Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On The Schedule

Somehow I thought there would be plenty of knitting time this week. The last two weeks were full of long, non-stop days . . . dyeing through extreme heat and humidity on a tight production schedule. This week was going to be my payback.

I had visions of uninterrupted time with my needles and bottomless cups of coffee.  There would be time to finish and time to start.  I should know better.  As soon as there was a break in the schedule, the Universe found a way to insert random appointments, household projects and travel plans for a teenager.

The early morning hours are still my own, and this morning I decided to make that time my designated knitting time.  Yes, it's OK to putting knitting on the schedule.  In fact sometimes the situation demands it. 

At 20 and on my way to 58.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Last but not least . . . one more new yarn in the parade.  My search for domestically grown and produced yarn led me to Johanna.  Johanna is a worsted weight yarn made from Targhee wool.  The Targhee breed was developed in the western US in the early 1900s.

Johanna is a soft, bouncy yarn with vibrant colorways.   By the looks of these two, I have fall on my mind.  This yarn comes in large, 250-gram skeins and has me considering sweater options.

For those who are interested, the name Johanna comes from my grandmother's great-grandmother.  Yes, a long time ago.  Johanna had an adventurous life and traveled from Germany to Africa (where she lost her first husband in the bush) back to Germany and eventually the States.  She was a resilient lady and lived to be 97 - quite a feat in that day and age.  Here's to good yarn and long life!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mavis Lace

Today the parade of new yarn continues with Mavis Lace.  As the name implies this is the lace weight version of Mavis.  Over the last several months I've been toying with the idea of adding a lace weight and finally settled on this one.  Mavis Lace is definitely lighter than fingering weight but isn't super fine like some lace weights.

This yarn is a blend of Merino and silk with soft, shimmery drape.  It comes in large, 1000-yard skeins in a variety of colorways.  It's available now online and will be in the booth this fall.

It's that time of year . . . blueberry season.  We made our annual trek to the fields to pick berries, and of course they are my color inspiration for the week.

Blues all around.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ravi Junior

After a couple minor setbacks I just released another project from the "almost finished" pile.  I don't know how it happens that some projects linger in this state of limbo.  They are finished except for . . . a bit of seaming, weaving in ends, blocking.  So close, yet not quite ready for action.

Ravi Junior, complete with buttons.  This little cardigan features garter stitch with a bit of lace.  The yoke is worked from side to side.  Then stitches are picked up along the bottom of the yoke for the body of the sweater.  

Short rows create a rounded shirttail hem.  The neck, cuffs and sweater edges are all finished with I-cord.

I had a couple of detours with this project.  I knit both sleeves twice to clean up the underarm edge.  Then on the final I-cord sprint around the sweater, I grabbed the wrong needle size and didn't realize it until I was halfway to the finish line.  Even with those bumps along the way, this was a quick knit with interesting details to keep the project moving along.

The yarn is a sport weight superwash Blue Faced Leicester base that I brought in just for this project. 

Ravi Junior Kits will be available this fall in several colors.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oma's Organic

Often ideas have to marinate and simmer awhile before everything comes together.  Several ideas have been brewing in the dye pots over here, and I'm happy to finally release one of them.

Oma's Organic is a DK weight yarn that is grown and processed here in the US.  While many yarn bases come from abroad, we do produce wool here in this country.  In my effort to buy locally I've been searching out US produced wool, and Oma's Organic fits the bill.  As an added bonus, it's spun here in New England.

Oma is German for grandmother, and this yarn is named for my Oma, my great-grandmother. She was Oma to everyone in the family.  Oma preferred to be outside tending the garden and her chickens rather than doing housework.  She lived to a ripe old age.  Naming an organic yarn with her in mind seemed appropriate.

Oma's Organic is a 2-ply yarn full of spring and bounce.  It produces rich colorways and has wonderful stitch definition.  Oma's Organic is available now online.  If you want to see it in person, it will be at all of the fall shows.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Excessive Heat

Through the wonders of technology I have an app on my phone that gives me updates on dangers and emergencies based on my location. Since yesterday, I've been receiving excessive heat warnings.  Today we're flirting with 100°F - that's 38°C for those of you north of the border. 

In spite of the heat wave, I'm having warm, woolly thoughts.  I should be thinking of all things cool - frozen mango, iced coffee, sorbet, maybe even a marathon session at the movie theater.  Instead, I'm plotting more adventures with wool.

The heat must be getting to me because I can't let go of the possibilities.

Yarn and fiber color combinations.  And this is only the beginning.

I go to the farmers' market every week, and I'm always scouting out something new.  This time it was the scallions . . . my color inspiration for the week.

Vibrant purple topped with green.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jagged Edges

A few days ago I hit a bit of a snag with my Ravi Junior.  This adorable little sweater is destined to be a booth sample.  When I knit samples, I almost always follow the pattern as written.  When a person sees a sample in my booth and then buys the pattern, I want them to be able to knit something that resembles the sample.  If I make a bunch of modifications to the pattern, then I have to explain that I did this, that and the other thing.  It's much easier if I just stick to the pattern.  Sometimes that can be a challenge - I enjoy tinkering with a pattern as much as the next knitter - but in the long run it's easier if I knit it as written.   

Back to Ravi Junior.  I was motoring through the sleeves.  I finished the first one and paused.  

The jagged underarm line was slightly irritating, but I had followed the pattern as written with one decrease on each side of the underarm marker.

In an attempt to be faithful to my self-imposed rule, I continued on to the second sleeve, hoping the irritation would fade away.  These nagging knitting aggravations are like growing out your bangs.  There comes a stage where the bangs are a nuisance and in your eyes.  If you can get over that hurdle, you'll grow them out.  If not, you cut them off.

