Tunis Roving is Here!

braidoftunisroving Buy This Here!

I think I mentioned awhile ago that I had purchased some wool from a local rancher and sent it to The Shepherd’s Mill here in Kansas. Well, I just got it back and I love it!

It’s Tunis wool. It’s been minimally processed so it has a great sproingy hand along with a little bit of vegetable manner and just a hint of lanolin smell. mmmmmmmm Sheepy.

A little bit about Tunis:
Tunis is a medium wool sheep with modest crimp. (my Tunis has more crimp than usual and has been bred for fineness). There is some faint lustre, but Tunis is known for it’s peachy overtones. Fine grade Tunis (like what you see pictured) is good for next to skin wear and for midrange garments as well. Tunis does not felt easy. Overall, it’s a pretty durable wool. It would make a really great fisherman’s sweater. And I currently have four pounds of it undyed and available to for sale up on the etsy site so you can do just that.

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The stable length is about 4.5 inches, and I did my best to capture the crimp definition in this photo. (Before I sent this to the mill, it looked more like Corriedale lock than the pictures of Tunis I’ve seen in books.)

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I am going to go spin some right now!

Consequences of a Bad Day

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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.

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sick day knitting

A Tuesday Jumble

Life has been a jumble lately.

Yesterday I came out to my car after work (late, of course) to find that my right front tire was flat. This didn’t really surprise me because I haven’t been able to keep air in the thing to save my life and kind of just gave up on filling it up the last few weeks. The kicker is that I get off work with just enough time to get across town and pick Athrun up from school. And it was raining, can’t forget that part. You’ll be proud to know that I only panicked a little bit

I managed to snag a ride, Brock was out of class, so we picked Athrun up, put the donut on the car and drove home, dreading having to pay someone for a new tire, because I pretty much dread paying anyone for anything–except yarn. I will happily pay for yarn in almost any circumstance. At least I knew I was going to have Tuesday off, so I had plenty of time to take care of getting the tire replaced.

Having Tuesday off is not a normal thing. Last week, my place of employment played host to Kansas Book Festival, which meant I had to be at work all day long on a Saturday, which is apparently so awful it earned me an extra day off during the week. I chose Tuesday (today, for the record) not just because it makes more sense for my job, but because it seemed more special than having Monday off, because you know, that happens sometimes. Let me tell you, having Tuesday off is awesome. I didn’t have to compete with anyone else for the washer and dryer in the basement, I didn’t have anyone to mess things up while I cleaned, and nobody stepped on the sweaters.

That’s right, I dedicated my day off to fall cleaning. (That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as spring cleaning…but it’s the same basic principle, just preparing for winter instead of recovering from it.) I cleaned the house from top to bottom, did all of the laundry, tidied closets, and washed sweaters. I love cleaning the house when there is no one home. I don’t know why, but that’s just the best time to do it. And it has been a long time since I have been home by myself for an entire day. Call me crazy, but it was heaven. I have shining floors, clean carpets, and when the weather turns for good, the family will be prepared with freshly laundered woolens.

All of this, however, has not left me very much time for knitting.

After getting distracted by two pairs of socks and a sweater, I am making a good faith effort to get my brother his birthday socks before the weather turns, even though he could probably use them now. He rides a motorcycle, and I know from my Moped days that it’s always 10 degrees cooler on a bike. So I have put all other projects aside until I can finish these.

That means my other projects look like this:



Almondine is one sock plus one sock cuff, and the yarn for the French Market socks finally arrived. I bought a lot, because I plan on doing a lot of swatching. Besides, don’t you just love the colors? I will admit, I chose these colors partly because of their names. The cream is, strangely enough, called Cream, the dark brown is called Bison, and the fawn color is called Wheat. The French Market socks will henceforth be known as Kansas Socks, because I know of a farm where I could one of each of these products within twenty miles of where I live. (The other reason I chose them is because it reminds me of the three most common Alpaca colors I have seen, and I really wanted to do these in natural colors. This way I can just pretend.)

I also have a design in my head for a sweater. And it will probably stay there for the foreseeable future.

Then there is this.

