Mid Summer Pursuits

Did I mention I started a new job? A real permanent job? I honestly can’t remember. It’s a great job with an unambiguous title: Retail Coordinator. And I get to work for Kansas–not the government, which is all around pretty good in my book–but folks it’s a lot to learn and take over all at once. I can’t sleep at night my mind is so busy processing it all. I don’t feel rushed or panicked or unhappy–quite the opposite really–I am just behind–through no fault of my own. But the catching up is taking most of my brain power, and I forget to start writing a blog post until 5 minutes before it’s time to leave for work, and we’ve all seen how well that has been working out.

The rest of my energies have gone into the following pursuits:


These peaches became ice cream. I have been experimenting with ice cream making this week, which I have never ever made before. See, I used to be baker, but then I gave up wheat (and sugar, but am less strict about this)* and baking was no longer an option unless I wanted to spend a fortune on nut flours. Ladies and gentlemen, these last few months have seen me pretty much the definition of broke. Broker than I have ever been. Nothing was purchased that was not a necessity, and fancy flour-substitutes are the definition of luxury. Given dietary restrictions, I made my ice cream with cream, evaporated milk and peaches soaked in a couple teaspoons of honey. It was good, and now it was gone. Alas, no photographs were taken of the final product, but I will be continuing to experiment.

Tonight I attempted to make Mocha Gelato, but I am pretty sure I didn’t let the mixture cool enough before churning it. The upside is that with very few ingredients, milk, honey, cocoa, instant espresso, vanilla, I created a really great tasting chocolate / coffee soup that I am freezing never-the-less hoping it doesn’t turn into ice. Less sugary substance is better. Next, I really want to attempt making ice cream from coconut milk and get rid of the dairy all together. I don’t have trouble with dairy, but I know folks who do, and I think it would be fun. Plus, I. Love. Coconut.

While it is summer and ice cream making is the appropriate thing to do, I have been doing all sorts of inappropriate things with wool.


Like knitting sweaters in 100+ degree heat.

I finished the body of the surfer tee, and only have (cap) sleeves to knit and the neckline to clean up. I knit a size I thought I might shrink down to by October and it fits perfectly now. It will still look good on me in October if I continue losing weight at this rate. After that, I will probably rip it out and knit a different sweater, because knitting sweaters is fun and I have been impressing msyself with my new ultra-economic ways.

At the same time, I have been working on my sister’s belated birthday gift.

It’s a laptop cozy for her new computer that she is taking to CHINA. With fang buttons. She will love this. Even if knitting in garter stitch for that long was a horrible idea.

Then I started a completely insane project for July.

A thick, worsted weight cabled sweater. It’s already warm in my lap, but the squishiness of the cables and the roundness of the yarn and the fact that I will have the perfect sweater finished by the time I actually need it this year when the weather turns keeps my needles going. The sweater was in the most recent WEBS catalog I received, and when I saw it, I knew it was what my Cormo Rusticus (100% cormo) yarn would become. The sweater is Pearl Street Pullover, and the yarn was a one off, but I bet they might have something fun a Juniper Moon Farm.

Thursday I try my hand a teaching my first sock knitting class. Wish me luck.

* I keep meaning to write a short post about how, after half a decade of struggling with my weight, I am finally losing it again. The easiest way to say it is that I gave up grains (yes grains, not just wheat) and sugar. I don’t think that blog post is ever going to happen in a way that I will be satisfied with. I don’t think food should be religion, and every time I try I sound like gluten-free evangelist. If you want to know how I modified my lifestyle and am losing weight, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. The lifestyle that website describes is pretty close to what I am doing, and full of great information.

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Priorities


I am swatching for a belated birthday gifts. I just bought buttons for it this evening. The buttons are great, the buying buttons at Joanns was not a pleasant experience. It reinforced my dire longing to have a really good local yarn / craft shop so that I never have to ever enter Joanns again.


Alpaca yarn I finished spinning yesterday. 7 oz / 200g of blacker than black DK weight yarn. What should I do with it?


I finished my Ginny Weasley socks! I love them.

I have about 1000 projects I would like be working on, but these are my priorities right now. What are you working on?

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Pictures from the Holidays


Being silly at the fourth of July party


Chasing Parachutes –I don’t really care that this one is blurry, because he had such a fun time running after the parachutes.


Wearing safety goggles and my ebbtide shwawl (he was cold), he was attempting to shut out the screeching fireworks noise. Don’t ask my why he’s plugging his nose instead of his ears.


His birthday pup. (Pattern pileable pups from mochi mochi land

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Sock Inspiration

One of my favorite things to knit in summer is socks. Top-down vanilla socks are easy for me now, because I can carry the pattern around in my head and I don’t have a large wool something on my lap when it’s 115 degrees outside. (And I do wish I was exaggerating.)

Here are a few pictures I took a couple of weeks ago of socks I have been working on.

