FO: Aileas <3

It’s sweater washing day here, and so, my brand new Aileas is taking it’s first real bath. But before dipping it into the wool wash, Spencer snapped a few pictures for my Ravelry page. I am in love with this sweater! I discussed the sweater on Episode 11 of the podcast in more detail and I posted some additional pics on Ravelry and Instagram–hard to remember, sometimes, where everything has been posted! I am still in need of some funky buttons . . . so if you have suggestions, please leave them in the comments 🙂

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Specs:

  • Yarn: local IL shetland that I kettle dyed myself with acid dye; inner collar is Dream in Color SW Merino
  • Pattern: Aileas by Isabell Kraemer
  • Modifications: I added a Purl row so that the collar would turn more easily for the hemming. I also added a purple SW liner to the collar in pattern.
  • If you make it: 1) be sure to pick up the faux cable stitches in the armpits and on the collar carefully so that the cable appears to continue seamlessly. 2) use a stretchy bind off for the front edges when you finish the button bands. I also used a 1/2 stretchy bind off for the upper collar.
Posted in Aileas, big projects, community, FO, pattern, sweater, unicorns | 2 Comments

Lambing at Aniroonz Sheep Co.

Want to see a lamb being born? Feel like listening to a chorus of sheep bleats? Interested in what it’s like to be surrounded by five breeds of sheep? Wait no more! We had a blast this spring break out in CO, visiting with Jennifer Rose Guyor and the wonderful folks at Aniroonz Sheep Co. 

Oh, and look at that: Spencer made a cool video to capture the day ❤ Enjoy!

Posted in community, CVM, karakul, lamb, lambing, lincoln longwool, sheep, teeswater, unicorns, video, wensleydale | Leave a comment

Episode 11: Aileas & Aniroonz Sheep Co.

Episode 11 is here! Looking forward to chattering with you about my new Aileas sweater, a field trip to Aniroonz Sheep Co., and some lovely new acquisitions–including Aniroonz Story Based yarns: Partner and Begin. Plus, Rachel Smith’s new Ply article and a quick visit to the Loopy Ewe (in Colorado). Head over to our Ravelry Group to introduce yourselves!

 

A huge thank you to Jennifer Rose Guyor and Steve Irlbeck of Aniroonz Sheep Co. for their hospitality! Their latest Story Based yarns (Begin and Partner) are amazing!IMG_4221.jpg

Show Notes:

Posted in breed, community, custom yarn, CVM, episode, farm, fleece, karakul, lincoln longwool, skirting, teeswater, travel, unexpected, video, wensleydale, yarn, yarn-lover | 6 Comments

Working with Hand Dyed Shetland

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Some of you will recognize this pile of brown fluffiness as the local IL Shetland I purchased a couple of years ago. I blogged about that Starbucks meet-up/yarn exchange and the subsequent kettle dyeing experiment here. This was the resulting yarn–it’s a deep eggplant–which has been sitting in my stash for a little while now. Then, Isabell Kramer introduced her Aileas pattern and I finally knew *just* what this yarn wanted to become. Working with this yarn has been an interesting and storied experience . . .

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First, and as Rachel Smith has recently discussed concerning some of her own yarn, this yarn is still a bit in the grease; as such, it’s a bit stiff to work with–particularly as I knit the sleeves of the sweater. There was not enough lanolin to interfere with the dyeing process, but it’s there; and at the end of a long knitting session, my hands certainly feel it . . . and don’t appreciate it as much as they do fresh fleecy lanolin.

Second, the yarn has a fair amount of VM in it, which is just fine by me, but I have been trying to pull each piece out as I see it–I don’t want it interfering with the longevity of the knit or the comfort of the sweater. But, there is SO MUCH that I think it will always be a little present (hehe). Let’s just say, I feel close to the sheep and their pasture.

Finally, there is a slight variegation in color due to the kettle dye process–you can see the darker black streaks in one of the hanks above. As it turns out, this lent itself to a natural–and small–variation in the otherwise deep purple, which, in the finished garment, adds a nice depth of color.

I’m working away on the next podcast now and Aileas will certainly make an appearance. And speaking of local-to-me wool, I’m off for an adventure at Aniroonz Sheep Co with my friend (and their wool manager), Jennifer Rose Guyor. I featured Jennifer’s work on the blog already: Wild Lily Artisan Fibers; I posted a video about washing one of Aniroonz’ beautiful CVM fleece; and now, a visit to the actual flock! Oh my! That will be an entirely wonderful story to share with you this weekend 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Aileas: Picture Perfect Pattern

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Some of you may have seen this photo on my Instagram feed this past week; thanks for giving it all of your love! It’s Aileas by Isabell Kramer and I love it. At this point–really only a few days later!–my version has sleeves and a collar thanks to plenty of soccer games, waiting rooms, bridge-building competitions, airports, meetings, guild events, and Netflix. All that’s left is to find a contrast color for the inner collar, whip up the button bands and throw this puppy in the wash! I have so much to say about this project, and I will in the next podcast. For now, I’ll simply say this: I have long admired Isabell Kramer’s garments, aesthetic, and style. Now, I also admire her elegant, understated, beautifully and completely conceived patterns, as well. If you are looking for a nearly perfect pattern, look no further than Isabell’s latest.

