Then why am I sewing so much? We could blame the weather, but I almost never leave the house.
After yesterday’s exercise in frustration, I needed a sewing win. Enter the Tekura Tee. This pattern popped up in my inbox from I Think Sew and I was drawn to its simplicity. I had some Born to Knit fabric left over from a Melba Dress, and decided to sew a “muslin” with it. I didn’t have enough fabric for a seam allowance, but I went with it. It’s a little snug. Adding a seam allowance for the next one should rectify that. I’ve got more knitting tattoo print interlock that will be perfect for this pattern, and maybe I’ll make a navy and white polka dot one as well.
I managed to get out into the garden this morning to weed and noticed it’s time to harvest the tansy! Tansy is one of those dye plants with natural tannins like indigo, so it doesn’t need a mordant. I decided to test a Hapazome print on the edges of my remaining indigo printed Virginia cotton.
I’m pleased with how this came out. Now I need to decide if I want to continue to print on this fabric, or order more. I think I will order more, as I want to experiment with black walnut leaves and iron mordant.
I may also kettle dye some Virginia cotton and wool yarn with tansy this week. Since this blend of fibers doesn’t take readily to acid dyes or fiber reactive dyes for plant fibers, a natural dye pot may be just the thing it needs!
My flax is also ready to harvest. There are a few stalks that are already too far gone with ripe seed heads, but most is still ok. So that’s another fiber art project this week.
I’m super close to finishing my Halloween Livie shawl. One more section then bind off!
I should finish my Gather dress and Bob’s Marvel shirt this week.
Since I came down with Covid, I didn’t spin for the last week of Tour de Fleece. I need to oil my wheel and get back to spinning.
I finished my Pumqueen Cardi this week! I hope to have finished my Halloween Livie shawl by next week.
I spent most of my week dyeing this gorgeous kit for an up and coming knitting pattern designer. We’re both pleased with how it came out. I’m particularly happy with the black. This is nonsuperwash merino and silk fingering weight yarn.
I had a black dye bath to exhaust, so decided to try my hand at dyeing fiber for spinning. This is some merino sliver from my stash. Of course I went for Halloween colors. I’ve dyed wool fiber for felting but not for spinning, so we’ll see how this spins up.
I finished spinning and plying this Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) fiber from a local farm, and I love it. I think my spinning is getting more even. I enjoyed working with this fiber so much, I’m going to try dyeing it and then offering it in the shop for spinners.
I custom dyed this kit for a knitting pattern designer.
Tour de Fleece is going well. I spun and plied this Targhee from Allegheny Fiber Arts. I really enjoyed spinning Targhee. It’s one of my favorite fibers. I still need to set this hank with a good soak.
I’d like to get through the first 16 of these projects by July 1 of next year. There are several sweaters and knitalongs on this list, so I’ll try not to add any more of those. This gives me a little room to add a few more spontaneous projects since I normally finish about 20 in a year.
My goal for this year is to dye yarn in seasonal colorways for the shop. I also hope to dye with tansy flowers from my garden this year, and experiment with other natural dyes.
Participating in Tour de Fleece will be a great start to getting back into spinning again. I will set a goal of spinning my Coopworth fleece this year. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not, but it’s good to have a goal.
I will try again to harvest and ret the flax this year. If I succeed, I’ll spin and dye it, and weave it into a wall hanging.
My Friday FO this week is this beautiful yarn I hand dyed, and this set of stitch markers I made!
To celebrate three successful yarn mystery boxes in the books, I’ve decided to have a giveaway!
“Gourd Party” is my debut fall colorway, hand dyed on natural organic merino yarn here at the studio. You could win 1 skein in fingering or DK weight (your choice) plus this set of three stitch markers / progress keepers. To enter this giveaway, sign up for my email list at this link. That’s it!
Want more chances to win? Share this post or tag a friend on Instagram! That’s three chances to win! Winner announced August 1, 2022.
I will also be adding this colorway to my shop as a dyed to order yarn in a few days.
I won’t be sharing my business posts here on a regular basis, but I know I have readers here who have purchased items from me, and I want to make sure you have a chance to enter this giveaway. If you would like to continue to receive news from Chestnut Hills Farm and Fiber, you can follow the blog here. And, of course, you can sign up for emails!
I didn’t manage a Wednesday WIPs post this week, so here are my knitting progress photos.
I’m nearing the colorwork on the bottom of my Pumqueen Cardigan, before the ribbing!
Not much progress on my Summer Solstice wrap. I enjoy knitting it, but it takes concentration.