Yes, I found a craftsy class on stranding and steeking. The class was on sale, so I bought it over the weekend. I have never wanted to use the same exact colors I have seen in the pattern before, but I want that vest exactly. I just have to wait until I can afford all that yarn…but it’s so gorgeous! I have been watching the classes, and I think I can handle the steeking when it comes along–I think.

What have you been up to?

Gorgeous

It is simply gorgeous outside right now. It’s 8 am and already over 60 degrees. The sun is out, the trees have started to bud (pictures of the magnolia tree next to the balcony when it’s in full bloom, I promise.) I slept with the windows open last night and the apartment was a very comfortable in temperature. Of course, this being Kansas in (near) spring the wind has been howling for about the last 24 hours straight. (At least it wasn’t too snowy and there isn’t too much sand blowing around.) It does make me nervous about putting my seedlings outside to harden off for fear I would come out later to find an upturned tray and all my baby plants carried off to the prairie by the wind. If the wind can blow books off my bookshelf in my bedroom, it can sure make off with some tiny plants. (Guess the wind doesn’t like essays?)

Best of all, I retrieved my bike from storage yesterday. It needed a bit of air in the tires and a little dusting off and it was good as new. (I haven’t even had it a year, so technically, it is new.) The rain is supposed to set in this afternoon, I hear, so I am going to take this morning to go out on my first long ride of the season–a ride I hope morphs into a no big deal morning commute. I am going to hop onto the nature trail around the corner and bike to the Washburn, the local university. I have a meeting there tomorrow with the journalism school, which probably means I’ll be going back to school in the fall for a second undergrad degree. Anyhow, I see no reason why I shouldn’t bike there in good weather, it’s only a couple of miles if I take the Shunga (nature trail for non-locals). And I can get a lot of practice over the summer, because Flying Monkey is right across the street, and that’s the only place I’ve done any substantial writing lately.

The onset of spring has me feeling even more optimistic than normal.

Now, to plow through my to-do list so I can get out on that bike!

Enjoy oggling my two newest yarns just for fun

Self-striping sock yarn in Earth and Air.

Winter WoolFest 2012

Just thought I would nip in real quick and let everyone know that I will be one of the Vendors at Winter WoolFest 2012 in Wamego, KS. I will have everything you see listed in my shop, and hopefully a few extra special items that I will have time to make once the Christmas knitting is over.

I am also teaching the Cottage Knitting class, so if you want to learn more about lever knitting, I am your gal.

And, a sneak peak at what I have been up to with my silk.

There is a couple handfuls of the cocoons dyed to match some alpaca roving. This has since been blended on my hackle and spun. I will ply tomorrow and show off the finished product then. (You know, something to look forward to.)

I am off to nurse my silk blisters and work on my gifts. (The gift knitting will end someday, I promise.)

Hand-Spun! . . . and a whole lot more

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200 yards worsted weight hand-spun wool

I am thrilled to announce that I am adding a line of hand-spun yarn to my etsy shop! The first addition is pictured above and more are on their way. I have been spinning all day long. I find the motion of spinning a deeply soothing exercise now that I have the hang of it. Because of that, I have been spending a lot of time at my wheel. So much time that there is no way I could ever knit all of the yarn I have been spinning. (Well, I probably could but I would really like to avoid having my apartment over flow with yarn the way cartoon laundry rooms do with soap suds.)

The summer is winding down. I have been finished with school for about three months now. Athrun started Kindergarten on Tuesday, and I have had zero luck finding a job outside the coffee shop, particularly a job I feel like I can really do well. This summer has been full of waffling back and forth on the issue: Do I find an office job that pays a little bit more and allows me to sleep like a regular human being or do I concentrate on growing my own business ventures and creating a job for myself? Do I find a job where I might have to cancel on Shephreding Camp (because did I mention I am going!) or do I stick with the coffee shop and work toward my goal of starting my own farm, possibly fiber csa, sometime within the next decade or do I go try my luck as an administrative assistant or a customer service rep?

