Episode 19: Knit Together!

Oh my, we’re up to Episode 19! This week, I talk about travel knitting, my test knit for Anna of the Dunkelgrün Podcast, and exploring brioche knitting. Plus, I announce the latest community-inspired project: a KNIT TOGETHER. Won’t you join me? Details below and on the blog. Thanks for stopping by to hang out with me and chatter about all things knit!

Show Notes (scroll down for links!)

KNIT TOGETHER INFO
Lots of maker communities collaborate or play “tag” with fun objects, ideas, materials, or FOs. Right now, for example, there is an ice pick making the rounds with YouTubers . . . each person who receives the ice pick makes a video about using the object. I thought that we fiber-fellows could make up a collective project of our own. Won’t you join me?

Our GOAL: make at least one blanket—maybe 2 or 3!?—out of squares knit by members of our awesome fiber community. We’ll keep track and have some fun in a Ravalry group dedicated to the project. I expect the project to last a year (or more!)

How to PLAY (2 ways):

A) TAG: I will “tag” a few of my favorite podcasters and bloggers by sending out a first round of DPNs; if you are “tagged” (and willing!) make and send me a blanket square that is 8”x8”–any pattern you like!– and then, send on the DPNs to someone else!

B) JOIN IN: send me a PM on Ravalry and I’ll gladly accept blanket squares from anyone who wants to join in the knit together!

SOULFUL Stash: yarn/fiber materials should be special in some way: local to you, handspan, something you’ve dyed, something you love ❤ Nothing acrylic, please! Thanks to Sarah of Fiber Trek for the perfect terminology for this 🙂

GIVEAWAY: I will seam up all of the squares I receive . . . Everyone who knits and submits a square will be entered to win the finished blankets(s)!! Wowza!!

TAGGING (if you accept . . . I’ll send you some DPNs!!)

  1. Sarah of FiberTrek
  2. Rachel of TreehouseKnits
  3. Tommi of SquirrelPieProductions
  4. Shirley of Handmade Habit
  5. Mandy of Little Golden Notebook

__________***___________***____________***____________***_____________***___________

–Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins

–Spin, Span, Spun

–Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

–Stitchin’ Den

–Dunkelgrün Podcast (Test Knit)

–RebelTwo Shawl

–Explorations in Brioche (Nancy Marchant) on CRAFTSY

–Ice Pick Videos—Spencer’s version is HERE

Posted in brioche, community, episode, found, KAL, knitting, mountain goat, not knitting, podcast, socks, travel, video | 1 Comment

Indie Dyer: Cherish Stevens of Dandelions and Daisies

Well hello there, weekenders! Today I have an interview with Cherish Stevens of Dandelions and Daisies–an indie dyer of fiber and yarn; and a doll maker! I met Cherish through her Etsy shop and a shared FB group. I was attracted by her beautiful and vibrant colorways and the fact that she is also a maker of dolls and other fiber creations. So much beauty in one place 🙂 Cherish agreed to an interview and the results are below. But first, some awesome photos for crafting inspiration (all courtesy of Cherish).

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Where did the inspiration for Dandelions & Daisies come from?
I wanted my business name to have a special meaning and to be a tribute to my children. They bring me fists full of dandelions and daisies all summer long, after kicking around several other ideas it just felt right. I have wondered if it was the best name for my business from time to time, wishing that the name reflected my gypsy sprit but I simply can not bring myself to change it, just like I can’t bear to discard the sweet wildflower once they have wilted because they were giving to me with so much love!

What is your favorite kind of crafting project?
Oh that is tough! I honestly love all things cratfy! I feel a deep sense of satisfaction from anything that I make for my children, whether it’s healthy treats we bake together, a warm quilt I made them for Christmas, a handspun knit hat to keep them warm as they play, a sweet dress, or lovingly crafted dolly. I have to say that making things for my children is my favorite craft.

