Saturday, September 08, 2007

Yarn Love in Finland? Hooray!

I must make a confession to all my blog-fiber-friends. I have Google set up to comb the internet and send me an alert for all of our yarn names, and our shop name. That's right. That usually means that I get alerted when some blogs about our yarn. (Have I confessed this before?) It's not vanity, my friends. No, it really isn't. I just feel so much satisfaction when I see someone knitting with a palette I've created for them. I feel that even though they crafted the final piece with their ingenuity and skill, that in a way, I am also a part of their creative process. That the end result is a sort of collaboration.....

This morning (via Google alert, and hence the opening paragraph) I found that Niina in Finland has some of our yarn! Perhaps this is only cool to me, because I dyed the yarn, and in some small measure each skein is like my "yarn baby". But still, something I dyed will be knit in Finland! Go check it out.

Order Away!
Two bigs orders went out this month. The largest going to The Loopy Ewe. And another, quite sizeable order to WoolGirl. The WoolGirl order is about 80% all new colorways, per Jennifer's request. And of course, this is where you can get our brand new, exclusive sock base: Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth is 65% superfine merino, 15% silk and 25% bamboo. Don't miss out, it's to die for! (Going up tomorrow, Sept. 9th, according to the store blog!)

For all those Loopy Groupies, the current order going to Sheri is our Scarlett O'Hara base. This is very similiar to our new base, but it's machine washable. 60% Superwash merino, 30% Bamboo, 10% nylon. I love working with this base. It's very squishy, with just a hint of sheen....

Pink Whirlwind - Finished!
Here are my Pink Whirlwind socks, finished. These are knit from Valentine, one of our new semi-solid colorways. (If you would like to see more semi-solid colorways, please request them at your favorite Yarn Love retailer.) This is the Zephyr sock pattern which I thought was going to be much harder to knit, but was a total breeze!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Where have you been?

I have been intending to write this post everyday for the past two weeks. Every day, I get up with the best of intentions, even mulling over what I will write about (There's been tons of stuff going on here in the studio!) Then everyday, it's well past dinner time, I'm contemplating going to bed, and remembering that I didn't get the blog updated! Oi! So it's 9:30-ish AM and I am here chatting all of you up after trying to track down some lost yarn. (The word has gotten out, and UPS has confiscated my box of yarn. Little do they know it's not yet dyed....heh, heh, heh! I wonder when it will show up?)

What's new?
Yarn. There's lots of new yarn. is our latest shipment. It's a big one - nearly 100 skeins! (That's aboout 25 lbs of yarny goodness...yum!) is also the first store to order in our brand spankin' new, totally fabulous, custom spun sock yarn: Elizabet Bennet! Yep - Elizabeth Bennet is a luxury sock yarn: 65% Superfine Merino/20% Bamboo/15% silk. It's heaven in a sock yarn. It really is. Just note, that it is Superfine but not superwash, so give these babies the handwash loving.

Nearly all of these colorways are brand new - 18 new ones in fact! Enjoy them! The picture above is one of the new colorways. It's called Valentine and it's wonderful to work with. I accidentally dyed 2 skeins more than I needed and I quickly grabbed one and started some Zephyr Socks with it!

City Knitting in Michigan now has our sock yarn instock. They received the second half of their order last week, so go on in! They have two exclusive colorways, based on the beautiful bricks and paint colors decorating the inside of the store.

For Fun
Lime N Violet now have a daily knitting blog. They post lots of links to great articles, blogs, yarn and fiber daily. You need to check it out. It's great!

Have fun, and happy knitting!
~katie - who is now going to go dye some more yarn for The Loopy Ewe. Did you hear they're putting together a yarn retreat? woo hoo!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Empty Nest

The studio shelves are feeling a bit empty since the departure of 240 skeins of Yarn Lovely goodness. I'm still recovering from the like that. It's so nice to feel that all the beautifully painted skeins are yours to do with what you will. I subconsciously plan projects for certain colorways and am a bit baffled when I actually have time to knit and the skeins are no longer there. Yes, I know that I could walk upstairs and dye some up for myself, but it feels like someone has played a cheap trick on me, nonetheless. I know it was there, and I just want it to be there now!

You see the torture that us indie dyers live with everyday? ;)

I have been knitting again. It's nice, and I miss it when I'm crazy busy pushing the yarn monster forward....i.e. dyeing a big order. Right now I have on the needles:
* Bellatrix socks: I am a member of Socktopia, but I've been remiss lately. Not in knitting socks, but in posting them. I can't get into the new forums, and it's really put a damper on my enjoying the group. Their patterns are amazing! I was supposed to be wearing these socks to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on opening night, but I didn't make it. I was too busy finishing my mom's birthday socks instead.

I'm using sport weight yarn for these, and changing the pattern substantially. It's really fun though, and I have two yarns picked out for another pair of these. I'm planning on holding them doubled, for a more spooky effect. The bottom of my current pair is ribbed - the large stitches created by the pattern were making me nervous (I ripped out 3/4 of a finished sock earlier today, because I was convinced having the large stitches across the bottom of my instep were just asking for them to wear out.) The heavier yarn makes the holes a lot bigger, so I'm also compensating by doing 3 additional knitted rows between the "holey" rows. I'll keep you updates as they grow.

* Simple Knitted Bodice: I'm knitting this up in kettle dyed Guinevere. She's an amazing 50% tussah silk/ 50% merino wool blend that's heavenly. I'm still at the swatch stage now. Nearly done with the swatch...or at least this one. I haven't measured it yet. The size 7s that I'm working on feel like small tree trunks compared to the 1s and 0s that I've been working with exclusively for the past two moths. I'll post some in progress pics as I move forward. This is my first sweater (Adult sized, that is.) and I'm terribly excited.

Yarn Love Hits Detroit
Get yourself over to City Knitting for Sockfest! You'll find us there! Say "hi!" to Lorilee for me too. More will be coming. Our Scarlett base has just come in after a long back order, and Lorilee will have the first shipment! Yay! Happy sock knitting!

Craft Education Online
For your crafting entertainment:
* Crochet and Knit 911
* Yarn Standards
* Embroidery Stitch Dictionary
* The Walker Treasury Project

Next post - crochet, crochet, and more crochet! Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Yarn Has Left the Building.

All 240 skeins of it. I ended up sending it all out on the same day. Cassie, the Yarn Helper Extraordinaire came by after work to help me get things out. If it weren't for her, I totally would not have made it. I managed NOT to cuss out my yarn winder, even though I really wanted to. (I should have bought the Fricke....and believe me, I am saving up!) It was a mad dash to the UPS store, and we arrived 4 minutes before they were supposed to close only to find that the metal gate had been pulled across the store front. Luckily, the gal who works there had just come to the front door to lock up. I hopped out, mustered a friendly, but pitiful face and asked if I could mail a box. Just one box, but a huge box. And when I say huge, I mean huge. To the tune of 70lbs of yarn, huge. With the flaps up, it's taller than my waist, with them taped down, mid thigh. Yeah, a really big box. So she graciously let me mail off the huge order to The Loopy Ewe. It was such a nice feeling. Next time, I will dye two days on, one day of winding so that I have a happy mix. It's just that the dyeing is so much fun and I'm addicted to putting colors together and seeing how they turn out. Frantic photos were snapped of the new colorways, while Cassie was busy plunking yarn into the box. We were carefully plunking, lovingly plunking, but with a decent amount of swiftness too....

