Monday, September 1, 2014

Dyers in Their Studios: Art by Eve

This month I am pleased to introduce Eveline Chapman of Art by Eve. I met Eve during the Rose City Yarn Crawl last year where she showing off her yarn and felted work at two of the participating yarn shops. We got to chatting about her yarn and her farm, and she was one of the first dyers to send me yarn for my Hooked on Hand Dyed project. I am excited to share my latest creation inspired by her signature lace weight baby alpaca and silk blend "Anne", but until then you can learn more about Eve and her yarn...
Every Summer Eve sets up her outdoor dying studio right on her farm!
How long have you been dying yarn? About 5 years
How did you get started dying?
I’ve loved fiber arts for as long as I can remember and started to dye yarn to add to my various fiber art activities, and fell in love with dying immediately.
What is your background?
My Grandmother taught me to crochet when I was about 3 and to knit by the time I entered Kindergarted.  I remember getting “in trouble” at school because I brought my knitting with me to knit at recess and was told it was not safe for me to handle the sharp knitting needles on the playground.
Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dying?
My degree is in Architecture, so I studied the arts and design and color in college, art were my favorite classes. My background is in drawing, watercolor, pencil, and oil  mostly.
Your Yarn
What makes your yarn special or unique?
My yarns are carefully selected for their handle and feel. Then they are all dyed in small batches and carefully re-skeined after dyeing.
What is something interesting about your dying process that non-dyers might not know? We live on a small farm and practice only what we consider environmentally sounds farming practices. We have NEVER used any chemical pesticides or industrial fertilizers. We practice only natural methods. We also believe in recycling, so it is with that in mind that I practice dyeing. I use table vinegar to set my dyes, environmentally safe detergents to wash the yarns and only the safest dyes I can find. At the same time my yarns are consistent in color from dye batch to dye batch. It is always recommended to buy all yarn for a project at once, but in our case there is a good chance one could not tell a color difference from one dye batch to the other.
How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
I try to have a spectrum of colors available in each yarn so that no matter what the season of the year or the mood for the project, there might be a color available to suit.
Where do you find inspiration? In Nature.
Just The Facts
How many colorways do you have? Anne has 22. Betsy has 17.
Then there are other yarns that are limited edition and these vary.
Do you create seasonal or special order colors? Yes
How many and what types of bases do you use?
Anywhere from 5-10 and they change. My signature yarns are combinations of Alpaca, Silk and only the finest Merino.
Where do your yarn bases come from?
Oregon, these are my limited edition yarns, and Peru for the Alpaca. I try to source local when ever possible.
Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
If you go to my website, there are links to online stores and also on the retail location page you can see which shops carry the yarns.

What are your favorite colors?
Purple, and then all others, depending on the season.
Favorite fibers?
I love Alpaca and Silk, but then depending on the project others too.
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
1st crochet, 2nd knit, 3rd spin, 4th dye, 5th raise my own fiber animals now too.

Link Up
Ravelry Group?
Twitter? Not yet

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Sign Up Now for Classes at OFFF and Astoria Stitchfest!

I am excited to announce that I will be teaching at TWO great Oregon Events this Fall! There is just one week left to get the Early Bird pricing for any of my classes at Astoria Stitchfest, and OFFF is coming up soon!
  • Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) in Canby Oregon, September 26th - 28th, will be the first event to offer my Introduction to Reversible Intarsia as an all day class on Sunday of the Festival. I will also be judging their Crochet Competition and doing a book signing (stay tuned for more details, but start thinking about what you might submit to the competition!).
  • Astoria Stitchfest is an awesome new retreat being put on by the Astoria Fiber Arts Academy, October 10th -12th. I will be teaching TWO days of classes at this event, along with three awesome knitting instructors. The event will kick off with a "Stitchfeast" on Friday night (including fashion show and book signing). What a great excuse to hang out on the Oregon Coast with other "yarnies" for a weekend!
I hope any crocheters in the Oregon and Washington area will consider coming out to these awesome events. I am excited to see crochet classes included at these events, and honored to get to teach at them!