I used yarn left over from my Daybreak shawl to knit a cute pair of shorty socks.

I really love these colors together!

Then, I treated myself to some Ginny Weasley sock yarn from Gnome Acres. I will admit I bought the yarn because of what it was called (it’s no secret that I love my Harry Potter), but the colors are gorgeous too.

Here’s how it’s knitting up for my size socks. (64 stitches over 8 stitches per inch, your mileage may vary.) Of course, this was a couple of weeks ago, so that sock is long finished. And I am onto the second one. I am seriously considering indulging in the Bertie Bott’s colorway next.

If you are a local, and want to learn to knit socks for yourself (and your friends and family) I still have space in my sock class!

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Weekend Update

I have so much news, it’s not even funny. I think the best way to proceed is in list form otherwise I will lose track of time.
Yarny News:

1. I will be adding a Farmer’s Market Schedule page to the website so all you locals can check in and find out what days I will be at the Farmer’s Market for the rest of the season. I should have thought of this in April, but it took me until July, so there you have it.

2. This week (July 7th) I will not have my own booth up at the Farmer’s Market because I will be doing my duty at the Potwin Fiber Artisans. However, I will be selling a selection of sock yarn at that booth this week that is normally in the Tiny Dino Studios booth. And it’s offered at 15% discount for anyone who signs up for my sock class.

3. Which brings me to some good news! I am finally back in the teaching game, and friends, it has been too long. In late July I will be offering my beginners sock class. If you live in NE Kansas and have always wanted to learn how to make yourself a warm pair of woolly sock for winter, now is the time to learn. Full details are on the Classes page. (However, if you want to sign up for the class, please EMAIL ME at marla at tinydinostudios dot com, and do not leave a comment on the blog.)

4. I (finally) ordered Tiny Dino Studios a Square, so as soon as next week I can start accepting credit card transactions in whenever!

In Other News:
5. My son’s birthday is on Friday. He will be six. 6! I really can’t believe how fast he’s growing. Accordingly, his third knitted puppy dog is underway, but way behind schedule.

6. My main goal for the day, after writing this blog post, is to reorganize my apartment. With three people, one running a business and one SCIENCE student, and one a child with many toys, this small space gets cluttered rather quickly if I don’t stay on top of things. And the past few weeks I have been anywhere but on top of things. Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me…

7.Upon last weighing, I have lost 25 lbs, which is an exciting and empowering experience. I promise I will write a blog post about that a little more in depth for those who are interested. A little preview, I have a ton more energy and I had bacon and eggs for breakfast.

8. And best of all, I finally found a job. I left my job at the coffee shop last November, and over the winter was able to support myself through various means while working from home. Then, this spring I started taking temporary positions when my various means were running a little dry. My last day of temping was Friday. The whole way along (since November) I have been applying for various and sundry positions I thought I might be good at / enjoy / be qualified for. I went to a few interviews, but didn’t find anything I really wanted to do, and obviously the hirers felt the same way about me, because nary a call for second interview came my way. I was at the point of discouragement where I enrolled to go back to school (which I am now going to have to undo…) And then, I had an interview with the Kansas Historical Foundation and it was the best interview ever. You know how when you go into an interview and they sit you down and say, “We just want to have a conversation about the position…” and it ends up just being a normal interview–yeah, well we actually had a conversation that was easy, and dare I say it, fun! I start Monday.

9. So, if you’re coming through Topeka this summer, may I suggest a short stop over? Of course you’ll want to go to the zoo and see the Penguins in the morning before it gets up to 105. But in the afternoon, when it’s so hot you feel you’ll melt, stop by the Kansas Museum of History and enjoy some air conditioning and some really interesting stuff.

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Good Morning, Zuchini

Good morning, zucchini blossom

This is one of the plants that still needs to go into the earth box. Apparently pretty quickly, because it is getting ahead of me.

So are the potatoes!

I didn’t look in on the potatoes for a couple of days (just a couple, I am not neglectful) due to my job trying to kill me (another post I hope to write soon, I promise) and the potatoes grew! I am a new enough gardener that seeing something sprout after it’s planted in dirt and then watered it still magical. I don’t think it ever stops being magical, which is probably why gardeners are always adding more plants, taking up more of their yards, learning to can and freeze properly. They are addicted–and so am I. Now, if I can just remember to check the potatoes every day, I might be able to keep them alive.

Despite the job that’s trying to kill me, I have done some other stuff too.

I took this sweater out of Pterarnodon Worsted that was too big

to this kinky mess of yarn


And overdyed it a couple of times (I know it’s hard to tell from the photographs, but I promise, it’s much lovelier) to get a darker, richer brown that is destined to become some kind of vest I think. I have just under 1000 yards of yarn here, so I have room to play. Any suggestions?

Also, I started a new sweater.

I do love a poor photograph in the morning, don’t you?

