Sewing as Literary Device

I finished my Etherial last week. I think it looks pretty rockin.

Since then, I have finished, another sweater, my Tule which came out perfectly, but of which I have no photographs yet. They are coming, I promise.

Since I am still trying to keep up with my 12 sweaters in 2013 goal, and the Tule was Sweater #3, and the Etherial was Sweater #4, and it was already the end of May when I finished them both, I decided Sweater #5 would be adorably tiny. Yesterday I cast on the Newborn Vertebrae. Brock said this was cheating to keep up with my quota. I say, I never said all of the sweaters had to be full-size adult sweaters. And also, I have never knit a baby sweater before, so I am still learning something. Mostly I am learning that baby clothes go delightfully fast. I probably would have been done today, except I spent a very humid afternoon (I could have shut the windows and turned the AC, but I was concentrating too hard) making this!

I have not sewn in ages and ages. This some medium weight cotton I had sitting around to someday make project bags out of–and not necessarily what I would chose to make myself an everyday tote bag out of–but I do think it came out pretty cute. The pattern is form this book which I have had since I moved in to this apartment. (For those keeping score that was in July of 2010, so not quite three years ago). For some reason, I was afraid to work my way through the book–even after I bought a second sewing machin 2 1/2 years ago. And even though I use the second sewing machine mostly for mending (about once every six months), you would think that a person with two sewing machines might actually do some sewing….

Turns out, a person with two sewing machines mostly just fantasizes about sewing and then feels insecure about her abilities–even though ten years ago she had people offering to pay her to sew costumes….

That is what happens after allowing an interest lay dormant for a decade through a tumult of self-debt and the sort of feelings that are only ever realized in a Bildungsroman. But today, I sewed, and I am excited to do so again.

And finish my tiny baby sweater.

In the Works

I have been writing a series of blog posts for the Potwin Fiber Artisans Blog about knitting my Etherial. (There should be a new one tomorrow.) But since I have been knitting so hard to keep ahead of my class, it is the only project I have been working on. While I’m saving the real blog post for the PFA, I felt like teasing you all with my latest progress photos. And you’ll notice, that unlike last week, I took these photos at the coffee shop and not at my desk at work. Progress all around!

Decrease Incline

Trippy Flat Knitting On Circular Needles

What are you working on this week?

Lost Productivity

February has been a rough month for me. Perhaps it is the natural melancholy that comes with the end of winter, a lack of Vitamin D, fresh greenery, tense muscles from hunching so repeatedly against the cold wind has wound me into a grumpy, brain dead sloth who has absolutely no desire to dye whatsoever.

I know, I know. I can’t be an indie yarn dyer when I am not dyeing yarn. It’s just not possible–and yet, I seem to have made it happen. I think I took the month of February off without meaning to. It happens occasionally. You get tired, your mind gets clouded with a sort of irrational fear that your going to mess something up if you proceed, so you just don’t do anything at. Well, maybe you don’t, but I tend to do that every now and again. Part of it is that my job takes a lot of my creative energy, and I am still working on how to balance that out with everything else.

And also. Winter. I am so sick of winter, I can’t even begin to explain how much I want to be able to not wear shoes outside. Is that too much to ask?

I know I have complained about it before, but my computer has been a gigantic hindrance. Not blogging, not updating my etsy page, all of that is because every time I try to work on my computer, I want to throw it across the room. Whatever problem it developed, it’s had it for a year, and it is only getting worse. It’s been looked at multiple times, and there’s still no real diagnostic reason as to why it shuts down whenever it wants to. I have reached my limit. I am tired of looking at my computer and deciding it’s just not worth the frustration to even turn it on, because honestly, I can’t run a business that is largely based on internet sales without a gorram working computer. Which is why I threw caution to the wind and ordered a new computer today. It should be here early next week and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I will do my best not to destroy this computer out of spite once the other one arrives, but I make no promises. (Of course, now that I have broken down and ordered another laptop, this one has been acting just fine so far today.)

I am hoping the excitement of ordering a new gadget shakes me out of my stupor a bit.

Dyeing hasn’t been the only thing I have been avoiding of course. My spinning wheel has been woefully neglected since I taught my spinning class, and the only thing I have started knitting that I haven’t ripped out is Brock’s sweater, which I still don’t have a picture of, even though it’s 95% finished. More than anything else, I have been hankering to do some academic work. I miss reading and writing and (dare I say it?) literary criticism(!). I started reading through The Madwoman in the Attic the other day just for the hell of it. It could be because I am listening to both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and reading Agnes Grey . I have plans to read all of my Bronte books again. (I have read all the books by the sisters and have shelf of criticism and biography on top of that.) I feel some-Bronte inspired works forming in me. Not sure whether they will manifest themselves through knitting patterns or yarn colors or fiction or essays just yet, but be on the lookout. Something is brewing.

