Dying to share…

Friends, do I have updates!

So, if you read my most recent post…well my second most recent post, you know that one of my goals for 2017 was to start hand-dying yarn.  And folks, I’ve done it!

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The first skeins were dyed from differing amounts of the blush and green colors you see there.  The second image is of a skein I died with the rest of the green dye stock with some back speckles.  The shawl folded up next to the skein is the inspiration for the color.  Came out pretty good, right?  I’m happy with it.  It was a pretty easy and painless process.  Honestly, I was a little nervous going in to it thinking that it could go really wrong, but you learn pretty quickly that as long as you have a decent handle on colors that look even remotely good together, you’re going to end up with something nice.  There is definitely more dying to come, which leads me to….

my next item of business…

my new podcast!  I had mentioned in my second most recent post that I had something planned that I would be talking about in future posts.  Well, this is it.  I have broken into the small-niche-podcast scene with a new knitting podcast called…..wait for it…..Wool, Needles, Hands!

I have also started a vlog to accompany my podcast and to chronicle the process of reaching my creative goals.

If you like it, please subscribe!  I’d love to take you along with me on my crafty adventures of 2017.

 

I struck LYS gold!

Hola compadres!  I’m stopping by to take a teensy minute to tell you about this amazing thing that happened to me today…

 

I struck LYS gold!!  If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you may know that I live in Las Vegas, Nevada.  A cool city with a fun vibe and lots of artsy flare…..but little to no knitting scene.  At least that’s what I thought until I met the cool people at Mirage Fiber Arts.  My gosh this place is amazeballs.  I don’t have any pictures of the shop itself, but I’ll try to help you imagine it real quick:

As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted by a wall of luscious fibers from Manos del Uruguay, and others just as scrumptious that I can’t remember.  Unless you want to motorboat those sexy skeins, you’ll make a sharp left into a cozy, open space with comfy antique chairs, spinning wheels, all surrounding one central coffee table full of doodads and magazines.  A space just begging to be sat and knit in.  All of this loveliness is surrounded by walls filled with yarns from indie dyers and more well-known brands, neatly arrayed in the most enticing way.  Names like Nerd Girl Yarns, Hedgehog Fibers (lots and lots of Hedgehog!), Mad Tosh, Woolfolk, Blue Sky, Malabrigo, Shibui, The Fibre Company, Manos….need I continue?  It was just bliss.

And to top it off, the two folks that were working were so nice and easy going and welcoming.  It was just the complete package.  I would like to go on and on about it, but I just wanted to stop by briefly.  I’m going to get in touch with the wizardess behind this magic soon and see if I can do a profile on their shop with photos and such.  Keep a look out for that to come!

In the meantime, if you find yourself in Vegas and need a yarn fix, look no further folks.  Your yarn oasis in the desert exists.

I’m not being paid to say all this, I swear.

P.S. Those beauties up top are my acquisitions.  The lovely rust skein is called Luke and Lorelai (I die) and its hand dyed by the owner of the shop for her yarn called Twist.  It’s a 5050 merino silk that simply melts in your hands.  The fuschia number is a Hedgehog Fibers Skinny Single in Sorry Not Sorry.  And I’m sooo not sorry.

Cheers fiends!

 

 

 

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Box of Socksin’

If you’ve read my last post you’ll know that this year is going to be a year of creative goal realization (if all goes as planned!)  One of my first creative goals/knitting goals this year was to participate in the Box of Socks 2017 KAL hosted by Kristin of Voolenvine Yarns and the Yarngasm Podcast.  So far so good folks!  I have just turned the heel on my (self-named/pattern-free) Fresh and Fruity socks.

 

Ugh, you guys this yarn is so juicy and yummy.  I mean, please.  It’s a sock set by Long Dog Yarn including Dark Dimension (MC) and Quick Fling (CC).  The yarn is an 80-20 merino/nylon blend and is soooo soft.  I don’t know, but I think 80-20 is my jam.

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As for the pattern, I’m not really using one.  I found this great, simply-put explanation of sock math and structure and just added my own measurements.  If you’re looking for just that, something you can adjust and pattern with, head here and check out the information.  You won’t be disappointed!

A new year, new goals…a new blog name…

Hello all!  Happy 2017!  Welcome to the newly-minted Wool, Needles, Hands blog (formerly The Greenhorn Knitter).  I know I’m a little late on a “New Year Goals” post, but what the heck.  The last few weeks have been full of planning and mulling around new goals and putting some things into action and I am just now ready to hit the ground running.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you may know that I am a new stay-at-home mom.  My son is now two, so I’m going on two years in this “field”.  I couldn’t be happier with my choice to be home with him.  My life is full and I am more creative now than ever.  The juices just seem to boil.

Since I’ve had this time to learn about myself and develop creatively, I’ve come to realize that this passion for knitting and fiber could potentially become something so much more than a hobby.  This year is my year to realize that and put words into action.  Here are my goals for 2017.

 

Goal 1:  Participate in at least two KALs!  I am so excited about this.  All last year I watched everyone knit boxes of socks and shawls and all sorts of lovely knits and I felt a bit left out.    So I’m primed and ready!  I am participating in Kristin’s (from the much-loved Yarngasm Podcast)  Box of Socks KAL and the Find Your Fade KAL by Andrea Mowry.  I’m a little late on the shawl, but I can make it.  Photos soon to come.

