Episode 53: Sheep Breeds & Scottish Spinning

Hello yarnista folk! Episode 53 is packed with lots of sheep breed info: a new farm-to-skein yarn, Scottish sheep breeds, sheep smearing (?!), and so much more! Plus, a review of Jen Arnall-Culiford’s new Year of Techniques to liven up your knitting, a giveaway from Two Frenchie Fibers, and a WIP: my Turmok sweater from June Cashmere and Norah Gaughan! Phew! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

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To enter the Giveaway for one of two possible prizes, please “Follow” TwoFrenchieFibers on Instagram and leave a comment here, on the Ravelry thread, or on the blog post telling us which is your favorite colorway from Cheryl of Two Frenchie Fiber! I’ll draw a winner by random number generator in two weeks! Winners outside of the US will be responsible for shipping.

If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

 

SHOW NOTES:

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Posted in community, custom yarn, episode, hand dyed yarn, June Cashmere, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, podcast, Scottish Spinning, sock yarn, Turmok Sweater, unexpected, Whorl and Wheel, yarn | 1 Comment

FO: My Red Pearl!

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As many of you know from watching the podcast, I have been working to modify a sweater by Carol Feller called the Dark Pearl. Carol is one of my favorite designers and the knitter who taught me to cable! So, I was psyched to find her pattern in the German knit shop and bring it home as a souvenir of sorts. Dark Pearl is a really unique and beautiful sweater: a work of art! But it’s not quite practical in terms of wear. I investigated many project pages and found that about 1/2 of the makers said that they either didn’t wear the finished garment or frogged it or gave it away. So, this got me thinking . . . I like to knit sweaters for a number of reasons, one of which is learning new techniques. This sweater had a lot to offer in this regard. But the other reason I knit sweaters is that I like to wear my sweaters–I run super cold and need the extra layer 🙂 I have a box full of garments that aren’t quite right for one reason or another and I didn’t want Dark Pearl to join those ranks. So, I let the shell of the sweater sit in its project bag for a few months while I knit up other samples and thought about what it wanted to become.

I measured, I looked for lace patterns, I swatched, and then, I cast on what would become the front panel. I decided on an Elfin Lace pattern from the KnerdyKnitters, a 3-stitch garter tab to match the other side that was already knit, and a bit of ribbing on the bottom. I knit and seamed and rippped! and re-knit the armhole . . . And thus, this asymmetrical sweater became symmetrical! Boom! I know it lost a little bit of it’s funky cool nature in this process, but damn if I don’t want to wear this all the time! It’s also knit in Titus, which is a 30% alpaca blended with 70 long wool–glorious halo and drape and weight. It’s light and so warm! And the lace panel in the front keeps the front panel from being too bulky and heavy! ❤ What do you think? And have you ever had a sweater you loved after modifying it like crazy?

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Remember, I’m hosting a Modification KAL on the podcast and over in the knittingthestash Ravelry group for all of 2019! Come join us?

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Posted in Better Sweater, Carol Feller, community, Dark Pearl, FO, garment, modifications, seamed sweater, sweater, sweater design, sweater math, sweater weather, Titus yarn, unexpected, unicorns, yarn | 3 Comments

Indie Dyer Feature: Two Frenchie Fibers

I have a special treat this weekend: a new-to-me (and you!) indie dyer, Cheryl Fjermedal, of Two Frenchie Fibers! I found Cheryl through Instagram and have been enjoying her recent Etsy launch–so many colors and such cute dogs (their names are Daisy May and Rosey Bell, in case you’re wondering) . . . how could I resist? Luckily for me, Cheryl took some time for an interview (the results are below). I am also excited that Cheryl offered a giveaway to my readers and watchers. More on that in an upcoming YouTube podcast episode: yarn and stitch markers! But first, some adorable images of pups AND yarn! And a fun conversation with Cheryl.

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Q: I know you have two adorable french bulldogs . . . but is there more to the origin story of your shop? Where did the inspiration for Two Frenchie Fibers come from? 

A: The origin of Two Frenchie Fibers is the natural next step in my fiber art passion. I have been mulling this idea around in my head for about two years now. I get so inspired by places I have gone, people I’ve met, and things I have done. I am compelled to tell a story with the yarns I dye. I want each skein to transport you to another time and place. Also, I have the cutest French bulldogs in the whole world! Daisy May and Rosey Bell. They love to “help”! LOL, not so much.

