Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Knitting with sock blank yarn cakes, and Chilliwack Spin In

I have sock blanks that I hand dye, and once dry I wind them into pull from the centre yarn cakes. People often ask what is it like to knit with that yarn, as sock blanks are a fabric that has been knitted before dyeing, and after it is dry and unravelled, the yarn is kinked like any knitting that you have undone. Here are a couple of pictures. The first picture is the finished shawl before blocking.
This picture is showing the yarn that I knit with. Once the yarn cake has sat for a while (in this case, a month) the yarn itself relaxes somewhat, 
and is far less kinked.
This picture shows the shawl after blocking - 
all signs of yarn kink have been removed.

September 17 was the annual Chilliwack Spin-In where I was once again invited to be a vendor. There were approximately 75 spinners in attendance. I love meeting with old friends, and in particular, seeing their finished products after they have purchased fibre or yarn from me at the previous spin-in.
This was my booth.
Here are some of the other vendors.

Brenda Alexander of Penelope Fibre Arts (and the organizer of the fabulous annual Fibres West held in March)

Danielle Kingma of Birkeland Brothers in Abbotsford, my favourite neighbour at any fibre event. The smile never leaves her face.

 Joanne Baxter of Lyndhaven Farms in Abbotsford with raw Romney and 
alpaca fleece.


Lori Giesbrecht of Redeemer's Garden in Chilliwack with a selection of 
cashmere fibres.

Dale Friend was there as a participant rather than a vendor this year, and was busy weaving a basket.


As usual, the Show and Tell portion of the afternoon was mind blowing. Here are a few of the items demonstrated.


 Harmen Kooyman, and 82-year-old gentleman spinner, was there with a wheel that he made, out of wood salvaged from a chokecherry tree that had fallen and lain on the ground for 16 years. It was a genuine gorgeous work of art.
 And his spinning matched the quality of the wheel!

Hopefully see you next year!



Friday, 2 September 2016

Speckle dyeing

I have been playing around with creating some speckle dyed yarns. I use a turkey roaster for a lot of my techniques. I found that the insert eventually lost its coating from the many soaks of citric acid, so I now use one of those aluminum turkey sized disposable pans that you can get at the dollar store. I have to cut off the edges to fit the piece into the roaster, but I have not noticed any problems with my dyeing in an aluminum pan. Eventually they also get pinholes from the citric acid, so throw away and use a new one.

I pre-soak the skeins in water with citric acid (1 tblsp to 2 skeins) and a bit of Synthrapol. Squeeze out and lay in the roaster 2 at a time, then add enough water just to cover the skeins. I have premixed my primary colour (in this case, lilac) and use 2 cups to pour over the skeins, leaving white areas. Then I sprinkle the dye powders (I have the powder in those dollar store salt shakers) very carefully. I have been using 3 different colours. Then I don't touch anything for at least 15 minutes. Wearing heavy duty rubber gloves, I then take the skeins and flip them over, and repeat. After another 10 to 15 minutes, unplug, let cool a bit, and rinse. Here are some skeins that I have done.


What do you think?

Friday, 26 August 2016

Some of my projects

I knit at night while watching TV, which keeps the hands out of the snacks! So I thought I would show you some of the things I and customers have made with yarn that I have dyed, which also gives you an idea of how the yarn works up.
 This is yarn dyed in honour of the Toronto Blue Jays. I cast on 68 stitches using 2.25 mm needles. I have a line of Team Socks in my web store, so this will show you how those colourways knit up.
This is a pair of socks knit with my Confetti colourway, also 68 stitches, 2.25 mm needles.

I have a line of yarn called Maryanne's Bliss, which is 70% merino wool, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon, and I have a gradient method of dyeing. This is a Pretty Basic shawl (pattern free on Ravelry) knit with one skein of the burgundy gradient on 4.5 mm needles.
This is a pattern of my own design (Maryanne's Shawl) which I give away free with yarn purchase. It is knit out of Maryanne's Sparkle in Dazzler colourway.

I also hand dye sock blanks. My friend Sheila knits the blanks for me with her knitting machine and I then go crazy. The sock at the bottom illustrates how they knit up. I dye them so that you can get a matching pair of socks if you knit one from the middle, and the other from the outside.


This is a Reyna shawl (pattern free on Ravelry) knit by a customer in Maryanne's Socks in my Licorice Candy colourway. So cool!



It's been a while ........

Yes, I did not meet my goal for 2016, which was to write a blog once a week. So it's time for some catching up.