A friend asked if I could dye yarn for her. She had white silk and kid mohair and wanted blues. We decided to try dyeing it in the ball. I was doing research about it, and this seemed to be a way to easily get a mottled effect. I dyed the balls using a low immersion process. The aqua dye exhausted faster than I expected, so I added a bit of a different blue. The result is lovely and we’re both pleased!
Fiber Arts by Carola has been sharing indigo cloth dyeing and resist design patterns. In Stitching Up My Blues, the artist explains the indigenous medicine practice of stitching and binding fabric as a way to process intergenerational trauma.
I’ve been traveling and entertaining the last couple of weeks, as well as focusing on the mystery box stuff, so I don’t have much progress to show. I’m still knitting on the Blueberry Popover Day socks, my Pumqueen Cardi, and Arrowhead. But as promised, here are pics of my haul from the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair, in order of acquisition.
Did I buy more superwash? Yes. I need to draw the line on superwash. It’s great for socks and summer shawls, but not warm enough for winter knits.
I have been editing and updating my Year of Projects list. I make minor changes to my knitting plans throughout the year. However, I made some significant changes to my sewing list. Me Made May taught me I need to make more tops and pants. I have enough summer dresses. Below is the new list. I’d love to finish the first three this month.
Bob gave me this natural dyeing kit from Botanical Colors for my birthday. It arrived yesterday! I’ve never dyed with prepared natural dyes before, only from foraged botanicals or plants from my garden. I’m looking forward to trying this. Funds raised from the sales of this kit supports sending vital supplies to displaced children and families in Ukraine as well as supporting Botanical Colors’ BIPOC scholarships.
I have been dyeing hard lately. I’m going for another experiment on cotton yarn this week. And then I’m going to dye some wool yarn in fall colors for the shop.
My weekends have been fairly busy, and I haven’t been able to post a Year of Projects update in a bit. So here’s a combo post!
I am working on sport weight socks for Bob, a Halloween cardigan, and my Arrowhead cardigan. The yarn shown in the featured image is from my stash and will be used in a Summer Solstice Ambah knitalong. I am also working on my knitting pattern design for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box.
The Halloween cardigan is from the Fall Favorites Collection, Pumqueen version. The yarn is Cascade BFL, which I am really enjoying working with. I’m modifying the pattern to be a cardigan with a steek.
I am focusing on project bags right now. I hope to have a finish to show by Friday. But I did sew matching KISS pajama shorts for Bob and me.
This week I’ve continued to focus on the Ocean Moon shawl, which is finished and blocking. I’ll post pics of that on Friday.
I also recast on Bob’s socks. I found the flips a little slippery, so I’m back to my Lykke Driftwood and magic loop method.
I’ve been practicing my dyeing. These skeins are inspired by an artists’ trading card I made years ago. They are 50/50 cotton and wool dyed with low impact acid dyes. The cotton content creates a heathery effect, as the wool takes up the dye but the cotton doesn’t. The three skeins shown came out as expected and are now listed in the shop.
Two skeins came out muted due to a less consistent dyebath temperature. I decided to try overdyeing them, inspired by the full lunar eclipse. (Image of lunar eclipse on right by friend Miriam Climenhaga.) I was hoping for a complex black with pops of red. Because of the cotton content in the yarn, there is no way I could get a true black with acid dyes. They are more gray, but a nice memento of seeing the Flower Moon eclipse in the sky on my birthday.
I don’t know whether to call it Flower Moon or Blood Moon. I guess it was a Full Flower Super Total Blood Moon Eclipse! It was quite a sight centered over the trees behind our house. I’m still singing “Pink Moon” to myself.
I’ve also been practicing with procion dyes for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box, but won’t share images as they are a mystery! I’ve got a pretty good handle on procion dyes for cellulose fibers and acid dyes for protein fibers. It’s the blends I’m practicing to see if I can improve techniques there. I also want to make sure I know how to get the most vibrant colors possible for nonsuperwash yarns, as colors tend to be less vibrant than on superwash wool yarns. I’m experimenting with that, and ways to ensure the colors are well set and lightfast —all while trying to exhaust the dye baths and impact our watershed as little as possible.
I had a lovely birthday and received heartwarming cards and gifts. This is a small sample of knitting related gifts from friends. I can’t wait to start reading the Knitstrips comic book!
I also finished weeding and planting the garden. I planted less this year in hopes it won’t be such a jungle.
Today I hope to get some sewing done! What are you working on this week?