Q: What’s special about the yarn bases you feature?

A: The yarn bases I use are 100% made in America. I purchase yarns from small, to medium sized business owners, who have excellent reputations in the industry. I will often buy several samples from my suppliers to experiment how each base takes the dye. This can be super helpful when dying in larger batches. I have a soft, plump sock base. I feature a 2 ply stellina. And also a very cushy worsted. All bases are merino/nylon blends. Currently, I’m looking for the perfect BFL/nylon base. (My favorite breed) I hope to try many different breeds in the future.

Q: Who are your biggest crafting influences/inspirations?

A: My biggest crafting inspiration is my beautiful mom. Her name is Cheri. She passed away in April 2018, after her battle against breast cancer. My sister and I grew up in the sport of figure skating. My mom sewed all of our ice skating dresses. Her talent was certainly under appreciated back then. My mom spent many nights working into the early morning hours making her own patterns, sewing on her sewing machine, gluing rhinestones, etc. She worked tirelessly at her job, then came home and sewed all night for my sister and I. Not only was she excellent at garment construction, but she was an amazing quilter! Her quilts were just gorgeous. I treasure the quilts my mom made for me. She was the person that truly made me appreciate how special a handmade gift is. She gave me this drive inside to always be creative and never give up on my dreams. I want to make her proud.

Q: How do you decide on colorways? 

A: I get very inspired by places I’ve been. Most recently being Hawaii. The blue water, the turquoise waterfalls, the sunsets, the wildlife, the culture of native Hawaiians.… UGH it’s so beautiful! I am also a space nerd. I feel very inspired by constellations, the night sky, thinking about what’s beyond what we can see with our own eyes… People often forget to look up and realize there is so much more out there. I even remind myself to do this. The swirling blues, pinks, purples… I’m obsessed! I like to think that my color ways will give my customers inspiration for their next project.

Q: Any advice for new dyers?

A: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Don’t be afraid to just mix some dye and throw it on some yarn! Some of my best colorways come from just opening some dye and chucking it in the dye pot. Even if you don’t necessarily love the result, some one else will! That’s what makes hand dyed yarn so fun. You can’t mess it up. Be fearless and just go for it!

Q: Where can folks find your shop? or find out more about you?

 Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/twofrenchiefibers

Instagram @twofrenchiefibers

Q: What’s new on the horizon for your shop?

A: Definitely new yarn bases. That’s one of my biggest goals. Bigger variety. I am making mini skein sets, which will be a permanent addition to the store. I am hand making swarovsky crystal stitch marker sets, which will be in the shop also. I would LOVE to start a monthly yarn club as well. I’m thinking about ideas for that right now.

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Thanks so much, Cheryl, for sharing your yarn and stories with us! I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above) Happy knitting! 🙂

Posted in community, hand dyed yarn, indie, indie dyer, interview, knitting, yarn | 1 Comment

A Huge Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who supported my first farm-to-skein yarn, Shorn! Much love to all who ordered, inquired, and sent kind notes! All of the orders have been fulfilled as of today! Yay! My house is getting put back in order and yarn is beginning to arrive in post boxes around the country 🙂 I really can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

If you couldn’t get your hands on a skein, my apologies–clearly, the demand was higher than even I expected! 50lbs of fleece just isn’t enough! You can still download the two patterns: the Csilla Cowl and the Csilla Hat on Ravelry. And there is a 40% discount on each of them still! A HUGE thank you to Albina of LB Handknits for her gorgeous patterns!

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I’m starting to hunt down my next farm-to-skein project and will keep you all in the loop. I may even start a little newsletter so that folks can sign up to be notified about the next yarn project–you know, get to know the sheep . . . see some updates . . . know when the yarn will be next available! More soon!

I can’t wait to see what you all make with your yarn! Thanks from my home to yours!

~Melissa xxoo

Posted in community, Csilla Cowl, Csilla Hat, custom yarn, discount code, Shorn yarn, unexpected, unicorns, yarn, yarn launch | 4 Comments

Introducing Shorn: A Farm to Skein Yarn!

