Monday, July 29, 2019

Dyer Guest Post - Erica Roberts of In The Deep Hue Sea

For our Fall Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club, we are excited to be working with our friend and neighbor Erica. She actually lives just a few blocks away! Since we Profiled Erica a few years ago, I invited her to share her story with you in her own words...
A Dyers in Their Studios Update:
I’m Erica, dyer at In The Deep Hue Sea. I’ve been dyeing yarn since 2010 and dyeing full time for about 5 years now.

Only a Couple of Days Left to Preorder Your Fall Kit Club
featuring delicious DK weight Yarn from In The Deep Hue Sea!
Many things have changed since I started as a hobby, including growing our family. Last August we welcomed our 3rd baby, Indy, into the world. A handful of weeks after having her, as we were preparing our yarn for the Ficstiches Yarns club and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, we noticed our sweet baby wasn’t acting like herself.

We were being overly cautious and took her to the ER. That trip quickly turned in to a couple week stay for her. They never fully explained what was wrong, but luckily our baby was able to heal and she was released.
Since then my business has been put on the back burner. Dealing with a new baby, scary hospital stay, family, doctor appointments, health issues, there just wasn’t room for it all. While it’s been a challenging year it’s also been a wonderful year growing and enjoying time with my family.
Now that we are approaching one year since that all began, I am ready to get back into the game! I miss dyeing so very very much and while our lives have been full in other ways, I always have this inkling to create that wants to be in the forefront.

While my neighbors at Ficstiches Yarns don’t typically use dyers twice in such a short period of time, they so graciously chose me for their club yarn again this Fall! I am very excited to use this as a kicking off point to get back creating!
And we are excited to be working with her again, and this yummy DK weight superwash merino single ply yarn for our Fall Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club. Preorders end Wednesday July 31st, so don't miss your chance and Preorder Today!
Would you choose Princess Petunia?
Or Yolanda Yolk? Or Both?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dyers In Their Studios: Kimberly of Cat Mountain Fiber Arts

We are excited to feature Cat Mountain Fiber Arts yarn in our upcoming 2019 Summer Kit Club for Ficstitches Yarns. Kimberly has created a custom version of her 500 yard Fusion, combining 8 different yarns, rather than the usual 5 yarns in her 500 yard Fusions. Her variety of fibers and textures all dyed together and combined into one giant "skein" (really 5, or in this case 8 mini skeins), were perfect to go with the depression era Fictional Story also included in the kit. Preorders for the Summer Kit are open this month only. Order yours today!
Will you choose Garnet or Cobalt for the Summer Kit?
Check out all those fibers in their natural state in the middle.
Kimberly was only the 3rd yarn dyer to let me interview her for a Dyers In Their Studios, back in 2014. I have since interviewed nearly 2 dozen different hand-dyers, and created designs with each of their yarns. Things may have changed some over the past 6 years, but Kimberly is still creating beautiful yarn and a very unique product which I was drawn to in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about Kimberly Perkins and Cat Mountain Fiber Arts...


I had the pleasure of meeting Kimberly Perkins at TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) Show last January. It was her first show, and I was immediately intrigued with her yarns. They are different from any other yarns I have seen, and I immediately wanted to design something to show off their unique qualities.

Like many hand dyed yarns, Cat Mountain yarns have been dyed in a loop, so each repeat of the color changes is approximately two yards long. However, instead of her skeins being made of all one yarn, each "skein" consists of smaller hanks of 5 to 10 different fibers all dyed at the same time. All yarns in a set are approximately the same weight in thickness so the work well together in one project. Kimberly includes mohairs, boucles, and one-plies to add texture to the smoother plied yarns. You even get to choose between adding a little sparkle with stellina, or the more homespun tweed texture of bits of 'Donegal' wool for one of the smoother yarns.
·   How long have you been dying yarn? Six years.
·  How did you get started dying? I wanted to try making my own colors, and actually started by playing with Kool-Aid!
· What is your background? BS in Environmental Science, 18 years employed in the environmental field.
·   Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dying? I enjoy the outdoors, literature and fine art, and many of my colorways are inspired by these. 

