Thursday, April 4, 2013


Low immersion, scatter dyed, lots of different colors but with an overwhelming brown black look.

I've been sick sick sick, with one wave of illness following another. Now after my second round of antibiotics and a second cold I think I am finally on the mend. I'm crossing fingers I don't get another cold. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March Madness

End of February and early March have been incredibly busy, I always forget just how intense this time of year can be especially after the January slowdown.
I once again participated in the Portland yarn crawl. It was so much fun to meet other knitters and talk to them about their projects and favorite colors. I saw quite a few repeat customers that I recognized and I think some even remembered me. I did a lot of dyeing for that show, my favorite being magenta combinations (of course!).

 Another fun experiment was combining less expected colors, like for example orange and purple (see below!)
After the yarn crawl I focused on fulfilling several orders for Twisted. First I finished dyeing the yarn for their shawlette club. The colorway is a secret so I won't be posting any pictures, but its going to be amazing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Give 5 Get 5

A 2013 collaborative project from Blissful Knits

In addition to my scarf project I have also started a patchwork blanket, the idea being that I want to use all of my own sock yarn scraps. The only rule is that I have to use yarn that has been dyed by me. Though what I find funny is that I ran out of scraps long a go and now I'm just winding up full skeins for this project!

Now you may wonder where does this leave all of my fans... Well here's the deal. If you send me any amount of scrap yarn, the scraps have to be Blissful Knits sock yarn (any base) and at least 10g, I will give you a $5 off coupon code towards the purchase of more yarn! Its a win win. You get new yarn and I get to finish my blanket.

Please get in touch with me if you have some scraps to send and I will give you my mailing address and coupon code.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Its been too long

Oh boy my poor neglected blog, I cannot believe how long I have left you alone and sad collecting dust.... Summer came and went and with the craziness of getting ready for the fall and holiday season I simply forgot to post regular updates. For the new year I have started two long-term projects.

The first is a weather scarf. Every day I make note of the weather/the sky and knit a color based on my observations. A dear friend did this project last year and it came out fabulous.

white - white colors
light gray - light gray colors
dark gray - dark/rainy/stormy colors
blue - clear blue skies
orange - adventure days
I wanted to add some color to the scarf, so the orange is going to signify days where we have adventures, be it hiking, or skiing or perhaps doing something enjoyable and wonderful and out of the ordinary.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Just returned from a four day trip to the beach. My uncle was visiting from Russia and we wanted to show him the Oregon Coast. I found this to be the perfect opportunity to photograph the new cardigan I have been working on.

Elliot has been very difficult to photograph, he doesn't let me sneak up on him anymore, and instead of looking off in the distance with a dreamy look he gives me his best "pirate smile" as we call it. I finally did manage some photos but boy it was hard work!

I really like this cardigan because of how highly functional it is, and it fits him perfectly. I also used something called a sand stitch which really is a reverse of the moss stitch. The stitch is very purly on the right side but I think it makes it a pretty good thermal fabric.

For the collar I used a series of short rows to make the collar wider in the back. This way it covers up his neck. 
I also sewed on the top button so actually this is more like a pullover than a cardigan, but my son likes it better this way since it avoids doing buttons. 

Stitch and shoulder seam closeup.

Oh and did I mention it is knitted from the bottom up with a sleeve gusset? Yep! Its kind of a fun design.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nightwings & camping

We spent a long weekend over the Fourth of July holiday camping by a lake named "Big Lake" - how original eh?

Aside from the swarms of mosquitos that threatened to eat us alive the camping trip was a great success. We did lots hiking and canoeing and chilling while the kids covered themselves in dirt from head to toe. Oh how I love summer.

While camping I had a chance to take some nice photos of my latest shawl, as a friend suggested the name Nightwings just stuck and now I cannot wait to get it all tested out and published.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where the magic happens

After some troubleshooting I was able to get the studio photos off my camera. I've been meaning for a while now to share my workspace.