If you are thinking about attending be sure to Sign Up Soon to ensure the classes are not cancelled! You can sign up on the websites above, or print out their registration forms to send in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tour Tuesday: Recent Events and Coming Soon!

Since I have been doing so many Book Tour Events the past month (with many more coming up), I have decided to try a new weekly feature: Tour Tuesday. Check back each week to see where I've been and find out what events are coming up next!

Last Week, even while camping with my family on the Oregon coast, I managed to get in a Book Signing at The Wool Company in Bandon, OR. I met the new owner of The Wool Company at Black Sheep Fiber Festival in June. We were sitting at the same table at lunch one day and got to chatting (as I tend to do). She was wanting to bring more crochet into her shop, and was so excited to host an event that she emailed me right away and we decided on a date.

Since Bandon is a bit farther from home, we decided to hold the event on Thursday of the week I would be camping with my family (only 2 hours north instead of 4 or 5). My sister kept me company for the drive from Beachside National Park down to Bandon, and helped me set up my trunk show and signing (and took lots of pics). I followed the Signing with a Mini-Class, introducing my Reversible Intarsia Technique, before heading back north for our last night of camping.

Last Saturday,attended the Tigard Crochet and Knitting Guild's Knit-out and Crochet Event (you can read all about that and see some pics in yesterday's post).

This Coming Saturday I will be doing a Demonstration of my Reversible Intarsia Technique at The Big River Fiber Fling in Stevenson, WA. The demonstration will be at 2pm, followed by a Book Signing with the Eugene Textile Center booth. This is only the second year of this event, and I am looking forward to being a part of it!  The marketplace is a little smaller than many larger events, but they offer some marvelous drawing prizes (including my new book). The vendors include several of the Local Hand Dyers that I have been featuring in my Hooked on Hand Dyed Series, including Shaggy Bear Farms and Three Fates Yarns (featured this month!)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Knit-Out And Crochet in Tigard


On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the Tigard Crochet and Knitting Guild's Knit-out and Crochet Event, held every year at the Tigard Library. They set up tables where experienced crocheters and knitters are available to teach newbies, and advertise it for the community. Each newbie received a skein of yarn, hook or needles, and a ticket for door prizes that were drawn throughout the afternoon (including copies of each of my books).

I got several of my friends and even my Dad to come down from Vancouver. One crocheting friend brought her knitting sister, and they each spent the afternoon learning the other's skill. She was a quick study, so once the sister got started on a dc-ch1-dc mesh scarf (using the pattern provided by the event), I helped her start adding her initials in Filet Crochet just to keep it interesting!
Dad's "G" graph, and first attempt (upper left). Helped him smoothing out
lines between color changes with the technique in my book.
I also helped my dad get started on his Intarsia Greenbay "G". He took the Reversible Intarsia mini-class at my Book Launch Party last month, but was ready to jump into the deep end (with a little hands-on guidance) to learn the rest of the technique AS he designs his first crocheted intarsia pattern (he just learned to crochet last month). This "G" will be the centerpiece of an afghan he is making for his wife (they grew up in Wisconsin) made of the green and yellow sampler squares he made from my first book.
Bunny needed a sweater!
Then I was approached by a 13 year old girl who told me she had heard I might be able to help her make a sweater! Eventually she explained that the sweater was for her niece's little stuffed bunny, and I had a great time working her through the steps I have used to make little clothes for my own kids' toys. Once we completed the first sweater, she decided to make a harness for her (live) pet lizard! I was not sure how this one was going to work, but she whipped it up, and started in on a second sweater for the bunny. I went over increasing and decreasing, weaving in ends, and we even talked about how to make the sleeves fit into the armholes best. At the end she said she felt like she could make herself a sweater now too!
A bit blurry, but had to show the crocheted lizard harness in action!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hooked on Hand Dyed: Rowan Berry Shawlette

I decided to release my Hooked on Hand Dyed pattern for August a little bit late this month. Today my daughter Rowan would have been six years old. The Rowan Tree in our back yard, planted during her memorial service six years ago, is now covered with clusters of tiny red berries. Each year her tree grows taller and bears more clusters of berries than the year before.
The rowan berries remind me of the picot stitches trimming each of the lacy shells along the edging of this shawlette. Even the tone on tone mauve of the hand dyed silky merino yarn (selected by dyer Stephanie Fregosi of Three Fates Yarns) brings to mind the color of berries. This particular yarn is a one ply 70% superwash merino and 30% silk, which I absolutely LOVE working with AND wearing! But the pattern could be worked in any fingering weight yarn, on a large hook for a quick project.

