Friday, September 29, 2006

Yarn Photography

I bought this incredible new indoor photography studio recently. The lights are designed to simulate outdoor natural light so that you really can get realistic images of the colors. I just love it!!! It has these great little portable but very powerful lights and I can also use it for jewelry and other small objects....

I thought I would show off a few of the photos that I took today on here of some new handpainted yarns.....I can have yarn kind of floating like this:

In Mangoes and Raspberries:

Mangoes and Raspberries

Or like this in Pumpkin Spice:

Pumpkin Spice

Or I can have it with my usual rocks background still using the natural indoor lighting:
Like this in Raspberries and Chocolate:

Raspberries and Chocolate

Or like this one which is a Black Pearl Yarns Cashmere color. Actually check out all of the Black Pearl Yarns cashmere colors on the blog HERE...

Of course I picked my favorite "Bamboo Green" color to showcase!!!

Black Pearl Yarns

Thanks to my "dye helper-you know who you are :)" for doing such a great job with these Yarn Botanika colorways. Do you think the lighting is pretty natural looking?
What a treat it is to not lug everything outside to take photos....!

Also, please make sure to check out all the photos on the Black Pearl Yarns blog. All of the fall colors are shown there....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cool Knit Kits......

Pretty exciting.....These three knit kits will be coming soon to the Yarn Botanika ETSY shop.

These are all based on designs from the Garter Belt Design Team. Check out their webpage for lots and lots of great designs.

The first knit kit is a scarf design by Marie Grace, called Element. I just love the name she picked. This scarf used one skein of the Merino and Tencel colorway called Earth.

Element 3

Element 5

The second kit is also a scarf that was designed by Elizabeth Morrison. She named her design Autumn Walk and I love it!! The colorway of the yarn is called Madison in the Fall after my favorite midwestern town, and Elizabeth's city too, Madison, Wisconsin. Of course, these scarves can be made in any colorway.



The last Knit Kit, but not least of course, also available next week in the ETSY shop and also at is Wendy Bernard's Mentionable, a really adorable camisole top. These kits come in 3 sizes and 3 colors (Pine Forest-a dark green; Rum Raisin (plum colors) and Peach Spice (peach with beige and brown). The pattern is great and everything will be released at once next week, the first week of October, so keep your eyes open!!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Angela Best at Black Pearl Yarns

Wow, so much is happening at once! First, did you see the post about Angela Best on the Black Pearl Yarns blog? She is designing a very cute cashmere lacy sweater top using the Henna Red cashmere.... The Henna red is sort of a deep red. There will be photos soon on that blog showing all the colors. Angela designed an adorable bolero jacket for Debbie Stollers recent Stitch N Bitch Crochet book: The Happy Hooker. Here is a photo of this design which I just love. I have thought of making this actually, but I am still nervous about my crochet skills.

I just got this new indoor "photography studio" and I hope to have some really cool photos soon of all the cashmere colors for Black Pearl Yarns. They are absolutely gorgeous. Really they are. I am in love myself with ginger peach and bamboo green colorways although the polynesian plum is also delectable!! My sister named them all and I think she did a great job.....

I also hope to have some photos up later today or tomorrow of my Noni bag in progress and also the three wonderful knit kits coming next week to the Yarn Botanika etsy shop, based on patterns by the Garter Belt design team.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Headaches and Fiber Therapy

I have been suffering from a horrible headache for 8 straight days. Finally right now at this moment I have some relief and it is amazing, the difference in my mood! At first I thought maybe it was just PMS, or perhaps dye chemicals or doing too much. But it turned out to be mostly muscular from my neck. Anyhow, if anyone got a note from me and I was grouchy, then you know why.... I normally don't post a lot of personal things on here....but I like to now and then....

When I was up at night and couldn't sleep, I started doing some spinning again which was wonderful. I realized also this week that I have just not gotten in enough personal craft time and I really miss that. I have a pound of CORMO fiber that I bought from a small farm in Northern California. A few months ago, I was obsessed with CORMO sheep. I still want to own some quite badly. I have this fantasy of moving to northern California or Colorado (definitely somewhere COOLER) and having just maybe 6 sheep and two alpacas and a horse and of course a few dogs....

