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! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Store Chatter

Wondering what I've been up to lately?
  • Knit two shawls (pattern coming)
  • Knit a skirted soaker
  • Knit a newborn set
  • Finished a 191 skein order!
  • Managed to live through Black Friday and have nearly all of those orders shipped out by now
  • In my “free” time I have been working on a new website. But it is very slow going.
New Shawl Design

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Watching my dyeing expand and grow can be a bit overwhelming. This coming month I have several large orders that will be going out the door. I am dyeing yarn for a special holiday kit as well as fulfilling a co-op order. Should be busy but also fun!

I have a few new colorways in the works, and fun holiday "scrappy" kits. Except that my scraps aren't actually scraps. They are all hand wound lofty 33g skeins grouped together in packs of 4. The yarns come in a white box with a clear lid which makes gifting very convenient.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toddler Feet

I think only a mom could say this, but there is nothing sweeter than toddler feet. I had some yarn bits that I didn't know what to do with so socks it was!

I think this picture shows the colors better

I also finished a pair of longies, a hat, and a shawl (boy am I behind on photos!)

And just so that Elliot doesn't feel left out, here's a picture of him wearing the Everyday Pullover (which he in fact does wear every day!)

In business news, I have pretty much every one of my usual bases in stock at this moment. I have a huge coop coming up so I am going to be busy with that soon. But before I start on the coop I hope I have some time to work with my most favorite base, the Ambrosia MCN. I have waited for two months for this yarn to come to me and its as lovely as I remember it from last time!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Toys & Yarn Samples

There is nothing I dislike more than having to drive down to the post office, wait in line, and pick up a package I've been waiting for for the last two weeks. This visit almost ended in a fist fight, I wasn't involved, but it was kind of scary. I guess the holidays are almost here...
But back to the pleasant news. I finally got my hands on some amazing luxury yarns I've been waiting on.

Yep, that's right, the package did come here all the way from China. Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around this global market we live in. I regularly order from the US, Australia, Canada, and now China.
The four samples I ordered are (from left to right)
Silky Cashmere (55% silk, 45% Mongolian Cashmere)
Silky Merino (50%/50% silk merino)
Pure Cashmere (100% Cashmere)
Cashmerino (80% Merino, 20% Cashmere)

Now the trick is deciding what to get. Because what I didn't expect to come in the package is swatches for every single yarn the company carries! This is when I felt like I had just made it into paradise!!!

So yeah..... OH MY GOD! (I'm still not over the excitement)

For now I am probably going to focus on some of the silk bases as I have a large order of Ambrosia Sock MCN on the way here.

Now, I also picked up a new toy. I have been using my hand-crank swift for about a year now and it was definitely the time to make an upgrade. I happened upon a local dyer who was selling her two swifts and when I realized that the swifts were motorized I jumped on the deal. Were, more like I stalked the dyer until her other offer fell through and then I snabbed the swifts for myself!
I can now reskein two sock yarn skeins in 3 minutes! *happy dance*

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Monster Mash

A custom colorway on its way to Norway! I love love love how the colors pop.

New fun colorway. I've been on a black kick lately. I especially love how the colors blend with black.

A photo of the staging area. These are the skeins on their way to new loving homes. I'm getting to the point where I've almost outgrown this space. And to think that this is where I used to dye!
This week I'm working on a major project of setting up a new studio in the garage. I've been dyeing in that space for about a year now. But just now I've decided to make some serious renovations and make my space more functional.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Had an electrician over today to give me a quote regarding getting a power hook up at the shed in our back yard. I would love to have my own dedicated studio space, the garage is very spacious and set up nicely for me, but it is also our storage space and I just don't want to share a room with our camping gear and tools. The garage studio gets the job done very well, but I want to feel inspired. I want to have beautiful art and painted walls. I want to make it mine.

I've been dyeing up a storm the last few days. Life is back into a routine and I now have a lot of time in the day for dyeing. I got all of my customs out of the way and even managed to dye lots of new colorways for the store. I'm working on a new sock yarn line, should be awesome once I'm finished. I'm using an over-dyeing technique to get some really cool color effects.

The last few customs had all asked for red (must be time that of year!) I have to admit red is my least favorite dye to work with. Its so finicky and I feel like I have to baby it every step of the way.

Here's one of the colorways, called 'Pacific Holiday'.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hello Etsy PDX Recap

Almost by chance I came across an advertising for a local conference targeting artists and small business owners. I thought what the heck, and went for it.
I can only rate this as an A+ experience!

Hello Etsy is a hands-on gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies.

Some of the highlights included listening to the owner of Queen Bee Creations and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I found both to be inspiring and approachable. Duane from Stumptown is downright hilarious, totally made me want to work for him!

I attended three workshop sessions; branding, money management, and business management.

