Monday, May 29, 2006

Socks, Socks and Sock Yarn

Happy Holiday Weekend......

I really am kind of obsessed right now (me, obsessed?? LOL) with making socks and also with sock yarn. I took a four hour sock class on Saturday at the Fiber Factory. Using number 4 dpns, and a heavier dk weight yarn, we made this tiny toddler size sock. Isn't it cute? Although....I must say the proportions look a bit goofy! I have to find a short footed kid for this one! HAHAHAHAHA Well it is just a sample, but the toe side is NOT long enough. How did that happen?? LOL.

It definitely has some mistakes in it but it was a great learning process. This supposedly is a "German" sock making method. I came home and started two other socks using this same method. I couldn't just start one of course... LOL Take a look. This first one is using Knitpicks variegated sock yarn (Sock Memories in Hydrangea) that I have had in my stash for too long. The second is using self-striping Regia sock yarn..

Here is the Regia self-striping sock yarn with this great great sock bag from Trek for a trade for some handdyed yarn. Isn't it adorable? I love is the bag with the Regia sock yarn. Contact Trek if you want to do a trade for one of her cute sock bags. I have to admit, I want another one.

Then of course, I have all my own sock yarns which I can't wait to try....some more colors coming soon of course..Here are a few of them, some need to be reskeined. Also watch soon for an announcement of where our yarns, handpainted rovings and spindle kits are going to be sold. Pretty cool! But I will wait a bit for a formal announcement to make sure and not jinx it!! LOL.....

I especially like these two new colorways Fresh Berries and Organic Greens.! My dye-o-rama partner Liz just got some of the Organic Greens Yarn. Check out her blog post!

I don't know how to make the self-striping yarns but I am going to learn soon I promise myself.. I have heard these self-patterning Jacquard style sock yarns are made by computer..kind of interesting.. Also......after these two pairs, I am determined to learn the other methods for making socks using circular needles. I just got the magic loop book and I am going to order the Cat Bordhi book on using circular needles for sock making.

My obsession with sock yarn also led me to ordering this pattern and yarn.. This is the Ruby pattern, by Bees Knees using self-striping or patterning sock yarn! Isn't it adorable? I am going to be using Opal bright pink yarn and Regia striping yarn for my little niece Alexis in New York. I also was just reading about Bees Knees, and 10% of the proceeds of this pattern go to the Alzheimers Foundation which is pretty neat. Great patterns for kids, check out her page! I just realized I don't know how to make an i-cord but hopefully i can learn!

In other weekend news, I have been looking a bit at looms. But there are many on the market and it is a bit confusing. I am being very good by sticking to my promise to myself of finishing my weaving class first. And then in just a few weeks, I'll be headed to the Estes Park Wool Festival so I should have time to look at lots of looms there before deciding a thing......

Today, April and Kirsten are coming over for awhile. We are going to do some dyeing and then some playing around with another project......Have a good weekend!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

We Are International! See the Zen Yen Garden Store!

It is a good thing that the people that read this blog like to look at yarn and fiber photos as much as I do!! LOL. Here is a photo-heavy but beautiful post! It is kind of exciting that my good friend Roxanne, is carrying our spindle kits and handpainted rovings at her shop in Canada! She is carrying the spindle kits with both the wood spindles made by Kathy and also the gorgeous stone whorl spindles made by April of Woolyvines. I also saved four of the handpainted rovings for her. Here they are. I love how these colors came out. More colors coming in both the YarnB shop and somewhere else soon that will be a surprise..... Please check out Roxanne's shop Zen Yen Garden!

Roxanne has two of April's beautiful Stone-whorl Spindles in kit form along with one wood one left.

This is "Summer Skies:" made of blue faced leicester, one of my favorite fibers!

This is "Sherbert"-A repeat because its my favorite!!

This one is called "Santa Fe Nights" I love is merino with tussah silk-yummy.........

And this last blue faced leicester one is called "Organic Greens" I have to say this is my very favorite but I am a green lover!!!!!!

More coming soon. And yes I have been knitting at night, thankfully!!! And tonight is weaving class!! So far we have just done our warp and tonight we transfer the warp to the loom. The novelty spinning course on Sunday was fantastic! We learned how to make several kinds of novelty yarns: knot yarns, coiled yarns, Navajo Ply, boucle, etc. Now I need to PRACTICE!!