It feels good to have such a large order off to it's home. I hope you all enjoy it when it makes it's way up at The Loopy Ewe. I especially hope that you enjoy the new colors. I had so much fun making them! I did however take a "knitting day" on Tuesday. I just sat and knit while listening to knitting podcasts all felt good. I'm sure you know just what I mean.

"Knitting Day" Links
I've been gathering fun links for you. I am attempting to organize them via theme, so that they're more enjoyable and make more sense. So if you've been working hard, take time out to visit these sites, and put together your own "Knitting Day".

What is a "Knitting Day"? Well, a Knitting Day is a day where you spend the day doing things that are thoroughly enjoyable and allow you stop worrying about your usual cares. Knitting Days can be as long and short as you like, and I usually have more fun if I have one or two fun act ivies planned.

On my last knitting day I started some new socks, and continued working on a rather new project - my Jaywalker Scarf. I'm using the idea behind the Chevron Scarf and applying it to a slightly different ripple pattern. I tried doing the regular Chevron Scarf 3 times and couldn't get it to work out. Of course, I don't own the book, and it's out at the library. So I improvised. I'm using Cider Moon Flurry yarn in Positano and Pistachio. Hopefully it will be a great toned down accessory for my brand new, hot pink, knee length winter parka. mhm.

I cued up some backlogged knitting podcasts, put together a chocolate caramel mocha and went to town. It was lovely. I also cooked some yummy food for dinner, because I am all about yummy food. Oh, and I ordered Knitting Without Tears from Amazon too.

For your knitting day, here are some fun sites for perusing. They'll help you put together activities and fun for your very own Knitting Day.

Project Planning: cool weather is coming. It's time to, plan! - awesome patterns. I really love the search function in the archives when I'm looking for something specific. - another lovely knitting mag - the mecca of free patterns. I love that it's broken down into very specific garments/project types.

Eating: Very important if you're a foodie like me
Pioneer Woman Cooks - the most hysterical food blog I've ever read. Definitely visit - even if you have no intention of cooking. Great looking recipes, too.
Cookie Chemistry 1 - a site about making great cookies
Cookie Chemistry 2 - another site dedicated to cookies - a huge site of free recipes - my favorite food magazine's online resource. Free recipes, yum!

Listening: Podcasts I love
Cast-On: with Brenda Dayne. My first love!
Knit Pick's Podcast: episode 10 has book recs for putting together a Knitting Night
CraftLit: amazing literature combined with wit and knitting. I love Heather, too.

Wasting Time: fun things to do when you just need to waste time
3D Paper Art: amazing and beautiful. You have to see it to believe it!
Hook Line and Sinker Game: don't ask how many hours I've spent doing this....
Post Secret: People make postcards with their secrets and mail them to this blog. It's a really intriguing place. Be aware that some secrets contain strong images and language. I always spend a good deal of time thinking after I visit.

There you go - a bit of a start to planning your own knitting day!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Winding a tangled web

I'm in the middle of winding countless skeins of yarn. Ok. I have counted. I have 240 skeins of yarn to wind before Saturday. 180 of them need to be done by Wednesday - they're going to The Loopy Ewe. I had better get busy! Very, very busy.

While I've been winding (There are so many things to think about while watching your power winder spin around and around and around...) I've been thinking of ways to improve the content of the blog. A way to offer you some morsels of interesting, entertaining and useful information about yarn, knitting and life in general. So I'm going to be making more of a concentrated effort to bring you tips and news from the knitting and yarn world. I always like it when I stumble upon fun things on blogs and podcasts, and I want to "pay it forward" so to speak. (I've never seen the movie, btw.)

But before I get to the interesting tid bits, I have a question. Please help me! When I insert a picture, Blogger feels it's necessary to add carriage returns into the post. The more pictures, the more carriage returns. When I delete them manually, it dorks with the spacing of the text. Any tips or clues on how to stop that from happening? It usually feels free to not make the entire spacing of the post uniform and it's starting to drive me batty. I'm thinking of moving the blog to WordPress, but we'll see as that will be a significant amount of work.

Fun for you - a great new knitting community site that is coming online. It's more than a forum, and more than a blog. It's a wonderful conglomeration of flicker, forum and blog. They're adding people slowly, so if you haven't heard about this amazing site, jump on their wait list! - I heard about this site on a non-knitting podcast. (Oh the horror! Don't tell my knitting friends....oh wait, you are my knitting friends.) This is a rating system for websites. You tell it your interests, and use the toolbar to rate the sites you've been to. StumbleUpon keeps track of your interests and tailors it's suggestions based on your ratings. It's like the rating features of Amazon or Netflix for the internet. You know you want to. Think of all the knitting sites you could Stumble Upon!

Nicholas Nickleby - this movie was released in 2002 and is based on Dicken's book of the same title. I loved it. Of course, I love both the new and the old Pride and Prejudice. I highly recommend it if you're into that sort of movie. Even my lovely DH enjoyed the film. Dickens' characters are so great and interesting.... I found it via a Netflix rec.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knitter's Connection Fun!

I thought you'd all like to see what fun Knitter's Connection was. Ok, in truth some of these photos are a little on the bland side, because you can't hear all the fun conversations and bustle going on around you. And it was serious Knitting Rockstar Land. I kid you not. How often do you sit there laughing while Shannon Okey and Miss Violet chat it up in your booth? Or go out to dinner with a huge group of knitters including Miss Lime, Miss Violet and Side Show Husband? Or for that matter see Cat Bordhi winding her way through the displays of yarn on several occasions while smiling and nodding to all the people around? That is not an ordinary vacation, let me tell you. Oh, and I didn't even mention the indie dyer contingent that was perpetually in motion from booth to booth chatting with customers and sharing tips....before I get carried away, don't let me forget the sweet, wonderful, lovely customers. I talked so much during this weekend that I was hoarse for 3 days. My mother would call every day afterward because she was afraid that I was going to get a terrible cold any minute....but no, not so much that as Katie talked more in 5 days than she usually does in a year. About knitting. It was nirvana. The only thing missing was my family. I didn't sleep much at night because every time I rolled over in bed and my darling husband wasn't there I would wake up. So next time, he's coming with! Oh, yeah!

I promise that I haven't forgotten you. The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Dh and I spent 10 days in Tuscany....drool.....I am in love with Italy. We spent our time in a villa in the countryside and touring around Florence. Lucca was my all time favorite town. I'm going to retire in a knitting commune there as soon as I have the money to fix up a villa. Then 10 days at home to prepare for the show. 5 days gone - including two 11 1/2 hour road trips with the time jam packed with non-stop knitting and yarn action....And now I'm on a strict dyeing regime to get my orders for this month done and out to you! The Loopy Ewe is getting our first big order which will go out before month's end, but you'll need to check out Sheri's blog for an idea of when it will actually post. It's 2/3 brand new, never been seen colorways. You won't want to miss out.

The next order is for Purls the Yarn Studio, here in Des Moines. They've been a little lacking on the Love lately, so we'll be sending lots more their way!