At the moment my brain is exploding with information and ideas.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in putting together this awesome conference!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A secret

I'm so giddy with excitement because I have a secret I can't share yet (no, I'm not pregnant). It is actually 100% business related. I will say it involves a box. Preplexed yet?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Everyday Pullover

Finally I got around to writing up the pattern for this incredibly easy and cozy pullover. It is my shortest pattern to date! Oh and the best part? Its free!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eoghan's Knot Vest

New pattern has been released this week!

It is a femenine vest for babies and girls, instructions go up to size 8, although the pattern is easy to modify for any size. I have an adult version in the works and a sweater version targeting to release next week.

You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vacation Knits & More

August is usually my slowest month, I put the business on simmer and enjoy the sunshine. I spent the last two weeks in Sunriver, OR, climbed a mountain, hiked, canoed, camped, and ate lots of ice cream!
But now it is back to business. I have 2 patterns just about ready to come out the door, as well as two more patterns waiting for final details.

I am really excited about this design. It is a combination of very stretchy and open eyelets with sections of solid stockinette. It does a great job at showcasing immersion dyed yarns. I didn't know what to name it at first. But after a visit to the Painted Hills I knew I had found my match!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Last Post

Okay I swear this is the last time I mention Sock Summit!

But here are the photos of my booth... I just had to share these....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sock Summit 2011 Recap

Sorry for such an abrupt post last time. I just ran out of time and had to prioritize other things over blogging.

Sock Summit 2011 was I N S A N E !

- Met repeat customers
- Met lots of new customers
- Sold out of 95% of my sock yarn
- Lots of networking
- Never saw so much yarn in my life!
- Approached by several local stores regarding wholesale/consignment

All in all it was a huge success and I can't wait to do another show!

I think my low point was dragging grid-wall across the convention center 15 minutes before the doors opened for the first buyers. Nothing like doing things in the last minute.... Of course that wasn't by choice, I had to drop the kids off with a friend, switch cars with the husband, and then pickup more show equipment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Wow how did it happen so quickly? Time just flew by and tonight I unloaded my boxes of yarn at the convention center.

At home before driving over

Apologies for the photo quality, I forgot to grab my real camera....

Friday, July 22, 2011


Vacation was incredible. We stayed at

An all inclusive rustic ranch resort. As a work at home mom it was nice to take a week off of cooking, doing the dishes, and cleaning.

I've never been good about writing. Here's an excerpt from an article about Stehekin
You can do it all, sample one or two of the activities, or simply do nothing but curl up with a book and doze off in one of the conveniently situated hammocks or Adirondacks at the Ranch. As you breathe in the fresh air and feast your eyes on the glorious scenery, you‘ll realize just how much you needed to disconnect and disengage from that rat race you call life. Your senses will come alive in this natural, unspoiled piece of paradise and you’ll understand why so many folks make Stehekin their annual pilgrimage.
And the pie was to die for! mmmmmmmmmm pie

Here's my "captain's chair". The Adirondack chair I called home every evening.

And if you're curious about the knitting project. It is the "Dark and Stormy" cardigan, knit with my own yarn.

I hope we can return again next year....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Happenings

Wow has it really been a month since my last blog post??? Summer is here in full force and I am finding myself juggling children, activities and the business.

This past month I finished another coop, and went through several bags of sock yarn for sock summit, finished two more designs (patterns not out yet), and have done several store stockings. I've also spent way too much time watching the first 6 seasons of "The Office" and putting together a last minute vegetable garden.

Here's Eoghan's Knot in the vest style, pattern includes a sweater version as well.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Drawstrings in 3 minutes or less!

Sometimes the i-cord or twist string is the only thing standing between me and a finished project. For some reason I just hate working on the cords as they seem to take so long. One day I thought of using the drill to speed up the process and the results were fantastic!

So what you'll need for this tutorial is: yarn and a drill. You will also need some sort of a peg, like a door knob, or a chair knob; anything that you can loop the yarn over.

Step 1: Cut a strip of yarn, about 6 times longer than your desired drawstring length.

Step 2: Fold yarn in half and tie off the cut ends.

Step 3: Wrap the center fold over a door handle, peg, or chair top. I like to use the top of my son's rocking chair.

Step 4: Stuff the tied off end into the tip of the drill. Make sure the drill is open all the way.

Step 5: Change the drill into forward direction and support yarn and knot while you close off the chuck. This will ensure that the yarn doesn't come out while twisting.

Step 6: Take a few steps back away from the chair/knob so that the yarn is gently stretched. Step up on the trigger and let the drill do all the work. I let mine go for a good 30-60 seconds. The yarn will start to twist on itself.

Step 7: Free the yarn from the drill. Pry the ends open to create a loop, and loop this over the same place where the other end of the cord was looped.

