Friday, May 26, 2006

Decisively Indecisive

That’s me when it comes to having to choose yarn. It’s not because I am uneducated about my options….I know quite a bit about yarn, how it’s made, what makes it tick, what I like, etc. It’s just that I can’t say no to yarn. How the heck do you say no to beautiful, wonderfully made yarn? It’s the most impossible thing in the world. So I’ve needed to narrow down a huge list of yarns into a cohesive yarn line that will cover the most desired types of hand knitting yarns. It’s a good thing that I have help…I never would have made it through without my partners in crime. This yarn line stuff has to do with the previously mentioned TOP SECRET business from before. Soon I will have details – we’ve just got to get out of the design phase.

I’ve been up to lots of yarning lately. Currently, as in right this minute I have a lovely hand painted cotton chenille yarn soaking in my sink upstairs. It's for June's YOM. Then there is Shipwreck - a new colorway which I sold out of at the K&F Pirates and Mermaids event today. Plus about 4 listed handspuns and two more which are still on my bobbin. Not to mention the 8 ounces of handpainted roving that I have sitting in my basement waiting for me to get a move on. Then to top off all this excessive yarn and fiber madness, I was bit by the designer bug last night and just have to get moving on the new idea. I need to dye up more yarn for that though. Sigh. If only my kids would sleep 24 hours a day I might get some more stuff done!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. It may seem like it to you, and for that I sincerely apologize. I have been busy. Lots of changes going on this spring - both around the house and with my business. So instead of knit blogging, I've been enjoying 2+ hour conference calls with two other talented dyers. We're working on a top secret project. Perhaps top secret only for the time being, but right now the details are being ironed out. If you love yarn, you will want to stay tuned. The top secret project may just take your breath away.

Although I can't give you most of the TOP SECRET project details yet, I can tell you that I am changing my brand name to better reflect the growth of my business. Bungalow Buns will be replaced by Franceschi Studio. I am just not knitting soakers for the cloth diapering community like I used to, so keeping the old name doesn't make sense. Currently pondering the new yarn line....yes, you heard right: the new yarn line.

In more recent and tangible fiber artsy goodness, here is one of the art yarns I've been working on. Treasure of Tortuga. 2 oz, of this skein is a prize for the treasure hunt over at Knitteds and Fitteds. The rest will be up for sale. It's so lovely and soft and vibrant. Technically, it's the same dye that I did Floral Inclination with. Same dyelot to boot, but what a difference the color distribution and spinning make. Little knots and behives plus three different plying techniques make it very interesting. The thicker single is spun from handpainted roving and the thin plying single is spun from repeating lengths of solid dyed rovings of the same colors.

I've got anothe red wool and linen single art yarn still on the bobbin to show ya. Pictures to come when the twist is set!

Still no progress on the gorgeous sparkly purple single. It's awaiting inspiration for plying. Black maybe? Slate? Blue? I don't know...................

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spinning Flowers in the Springtime

I am not sure what’s up with Blogger these days. I’ve been having a devil of a time getting it to load at a reasonable rate…and I have pretty fast broadband. It’s hindering my blogging momentum, I tell you. Plus, the return of fine weather is here. My two year olds have discovered that outside is the most fun and grand place to play ever. Last year, I had a hard time getting them to go outside. They were fairly freaked out by the grass in our yard for most of the time. They did like our baby wading pool, but it was a two parent process that took most of an hour and a half to go “swimming”, so it didn’t happen very often. Now they are older and love to run through our yard…and pick the leaves off my lilac bushes. I try to prevent this as much as possible so the bushes don’t suffer, but when they bring their “flowers” to me I just can’t bear to scold them.