·   What makes your yarn special or unique? My fusion yarn combines color and texture with 5 to 10 different yarns all dyed together. 
·  What is something interesting about your dying process that non-dyers might not know? My process is quite labor intensive in that each skein is measured into the appropriate lengths and then tied for dyeing, so that the separate yarns receive the same dye. 
·   How do you choose your colors and name your yarns? Many of my colorways are inspired by my surroundings in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Others are inspired by literature and art that I enjoy. 
·   Where do you find inspiration? :)  See above. 

·   How many colorways do you have? 18, plus solids, and always coming up with more!
·   Do you create seasonal or special order colors?  Yep.
·   How many and what types of bases do you use?  20+ bases, predominantly natural fibers: wool, mohair, alpaca, angora, silk, bamboo, tencel and blends thereof.
·   Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?  Online at or Cat Mountain Fiber Arts on Etsy; Please see the right margin of my blog for a list of yarn shops that carry my yarn.   

·   What are your favorite colors?  Purples and greens.
·   Favorite fibers?  Wool and angora bunny.
·   Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?  I learned to crochet as a small child and did crochet in 4-H for years.  I learned to knit around age 10 and stopped for awhile after knitting a dreaded boyfriend sweater and subsequently breaking up with said boyfriend (Ha!)  About 12 years ago I came across the book Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore and got back into knitting, and have been an avid knitter since.  I also spin (10+ years) and weave (5 years).
·  Anything else you would like to share?  Please see the right margin of my blog for a list of the fiber festivals and events I will be attending
·   Website?  See above, also my blog is listed above.
·   Ravelry?  I am kimberlyknitter on Ravelry, and my yarn and pattern pages are:
·   Twitter? @kimberlyknitter
All Photos © Kimberly Perkins

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tips for Weaving In Those Ends!

Speckled Skein and 5 Solid Minis
See what else was in our Spring Kit

I have been designing with a lot of "mini" skeins lately, inspired by the "make-do" attitude of the Depression Era, the setting for the story my partner C. Jane Reid has written for our Spring and Summer Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club. Both kits feature sets of yarn we chose to emulate the scraps of different colors or textures of yarn the main character may have had to work with when she wanted to make something to donate to families less fortunate than her own.

Fusion yarn in Garnet and Cobalt from Cat Mountain
8 Diff. Textures from Cat Mountain
PREORDER the Summer Kit Now!
Although working with several smaller skeins or sections of color makes for a lot of extra ends to weave in, the results are totally worth it! This seemed like a good time to repost this post from March 2013, when I was just starting to get my crochet patterns published, although I had already been crocheting for nearly 30 years...

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Laurinda's Top 5 Tips for Weaving In Ends:
  1. Whenever you change colors or start a new ball of yarn, it is very important to leave several inches (4-6) of yarn in each color to weave in under the stitches.
  2. You can use a yarn needle to weave in those ends, and it is a good idea to weave them back and forth in at least 2 different directions to help them stay put.
  3. You may choose to work over your ends as you continue crocheting, but it is still a good idea to leave some end out to bring back in the other direction with a needle later.
  4. Try to insert your needle horizontally along the bottom of a row of stitches, or vertically through the center of the stitches to avoid messing up the look of your stitches.
  5. Longer ends worked in more than one direction will stay put longer and be less likely to unravel all your hard work!
~ * ~ * ~ * ~

While exploring my attic a few months ago, I came across the very first afghan I ever finished. When I found that pattern on the back of the band of yarn from K-Mart all those years ago, I never imagined I would end up designing crochet patterns, and even writing entire books of afghans!

In junior high, my Campfire leader taught me to crochet granny squares during my near daily visits, on my mile long walk home from the bus stop. Sometimes I would detour to K-Mart (also on my way home) to pick up a snack, and was excited to discover they also carried yarn. Of course it was all acrylic. But I did not know anything else existed, and took pleasure in choosing several shades of my favorite blues.

Now, I am very glad I made that first afghan in a nice sturdy acrylic. Because when I pulled it out recently, I realized that every end was tied in an overhand knot, and cut to about half an inch (if that). Over 20 years later, those tiny little knots are still holding strong, but it could have been a disaster!

You have to understand that this was a pattern where you changed colors EVERY row. Row upon row of single crochet, with drop down "Spike" stitches to create a pattern. What was I thinking? This thing took forever (one reason I seldom design in sc)! And even if the afghan has spent most of it's life tucked away in a closet or attic (let's face it, single crochet and acrylic yarn doesn't make for the most cozy of blankets), I would be heart broken if it began falling apart.