Step 8: Starting with the the end of the drawstring that is looped over the chair begin tugging and pulling on the two cords and help them twist onto each other. Due to the twist in the strings they "want" to do this on their own. So just guide them to twist neatly onto each other.

Step 9: Hold cord with one hand while with the other pull the loops off the chair. Tie off the two loops together and cut off excess yarn. To make the ends match, tie the off the other end of the drawstring and cut the tip.


To make a thicker drawstring you can add several strands together.


I am taking dyeing to the next level (for myself). I started experimenting with mixing custom colors!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

They can't all be winner....

I ruined my first dye job. Really, majorly, ruined it. I want to cry. It was a whole pound of yarn too.
I'm going to over-dye it black and make some sweaters for the boys. But it doesn't take away from the sadness, especially since the yarn was for a customer.

But to make myself happy again I'm going to post of some pretties from earlier this week.

aaaaahhhhh I feel better already!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Low Immersion Dyeing

Busy morning. The kids are in school/childcare and I finally have a whole morning to focus on doing what I love best; low immersion dyeing. At first I wasn't a fan of kettle dyeing. My first experiments ended with terrible results and lots of brown and black over-dyeing to salvage the disaster.
But when I discovered the low immersion off-shoot of the kettle technique I was hooked. You might think to yourself, how hard can it be? Fill a pot with water, throw some dye, and voila! But learning how to control water levels, dye application, distribution and concentration, as well as yarn placement is a real form of art.
As much as I enjoy variegated colorways, I find much greater freedom of expression when using some form of an immersion technique.

Can't wait to see how all of these skeins get wound up!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Secret Garden

We built an elf house today under the old grape vine. I can't wait for the leaves to grow in and cover it up. The boys are going to love hiding in there when the summer finally comes.

Working in the garden and getting my hand dirty inspired me to create a 'Secret Garden' colorway. I really love how the colors distributed and how well the cloud cashmere (MCN) took the dye. This MCN is from a different supplier and I am trying to make sense of how I could carry both lines of cashmere in my store. They are different enough that I can't just call them both Cloud MCN, but on the other hand I just don't know if it makes any sense to carry two different types of a luxury cashmere base.

In other news KnitPicks accepted one of my patterns to their IDP program. The pattern is almost written and I just need to finish my final sample.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I am taking my commitment to only knit with my own yarns pretty seriously. What I am discovering is just how much I love using my own yarns, talk about a "farm to table" approach. Now if only I could have my own sheep, and spin my own yarn - a girl can dream right?

This is a colorway that I did using a low immersion technique. What I like about it is that colors maintained their integrity but still mixed to give a random color distribution. This dye was done on a tester skein of organic merino. I am considering adding a supplier to my repertoire but I wanted to test the yarn prior to committing to it. This organic merino is not the same as what many know as "Gaia". I would say the strand is fluffier and reminds me much more of a cashmere/merino blend than a merino. Yes, its that nice.
Since I only had one skein, all I could make was a newborn set.

In other news, I am thoroughly enjoying my first co-op. I was very anxious as I was waiting for the group order to come in. But once the order was in I just settled into a hyper dyeing mode and now two weeks later the 60 skein order is more than 50% finished. I'm a little sad that I am taking the summer off, dyeing is quite an addiction.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Newbie Fluff

Really love how this set turned out!

Made with handspun Mosaic Moon's Selah colorway on merino top.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Comrade Scarf

This scarf is perfect for worsted/aran/bulky yarns. I chose my Inspire SW base for this project and it is absolutely perfect. The pattern is super easy and uses just one skein.
The scarf creates a very slight triangular shape by making increases and then decreases on every other right side row.

I recommend weighing your skein prior to starting, this will make life a little easier if you want to use up an entire skein.

CO 4 sts using long tail cast on.

All WS rows: K all sts.

Simple Row: K1, yo, k2tog, k to end of row.

Repeat 'Simple Row' 2 more times.

Increase Row 1: K1, yo, k2tog, k to 1 st before end of row, m1, k1.
Increase Row 2: K1, yo, k2tog, k to end of row

Repeat Increase Rows 1-2 for a total of 27 times, or until you are half way through skein.

Work 'Increase Row 1' once more.

Decrease Row 1: K1, yo, k2tog, k to 3 sts before end of row, k2tog, k1.
Decrease Row 2: K1, yo, k2tog, k to end of row
Repeat Decrease Rows 1-2 until 4 sts remain on needles.

Repeat 'Simple Row' 3 times.

Bind off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well that was a crazy week!

I have a new goal for 2011 - do better long-term planning! I forgot about spring break and the fact that I would have both kids at home and not have any time to work on custom orders. Then on top of that we left for a weekend getaway, again preventing me from doing any dyeing.
Somehow I still managed to keep my schedule and get everything done, but it was certainly hectic.