Saturday, May 20, 2006


This week, I did a lot of dyeing. I think a bit too much actually and I am feeling kind of sick from working with the dyes. Even despite the fact that I am very careful wearing gloves, apron mask and all..... I need a work studio, I really do. And one that is very well ventilated... It really caught up with me yesterday as I had a severe headache, etc.... This is the downside of dyeing for those of you in the dyeorama world! It definitely has its health hazards and it is MUCH better to do outside or in a well ventilated studio.... I never realized until this week how strong the fumes were. I never even noticed them before actually..... I mix the dye powders outside thinking that that was the dangerous part, but the fumes are just as bad......I am going to look into either finding a studio space to work in or adding on to the back of my house where the patio is (like a sun porch). Really I just need water and electricity...For the near future, I am going to set up a table in my back yard against the house and use a crockpot and turkey roasters outside....I just wish it wasn't 100 plus degrees out right now!

OK, enough cautionary stuff. The great thing is look at how many fantastic new colors I have. Once these are all sorted, organized, labeled etc, you will see each individual colorway (because some are TRULY INCREDIBLE) but here are just some photos of my bathroom with mounds of handpainted rovings and yarns.....I have got all kinds of fiber! Blue faced leicester, merino and tencel, merino and tussah silk, alpaca, merino and tussah, Brown sheep wool, superwash merino...the list goes on!!! OH YEAH, Cormo pin drafted roving (HEAVENLY) and soon some Targhee........So I hope I won't be dyeing for awhile as I need a serious break!!

I wanted to make a list of the knitting projects that I am working on and really get serious about finishing some of them....Here they are..
1. Wrap Sweater-Garnstudio...alpaca, silk and merino yarn (YUM)
2. Cotton/Rayon lacy sweater-garnstudio-----in gorgeous terra cotta yarn with glitter thread
3. Regia Striped socks (barely started)
4. Vintage Velvet Scarf from Scarf Style-here is a photo..This Yarn Munich Touch me is unbelievably soft and luscious.

5. And then I got this gorgeous Karabella Aurora 8 yarn in Olive in to start working on the BackYard Leaves Scarf also from Scarf Style.......This yarn is luscious so I might have to cast on and start this today....even though I shouldn't!

Well, five projects at once isn't too bad! I know others with many more started than that........Once I am done or close to done with these, the next projects are:

1. Lace Tee pattern I just bought-using pure silk yarn probably
2. Lady E Shawl-probably using Noro Silk Garden
3. Many sock patterns - I want to learn magic loop and two needle style
4. Crochet projects-so many cute ones in the new Happy Hooker book! I am signed up for a beginning crochet class in August.

It felt good to spell that all out. Sorry for the length! Today is going to be a relaxing day of lavender scented baths, knitting, movies and maybe dinner out........
Tomorrow I have a novelty yarn spinning class through the Telarana Guild which I am just joining... It is at the Fiber Factory and I am excited about this. I might have some photos for you from the class....And from my weaving class! I am glad I have so many hobbies I love. I feel so lucky in this lifetime to have so many good friends, family and other people and things around me that I love.

Have a good weekend.....


Monday, May 15, 2006

The Calmness Knitting Brings Me

Hello friends......

This was such an incredible weekend... Nothing that unique or special really happened other than I picked up the needles again. I was feeling like it had been way too long. I had a lot of stress the past few weeks and I had forgotten how much calm knitting brings me. I know others talk about this, and I don't know if its the quiet of it, the comfort of it, the rhythmic motions or what it is that I just find so relaxing. I finished the belt portion of my Garnstudio wrap sweater. Now I just have to finish seaming it. I also picked up the other sweater I started, also a Garnstudio pattern and did a few rows so I was once again familiar with the pattern. The other project I have on the needles is the Vintage Velvet Scarf from Scarf Style. OH I love the Munich Touch Me yarn, it is really extravagent, but oh so soft, and it was on sale last week at Jessica Knits. I am using a very dark eggplant color and it is gorgeous.

I am now mixing up some dye colors and am going to be dyeing some lucious roving that I have----- blue faced leicester, alpaca with silk and merino, merino with tussah silk AND merino with tencel. All wonderful combinations......

What is a post without photos? BORING! So, I don't think I posted all the recent yarn colorways I did so here are a few more..I have a lot of new color combinations coming soon......I love mixing color and sometimes it doesn't alway work out as I magine in my head, but that is ok. Some end up being keepers for future dyeing and some don't....I have a notebook where I keep samples of each colorway with the formulas I used so I can refer back to it.

First, I did more of the bluebells colorway but I was out of a previous blue I used so this one is a tiny bit different. Still I love how it turned out. I am pretty sure I am going to keep some of this myself to make socks with..

And here is one that actually was a mistake but turned out pretty interesting. I called this Dark Forest and actually I think this is going to make great mens socks. I put one skein on ETSY and it was gone by the next day.. But I have more I just haven't reskeined. Reskeining is a huge problem for me with my hoo-had to get one sob in there.