So, the moral of the story: WEAVE IN THOSE ENDS! I have been lucky that those knots did not come out years ago. Some of my other early projects did not fair as well, including those first Granny Squares which became a tree skirt I still use at Christmas. But when those short ends come out in the center of a Granny, what a nightmare!

I realize that many of us are mostly self taught, and if no one every told you to "leave long ends to weave in", how would you know? I sure wish someone had told me back then. So I thought I would include a few tips I have shared with my crochet students over the years.

What is one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first learned to crochet?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pinwheel Square - Moogly2019CAL

I am thrilled to be a part of Moogly's year long Crochet Along again this year! Each year it is so fun to see all of the different patterns from other designers, not to mention the creative color combinations people use for their Moogly2019CAL Blankets. This is my third year designing a square for the CAL, and I decided to try something a little bit different. Enjoy!
Pinwheel Square Pattern
Designed by Laurinda Reddig

Get spun with this fun and colorful Pinwheel blanket square. Each petal is worked out from a center ring, then back in to opposite direction without turning to form the raised edges. The reverse single crochet edge is worked into the front loop only, leaving the back loop to stitch into for the next petal. This idea may have you spinning, but follow the instructions step by step and give it a try! (Scroll to bottom for link to get printable PDF).

FINISHED SIZE 12” by 12”
4 colors Worsted Weight yarn and J hook (or hook to get gauge).
    Color suggestions A (darkest), B (medium), C (higher contrast), D (neutral).
    Sample working in Red Heart With Love, 100% acrylic, worsted weight yarn 
         in Peacock, Cornsilk, Lettuce, and Taupe.
13 Stitch Markers (recommended).
GAUGE 12 stitches by 7 rows = 4” by 4”.
(find other Abbreviations used here)
Changing Colors: Work previous stitch up to last yarn over, yarn over to with new color, pull through last two loop, drop old color to back of work and continue with new color.
Double crochet 2 together (dc2tog): *Yo, insert hook into next dc, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops; Repeat from *, yo, pull through all 3 loops on hook.
Half double crochet 2 together (hdc2tog): Yo, insert hook into next ch-1 sp, yo, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook), yo, insert hook into next dc, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all 5 loops on hook.
Half Treble Crochet (htr): Yo 2 times, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through remaining 3 loops on hook.
Reverse Single Crochet (revsc): Without turning your work, working from left to right (or right to left for left-handed crocheters), insert hook in the next stitch (under your hook), yo, pull up a loop without twisting the hook, yo, pull through both loops on hook.
Single Crochet 3 Together (sc3tog): [Insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop] 3 times, yo, pull through all 4 loops on hook.
Treble Crochet 3 Together (tr3tog): *Yo 2 times, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, [yo, pull through 2 loops] 2 times; Repeat from * 3 times, yo, pull through all 4 loops on hook.

Pinwheel Pattern Notes
  • Reverse single crochets form the raised “crab stitch” edging of each Petal. They are worked from left to right (or right to left for left-handed crocheters).
  • Recommended to place a stitch marker in the unused back loop of the last treble crochet stitch so make it easier to find on Rnd 1 of the Square.
  • Each time you change colors on the Pinwheel, flip unused colors of yarn up under the hook, between the hook and working yarn. This will bring the yarn up so the new color is ready to join on the next Petal.
  • The first sc of each Pinwheel Petal is worked in the previous color, making it easier to find the first stitch to work into for the next Petal.
  • If you have trouble finding the center of the ring, or the first or last stitches on a petal or round, place a stitch marker in the stitch when you first make it.

Pinwheel Pattern
With Color A, ch 14. (Be sure to read all of the pattern notes before starting)

First Petal: Join with sl st in 4th ch from hook to form ring (place stitch marker in center of ring), work into remaining chs, sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, 2 hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, 2 dc in next ch, htr (see Special Stitches) in next ch, 2 htr in next ch, tr in next ch, 2 tr in next ch, tr in last ch, place stitch marker in back loop of last tr made; Do not turn, working back in the other direction, revsc (see Special Stitches) in the flo (front loops only) of each stitch across to ring (14 revscs), sl st in center of ring, do not turn.