I think my favorite part of the show was sitting in the Cider Moon booth before the floor opened, in a huge pile of yarn....just feeling it and trying to decide what to take home. I ended up with two skeins of sock yarn and 24 mini skeins for some amazing Endy-Bits-Swatch Socks. One pair is done and I'll post pics as soon as I've got some. The gals over at Cider Moon are amazing, and it was wonderful to meet them. We had the privilege of going out to dinner with them the last night of the show, and it was just perfect. Karida of Neighborhood Co. was also with us, and a more talented dyer you won't find. If you're looking for a new fiber friend, be sure to check them out!

More yarn on the website as soon as it's back from the photographer. Of course, I still have to take it to her, but that should be soon!

Photo Key - for those of you who want to know!
Photo 1: the Yarn Love Booth
Photo 2: Indie Dyer Line Up L to R: Cassie (Yarn Love Helper), Me, Jackie of Cider Moon, Gail of Cider Moon, Karida from Neighborhood Co.
Photo 3: Knitters at Dinner including: Gerry, David, Lizzie, Violet and Miss Lime
Photo 4: Looking down the row toward Cider Moon

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Playing Hookie!

Seven days in Tuscany! Sigh! That's my husband and I enjoying gelato in Lucca - our favorite town of those we visited. I'm back in the studion now and dyeing up a storm.

Imminently on the horizon is Knitter's Connection! Melissa has emailed to say she's planning on making the trip up, (Can't wait to meet you!) and I hope you'll come too! I love meeting people who've lovingly adopted my yarn. It makes me happy. I'll also get to meet Fran, who is the wonderful lady behind the entire show. She is a customer of mine, and went out of her way to extend a personal invitation to exhibit at the show. She's the reason you'll find us there. Thanks, Fran! I'm trying not to daydream to much about meeting Lime N Violet while I'm there. I want too, but I know they're so busy....and I'll probably just stutter, sputter and drool on myself if they actually stop by. How professional is that!

Next up, The Loopy Ewe!

If you love shopping at The Loopy Ewe - our next order is slated to be delivered the end of June. It's been a long wait this time around due to Knitter's Connection and my Tuscan Vacation. But don't worry. We've got an agreement with Sheri to keep her supplied every 4-6 weeks from here on out, so you won't be waiting forever. Oh, and Sharon is sending along 3 new colorways in this shipment, so keep your eyes open for her work.

Thanks, Becca!

I have a confession to make. I have Google Alerts set up to notify me if people are talking about my yarn on the internet. I don't even have the decency to have it sent to me as a digest - it delivers a new email for every new link it finds. Luckily, it found this lovely post by Becca. It has a picture of my Shipwreck yarn knit into socks. I love that! Thanks, Becca , for making my day! Go see her blog and work here. (Scroll about 1/2 way through the May 29th post.)

Back to work for Katie. Yarns are waiting to be dyed, you know!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Old News!

Yarn Love was available at The Loopy Ewe!
Ahem, notice the past tense. I was so excited to see that our first shipment to Sheri of The Loopy Ewe went up today. I noticed around 2:15pm, and placed an order. The site was running pretty slowly, so I figured there were a good number of shoppers. Today, at 7:15pm there was at least one skein of one colorway left. So thanks to you all who ordered nearly 96 skeins of Yarn Love today at The Loopy Ewe. You all made my day!

I was going to send this out as a notice via the newsletter, but since they're nearly all gone that seems cruel. So all you, my lovely bloggers will get to read about it here. Sheri ordered "new" colorways that aren't on our website. So 11 out of her 12 were "new"! Check back in the next month + as I'm sure more will become available!

Happy knitting to the lucky purchasers!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More in store

vc ss
I've spent the past two days brewing up some new colors for the summer collection. At first, I envisioned the colors to be vibrant and saturated and bold, but what's actually come out of the dye pot has been a little different. Sometimes inspiration comes and you just have to go with it. So three new colorways were born in the past two days at the studio and I think they're lovely. The interesting thing about dyeing yarn is that you can play with colors that you may never choose to knit with. Everyone perceives color differently and has a different emotional response. It's refreshing to be able to work with color that wouldn't be my first choice. I find it to be very rewarding, and have really surprised myself at how much I like those colors that at first glance weren't very "katie". I don't know why but it's so deeply satisfying.

Loopily Stalking
I've been stalking the Loopy Ewe just waiting to see my yarn up during this week's sneak up. I only get to check in between dye pots so if you see it up, let me know!

Gotta run, the new yarn is calling for me!

Monday, April 16, 2007

If you go a little Loopy....

Yarn Love has gone Loopy! If you shop at The Loopy Ewe, you might have already heard this, but Yarn Love sock yarns will be available there this week! We are very thrilled to be working with Sheri and her staff. She's so sweet and has some of the best customer service around, not to mention tremendous customer benefits. Stop by her site and enjoy her beautiful yarns!

Here is a greyscale picture of the 96 skeins I sent her way. This is by far the largest, single order I have ever filled and it was quite a challenge. I did have a great feeling of accomplishment when it was all dyed up and ready to go. See it in color at The Loopy Ewe.

Nice to meet you! (at Purls)

It was lovely to meet all of you who came to Purls this Saturday while I was there. I took a pile of yarns with me, and got to chat about yarn for four hours! What could be better? A huge thanks to Martha for hosting me. Purls has been restocked so go check it out. There are matching skeins of our luminous and shiny Joan of Arc along with a fuzzy mohair for working a scribble lace stole or shawl. I was so inspired by the pattern Marth showed me on Saturday, that I started knitting my own version over the weekend. This pattern is the free lace shawl published by Knitter's Review and it works up super quickly!

Ham's Jam Knitting Bag

I just have to post about these truly remarkable bags. Dena, the owner and artisan behind Ham's Jam bags is a friend of mine. This is the knitting bag that she created for me. I have a few other things from her - a small trick or treat bag (ok they're really my kids) and a to-die-for needle roll. I think this baby is going to top them all.

So this is the biggest of her knitting bags. And yes, I said bags. She's got a couple smaller designs for people who don't need huge. I tend to keep all WIPs in my bag, which is much smaller than this. It has two elasticized pockets inside which come with interchangeable satin drawstring pockets. That way you can easily pop your current project ball into and out of the pockets. The ball stays put, and you can work out of the bag tangle free. This is an adaptation of grommeted pockets. Grommets are great, unless you want to switch projects and you'll end up cutting the yarn to remove the balls from the pockets. On the other side of the inside of the bag you can choose what kind of pocket's you'd like: straight needles, circular needles or crochet hooks. Mhm, so hookers rejoice - she's thought of you too. The number of pockets varies by what size you choose. Then there's the big, external pocket for your patterns or keys or what-have-you.

If that weren't enough, it comes with a small pouch to put your little things in: DPNs, stitch markers, tape measure, scissors, etc. That pouch is envelope style with a magnetic clasp. I love it!

If you want more needle space, order a matching needle roll! Dena does those for DPNs, Circs, straights and hooks, too. All in all, this bag is to die for! A while back, I did a collaboration with Dena where we sold this bag full of hand dyed yarn..... and I knew I needed one. So now I've saved my pocket money and I get one of my own. I'm thrilled. Oh, and I should mention that Dena has some of the most rigid quality standards I've ever come across. Her sewing is perfection. Seriously, perfection. Thanks, Dena!