Goal 2: Try my hand and hand-dying yarn.  Because, why the hell not?  Materials have been purchased and I am in the process of setting up a dying station.  Again, photos are on the way.

Goal 3: Finally learn how to crochet.  Because….Granny Stripe blankets.

Goal 4:  Create two original knitting designs.  I have some in the works, but they need polishing.  This is the year to follow them through.

Gaol 5:  Learn to Brioche knit.  This is such a gorgeous form of knitting and I simply cannot let myself develop any further as a knitter unless I try my hand.

Goal 6:  Put my Janome sewing machine to use for much more than home textiles.  I want to sew at least one garment from a pattern.

Goal 7:  Shhh…this one is a secret, but it will be revealed in due time.

 

A Tractor for Aengus

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I’ve never been a summer knitter.  Not in any real sense.  I may pick up a project from time to time, but the oppressive Mojave Desert heat saps any real desire to work with wool.  And I’m OK with that.  When you live in the American Southwest, knitting is not a year-round hobby.  (I am purposely neglecting to acknowledge all of the cotton and openwork patterns that litter the magazine rack at the LYS this time of year.  I’m a purist.  I don’t drink lavender lattes and I prefer my knits to be warm and wooly–cotton is for washcloths).  So, needless to say, I have little knitting to show from the last few months.  However, I have been working on some other projects around the apartment and I started training for a half-marathon in October.  There’s something.

One of the projects I’ve been working on is a gallery wall of original sketches (done by yours truly) for Aengus’s room.  I have a pretty large space that is going to need filling once he completely outgrows his changing table and I move some of the furniture around and I really didn’t have need for more shelves.  I thought artwork would be cool.  I originally thought I would try my hand at canvas painting like all of the neat work you see on Pinterest and Etsy, but the thought of pulling out my unforgiving oil paints (yes.  I have oil paints.  Why?  I don’t know.) and taking a crack at that just didn’t appeal.  What kind of painting is easy, fun, and forgiving while still lovely to hang on the wall?  Watercolors of course.  I remember the countless hours I spent watercoloring as a child.  Blending and creating colors and washing them across the white paper, discovering how pretty muted hues could be.  So I picked up some cheap brushes, watercolor paints, and a tablet of watercolor paper at the craft store and got to work.

I figured an array of nine framed paintings would be perfect to fill the wall, so I set out to sketch and watercolor nine different types of “big machines”.  Aengus has a serious obsession with trains and construction machines and wheels, as I’m sure any boy his age would, so these paintings would be perfect. And as a way to document the process for showing Aengus as he gets older, I recorded my work and turned them into time-lapse videos set to music.  A complete package.  Original “mom art” for my boy.

FO show…Hepburn Pullover

Since I’ve been knitting, I’ve found that one of the most satisfying simple pleasures is donning a freshly blocked, hand-knit item and finding that it fits like dream.  And believe me, this isn’t always the case, so when it is, it’s a celebration.  This last piece, the Hepburn Pullover by Jennifer Wood, is much cause for celebration.

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If you’re looking for a first sweater pattern and want something knit in one piece (who doesn’t?  I mean, c’mon) than give this a try.  It’s written up so clearly and just flies off the needles.  I also fell in love with Manos del Uruguay Maxima in the process.  It slid through my fingers beautifully and is just so cozy when it’s all knit up.

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These cables are so flattering and just enough of a design element to add visual interest without overwhelming the simple nature of the sweater.  And look at those color variances!  Ah, the beauty of hand-dyed yarn.

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The original pattern is shown with a turtleneck, which is quite lovely, but for me, I prefer a simple crew or boat neck.  I chose to begin knitting after the turtleneck portion of the pattern, using short rows to add a bit of height for the back neck.

hepburn4 (1 of 1)As you can see here, the cable border along the hem is half that of the cuffs.  This was a way of making the sleeves longer without having to frog back to the stockinette sleeve and knit on for another two inches.  I figured I could just double the cuff cable repeat and make gauntlet style cuffs.  It really works.  I like the extended cabling on the arm.

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The pattern calls for both sleeves to be bound off purl wise, which is smart because they already have a tendency to curl and this gives them a little more stability.

Overall, this is a great pattern and a fun knit.  And if you do decide to give this a try, go for the Manos Maxima that it calls for.  If you’ve never knit with Manos, then this is a great pattern to take it for a test drive, and not only that, it makes such a luxurious fabric.

Happy knitting friends!

 

 

I have the need….the need for speed.

I’ve found that I can no longer rely on the poetic excuses of “calmness in the rhythm” or “throwing the yarn relaxes me” to justify the fact that my method for knitting is slow-as-hell.  I’ve seen far too many videos on Instagram of knitters flying through stitches in an almost mesmerizing blur to convince me that, even though “no method is the wrong method as long you’re enjoying the process”, my method is the wrong method.  I need to fly through stitches with the greatest of ease because I have big plans and a huge queue that isn’t going to knit itself.

Enter, speed knitting.

I found this video on YouTube that showed how to “speed knit” and I was instantly hooked.

No more letting go of the working needle, no more throwing the yarn, no more switching yarn positions to purl (or knit).  This method is pretty much seamless.  And that is what I need.

But hear this now, there is a learning curve so don’t expect to be whipping out cardigans in record time right away.  Patient, you must be.

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Here is a glimpse into my learning curve…(this is not a tutorial.  just me sharing a little knitting..)