First is a photo of my yarn winding, storage, labeling and shipping area. Back in the day the counter space is where I used to dye the yarn. But I quickly outgrew that space and moved into my current studio. I still prefer to store all of my yarn indoors and in boxes and so I kept the counter space for all the other busy work I do. This is also especially convenient as this area is located at the end of our kitchen and so I can do a lot of work while supervising the kids.

I have twice now upgraded my swifts. I started out with an umbrella swift (which I still use with my winder), I then moved on to a hand cranked Crazy Monkey swift, and later when the opportunity arose I purchased a triple winding motorized swift.
The drawers hold all of my packaging and shipping supplies.

What is not shown is the racking opposite to the swifts, the shelving unit holds all of my knitting related books, some undyed yarns, and the dyed yarn that is waiting to be shipped. I have some space for a few boxes of dyed yarn, and then underneath the counter I also store several boxes of dyed yarns for shows and such.

Just off the kitchen is the entrance to my garage studio. For now it is still a shared space, I took over the majority of the floor space, but we do maintain space for all of our camping gear and a large chest freezer.
The counter got cropped off in the photo, so about a 1/3 of it is missing from the picture. The bottom drawers are from a recent kitchen remodel project and I still need to utilize them more efficiently. The upper cabinets hold all of my dyeing supplies and the powdered dyes. The bottles on the counter are pre-mixed solutions I use to avoid dealing with powdered dye on a daily basis.
I like to tape my lare orders to the cabinets so that I can quickly refer to what needs to be dyed next.
I still on occasion set dye with the microwave, I find that it works well for me and I have never had issues with it. The only drawback is that it cannot process the yarn quickly enough and so I prefer steam setting as that allows me to set a large quantity of skeins all at once.

Opposite the counter is my propane powered burner system. As you can tell from the kegs stored below this used to be my husband's beer brewing setup. But since he wasn't brewing very often I took over the space, but he is yet to move those kegs out of the way. I absolutely love my propane burners but I am definitely feeling a little crowded and so I think I am going to double my burner space and add two my burners.
The large stainless stell vats are used for low immersion and kettle dyeing as well as steam setting the dyes.

This concludes my mini tour, I hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Downton Abbey club (last shipment and signups)

My first club came and went, it was such a whirlwind of dyeing and packaging and figuring out what goodies to add.
Countess was inspired by the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Her wit and spunk called for bright vibrant colors. (I heard she might be written off the show at the end of the next season and that makes me sad)

[June's club selection "Countess"]

Signups are now open for the next installment of the club - summer club 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pixie Boys

I have been making an effort to knit down my Japanese yarn stash I brought back home.
Hopefully I will soon have the time to write about the remainder of our trip.

Today I knit the boys some hats <3

The yarn is a lovely bulky single ply wool, with only 40 stitches at cast on I was able to get the hats done in about 3 hours. 
The yarn is really fun. I got it at Avril in Kyoto. The shop was really funky and I hope to upload photos soon. The best part was that they had a huge selection of novelty yarns with the idea that they can ply together multiple strands. As I am not a big fan of novelty yarns I chose to go with something quite subtle. I had them ply the wool with a thin thread of white that has teeny tiny balls of in. Hopefully the photos have enough detail to show that off.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lost in translation (Tokyo)

Oh Japan... it has been nearly two weeks now since we returned home and I am yet to sit down and write of our adventures.
We started our tour with four days in Tokyo, followed by long train rides to an overnight stay at Kinosaki and then two nights in Kyoto.

Part I - Four nights in Tokyo
Tokyo was intense, I felt like an ant at the heart of the colony. On our first day we got to experience the full Tokyo morning rush hour as we crammed ourselves into an impossibly full subway car. It was just like in the movies, just as the train pulled into the station I saw a guy literally sprawled and squeezed against the door. It was quite the exhilarating experience.

We spent our morning at the Tsujiku Fish Market. Nearly got ran over multiple times but sadly didn't get to see any giant fish.