For all of you lucky enough to make it to Knitter's Connection this June, I'll have some of these available for purchase in the booth. Since these are entirely hand crafted, I'll only have a limited number. So come see us first if you're interested!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Busy Spring!

It has been so busy at the studio lately. I've been dyeing non-stop in order to get a large order out to our newest wholesaler: The Loopy Ewe! I am terribly excited to be among the very talented dyers featured there. A giant thank-you to Sheri! Look for our yarn to be there in the next few weeks.

The Loopy Ewe will have many colorways that aren't available anywhere else, including our site, so be sure to stop by. Sheri has superb service and I know you'll be tickled you got your yarn there.

Manly Yarn Contest Winners!
Now it's time to announce the two winners of the Manly Yarn Contest: Lorrie (LUherek) and ~*emily*~! Congratulations you two! Thanks to everyone for their great suggestions. I've already started dyeing up new colorways for gifting to the special men in your life. They will be unveiled early June at Knitter's Connection in Columbus, OH. Oh, and I've renamed the Manly Yarn Collection the Mr. Darcy Collection after one of my favorite book characters.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

All is right with the world!

Rejoice! Spring is here! That and the studio computer is back up and running after 11 days of being out of commission. The loaner was great in the mean time, but it's wonderful to have "my" computer back.

The lilacs have a halo of green around them behind the studio, and our grass is greening up nicely. It's been in the mid 70's here, and I spent many hours this weekend playing outside with the kiddos. We have three small kiddos - the twins, Miss E and Miss G - are one month away from their third birthday and Mr.X is 16 months old. They love being able to go outside after the long winter. We made a new discovery - sidewalk chalk! It was supposed to be for their Easter baskets, but the weather was too nice to wait.
This yarn is a new colorway that will be available in our Summer Collection. It's dyed on a natural, superfine merino, sportweight yarn. It will be making it's debut at Knitter's Connection and then be available via the site!

Manly Yarn - tell me now!

Just a gentle reminder that the deadline for the contest is coming up quickly - March 31st (at midnight). Send in your ideas for a chance to win! I've already started dyeing up some of my favorite suggested colors, so those will be along shortly. Remember, even if I don't use your suggestion for the first release of Many Colors, you can still win. You'll get to pick your choice of colorway, too. Who wouldn't like to go shopping for free! Oh, and the Manly Yarn Collection will actually be called the Mr. Darcy Collection. It's more in keeping with our site theme.

Free Wool Wash

Our shipment of wool wash came in yesterday afternoon! We're offering a new incentive at Yarn Love. Order two skeins of yarn, and receive a free sample size of wool wash (Good for 3-4 washings.) Order three skeins or more and receive a free full sized bottle of wool wash. It's 4 oz, and it will last you a good long time!

This is the wool wash that I use for the final rinse of all Yarn Love yarns. It contains natural lanolin to condition the wool fiber. Plus, it's very low sudsing, so you don't have to worry about surface felting if you've used a natural wool yarn. It's also great for any other wool garments that you've knit.

Just put WoolWash4Me in the coupon line when you order. And if you sign up for our newsletter, there's another way to get free wool wash!


Friday, March 16, 2007

And we're back!

We are back in business after a few days delay due to a blown motherboard on our studio computer. We now have full access to the site and to email via a loaner computer while ours is getting put back together. For the short term, however, there won't be any pretty pictures on the blog. My camera driver disagrees with the loaner computer (which is pretty darn old and slow!) so I can't pull pictures off to post for you. And since this isn't my regular hard drive, I can't pull pretty pictures that I've taken previously, either.

Order Update
If you placed an order recently, it's on it's way to you. We are currently caught up on shipping. There was an extra delay for some customers who ordered over the weekend - you'll find a little surprise in your package as a "thank-you" for your patience. I hate to make you wait!

Limeade And Violet
There will be more instock Limeade and Violet up in the store early next week. We sold out after Miss Violet mentioned us in this week's podcast. Don't fear, more is on the way. Scarlett and Joan will be dyed up over the weekend, and Juliet will follow later. I'm out of Juliet stock at the moment, but the shipment should be here by midweek.

Now, I must get off to dye and reskein some more Limeade and Violet!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Yep, still here

I know that I have been "away" from the blog for longer than usual this week. I wanted to leave the Manly Yarn Contest in the top spot for a good long time. It was featured on the Knitting Cook this week and I didn't want all the listeners to have to scroll to find the contest.

Exciting things have been happening around these parts. I got a large yarn order in on Friday and also my power skeiner! It's new and it works wonderfully. I'm very excited about it. I've been ramping up production recently to accommodate more dyeing for the Knitter's Connection show, and my wrist was getting very sore. (I used to hand wind every hank off the cone and then rewind it into skeins you see in the store. Ouch!) I figured that at my ideal production rate I would be winding 15 miles worth of yarn a week. It was just too much. So here's Bessie - the new workhorse of the studio. You won't notice any difference in the Yarn Love yarn, but I sure will! Yay! We've been getting to know each other over the weekend and I think we're going to have a great working relationship.

Her photo is at the bottom of the post, because she's big and makes for a pretty dull picture. The pic up above is a fraction of what I skeined on her over the weekend.

Loopy Yarns
In case you don't get our newsletter (To sign up go to our homepage, and input your email address in the form at the bottom right of the page. It's easy.) you might not have heard that Yarn Love will now be available at Loopy Yarns in Chicago. We're dyeing up two exclusive colorways for their upcoming Sock Club, so drop by and sign up, the yarn is gorgeous. A big thanks to Kristen at Loopy Yarns, too.

Purls the Yarn Studio
Purls in Des Moines, Iowa just got a big order of Yarn Love in, too. It's nearly all sock yarn, so if you're in the area and love socks (or have that great knitting book about what else you can knit with sock yarn) drop by. Shopping locally means you don't have to wait for the post office to deliver your yarn.

Yarn Love Fiber
If you're a hand spinner then you'll be glad to know that we have Yarn Love spinning fiber in the works. It will be debuted at Knitter's Connection. The fiber content will match our already spun yarns and it will be dyed up in our colorways. We'll have selections from our three collections: Spring, Summer and Manly, too.

I'll leave you contemplating the utilitarian beauty of Bessie, the latest addition to the studio!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Official Manly Yarn Contest

A couple days ago, I posted about the Manly Yarn Contest. I thought that I would give it it's own post and make things easier for all contestants wanting to play!

Here's the deal:

You - provide your idea(s) for the perfect skein of manly yarn - the one that you want but can never find. The "perfect" skein for knitting and gifting to the favorite man in your life, or at least one he won't look down upon as girly.

Me - I put your name into a drawing for at least one skein of free sock yarn from Yarn Love. (You'll get to choose!) If we get a lot of entries, I'll increase the boodle accordingly. I'll draw the winner April 1st and let them know.

Stats -
* You can enter multiple times, as long as you provide a unique color idea each time

* Enter by posting a comment or emailing me at katie AT shopyarnlove DOT com (remove at & dot and insert appropriate symbols)

* Anyone can win and you don't have to buy anything! So even if your particular suggestion or suggestions doesn't make it into the inital Manly Yarn Collection at Yarn Love, that's no reason for not being able to win.