Our deck is currently a work in progress among other things. It spans nearly the entire backside of our house at a whopping 25’ X 12’. The previous owners added it on last summer, but didn’t put a railing on it at all. There are two sections, at different heights. One is about 28” off the ground, and the other is about a foot lower. It’s the only access to our house from the garage, and two sides open onto a concrete slab. Not a smart choice when you have two toddlers. So Mr. N is putting a railing up all around. I’ve been planting really large pots full of flowers to decorate the deck when it’s all ready to go. Since I opted to do the large scale potting on the deck this afternoon (So the girlies could help and X could look on from his excersaucer.) and ended up sweeping off the dirt like a little old Italian lady. They sweep their sidewalks in the mornings you know.

I have been fiber arting as of late, even though the process is slow to work it’s way here. Lots of spinning has been going on, and a bit of dyeing as well. I've had a bump of Hydrangea hand dyed roving sitting on my shelf for weeks, waiting for someone to love it and give it a home. It's siren call was too alluring and I spun it up into a lovely worsted weight yarn this week. Not terribly arty, but it will be lovely to knit with. The color combinations are endless and fanciful.

Then there is Ice Princess. She's my latest art yarn. Spun up out of some domestic wool, hand carded with sparkle and sewing threads. Plus a few behives and nubs of hot pink and lilac wool. I topped the whole thing off by plying it with a silk/alpaca/wool blend, hand-painted, lace weight yarn strung with a variety of irridescent beads. mmmmmm yummy. She's much prettier than the pictures. It's just impossible to get across the gold and iris sparkles that dance in the light through a picture. Plus, it's got a nice soft hand. I've enjoyed working with this roving a lot. I really didn't anticipate liking it this much. It's a domestic blend of wools with a count in the mid 50s. Not even the decency to be a common place merino roving with a finer count in the mid 60s. But, it's fluffy and soft and drapey with the right amount of body for both spinning and knitting. I love it when that happens. When you find something unexpectedly lovely and better than what you'd anticipated. That will teach me to try dyeing on something I think is "cheap" just because it's less expensive.

I have dyed up the entire pound of this domestic blend roving that I have. A bit as Hydrangea, a bit as Lilacs, then a bit more as the individual colors that make up the colorway Lilacs, so I wouldn't have to pour it out. The final bit is handpainted in Floral Inclination with more bumps in the individual colors. I went on a dyeing tear. I've figured out a better way to dye the roving to avoid those pesky white spots and bothersome pooling on the bottom....low immersion dyeing the extra bit of water helps keep it wet and the colors distributed evenly. Just don't expect as much control as when you're handpainting and you'll do fine. The extra color blending is part of the charm, I think. Dyeing is such a good thing for relinquishing your limitations about color.

I have a gorgeous 4 oz. skein of Lilacs singles that I spun up and have wound into a ball awaiting plying. It's very pretty - with handcarded sections of gold sparkle in it. Thick n thin sections and nubs. I was originally going to ply it with variegated purple eyelash yarn, but it didn't work. The eyelash yarn took over too much and you missed all the subtle sexiness of the handspun. So now it's sitting on my coffee table under my Peace lily waiting for me to come up with another idea for it. It needs to be plied for strength. It's not spun up the right way for a single. Hopefully inspiration will come soon. It's a lovely single. (That picture at right is of the handpainted sport weight yarn I dyed before the roving. It gives you a good idea of the colors in it....It's what I came up with when I had to have purple. Same with the Floral Inclination below. The Floral is up for sale at the moment at Knitteds and Fitteds.)

Right now, on Rumple's bobbin is a loud handspun from Floral Inclination. It's got bits and nubs of the component colors in it. I'm seriously thinking about spinning up a variegated thin thread of the colors and plying it with the thicker single from the handpainted. We'll see. I'm really enjoying spinning the art yarns. This one doesn't have any sparkle or fancy carding techniques. The wool is pretty vivacious on it's own due to the dyeing process and I'm enjoying the colorplay. I'll have to get you all pictures of the Lilacs and the Floral Inclination later. For now, enjoy Ice Princess and the latest dyeing endeavors.