Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Beautiful Hat for a Great Cause-Ricefield Collective "Upward"

I was so attracted to this hat at the NJFAF (New Jersey Fiber Arts Fair) a few weeks ago. I purchased one, and set about copying it as the pattern has not been released yet. These hats have been designed to benefit The Ricefield Collective , the income directly benefits women in the Phillipines who would otherwise have to move away because of a lack of local proximity to any kind of economic possibilities. The website has a wonderful video describing Merideth's work in the Phillipines and her gorgeous collection. Designed by a variety of knitwear designers, this is a great place to purchase holiday gifts. The wool is very soft, and the quality is great.
The hat I copied is the "UPWARD" :
"Upward" hat using my handspun yarn

New riff on the "Upward" hat

Completed handspun (asymmetrical) hat
see above the next variation which has varied ribs and cables travelling around the width. I have been really into hat knitting in the past 6 months, and this has opened up a whole new way of working "on the diagonal". 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sept, Oct, & November Raffle Winners

Rebecca R. of Portland, Me, is the November raffle winner.She is an avid sock knitter, so she is going to receive "Peyton Sock", a 75% superwash merino/25% nylon, high-twist 4-ply sock yarn.
"Peyton Sock" in 'Seafoam'

Rebeccas' note:
"My Ravelry name is fattoria.  As I look at my knitting right now, it seems to be all socks and shawls for Christmas presents.  After Christmas-making is over with, I will be making something for myself, a shawl maybe.  I don't have any specific color preferences, I'm sure whatever you pick will be perfect.  I purchased some spinning fiber from you previously, and your fibers are just beautiful. Thank you so much, Alida!"

Bonnie of Michigan was the raffle winner for October. I sent her a skein of Love Birds hand spun (worsted weight) merino:
"I just got home from vacation yesterday & it was waiting for me.  I love the colors.
Thank you so much. Perfect pick."

Raffle winner for September:
 Lauren.H. from Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
lheuchan on Ravelry
Lauren was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about her win:

"Hi Alida,

I hope it's okay for me to email my thoughts to you.  I couldn't find a specific link to share my thoughts but I might be missing it.  

What do you think this yarn would be good for, project-wise?  I think this yarn would make an absolutely beautiful shawl.  Something light and airy.  It has a very ethereal feel to it.  
Do you like the color, hand feel, weight?  I'm absolutely in love with the colour way of this yarn.  It reminds me of a magical kingdom.  It's so soft as it moves through your fingers.  Feels just like butter.  
What yarn type or fiber would you like to see Swoon Fibers carrying that is not
currently being offered?  I cannot think of anything that you are already not offering.  Swoon Fibers has the largest selection of fibers that I've come across.  Between yak, camel, angora, cashmere and silk, I think you've got it all going on. " 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

NJFAF 20% OFF Coupon!

Print out this coupon if you would like to receive 20% OFF at  the Swoon Fibers table, at the New Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in Ridgewood, New Jersey on October 4th and 5th.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lilac, Purple, and Violet...

I know I'm not the only one who loves purple shades...and the last couple of months have been no exception.
recently dyed yarns

Monday, September 2, 2013

Easy Scrap-Buster Slouch Hat

Easy Scrap-Buster Slouch Hat 1-5
I have knitted 8 hats in the last month or so, and I find this one so easy that I keep just doing variations! 

I basically did a copy of a 'Wooden Ships" hat I picked up in a thrift store for 3 bucks, which most closely resembles HAT # 4, except mine is slouchier and the stripe is different.
HAT # 2 is the same hat, but with seed stitch in the stripe instead of COLOR A , and all one color throughout.
HAT #5 is made by using a TUBULAR HEM instead of 1x1 rib, basically cast on, knit 16 rows, in the next row, knit the cast on loop with the current stitch, all along the row. It makes a nice clean look.
HAT # 1 uses lots of scrap yarn, I am using 2 strands of sock yarn , which equals one strand of worsted weight yarn. Its fun to combine colors and play with color.
HAT # 3 takes it a step further, the yarns are a little more irregular as I am using some handspun in there, and have added some textural stitches here and there.This one is still "in progress" HAT # 1 and HAT # 3 have a simple roll start.(no rib)
Lots of Scraps used in this one

Easy Slouch Hat

Cast on 80 stitches in worsted weight (or equivalent) on a size 6 or 7 needle.  (circulars can use magic loop, or you can use double pointed needles) If you are a loose knitter, use 6, if you are a tight knitter , choose 7.
note: I have used the abbreviation "O" to mean "yarn over needle"

HAT # 4 with Pointelle rows:

Knit 10 rows in 1x1 rib in Color A
Change to size  8 or 9 needles, proceed as follows:
Knit 2 rows in color B
***Knit 5 rows in color A
Row 6 : Knit one row in color B
Row 7 : in B , PM,* knit 1,O, k2 tog, repeat from *
Row 8 : knit
Row 9 : slip marker, knit 2, *O, slip1/k1/psso, repeat from *
Row 10 through 15, knit in color B
repeat from *** 2 times more

Final repeat and crown decrease:
Repeat rows  1 through 10
Start decreases: knit 8, k2 tog, repeat
Next row: knit
Knit 7, k2 tog, repeat
Next row: knit
Knit 6, K 2 tog, repeat
Next row, knit
Knit 5, K2 tog, repeat
Next row : knit
Knit 4, k2 tog, repeat
Next row, Knit
Knit 3, knit 2 tog, repeat
Next row, knit
Knit 2 tog, repeat all around
Next row: k2 tog, repeat
With a darning needle, thread the yarn tail through all loops and finish.

