7 March, 2018

Sisterhood of Knitters

2018-03-08T11:55:34-06:00An Artist's Life, Knitting & Ravelry, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|3 Comments

It’s International Women’s Day (and my birthday) this week and in honor of that, Spoonflower’s Design Challenge was “Sisterhood Around the World”. I thought this one was really hard and I nearly skipped the week. I really struggled to come up with something that fit the theme and was interesting. I really like to make sure that my designs have a life that is beyond the theme of the challenge because I look at design challenges as a way to help build up my body of work. Having a deadline is great motivation and sometimes having a topic (like Kilim) or colors that I would never choose is a great creative challenge.

So I tried to think about “sisterhood” and I was just bored with the idea of a bunch of little girls in cultural costumes (which was the first thing that came to my mind.) I don’t like to draw people. I was tempted to do an abstract design to represent me and my two sisters and I thought about that for a while but it just wasn’t clicking. Then while in the car driving to a meeting, I had the idea […]

28 March, 2016

Dyeing Wool Yarn with Easter Egg Dye (A tutorial)

2016-03-28T10:30:40-05:00Knitting & Ravelry, Tutorials|1 Comment

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When you are an artist, nearly everything has the potential to be an art material. We dyed some easter eggs on Saturday and there was some leftover dye. Which was obviously a great excuse to dye some yarn.

These are 100% wool yarn, dyed using a basic set of PAAS easter egg tablets made up according to instructions: 1/2 c warm water and a tablespoon of vinegar. You can use them following the same basic formula as dyeing with koolaid or food coloring: color + acid + heat.  After we finished dyeing a dozen eggs, I dropped these mini skeins into the coffee cups full of dye and microwaved each one for 2 minutes. I know that wool needs more heat than eggs would be happy with in order to make that dye permanent.

After you microwave it, let them sit on the counter until the liquid is room temperature and the dye is exhausted (ie the water is clear). Don’t skip the heat step, or these colors will be much more likely to fade and bleed. No stirring or playing with the fibers when they are hot, if you don’t want it to felt. […]

23 November, 2015

Mini Mitten Ornaments: A free knitting pattern

2015-12-01T21:07:14-06:00Knitting & Ravelry, Tutorials|2 Comments

mittens2I originally posted these several years ago, but it suddenly occurred to me that I had better get moving if I wanted to get some holiday crafting finished and that all of you might be in the same boat.  These are a really fun way to use up scrap yarn and they go fast.  In fact if you have taken one of my Handpainted Skeins or Intro to Dyes classes, these are perfect for the mini skeins you dyed.  They are also super cute knit as pairs of mittens and attached together with a string. So if you need a little gift for someone or a little holiday decor of your own, here you go.  And happy knitting!


I wanted to knit some tiny mitten ornaments and although I found all kinds of cute patterns using sock weight and other tiny yarn, I didn’t come up with anything for worsted weight, which I have oodles of scraps of.  These mittens knit up in about 15 minutes and are simple enough that you can add stripes and some simple patterns if you are so inclined.  The finished mitten is about 3 […]

19 October, 2015

Upcoming Class: Handpainted Skeins

2015-10-19T14:38:30-05:00Dyes, Knitting & Ravelry, UpcomingClasses|Comments Off on Upcoming Class: Handpainted Skeins

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These are snapshots of the student’s work in progress from the last time I taught this class (plus some finished yarn balls).  On Sunday October 25, I am teaching “Handpainted Skeins” for the Weavers Guild of MN.  We are going to focus on dyeing yarns made from animal fibers: wool, alpaca etc and some nylon. I teach how to dye several styles of skeins in this class.  Semi-solids are basically one color but have variations of light and dark.  Self-striping are divided up and dyed in sections so that you can get a striped effect when you knit it up.  Confetti skeins have lots of different colors but can read as one color from a distance.  We will also talk about some techniques for overdyeing, both starting with yarns that aren’t white and learning to overdye as a way of creating a cohesive colorway.  It is a fun fun class and you will leave with several mini-skeins (which we use to practice technique and test out colors) and then you will have time to dye 1-2 of your own skeins.  Class will be held at the Weavers Guild.  (It’s […]

20 February, 2015

“Stuck in a rut” or “Variations on a theme”?

2015-02-20T11:32:13-06:00Knitting & Ravelry, Sewing & Design|Comments Off on “Stuck in a rut” or “Variations on a theme”?

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I have had scissors on the brain lately.  Maybe because there are always several pairs of them on the dining room table.  (And yet, never any when you go to look for them.  But that’s a rant for another post.)

I started drawing this set of scissors to make earrings.  I do a set of fiber art related jewelry for a local shop.  Button earrings, zipper earrings, earring made from snaps.  And I wanted to add something new to the collection.  I love making laser cut doo-dads and I had a brainstorm to make little tiny scissors from mirrored acrylic that look like Gingher sewing shears.

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Those were so much fun that I also drew some little embroidery scissors and stork embroidery scissors.  I did all the artwork in Adobe Illustrator because I was making vector shapes.  That’s what you need for laser cutting.  But the cool thing about vectors is that once you get them drawn, you can scale them up and down without anything getting rough and jaggedy.  So then I thought, since I have […]

12 January, 2015

Before and after: hand spun yarn

2015-01-12T16:20:49-06:00Everything Else, Knitting & Ravelry|Comments Off on Before and after: hand spun yarn

I bought myself a present of a pretty skein of handspun yarn at the Weavers Guild fiber fair…

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I started knitting it at a band concert…

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And I finished it last night. Pattern is Multnomah.  The yarn is by a local spinner (who seems to not have an online presence) and it’s merino.  It blocked out really nice and smooth and just barely fit on my dining room table.

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