Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dyeing to be Different

Hello out there in the knitting and spinning world! Wanted to tell you about a few things before I start dinner for my guys and pretty much close up the laptop for a while.....I'm becoming a geek, I think...

Okay, #1: Tomorrow is the LAST day to sign up for the contest....so, if you're interested, send me your name, email and blog address, if you have one...and I will add you to the list. If you have any questions about the rules, you can email me or look to previous blog entries for more info : )

#2 I just finished spinning and plying the utterly gorgeous, pink angora/BFL wool blend fiber (from Rose Garden Fibers) into the softest, sweetest yarn ever.....will post pictures once the yarn is soaked and dry. If you have a little girl to knit for, you MUST buy this yarn for knitting a sweater or blankie or something! It's HEAVEN! I'm calling it "Cotton Candy" and it has little puffs of white angora here and there...

#3 I also used more McCormick dyes (my new acid dyes are on the way!) to dye some spongy soft "puffy" 100% nylon yarn....and I must say, I was delighted with the results....the colors are clear and bright....I've decided to call the yarn color "Jello" because it looks like the three favorite flavors of Jello....lemon, lime and blue raspberry. Here are pics of the dyeing process:



Here's a pic of the finished yarns:



I'll also be adding pics of my hand-dyed 100% Chinese Duke silk yarns...probably the beginning of next week (contest time!)

I have to mention that I bought more hand-dyed fiber from Yarn Botanika (my addictive fiber store of choice) and I can't WAIT to get them....and spin them!

Happy a sassy and spunky fiber-licious day!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Clarifying Contest...and sock update


JayWalkerUpdate
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
Sadly, this picture sucks. Very blurry...kinda like how my head's been feeling today, so I guess it's fitting. Will try to take a nap later, that might help...migraines are pure evil, aren't they?

Wanted to clarify the contest rules...just in case...had a few questions asked about it, so...

1. The contest doesn't officially start until May 1st and ends May 31st. Drawings for prizes picked on June 1 or 2. I'd love for you to start checking my blog out now, but comments aren't required until May 1st...or the first blog of May.

2. Sign up for the contest will be up until April 30th, which is this Sunday...just send me your name, email and blog, if you have one...but blog is not necessary to win. I just like to meet new people : )

3. Unless I hatch a clone of myself or my husband starts taking the little guy to work with him or the house suddenly starts cleaning itself, I will probably NOT be blogging every day...so you can breathe a sigh or relief and say, "Thank goodness I don't have to check her blog EVERY DAY! I have a life, you know!" Well, maybe all of you wouldn't say that, but, come on, some of you were thinking it....right?

4. Remember to email me one question a week and I will answer it and all email the group of contestants the answer, so ask whatever you think you'd like to know and/or something you think others might be curious about.

and

5. Not related to the contest, but here is the progress on my Grumperina JayWalker socks...one is already done and one is about 1/3 done. The colorway is super (thanks to the inspiration of Tina!) and now I just want to WEAR them!

You can email me at Gina@YogaGardenNH.com if you have any other questions. This is going to be so much FUN!!!!! Take my button for your blog, too, if you'd like. Good luck to all!

Monday, April 24, 2006

CONTEST NUMBER ONE!!!!

For those of you who are interested in HANDSPUN Yarn and HAND-DYED Yarn, listen up!....

The PRIZES:

1st Prize: A skein of my own "Sleepy Eyes" handspun yarn with a special surprise as well.

2nd Prize: A skein of my own "Sleepy Eyes" hand-dyed yarn, also with a special surprise.

3rd Prize: Free shipping on an order from my ETSY shop (see right) and a special knitting surprise.

The RULES:

1. You must read my blog every day and leave a comment.....please be respectful and the bigger, the better...providing it makes sense and relates to what I wrote in my blog! : ) If I haven't blogged that day, no problem....just keep checking.

2. Send me an email once a week asking something about me or about my Yoga Garden business or Sleepy Eyes yarn shop/blog.

3. Send me your name, email, blog/website address if you'd like to participate. Sign up by April 30th, 2006.

To WIN:

If you have followed ALL of the rules above, I will have one of my sons (probably not Ben, who is a toddler) to pick a number and that number will correspond to your name, which I will send to you.

GOOD LUCK and hope to hear from you!

*There will be 3 other contests this year at least, so bookmark my site and also take my blog button if you'd like and place it on your blog or website!*

Happy Day : )

Sunday, April 23, 2006

5 Steps To Harlot: Follow me.....

In order for me to see the wonderful, talented and hilarious Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka Yarn Harlot), five steps had to be followed:

Step 1: Pack and then unpack everything knitting related into my bag about 20 times. Then, write a note to myself to remember the cereal to donate, my rsvp card, cell phone and, oh....my knitting! Get up at 7 am to in order to leave the house at 8 pm, in order to meet Denise at her house at 8:30 am.

