Archive for the ‘Handcrafting’ Category

Do you spin or knit?

All items at DyeingToSpin are 15% off with the code “TourDeFleece”.  Dyeing to Spin is a hobby for me, but I’m going to be offering the Dyeing to Spin brand in wools appropriate for knitting soakers, including handspun, and with patterns for soakers I am currently testing.  It’s mostly spinning fiber and sock yarn now, but I’m really pleased with the colorways!


Yarny goodness from Storied Yarns!

Okay, I don’t usually do a lot of giveaways, but I couldn’t resist offering up this one. Jess of Storied Yarns is offering a $10 digital gift certificate to her store to help me celebrate 1000 fans.   She’s also having a sale through today – 20% off with the coupon code SUMMERTIME11 at her Artfire shop.  Don’t spin, but you see a batt or roving you just love?  For July only she’ll also spin it  just how you want it for free!

Jess dyes yarn and spinning fiber inspired by books, tv, and movies, and her colorways are just fantastic (I have a couple of them!)  Her pictures really don’t do justice to her items, but I can attest to the quality and beauty of everything she makes.  She’s about to have a knit-along with a very cute “winged” shawl and a shrug to choose from.  I’m knitting up the test shawl, and I think it’s going to be gorgeous.

So here’s one of the items I got from her:

"Finding Nemo" luxury batt by Storied Yarns

Beautiful, right?  On the inside is even more orange, and I can’t wait to spin it up. I bought a BFL braid from her a few months ago and it was so fun to spin.  My five-year-old son saw the beautiful blues and immediately claimed the yarn:

"I Dare You To Move" by Storied Yarns, spun by me

Anyway, sorry, I’m a little obsessed with pretty batts right now. 🙂  Storied Yarns has an artfire shop (you don’t need an account to buy) and an Etsy shop, which I linked above.

How to enter: Check out Jess’s shops, and if you want to win the gift certificate, comment below with what you think you might buy if you win the certificate!  I’ll give you 3 extra entries if you buy something from her shop, too – Just comment three times for your purchase.

Here are the rules:  You must be 18 to enter, you must live in the US and Canada to play.  If you live elsewhere, you can still play, but you will be responsible for shipping and customs duties and taxes if you win.  You must put your email address somewhere in your post (I believe you will have the option to put it in when you comment, and only I will see it.)  If there is no email address, or you do not answer my email saying you are a winner within 48 hours of the email, I will draw another name.

I will use to generate the winning numbers, and I will go down the list of items from top to bottom.  So the first number I generate will win the first item here.  I don’t want to make this complicated. :)

The contest will run as soon as this post is published until Friday, July 22nd, at 11:59:59 PM Central Standard Time.

Good luck!

If you do one thing today…Christmas edition!

If you do one thing today…

I’d bet you’re wrapping those last minute gifts.  And if you are like me, you are running out of wrapping paper – fast!

Today, get creative with your gifts!  Wrap them in fabric, in tulle, in newspaper comics or brown paper bags.  Throw Santa’s gifts in a pillowcase, tie it with a red ribbon.  Get your kids (or some kids?) to color or paint on butcher or kraft paper.

You could even host a scavenger hunt for the best gifts, hiding them unwrapped with clues to help find them.

Forget going out on some of the busiest shopping days of the year, forget buying more paper meant to just be thrown away.  Use up what you have in the house, and best of all, use things that you can use again!

Today I get a spinning wheel!

So I’ve been learning how to spin yarn (yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the computer screen right now) and I have a drop spindle.  I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s slow-going, and my arms start to ache after a half hour or so of holding them up to spin!

I’ve also been taking lessons from a friend on the wheel, and I’ve decided to take the plunge and buy my own.  Northeast Ohio is known for having a larger population than normal of people who enjoy the traditional fiber arts, but after checking Craigslist and other local resources, I was having no luck finding a wheel that looked good enough to buy and actually use (as opposed to using it for a planter on my front porch…)

I ended up posting a wanted ad on Freecycle.  If you know me, you know that I must have been desperate, because I’m usually the one laughing at the wanted ads for items that generally cost more than a small car – or, in some cases, the actual car!  My husband, sweet man that he can be, repremands me because “perhaps they just really need a car, and they figure it’s worth a shot.”