I absolutely love the entire process of handspun yarn, from sheep to finished item every last part fill my heart with peace and comfort. It is difficult to try to explain to someone but there is something terribly romantic about it, it is like the feeling you might get when you’ve finally arrived home after a long journey. That is how I feel when I sit down at my wheel. When I give a gift that is made with handspun yarn it feels like I am giving them the gift of love. I know that it sounds sappy but I really can’t explain it any other way.

I am currently learning how to  make pottery, it has been a lifelong dream of mine to throw beautiful pottery on a wheel so I am over the moon excited! Hopefully I will be adding yarn bowls to my shop in the future!

Who are your biggest crafting influences/inspirations?
This one is easy! The women in my life!  My great grandmother was a doll maker and taught me how to cross stitch and embroider when I was very young. Both of my grandmas are extremely artistic and taught me how to bake, paint, draw, make wreaths, jewelry making,  photography, how to crochet and much much more. My mom who took the time to homeschool six children and always encouraged us to make anything and everything, she taught me to sew, to make soap and to do all things with love. And of course my sisters who are my best friends and are always up for learning a new craft with me and are always inspiring me with their own creativity.

You are also a doll maker–how did you get interested in that craft?
My great grand mother was a doll maker and made me two of the most beautiful dolls when I was young. I wanted my daughters to know the love of a handmade doll so I taught myself to make them before my oldest daughter’s first birthday. At first I just made softy style dolls but quickly fell in love with the beauty and simplicity of Waldorf dolls. I read everything I could on how to make them and ordered my supplies! She received her first Waldorf doll for her second birthday. This is actually what gave me the push to learn to spin, Waldorf dolls traditionally have handspun yarn for hair. I had always wanted to learn to spin from a really young age  but I had no idea where to begin. I had never met a spinner but I knew I just had to learn! I found a used wheel on a local sales site and fixed it and the rest is history. I have not listed  any dolls in my shop lately because they are incredibly time-consuming and I worry that my dolls do not hold a candle to other makers. I find more joy in creating them for my own children for now; I may feel inspired to add them to my shop again someday but for now I will continue to gift them.

Any advice for new dyers?
I would tell them to learn the rules and then break them to see what happens. Find your own style and don’t be afraid to fail, it’s how you grow. If you dye something you absolutely hate then overdye it! Some of my favorite things have come from something I thought was a mistake or something that was ruined. There is always beauty to be found. You just have to know where to look. Do what makes you happy, life is too short not to be happy!

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

You can also join my Facebook group where I host monthly Spin Alongs and give away prizes to those who play along. I also post to shop updates there and let people know about sales that might be going on.

***

Thanks so much, Cherish!

I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a dyer, 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)

Posted in color, colorway, community, dyeing, indie dyer, interview, knitting, spinning | 1 Comment

Guys! We Saw Mountain Goats!

We have been out and about in the Montana Rocky Mountains–ahhhh, wilderness–and thus, the radio silence from me 🙂  I’ll give you all the details in the next podcast . . . but for now: the most exciting part: we saw some live mountain goats: a mama and a baby. I was busy staring at the stunning waterfall . . . and my son said, “Oh look, mom, mountain goats!” Holy guacamole! See if you can spot our little friend in the following pictures ❤

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Posted in in the wild, mountain goat, unexpected, unicorns, wilderness, yarn on the hoof | 9 Comments

Episode 18: Ella Love and Farm Investigations

Happy to be posting Episode 18–wahoo! This one is short and sweet: I talk about my finished Ella cardigan, some farm investigations I’ve been undertaking, and a test knit for Anna of the Dunkelgrün Podcast! Plus, I announce the winner of the Moonstone Dyeworks Giveaway!