Next Petal: Working in unused back loops (blo) of previous petal, sc in first sc changing color to B (see Special Stitches), hdc in next hdc, 2 hdc in next hdc, dc in next hdc, 2 dc in next dc, htr in next dc, 2 htr in next dc, tr in next htr, 2 tr in next htr, tr in next htr, leave remaining 4 sts unused; Do not turn, working back in the other direction, revsc in the flo of each stitch across to ring (last stitch will be in prev color), sl st in ring, do not turn.
Repeat “Next Petal” instructions for 10 more Petals. Change to color C for third Petal, then alternate colors A, B, and C around for a total of 12 petals.

Joining Petals: Fold Petals so front (or right) sides of first and last petal are facing together. Join petals together by slip stitching through both the back loop of Last Petal and unused loops of beginning chain on First Petal, keeping slip stitches on the back (or wrong) sides. Finish off all three colors.
Square Pattern Notes
  • If loops are getting too loose when working only into the back loop, pull up on ridge of revscs. This will pull up the front loops they were worked into, tightening back loops so the holes do not seem as big.
  • The back loop of the last treble on each petal may be difficult to find unless you used stitch markers. However, you can use any loop at the top of that stitch that works for you, just be consistent.

Square Pattern
With right side facing, work into back loops of the last 5 trebles that at the ends of each Petal (behind the revscs).

Rnd 1: Working into any of the color A Petals, join color D with a sc in blo of third unused tr (stitch before marker), *ch 2, sc in unused blo of next tr of same petal (see pattern notes), sk to next Petal, tr in same back loop as last tr worked into next Petal, [dc in blo of next tr, hdc in blo of next tr, sc in blo of last 2 trs, sk to next Petal, dc in same back loop as last tr worked into next Petal] 2 times, dc in blo of next tr, hdc in blo of next tr**, sc in blo of next tr; Rep from *2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, join with sl st in first sc – 60 sts and 4 ch-2 sps.

Rnd 2: Ch 2 (does not count as a st here and throughout), dc in first sc, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 7 sts, hdc in next 2 sts**, dc in next 2 sts; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, dc in last st, join with sl st in first dc – 76 sts and 4 ch-1 sps.

Rnd 3: Ch 2, dc in first 3 dc, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp, dc in next 5 sts, hdc in next 3 sts, sc in next 3 sts, hdc in next 3 sts, **, dc in next 5 sts; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, dc in last 2 dc, join with sl st in first dc. Finish off color D – 92 sts and 4 ch-1 sps.

Rnd 4: Join color B with sl st in second dc made on Rnd 3, ch 2, dc in same dc as join, *3 tr in next dc, dc2tog (see Special Stitches), hdc2tog in next ch-sp and dc (see Special Stitches), [dc in next st, 3 tr in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in next st, hdc in next st] 3 times**, dc in next dc; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, join with sl st in first dc. Finish off color B – 120 sts.

Rnd 5: Join color C with sc in second tr of prev rnd, 2 sc in same tr, *sc in each of next 5 sts, [3 sc in next tr, sc in next 2 sts, sc3tog (see Special Stitches), sc in next 2 sts] 3 times**, 3 sc in next tr; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, join with sl st in first sc. Finish off color C – 128 sts.

Rnd 6: Join color A with sc in second sc of prev rnd, *hdc in next sc, dc in next sc, (dc, tr) in next sc, 2 tr in next sc, (tr, dc) in next sc, dc in next sc, hdc in next sc, [sc in next sc, hdc in next sc, dc in next sc, tr3tog (see Special Stitches), dc in next sc, hdc in next sc] 3 times**, sc in next sc; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, join with sl st in first sc. Finish off color A – 116 sts.

Rnd 7: Join color D with sc in first sc of prev rnd, sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next tr, ch 2, 2 sc in next tr, *sc in next 27 sts, 2 sc in next tr, ch 2, 2 sc in next tr; Rep from * 2 more times, sc in next 22 sts, join with sl st in first sc. Finish off color D and weave in all ends – 128 sts. Note: If your block is not quite 12”, you can add additional rounds of sc, or replace Rnd 7 with hdc or dc around, adding a couple additional stitches at each corner. each corner.

Find Moogly's blog post about the Pinwheel Square here and everything you need to know about the Moogly2019CAL here

You can find a printable PDF of this pattern on Ravelry here.