So there I was, posting on freecycle for something that easily fell within my personally determined boundaries of “what is too expensive to ask for on freecycle.”  I would be glad to pay for one, but I was having trouble even finding a usable wheel for sale!


I was immediately contacted by a member of the local spinner’s guild, who asked me if she could put an ad up on their guild forums.  Of course! I said.

And there you have it.  Someone contacted me with a wheel for sale – one of the exact models I was thinking I’d like.  I’m meeting her tonight at the library, and I’m so excited!  I do hope it works, and if it does, I’ll post pictures!  (Not of my yarn, though.  My yarn is definitely “beginner” yarn.  LOL.)

Hmmm…does this count as buying locally? 😉

More Yummy HandDyed Yarn

I am just so pleased about how these have turned out, I had to share!  I ordered some undyed superwash merino yarn in worsted and sock weight – this was for Christmas presents, but I got some for myself, too!

Using acid dyes:

Black (the project is a cowl for my dad – I’ve only got a couple rows left and I’ll be done!):

Kettle Dyed Black Worsted Weight Superwash Merino Slightly Variegated

Kettle Dyed Black Worsted Weight Superwash Merino Slightly Variegated

Red acid dyed using a kettle dyeing technique.  This really turned out well and I plan to use them to make fingerless mitts for a Christmas present.  Forgive the ugly ’60s wallpaper – we haven’t redecorated the kitchen yet.  But enjoy the snow!

Red Kettle Dyed Superwash Merino - Variegated

Red Kettle Dyed Superwash Merino - Variegated

Hanked up:

Red Kettle Dyed Superwash Merino - Variegated

Red Kettle Dyed Superwash Merino - Variegated

Finally, I got more kool-aid and handpainted some sock yarn.  I’ve been making a pair of socks for my husband with really really tiny almost-lace-weight yarn, and this is a bit thicker, so I’m hoping they’ll knit up faster.  The green and blue should self-stripe, while the orangey-pink is almost completely random.  I’m trying to come up with names, just for fun.  The orange-pink reminds me of Starburst!



My foray into Yarn Dying

Well, I got a little distracted this weekend.  My husband and son were playing in the leaves outside, and I was happily sewing upstairs.  Suddenly I heard banging coming from the kitchen, and when it didn’t immediately stop (with a toddler you expect some banging around!) I went down to investigate.

My husband had the tenderizing mallet in one hand, and what looked like a deformed kiwi in the other:

Butternuts!  Last year, our first in our new house, the butternut tree was less than prolific.  I think I may have seen one of these things on the ground, but only the one.  This year must have been better, because there was an entire bowl on the countertop.

Hubby was out to eat them, but we both noticed the dark stains on his hands from the shell and he told me that confederate soldiers used to use butternuts to dye their uniforms – so he boiled them up.

“So….what are you going to dye?”  I asked.

“I don’t know.” He replied with a shrug that told me he really hadn’t thought much past the fun of crushing once-living things with a blunt object and immersing them in boiling water.

I grinned and ran upstairs to get some Fisherman’s wool I’ve been wanting to dye for a while.

Here’s the result:

Butternut dyed yarn

Butternut dyed yarn

The dark brown version was my first batch.  After dumping most of the water from the first batch, I decided I really could use the dye again, so I added enough water to cover another skein and dyed again!

Now I was really getting into dyeing.  Lacking more butternuts, I turned to Kool-Aid I had stashed a while back for exactly this type of project!  This was fun!  First I kettle-dyed two batches of about 2.5 ounces each of wool yarn:

Kettle-dyed yarn - batch #1

Kettle-dyed yarn - batch #1

That’s one.  Notice the varigation – I like kettle dyed yarns because it’s always a variation on a colora.

I also hand painted two skeins of about 3.5 ounces each, in addition to the second kettle dyed skein shown below.  I had a blast, and I even managed not to stain my clothes or the countertops!  Here they are:

Handpainted yarn with matching trim yarn!

Handpainted yarn with matching trim yarn!

Well, I obviously don’t sell yarn on etsy (just yet, anyway) so I’m not sure what I’ll do with these – I’m thinking about making some longies and a matching hat for my newborn (and with that,  I’ll insert a gratuitous picture of my newest son!)

Sleepy Baby!

Sleepy Baby!

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