At least I have something to show for all this stress. Actually, it wasn't that bad, it was just strange because I didn't have my usual dedicated work time slots. But this week we're mostly back to normal and life is good.
I absolutely love this March club. It came out absolutely drool worthy and of course now I am sad that all of this yarn is going to live somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thinking out loud

So I'm toying with the idea of offering some kind of a small business incentive to other small businesses, specifically other knitters who knit for pay.
When I was predominantly knitting for others I felt the "ouch" of retail cost yarn to my bottom line. Sure I could have raised my prices, but then that would have put woolies out of reach for many. That was of course until I discovered yarn purchasing through co-ops. That made yarn purchasing more bearable on the pocket book and the bottom line, but co-ops took forever to fill and then I had to wait for my items to ship.
- A certain discount on yarn purchases, but also a minimum requirement of some sort.
- No waiting, no co-op fees, ships direct.
- I would require a proof of business in a form of a license or tax EIN.

Sometimes mistakes are meant to happen....

....or why Raya should be labeling her dyes....

Over the weekend I had some spare yarn I wanted to dye up. I had the colorway in mind, I had the name picked out and the dyes that were going to go on it. Well imagine my surprise that as I started rinsing the yarn after the dye has been set when I realized that something wasn't right. My black wasn't black at all, instead it had turned a silvery blue gray. I thought I had made some kind of a mistake, or that perhaps I forgot to set the dye properly. But a closer examination of the dye bottle made me realized that I was never using black, but instead something called "gunmetal" which is exactly what I got. So, silly mistake, but gorgeous results.

So... here is "Fenrir" on Mountain Meadow Rambouillet

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Getting ready for sock summit

I could not be more excited when the postman dropped a huge box at my doorstep. My 50/50 silk merino blend finally arrived. It took it about two weeks to get here from Australia.

Can't wait to get started on dyeing this, its going to be so amazing!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yarn yarn yarn and more yarn!

I have been dyeing up a storm this past week. I try to commit myself to dyeing nightly once the kids are in bed. I have been able to streamline the dyeing process and make myself a little more efficient. Once I can get the sink hooked up in the studio it will make life even easier!

I have been on a girl kick lately with lots of pinks and purples. I discovered an unopened box of magenta dye and I just went crazy with it. How did I ever live without magenta???

Here presenting Novela Rosa

And Very Berry

But no worries, the boys have some fun new colorways too!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Madrona Fiber Arts Festival 2011

Last week was my first night away from the kids. Well not totally true. Back when I was doing doula work I did have a few nights that I spent at the hospital while others watched Elliot, but somehow that doesn't count ;)
It was certainly the first time away from Reid.

The kids did great, and I wished I could have stayed another day or two. Since I made the reservations in the last minute I couldn't find lodging at the conference hotel and so I had to drive 8mi to the nearest non-slum location.

I spent most of the time knitting by the hotel's fire place and listening to the knitting chatter around. I talked to a lot of interesting people and got some great booth setup ideas from the marketplace.

In other business news, I have 5kg of sock silk coming, as well as a good amount of BFL (finally!), and I have recently opened another wholesale account for some specialty yarns and organic merino.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vagabond Sweater - Cable Patterns

Hope to continue expanding this entry and offer a variety of modifications to the vagabond sweater!

Cable #1
Round 1-3: P2, k10, p2.
Round 4: P2, k 2, sl 3 sts to dpn and hold in back, k3, k from dpn, k2, p2.
Round 5 - 7: P2, k 10, p 2.
Round 8: P2, sl 2 sts to dpn and hold in front, k2, k from dpn, k2, sl 2 sts to dpn and hold in front, k2, k from dpn, p2.

Cable #2

Round 3: P2, k4, p2, k4, p2.
Round 2: P2, sl 2 sts to dpn and hold in front, k2, k from dpn, k2, sl 2 sts to dpn and hold in
Round 1: P2, k10, p2.
Round 3: P2, k4, p2, k4, p2.
Round 4: P2, k3, p4, k3, p2.
Round 5: P2, k2, p6, k2, p2.
Round 6: Same as Round 4.
Round 7: Same as Round 5.

And the finished result!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bee Mine

I can't get over how cute this set is! Knit with my Chickadee Overalls pattern. I striped yellow and black cestari (the yellow was dyed by me). On the chest panel I embroidered two flying bees. The hat has little antennas and I'm working on some matching black leg warmers that will have little bees embroidered on them too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I swear I'm not procrastinating!

I've been so busy working on patterns that I have forgotten to give myself a few extra minutes to write in the blog.

This past week I released the Charlotte Collection pattern, the pattern can be knit as either a tank or a sleeved dress, tunic or sweater. I've been told that it has very modern and stylish lines. I am pretty sure I've shown it off before when I knit up the samples, but here it is anyway.



Both were knit with my Rhea Silk blend yarn.

Of course in parallel I have also been working on a new cardigan design, here's Reid modeling :)