About half way through the second sleeve the slight irritation became a major annoyance.  I didn't do any cutting, but I did do some ripping. Both sleeves.  Gone.  I had a hunch that if I worked just one plain stitch on each side of the marker and then worked the decreases, I could eliminate the jagged edge.  

Bumping the decreases over one stitch on both sides worked like a charm.  I had thought of doing this on my first go-round with the sleeves, but I won't lament the time and frustration I could have saved myself.  Since the underarm line is neat and smooth now, I don't mind knitting these sleeves a second time.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Over the weekend I did a quick assessment of the surrounding fiber and realized that I've been dealing with an overload of one color.  From the dye pots to the knitting needles I've been immersed in various shades of red.  From cayenne to cranberry to sangria . . . hot, fiery, sultry red.

I do love red - don't get me wrong - but I felt I needed to mix up the color rotation just a bit.  Of course that involves a new project, so I started looking at anything-but-red colors.  After some deliberation and polling my daughters, I settled on this.

Cool, calm Lucia Lupine . . . the perfect choice to balance out the red.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jumping Ahead

My Ravi Junior is moving right along.  I'm working on the sleeves but took a little break to assess the button situation.  Usually I don't settle on buttons until the very end - after the buttonholes are made and I can look at the whole sweater.  

I have some running around to do the next couple of days.  If I need to make a button stop, it would be nice to know now.  My first option for buttons is my button box.  I pulled it out and did some sifting and sorting.

It looks like I have a couple options on hand.  I do love button shopping, but time is tight.  I'll resort to that only if I can't make these work.  Full steam ahead with the sleeves.

My color inspiration this week is a combination of red, purple and yellow.

Potato medley.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Dyeing yarn isn't always an exact science, and sometimes the results are unpredictable.  I know that, but I get comfortable with my tried and true formulas.  I can repeat them over and over and over with identical results.  But if I tweak a recipe just a little bit, the outcome may not be what I expect.

Recently I had a special request.

Take this colorway - Paula Cayenne, 100% Superwash Blue Faced Leicester - and dye it in a different yarn base.

Not a problem.  I got to work.  I soaked some of the requested base - Lucia, 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon.  While I mixed the dye, I envisioned the above colorway - a mellow, peppery hue reminiscent of the Southwest.

I dyed the yarn and paused.  The colorway wasn't exactly what I had pictured, and I couldn't decide if I liked it or not.  It was the end of a long day, and I decided to assess the situation in the morning.  Maybe with fresh eyes it would look like Cayenne.

Well, in the light of day the colorway still wasn't Cayenne, but it had a certain appeal.  The two yarn bases have different fiber content.  They have similar construction but take the dye differently.  I should never have predicted that one would look exactly like the other.

This new colorway is definitely related to Cayenne but with a fiery, intense edge.  Now that I've let go of my preconceived image, I kind of like this color.  It's starting to grow on me.  Who knows . . . maybe it will become a regular.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Too Much

I never thought it would happen, but I might have spent too much time on Ravelry.  It was a hot, holiday weekend - perfect timing for a bit of research, I thought.  Untold hours later I came up for air with several long lists and many more project ideas than I had intended.

Several of the projects were not really what I was looking for, but the twists and turns of Ravelry are half the fun.  Discovering new and interesting patterns is always a possibility if you're willing to stray from the straight and narrow.

So with new projects in mind, I started selecting colors.

And that has created another dilemma.  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Ravelry didn't suck up the entire weekend.  There was also a fair amount of knitting time.

That shapely yoke from last week grew into a sweater.  The increases are finished, and the body is almost done.  This is Ravi Junior, in case you're wondering.  It's knitting up so quickly, it almost makes me sad. But there's no need to linger . . . the knitting queue is long.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Shades Of Red

After the holiday yesterday, I'm tempted to coast into the weekend . . . but there are orders and deadlines and dye pots.  We're in the grips of a heat wave.  Summer at its worst.  I was brave and glanced at the weather forecast, but there's no relief in sight until the middle of next week.  

My biggest challenge with the heat is maintaining my knitting.  I have a schedule to keep and hazy, hot and humid can throw me off course. Yesterday I was lucky.  I found a relatively cool spot and stayed put for a few hours.

At the end of the day I had almost finished the yoke for a wee sweater.  Today I'm ready to pick up where I left off, but I'll chip away at that to-do list first.  A friend is visiting this weekend, and there's talk of knitting and coffee and AC.

The season for local strawberries is winding down, but they were part of our holiday party yesterday.  My color inspiration for the week.

Still sweet and juicy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Serious About Stripes

Earlier this spring I was bit with a bug . . . a bug that had me fascinated with knitting stripes.  It's July, and I still haven't recovered.

The zebra version of Pendulum.

Like the bug that sent me to the ER recently, I can't get this pattern out of my system.  I'm enamored of the unlimited color combinations combined with the magic of short rows. 

The yarn is Lillian, colorways Pumice and March Sky.

In case you were wondering . . . yes, I have to make one more.  At least one more.

Shop update.  If you're within striking distance of Burlington, Vermont, nido is now carrying yarn from Dirty Water DyeWorks.  It looks like a lovely shop full of creativity and inspiration.  Check it out.

Monday, July 1, 2013


With a holiday coming up later this week, many people are in vacation mode.  I know several people who are taking the whole week off and others who are making a long weekend of it.

While I won't be doing any vacationing this week, I have made plans for a little holiday knitting.

I have new booth samples in various stages of development and decided it was time to jump start one of the projects.  The other day I sampled several colors on this new yarn base and finally settled on this one.  I have plenty of other work that needs my attention first, but I think it's safe to say that I won't wait until the holiday to start this new project.

Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north.  Here's to summer holidays!