* Be as specific as you can about color. Include links, graphics or pics of the colors you have in mind if you can.

* Tell your friends. Seriously, this is free sock yarn! Grab a button and tell your friends about it.

The first Manly Yarn Collection will be available with the Summer Collection, early May 2007. This is your chance to be a part of it!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Don't Do It.

Don't go over to Sheri's blog. You know, Sheri from The Loopy Ewe. And come to think of it stay far, far away from her site. It's better (or worse, depending upon how you look at it) than crack. Fortunately for me, she's mostly sold out of many fantastic hand dyed yarns. So I only bought some Panda Cotton. Lol! Only. I'm supposed to be saving money for the upcoming business events. It never fails, if I'm not "saving" money I'm good about not spending it. But when I'm "saving" money you can just watch it fly out of my wallet. Perhaps I should just stop saving. *giggle* Anyway, Sheri posted these super cute sheep stitch markers in Project Spectrum colors. That's right. Irresistible. Don't click the link in the side bar unless you're prepared for the consequences. *wink* Remember, I warned you.

Completion Issue Socks
They're finished now. They actually have been for two weeks - but I've been too busy wearing them to take pictures. So here are a few for you to enjoy. This is the last day of the month and it seems appropriate that I should be posting them now. These are for Socktopia, of course. They are the second go at this month's theme. The first pair - the Tiger Eye lace socks are just past the heel turn. They were a bit more involved than I anticipated.

These are knit from Emu Superwash - it's a DK weight yarn. They are my first pair of machine washable socks! Also my first knit from commercially spun yarn instead of my hand spun. I cast on way too many stitches at the toe. 16, I think. That would have been a good number for fingering weight yarn, but it makes these toes a bit wide. Plus, the socks are a tad bigger than I prefer all the way around, due to the fact that I didn't swatch. I just cast on at the toe and tried on as I went. Next time, I'll swatch so I get a better fitting sock.

The pattern is my own. A very simple combination of Sand Stitch and ribbing. They're nice and stretchy. Easy to knit but not terribly boring. They're also a bit shorter than I like, but I ran out of yarn, so there's not much to do there. They are totally wearable with slippers and great for around the house. I think they'll also be good for Christmas time next year as they show mostly red and green.

Tiger Eye Lace Socks

The pair that aren't finished today. They won't be either. I'm just past the heel turn. They are really pretty, though. And I am getting faster at this whole lace thing, too. This is pretty much my first outing with any sort of more complicated lace pattern. I've done some simple stitch patterns but nothing this involved. It's also my first time designing with lace. I noticed a couple nights ago that the difficulty rating on this pattern is "Experienced". Oh, well. I'm enjoying it!

I'm through the heel now and about 1" into the cuff. I added a little 9 st lace detail to the center back, and ribbing in between to keep them nice and snug. Should be pretty. I found a great website dedicated to sock toes and heels both for cuff down and toe up. It's fanastic - you can find it here. I did the No Pickup Gusset Heel, version 2. It worked out just fine! I do like it alot. The pics below show you the progress. These are knit from Tofutsies color 724.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Knitter's Connection - here we come!

If you're in or around Columbus, OH, make plans for the first weekend in June. We want to meet you at Knitter's Connection! The exhibitor contract went in yesterday, and now all the hard work begins. This is a huge step for me and the business. Usually, everything is done out of our home and on my schedule. Now I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, travelling and working with a deadline. I'm feeling giddy and a bit like I want to hyperventilate all at once. I'm going to opt for celebrating so the responsible side of me doesn't take over. Hurray for Knitter's Connection.

Come see us. We want to meet you! We'll bring the yarn.

Limeade And Violet Benefit
Just a reminder that $2.50 from every skein of Limeade and Violet yarn sold will be donated to help defray Miss Violet's medical expenses. It's going to be announce on their podcast this week, and I anticipate that the skeins we have will sell quickly. If you'd like some without having to wait for a custom dyed order, get it now. It's very pretty and lovely to see how the exact same dyes look different on various base yarns. You can find all our Limeade and Violet yarn by selecting the Limeade and Violet category on our yarn page. Every skein of Limeade and Violet has a pretty pink ribbon on the picture so you can easily locate them while browsing our other categories, too! See how we like to make shopping easy for you?

They're free - take one
If you'd like to link to us, please feel free to take a button of your choice from the sidebar on the right. We love meeting new yarn friends!

Manly Colorways - Free Yarn!
I am putting together ideas for a Manly Yarn Collection - colors that you can knit up for that beloved man in your life. You know the one who you'd love to gift with a handknit, but he claims all yarn is girly. (Doesn't have to be a significant other - brothers, dads and friends all can fall into this category.) I want your ideas! Please tell me, quite specifically, what colors you think would be a great part of a Manly Yarn Collection. I'm looking for both solids and multi color colorways. Send pictures or swatches of colors or a specific description, please! Let's get the men in our lives something to wear proudly. You can leave ideas in the comments section or email me at: katie AT shopyarnlove DOT com - remember to replace the AT and DOT with appropriate symbols!

If you leave a comment or email me, I'll put your name into a drawing for a free skein of sock yarn of your choice. Last day for entry is March 31st, so I have time to dye & photograph these for the release of our Summer Collection, early May.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Frank? Martha? Excitement!!!!

I discovered several things today.

First Discovered Thing:
I can put linked pictures in my side bar again. I've been hating New Blogger because I couldn't figure out how to put freaking linked pictures into my side bar. I've been beating my head in frustration. Then a sweet, sweet knitter over at (thank-you adriennec!) told me how to do it. (Go to the Layout portion of the dashboard. Select add new page element, choose HTML/Javascript Element and go to town.) New Blogger has been spared my wrath for the moment.

I have serious patience issues when I have to relearn things I already "know" how to do. I mean, seriously, don't these blogger people realize i have three children under the age of three to care for and mountains of yarn to dye? Huh? Huh? I think I'll write and suggest that they improve their help know to be more helpful.

Second Discovered Thing:
Sheri of the TheLoopyEwe has a super fun blog! Go visit TheLoopyEwe for incredible sock yarn. You know, the super drool-worth stuff. Anyway, Sheri has this fun quiz about whether or not you're a Martha or a Frank when it comes to socks. Go take it. You'll like it - unless you hate that sort of thing. And this quiz has a fun contest and challenge to go along with it. The challenge is that you knit a pair of socks out of the ordinary for you. You know, to help you branch out and get past the rut of your usual modus operandi. I've been trying to re-evaluate and change things in my life that seem like a rut lately and this is a fun one. Especially since I'm also doing Socktopia and I can do two things at once.

By the way, I'm a Frank. Apparently, according to the quiz, I'm split 50/50 between Martha and Frank, but after reading what Martha and Frank mean, I am definitely a Frank. In fact, I kind of like it when my socks don't match each other. It's the artist in me, what can I say? Why limit yourself to one color and one kind of sock when you clearly have two feet? Maybe the Frank tendency is why I'm not so stylish. My fashion is probably also severely inhibited because I spend most days in "dye clothes" which are the oldest, frumpiest clothes that I have. That way if they get "blessed" with dye, I'm not upset. Believe me, I have blessed myself, my counters, my kitchen, my floor and more with dye unintentionally over the years. I've even spilled a substantial amount of purple in my hair. I was hoping that it would actually stick (despite the fact that it was randomly sprinkled and splotchy) but it washed out after two showers. Should have heat set it with the dryer before washing, I guess!