Stripe Variations: Hat # 1 and #3
Follow instructions for # 4, but substitute random stripes of your own preference, and random odds and ends of your scraps that you want to use up. Final measurements vary, but in general the circumference of this hat is around 9 1/2", the length ends up, for me, to be 10 to 10 3/4, but you can make it as long as you want.
In a nutshell: after a 1 x 1 rib hem, or a roll hem, or a tubular hem, knit about 55 rows before starting the crown decreases. 


Knit 6, O, K2 tog, slip the “tog” stitch over the next st (double decrease)
Next row, Knit
Knit 5, O, K2 tog, slip the “tog” stitch over the next st
Next row, Knit
Knit 4, O, K2 tog, slip the “tog” stitch over the next st
Next row, Knit
Knit 3, O, K2 tog, slip the “tog” stitch over the next st
Next row, Knit
Knit 2, O, K2 tog, slip the “tog” stitch over the next st
Next row, Knit
Knit 2 tog, repeat all around
Next row: k2 tog, repeat
With a darning needle, thread the yarn tail through all loops and finish.
Lacey Decreases

Thursday, April 4, 2013

i love knitting

I love knitting.
I love finally being able to pick up my needles at the end of the day and go into the zone. After finishing taxes and chores and daily what- have- you, I look at the piece that's progressing and think about how the gradation is almost into the next color, the stitches are beginning to look more like a pattern, And as I knit each row I am Imagining, imagining, imagining..the next piece. The piece before, The piece after. It sends me into a daydream of thinking who I will give this to, How happy they will be, And the giving of it, the sharing of it, and more and more and more.
How I will dye the next gradient yarn. How I might write up the pattern, the layout of the page;the model; the background.
On a deeper level I am feeling the happiness in the eyes of my mom, who has passed away some 35 years ago, as she would smile about this knitting I am doing and want to knit one ;would appreciate the color, the handfeel of the yarn, And her mother, my grandmother, who would tease us and bring out her ecru perle cotton crochet that she masterfully performed using such unimaginably fine crochet hooks, that you could not even see the hook. And with such arthritic hands that didn't care,
So, its not about the thing itself, or the package or the idea, its the doing of it which has such soul.
The doing and the dreaming.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Camel Fiber * part one

After reading more than one baby camel factoid page about this fiber being "thermostatic" , I started to wonder what that really meant.Turns out that camels can withstand heat and cold, so their downy undercoat is marvelously suited to keep them cool in the heat and warm in the cold. How it does this is not really discussed.
Apparently baby camel down is shed naturally in the spring months and gathered by hand. The best baby camel down comes from Bactrian camels (2 humps) in outer Mongolia. It is also comparable to cashmere in its softness (micron size).
Baby Camel has a warmth and strenghth to it that i find very appealing and lovely to wear. Cashmere, as much as I adore it, can make you very hot very quickly.
Baby camel, on the other hand, seems to have more wicking ability, strength, resistance to pilling, and lightness that makes it quite a "Natural Wonder".We have become quite blaze' about rare materials these days, after all, as spinners we can have and find pretty much anything we want. Organic cotton in cultivated natural colors, cashmere fiber, vicuna, Quiviut, to name a few. Baby camel is not so exotic and hard to find, but it is an under-appreciated fiber.
Baby Camel handspun yarn , undyed, available in my shop

The WILD Bactrian camel is also critically endangered.
"Although domesticated bactrian camels number in the millions, there are less than 1,000 wild camels left in their native range in Mongolia. "

"Camelhair is the soft warm inner down of a Bactrian camel with a fiber structure similar to cashmere. Bactrian camels have two coats: the warm inner coat of down and a rough outer coat, which is long and hairy. Camels shed their fiber in clumps consisting of both coats. One camel produces about 5 pounds (2 kg) of fiber annually. The down is usually 1-3 inches long with a micron count of about 15-22 microns. It has a staple length of over 2 inches, which is quite long for camel. Camel wool has unique characteristics of heat conductivity, softness and strength, and it does not felt easily." - Reference: Peace of Yarn 

Page Two

"PATTERN DOWNLOADS" page is where you can purchase all of SWOON FIBERS patterns in .pdf form.