Shorn, my first farm-to-skein yarn, was released on Sat, March 2nd at 1:00pm! I’m currently SOLD OUT, but I do have a short waiting list (in case skeins become available) Please contact me at knittingthestash@gmail.com to be put on the waiting list 🙂  

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Shorn’s Story
This is a limited edition, locally grown and spun yarn made from the fleece of sheep who live right down the road from me on Fox Run Farm (Monticello, Il) and Seven Sisters Farm (Sidney, IL)! It’s been left in it’s natural, cream-colored state and minimally processed by Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Because the mill does not use chemicals, the yarn has a small amount of VM (vegetable matter). This yarn is a delight to knit and makes a beautifully dense and warm fabric! Limited supply available! Add a skein to your stash OR purchase a kit designed specifically for this yarn!

In a nutshell, Shorn is:

  • Blended for next-to-skin softness and strength: 80% Cormo / 20% Corriedale
  • Grown and Gathered from two local Illinois shepherdesses
  • Milled in Michigan
  • Spun to be a sport weight yarn
  • Skeined up in 250 yd / 4oz hanks of squishy goodness!
  • Best for: close-to-the-skin accessories such as cowls, hats, or shawls . . . but it would also make a beautiful sweater!

Patterns for Shorn
To make this launch even more special, I’ve teamed up with my friend, Albina McLaughlin, the brilliant designer behind LB Handknits. She has designed two “Csilla” patterns: a 1-skein cowl and a 1-skein hat perfect for this yarn. Both accessory patterns have been tech edited and test knit. During the launch, kits for both will be available!!

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I’ll also be having a little YouTube yarn launch party with some giveaways! Shorn is in limited supply, and I’m hoping you can get your hands on some.

All you have to decide is what to order! I have three options available:

  • skeins for $20 each + shipping
  • a Csilla Cowl Kit (1 skein of yarn + pattern ): $24 + shipping
  • a Csilla Hat Kit (1 skein of yarn + pattern ): $24 + shipping

**I am currently *SOLD OUT* Email me to be added to the waiting list: knittingthestash@gmail.com

To purchase your own piece of this farm-to-skein adventure, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com with your Paypal email address, ZIP code, AND your order (number of skeins an/or kits). I’ll send a Paypal invoice directly to you with shipping pre-calculated!  I’ll be accepting orders on a first come, first serve basis as of 1:00pm CST on Saturday, March 2nd.

I can’t wait for Saturday . . . can you??

Posted in community, knitters, knitting, Shorn yarn, unicorns, yarn, yarn launch, yarn-lover, yarns | 11 Comments

Episode 52: Learning Through Failure

Hello fiber friends! Episode 52 is about the learning curve–just how much we can benefit from failure . . . Spencer joins me for the discussion and I do have an FO to share: my Dark Pearl is now fully modified and finished–but not without a few fails in the making! Plus, a new book for our rare and out of print series: The Complete Course of Progressive Knitting. And, a reminder about our ongoing Modification KAL for 2019. Oh . . . AND A FARM-to-SKEIN YARN ANNOUNCEMENT!! Yes! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

 

SHOW NOTES:

Posted in Beiroa Yarn, book review, community, Complete Book of Progressive Knitting, Dark Pearl, episode, garment, knitters, knitting, knitting math, knitting podcast, seamed sweater, sweater, sweater design, yarn | Leave a comment

Episode 51: Beekeepers and Walking Wheels

Episode 51 is jam-packed with an FO: Beekeeper Cardigan, shearing day at Seven Sisters Farm, a book about Great Wheels (Walking Wheels), a giveaway, and a test knit invitation! I hope you’re enjoying our book sharing and that you’ll join me for a Snowy Sunday afternoon! ~Melissa

If you’re interested in test knitting a hat for my brand new yarn clip, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com and let me know your Ravelry ID. I’ll pick 3-5 folks to help out! One skein, DK weight yarn, due by Feb 25!

Show Notes:

AND . . . If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

Posted in Beekeeper cadigan, commissioned project, community, garment, Kelbourne Woolens, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, LB Hand Knits, LB Handknits, Marie Greene, sample knitting, sweater, sweater weather, test knitting, test-knit, Wool & Honey | 4 Comments