And the reason that I'm pretty excited is that I have some big business plans in the works! I'm still plotting like mad to make it to the Knitter's Connection this summer, but one or two other plans have to fall into place before I can do that. Sigh. More details later. I don't want to leak my chickens before their hatched and then tell you how it didn't happen later. (Don't you just love my mixed cliches and metaphors?)
(The photo is some blatant yarn swag. It's what I've been itching to pull off my Yarn Love stock shelf and knit up. I only have one left and even though I can easily dye more, I'm trying to be very good and wait until I've got my Tiger Eye lace socks off the needles. We're not even 1/2 way there, so it's going to be a while. Itch. Itch.

Monday, February 19, 2007

All grown up in three short weeks

You may remember forever ago, when I posted a picture of twin potties, sitting there new in the filter summer morning sun. Another picture of two girls sitting on their new potties in the summer morning sun. Well, the summer morning sun has faded into the the thin, clear light of cold air, and the potties are no longer gleaming and new. Three weeks ago today the girlies announced to me that they wanted to wear their big girl panties. I assented on the condition that from that day forward they would not wear diapers again.

The first day was hell. They went every 10 - 15 mintues. There was no "holding it"; they went as soon as their bladdder had anything in it. Forget the timer at an hour, or 30 minutes or even 20....between the two of them, 10 minutes was usually too long. The second day was better. At least we could go 30 minutes between accidents. The third day Miss E started to go. She was good about peeing but forget poop. Halfway through the fourth day Miss G went once! We still don't spend a lot of time out of the house, and nights are spent in Pull Ups, but they now go without prompting. Only occasionally is there an accident and that's usually due to not getting pants pulled all the way down before proceeding.

Today they called me upstairs to the bathroom, and proudly pointed to the two potties. Both has "presents" of the solid type in them. They'd been sitting up there, side by side pooping. They were so proud. They are so big. Birthday number three is still nearly two months away and they can now go poop on the potty by themselves. I see them gaining independence every day. I miss the little girls they used to be. I love the toddlers they are. I wonder what happened to the time and why I didn't notice the changes. The tiny changes every day, so small they sneak past consciousness until the change is so defined it can't be missed. I remember with perfect clarity the day we brought them home from the hospital. Both 18" long, one weighing slightly less and the other slightly more than 5 pounds. It's bittersweet. Change is here. Change is coming. I wonder what's next?

Today I took a 1/3 knit wash cloth off my shelf, cut it off the two balls of yarn it was being knit from and then hacked it into small rectangles, about 1" in width. Am I dangerously insane? I think not. I just thought that I could pull out some of the ends and spin it into yarn. I do wonder what people would say if (the fiber uninitiated) were able to peer through my office window to see me happily cutting a hand knitted object into shreds. It was freeing, though. No more UFO staring me down from it's jumbled and unhappy corner of the open yarn shelves.

Yarn Swag: just another pound and a half of Joan of Arc gracing my workspace today. I've been rewinding and banding it this morning. The electric winder isn't finished, and every skein of yarn that I dye is skeined and reskeined by hand. In fact, the entire process from cone to finished hank is compeletely done by hand. Hand crafted has a distinct meaning to me. I like that with every skein I mail to its new home, I am fighting mass production. I like that every knitter who uses Yarn Love yarn sees my impression in the strands that flow through their hands. I am a small part of their creative process.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Caffeine Dumps, Flying Yarn and Hot Fridges

And here are the fruits of my labor in various stages of skeining. Sometimes the yarn is so pretty, it just breaks my heart to send it away. A rocking chair full of yarn is one of those simple pleasures of life......


This week has been a flurry of activity. Last week was too, but it wasn't good activity. It's the kind of activity where you feel like you're running 90 miles an hour just to spin your wheels while someone beats you over the head with a two by four. Let's just say that I never want to repeat last week ever again. It wasn't wholesale tragedy or anything like that. Just entirely unpleasant and inconvenient and lots of stressors coming one right after another. The last hurrah of the previous week was the refrigerator deciding it didn't want to work. It had been a little warm on the door, but then cooled back down one day last week so I just assumed one of the girlies held the door open too long. Sunday morning we woke up to find any open dairy item soured. So we loaded all our food into our big camping cooler and stuck it on our deck in the snow and frigid air. Despite the inconvenience of having to make multiple trips out to the deck for any refrigerated item we were doing pretty well. Called a couple of repair places and discovered no one could get here until Wednesday. Grrr, but at least the food is OK in the cooler. Forecast is for cold temps, so we should be OK. The very good repair man comes Wednesday and identifies what we need but has to order it. So more deck food until midday on Friday (yesterday! No fridge for 5 days with 3 kids under the age of 3....starting to get on my nerves.) So the part is in, the freezer is good and frozen and the repair guy says "Load her up! You're in business!" The fridge seemed much cooler so we did. We had company for dinner and proceeded to put all our beautiful bourbon marinated flank steak with garlic mash and decadent chocolate cake into the fridge before spending the evening talking and having fun. This morning we wake up to a fridge that is 60 degrees. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Crap! Stupid fridge!

Ahem, apparently Mr. N is one of the handiest men around because he looked it up on the internet, pulled apart some apparatus in the fridge and found the problem. The space that conducts the cold air down from the fridge and the "warm air returns" were completely blocked with ice. That meant no cold air could get into the fridge and the warm air stayed in the fridge instead of moving up into the freezer to be returned as cold air. So he dried those out with a hair blower and sucked all the air intakes out with our made a huge mess in the kitchen which the girlies thought was the funnest thing ever. And wah lah! We're back in least I supposed until the thing blows up tomorrow morning.

At least the upshot of all of this is I have an extremely clean fridge. If you want to lick your food right off the fridge shelf, just stop on by!

Besides the frenetic emptying and reloading of the fridge, I've also been on a dyeing tear. Some more yarn came in for an order and I've been busy getting it all ready to go out the door. It's always nice to dye and have the fun of reskeining it all. It's so pretty just slipping through my fingers on it's way to the swift. Each skein has it's own nuances and it's neat to see the differences develop. Yarn Love has been selling like hotcakes, and I've been putting together many packages for shipping. Mr. N drives right by the mailbox every day on his way to work, so I handed him a stack of four and asked if he would drop them off. It's been 0 degrees actual temp with a foot of snow on the ground for the past few weeks, and I just didn't feel like walking down the drive to the mail box only to return as a snowman. A few minutes later, I see these four, beautifully wrapped packages of $200 worth of yarn sitting on his trunk as he backs down the driveway!!! So, I did what any self respecting yarn dyer would do. I threw open the door, ran out into the snow in my slippers while waving my arms frantically and all the time picturing the packages, my beautiful babies, hitting the dirty, sandy, salty snow of the street. He nonchalantly rolls the window down, assures me he knows they're there and proceeds to go merrily on his way.

They all made it safely into the mailbox. I was still cold. And mostly baffled at why he would do that.