I cast on the Surfer Tee that Stefanie Japel has been blogging about this week–mostly because I liked the neckline and I am a sucker for a kangaroo pocket. The pattern is free right now on her blog–not sure how long it will be up.

I am doing something that most people would advise you not to do ever never ever. I am knitting this sweater in the size I want to be and not the size that I currently am. Perhaps I am overly optimistic because I have lost 20 lbs recently, and am hoping that I can lose another 20-30 more before the cold comes again. I am knitting for my future self and I don’t care who knows it. I needed some sweater therapy and this is just about right. (Yarn is knit picks swish worsted in lost lake heather–which is knitting up nicely, but I have to say, I am so used to minimally processed stuff (EG, Pteranodon Worsted) that this feels kind of like American cheese when you’re used to artisan cheddar.)

What are you working on this weekend?

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Bazaar Recap

The bazaar this weekend was a lot of fun. I love a good excuse to hang out in a room full of people working on fibery pursuits. There was a lot of knitting (I was mostly working on a sock, because I am sooo exciting that way), spinning, weaving, and needle felting. I needle felted for the first time! I was very proud of my flat square of wool. I will have to get some more direction on how to make something other than a rectangle from Anna the next time she offers classes.

I have been making subtle changes to my set up every week.

This time I hung my hand dyed tops on my drying rack, which gave me room to spread the worsted weight yarn out a bit.

The best seller of the weekend was definitely the sock yarn.

My sock yarn shelf is starting to look just a little bit sad. It doesn’t help that I am out of vinegar and have consistently forgotten to purchase any when out for the past week–and therefore I can’t dye. As soon as a gallon of vinegar makes it home with me there will be more sock yarn.

I made a really great score from the BlushingEwe booth.

Tarnish on the left, Fireflower on the right. I had in mind to find something at the bazaar that I could weave a fun scarf for myself out of, and these two lovely ladies just fit the bill. I love how elegant and understated tarnish is, and how loud and saturated fireflower is. They are about the same percentages of wool, silk, and firestar, and I can’t help but feel I am going to have a very luxurious woven scarf when I finish.


Here they are pulled into roving and ready to spin. I like to pull it out so I still get all of the layers ate one time for the color and texture variation, but so that it is still in an orderly strip. I find spinning directly from batt form a little difficult.

I seem to be on a bit of a neck warmer kick. First the Ebbtide, then all the luxurious woven scarf planning, and of course, the Daybreak I started a few days ago.


I am a little less than half way through the striped section for the largest size. It’s very easy and fun to knit–and I love how retro looking my colors are turning out.

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Spring Bazaar

A few of you locals might be interested to know that instead of being at the farmers market this weekend, I will attending the spring fiber arts!

I, the Potwin Fiber Artisans and I will be at Potwin Presbyterian Church in Topeka. We are on the First Friday Art Walk Friday from 5-9 pm. On Saturday, we will be open from 9am to 5pm. The coolest part is that we will be offering mini-classes, from knitting to spinning to weaving.

Come join us. It will be a blast!

Other notables:
Alpacas at Orchard Hill will be there (ie, the finest alpaca in Kansas)
Blushing Ewe will be there as well with her gorgeous batts. (I usually can’t resist buying one myself.)
The Industrious Knit’n Spin who has been working her tail off, so make sure you give her some love when you see her.

My mission, to find yarn and / or fiber for my first unsupervised weaving project.

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Mondays Are For Photography

It has become my Monday morning routine to photograph all the yarns dyed and / or spun in the previous week and post everything to etsy. Every Monday I am astonished at how much work I did over the previous week. Sometimes I forget how much I get done because dyeing and spinning yarn doesn’t really seem like all that much work. I remember all the work on the computer I do (which is a lot) rather than the actually production aspect, so when I pile up the yarn for the photo shoot, I am always satisfied with the stack.


You can’t quite see everything in that photo, but the sock yarn on top is my favorite. I called it dino hide and that as much of the color makes me giggle with joy.

I worry during the week about having enough inventory for the farmers market, but then I look at my apartment overflowing with yarn and fiber, and I get over it. Frankly, I need to get some of this stuff out of here.

Some of the other photos I took this morning:

Handspun local Lincoln yarn


carrot juice sock yarn


ember worsted yarn

And a bonus FO:

Yesterday afternoon I finished Ebbtide. (Raveled here)

This pattern was the most recent Knit-A-Long hosted by the Knit Knit Cafe Podcast. It was actually my first KAL, but was announced right as I was giving in to a shawl-knitting fever. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew which yarn it had be made out of, and I cast on that same day. The shawl is knit out of my Protoceratops Yarn, which is my absolute favorite. There was just enough yardage to make the larger shawl size (I did bind off one row early.)

I will have Ebbtide on display (not for sale) at my farmers market booth this summer, so if you live in the area, you can stop by and see it in person so that I might enable you further.

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