I was inspired to design my first asymmetrical shawl by my friend Monica, who loves to make shawls more than anything else. She pointed out that asymmetrical shawls seem to be very popular right now, but there are not nearly as many crocheted ones as there are for knitters. My goal was to create a shawl where the edging would be worked at the same time as the gradually increasing body of the shawl.

I hunted through my various stitch dictionaries for edging patterns that were worked up and down rather than around and around. Then spent an entire afternoon experimenting, pulling out, and reworking the stitches to determine how I could create a variation on this patterns that adds double crochet stitches to the center, while maintaining a lacy shell edging, AND creating a gentle curve off to one side. I was very happy with the results, and am please to present the Rowan Berry Shawlette, which is now available on Ravelry.

Shawl Photos © Guy Holtzman
Special thanks to Guy Holtzman Photography for the beautiful photos and my gorgeous model Shayna.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dyers InTheir Studios Profile: Stephania of Three Fates

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephania Fregosi at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene last month. I had fondled her yarn in several the local yarn stores around and enjoyed getting to meet her in person. This weekend I will be releasing a New One-Skein Asymmetrical Shawl Pattern I designed, inspired by a skein of her yummy aether singles (70% superwash merino & 30% silk). But today let's get to know Stephanie a little bit better....
• How long have you been dying yarn?
I started dyeing yarn in 2008 with a kit my Dad gave me from Hello Yarn. I was in between jobs and looking for something to do.

• What is your background? I studied Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. My parents are both artists - my father is a semi-retired graphic artist and my mother is a folk painter and children's book author.
• Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dying? My parents both work with very dramatic color palettes - it's taken some time for me to come around to it, but this works great for socks!

Your Yarn and Process
• What makes your yarn special or unique? I mix a large percentage of my own colors. It's kettle dyed without added soaps and salts that would make the color go on more smoothly. Sometimes I put the yarn in a second time if it's still got overly high contrast spots. It's a personal judgment call.
• What is something interesting about your dying process that non-dyers might not know? Here's the whole process: I mix dye into solutions. I mix the solutions into colorways and add acid (sometimes the acid is hand mixed too). I add at least one tie to every skein by hand. I work in batches of two skeins at a time, although I run up to four pots at a time. All winding is done on a small 3-skein at a time winder - that means I can run maybe 9-12 skeins in a hour through the winder, but any tangles are fixed by hand. Then the yarn has to be packaged, sorted, stored and mailed.
• What are some other factors impact the cost of hand dyed yarns?
You'll see a different range of prices depending on whether the yarn dyer is able to 1) buy from a mill directly 2) sells on-line or wholesales exclusively or does a mix. Some of the money goes to advertising as well and that includes promotions.
I'm working on creating a west coast farm based product - that will cost a lot more, because I'll be paying retail for the fleece and having it milled for me. Look for it in 2015. Most commercial yarns travel a lot - sometimes a sheep will be sheared in one country, then processed in another, then sent to yet another for dyeing before hitting a distributor and then getting to your local yarn shop.
• How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
Three Fates Yarns is all about story telling and has kind of an elemental theme, so the individual yarn names have been named after greek and roman mythological elements. E.g. Terra Sock - Earth, Helios - Sun, Aether - Wind, Aquae - Water, etc.
Colorways are named things I like. You might see King Arthur, How I Met Your Mother, a quote from a song,  a movie line, etc. I also have several named after local spots in my Pacific Northwest/PDX series as a fun way to reference our localvore culture. (Bike Box, Netarts, Fremont, Tears of Joy, CSA Carrot, Mulch, Couch Surfer, etc.)

