Family photo time!

For Christmas this year, my mom requested some family photos. Since it’s been so long since you’ve seen me that a couple of people mistook Cindy for me in the photos that I posted last week, I thought I’d post a couple of the pics:

The Girls Christmas 2010

That’s me in back on the left.

And here’s one of our little family:
Our Family Christmas 2010

And here are the girls together:
Mazie and Olive

While I (p)lay Dye-ing(?)

Sorry. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with titles!

what do we get?

While Cindy and I were dyeing our yarns, we took Olive and Mazie to the Farm and Ranch Museum. The spinning club (Southwest Regional Spinners) was helping to inaugurate the new goat and sheep barn by having a spin-out. Cindy has a really cute new spinning wheel and is hoping to figure out how to use it. So we thought we’d go and check out the group, and maybe figure out where / how to get lessons.

I’ve got a wheel, and I used to spin a lot. Before I moved to a place where it’s 100 degrees on a regular basis for about 75% of the year (fiber sticks to sweat!), had a baby who would put anything and everything within reach into her mouth, and then when she stopped doing that, had another one! Maya also just gave me another wheel & drum carder (!!) so I’ve been feeling like the Universe wants me to become a spinner.

(I thought this lady’s sweater was so cool! I really love the squash blossoms / waves / flames around the bottom! It really spices up the conservative gray main color.)

Don't feed! Even if you are wearing the coolest sweater ever.

Anyway, Mazie LOVES the Farm & Ranch museum. They have tons of animals and even a playground. They also have a blacksmith on duty (he made our fireplace tools!)

On the day we went, they had lots of sheepy crafts for the kids. Here, they had cut out black sheep and the kids wound loopy mohair around to make fluffy sheep (kind of a goat-sheep cross, I guess, due to the mohair!):
Cindy and Mazie

Here’s Mazie on the swings. There could be a circus going by with live elephants, ladies on horses, and a marching band. If there are swings, she’s swinging.

This picture shows the spinners in the background, but the main thing is this cart / covered wagon.
farmer cart Mazie wanted to move into this thing. She got in, took her boots off, and lay down on the bed.

boots off, even.

Since this post kind of focuses on Mazie (Olive was asleep in her Ergo) here’s a pic of Olive from earlier in the day. She’s so cute when she’s pouting!
Olive pouting

We never really got a definitive answer on the spinning lessons. It sounds like there are one or two people locally who teach at a couple of venues. One is called “My Place” and they offer lots of fibery classes. My mom took a weaving class there, and our friend Mary is learning to spin there. The word on the street is that it costs $5 an hour (Could that be right?) and you just bring your stuff, hunker down, and get help on whatever.

We’re kind of thinking that we need to just get together with our wheels first and see what we each know how to do. Then maybe try this drop-in class. We’ll let you know how it goes!

Dyeing Day: Using low-impact dyes and the crock pot


This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but I have been too wrapped up in other things to sit down and do any blogging. There are weeks when I feel like writing every day, and then I go through some times when I just completely forget to write. Or, when my to-do list is too intense, I feel like every second I get to use the computer should be focused on WORK and not on BLOG.

My friend Cindy and I tend toward slight hoarding when it comes to yarn. We’re in a yarn club and sometimes we go a little nuts when there’s a Really Good Deal, either in the club or elsewhere. This time, we both bought undyed comes of Gaia from Henry’s Attic in a piggyback order that one of her friends made. I bought three cones, and I’m not sure that Cindy told me how many she ended up buying (maybe because it was a LOT?) :) Here’s the yarn that Cindy brought over, and I don’t think that this is her whole stash of undyed yarn:

loads of undyed yarn

Since Gaia is certified organic, we wanted to try to be at least a little bit eco-conscious when we dyed it, so we used the low-impact dyes from Pancake and LuLu on Etsy.

Our  low-impact dyes from pancake and lulu

We tried to be really scientific and weigh out the dye, and then use a certain percent solution to get the colors we wanted. This was really hard. My science brain should have kicked in here and helped us out, but I think that after so many years of intentionally keeping my two brains separate…it just didn’t work to try to force them together in this situation.

Here’s my aqua blue:
This came out so dark because at one point I thought I’d sprinkle a little red on top to see if I could get a little lavendar into my blue. That turned it a very ugly maroon, so I just started sprinkling random colors on. Here’s how it turned out in the end, which is fine:

How my dark batch came out

And my here’s soft pink:
Bright red
This is pretty much the color that it is dry, too. HOT HOT lava. Also fine with me! :)

I really love crockpot dyeing! We just put everything in and went off to have fun for a few hours. When we got back, the yarn was done and ready to be rinsed. (Never use your crockpot for food after dyeing, though!)

dyeing in the crockpots

Hi Knitty Gritty Fans!


There have been a LOT of changes on the web since my episode aired back in 2007! You may have noticed that the pattern is no longer available on the DIY website. I’m not sure why it’s gone from there.

Here’s the new link to the free pattern.

I hope that you enjoy it!

Book Review: Ori Ami Knits

Ori Ami Knits by Olga Buraya-Kefelian and Vanessa Yap-Edmund

Though it came out earlier this year (copyright is 2010) this book just recently found its way into my hands. I’d seen the photos of the garments on Flickr, but hadn’t had a chance before now to read the text and look at the patterns. I’m really impressed by this book!

The layout is very understated (and sophisticated) and the text is easy to read, printed on a while background. Each piece is sized with at least TEN (and sometimes MORE!) sizes, from a 32-inch bust to a 50-inch bust! The schematics are clear and give LOTS of measurements, so that you’ll easily be able to choose the proper size, and see right away if you need to make any modifications for fit. Ori Ami Knits is self-published, and is really at the high end of what that can mean. It’s a hard-bound book, printed on high-quality glossy (but not too shiny) paper, with full-color photos throughout. The photos show the garments from all angles, and the model (Olga herself!) is not obscuring any parts of the garments, so that you really know how things are going to look and fit. I’m sure that each garment was also knit to fit Olga, and nothing is pinned or taped. What you see is what you will create.

I’m known for knitting from the top down, but I’m not immune to the beauty that seamed garments can possess. Because of my background in science (specifically Crystallography) I especially love pieces that use geometric shapes in interesting ways.

This quotation from the introduction to Ori Ami Knits is a great descriptor of what you’ll find inside its cover:

“Folding. Pleating. Draping. Combining textures. These are the concepts driving this collection.”

Olga Buraya-Kefelian is known for the way that she plays with knit fabric, sometimes layering strips of fabric to create a garment, like this one from Interweave Knits:

Or gracefully folding and draping the front panel of a garment, as in this sweater (also IK):
Akomeogi Tunic::IK Summer 2009

In Ori Ami Knits, Olga and her co-designers take the concept of knit fabric manipulation to another level. They create cubes, diamonds, and trapezoids, as well as soft clouds, dimensional draping, and gauzy layers.

(For larger images, view the Ori Ami Knits collection on Flickr.)

The book really stands apart from other knitting books in that the garments are designed from an intellectual standpoint, and are pieced together in ingenious ways. Each piece has something interesting about its construction, whether it’s an asymmetrical front panel, drawstrings at the shoulders, or ingenious layering of fabrics. Ori Ami Knits is designed to keep your interest as you knit and at the same time add artistic, well-fitting garments to your wardrobe. Ori Ami Knits has its own website with information about its authors, photos of the knits, and a page where you can place your order. So far, the book isn’t listed on, but you CAN special order it through your local knitting store.