From there we headed to see the Meiji shrine and walked the Harajuku area.
We took a small retreat on a rooftop Starbucks. Now those who know me will know that I try to avoid Starbucks like the plague. But their location was so awesome, the breeze was cool, the music was relaxing, and the comfy chairs all over the patio were just delightful.
After that short break we spent a few more hours walking the small streets of Harajuku. By the late afternoon we were so exhausted and jetlagged that we simply collapsed on our hotel bed. The only thing that got me out of bed that evening is the need to eat. We walked and walked and walked around the Shinjiku station area in hopes of finding food, but without our ability to read the signs on the restaurants we had a tough time make a decision about where to dine.
We finally settled on a tiny restaurant in a back alley. Just the place to go into where no one spoke english. The waitress handed us a Japanese menu which of course was useless. We asked her if she had a picture menu we could look at (they had one outside). Well the poor girl actually went outside and took down the menu and brought it in for us to look at. We were so absolutely embarrassed, but the soup and noodles were worth it!
Despite our food adventures we had a wonderful time walking around in the evening. I don't think I'm a big city girl at heart, but I did enjoy the hustle and bustle of millions of people all rushing in different directions.

The next morning we took a quick walk to get some coffee and then packed up to go to the hotel my husband's work had reserved for him while he was doing work related stuff.
I've never stayed in such a fancy hotel ($400/night!) the concierge did not know what to make of us and our giant backpacking packs we had on our backs. They are used to helping businessmen with suitcases but were a bit confused about our packs.
I won't lie that the next 1.5 days I got to be a tourist on my own were just spectacular. I love my husband, but there was something so glorious about being a lone traveler. I could go at my own pace (sometimes he complains about my slow tourist-pace) and didn't have to worry about anyone's needs but my own. Those are the days when I got the majority of my shopping done. I went to so many stores everything just kind of became a blur. I took shop till you drop quite literally, heck I even took a bath at the hotel when I got back.
Even something simple like shopping at a small street pharmacy was a lot of fun. I loved the huge section of foot comfort products. I suppose its a necessity considering pretty much everyone woman we saw wore high heels.
I loved the bento box selection and now regret not getting more boxes to bring back home!
Another shopping experience I must write about is the craft store I managed to locate after much wandering around. My google maps was off by a building and so after accidentally stumbling onto a book store (and buying lots of crafting books in Japanese) I finally made it into a crafting store. The craft store was huge, I was ready to pass out after checking out row after row of yarn. There was just so much of it. I didn't even bother with the buttons, I couldn't see straight. Then there was the fabric department. I was in love with so many of the prints, but decided against bringing a bunch of fabric home. It was heavy and I didn't know if I wanted to lug it around with us for the remainder of the trip.

I also managed to only embarrass myself once, actually I'm sure I was contiguously making terrible social mistakes, but only once did I wish for the earth to open up and swallow me. I was dining alone at a sushi conveyor belt restaurant where I attempted to put powdered green tea in my wasabi bowl. In my defense the tea was green, and in a little black box that looked just like the kind of box that holds wasabi here in the US. The poor waitresses were horrified and jump at me to prevent me from doing it. There was a nice guy sitting next to me and he offered to help me figure out the system. Oh boy, I bet he had a good story to tell his friends :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I have to brag

Because I climbed Mt. Hood two days a go!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love all around

Yesterday I turned 30. After a mental breakdown the eve of my birthday I woke up in a surprisingly wonderful mood. My birthday passed without a glitch and I can turn my house into a floral shop at the moment!
One thing I realized as I was getting ready for my birthday in the passing weeks is how much I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to spend some time with my knit circle ladies. I have grown attached and fostered some amazing bonds with them. I am going on my third year of meeting there weekly.
I think my favorite part is how diverse our backgrounds are. No offense to my mommy-friends but it is refreshing to have friendships outside the immediate motherhood bond. I believe pretty much all of them are mothers, but some of their children are as old as me.

So hear! hear! I wish to raise a glass to my wonderful amazing and loving knit night ladies.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival Recap

After a 5am wake up call from the kids we were packed and ready to go around 8am. We stopped for a nice breakfast at the bakery and then hit the road. As we were going down I-5 it dawned on me that the fixture store was about to open and I needed to do some last minute shopping. Scott was a trooper and drove the trailer through the SE industrial area.
We made it to the show in good time and I began setting up. I had some trouble with my equipment, at some point my display wall even collapsed but after using some zip ties we were all good to go. In retrospect I don't think I setup my booth with the best flow possible, but it was okay.