Anyhow, Cormo are very special sheep. The fiber is very very soft... it averages in the 17 -23 micron range and it should be a pure pure white. I saw some raw Cormo fleece at ESTES Park in Colorado and I really wanted one, but I knew I didn't have much spinning time. Next year, I think I will definitely buy a whole fleece and have it processed with maybe 20 or 30% silk and add some pure white alpaca in too. But by itself, it is luscious! I couldn't tell when I was spinning it really, but after it was washed and dried, it fluffed up to this incredibly soft skein of yarn and then I dyed it. Here are a few photos of it when I finished it. This is about 244 yards too! And I still have almost a whole pound left! Oh I wish you all could FEEL this yarn. It is so fluffy and soft. I think I like it more than merino! I just bought this gorgeous new pattern at KPIXIE called the Rosebuds, Ribbons and Bells Shawl. Take a peek at the pattern. Isn't it nice?It has three lace patterns in it. I was thinking of making it in cream colored cashmere, but my other option is to spin up enough of the natural cormo to use! Decisions, decisions!

Here is my Blue Lagoon Cormo handspun that I just finished:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

About Miriam Felton

Take a look at the Black Pearl Yarns Blog to see information on another designer designing in cashmere. The yarn is so soft it is incredible! And the colors, yum, yum. And the designers, wow!! I know its coming soon!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Black Pearl Yarns-Designers


I told some of you recently about Black Pearl Yarns, but since then, I have had quite a few readers subscribe, thank you. Please take a look at the blog and sign up on bloglines to read about it. Black Pearl Yarns is a new company that will feature truly luxury yarn all the way from Asia. No, it is not my company, for some of you have asked, but I am helping a bit with it. I know that Black Pearl signed designed contracts with some fantastic knit and crochet designers. There will be designer bios shown on the blog. The first bio on there is about Melissa Wehrle, who is a very talented young designer. We can't wait to see what her first cashmere design will be!

Here is a really cute sweater design that Melissa did for HipKnits. It is available here on their website. Wow, and Hipknits has some really cool yarns. I have been wanting to feel that banana yarn!

I was doing some dyeing and playing with colors the past few weeks with the Black Pearl Yarns and here are a few photos. This yarn is the cashmere and silk yarn and I was playing with some semi-solid colors. I know the first yarns Black Pearl Yarns will have will be pure cashmere, without silk. And they are all solid colors. The pure cashmere is a very high quality. It feels literally like velvet. The silk and cashmere yarns are also really beautiful. After dyeing, they have the appearance of a silky suade. These yarns are for sale in the Yarn Botanika shop if anyone is interested. They are slightly reduced since they were for my color experiments but they are gorgeous!

The colors are from top to bottom, SLATE, PINK SAND PEARL and DUSK.

My creation

There are a few more coming that are drying!

Within a few weeks, the Black Pearl Yarns will be available exclusively at, in the Black Pearl ETSY shop and in a new shop called One Planet Yarn and Fiber, which will be coming soon. More about that soon.

Have a great day. I have a date with my skeiner for the weekend.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Theme Thursday At ETSY.COM

Thanks for so many great comments on my last post! It is nice to know some people are actually reading what I write once in awhile.... So many interesting comments.

I too, can appreciate the artistry.....but well......I still don't get it, but that is ok. Really thank you for reading and for the comments. I really love getting them.

I just got a note that our spindle kits put together by WoolyVines, Knitted Bits and Yarn Botanika are featured in the Theme Thursday at

Take a look at the post here!!

That was kind of exciting!

It was this spindle kit that was featured where I dyed the fiber to match the bag. I have to admit that I sometimes have trouble giving up these kits especially if the colors turn out interesting.

Last night I actually did some spinning for the first time in a long time and it was a lot of fun. I will try to take some photos over the weekend. I am spinning up some interesting batts I bought from Luxe fiber. Thanks N! And I think I am going to ply the singles with something interesting. I am still so new to spinning and I really want to learn how to make more interesting handspun.... Has anyone seen in person the new knitting and spinning book called Spin To Knit by Shannon Oakley? I am just very curious what the patterns are like. We really need more books like this. Many people just don't seem to know what to do with handspun yarn!

Good night

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is it Just Me

I read the blog Whip Up quite often. Sometimes there are some interesting things on there, other times, I feel either really old or possibly I just live on another mental planet.

I mean look at this hat:

It is described as "fantastic" on this blog.....

A few months ago, they had a contest that was supposed to find some of the best crafty things around and I have to say I was pretty surprised at the winners. I didn't think they were that great to be perfectly honest. There is craft, there is art, and then there is just plain tacky that frankly isn't really artsy at all. Some people have talent and some just don't despite the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here is another hat that is considered a wonderful felt creation:

I mean who would wear this thing?? No offense to the creators as I am sure you worked hard at your artistic hats. And I hate to be a party pooper and a spoil sport. But I don't get it. Is it just me? Maybe I am getting too old for some of this crafty stuff.