And my favorite part of having a distracted week: the Caffeine Dumps. Let me start off by saying that when I am pregnant I don't have caffeine. When I am nursing I don't have caffeine. Caffeine in pregnancy causes the baby's brain to work differently and there's preliminary evidence showing that it causes a host of problems such as ADD, etc. When I'm nursing my body is hyper sensitive to it, and a cup of 1/2 caff, 1/2 decaf coffee will have me laying in bed awake 15 hours after I drank it. So I prefer to stay away. However, now that my nursing relationship with X is minimal (he nurses once or twice in the night) and can have some. But I'm still working my way up and rarely ever get above 1/4 caff, 3/4 decaf blend. Unless I'm so distracted by my funky fridge and copious quantities of dyeing that i don't count the scoops of coffee right.

Oh, the thrill of the caffeine high! I am getting so much done! I feel so great! My kids have never been such angels. Never mind that you can't see the floor in the family room due to the layer of toys. I'll have them picked up in a jiffy. Right after I finish these last 10 pounds of yarn.

Two hours later I can't understand why every little thing is jangling my nerves and I'm the hugest grump you've ever seen. It's so bad, I'm wondering what I can do to get away from myself. Oh, and I hate that 10 pounds of soaking wet yarn waiting for me to dye it. Die yarn, die!

So that in a nutshell is the last few days of my life. My best tip of the Valentine's Day week? If you stand outside in subzero temps for 10- 15 minutes while filling your car with gas on your way home from a bikini wax, you'll notice almost no redness and swelling! It's like instant gratification! So remember that beauty tip from me, your friendly yarn dyer, next time it's off the the aesthetician.

Here is my knitting project of the week. I think I actually started it in the midst of last week, the Week From Hell, because I realized that the gorgeous Tiger Eye lace socks would never get done in time to qualify for this month's Socktopia challenge. I have over achiever tendencies. Sometimes I'm pretty good at suppressing them, but this is not one of those times. Rather than get most of the way through the lacey ones, I just put them down and grabbed some Emu Superwash that had been sitting in my destash box forever. Got to love that. The pattern is one that I made up. It's just like the Beverly Socks, only a heavier gauge and not quite as symmetrical. I didn't actually use a calculator at any point during the knitting of these socks, I just cast on at the toes (which are really much wider than normal) and started knitting. But they're turning out OK after all, and I know I'll wear them. They will be pair number THREE of Katie's hand knit socks when they're done. I'm nearly out of yarn, so it will be soon. I've promised myself that I'll get back to the Tiger Eye lace as soon as these are off the needles. I've already committed to sending that along to Socktopia members as a free pattern. I've never really done lace before...what was I thinking? Eeek!

Some of you have been asking about the Spring Collection on Yarn Love. It's up and you can take home anything you want. I promise to send it right out. I won't keep it even though I love it. Every skein of yarn you buy helps get me to my exhibitor's booth at the upcoming Knitter's Connection in Columbus, OH. So if you want to see me there, buy a skein!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Guess what? Yarn!

Ahem, I know you just are never going to believe this, but this post will be devoted to yarn. No, I'm quite serious. Yarn, yarn and more yarn. Possibly some comments about my fridge if I get side tracked. (I am really easily side tracked, and more importantly, I'm usually pretty happy flying down whatever tangent presents itself. I never used to me. Just since I've become a mom....See, what did I tell you? Easily side tracked.)

I have NEW YARN PICTURES!!! Sarah, my official yarn photographer took pictures of the spring line this Saturday and they'll be up on the site today. I can't wait. I love her work and I'm super excited about yarn. (Edited to add: they're now available at!)

The Spring Collection has something unique about it - several of the colors are used in multiple colorways. That means they'll match each other easily. Plus, I'm offering 5 matching solids this season. There are also going to be "Sock Duos" - mini skeins, one varigated one solid so you can do colorwork. Plus, it's easy colorwork because you know the solid color is the same shade that's in the varigated skein. woohoo!

So here's a sneak peak of what's coming. All six varigated colorways are here and several of the 5 matching solid shades. They're pictured on a variety of base yarns including our superwash sock, merino/tencel sock, the new bamboo/nylon sock yarn, merino/silk, etc:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad, Bad Blogger

I have 3 partially completed drafts that I have never posted. I think it's symbolic of my life recently. You won't mind that I've been neglecting you, will you? I thought not. I knew you would understand.

Well, this week has been less than stellar...printer broke, hood flew into windshield while I was driving, my children painted their room with poop during a nap (requiring 5 hours of cleaning....oh, so gross!), last night the kids and I came down with a bad cold, and the freezer is broken this morning. I can't wait for this freaking week to be over.

On the bright side, the Spring Collection for Yarn Love is going in for photography tomorrow. Yay! I've been dyeing like a maniac. I have pounds upon pounds of yarn sitting around here just waiting for new adoptive homes. It's gorgeous, if I do say so myself. And we were able to make a yarn replacement. The new Scarlett O'Hara is a soft, cushy sock yarn that is 60% merino wool/ 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. I think bamboo feels like microfiber. It has that same ultra softness combined with the open loft. If you're a sock yarn junkie, like me, you're going to love this. One of the first skeins of this was sent to the effervescent Lime N Violet, and got a mention on their latest show (#35). I freaked out, it made a rotten day much better. Oh, and there is a colorway this season called Limeade and Violet in honor of the knitty, talking queens.

So, have you all heard about Socktopia? I am participating...nevermind that I lost all my fraking buttons when I accidentally changed the template. (Yeah, the new blogger makes that really easy, let me tell you.) Soon I will be sporting a beautiful Socktopia button, but I've got to get my life back together before I even think about going there. The general concept of Socktopia is one pair of sock per month for the year. If you start and complete a pair of socks within a month then you get entered into a drawing for prizes. Yay! Prizes! There are themes for you to work from, a Flickr group for drooling over everyone's socks and a place to chat. I'm loving it. I knit three pairs of socks last month, but this month I'm hoping I'll make it through one. I'm designing this month's pair. They have a fairly intricate 25 st lace pattern that will go from cuff, to toe. I really haven't knit much lace at all, so it's been interesting. I did rip the first entire repeat of the pattern out (16 rows). Then I placed some stitch markers and things seem to be going better. Next time, I'll remember not to start involved projects during the shortest month of the year! eeek! They are really pretty though. Being knit from Tofutsies, color #724.

I do have some mohair on the wheel. (Actually, it's off the wheel as of last night, but shhh!, it's not plied yet.) It will be plied with some hand dyed merino wool that I hand dyed. It's going to be for socks - what else? I'm a little bit addicted to the handspun, hand knit socks. Yeah. It's gotten bad. I have only 2 pairs of hand knit socks, and I alternate days that I wear them. That way I can wash and block the "off" pair and be in hand knit socks all week long. I seriously need some more pairs. (My wheel really isn't that washed out or dull looking. It's just not a good photo of it. If you look closely, you'll see one of my hand knit socks in action. Seriously. I wear them all the time. It's like an addiction. But without all the rehab and brow beating that comes with traditional substance abuse. I may even make it through my fiber stash this year, if I keep the spinning up!)