Posted in cardigan, community, found, knitting, pattern, sweater, unicorns | Leave a comment

Indie Dyer Feature: Nicole of The Spinnacle Fiber Arts

This blog always surprises me: new fiber is discovered, techniques are learned, and community is built day by day. This weekend’s indie dyer feature came to me unexpectedly when Nicole Bottles of The Spinnacle Fiber Arts contacted me via email. She sent links to some beautiful fiber and butterfly buttons. How could I resist digging a little deeper? Nicole has been working with fiber her whole life and has an eye for color and sparkle. I, personally, love the little butterflies and the texture of her yarn all knit up into some lace (see a photo of it below!). Nicole was kind enough to respond to some interview questions, which I’ve shared below; and she shared some beautiful photos. Cheers to our indie, fiber community! Oh, and, “KNITTINGTHESTASH” is a 20% off coupon for YOU (on orders over $15, until September 17, 2017). Thanks, Nicole!!

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How did you get started in the fiber arts world?
My grandmother taught me to knit one humid summer day when I was 7, and I’ve been stitching up a storm ever since. Fast forward a decade, and my aunt and uncle gave me fiber for my birthday. I quickly realized that spinning yarn was amazing physiotherapy for my legs, and as a bonus, I created yarn! I use a wheelchair, and am currently battling Lyme disease, which puts restraints on my energy, but I love and need the challenge and joy of creation. The fiber arts are my sanity!

How did you get into dyeing?
I was spellbound the first time I knit with indie-dyed yarn after a lifetimes worth of acrylic. I instantly knew it was something I wanted to try my hand at, and naively stocked up on Kool-Aid and naked yarn. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just threw stuff in a jar and said a silent prayer to the yarn gods. My first yarn was solar dyed, and I felt like one of the witches in Macbeth, standing over my glass cauldron, adding in layers of color. I pulled the yarn from the dye bath, and it was a riot of unexpected colors, and I was hooked. I realized dyeing was the art form I’d been waiting to stumble across!

What is your favorite fiber to dye? 
That changes all the time, but right now it would probably be my “All that Glitters” base. 85% SW Merino, 16% Gold Stellina! I love the way it glistens in the dye bath, like pyrite in a river. The stellina takes some color too, which creates depth to the yarns. I also really love the way the worsted SW Merino “Valens” base soaks up dye in those nice 4 ply strands.

How do you go about carding batts?
I actually started on this crazy Spinnacle journey by spinning and carding batts, before branching into dyeing. I loved the idea of being able to create the exact color and fiber blends I wanted to spin, giving you control over every aspect of your craft, which I love. Where else can you find a BFL, cashmere, yak, carbonized bamboo, rose silk yarn, except the one you craft yourself?! I usually begin with a vision of color and texture for the batts, and I gather up handfuls of fluff, trying to combine them in my minds eye. I often ‘paint’ silken fibers or locks directly on the drum, for an ethereal yet structured look. Sometimes I let my creative side go wild, and challenge myself to choose colors I wouldn’t usually put together, or at random (which is scary, but has yielded some of my favourite batt sets). I love the meditation of carding the drum around and around, and then rolling the batts up into sweet little “battlings”, as I call them. It’s peaceful. Hard work, but very zen.

Where do you find inspiration?
I live, eat, and breathe color, and am always jotting down ideas for new shades. I’m synesthetic, which for me means sound and taste has color. I am a musician, and almost always have my headphones in, jamming to my latest musical obsession (a mix of Beyonce, Faure, and Hamilton Mixtape currently). Often chords in a song become a colorway. Or a line in a TV show that made me laugh, or perhaps the color palette of a film. I live on beautiful Vancouver Island, on the far West Coast of Canada, and am blessed to be surrounded by snowy mountains, temperate rainforest, farmland, and the ocean

Any advice for new dyers? 
Get messy. Experiment. Push yourself out of your color comfort zone as often as you can. Embrace the wild skeins, and the funky colorways you create along the way. And if you truly bomb a color, overdye it. Let yourself be a child and explore.

Where can folks find your shop online? 
www.TheSpinnacle.Etsy.com

I also have a website, at www.thespinnaclefiberarts.com 

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Thanks so much, Nicole!

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)

Posted in buttons, community, fiber, found, indie dyer, interview, Uncategorized, yarn | 4 Comments

Lengthening a Knit Sweater

As some of you know, last weekend I published a new knitting instructional video about lengthening your sweater. This is a great technique for fixing what ails your knitwear. So, pull out those languishing not-quite-right knits and modify them! Cut in, knit some stripes, shorten at will, and learn about all of the possibilities for your knitwear AFTER it’s come off your needles 🙂

Posted in fix, hacks, How To, knitting, modifications, sweater, sweater surgery, tricks and tips | 2 Comments