I found a few more of these felt hat creations on this webpage linked from Whip UP:
These last two came from HERE. A few were kind of attractive maybe..others just plain ugly. What am I missing here? I've been looking for a new idea for Halloween so perhaps I have found it here?

I don't think I'll be wearing any on my next blind date. Can you imagine showing up in this one?

Have a nice night....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fall 2006 Colorways

Here are the fall 2006 Colorways that will be available. Not that there won't be "experimental colorways" as there will be!!! There are a few others that come to mind. " Mediterranean Sea and Earth" are special colorways I dyed for Wendy and Marie and silly me forgot to take skein photos before I mailed them off to them. But we'll see them knit up soon!

With this mosaic building tool, I can't put the photo names under each photo although I can do that with Photoshop and I'll work on that. In the meantime, here are the names of the colorways going from left to right across and then to the next row. Hope it makes sense

You can watch a slideshow of the colors here on FLICKR and it will list all the names: Fall 2006 Colorways

1. Blue Moon
2. Rose Quartz
3. Manhattan
4. Blue Lagoon
5. Pine Forest
6. Desert Sage
7. Chai Latte
8. Caribbean Seas
9. Madison In the Fall
10. Peach Spice
11. Japanese Maple
12. Vanilla Skies
13. Mangoes and Raspberries
14. Organic Greens
15. Mulberry Tree
16. Pumpkin Spice
17. Raspberries Chocolate and Cream
18. Rum Raisin

Fall 2006 Colorways

Here is another interesting topic for discussion and that it is what truly are "handpainted yarns" There are lots of people out there calling their yarns handpainted when they really aren't. To me, anyhow, handpainted literally means what it says. Physically apply the dye solution to the skeins with a paint brush or a syringe or squirt bottle, each skein, one at a time, wrapped in plastic usually and heat set (at least for protein fibers). There are many other methods of making variegated yarns...Sprinkling dye powder on skeins in a pot, computer generated dyeing, but these are not handpainted yarns. Why am I bringing this up. I got a catalog in the mail today which shall remain nameless and they were saying their yarns are hand dyed and I just don't think they are. Maybe I am a skeptic but if they truly are dyed by hand, I don't see how they can afford to sell them so low. True handpainting is very labor intensive......

Anyhow, I hope you like the colors! If anyone would like information on dyeing, I am glad to share it. After all this is a craft and crafters should help each other in my opinion....Plus there are no real secrets.

Lime and Violet Podcast....

Hey everyone,

I am listening right now to the Lime and Violet Podcast because they wrote me and told me they were going to mention Yarn Botanika in their weekly podcast.....

If you go to their blog here:

You can link on a place to listen to this weeks edition.

It is a great show! I am enjoying listening to it. Now I need (I mean I would like!) an ipod! I have been wanting an excuse to buy one! I downloaded itunes and I am just learning this whole podcast thing.

Give the show a listen, ok? And let me know what you think!! Also they have a message board here and you can leave them a message.

Also check out the gorgeous Lime and Violet sock yarn by Lisa Souza! Yum Yum!

Thanks for the nice comments Lime and Violet!! Enjoyed the show!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I am SO GLAD I BOUGHT this Skeiner!

Hi everyone,

You have to see my new toy here. I have to tell you that I am counting my blessings this weekend that I bought this electric skeiner from Fricke. That is because we are dyeing lots of yarn this week for the knit kits for Wendy's Camisole. The kits are going to be at and our ETSY store. And the yarn comes on cones!!

If you ever need a skeiner like this, I would highly recommend this one!!
There are several versions and HERE is the website describing it.

Last night, I went with Kirsten and her family to the Stitch N Pitch game and it was fun.... We got bags of goodies and then we went out for a wonderful meal! I was happy to get out of the house after doing so many skeins of yarn. My neck is killing me right now... Thank goodness for my friends who have helped me with skeining too. Thanks to those of you who have helped! Thank goodness also I have dye help now. Is that enough thank goodnesses for one blogger post? is amazing in life how certain people come into it at just the right times or certain things happen that lead you in directions you never thought of before. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be spinning and dyeing yarn and have a household full of fiber, I never would have believed them!

Back to skeining!!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Personality Tests

I am a sucker for these tests. I got this one from Elizabeth's blog. Gosh, I am more neurotic than her! Look how low her score is on that one! A 14 she scored! Hmm.. well I analyzed it further and my neuroticism is high because I have a temper. Oh well, it is there and I had to admit it being the honest person I am! I have struggled with it my whole life.... another interesting tidbit is that I scored low on "morality" which I don't understand at all. I think I am a very moral person actually! The only question that I can see that relates to morality was whether I vote for conservative party candidates at all. The answer is no, but that doesn't make me immoral! It asked if I lied or cheated to get ahead and I said no!! Interesting!