Reid enjoying the view from our room, I'm so glad I asked for a first floor room!

I had a nice open corner for a booth, but unfortunately my booth placement was such that the sun was shining right in through large windows and making it impossible to see my yarn (think of looking at something when the sun is shining at you behind it. I really need to consider purchasing some lighting if I am to do more shows.
I definitely think that the lighting issue hurt me as I only sold two skeins from the wall that was most affected by the lighting, even though it was my most prominent display and held the most gorgeous yarn (in my opinion).

The first photo is the back wall of my display, you can see how brilliantly lit it is, but unfortunately it was facing he back door and no one could see it. On the right is the photo of my most prominent display, I was shocked that I only sold two skeins from it. During the yarn crawl I sold out of these yarns, but then again I was also sitting right underneath a sky light that was truly showing off how sleek and silky the cashmere blend is.

But that's what doing shows is all about, you live and learn, and next time I won't make the same mistakes. 
Of course my biggest downfall is that I'm not a sales person. I am more than happy to talk with customers and help them choose the perfect yarn for their project. And of course I can talk about yarn and dyeing and knitting all day long. But I am always so fearful of making  my customers feel uncomfortable. I don't want to come off like a pushy car salesman. That is just not who I am.

Overall the show was a great success and I was so excited to see repeat customers and I got to talk to so many wonderful people that love to knit! It seriously warmed my heart when a few women waltzed into my shop and said "Oh we love Blissful Knits"!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Club Spoilers

Warning! Warning! Warning!

This is a photo spoiler of the April Downton Abbey Club.

The theme for this month was the perfect romance; the heart twisting love story between Matthew and Mary.
The colorway was low immersion dyed and features deep blues with hints of purple and light maroon.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Yarn club review

So I'll admit it, while I have offered my own clubs and had dyed for other club owners, I have not actually participated in a club myself before.
Imagine my delight when Jenn from Woolgirl sent me a package of her latest club, one which I dyed the featured yarn for!

Everything arrived in a medium sized post office priority box. The goodies were neatly wrapped with a hand written note and a club themed card. Inside the box I also found the included patterns each listing my yarn (squee!)

Inside a little hand decorated matchbox I found tiny treasures and a princess stitch marker. You can see that the main clear bag also included a hand sawn project bag. Its of a really great quality and is double lined. I've already appropriated it to keep all the sock yarn bits I have left from various projects.

So I am totally smitten! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Custom Stripes

Recently I had a chance to do a really fun custom order of mini skeins. The inspiration was my Wild Iris colorway but we also needed six 1oz skeins of semi solids. I decided to go with the three predominant colors in the colorway and do a light and dark version of each.
Here are the six jars of different mini skeins for a striped dress

Dried and ready to go!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Portland Yarn Crawl 2012

Yesterday I had the privilege of having a trunk show at Wynona Studios . I first met JJ at Sock Summit last year, she approached me to talk about consigning some of my yarn at her shop. I instantly liked her, she was so kind and friendly and disarming. I was really stressed at my first show and it made me feel so amazing to have a store owner think that my yarn is awesome!
I think her shop is one of my favorites, mainly because I already have all the yarn in the world, but I can still find all kinds of goodies that I wouldn't be able to find in a conventional yarn store. The space itself is very open and bright, the overhead skylight really lights up the place even on a dreary day. There are lots of sofas to sit on and relax, and with a coffee shop right next door I know I could spend the whole day there (as I saw many patrons do yesterday!).

She also has an impressive button collection, lately I've been on a big button kick and I find it so relaxing to dig through jars filled with color coordinated buttons.