I am hoping March will be a much more productive month than February.

Consequences of a Bad Day


Yesterday was one of those all around crappy days. I started off the day by oversleeping. I injured one of my fingers on my left hand working on a treat for the sock club (orders go out later this week!). I am left handed, and this injury was in a place that I knew would make it difficult to write. I made it to work on time, made my first appointment, which was showing some copper pieces that used to be on our capitol building’s dome to an artist. In the process of putting the copper back into it’s super secret hiding place, I cut the palm of my left hand. Now I have two injuries on my left hand, and I am pretty certain I haven’t had a tetanus shot for at least 13 years, which you will note is well outside the range of recommended boosting. And believe me, this copper was on the dome for like 1000 years (that statement might not be historically accurate), it definitely had tetanus and many other potentially-life threatening bacteria on it. So, off to immediate care I go for booster shot. Then it’s back to work where I don’t end up having time for lunch for one reason or another, and my right arm feels like someone has punched me really, really hard.

Fast forward to later on in the evening, I am, perhaps a little feverish from the shot, and am attempting to slice cucumbers for pickles, when the brand new knife slips and knicks two of my fingers, including one of the ones already injured. So, I have three injuries on my left hand and a bit of a fever and a lot to accomplish with Winter Woolfest being on Saturday and all. Feeling defeated, I gave up and spend the rest of the evening on the sofa watching haunted house shows and pouting.

This morning, I still had a fever, so even though I would rather go to work and accomplish something today, I stayed home to hopefully make it go away. I slept until 11. It was glorious. I am doing some light preparations for Winter Woolfest and keeping myself seated firmly on the sofa with my knitting–as pictured.

I have to say, I am loving everything about this cardigan. First off, it’s a wool/silk sock yarn. Nothing not to like there. It’s black, and I always need another black cardigan. I love the raglan increases used. And I love that I will not have to worry about sewing on buttons. I especially like the reverse stockinette styling. It looks so laid back and relaxing. That being said, i will probably knit the sleeves inside out, because the idea of purling two sleeves in the round makes me dizzy, but it will look great when it is done.

sick day knitting

January Events

January is shaping up to be quite the month for me. First there is Winter Wool Fest in Wamego, KS on January 12th, hosted by The Wicked Witch. My yarn will be available for sale, and hopefully a bunch of new spinning fiber. I have some Falkland on order, I hope it gets here in time!

Speaking of spinning fiber, I am teaching my first ever spinning class this month. It’s an intro class, so bring your wheel if you have one and if you don’t and you still want to take the class, we can track one down for you to try out, just let me know before hand.

Intro to Wheel Spinning January 17th, 2013
Time: 6-9pm
Fee: $30
Materials: At least 4 oz fiber to spin, spinning wheel, bobbins. (Some fiber will be available for purchase at the class) Learn the basics of spinning on your own spinning wheel. Don’t have a wheel, but want to learn? Contact us to see if we might be able to find you one.

And some other awesome news, a couple of friends of mine stumbled on to a local farm that raises Tunis sheep. I bought some of her fleeces and because of these friends, have my first ever appointment at a mill. Sometime this spring I will have some homegrown Tunis roving available. It’s gorgeous stuff. I can’t wait to show you.

Super Fast Fiber Fun Time

I am running late for my spinning group, but I wanted to check in with a bit of fiber and fun.

First, the obligatory photo of the current sock in progress.

Then I show off all the new handspun I just added to the Tiny Dino Studios etsy store

And then I sneak in the part where I kind of officially announce that I am getting married in August.

See, fun, right?

Cormo and Cormo and Spinning

I have a set of pictures that might look fairly deceiving.

A pile of cormo top for spinning.

Some cormo yarn in the process of being spun.

The body of a cormo sweater.

Oh what progress can a girl make in a day!

Except that these are two different projects. The sweater is already spun Cormo yarn came from a sale at Juniper Moon Farm, while stuff I am spinning was my 2011 spinners share from the same farm. It’s delightful to work with. These two are both my first cormo projects, and I am completely in love with the fiber. It makes me want fleeces.

Well, that’s not new, everything makes me want fleeces. The only reason I don’t have more fleeces is that I don’t have a drum carder, or the patience to use hand cards day in and day out. Otherwise, my apartment would need no furniture because we would just luxuriate on fleeces instead.