And finally, I did this "watermelon" colorway and I put all of it on ETSY and it was gone by the next day. So I think I'll do some more of this in fingering weight. This is a sports weight superwash..... I bought a pair of 40 inch addi circulars to learn the magic loop method of making socks and I am just waiting for the book to arrive! Yippee.

Have a wonderful week....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dye-O-Rama Meme

My secret dye-o-rama pal asked me to fill out this meme, so here I go........

Specific to this swap:

Your favorite colors?
I love greens of all kinds. I love blues and I love earth tones.

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)?
I like the fingering weight the best for socks......As far as for other items, I like all yarn weights.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
I prefer multicolored yarn.

If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn?
Ooooh, I'd love self-patterning, but that must be hard to make! I would be happy with any of the above. I think self-striping is fun, but I love variegated yarn too.

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)?
Sure!! Not all acrylic though. I don't like it that much.

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? The perfect colorway name?? Oh no, I have trouble coming up with my own colorway names. What about CONFUSED??

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along?
I LOVE COLOR, I love dyeing. I thought it would be fun to get something that someone else dyed for me and I love making a skein for my secret partner as well........

General yarn/fiber questions:

Have you dyed yarn/fiber before?

yes, many times

If so, what’s your favorite dye and method?
I mostly use dyes from prochem, but I have also used standard dyes and other brands. I really want to experiment with natural dyes at some point. My favorite method is space dyeing or rainbow dying.

Do you spin?

Have you knit socks before?
I have started several pairs and not finished them, but I am determined. Next weekend I start a new socks class though! It is learn to knit socks in four hours..... I also just ordered the magic loop booklet to learn how to knit on 40 inch circular needles and I want to try that method.

Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too?
In other patterns too! Fingering weight is good for lace projects too.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
Hmmmmm...anything soft! I love the Blue Sky yarns..alpaca and silk and their dyed cotton....I like anything with silk (Debbie Bliss pure silk is a dream yarn). I just got some Karabella Aurora and it is yummy and I also bought some Munich Touch me that is oh so soft....I love many yarns! I like natural fibers the best...And soft and breathable fibers.

What yarn do you totally covet?

I have always wanted to buy a bunch of Lorna Lace sock yarn or Koigu....but since I started dyeing, I can't bring myself to do that.

Favorite patterns?
none in particular, I would love to learn to make fair isle socks and lace socks.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
Something out of a silk and cashmere yarn...

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
Definitely ADDI turbos! circs metal

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I took a test and it said I was a novelty yarn because I like change.

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? m & ms (yum), chocolate kisses and chocoate covered you get I love chocolate??

What’s your favorite animal? DOGS!! I love all animals.... I am in love with the idea right now of buying a few sheep or alpaca, we'll see.

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?
Bailie............bearded collie, age 10
Pepe, bichon, age unknown but around 3

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
I love roses (peace roses). I love orchids. I like Japanese flower arrangements (Ikebana) and I would love to have a fountain in my yard someday with lillies and koi.

Do you have a wishlist?
I have a wishlist on my blog on the top right and I have a very long wish list at

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? NO, except that I wish my secret pal would fill this out because I feel I know very little about her!!!

Hope this helps you secret dyeorama pal!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Arizona Sunset Handspun

Can you see why I called this handspun Arizona Sunset? It is from some blue faced leicester wool that I handdyed in shades of red, gold and orange. Then I spun it with some gold firestar. The gold is just enough and not too much. I keep saying this, but this is my best spinning so far! It really is even. I thought it was going to be much thinner but it still came in at a WPI of 9-10 which is a light worsted weight. I am trying to figure out still how to spin fingering or lace weight. It must be just a bare thread of fiber!!

I still have another skein of it to take off the bobbin, but I think it might be slightly thicker as I got tired near the end of spinning this.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Beautiful Stone Whorl Spindles

April, from Woolyvines, and I have gone in on a little joint venture in the YarnBotanika shop. I met April at a spinning class recently and I started reading her blog. You should too! I saw her beautiful spindles, and because I am so always attracted to everything earthy including gems or stones, I fell in love with them. I asked her if she would be willing to put some in the spindle kits I was already making. They are made of many beautiful stones, each one being completely different. Some have one stone and some have two on them. Here are a few photos of the kits which I put in the shop.

I am pretty excited about this! Plus soon, these kits with Kathy's spindles and April's spindles _(Note to Kathy: you need a blog!!!) along with the handpainted rovings are going to be in one of my favorite on-line shops called ZenYarnGarden, along with the beautiful handpainted yarns made by Roxanne. I am excited to have the products in her Canadian shop and so are April and Kathy. Soon (someday?) we hope to have hand-turned exotic wood spindles too made by Kathy.

