Sunday, March 18, 2007

Most Saturdays, you'll find me on my spinning wheel at La Petite Knitterie, along with some of my spinner friends. I do this regularly because I want people to know that the art of handspinning is very much alive. Yesterday, we had a nice group with Miryha, Karen, Nancy and Pam. In this picture, everyone seems to be concentrating on the yarn they're spinning, as our friend, Dawn, joined us with her current knitting project.

I spun a superfine merino roving that I had recently handpainted and finished up a bobbin while at LPK. When I got home, I was motivated to spin a second bobbin when the electricity went out for several hours. I began plying in the near darkness and then we decided to go to Barnes & Noble instead of sitting around in the dark. Back from the bookstore, I found the lights back on so I finished plying. Here's the result of my Saturday efforts. I love that, even when our modern conveniences fail us, our trusted spinning wheels still work.

This past week, La Petite Knitterie began carrying my newest handpainted yarns, inspired by the sea and great for lace knitting. There is a 40% silk/60% kid mohair yarn as well as a 100% tassar silk boucle. Kat, La Petite's owner, is stranding these two yarns and knitting a lovely lacey scarf. Her project can be seen in the first edition of her new online newsletter, "LPK Spin", accessible through the store website: This picture shows the soft beachy colors that are so wearable and perfect for summer projects. The silks include "bleu mer", "sea grass", "coral", "shell pink", "seashell" and "coquille", which can be paired with the soft watercolors of the silk/kid mohair yarns.

And a little update as for my progress on the coral lace scarf which I've been knitting. This project uses my silk/kid mohair yarn in "pale coral", stranded with a dupioni raw silk that I dyed in a deeper coral to match. This scarf is light as a feather, silky, and will be great to wear on a summer evening down by the beach.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Since returning from Stitches West, I have been a bit under the weather so I have spent the past week hunkered down doing much dyeing, a bit of spinning and lots of knitting and spending innumerable hours trying to figure out this blogging stuff. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when you can't go outside. Several things were on my "must do" list, two of which involved one of my favorite Stitches booth, Toots Le Blanc & Co., a small fiber business from Oregon owned by Michele Camacho and her brother. Above is a picture of some yarn I purchased from them. The light gray is a 60/40 angora/rambouillet blend and the silvery brown is 60/40 merino/angora blend, both fingering weight. The dark espresso yarn is a skein I spun from a 50-50 alpaca/jacob wool roving from Toots & Co. -- lovely fibers to spin.

I couldn't wait to knit with this yarn, so I started and finished a tilting blocks scarf using the silvery brown merino/angora. A US3 needle was used as was all 300 yards. The scarf hasn't yet been washed or blocked, but I suspect the angora will bloom beautifully after washing. The pattern is from "A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns" by Barbara Walker.
While at Stitches West, on Friday night I was determined to finish a sweater I had been working for for several weeks, wanting to wear it the next day. I took inspiration for this sweater from the Abstract Cardigan (Project #22) in AlterKnits by Leigh Radford. Rather than knit the various pieces on different needles as suggested, I revised the gauges and used a US7 throughout. The main yarn is 100% cashmere hand-dyed by Melissa Sheppard, and I drew from my stash for all of the other yarns. This is an arty sweater, fits nicely and I love it. Had many compliments at Stitches.
A few days ago, I dyed some dupioni silk I purchased at Stitches from Habu and, of course, I was itching to see what it looked like knit up. I decided to strand it with some of the pale coral silk/kid mohair laceweight yarn I also dyed last week. I chose a lace pattern called 3 x 3 leaf which I saw in Martha Waterman's book, "Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls". I'm knitting on a US4 needle and this will probably end up as a small cravat scarf with ruffles on each end.

My dyepots are calling me, and today is perfect weather for dyeing, high 70's and a slight breeze. All for now.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I am hoping to use this blog as a place to share with my fiber friends, current projects, new handpainted fibers and hand-dyed yarns. Also, I will report on my travels to various fiber events and products produced by small, unique fiber artists. It's really important to me that knitting, weaving and handspinning continue, and I endeavor whenever possible to get people interested in these arts. There is something very satisfying in creating something from one's own hands.

Had a great time at Stitches West with my friend, Pam. The marketplace was fun, of course, and we saw lots of friends. Took some classes, and just hung out. Made some selective purchases at HABU, Toots Le Blanc from Oregon, Moving Mud shawl pins and some pygora roving from Peppermint Pastures. I resolved during the trip to get my blog up and running, so I am posting a picture of a tumbling block scarf I am knitting with Handmaiden's silk and seacell. It's quite lovely and knit on a Size 3 needle.

In January, I did some dyeing with my friend, Lynne, when she was visiting. Here are some rovings that I handpainted with her. These two are a blend of extra merino/bombyx silk, which I spun and then plied the two colorways together, one of my favorite things to do.

Last week, I decided to try my hand again with a baby camel/tussah silk blend. I did several rovings of this blend, and here is one that I decided to spin up. The colorway is plied on itself. This is one of my favorite fiber blends.
The fun thing about this blend is that the fiber starts out a honey beige with streaks of white silk and the colors come out differently than on a white roving.

The most current handpainted yarns I have been working on are a blend of 40% silk/60% kid mohair (a laceweight yarn) and a beautiful silk boucle. The inspiration for these pastel hues is the sea and its environs. There will be lilacs, sea glass, corals, sea grasses, pale yellows and aquas. I hope to have these available through my very favorite yarn shop, La Petite Knitterie in Ladera Ranch, the first week of March. ( Here is just a sampling of these yarns, the corals and pale yellows. These will be wonderful for the renewed enthusiasm in lace knitting. Also, they are a great compliment to the new cashmere/silk yarns that our friend, Melissa Sheppard, has just brought in to La Petite Knitterie.

As part of this blogging experience, I hope to have a link to fibers and yarns that I will have for sale from time to time, but that will be for another day. My hand now trembles, as I go for the "publish" button. Was I successful in my first posting? I hope so.