Artfibers yarnsplosion!

This post was supposed to go up February 14th but yet again, I was foiled by technology. The following was written while in line for a total of 4 hours.

It’s a sad day when an incredible yarn company goes out of business. The only bright side is the sale. At 9am February 14th they opened the doors to their workshop in order to clear out the last of their stock, supplies, and equipment. Fortunately this closing was by choice, not hard circumstances, and the owners are moving on to new projects and less responsibility. That means no guilt for those of us benefiting from their closeout!

I came with a budget and am blowing that out of the water but it is well beyond worth it! I have pounds and pounds of silk, viscose, modal, bamboo and alpaca undyed yarn cones coming home with me along with a couple amazing super-skeins of luxury yarn that I would normally never be able to afford.

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Of course I’m not the only one who came to Vallejo, CA to score. I am 2/3 through the line and have already been waiting nearly two hours.

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We’ve camped out in yarnville and kind coconspiritors have taken to passing around cookies and holding places during bathroom breaks and last minute additions.

Suffice to say I’m excited and will of course be starting up my active knitting life again. One project has already been completed.

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This scarf for my partner Michael is made entirely from my handdyed and handspun yarns. I’m proud of it despite it being messy because it’s the first project I have finished in a couple years. I’m expecting many more to come.

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New Listings

I’ve finally gotten around to updating the Peculiar Purls Etsy page. I will be adding more yarn and fiber over the next days as well so keep your eyes open and as always, I take requests!

Use coupon code READER10 for 10% off anything in the shop including CUSTOM ORDERS!

Dyeing Fiber with Natural Materials

As a knitter, I have a great appreciation for luxury yarns, especially ones that are in some way unique. As a spinner, I have the ability to create such yarns myself and supply other knitters as well as myself with something special.

Dye-pot of Polypore and Roving

Last week I collected several pounds of Dyer’s Polypore on Mt. Tamalpais. I was able to dye close to one pound of Merino-Tencel blend and almost one pound of Faux Cashmere, a superfine nylon fiber which is as soft as the most expensive luxury fiber available but is about 1/7th of the price.

Four Dyelots from Polypore and Jack O' Lantern

Above From Right to Left: Unmordanted polypore hot dye on merino-tencel; unmordanted jack o’ lantern hot dye on merino-tencel; unmordanted polypore hot dyebath on faux cashmere; unmordanted polypore exhaust dye on faux cashmere.

Later in the week I also dyed with some pomegranate skins and fresh Tumeric from the Berkeley Bowl, my local natural food store. This produced a vibrant yellow reminiscent of sunflowers.

Dyeing with Household Items

Above from Top to Bottom: unmordanted pomegranate skin hot dye on norwegian wool; alum mordanted raw tumeric hot dye on norwegian wool; alum mordanted raw tumeric hot dye on merino-tencel; alum mordanted raw tumeric hot dye on faux cashmere

I’ll be spinning these up in the next week and posting them on etsy as the skeins are completed. The question is should I blend different dyelots of the same fiber type and make several consistent skeins or should I spin them up separately and make a unique skein for each dyelot?

K11 Craft Sale Recap

The Craft Sale at Knit-One-One in Berkeley this past weekend was a success. We had a great spot outside the studio across from Bag It Designs who we met at the Louden Nelson Winter Fair  in Santa Cruz last year.

I debuted my single-ply worsted weight hand spuns and they were well recieved. I sold a couple hanks to the lovely owner of Bubbles and Boo who plans to use them in her product photos before knitting something beautiful for herself. I’m pleased they turned out so well, and I think I’ll be doing many more of them in the future.

During the sale, I set up my spinning wheel and answered questions from dozens of curious folks about the mechanics of the spinning wheel. Many were most surprised to find out that my wheel was not antique at all, and that the company that produced mine is still doing so. Though spinning yarn is a craft associated with times of yore(Remember sleeping beauty?), the skill has been passed through families and friends and has grown so much in popularity that many yarn shops now also sell spinning fiber and some even host classes.

Though sales were not as high as we’d hoped, we did meet a lot of lovely local crafters and I discussed the possibility of teaching such a drop-spindle workshop at Knit-One-One in the future. While a spinning wheel is a major investment, costing anywhere between $300 and $700, drop spindles sell for closer to $15 and are a great way to start learning without having to make a huge dent in your savings. In fact, that’s exactly where I started in 2007, and since I was given a wheel by my aunt, I spend much of my free time at home consumed by this hobby.

I’m still dreaming about someday making it a full time job. For now, occasional fairs will do just fine.