The crawl itself went without a hitch. I saw lots and lots and lots of people. I even met someone who lives two blocks down the road from me!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rustic Rambouillet

I wanted to spruce up (and brand) Mountain Meadow Rambouillet. After knitting with this yarn base for over five years I am still convinced that it is one of the best worsted weight yarns out there. I wouldn't try to do fine lace with it. But it's definitely the front runner for anything warn, cozy, and sturdy. I have a sweater I made for Elliot that now has been passed down to Reid, and I swear the sweater gets better with age. I have never had issues machine washing my Rambouillet (still wash at your own risk!!!) over time the knitting becomes more dense, but not enough to call it felting. And certainly not enough to alter the size and fit.
I seem to have misplaced the photos of Elliot in the sweater. I'll have to update the post once I find them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Something new

I decided to take a little mental break from coops and wholesale orders to focus on what I enjoy best - trying new techniques and color combinations.

Lately I've been experimenting with layered dyeing, submerging the yarn in one color and then another and another. The resulting depth of shade is amazing.

Summer MojitoRipple
I feel like my brain is running in a million directions, there are just so many color combinations I can try. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Green Thumb (or violet pinky)

A small dyeing accident gave me a good scare. A little hole in my glove caused my pinky to be dyed purplish yellow. I scared myself when I first looked upon it. My brain kept telling me that there is something wrong with my hand. I think I even let out a little scream the first time I saw it. 
I've had a rough time with the kids so I decided to get a good laugh (at my poor husband's expense). I emailed him the photo with the subject "I may need surgery" then I made up a little bit about Reid biting me. The poor guy fell for it and I could not stop laughing. It felt good to have a deep belly laugh. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

So Portland

This pattern started out as a cowl that I wanted to use as a headband as well. Well it turned out I loved using it much more as a headband than a cowl as it kept my head and ears perfectly warm. When my husband first saw me wear it he exclaimed (with just a bit of  tease in his voice) "that's SO Portland"... I made a few changes to the pattern, but the name stuck!
The final pattern is a quick and easy headband/ear warmer that can be worn as a cowl too. Features a short row construction to allow for a narrow band in the back and a wide band across the ears and head. Perfect accessory for a chilly hike. Please make sure you understand short row methodology prior to starting the pattern (a link to a tutorial is provided). You may choose to use your own method if desired.

Approximately 80 yards of DK or light worsted yarn.
Gauge: One pattern repeat (10sts) in 2" (just a hair under 2" actually)
Special Instructions 
  m1 - make one stitch by knitting into the bar before the next stitch.
  sk2po - Left leaning double decrease
  "Close gap" -
 On the knit side:
  1. Knit until you reach the gap.
  2. From the knit side, pull the loop from behind the stitch on the right needle.  The loop should be correctly mounted with its right leg in front.
  3. Knit the loop together with the next stitch.
On the purl side:
  1. Purl until you reach the gap, locate the loop under the right needle.
  2. Slip the first stitch on the left needle purlwise onto the right needle
  3. Pull the loop up onto the left needle.  The loop should be correctly mounted with its right leg in front.
  4. Slip the first stitch on the right needle back to the left needle
  5. Purl the next stitch together with the loop.
For complete tutorial on Japanese (and other) short rows please refer to

Begin Pattern Using size 5 16" circular needles CO 84 sts, PM, join to knit in the round.
 Purl around once.
Knit around once.

Begin Pattern 1 - Note that the front of the headband is done in short rows
    Row 1 (RS): K19,  ssk, work [k3, m1, k1, m1, k3, sk2p]x5 times, k3, m1, k1, m1, k3, k2tog, k1,    turn work.
    Row 2 (WS): Sl1 purlwise, p62, turn work.
    Row 3: Sl1 purlwise, ssk, work [k2, m1, k3, m1, k2, sk2p]x5 times, k2, m1, k3, m1, k2, k2tog, k1, close gap, turn work.
    Row 4: Sl1 purlwise, p63, close gap, turn work.
    Row 5: Sl1 purlwise, k1, ssk, work [k1, m1, k5, m1, k1, sk2p]x5 times, k1, m1, k5, m1, k1, k2tog, k2, close gap, turn work.
    Row 6: Sl1 purlwise, p65, close gap, turn work.
    Row 7: Sl1 purlwise, k2, ssk, work [m1, k7, m1, sk2p]x5 times, m1, k7, m1, k2tog, k3, close gap. - At this point  you should be back to your start of round marker with RS facing
Next round: P to 1 st before next gap, close gap using the next stitch, k to end of round.