Now, go back and find the previous three squares and check back at Moogly every week for a new Square design from a new designer. I cannot wait to see what colors you have chosen. Have fun!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dyers In Their Studios - Lori of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns

Introducing Lori Maul of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns & Clothing. We met Lori last fall at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle. Her booth was just down the aisle from our display in the Artist's Gallery. We meet a lot of yarn dyers at the various shows we attend each year, but some we know we want to work with right away because of their obvious enthusiasm for what we are creating with our Ficstitches Yarns Kits, combining hand-dyed yarns, historical fiction and my designs. Lori was clearly excited to work with us on a future kit, coming to our booth to learn more, and giving us sample yarn to begin dreaming up what design it would be come. We are excited to feature her Winter Silk (baby alpaca and tussah silk) yarn in our upcoming Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit. Preorders are open this month only. Learn all about Lori and her inspiration in her own words...

Winter Silk featured in Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit Club
How long have you been dyeing yarn?
I’ve learned over 30 years ago.

How did you get started dyeing?
I studied dyeing at the University of Washington where I received my BA.  My studies centered on the fiber arts, particularly weaving.  Students studied all classes of dyes, including natural dyes.

What is your background?
I was raised in a small town southeast of Seattle.  Growing up, my mother always had a stitchery project going; she was an excellent cross-stitcher.  A friend of hers taught me to knit and I was hooked.  As an exchange in West Germany in the early 1980’s, I learned to design sweaters and continental-style knitting.  I studied textiles and fiber arts at the University of Washington and have always had a side business selling knitwear and/or hand-dyed yarns. 

My professional career was in administration, finance, human resources, and fundraising.  Almost five years ago, I left my career to open a small boutique featuring handmade clothing.  I opened Fidalgo Artisan Yarn Company a little over three years ago.  In April, I merged the two shops and haven’t looked back.  I started to do yarns shows last year.  The company’s new name is Fidalgo Artisan Yarn & Clothing.

Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dyeing?
Study at the university greatly influenced my need for top quality yarns, my careful dye processes, and my desire to create the best hand-dyed yarn possible. I want to be proud of each skein we sell.  Formal study of color also enhanced my color sense and my ability to mix/match colors. 

What makes your yarn special or unique?
I am an immersion dyer and spend a great deal of time at the dye pot mixing colors.  I use 9 colors to create my yarns.  I remove my yarns from the dye pot, hand manipulate them, add other colors of dye, and submerge the yarns again.  I may to this 7-8 times for one dye lot.  This process creates beautiful color transition and blending.
Dyeing is very creative for me.  I generally do not dye repeatable colors.

Lastly, our luxury fibers/yarns are of very high quality.  We have unique blends (baby camel and silk anyone?) and a wide variety of weights/blends. 

How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
This is always fun and a challenge.  When Emily began working with me, she said she had always wanted to name paint colors.  Perfect.  We will often lay yarns out on a table and ask our customers to name them.  A few of our customers are very clever…so is Emily!

Where do you find inspiration?
Like many artists, I find most of my inspiration in nature.  My dye studio is at home and overlooks Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island.  I love to garden and between the two, there is no better inspiration for me.

Lastly, I often look at a skein and imagine how it will look when knit/crochet/woven.  It is important that my yarns look good in a skein but more importantly, look good when used in a project.

How many colorways do you have?  Unlimited
Do you create seasonal or special order colors?  Yes.
How many and what types of bases do you use?  Over 25 base yarns including many luxury fiber blends: silk, cashmere, alpaca, sea cell, baby camel.
Where do your yarn bases come from?  I have three different suppliers.
Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?  We sell only our signature yarn in our shop, located in Anacortes WA., and online at  We also bring our yarns to at least 6 shows each year.

What are your favorite color?  All the luscious shades/colors of orange.
Favorite fibers?  Wool, alpaca, silk
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first? Knit first, spin second, crochet third (and just a little bit!)
Anything else you would like to share? Our name, Fidalgo, comes is the name of the island where our shop is located.  People are always curious about that.

Ravelry Group?  Fidalgo artisan yarn lovers
Facebook? fidalgoyarns
Instagram?  fidalgoyarns

Choose Hemlock Grove or Loam in Fidalgo's Winter Silk
for the Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit Club
Preorders Open Now! October Only!

All photos courtesy of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns and Clothing.