Next on my Needles

Next on my needles, as I use my stash , two skeins at a time, plus some fuzzy commercial yarn 🙂

wool hand spun and dyed

Bright hand spun, hand dyed, ready to cast on.


KAL Finished

The cowl that I started yesterday for Bonnyknits  and Jenna’s KAL is finished except for blocking. The pattern of Marshmallow Fluff by Sarah Kraly was easy to follow although I did use US#17 needles instead of the #19’s that the pattern called for. When I do it again the only change I would make would be to bind off after a wrong side row instead of after a right side row. I think that that way the bind off would be as invisible on the right side as it is on the wrong side.

denim blue cowl KAL

finished #Marshmallow cowl

slight signs of bind off line

Bind off line in the center

different view of bind off

The pointer marks the bind off, should have knit one more row first.

almost invisible bind off on wrong side of cowl.

Wrong side of cowl, bind off in center, blends in well.

Cowl is fluffy and warm, thanks Bonny and Jenna.


KAL means Knit-A-Long

Yesterday I was reading bonnyknits blog about a knit along she and another blogger planned.  She is such a prolific knitter that I thought it might be fun…I’ve knit a lot but never a knit a long 🙂

Best thing was looking at the free pattern, it uses bulky yarn, which I happen to have an ample supply of, and have been looking for patterns to recommend for use with my hand spun. So glad to find another quick to knit project in a pattern that I can recommend to yarn buyers and spinners.

The pattern, Marshmallow Fluff is well written by Sarah Kraly and although straightforward I did have to learn to do a provisional cast-on!  Thanks to Bonny for explaining it to me.

The yarn I choose is a light denim colored superwash merino, a bulky hand spun from my stash. I do have other skeins of superwash here. Having trouble with my lighting, the actual color is about halfway between the two pictures below.

And this is my progress so far, almost half way done.

knit along cowl

start of cowl pattern

Feel free to join in the fun at Bonnyknitsblog !


Show Preparation

Yes, craft show season is approaching, even in the snowy Midwest! I wasn’t planning on doing our first show of the year until April, but received an email and signed up for a small local one that is completely new to me and now less than two weeks away! So I’ve been busy this week getting some things in order.

First was finishing new labels and boxes for my soy candles. I make over 100 different scents, and keeping them in order to display and restock at a show is a must. After finishing that I’ve been completing my spreadsheet for the year, a hand-written way to keep track of what I have, what I make, and of course, what I sell.

Soy candle storage

4 scents to a box=many boxes to haul.

boxes of single soy candles

12 scents to a box, makes for quicker set-up at a show.

We also pulled some of the tables and display racks from the trailer. Since it is still resting in a snow bank, it took a few trips and a sled! Also brought my tote of wood-burned plaques into the house, replaced worn tags, and repacked them ready to go.

This show only has about 20 vendors, so the organizer is limiting each craft to have only one vendor in a category. When I talked to her, she already had a hand spun wool and hat person, so my items are limited to wood burning and soy candles, along with my son’s needle felting. It should be interesting to see how this works, but I will miss having my wheel to demonstrate with.

A few batches of candles to make, more business cards to print, and I think we are ready! Now hoping that enough snow is gone by April to get the trailer out for the next show (that one we get to take our full variety to and that won’t fit in just our vehicle 🙂

This Week’s Spinning

This week on Monday at spinning guild I started working on 8oz of fiber that I had dyed last month. I spun more that night and Tuesday, by Wednesday I had two spools of 4oz each and plied them together. (Took me longer to get the pictures on my computer and edited 🙂

Woodland colors, hand dyed top

Dyed merino top

closer view of dyed wool top

dyed top, spread cross-wise and on bottom as dyed.



For the top I had chosen colors that reminded me of an early fall forest, the blue-green of spruce trees, a touch of orange for early turning leaves, and of course the brown of twigs and trunks.

top spinning into single yarn

see the color rearrange as spun

When I started spinning it, the wool transformed into more subtle, softer shades of these colors, transforming my mid-day forest into one viewed in early morning or late dusk.

single yarn and top

single on spool compared to un-spun top


At this point I could have chosen to ply it with a dark single to make the colors pop a little again, but the softness of the shading was asking to be kept together. I now have two skeins, one of 200yds and one of 84yds. Time to set the twist, label them and add them to my craft show inventory.

finished pliedwool yarn

finished skeins of yarn

And of course, I must decide what will be next on my wheel. Have a happy fiber-filled week.

And please leave a comment to let me know what your favorite colors of yarn are?

Have You Ever Made a Scrubby?

Have you ever made a scrubby? Or used a scrubby? Or are you wondering what I’m even talking about?

scrubbies ready to use

Some of the many colors of finished scrubbies

A Scrubby is one of those handy crocheted nylon net things that have a ton of uses. Yes the most well known is for washing dishes (without scratching) or scrubbing a sink or tub. But men (and ladies), did you know that they are also great for removing dried bugs from headlights or that a new dry one can remove dust from window screens? Dry, they are also handy for taking the silk off corn-on-the-cob, or wet for scrubbing other vegetables. They have many other uses, but you are beginning to see how useful they can be and why so many people make them.

I have also discovered that not everyone who crochets can make them (I tried to teach my daughter once)…either the net breaks (from too much tension) or it is too rough on the crocheter’s hands.  My mom made single-sided ones when I was growing up, and I occasionally made a few, then a craft show vendor friend explained to me how to make the two-sided ones and I was hooked(pun intended)!

folding nylon net for scrubbies

Several yards of nylon net

cutting strips for scrubbies

Measure and cut into strips

crocheting scrubby

Starting to crochet

Next time you are at a craft show, look at scrubbies, there are many different methods of making them, and everyone has their favorite style. I make three different kinds myself, the standard two-sided ones, some with cotton (think crocheted dish cloth) on one side and scrubby net on the other, and some cotton and nylon combined on a stick (great for reaching into a glass for that stuck-on dried milk 🙂 [I still remember the stitches I had the day a glass broke with my hand inside when using a dishcloth ].

And if you can’t find them, contact me, the regular ones are $2.00 each and not very heavy to ship. (The other styles are $3.00 each) Or contact me if you want help learning to make your own 🙂

A Painting in Progress

Right now my husband is working on a painting on canvas using a mixture of mediums.

(Warning to all artists, I’m not one, so please excuse me if I get some of the terminology wrong) He is starting with inspiration from a photo of the Roger Blough , a ship on the Great Lakes.  I’ve taken a few pictures as things develop, so enjoy….it’s still a work in progress.

Start of a painting

Beginning of the sky.

More paint is added.

The artist in action.

Blocking in the main parts of land and water.

Land and water is beginning to take shape.

The boat will soon appear and then some final shading.

More shading has been done, more to come after the boat appears.


Spinning a Sample of Golden Wool

A few posts back, a fiber day, I pictured my experiments of dyeing merino wool a golden shade. My last spinning project was to take 2 ounces of each of those shades to spin separately and then ply together. I ended with one 100yd skein that really shows the differences in shading and a second 60yd skein that combines the lighter parts of the darker top with the more yellowish gold.

Spinning gold on my louet wheel.

Merino top being spun with a slight over-twist to ply.

shades of gold on my wheel

Spinning the first top on my louet wheel

singles on the lazy kate

Two singles ready to ply

Plying yarn.

Turning singles into a two-ply

Two ply golden yarn

Plied yarn winding on spool

yarn measured into skeins

Yarn, 60yds on nitty-noddy and 100yds in skein.



And a different spinner might end with completely different results. That is part of the fun of spinning dyed roving or top.