Category Archives: Fun

A new obsession – Spinning!

At the beginning of the new year, instead of setting resolutions for myself that I knew would be lost after a month or two - I instead tried to come up with a list of crafting goals for myself in 2012. And wouldn't you know it, I have been slowly been tackling new projects and checking off my goals! One of the things I knew I really wanted to try this year was spinning. And aside from the fact that you get to make your own yarn, I just loved the zen-like calm that spinners have about them as they sit at their spinning wheel. Combined with the fact that I had a wealth of information all around me since so many others here at the KP office know how to spin, I finally faced with the fact that it might be time to learn. I had a good chunk of Wool of the Andes Roving in Tidepool Heather that I started on with a drop spindle, and that is where my spinning adventure started! L: Full Circle Roving, R: Full Circle and Wool of the Andes Roving

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How to Dye Yarn with Food Coloring

As the sugar high of chocolate, jelly beans, and Peeps finally wears off, you might find a box or two of leftover Easter egg dye lying around the kitchen. Instead of tossing them back in the cupboards, grab some of your favorite Bare yarns and start dyeing! You might be surprised to learn that a lot of unconventional dyes, like Easter egg dye and food coloring, are a wonderful way of dyeing protein based fibers like wool, alpaca and silk. In addition to being inexpensive, these are dyes you can easily find at your local grocery store. Another great thing about dyeing with Easter egg dye and food coloring is that these are nontoxic dyes, making them ideal for a fun afternoon crafting project with children. And if you are anything like me, you might already know that right after the holiday is the best time to stock up on Easter egg dye packages for year-round yarn dyeing fun!      

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Podcast Episode 181: Color Development & New Spring Yarns

With spring just around the corner, there are lots of new yarns popping up here at Knit Picks! First, Alison chats with Jenny about all of the fun that was had while developing the fifteen new colors of Chroma Fingering and Chroma Worsted. Hear all about the colors that almost didn’t make the cut, how they were saved and which shades are quickly becoming staff favorites. Next up on the list of ...

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Podcast Episode 179: Learning the Quirks of Lace

Love the look of lace but intimidated by the techniques? Let Kelley guide you through the process of knitting lace as she goes over the quirks of lace knitting, in addition to tips and tricks for successful lace projects. Next, Kelley chats about one of her favorite things to do while knitting or spinning – listening to audiobooks! Kelley gives an overview of audible (an audiobook service) as well as several reviews of recently completed audiobooks she has enjoyed listening to while crafting. Finally, Kelley ...

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Technique of the Week: How to Use Silk Hankies

This week's technique of the week is all about silk hankies! Also known as mawata, each silk hankie is made of silk from cocoons that are stretched and dried over a square loom that can then be pulled apart, drafted and worked into yarn. Best part of all is that you don't need any special tools and you don't even need to know how to spin in order to enjoy these lovely silk hankies. Simply peel off a light-as-air layer of silk and slowly pull it apart by beginning in the center, and you'll be ready to knit or crochet with it. These stunning Silk Hankies from Hanks in the Hood are available in so many beautiful colors, choosing your favorite just might be the hardest part! Another advantage for those unfamiliar to spinning techniques is that silk has very long fibers, which makes it easy to draft without accidentally pulling it completely apart. Although the process of turning your silk hankies into yarn is rather simple, it can be a bit intimidating at first and feel somewhat like you are venturing into unknown waters. And if you are anything like me, a little visual reference can go a long way when I am learning new techniques. Which is why we put together a video tutorial all about how to work with silk hankies. You'll learn all about seperating and drafting each layer by layer, how to start working with your drafted fiber, along with other tips and trick for working with these beauties!

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A journey of 100,000 stitches…

Begins with a single slip knot! The yarn for hubby's sweater is here! I think he was even more excited than I was when I first opened the box on our couch. He grabbed it and took a deep whif of its woolly goodness. I've trained him well! Now for the fun part - designing the sweater!

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Inspired Colors – From Past to Present Day

As we talked about in the last color theory blog post, inspiration for color is all around us. In addition to seeing amazing combinations of colors in nature, we can even look back through works of art to find patterns of color combinations that have stayed true for hundreds of years. Continuing along with our theme of warming up the winter blues, we will take a closer look at different shade of blue along with colors that are often paired with blues – including paintings from centuries ago to present day fashion. When I think of exceptionally lovely uses of the color blue, I can’t help but think of the 17th century Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer. Known best for his domestic scenes of middle class life, Vermeer was also particularly fond of bright, vibrant shades of blues which were often paired with bold colors such as yellows, oranges, and reds.

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Warm up the Winter Blues with Color!

Anytime you are involved in a creative or visual craft, having a good understanding of color relationships is a foundation that you will appreciate over and over again. Color is all around us. It has the ability to affect our mood, it can make us feel energized, it can make us sleepy, it can make us hungry, and yes, it can even effect our knitting and crocheting. The study of color is complex and can sometimes feel overwhelming, but getting comfortable with the basics will empower you to create stunning sweaters, hats, mittens, and so much more. As we embark on another year filled with fiber fun, we will be crafting through the seasons! During the next few months of cooler climates and dreary weather, we will be warming up our winter blues with projects, ideas, and inspiration that focus on shades of blue. Here is a basic color wheel that includes the primary colors – yellow, blue, and red – along with secondary and tertiary colors. Although only twelve colors are show, it can go a long way in translating color relationships. More advanced color wheels also include a large range of these basic colors in different hues and shades.

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Resolutions

Earlier in the year, I wrote a post outlining my crazy goals for 2011. Well, 2011 is over - how did I do? First of all - the total! I wanted to hit 100 knitted projects, plus 11 sewn projects to make a total of 111 in 2011. Did I make it? Boy howdy, I sure did! 100 knitted projects, from cast on to bind off, finished in 2011. To me, that's really the biggest achievement, considering how much else I've been working on. But, what were they? Well, here you go! (see them all after the jump!)

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Crafting into 2012

Working alongside so many clever crafters, it is easy to branch out of my comfort zone and try my hand at new projects and crafts. In addition to those who knit and crochet, there are also spinners, weavers, and dyers here at the KP office – a wealth of knowledge and inspiration! Over the past year, I have crocheted a few amigurumi toys and learned how to weave on a rigid heddle loom. Not only is it so much fun to explore new ways to indulge my fiber love, but it is also welcomed reality check. It was strange and exciting to be back into that unknown territory where I couldn’t read my stitches and I wasn’t sure if my hands were moving correctly to warp the loom. It was fun to have a project where I could embrace the experience and learning process rather than focus on the finished object.In the spirit of a new year and new projects, I am beginning to plan my list of new things to try out in 2012. First things first – I am starting to realize I have a growing collection of fiber. I have a drop spindle that I play around with from time to time, but I think learning to spin would be a much more effective use of my time and fiber!                     Wool of the Andes and Hanks in the Hood roving

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