And I do mean big!
Getting into crochet has been a great spark for me. I love learning and trying new things and experimenting. I love to push my own boundaries, too – so when I kept seeing amazing images of arm-knitting and arm-crocheting, I needed to try it!
Basically, arm-knitting and crocheting is when the material you’re working with is so large that your arms become the needles or hook (or, if you’re really crafty, you make the tools yourself!). This larger-than-life technique isn’t new – it’s been a perennial favorite of installation artists who work with everything from fiberglass to 1,000 strands of yarn at once. But it is new to me.
I had a wad of plain Wool of the Andes roving sitting around, and on a whim I grabbed it, split it into two halves lengthwise, and tested what could be done with it as yarn. The sample didn’t look like much, but it was promising. So, in my typical go-big-or-go-home fashion, I ordered 20 hanks of Full Circle roving in quarry and set out to make…something!
I am a huge fan of color. I love to mix and match and get some lovely and unique color combinations. My favorite is to dye Bare Roving and Yarn using the Jacquard Acid Dyes – there are so many colors to choose from! There are also many methods to dyeing. I used the crock pot method for this blog.
A partial Earthues Botanical Dye Kit
kit found its way to my desk last weekend and I jumped on the chance to
dye a little bit of an enormous fleece I bought at last year’s Black Sheep Gathering.
There was enough cutch left in the packet to dye about 3/4 of a pound
of fiber. So, in the pot it went with some Alum as a premordant and then
once more into the pot with the powdered cutch for a few hours on a hot
There are certain people that you meet in your fiber travels that simply beam with a passion for what they do, and no one embodies this like Jen Anderson, the face behind Hanks in the Hood. It is a quality that is infectious in person and hard to express in words. And since Jen is a local to us here in Portland (she is based out of Gresham, Oregon), I was so excited when I was able to spend a day at her shop (Andersen Fiber Works) and her fiber processing studio for a little video interview! All of us here at the office love Jen and of course, her rovings and batts from Hanks in the Hood. And personally, I am thrilled to be able to share Jen’s story in addition to her enthusiasm, drive, and passion for what she does everyday.
I hope this little video lets you get to know Jen a little bit better, I am sure you’ll love her as much as we all do!
During the very first sock summit (which was almost three years ago, back in 2009!), I got overtaken by all of the fiber fumes and came home with a drop spindle. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to what I was going to do with said drop spindle, but I knew I needed one everytime I walked past someone drop spindling as they were standing around, waiting in line, or just hanging out. After I recovered from the fiber festivities, I tucked my drop spindle away in one of my craft containers.
Finally a year or so later, I dusted off my drop spindle after a visit to an alpaca farm where I couldn’t resist buying some fiber. From then on out, every few weeks I would break out my spindle to spin up a bit of fiber. It took a while to get the feel for drafting, but every time it got easier and more natural.
If you have ever been intrigued by making your own yarn or spinning with a drop spindle, we have an entire 6-part series video class to help you get started! Kelley’s Drop Spindling Class covers everything from terminology to drafting, finishing, and even plying your yarn. It really is so much fun and a great way to play with fiber!
Earth Day isn’t until April 22nd, but we wanted to do something for the whole month of April to celebrate it. Full Circle, our Special Reserve recycled wool yarn, is on sale for 10% off from 4/1 until 4/30. After the sale is finished, Knit Picks will donate an additional 10% of sales to the Arbor Day Foundation. A win for you, and a win for the environment!
Full Circle is one of my favorite yarns to work with – it’s a lofty single ply, the colors are richly heathered, and the finished fabric is soft yet sturdy with a pleasant wooliness to it. After seeing the color samples arrive at the office, I decided that I wanted to crochet a blanket using Full Circle Worsted in Cardinal, Mocha, and Latte.
Birch Bay is back! Last
time, I had just spun the roving into a (roughly) fingering weight
single and was just getting ready to ply the ends together on my wheel
at home. Now it’s all spun up and ready to knit!
Over the past few weeks Birch Bay evolved from an unspun batt, to spun singles and then to a two-ply yarn. Today, I finally finished
knitting it into a delightful slouchy hat (a bit slouchier than I
intended, but more on that later). I know that I was imagining a red and
black hat last time, but I decided to start at the opposite end of the
ball and wound up with an (almost) entirely vivid blue hat instead! I love that the colors shift into the dark magentas towards the crown and the shiny strands of sparkle really pop too.
Birch Bay is a very, very bright Layered Spinning Batt from Hanks in the Hood. I usually gravitate towards those cool, milky blues or soft, grassy greens like Hoquiam or Mercer Island. Not this time. Birch Bay
was calling to me like a hot coal, fresh from the fireplace. Really, in
the end I was mostly curious about how the colors would transition and
how that fiery red would look plied with the icy blue further inside the
You don’t need to be a spinner to love fibers! I’m not a spinner but it doesn’t stop me from indulging in an assortment
of fiber. That’s why I am so excited that Knit Picks is now selling many
types of fiber.
There’s Wool of the Andes roving in Bare and in colors, recycled fibers with Full Circle Roving; there are spinning batts in many colors and now silk hankies!