Show Notes:

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Fiber Feature: Kara Syvertsen of Second Cycle Yarn Co

I have seen many awesome blog posts about recycling sweater yarns: find a sweater at a thrift store, nip the seams, and unravel the yarn. Voila! You have a treasure trove of fiber–sometimes wool, alpaca, or even cashmere. So you can imagine my delight at finding out about Second Cycle Yarn Co, the brain child of Kara Syvertsen. Kara takes the guesswork out of this whole process, producing finished skeins of beautiful, recycled yarn that she sells in her lovely Etsy shop. I absolutely love her packaging and the variety of fiber she has available. Read on for an interview full of inspiration and information. Kara will even help you disassemble your old sweaters–producing a bag full of yarn for you to build something new!

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Where did the inspiration for SecondCycleYarnCo from?
I have always been interested in reusing rather than throwing something away. If I believed in reincarnation I’d be sure I was a Great Depression survivor in a former life;  I hate throwing things away that may have some usefulness. While I certainly can do better in my day to day life, I really do try to reduce the amount of waste I generate. So keeping old sweaters from ending up in a landfill and allowing them to be recreated into something that  will be loved and worn aligns perfectly with my passion for reducing personal waste.

Furthermore, I am primarily a weaver and I was brainstorming ways to lower my yarn costs.  So I went to a thrift store, grabbed a couple of sweaters and went to work with my seam ripper. As it turns out, the sweaters I bought were cashmere (can you blame me?)  and commercially knit cashmere sweaters use yarn that is not spun very tightly. The cashmere sweaters are wonderfully soft but unfortunately the yarn is not strong enough to be used on a loom. However, the yarn is still perfectly suitable to knit or crochet with!  Recently I’ve been running this yarn through my spinning wheel several times to add twist and ply it with itself to create a thicker and more stable cashmere!

Additional to all this, I am not shy about having a chronic health condition that requires me to rest often. This keeps me away from my loom.  But I can unravel sweaters during my resting times. So all this came together and I quickly became very excited about the idea of providing luxurious and affordable yarn to fellow fiber artists!

What is your favorite kind of crafting project?
I have been a knitter for about 15 years but my primary craft is weaving. I bought a weaving loom about 7 years ago on a whim and I’ve been obsessed ever since. But I am a Jill of all trades (master of none for sure!). In addition to knitting and weaving I spin and I can crochet, although I have not quiet gotten the hang of that. I also dabble in dyeing yarn and love using natural dyes and dye techniques. I tend to be a planner, and a bit controlling, so natural dyeing forces me to abandon my spreadsheets and calculator and be happy with whatever nature wants to give me.

Who are your biggest crafting influences/inspirations?
My grandmother knit my cabbage patch doll cloths when I was a child, so I’ve always been around fiber artists. After many years of knitting I still don’t think I can knit anything as nice as she made for Candi.

I would not be the artist I am today with my mom, for sure. She is also a knitter and a spinner but has such a different perspective than me, so it’s so wonderful to be able to bounce ideas off her and get her opinion. I send her literally everything I am working on from dye colors to weaving drafts. She has been intimately involved with me getting Second Cycle off the ground with endless amounts of encouragement and sending me near weekly shipments of sweaters that she has found for me to unravel!

Finally I am thankful for modern technology for sure.  I can be a home body, but through instagram, facebook, ravelry, etc., I am connected with thousands of fellow fiber artists who constantly fill my brain with new ideas and provide support when I need help and encouragement. I am so lucky to be in a community of such giving and talented individuals.

How do you sort through sweaters to find the best yarn?
I spend a lot of time in thrift stores and yard sales . . . a lot of time! I have to look through probably a hundred sweaters before I find one that is made from wonderful yarn and is able to be unraveled. And there has been a lot of trial and error as well. I have a small pile of sweaters that need to be ‘re-donated’ because I didn’t look hard enough while shopping. There are so many factors to consider aside from what the sweater is made from including the weight of the yarn, color, condition and style. So, yeah, I just sift through racks and racks. Thankfully I am a bit of a podcast junkie, so I put in my headphones and get to work. Most of the time I can tell what the sweater is made from just by a quick feel. But there are some tricky acrylics out there that have made me stop for a second look.