Step 2: Drive with Denise (after admiring her Simpsons car mats) to Dunkin Donuts for cash (no, we didn't hold up the store....atm, please!) and breakfast (me...bagel with c. cheese and water). Meet with Sarah at Borders in Concord and drive up with her to WEBS. Sarah and I had an awesome time getting to know each other, laughing and talking about knitting, yoga and men (my three favorite subjects aside from spinning).

Step 3: Arrive at WEBS around 2 hours later, gasp and drool over fiber, yarn and patterns (in that order). Spend "X" amount of dollars (not disclosed to anyone with the last name "House", except me), take a quick run to find some yummies (Subway...which I might add was a strange and frightening experience and ended up getting me almost exactly the opposite of everything I ordered) and then having super Sarah dropping me off at the Clarion Hotel an hour before the presentation.

Step 4: Find seats directly in front of the podium for a full, frontal view....not in a sexual way, of course.....of Stephanie.

Step 5: (and the most important) Alternately giggle, whine and ask Denise, "What time is it?" every five minutes.

These are the rewards that I received for taking the 5 step plan:

1. Got to sit with my knitting buddies: Denise, Ericka and Chris



2. Got the best seat to hear Stephanie's super funny presentation....(my poor cheeks were very sore afterwards) and see her finished Knitting Olympics sweater (on floor in picture...what was she thinking???)



3. Best of all, was able to meet, in person.....drum roll, please....the happily "normal", quirky and fantastic Stephanie...who is shown here signing MY BOOKS!!!!! (cackle cackle)



I wanted to get a photo with her myself, but I felt bad that there were so many people still in line and she had to leave in only another 45 minutes to catch her flight. I figure, I can just photoshop myself in there next to her anytime!

I also gave her a little gift of the "Blueberry Pie" yarn....so I hope she likes it : )

Now.....(to Laurin), I've done MY part, now.....YOU DO YOURS!!!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yarn Botanika...Heavenly!

The long awaited pic of my "Blueberry Pie" 2 ply yarn, spun from the fabulous "Bejeweled" 100% corriedale wool fiber from Yarn Botanika....



Isn't it heavenly? I can't tell you how much I loved every stage of creating this yarn...from opening the package and nearly fainting with joy....to the gentle pre-drafting I did sitting next to my little Ben while he played with his cars...to spinning the fiber, softly, and hopefully evenly....every few minutes noticing a new color change and stopping just to rub the yarn against my cheek. Ben would sometimes come closer and say, "Mommy...spinning wheel...making yarn...pretty 'bew'", which means blue. My older son, Tim, gave me his highest praise by saying, "Cool!"



Here's a close up pic of the yarn, next to my forsynthia bush out in the front yard....(am I placing the pics in the right place? I need a blog helper!)



Okay, last pic is of the fiber in three stages: roving, predrafting horizontally (or as I call it, "Puffing Out"), and predrafting vertically ("Taffy Pulling"). Can't wait to buy more fiber from Lisa of Yarn Botanika!

*Yarn Botanika, a blog and etsy shop, created by Lisa...is truly wonderful. If you haven't visited her blog yet, please do...her pictures are gorgeous and I would love it if she made them into a calendar or coffee table-type book. Her hand dyed yarn colors are inspired by nature and every single one is beautiful...my favorites are the Bluebells and Peace Rose yarn. Visit her store....I dare you not to buy anything...it'll be difficult!*

PluckyFluff to the Rescue!


BirthdayAftermathYarn
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
Introducing my "Birthday Aftermath" single ply yarn that I spun from the PluckyFluff (www.pluckyfluff.com) handspun yarn/fiber website. It was amazingly fun to spin....I could make all sorts of mistakes and it all looked GOOD! I left puffs here, a blob there, things flying out everywhere! Whew! You can't tell how sparkly this yarn is, but it's got some very special silver tinsel, angelina shimmery stuff and even bits of satin ribbon here and there.

Have one more batt to spin to make a "matching" skein....would be perfect for sweater trim or a scarf.

Off to do some more pre-drafting!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

For Laurin


BlackRaspberryIceCream
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
For the wonderful, generous, plucky and ROCKIN' Laurin...

...2 skeins of my own BlackRaspberry Ice Cream yarn!

Bought some gorgeous wool/silk roving from Greenwood Fiberworks (link at right) a couple of weeks ago and finally finished spinning it into this amaZing yarn!

Came out to be about 150 yards total (2 ply) and the colors would just melt in your mouth, if they were ice cream, of course...YUM!

Will let you know how she likes it.....what do you think?

I think it's only fair that Laurin, in return, should update her blog with something flattering about me...don't you agree? (he he)

Yes, They're Fake...


Berries&Cream
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
Okay, so the brilliant flowers in this planter box are fake, but the yarn sure isn't!

Handspun Border Leicester in cream/white and then dyed with my own "made up colors" from a box of (get this) McCormick Food Coloring!

I'm not at all a dye-ing person, but I do love it....I was thinking of getting some real acid dyes and trying them out. I've mainly been using the food coloring or KoolAid because they're cheap, non-toxic and quick to use (since Ben likes to have Mommy's attention 24/7).