I have met such great people through this hobby. It really has been amazing actually. And some neat people from all over the world!

Today, I went to the Arizona Desert Spinning and Weavers Guild meeting and that was fun. Too much food!! Then I came home and made batts on the drum carder that I have here that Terry from the Fiber Factory lent me. (Check out their new and updated web page!) I had fun carding blue faced leicester, soy silk, cashmere and sparkles and I will show you some of the batts tomorrow when I can take some more photos in the sunlight. Now, I have to get one of these drum carders. I love blending all the fibers and colors. I can not do it often though as it definitely strains my neck and I am very very sore tonight.

I need to get back to knitting. I am really missing it. I have have have to finish my wrap sweater. It is SO close to being done!

Go over to April's blog since it is new and say hi to her! And see her pretty spindles if you scroll down. I also have her button on my sidebar now. She also has a new drumcarder named "munch" and she is having a lot of fun making batts on her. Is "munch" a she? or a HE? Hmmmm. LOL


Friday, May 05, 2006

Summer Garden Colors

I wish I would hear back from my secret pal for the DyeORama Swap. I have emailed her once and posted on her blog once. Then I would know what she likes so I could save one of the new colors for her. It is taking me FOREVER to reskein all the yarns I did last week for some reason. Maybe it is because I keep getting interuppted or maybe it is because it kills my neck to use the niddy noddy. I just found out I may have a new herniated disc below my surgery site of last year. This is not good news and I hope I don't need more surgery or I will be out of commission with dyeing and spinning, that is for sure. I see my neurosurgeon next week.

I wanted to do a lot of "fresh" bright and light colorways this time. Here are a few of them. There are 3 or 4 more coming.....Probably better to split up the posts anyhow.

This first one I called Peach Pie because it did remind me of that and I couldn't come up with anything else either....

This next one I called Raspberries, Chocolate and Cream. Pink and browns together are really one of my favorites. I'd actually like a room in those colors although it wouldn't go well in my current house.

Here is a new version of the Peace Rose called Peace Rose Two. I ended up using brighter pinks and peaches and so even though it is similar it is not exactly the same. I love this color combo. I really do.....

And last one for now is Lime-Lemon Twist. I am so into lime this year. I always liked that color but now I just love it. I want to use it everywhere! I am lucky that I can wear lime too and a lot of people can't...I want to make a lime lace shell that I saw. I just need to get the yarn and pattern. I want to use Debbie Bliss Pure silk for it and I hope it comes in lime. I think it does! I will show you the pattern when I get it and the yarn.

Here is one new "prop" I tried and I am not sure about it! But I have lots more ideas. I never thought photographing yarn and fiber would be so much fun!! All these yarns are at the ETSY store of course. More colors coming soon. I LOVE COLOR AND I LOVE DYEING. I LOVE SPINNING TOO!!!


Monday, May 01, 2006

Naming Colorways--------

Here are some new colorways I dyed this weekend. I have about 8 more coming soon. Not everything turns out as I imagine in my mind or even if I play with paint first on paper and mix colors which I sometimes do, it often looks different on the fiber or yarn once it is dyed, dried, and then braided or reskeined or spun up. I really welcome any comments....either on suggestions for color combinations you have always wanted to see or love and/or names for colorways.

First, here is serenity because I read about the color blue today and what it often emotionally evokes in people, and guess what, it is often serenity! Interesting, as blue and shades of blue and green are my favorites. And I do crave peace and serenity in my life and try to find within on a daily basis.

I had a hard time naming this next one. First I was going to call it Blueberry Pie, but is too peaceful or something for that, so I named it Desert Summer because it reminds me of our wide open skies that are blue with sometimes patches of white clouds and then the desert earth landscaping....

Someone who bought some sock yarn from me told me she loved the colors bright orange, lime and turquoise together so I decided to try that combo. This came out very colorful bright and fun and I called it Tropical...I also thought of several fruit names but the turquoise didn't fit in there!! I also had to be careful with this one because if the colors blend on the edges you end up with a bit of brown which I want to avoid at least in this particular colorway...That is often why I like dyeing analogous colors because they blend beautifully. How do you like my new photography "props??"

And finally, this one is hot pink and orange. My mind just shut off and I couldn't think of a color. SO..I entered into google "HOT PINK ORANGE" and all these fashion things came up especially of bathing suits (LOL) so I named the colorway Summers at the Beach!!

Gosh, I just noticed that the shop is kind of messed up! Usually there is a counter that tells you how many times your item has been looked at and they have removed the counters because the site is just so busy!! That makes it very hard to judge what people are looking at. I am happy they are so busy but wow!!

OK, must run. EMAIL ME or leave comments!!!