• Where do you find inspiration? Wherever and whenever. 
Just The Facts
• How many colorways do you have?
Over 30. I lose count from time to time. I know I'm dyeing at least 30 of them consistently. Sometimes a colorway will loose it's way and come back. TI am dyeing 18 different yarns actively, although there is usually only demand for five of them. Terra, Eponymous, Aether, Aquae, Helios. MCN seems to have gone out of fashion.
• Do you create seasonal or special order colors?
I don't really do a seasonal rotation, although that may come in time. 
I take special orders on a case by case basis. 
• How many and what types of bases do you use?
Wool and wool blends (silk, merino, blue face leicester, nylon)
• Where do your yarn bases come from? 
Wool2Dye4 mostly. Elite Spun, Ashland Bay

Where To Find Your Yarn and Fiber
  In my etsy store:
  Local Yarn Stores:
Salem. OR: Tangled Purls 
Salem, OR: Teaselwick Wools
Silverton, OR: Apples to Oranges
Portland, OR: Twisted
Lakewood, WA: Yorkshire Yarns
  Coming Soon To:
Rainbows End Alpacas, Norway, Michigan
Threads and Ewe in Houston, TX
Into the Wind Yarn, Lincoln City Oregon
  At festivals:
Big River Fiber Fling, Carson, WA
Oregon Flock and Fiber, Canby, OR
Knit Fit!, Seattle, WA
Black Sheep Gathering, Eugene, OR 

• What are your favorite colors?
It used to be blue. I'm never sure anymore.
• Favorite fibers? Blue face Leicester.
• Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?Knitting and crochet. I don't know which order. Spinning came much much later.
• Anything else you would like to share? I dye yarn AND fiber.
Link Up
• Online Shop:
• Twitter: @threefatesyarns
• Instagram: @threefatesyarns (I mainly post from here.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Traveling, Interviews, Book Signings, and Classes This Week!

What an amazing couple of weeks I have had! I hope to blog about more of the details of my trip to Manchester, NH for the Knit and Crochet Show last week, but I am still recovering from the lack of sleep and time change (and lamely forgot to take any pics).

My Reversible Intarsia Make'n'Take at the Knit and Crochet Show
Photo ©Crochet Guild of America (via Facebook)
"Let me sum up..." 5 exhilarating days. 8 awesome classes. 2 exciting book signings. 1 well attended make'n'take I taught on Reversible Intarsia (above). And I still managed to visit at least a little with nearly all of the friends I wanted to see, and make several new ones. The best part of these shows is getting to know fellow designers, especially those whose books I have on my shelves. I'd met each of these awesome ladies once before, but we really got to hang out during the Saturday night banquet celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the CGOA.
Me with Linda Permann and Shelby Allaho
(Shelby's hubby took this pic for us)
Now I'm back home, and this morning I had my first online interview on Planet Purl (you can listen to the whole interview here). I have to admit I was really nervous! But once we got chatting, Beth Moriarty made me so comfortable, it was easy. Although it probably helped that when we did our sound check yesterday I told her, "We'll be talking about me tomorrow, so tell me how you got into this business?", and proceeded to pretty much interview her (without anyone listening of course).

Next up, re-packing samples for my next big book event a Nitroknitters in Beaverton Oregon this Saturday. I will be hanging out at the shop with my full trunk show (all 10 blankets from the book), teaching classes, signing books, and doing demos from 10am until 5pm. Please check my Book Tour and Classes Page for all the details!

There are still a few spots for the classes on my "Forget-me-Knot" Shawl and Basic Intro to Reversible Intarsia (which will be the same as the make-n-take I taught last week, a coaster-sized version of the 1st square in my book Reversible Color Crochet). Or just come by for one of the book signings. If I can get the recipe from my friend who made the DELICIOUS Cinnamon "Breakfast Bundt Cake" for my book launch party, I'll bring one of those to share with anyone who comes out for the morning book signing! Hope to see you then!