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: threefatesyarn.etsy.com
• 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!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Tour, Traveling, and Raffle Sponsors!

I had planned to start reviewing all of the products donated by my awesome raffle sponsors for my book during my "Month of Blogging" leading up to the book release. I was sure I would run out of things to talk about related to the book during 30+ days of blogging. But I constantly surprised myself, with something new to say each day about the projects and making of the book. Then my computer died last week, and I am limited to computer time on my sister's old laptop for at least a couple of weeks.

I have to admit, I am enjoying a little respite from the daily blogging of last month, as I prepared for my Book Launch Party (last weekend, pics coming soon), my Son's 9th Birthday Party (in just 2 days!), and heading off for the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester (NH not England, I've confused a few people). Not only am I taking a full schedule of classes this year, I am doing TWO book signings (at The Elegant Ewe booth #600), I am even doing a Reversible Intarsia Make'N'Take on Friday at lunch time. Check out my Calendar Page here for details. 

I have so much I want to blog about, but so little time (my hubby's out of town this week too!). So in the meantime, please check out the links below to my Blog Tour Raffle Sponsors who generously donated items for raffles at each of my Local Yarn Store Book Signing events over the next few months! They were a hit at the Book Launch Party last weekend. Click on their logos below, and I'll post about each one in the coming weeks!

Custom A-D Lettered Stitch Markers

Kitty and Doggie Snips (mini scissors) and Crochet Hooks

 Yarn Cozies, Stitch Lights, and Snappy Bags

 Wrapture Wool and Delicates Wash by Kristin Omdahl

Yarn Pop Mini Bags

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 32: The Game's Afoot

The Game's Afoot
This was my last afghan I was still finishing the night before I had to ship the rest of my samples to Interweave (on the way to the airport for TNNA in June 2013). I had planned to make one more row of squares for a total of 20 squares (which would have shown off the pattern even better). But when my contractor did not work out, I simply ran out of time and decided 16 squares had to be enough. At least it is the perfect size for a lapghan!
Found this inspiration pic on The Quilter Magazine website
The quilt that originally inspired this design had the same repeated colors in each of the squares over and over. I replaced the colorful box blocks with the Nine Patch Square, and alternated the colors in those squares. But it was my friend (and end weaver) Carissa who saw me laying out the sample squares and suggested that the “cards” in each Card Trick square should match the colors of the nine-patch square they were pointing to. The pattern within a pattern created by this small change really brought the design together.
A funny story about the title for this one, when I was at TNNA a couple of months ago, Sara Wilson (aka The Sexy Knitter) invited my roommate (Angelia Robinson) and I to go see a play with her one night. She didn't remember the name, just that is was a murder mystery. When we walked up to the theater, I could not believe that the play was called, "The Game's Afoot" just like the blanket in the book I was at TNNA to promote!

It seemed like it was meant to be for me to end up at that theater. They even mention that the name comes from Shakespeare's King Henry the V, which is where I got the name from. I looked for a quote that included the word "card" or "game" and settled on the one that starts off: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.."

And as I wind up the last of my posts about the projects in Reversible Color Crochet, and ponder what my next big project will be, this quote seems particularly appropriate. I cannot believe I made it 32 days without missing a day. I will continue blogging about the book, events, and a lot more. But perhaps not every day (though I already have them planned for the rest of this week, so who knows).