Any advice for someone who wants to use your yarn for a project?
I make extra efforts to make these yarns similar to the yarn you’d pick up at your LYS.  I have to remove thin strands of nylon that manufacturers will add to ribbed cuffs to help maintain the elasticity in ribbing. A nifty trick, but that nylon needs to be removed to make it usable. I also have a 3 step cleaning process, especially for wools, to remove any odors and other things remaining on the yarn from having been worn, loved, and washed as a sweater and to add softness back to the yarn that may have been striped when the sweater was dry cleaned. The yarn is then dried in the shade, but then moved to the intense Colorado sunshine for day or so to further air out.

Even after all, that the reclaimed yarn can be different from knitting yarns in several ways. Some yarns can be a bit easier to break, especially the cashmeres and wools. You would only really notice this if you are trying to use is as the warp for weaving or anything else that requires high tension on the yarn.

Also, the thicker yarns are sometimes made up of several thinner strands held together, but not plied together. This is different than what you’d typically see in LYS yarns but this is not obvious in the resulting fabric created from these yarns. It just may take a little getting used to but I think it’s well worth it to be able to use these beautiful fibers at a lower cost gram for gram.

Finally, I measure the yarn’s wraps per inch and calculate the yards per pound to to get an idea of the weight of the yarn (lace, worded, etc). But I suggest everyone do a gauge swatch to determine how the yarn will work up for them. Also, remember that thin yarn can be held double to work up as a thicker yarn and usually there is enough yardage to allow a crafter to do that. I am always willing to answer any questions about a particular yarn anyone has.

Where can folks find your shop? or find out more about you?
I am on etsy at www.secondcycleyarnco.etsy.com.  I respond quickly to messages through etsy. I can be reached at secondcycleyarnco@gmail.com. I encourage any question and I am happy to send along more information.

My first esty shop, Garnet Fiber Studio, focuses on my hand dyed yarns and hand woven pieces.  I am using those social media platforms to keep everyone updated on my recycled yarns as well.  I may start new account for Second Cycle one day, but for now two etsy shops, a facebook and an instagram is enough for me to handle! Facebook and Instagram are a great way to catch a glimpse of what will hitting the shop soon.

One final thing, If anyone has a favorite sweater that has outlived it’s life, for instance, it has a hole, it’s out of style, or a sweater from a loved one that they would like the yarn recovered from I am happy to talk with them about that. As long as the seams can be taken apart and the sweater has not been shrunk/felted I most likely will be able to reclaim the yarn to be made into something new. I think its a great way to keep a sweater out of a landfill or getting eaten by moths in the back of a closet.

Thanks so much for featuring me!

***

Thanks so much, Kara!

I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a dyer, 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)

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Episode 17: Sock Yarn and the Sweater Matrix

Hey everyone! Welcome to Episode 17 of the podcast! In this episode, I talk sock yarn–come on over and continue the discussion in our Ravelry group!–the Matrix effect in my Ella Cardigan, Laine Magazine, and GIVEAWAYS! Wa hoo! Thanks for stopping by to hang out with me and chatter about all things knit! GIVEAWAY: visit Moonstone Dyeworks and leave me a YouTube comment (on Episode 17) naming your favorite colorway!

Show Notes:

Posted in community, Ella, episode, fiber, found, Jennifer Wood, knee socks, knitting, Knitting in France, Laine Magazine, Ranching Tradition Fiber, Regia, sock yarn, socks, unexpected, video, Woodhouse Knits | Leave a comment

Farmer’s Market-ing

Spent a little time in Ithaca, NY this past week and, of course, hit up the Farmer’s Market. I found a new little farm, Forget Me Not Farm, that raises Jacob sheep  . . . and that means new roving to try on the ol’ spinning wheel. ❤ But first, that roving had to be ferried across the inlet on our well-loved canoe.

 

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Posted in community, farm, farmers market, found, Jacob, roving, spinning, unexpected | 10 Comments