Fall Fiber Fête

This week I’m recovering from a wonderful weekend full of friends, fiber, and fun! We met up for Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, and spent the weekend frolicking with fiber. (All the F words today, because alliteration is fun.) (Maybe not ALL the F words.) I got to meet Liz and Marilee in person for the first time!

These shopping bags were one of the secret projects I was working on before the trip. I made one for each attendee as a gift, and included a packet zinnia seeds.

I was also commissioned by Jess, another attendee, to create and dye this yarn colorway as gifts for everyone (including me!)

And There Was More Yarn

I was fairly restrained with my purchases, but I did buy a sweater quantity of Weekend Wool from Green Mountain Spinnery. These will be a Mountain Mist sweater. Last year, making the Back Porch Shawl in this yarn was the knitting highlight of my fall, so I decided I should knit a sweater with it. Also, Green Mountain Spinnery is a worker-owned cooperative. Just one more reason to buy from them! Definitely my favorite booth at the show.

I also purchased a couple of skeins from the Ewetopia booth. I thanked the owner for offering nonsuperwash yarn. I carefully picked out a couple of skeins without a project in mind. Then I decided I could knit a slip stitch cowl with these, and they would be shimmery together. The skein on the left reminds me of the twilight color of St. Clair that I tried to knit into a bobble hat. The universe is giving me a second chance at this color.

The only superwash I purchased was this gradient “Something Wicked” from Knit Circus when we went to The Sow’s Ear. I’m a sucker for a Halloween gradient. This notions pouch was from Mitchell Wool Company. As I was explaining to another guest why say no to superwash, the owner told me I’m her favorite person. I didn’t get any yarn from Mitchell Wool, but I’m linking it for another time. They have some gorgeous Targhee I know Sarah enjoyed knitting into a hat.

Speaking of hats! This guy was purchasing wool for his felt fungi hat creations. I was impressed enough to ask him if I could take his photo.

Travel Knitting

I ended up frogging my fall striped sock. Even on a size 0 needle, the 64 stitch recipe was too big. I’ll try again with 60 stitches. Luckily, I brought a small cake of Qiviuk yarn: qiviut, merino, and silk and cast on, yep, another blue beanie. It’s so soft and I’m always happy in a plain blue beanie.

On Monday, everyone else headed home and I was on my own until the evening. I stopped by Fiddlesticks Knits to say hi to @superradleesha who I met last year. She gave me a tour of all her current WIPs that were on display with the yarn in the shop, which was so fun! The shop was brand new when I visited last year. It has really filled out with lots of selections! Also, there were boob candles. Yes, you can have your boobs molded into custom candles, which honestly I think sounds like a lot of fun.

I purchased this Woll Wichtel from Fiddlesticks, because nonsuperwash + autumn colors = happy Alissa.

I also stopped into Mad City Music, and look at the treasures I found! Although I can sing along with the songs from the other three CDs, Rockabilly from Hell has surprised me with my new favorite spooky season selections.

My last stop before the airport was a trip to Sanitarium Hill to get my paranormal on. This is a working building, so I didn’t try to go inside. Instead I walked the grounds and took some photos. I did not see any ghosts or feel anything spooky. It felt very peaceful to me. I also wanted to have a drink at a haunted bar, but unfortunately it is closed for business.

Madison is a really fun place to visit. I would go back there in a heartbeat. Have you visited? If so, please leave a comment of your favorite places!

Week End Wrap Up

Hey y’all, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are no joke. I napped every day this week. I craved bacon and potatoes. I’m still battling taste bud malfunction. I haven’t knit a stitch in days! Here’s what I did get up to.

I ordered a new hula hoop. This is a beginner hoop named Mystic Dragon. She’s being patient with me. I can keep her going for a few seconds. I’m following another over 50 hooper on Instagram. She’s slow and gentle with her movements. I am encouraged!

We went to the farmer’s market today and picked up the first apples of the season. Thank you Covid gods for leaving my apple taste buds intact.

Chestnut Hills Studio (that’s me) is having an end of summer sale! If these cotton and wool babies don’t go, I’ll be holding onto the three variegated and three of the tansy dyed to knit a summer Halvis next year.

I heard an interview with author Adrienne Dillard on Talking Tudors and decided I needed to order this book. Her next historical fiction about Jane Seymour and Margery Horsman is coming out in November. Having just finished watching Becoming Elizabeth, I was really in the mood for this. So far, so good! Other books have been swept aside in the wake of this one.

I sewed two new Tekura Tees. Ready for October! Who am I kidding. I will wear these year round.

Many people don’t like that corporations and probably the government are tracking all your online activity. I could care less. I’m not doing anything anyone could be interested in. Except when the Coastal Grandma alert goes off and a company I have never heard of mails a paper catalog to me of everything I want. This is how they get you. Look at this jacket! Unfortunately, everything in the catalog is over $150. Fortunately, I know how to sew.

I found a pattern on Etsy for $3! And I have fabric that will work. At first I was thinking the teal corduroy. Now I’m wondering if the wool plaid would be better. I purchased it for trousers but it has a soft hand. Either way, I’ll have to buy a lining fabric. Which one do you prefer? I’ll probably go with corduroy. I’m not sure about quilting this wool fabric from Heavens to Betsy via The Woolery. Although I could quilt along the tartan lines, so there’s that.

WIP Wednesday

I managed to get to the second color on my Summer Solstice Wrap. But as I’ve said before, autumn is looming and I’m lacking interest in this project. I do want to make it, so I’ll pack it up for next spring.