In May, my husband and I cruised to Alaska for the 4th time. The previous cruises were in the summer and we had gorgeous weather. Ketchikan, Alaska claims to be the rainiest town in all of North America, but we had yet to see a drop of rain. So cruising in May gave us a bit of trepidation. We flew to San Francisco from Kamloops, and spent 3 nights there.

Boy, did we get rain! Our first day in San Francisco was gloomy, but the second day when we took the cable car was a downpour. But we had umbrellas!
We boarded the Norwegian Gem and cruised under the Golden Gate bridge, but I have to admit that cruising under the Lion's Gate bridge in Vancouver is much more exciting! And guess what? The sun came out and stayed with us the entire time we cruised, for the next 8 days.
Sunburned in May in Alaska!
We visited Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan, and I managed to find yarn stores in Sitka and Ketchikan.

We are heading back to Alaska for the 5th time next May. I belong to a Tuesday night knitting group (Needlemaniacs) and discussion came up about a group cruise. Before long, at least 9 knitters and 3 husbands have signed up! 
Stay tuned.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A new event and our spring retreat

This year, the Barriere spinners hosted their first spin-in on April 10, held at the Blue Jar Bistro in Barriere. There was a great turnout of almost 50 spinners! There were 2 vendors, myself Smith and Ewe and Melanie Stutt of 
4 Bar S Ranch Wood products.

I hope this will be an annual event - it was a treat to meet with friends from long ago. I also met Jayne D'Entremont who has cashmere goats, among other animals, on her farm. I asked her where she got her goats from, and she mentioned someone named Heidi from Harmony Farm in Quesnel, BC. Jayne also has milk goats and makes lovely products with the milk, including soap.

After this weekend, was the semi-annual Desert Mesa Spinning Retreat held in Cache Creek each spring and fall. It is a weekend not to be missed! No pressure, no lessons, no classes, just a lot of fun and learning from each other.

There was a lady there with her cashmere, who had a very educational display on raising cashmere goats and harvesting their fleece, as well as lots of information on the different grades of fibre. And her name was Heidi Krause, from Harmony Farm in Quesnel!


 And of course, the leisure wear had to have something to do with sheep!

Until October - for the fall retreat, October 28 - 31. For information on this event, contact Sheila Kirk in Merritt, silk@telus.net.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Where have I been?

Well, my computer needed fixing, and when it came back with a new hard drive, of course I did not backup everything I needed. So it has been a while trying to get things back to the way they were.

But in April, I attended the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers Spin-in, held once again at the beautiful Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos (www.walnutbeachresort.com). What a fabulous weekend! Great weather, great friends, great food, great fun.
 Meals are always wonderful - but the size of the eating area is what limits the amount of attendees to this retreat. Too bad, as I know many other people who would like to come.
I took this picture with the sun shining perfectly on Sharon Wickstrom's (Homespun Haven) setup.
Linda Schultz from Oliver brought alpaca fibre, rovings, and these cute teddy bears made from alpaca fleece. I purchased some oh-so-soft grey pencil rovings, and spun a single and plied with the 
mauve merino singles that I also spun.

Jen Allgeier from Oliver was there with her mohair fibre, 
raised and prepared by herself.
So sunny, I had to wear sunglasses inside!

Sandy McPherson once again blew us away with her show and tell of spindle spun yarns, knitted into gorgeous shawls.
 This one was spun from some merino/silk rovings that I dyed. Pattern is Botany.
 

The last shawl is Rock Around The Moon.

And on my way home, I had to stop and take a picture of the vineyards 
that go for miles and miles.





Friday, 29 April 2016

Fibres West 2016

Back to Cloverdale, BC, for the annual spring Fibres West, held March 18 and 19. This year was bigger and better than any before, and there are no signs of the attraction for fibreholics to slow down. 
As usual, the drive through the Coquihalla was stunning.


My booth was set between two large and popular vendors - Birkeland Brothers from Abbotsford (Danielle and I always request this because we are good friends and keep each other company during the few slow times), and Sweet Georgia Yarns. I created a hint of mystery.



By the time the event was over, the yarn rack was pretty empty, as was the supply of spinning fibre.

 The shawl I am wearing is one I knit (Reyna pattern, free on Ravelry) out of hand dyed and handspun Bluefaced Leicester that I made.


There was an actual Ewe roaming the facility, so meet my new mascot!
Hope to see you again next year - bring your friends!