This is Miss G - one day I was taking pictures of yarn and she wanted me to take her photo, too. Isn't she sweet? mhm, I thought so, too. Their third birthday is coming up in a couple months. I remember how tiny they were when they first arrived. 18" long, and only 5lbs, 12oz and 6 lbs, 7 oz respectively. Full heads of deep black hair. Sigh. I don't miss the 14 months of extreme sleep deprivation, but who are these beautiful and independent toddlers? I don't remember my babies growing up.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sock Jumble: the Beverly Socks

Now, Miss Beverly, the question you must ask yourself is, "What is this a picture of?" And possibly, "How will this fit together in the whole?" Finally, "Why are they not done and on my feet?"

The first answer: These pictures are of your socks, but they're a bit jumbled.
The second answer: Wait and see.
The third answer: Because I have kids. *giggle*

Have fun! I hope they're good and teasing!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am in a sock swap! Wheee!

I just got my swap pal assignment from the Knitty Sock Swap. I'm very excited. I got paired with a great sock knitter named Beverly. (That link will take you to her blog.) She just completed a beautiful sweater for her husband for Christmas, you should go check it out.

This is just the second swap I've been involved in. The rules are that you create a pair of socks specifically for your pal based on their preferences and your skill level. I think swaps are a lovely kind of set up. You get a lovely gift or item tailored for you, plus the fun of tailoring something for a new friend.

I'm really looking forward to knitting Beverly's socks. She likes Keen which she found on so I'll be knitting that up for her in some pattern that I have yet to determine. I think I might design the pattern just for the yarn. Then I can spiffy up the pattern, PDF it and post it here for free. They are hand spun on the Tina II (she really needs a new name...I'll have

Yarn Swag

I know most bloggers refer to it as pr0n, but I just don't like that term. So I'm inventing a new one: Yarn Swag. Footnotes to Scout of Scout's Swag and the term swag as defined by the Urban Dictionary. Although my term Yarn Swag does not carry the connotation of cheap, mass made crap, nor does it have anything to do with wild ass guessing. It's just beautiful photos of yarn or ready knitted objects meant to advertise the cause of knitting and yarn in general. So there you have it. I've invented a new term.

Now onto today's swag - my hand spun, hand knit, me designed Katie socks. My first pair of hand knit socks that I KEPT FOR MYSELF. I've knit several pairs of socks. More than enough to put me in the proficient sock knitter's category over on the Knitty Board Sock Swap but this is the very first pair that I've ever kept for myself. Go figure.

They are hand spun on my Jensen Tina II spinning wheel from 100% merino wool roving hand painted by me in my Aurora Borealis colorway. They are fraternal twin socks. The singles were spun along the full length of the roving and then plied back on itself. Then I knit the socks at the same time on two circulars from both ends of a center pull ball. One is considerably more yellowy than the other one, but I still like them. They went together really fast. Knit in about 2 1/2 days in between living and taking care of the kiddos. Then they sat on my needles for another 4 1/2 waiting to be bound off. The yarn is sports weight, so these babies aren't going to last that long. Merino is not know for it's durability and the heavier weight isn't the best treatment for something like socks that are going to see tons of wear, but I'm OK with that. It's OK if they wear out. They're super comfy and I'm really enjoying them.

The stitch pattern is a fun and easy ribbed cable that I found in Barbara Walker's Stitch Treasury. Boy I love those books. It's a mock cable, because you don't need a cable needle to create the stitch pattern. I do have the pattern worked up for both sport weight and fingering weight yarn. It's available at for 1 cent. It won't let me offer it for free which stinks. It's by far the easiest and fastest way for me to get my patterns out there. So, if you'd like you too can have Funky Zebra socks.

I have a pair of socks on the needles for a friend. I'm doing Knitty's RPM for her out of my Juliet yarn dyed in the colorway Handsome. They're coming along. I'm just past the heel turn and they're very pretty. The only thing I don't like about the short row toe is that I think it creates slight gapping along the heel that I just don't like and the fact that I can't do the k1, s1 pattern for greater durability. So I think I'll try doing an afterthought heel to see if I can take care of that.

I'll keep you updated on the Beverly socks. Stay tuned..................

Monday, January 08, 2007

UnWrapped Short Row Technique - Flat Knitting

I had a request for a detailed tutorial on how to do short rows while flat knitting. You can follow the original UnWrapped Short Row tutorial for the right side rows, then use these instructions for the purl (wrong) side fo the fabric. It's very easy to do - don't be put off by the large number of pictures. They're here to help you visualize each stage of the process. I've also included photos of incorrectly knitted wraps, so you can easily tell whether or not you've got it down.

Click the photos to enlarge. I did not resize them, so you can get a really detailed view if you like, but they're still a managable size for those of you who have a dial-up connection.

These instructions assume that you have happily knit through the inital wrap on the right side, and have purled to the wrap on the wrong side. (If you don't know how to knit in the first wrap on the right side, see my first UnWrapped Short Row Tutorial. Just knit through the first wrap, and then come back here.)

Here's what a wrapped stitch looks like on the purl side. See the double bumps around the stitch? The extra is from wrapping the stitch:

Unwrap second stitch (purl stitch) by inserting your right needle from top to bottom through the wrap only, slip the original stitch off the needle, and pull the wrap off.

Right needle inserted top to bottom through the wrap:

If you do this correctly, the wrap should be on your right needle, with the original stitch free. Here the wrapped stitch is on the right needle and the original stitch is hanging loose to the front of the fabric:

Now slip the wrap stitch (Purlwise - don't twist it) onto the left needle, and put the original stitch back on the left needle just behind the wrap stitch. Here is the wrap stitch on the left needle, and I've parked the original stitch on my right needle, so I don't accidentally unravel it.

When you slip the original stitch back onto the left needle, make sure it passes behind the wrap stitch, as the work faces you. In other words, by slipping the original stitch on the side of the right side of the work, you create a stitch that meshes seamlessly with the current fabric rather than allowing the wrap stitch to show on the right side. You'll know if you've done this incorrectly because you'll have funky looking stitches on the right side of your fabric.

Then purl the wrap stitch and the original stitch together (p2 together). Here are both stiches freshly purled together and on the right needle:

Right and Wrong Stitches
For clarification purposes here are some photos of what the wraps should and should not look like once you've knit them into the fabric.

Right: Here is a close up of the purl side wrap from the wrong side of the work. It looks like a C with a long tail:

Now both the first and second wrap. First, right side wrap on the left and the second, purl side wrap on the left. See how they are mirror images of each other? That's what you want to see. The right side wrap is mirrored or backwards.

Wrong: Both of these wraps are wrong, because the stitches have been twisted or placed on out of order. The right side wrap is really easy to spot, because it doesn't have the long tail C look. But look closely at the right side wrap. It's twisted on the front side, but it still looks like a mirrored C. There is a slight difference, you can see two "layers" on the incorrectly wrapped stitch. It's a good idea to check both sides of the fabric before continuing on. The good news is that since you formed that right side wrap on the right side of the fabric, you will be able to see if you've got the stitches out of order or twisted!

The correct stitches are circled in blue, the wrong stitches are circled in pink. Again from the wrong side of the work:

See how the top of this swatch is starting to round gently? That's because of the two short rows that I put in. Isn't that cool? This last photo is the same, but I've traced the out line of both the right and wrong stitches so you can see the stitch path more clearly:

There you have it. A simple, easy, no gap method for short row wrapping. You've got tutorials for both circular and flat knitting. Go shape something. It's easy!