To tell the truth, as ready as I am to be the coffee shop customer instead of the barista, I also want to have the opportunity to participate in 2012 season with Growing Growers so I can learn more about growing food out on my Future Fantasy Farm and meet the really great farmer’s who live in my area. I can’t tell you how drawn I am to the idea of participating in that program, but concerns about money kick in just like they always do. The basic concern being that I could really use some more of it. The temptation of money has pulled me back and forth over the past three months, but the strangest thing pointed me in what I feel is the right direction about two weeks ago. The complete lack of money for the right thing.

Not far from my apartment, there is a great shopping center which is mostly full of small, local businesses. One of these, a coffee shop that has always struggled (and was never open when I could go there, might I add) closed down. It’s a cute shop space, and if you’re from Topeka, you know which one I mean. It was all wood with big windows, a nice bar with a little seating downstairs, with a homey upstairs. I noticed the closed for good sign one morning on my way to work while filling up my gas tank. All I could think was “STUDIO SPACE!” and that’s pretty much all I thought the rest of the day.

The downstairs, with some renovation would make a really cute yarn shop, which Topeka is sorely lacking. And upstairs would be the perfect classroom space. You could hold small knitting/spinning classes and maybe even some dyeing lessons. It would small, cute, cozy, a gathering space even. Maybe I would keep the espresso machine. Everything a yarn shop should be. I could see it perfectly, but I knew the rent on that place would be more than I currently pay for where I am living, and nobody is giving out business loans–especially to a girl who already has a little debt and barely-above-minimum-wage job–but the motivating thought the past few weeks is that I can get there.

I don’t necessarily need the rented studio space, but it might be a stepping stone somewhere along the line. Right now I don’t really know. All I do know is that I am putting myself full-steam back into Tiny Dino Studios and going where it takes me. (I am hoping this means more blog posts as well as more products.)

I have some hand-knit samples worked up, but the photography hasn’t quite worked out yet. I almost feel like I need a dress form. But one, dress forms are expensive, two, most of the modern ones are ugly, so I would want to find a vintage one, which is probably even more expensive, and three, I have a very small apartment and finding a place for it might be a problem. All that aside, if you know of someone who has a nice vintage dress form along these lines, I would be happy to make them an offer.

Now, I am off to do some yoga, which is my other new project: losing all the weight I gained when I went back to school–which is a whole other blog post.

Teasing: What I did in July

So, I posted my spinning from the first day of the Tour de Fleece, and since then there has been blog silence. I realize it’s been a month, but I have been working hard. What follows is just a peak of what I’ve been up to.

Here is the rest of my TdF spinning:

Hummingbird Handspun from Cosymakes Farm Wool Club
Humming Bird Corriedale from Cosy Makes

Brown Shetland Handspun
Natural Brown Shetland

Brown Shetland and Fawn Alpaca Handspun

A Little Bit of Brown Shetland plied with a sample of Fawn Alpaca

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My First 3-Ply! BFL in Stina from Blue Dog Fibers

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Some Targhee/Mohair from Cosy Makes again. Not a great picture, but really great yarn, and fun to spin. I. Love. Mohair.

I dyed some Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, which is so soft I want to sit and snuggle with it more than anything else. I have been working on some autumn colors and am completely in love with this amber/gold.

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Despite the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Kansas, I am still managing to get some work done.
Knitting has been flying off my needles in the form of test knits for the shop. Expect photos of those to come!

Sale and New Wool!


To celebrate finally earning my bachelor’s degree, I have a sale going on over at the shop through this Sunday. Use code DINO10 and receive 10% off your entire purchase.

Here are a few of the things I have been dyeing up lately:

Two 100g skeins of fingering weight BFL yarn done in Robin’s Egg Blue.


4 oz braid of BFL Top in Wildflower


4 oz braid of BFL top in Fire Flower

(I will have a more substantial post later on, I promise.)

Monthly Challenge KET

One of the teams I am involved with on Etsy to help promote my shop is the Kansas Etsy Team. The idea is to help promote the shops here in Kansas. Every month there is a themed challenge where the artist must create an item inspired by the theme. This month the theme was “Kansas in Spring”. My contribution was gradient-dyed yarn inspired by the blossoms of the magnolia trees.

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Right now, on the Kansas Etsy Team Blog you can take a look at all the other contributions, and vote for your favorite. The winner gets to chose the theme for next month’s challenge!

Go take a look and see what other Kansas artist are selling!