Seriuosly though, I just figured out why I don’t spin more. You see, I used to have my wheel set up by my desk. My desk chair was the perfect height for keeping good posture and still spinning for hours. Except I never sit at my desk after dinner unless I have a major deadline. (After dinner is when most of the fiber progress happens around here.) And if I am at my desk facing a deadline, it is not usually spinning related. (To be fair, I have never had a spinning deadline, but I am looking to change all that.) No, after dinner, on any normal night, I am on my seat on the sofa, watching something British on the TeeVee. I can’t spin on the sofa, it’s too low and cushy, which are great qualities, I feel, in a sofa, but not so much for a spinning perch.

So what did I do?

Wait for it….


I sat on a pillow. And it was perfect!

I don’t know why it took me two years to think of putting a throw pillow under my bum, but there you go. Now all I want to do after dinner is spin. Of course, I don’t have anything dyed the right color, and dyeing can take days, but I’ve had this cormo share for a year, and it hadn’t told me what color it wanted to be yet, so I hadn’t dyed it, and I have never spun natural white fiber. Saturday I was itching to spin something and I had been working on that oh so cushy sweater, so I grabbed it on a whim and gave it a whirl. It started to speak to me then. This cormo wants to be a thin, dk-ish weight, three ply yarn, but it hasn’t decided on a color yet. I thought I would get bored with spinning the undyed stuff, but it looks so nice on the bobbin, and splitting it into one ounce little chunks makes me feel like I am spinning waaaay faster than I am–and I am having a blast.

Something happens when I start really getting into what I am working on. I start thinking big–huge even. Like, I should start a regular line of handspun yarns. Not like the one I have now, where I hand paint 100g of fiber and then spin it up into a ooak 100g skein. I am talking buying a fleece and spinning that into a whole fleece’s worth of yarn. And then selling that, dyed in upon request. I mean, I’ve already wanted to start processing fleeces and selling hand processed spinning fiber to spinners, and I sell mill-spun yarn to knitters and crocheters, but why not start and line of handspun? From types of wool that aren’t merino? (Nothing wrong w/ merino, most of my mill-spun yarn is merino, it’s just so ubiquitous, and frankly, not my favorite to spin.) And better yet, why not buy from local (meaning midwest–since that’s the region of the country I am from) farmers? Cause then I could help advertise those farms as well?


Let’s do it.

Only problem?

Still don’t have a drum carder. But I’m working on it.

I am still working out the wheres and the whyfores, but this is the sort of business I saw my one-lady yarn dyeing company evolve into eventually–I just forgot about it a little bit over the last two years.

I have been doing a lot of business soul-searching lately–a lot of realizing that I need to put a whole lot more energy into this machine if it’s going to keep on rolling. I am excited to do it, but it’s going to take some time to work out. So don’t expect a bunch of different stuff up tomorrow, but just know, I’m working on it.


I did it. I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was so close to them, I just had to cast on for the Thigh High Stripes. These socks are so delicious, I can’t wait to have them finished and on me. It’s so much wool, and I wish to be clothed in all of it’s bright, colorful gloriousness!

I am making minimal changes to this pattern. I basically changed the brown to a dark charcoal and picked colors similar to the originals out of Knit Picks Palette, because whoa, these socks take a lot of yarn. I didn’t know if I would like Palette, but this is the second pair of socks I have used it for and I really like how squishy and sticky it is. I will report back how it wears.

Of course, I am going to have wait until these socks are done because it was a bit disingenuous of me to say that I have knit two pairs of socks out of it. when I only knit one of the French Market Socks–and not in a size I will ever be able to get on my foot. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, it was her first real stranded color work project, the gauge was too tight.” And you would be ever so wrong. My gauge is fantastic! It’s exactly what the pattern should be, though I used US size 3 needles to get it, but you know I usually go up a needle size or two when knitting in the round. The reason I can’t wear this sock, is that it is knit for someone with feet the size of a doll’s.

Can you spot the meme?

Now, dear reader, you must be asking yourself why in the world I didn’t knit this sock long enough for my ginormo lady feet, and then knit a mate to go with it so I could have toasty, classy, French feet this winter? And the answer to that question is because I would have stuck four very large double pointed needles in my eyes by the end of it! I’m sorry, I think the design for these socks is gorgeous. I think the colors I chose show off the design perfectly, but seriously, what the heck was I thinking? I am not classy and understated. Me, the woman who is attempting to plan out how long before she can be self-employed again so that she can dye her hair hot pink, thought she could knit this very elegant pair of socks in understated natural colors. It was like trying to be someone I wasn’t at a very base level every time I sat down to work on them. Like I was trying to be a knitter that I am not. My original color combination was much more me. Remember that one?

Oh practice swatch, what a lovely dream you were. . .

The French Market socks are my one cheat from the whole book. I figure that so many other people have modified the Thigh High Stripes to be knee highs or even normal high socks so they would have a pair of socks they would actually knit that I can skip a second sock that I would never ever wear ever. Don’t tell the knitting police.

