starting a new triangle scarf that is from the Modular Knitting List. See an earlier post. Here are some photos of my mom wearing the scarf plus the scarf by itself! Now my mom left and I don't have her as a model anymore!!!!


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Plants, Art, Color and Fiber

This blog is going to be devoted to my yarn-dyeing and spinning projects. The reason I chose the name Botanica is that the colors of nature (especially flowers and plants) are what always inspire me. They inspire me in all of the art (including knitting) that I have ever done. Now, as I start to do more with the fiberarts, I want to bring my previous studies of plants, herbs, and botanicals into my new creations!!

My first step is to buy a few books on dying fibers. There are books that talk about using only natural dyes from plants, and then books that also cover acid and other chemical dyes. So I need to learn more about this. I would love to use only the plant ones if I can figure it out and can come up with the colors that I want!!

Then I am going to take a spinning and also a dying class at the Fiber Factory here in Arizona and see how it goes. I found some sources for organic undyed yarns too. I am kind of excited about this!!


Today's Yarn Store Buys!

Wow, I could have really gone crazy today. I didn't do too badly though. I stopped at a local store that is a very nice place. It is called Jessica Knits and they have a great selection of yarns, especially the handpainted and hand-dyed ones I LOVE. I was trying to find something to make my next project from. I am going to be making a shawl called the Ladder Shawl, also by Chris Bylsma. My sister asked me yesterday how many shawls was I going to make and I told her that a girl can never have too many shawls and scarves! EVER!

The yarn I bought is by Araucania Yarns. It is called Patagonia Nature's Cotton and it is spun thick and thin bulky in beautiful lemon lime variegated colors. I found one photo that shows the yarns (but not in my green colors and one other shows the color, but it does not do justice to the thick and thin texture of this yarn! I have to cast it on tonight!!!

I also bought some very interesting supermerino from ArtYarns in black, white and gray variegated colors! I found a photo of the exact yarn I bought on their web page. It comes in other incredible colors but I wanted to try this for this project. I joined their MultiDirectional Yahoo List and I received my first pattern to knit, the Multidirectional Scarf, so I will make it in this gorgeous yarn. Here is a photo of the yarn!!!

YUMMY. More photos of actual finished projects coming soon. Also check out my new finished gallery section on the sidebar!!!

Also, I joined a group called The Sexy Knitters Club!! Why?? Well some people think that knitters are a group of old grannies sitting in their rocking chairs and if they spent five minutes on the internet or in a yarn store, they would see a very different scene going on!!!

Here is our logo button for the group!! Go sexy knitters!

Friday, December 02, 2005


I have spent way way too much time on the computer staring at yarns and patterns. I feel dizzy! What is it about the colors, the textures, the look of these handpainted and handspun yarns that make me want to melt! Honestly, I have some kind of odd physiological reaction!!! I spent four hours yesterday looking at this handspun yarn web ring Take a click and see what you find. AMAZING.............................. This is a list of unbelievable artists who spin hand made yarns and knit! Also some who raise their own animals to get various fibers! AMAZING!!!!!!

I need to post a few photos and updates this weekend!!

I completed a few projects. Photos coming soon.

1. A yummy warm watermelon and fizz scarf and hat for Lexie. What a lucky girl she is. I can't wait to see her posing in this!!

2. A Noro Silk Multidirectional Diagnal Scarf! Photos of my mom Shirlee posing outside on a nice cold sunny day! She looks so elegant in just about anything she puts on. The scarf looks great on her.

3. The Sunset Shawl!! Wow, it is so beautiful. But it isn't quite finished!! I just need to finish weaving in the ends, adding the fringe and then I will block it and take some photos!!!!!!!!!

Lots to do!! Too many yarns, too many colors, only two hands and not enough money!!