My Personality
Openness To Experience
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

MySpace Surveys, Bebo and MySpace Codes by Pulseware Survey Software

You are sociable, outgoing, energetic, and lively. You prefer to be around people much of the time. You can be very easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be extremely sensitive and emotional. Novelty, variety, and change spice up your life and make you a curious, imaginative, and creative person. You have some concern with others' needs, and are generally pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative. You are reasonably reliable, organized, and self-controlled.

This report compares you to other women between the ages of 41 and 60 in United States. It analyses you based on each of the five broad personality domains of the Five-Factor Model (Goldberg, L R. 1999), and the six sub domains at each level.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A few photos....

First, here is Elizabeth's scarf pattern that she is working on using Yarn Botanika merino and tencel yarn. She is a member of the Garter Belt Design Team and I showed an earlier swatch of her scarf pattern. I called this colorway Madison in the Fall after one of my favorite towns Madison Wisconsin.... The scarf is looking gorgeous and I know she has some great plans for finishing it. The pattern will be for sale on the Garter Belt design site as well as in the ETSY shop... KPIXIE will be carrying quite a few of these new knitting kits as well, starting with the cami kits from Knit and Tonic.

Also, I have been making this drop stitch scarf from this INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS handspun yarn I bought from a woman named Rachel who has an ETSY shop called RMD Designs. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rachel's yarns and I plan on buying a lot more.. I am also hoping my sister is going to carry her yarn in her new shop but we'll see...

Rachel's yarns have really inspired me to start spinning again. Take a look how gorgeous these colors are. This is hand dyed blue faced leicester and she spun multi-colored locks into it. I just hope the scarf is long enough. I don't have a lot of yarn left. If not, I am trying to think of some ideas for how to lengthen it on either end or what I could add that would look great with the handspun. Any ideas for finishing a too short scarf?
Here is a close up! BEAUTIFUL COLORS:


Monday, September 04, 2006

Camisole Colors

I just finished the three colors that Wendy's Camisole is going to come in. I really loved how these turned out and I hope that people who make the cami also love them...

First there is Pine Forest (here is another shot of it)

And then Peach Spice.......

Followed by Rum and Raisin......

I am going to make the camisole myself in the Rum Raisin color!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Making Kits for Wendy's Cami...

Have you seen Wendy at Knit and Tonic's cami that she designed with the Yarn Botanika merino and tencel yarn? The pattern will be out soon and we'll have kits for it too. I just love how it is turning out...It will have an actual name too! She is so cute in her photos I have to say that I hope one day I have a spa afternoon with her sipping gin and tonics by the pool....and chatting about yarn and knitting. It just seems that that should happen!! Only I don't drink much anymore and the idea of getting in a bathing suit now scares me! BUT, I am doing well on my diet and there are plenty of resorts around where I live and a massage sure sounds good.....:)

I don't think she'll mind my taking this photo from her site! I love that she makes her patterns in such a wide variety of sizes xs-3x.. Several commenters are asking for a wider strap version so I bet she will add that... What a loyal following she has and for good reason. She is great to work with, always keeping me updated as to the progress of the pattern, etc and that is very helpful....


There are also THREE other great patterns coming from the Garter Belt Design Team using the merino and tencel yarn.. I love working with them, they are all so different from each other and me too, yet we all have the bond of the love of yarn. I can't wait to see the other patterns but to be honest, I am glad they are staggered out a bit!

The cami kits will be available on ETSY in a few weeks I hope, yarn and the pattern to make this adorable top. Here is a photo of the Pine Forest colorway and more photos of the other colorways to come.

Pine Forest

I was working on two other colorways I think it will be available in as well....Rum Raisin and Spice.... We'll see after they dry and I can get a better look how the colors are turning out.... Yarn Botanika yarns, kits, fibers etc will also be available soon in a webstore called One Planet Yarn and Fiber in addition to Most of the items will start moving from ETSY to One Planet Yarn and Fiber over a period of time. I'll let you know more about that soon....but the store sells really cool and unique yarn and fiber from around the world.... It is going to carry Yarn Botanika and then the Black Pearl Yarns which I posted about and other things as well. By the way, Black Pearl Yarns is not my company as some of you asked, but I am helping a bit with it and doing some of the dyeing for it..... I hope you signed up to watch the site because I know the cashmere yarns are coming soon and they are incredible.... And I also know some patterns for the cashmere are coming.

I should still be sleep actually so I am going to go try to get in a few more zzzz...