Begin Pattern 2 - Note that the front of the headband is done in short rows
    Row 1 (RS): K19, work [k1, m1, k3, sk2p, k3, m1]x6 times, k2, turn work.
    Row 2 (WS): Sl1 purlwise, p62, turn work.
    Row 3: Sl1 purlwise, k1, work [k1, m1, k2, sk2p, k2, m1, k2]x6 times, k1, close gap, turn work.
    Row 4: Sl1 purlwise, p63, close gap, turn work.
    R0w 5: Sl1 purlwise, k1, work [k3, m1, k1, sk2p, k1, m1, k2]x6 times, k3, close gap, turn work.
    Row 6: Sl1 purlwise, p65, close gap, turn work.
    Row 7: Sl1 purlwise, k2, work [k4, m1, sk2p, m1, k3]x6 times, k4, close gap. - At this point  you should be back to your start of round marker with RS facing
Next round: P to 1 st before next gap, close gap using the next stitch, k to end of round.

Repeat instructions for Pattern 1, followed by Pattern 2, once more. You may wish to repeat Pattern 1 once more for an extra wide band (as pictured).
Knit one round Purl one round
Bind off.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back to Basics

Lately I spend an overwhelming amount of time dyeing sock yarn. Ever since Sock Summit it has become an obsession of mine, plus it seems like everyone around me wants socks socks socks and more socks!

Well this weekend I said socks no more! Okay that's not really true, I did dye 50 skeins for a wholesale client, but I decided to have some good old fashioned fun with lovely untreated worsted bases. That should make lots of mama knitters happy!
Here's a teeny speak peek at one of the colorways I will be listing on Hyenacart once everything is dry and ready to go.
Still unsure about what to call it. But I was very careful with the hot water and managed to do these two matching skeins using low immersion. <3

I finally bound off a large Secret Garden shawl I'd been working on. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample skein of 50/50 cashmere/silk. Its one of those luxury skeins that I've seen retailed for over $50. So I was certainly more than happy to get the undyed sample from a mill and dye it myself. The result is the softest and fluffiest shawl I'd ever made. It feels like air when I wear it, yet it keeps my neck amazingly warm.

I finally found a name for the shawl - Laurelwood. Now I just need to write up the pattern and have it tested.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh Fire!

Quite literally!

Singed the hairs on my right arm today while dyeing. I had the flame turned up too high... woopsie!

I rotated my yarn display at Goodness.

Took a mini impromptu vacation to the mountain over the weekend to give the kids a chance to enjoy the snow. It was very relaxing to sit in a hot tub while snow was falling on us.

Really excited about some of the semi-solids I have coming. I've also been doing some tonal dyes, where two colors blend into each other.
Semi-solid Indigo

Tonal Plum (Plum and Lilac)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spring Fling

Getting ready to release the first part of my newest spring colorway collection! 
The last few weeks I noticed tiny bulb tips poking out of the ground, and that became the inspiration to my newest collection. I wanted to go with bright and bold colors, that can stand on their own, or in high-contrast designs.


and a closeup of the low immersion colorway

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Happenings

The frenzy of the last few weeks is finally settling down and I once again have some time to sit down and write.
 I've been desperately trying to get a pair of socks finished up for my sister and a vest for my husband (which won't be done).
 The most recent project on the needles is this quick version of the Eoghan's Knot Sweater. This project is for a preschool mom that won an auction last year for a hand knit sweater by me. I am trying to be as quick as possible so I've omitted the cabled front, but the sweater still features the moss stitch on the front and back. The yarn is also a custom work for her. I wanted something bold and bright, and so far I've gotten approving comments from every girl that has seen me knitting it! 

I also purchased some new needles that I am very excited about. I thought nothing could be better than my Hiya Hiya interchangeable set, but I recently purchased stainless steel needles made by ChiaGoo and wow I am in love!