Dyeing fiber from a photograph

PicMonkey CollageI’ve been spinning up 8 oz. of merino and am loving the colors. All artistic credits go to Skeinnydipping, who dyed the fiber for me using this photo of the Oregon coast as inspiration. Isn’t it gorgeous?
UntitledI think I’ll probably end up with something close to 300 yards of light worsted. I wrote once before about my fondness for stripes and handspun, and I could see that working again here. But not necessarily. It’s such a playful colorway. Maybe the Summit scarf again?

What do you think the yarn wants to be? Any favorite handspun patterns that you’d like to share?



Pillow, pom & tassel

Remember all this?


…and this?


The stockpiles are significantly smaller now. First, I visited the SoWa Market again with a friend and popped into Grey’s, a fabulous little fabric store. I picked out 2 yards of upholstery fabric in this modern aqua/taupe gray diamond pattern and sewed us a big couch pillow.


It’s stuffed with every last bit of the white fiber, which was too long to process into roving. There’ll come a day that I’m sure I’ll regret not making a fancier (removable) pillow cover, but by that time I might be tired of the pattern and want something different anyhow. It was only $15, much cheaper than the kilim covers I was scoping on etsy.

There…doesn’t it look at home with the others? There’s a faint whiff of alpaca when you put your head down on it, which might offend some but I kind of like.


Second, I spun about 150 yards of the 50/50 alpaca and wool blend (the gray pile in the earlier photo) and 150 yards of Into the Whirled ‘s Wensleydale Combed Top…and was inspired to use them together.


I looked at a bunch of bonnet-shaped hats on ravelry before sketching this and calculating out the numbers. It’s made with sz. 7 needles and the two handspuns held together. I was going to give it to a family member since the colors are vaguely Ohio State, but I dunno now…it’s becoming my new favorite (ravelry notes here).

UntitledChristine let me borrow her Norby tassel instructions, which were incredibly clear and helpful. Then I read the Techknitter’s post on how to make a pom, also good (in fact that site is one excellent post after another…bookmark/pinterest/delicious it). I was determined to make a non-wimpy pom with swagger, so I wrapped that little “C” cardboard shape until it would hardly hold any more. BAM! Tell me that’s not a good looking pom.Untitled

Scrap/Lap/Nap Mini Blanket

Did I miss any other rhyming describers? Hmm. I’m mentally going through the alphabet (…D,E,F,G…). I think I got ’em all.
This is a mini version of the Missoni Inspired Chevron Blanket.  It’s made mostly from leftover project yarn, although I supplemented with mill ends and a fresh skein or two from some sale bins. After binding off I still had yarn in a few colors, so I gathered every circular needle I had in size 6, 7, or 8 (buying new needles for a reuse project just seemed counterintuitive – the perfection is in the imperfections on this one) and added a 12-row stockinette border.

Even while adding width and length with the border, I wondered about the functionality of a mini blanket. Could an adult fit under it for napping on the couch? Would it turn into an extravagant dog warmer? Does my lap actually need warming?

I joked to a coworker that it could just be a blanket for a hypothetical future baby. She completely ignored the key word there – hypothetical – and got going about what the baby would look like and what would we name it and ohmygosh she’s going to be its stylist and teach it Spanish.

Needless to say, she is my favorite person at work.


Turns out the mini blanket is more versatile than I thought. Today I took the blanket to work because they keep cranking up the AC in our building, so much that I was shivering yesterday as I typed. Below, Read kindly demonstrates its usefulness for afternoon couch napping, and our rocking chair demonstrates how dressy she can look in stripes. I’m sure Sam will have a turn or two under the mini blanket too.

Handspun Legwarmers

Only two weeks until Read comes back. I’m looking forward to it – the Netflix is losing its luster and I can’t eat through our CSA share fast enough and I just all around miss him. Yesterday on Skype, he alleged he found a “baby Samson” at a pet store in Mexico (photo forthcoming). I thought I’d be the only one who’d want to bring him home, but Read does too. Sam would grumble but I think it’d keep him young.

While Edith enjoys a Boston sunset, I watched Friday Night Lights and cast off my latest project. Yayayarn’s cowl got a lot of love when I asked what to do with my newest handspun. I agreed. That pattern is sweet. But when I did a swatch the handspun was too thick, so on to the legwarmers by Jane Richmond! (cowl, i’m comin back for you)

Barefootrooster suggested that 250 yards of handspun might not be enough, so I added in some creamy stripes. The pattern reminds me of those tall striped tube socks my dad wore to church league basketball games in the 80’s (which I’ve seen sold again in American Apparel, more evidence that dads are the original hipsters).

I wanted to cut down on their bulk and make sure that they stayed up, so I worked the first 15 rows and the last 50 rows in 2×2 ribbing with sz 6 needles (instead of 8). I bound off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, which is SO SIMPLE and SO STRETCHY! The legwarmers will double as bootliners…now I just need some knee-length skirts to go with these boots.

30-minute cowl

Unfortunately the title of this post does not refer to the length of time it took to knit this cowl, but to the length of time it existed, fully formed, in this world.

Serene stripes


It had potential. It did! The reclaimed wheat yarn and the soft earthy tones of the slubby handspun created the right balance of harmony and contrast. There was enough yarn to make an extra long cowl that would double as a hood. And I tried out a jogless striping method for the first time and loved it.

However, the reclaimed wheat yarn had lots of stops and starts, and so it littered the wrongside with knots and ugly bits of yarn. The increases around the shoulders were too fast and furious, which created funny little pleats. And the cowl was so long that when it was not in hood mode, it created an unwieldy and bulky tire of wool around my neck. I frogged the thing before thinking to take a picture, so here is an illustration of what that photo would have shown:

By the next day I’d come up with a new plan for the handspun…a little kerchief. My very first one in fact! Admittedly I’m a little late to the kerchief/shawl party. There are a ton of great patterns on ravelry, and from the lists I chose The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief.

This has already made it through 72 hours and one outing to work. I think it’s a keeper.

First handspun shawl
First handspun shawl
First handspun shawl