I’ve finished knitting the body on my Halloween cardigan! I’ve reached the point where I only want to work on this— first the sleeves, then steeking the front, then adding the button bands. It won’t be long now!

I’ve also been spinning for Tour de Fleece. I finished spinning the wool fiber that came with the wheel, then dyed it with some extra dye I had in jars. I’m going to knit a lumpy-bumpy hat with my hand spun!

Friday FO Giveaway and some WIPs

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.

Tour de Fleece starts today!

Garden Meanderings

No finished objects this week. I haven’t been feeling well, and haven’t even been knitting very much. I’m better today, and spent the morning in the garden. I planted several soapwort plants. Also known as Bouncing Bet, I love their happy pink flowers. I used to make my own shampoo with soapwort, and that is my plan. Hopefully the critters will leave them alone. I planted them in different places, in an attempt to confuse and outsmart whatever it is that is digging up my plants. (Commence John Belushi swat team maneuvers.)

Mama Wren has been looking after her eggs in our felt caravan birdhouse. This couple was trying to make a nest in the porch eave on top of a hook, silly birds. So we moved the birdhouse over and they got the hint. I think this must be the same wrens that made a nest in the dryer vent last year.

We moved their nest, which we found out later we were not supposed to do, to a coiled recycled silk birdhouse. They did use it last year and I enjoyed hearing the babies cheeping away in there. That nest is empty now, so I’m going to clean the birdhouse out and try to find a place for it next year.

The soil along the back of the garden wall is mostly clay. I can’t get anything to grow back there, so I’ve moved some daylilies. I think they should do nicely there, and I’m seeing that others are hapazome printing with daylily flowers. I will give it a try today.

My dye plants are doing mostly ok. Only one Hopi Black Sunflower is still alive, but it has two stalks, so I’m praying for flowers and seeds for next year. The Black Hollyhocks are looking good, but still small. They are biennial and won’t flower until next year. Always a favorite, the calendula are starting to flower now. The indigo and madder are healthy but little. And I learned I can eco print with borage flowers. I love the little blue flowers, and they reseed themselves, so I have a few starting to bud now. The tansy is ready to flower and I should be able to dye with them this year.

I replanted flax in the same spot and it’s doing well. I will try processing it into linen one more time. Here’s hoping I ret it and don’t rot it, like I did last year.

I hid okra in the flax. Shock and awe!

In other news, gluten-free sourdough starter is taking over my life. I will start keeping it in the fridge during the week. I made some gluten-free sourdough muffins with it yesterday, and boy were they good with butter and marmalade! Bob is going to make sourdough pizza crust today.

Bleautiful yarn heading back home today!

Thursday Three: Fiber Arts Edition

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!

If you are fascinated by fiber processing, Osborn Fiber Studio shared this post about an Inuk owned Qiviut mill in Canada.

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.

Dye Hard: Yarn of Projects

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.

BFL fiber for spinning
Darning Egg and Damsel Plum yarn in two weights from Knitting Notions
Bulky in Salmon Run and sock in Squash from Laughing Cat Fibers
Litha and Taurus from Dye Mad Yarns

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.

  1. Ottobre blouse in Liberty blue paisley lawn and black linen
  2. Two A-line Tees in batiked cottons for summer
  3. Pietra Pants in indigo linen
  4. Audrey Pants in navy stretch cotton twill and gray cotton twill
  5. Ophelia Overalls in teal corduroy
  6. A Logan Shacket in navy wool flannel
  7. Ottobre Coat in black wool floral embossed coating

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.

This has been a Year Of Projects (YOP) update. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link) or here: Backstage Kath’s YOP bloggers list. You can read my updated list of projects here.

Wednesday WIPs: a Mid-Week YOP Update

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!

Knitting

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.

Sewing

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.

Dyeing

I continue to experiment. I am mostly focusing on the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box yarn. Only one week left to order. Please share with people you think would be interested!

Spinning

I haven’t been doing this. I hope to start back up next month.

In other news:

We have two baby groundhogs in the garden right now. They are so cute.

We enjoyed our trip to ParaPsyCon III at the Ohio State Reformatory. Very creepy and lots of fun!

Wednesday WIPs, Including Me

As I transition out of my job, and into focusing on home, my (very) small business, and my creative endeavors, I’ve been struggling to blog. Transitions are hard for me. It’s not that I don’t like change — and this will be a good change. It’s difficult for my nervous system to regulate change. I’m always surprised by the period of paralysis that is inevitable.

I couldn’t wait to cast on my Spring Thaw yarn. I’m making a Bandana Cowl Number 4 by Placemarker. I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve received on the box. And I’m so grateful to everyone who placed orders, and to the talented makers who partnered with me.

I got a head start on my flax seedlings in my Megs Levesseur Ceramics pot.

I’ve been testing rose wax and lanolin candles for the Wool & Roses Yarn Mystery Box. Only a few days left to order! I can’t wait to see how Kelley at Dye Mad Yarns interprets this colorway in alpaca and silk yarn.

My Vertices Unite is coming along. I want to finish this before April 15, when the Ambah Ocean Moon Mystery Knitalong starts. That’s probably not going to happen, but I’m going to try anyway.

My Arrowhead Cardigan looks much the same. I try to knit a row or two a day, striving to get to the shoulder seams.

I finished the ribbing on my Auchnaha cardigan. I’ll probably put this away for a little while, until I finish Arrowhead. Although, I’d like to be wearing it now!

It’s supposed to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, after a low of 19 yesterday. I guess I’d better get my seeds started. I’m going to grow more natural dye plants this year.

What are you working on this week?