I have found that the dyes fade- quite a lot, in fact. I originally thought of naming the color of this yarn "Tie Dye" because it was so brilliant and wacky, but now that it's dry, I found it more to be soft and watercolor-ish.

Decided to name these "Berries&Cream"....wouldn't it be cool if the yarn could be scented to match? Like those neat erasers at school! (Always loved the grape or blueberry ones!)

Thinking of spinning and dye-ing more yarn so I can have my own Etsy store...was going to venture into ebay, but Etsy is so much nicer and everything I've bought from there so far has been high quality and pretty wonderful.

Look to the right and click on the Yarn Botanika link. We will be discussing that awesome, heavenly place tomorrow, class!

Time for recess! (I mean, spinning!)

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Joy of Spinning


FirstSpunPinkJoy
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
What can be better than your first newly spun (and plied) yarn on a spinning wheel? Hmmm...a new outfit? Nah.... How about a night out with the hubby? Uh huh.... Chocolate? Well...maybe...but truly, truly, spinning this pink, soft, gorgeous yarn has made me giddy with excitement.

The 100% wool roving is from "All Things Heather" at KPixie (link at right), which not only has the coolest commercial yarn, but also a section of one-of-a-kind yarns (like Vesper self striping sock yarn) and fibers that are out of this world! I also bought another handpainted colorway from her called "Surfer Girl" in all ocean blues.....dye-ing (ha ha) to spin that up....

Right now, I'm working on spinning my wool/silk roving in Purples from Greenwood Fiberworks (also super and link on the right) for Laurin (blog link to right as well). Fun and more fun...I love seeing how one color blends into the next.

As for knitting, I'm still working on the shrug and have these UFOs to complete:

-MJ lace cardigan (yes...still not done)
-Lorna's laces Sherbet Leaf Lace shawl
-The other (and damndable) Jaywalker sock
-Knit Picks summer sweater in Vacation yarn (soft, sparkly and fun to knit with)

Off to spin!!! Wheeee............!

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Magical Glimpse


YarnJoy
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
While sitting in the living room (knitting away on my current project...merino/alpaca/silk shrug), I caught a glimpse of the setting sun shining on my spinning wheel in the corner.

This picture doesn't fully show how beautiful this moment was, but gives you an idea...

...my soft, newly spun pink wool wound lovingly around the wood of the wheel and the shiny brass hooks on the side...

I felt as if I'd caught a glimpse of some magical Spinner's Paradise...where it's not at all unusual to fall in love with your handspun yarn : )

Damn those Russians are good!


RussianMohairShawl
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
Finally finished the Russian wool/mohair shawl I was working on. The softly space dyed yarn is what makes this shawl so special...those Russian yarn makers are A-okay! The added fringe makes it look so elegant and, at the same time, cozy. I truly love this. I had so much fun making it, too...see my last few blogs for details on the yarn....and pic of the label.

Totally psyched to sign up for the Portand, Maine "SPA Knit and Spin" today.....something to look forward to in Feb. when the winter winds chill, the snow is blinding...and I'm ready to scream with boredom.

Three days of knitting, spinning, shopping (from AWESOME vendors)...sounds like heaven to me!

Countdown begins.....only 12 more days until The Yarn Harlot book signing/presentation!!! Can I survive?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mouthwatering



Yesterday, I received the most wonderful package (my last!) from my Secret Pal 7... Kristen! She sent me:

1. The Knit Socks! book that I've been wanting for so long (can't wait to make a pair!)
2. An utterly beautiful skein of Cherry Tree Hill superwash wool sock yarn (can you believe the color?!)
3. A package of the most mouthwatering toffee (oh, god, my favorite!!!)...which, by the way, was 6 points for both pieces, but.....I ate them ANYWAY!!! (evil grin)
4. A sweet card revealing her name and blog, which I will check out very soon!

Look at my goodies!!!!

Thank you so much, Kristen! Hope you win the Secret Pal 7 contest...I voted for you : )

More updates on projects later......

Saturday, April 01, 2006

JOY!


JOY!
Originally uploaded by yogagardengirl32.
Da Da Da....DA!!!! (drum roll please)

It's my JOY! The wonderful, awesome, celestial Ashford Joy spinning wheel!

Laura was so generous to meet me yesterday at noontime in Kingston to sell me the Joy and show me how to open/close it, etc.

She also gave me a bag of alpaca fiber (for Vicki!), oil for the wheel and the original books it came with....which were very interesting to look at...I can't believe all the tools and such you can get with this wheel!

I was able to go to the spinning group with local spinner/weaver Jean and her son, Chris...where Nancy (Spinning Teacher Extraordinaire) helped me oil my wheel, set up the yarn and showed me how to get more twist into the yarn when it started breaking on me.....whoops!

Will post some cool pics of my pink handspun yarn soon!

Oh, the JOY!