In other news, I am also working on the Happy Go Lucky Boots Socks

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Sport

These have become my work / car knitting, so they are going rather slow, but the pattern is fun. I particularly like the color combination here. They remind me an old-fashioned Professor’s office with dark wood and leather everywhere–and one of those desk lamps with the green glass shade. These socks look like a they should be wearing a tweed jacket.

And finally, I am combining two of my favorite things: sock yarn and Jane Eyre. I dyed myself some periwinkle yarn and cast on Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl along with the craftlit folks. I am quite happy with the dye job, and knitting the pattern while listening to the book is just about the most sublime combination for someone who should have been a librarian, but couldn’t quite make it because the lure of having pink hair was just too strong.

Drive By Photos

Where I have been–in photos

Athrun Captain America in his Halloween parade.

All of my yarn in one place, conveniently arranged on shelves at the Twisted! Fiber Festival

Brock’s new winter hat-in-progress.

The fourth pair of socks from the Sock Knitting Master Class.

Starting Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl to keep up with Heather Ordover from Craft Lit

Do you think Jane would like the periwinkle?

And a quick note to say that my etsy shop is now back online. And there’s a special sale running if you visit my facebook page.

Twisted Fiber Festival

Just in case you were wondering where I have disappeared to:

I have been organizing this with the help of two lovely ladies who are, like me, going to be vendors also. As you can see below, I am teaching a class as well.

Twisted! Details

Alpacas at Orchard Hill
Knit n Spin
Tiny Dino Studios
Twisted Sisters
Th’red Head
Blushing Ewe
Shirley’s Succulents
Tom Swayne Woodworking
Prairie Productions
Laura’s Pygoras
Creations by Anna
Rouse House
Images in Time 3D
The Wicked Stitch
Elaine Kruger’s Sewing
Barb’s Nuno Felted Wearable Art

TWISTED Fiber Festival
FREE Classes/Demos
Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Potwin Fiber Artisans are happy to offer the following FREE
classes/demonstrations during the course of the TWISTED Fiber Festival! Each of the demonstrators is an artisan in the subject matter of their class/demo and many have scheduled classes in January so that you can build upon the knowledge and techniques you learn during the festival. Each session is 45-55 minutes long and the artisans will have tools available for you to utilize during the class; some will have tools available for purchase, and many vendors at the festival will have fibers available for purchase!

10am- BEGINNING KNITTING with Jenny Binfield
Jenny will show you how to caste on and begin knitting, and will have a handout with her basic knitting tips and techniques. Needles and yarn will be available, or you can bring your own needles and purchase some delicious handspun from one of the vendors.

11am- BEGINNING CROCHET with Susan Hudgens
Learn the basics of crochet, including slipknot, chain, slip stitch, single crochet & double crochet. Bring a crochet hook, yarn and scissors-some materials available, first come, first serve.

Noon- SPINNING with Marla Holt
Learn drafting techniques that allow you to quickly and easily spin fun thick n thin yarn and lofty thick singles on your spinning wheel. Please bring your spinning wheel and about 4 ounce of fiber you are familiar with spinning.

1pm- EMBROIDERY BASICS with Susan Hudgens
Learn the skills needed to complete a simple embroidery project including choosing materials, overhand knot, back-stitch, overhand stitch, French knot, satin stitch,, Lazy Daisy and as many other as we can fit in. Bring scissors, aida cloth, needles & floss-some materials available, first come, first serve.

With an eye for color and texture, Jennifer creates beautiful art batts! Come watch her show you just how fun and easy it is to create an amazing fiber batt on a drum carder, ready to be spun into a unique OOAK yarn or used in your next felting project.

2pm- MAGIC LOOP KNITTING with Meg Wickham
The Magic Loop Technique allows you to make something small and circular by using one long 32″ or longer circular needle. Bring 75 yards of worsted weight (very soft) yarn and US sz 7 needles at least 32″ if you want to try alongside the instructor.

3pm- DROP SPINDLE SPINNING with Lori Warren
Lori will cover the basics of using a drop spindle: getting started, prepping your fiber, drafting, starting a leader, and park & draft spinning. She will also demonstrate how to skein and finish your handspun yarn. Drop Spindles, made by Lori, will be available for $10.

4pm- NEEDLE FELTING BASICS with Anna Walker
Stab something into existence and learn from @FELTit herself! With a barbed needle and some pretty fiber, learn the basics of needle felting as you create your own little cyclone! Basic needle felting instructions will go home with you along with your felting needle and a foam block!

I might not be very present until all of this is over, but when it is, look for the relaunch of the Tiny Dino Studios Etsy store and lots and lots of knitting!