Monday, June 8, 2015

Dancing Leaf Farm Field Trip

Our knit group took a field trip to Dancing Leaf Farm in Barnesville, MD on Saturday.  The owner, Dalis, opened up her farm and offered demos on taking a sheep fleece through the entire process until it becomes yarn.  Very interesting and fun to watch.  And the yarn is so nice!

 The sheep we saw had some dye on them...can you see her pink head?
 Yarn and roving in the dye pot.  A much bigger operation than mine, that's for sure!  I got some ideas from watching her operate.
 Here Dalis is, about to remove carded wool from the wash for the second time.  It takes a while to get all the lanolin (oil) out of the wool apparently.
 Her shop was in a little house and in addition to tons of yarn there were buttons, pins and artwork.
 Really colorful and pretty yarn!
 Yarn and roving in every nook and cranny!
 Stuff on the wall was hard to resist.  Yeah, I didn't.
 Clever display, don't you think...vintage suitcases and yarn!
 So we watched her dye the wool and hang it up on the fence to dry.  The colorful yarn hanging on the fence, outside in the sunshine...so cool!  It did dry pretty quick...but not quick enough, knitters were buying it up...right off the fence!  Someone in our group was watching a particular skein from our vantage point (under a tree, knitting).  When she figured out it didn't belong to anyone, she snatched it up!  Yeah Margaret!
 No mistaking this sheep belongs to Dancing Leaf Farms!

 Knitting going on under a tree with yarn drying fence in the background.  The weather was perfect, breezy and warm but super comfortable in the shade.

 Everyone got in on the action!  Watching the demos, shopping for yarn, eating lunch and relaxing on the farm.  It was a great day!
 I had to get this guys photo...face turned toward the sun, kicking back on the yarn fence. I think he enjoyed himself, too.

Monday, June 1, 2015

End of the Row Yarns FOs!

A couple knitting projects have been completed in my yarns!

The first one is a baby dress made by my friend Dolly.  It's Rose's Garden Dress in the Rose Garden colorway (don't cha love that?)! The bodice is a garter combination stitch that creates a kind of smocking effect and it buttons up the back for easy dressing of wiggly babies.
The pattern is her own design.  Hopefully we can all look forward to her releasing that pattern someday soon. 

I donated a skein of yarn for a prize in a KAL last month.   The winner, TinerW on Ravelry made this beautiful scarf for a graduation gift.  She really cranked this baby out quick! It's Streusel by Blue Peninsula and in my Blue Raspberry colorway it's just lovely!

I recently made this scarf too.  Justine was modeling it in my last post.  I love the shape of it. The shallow shape means you could easily wrap it around your shoulders like a shawl or around your neck like a scarf.  I weighted my yarn so I could add extra repeats and use up the majority of my skein...which was Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, by the way.  I wanted to use up as much of the yarn as possible and also make a super long scarf.  I love super long scarves.  Especially scarves made with fingering weight yarn because you can wrap them and wrap them around your neck without the bulk of a worsted weight.

I'll be adding more yarn to the shop this week so be sure to stop by!

Oh...and Happy June 1st!
It's the start of our knit group's One Skein Shawl KAL!
What will I be knitting?  You're gonna have to wait and see...
I'm not trying to torture you.  I just haven't even wound my yarn yet, let alone cast on.  I'll post when I do so you can follow along!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oh the pretties!

Hey there!
Quick post today to show you the pretty yarn I added to my shop today. These first four usually go pretty quick.  They are:

 Winter Sage
Blue Raspberry
Tenerife
Fire Hydrant

Today I added a new colorway:  On The Edge


Come and get 'em while they last!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday is all about this past three day weekend.  Memorial Day, taking time to remember members of our military who have fallen in the line of duty. An extra day to play! And the start of Summer!!

1.  I tried to make caramel.  Epic fail.  No, really epic.  The idea is to make caramel from a can of sweetened condensed milk that is unopened, cooked in the crock pot.  Here's what I did wrong:
 Didn't take the label off the can.  Ok, not that serious an error but DUH.
The can should be on it's side.
(probably most important) The crock pot should be on HIGH not LOW.
Cook for 8 hours (on high) not 10.5 hours on low.
 And if you decide to take the lid off the can and cook it longer...be sure to cover it with foil or something.  Water condensates and will drip into the can making it impossible to make caramel.  Epic fail, um, yeah.

I'm trying this again today, the right way.  We'll see if it works.

2. Mike, Justine and I went to the National Arboretum.  Justine really wanted to go, so we went.  The weather was so nice and there weren't as many carpenter bees as before so I was happy.  Anyway we had to see the Bonsai garden again.

 I am so amazed by these trees!!  Almost any tree you can imagine and be a bonsai tree.  I didn't know that, I thought only one particular kind of tree could be a bonsai tree.  

3.  We noticed there were tea bags on the soil of many trees.  Here's why:

4.  A new area for us to visit at the arboretum was a circle park, surrounded by mini gardens all with a theme:  Colonial Garden (what colonial gardeners would have planted), Medicinal Garden, Fragrance Garden, etc.  And the Dye Garden! 
5.  We brought lunch and had a nice picnic in the National Grove of State Trees.  
6.  While at the arboretum, Justine modeled a couple scarves I recently finished so I'd have some cool photos to post.  She's a good sport and a great knitwear model.


7.  Mike and I had a nice canoe ride on Monday.  It was late in the afternoon. It seemed every dock at people sitting out, enjoying the day.  Usually we're on our own and don't see many people, I guess the holiday brought everyone out.  The tide was quite low so we didn't go too far into the inlets.  We did check out both osprey nests on platforms above the water and saw one osprey dive into the water about 20' from us and grab a fish.  So cool!

8.  We had a great lunch date on Monday with our friends!  It was funny, we had two failed attempts at restaurants closed for the holiday...but finally found one open.  Yummy middle eastern kabob type food and good company.

9.  Saturday I went to knitting, like I always do on Saturday.  This time Mike drove me so he could have the car.  Joey took Mike's car to work.  Yeah, you heard that right...Joey is working at Target now!!  
My knit friends:  I didn't see your car?!  
Me:  Yeah, today I have a chauffeur!

10.  Mike grilled burgers!  
Canoeing, sunscreen and burgers...yup, it must be summer.

Monday, May 4, 2015

End of the Row Yarns

Well...helllllo!  I've been busy.  Oh yes! I've been dyeing yarn and preparing to open my own Etsy shop!  Never heard of Etsy?! Think of it as a online store with tons of smaller stores inside...all online and all either vintage or (my favorite) HOME MADE!!  I, of course, fall into the latter category.

I started experimenting with yarn and dyes many years ago.  First with Koolaid and food coloring then with acid dyes.  I made two awesome skeins of Koolaid self striping yarn for socks...I still have them.  This was probably 10+ years ago.  I had fun but the colors weren't too great.  They were pretty, but not very vibrant in color...missing that "wow" factor you feel when you see yarn you HAVE to buy.  You know?  Anyway, fast forward to a few months back (that sounds weird)....I decided to try acid dyes (again) but this time, with the benefit of Youtube, I felt more armed and dangerous with my ability to really get good color saturation.  The first skein I did was a mixture of three colors:  Sun Yellow, Sapphire Blue and Hot Fuchsia.
The ladies at knit group went bananas over this color and asked if I was going to dye some more yarn and in what colors.  So a couple friends gave me yarn-to-dye that they didn't want, some dyes they had...and I started experimenting! As I would bring in my newly dyed skeins...my knit friends would buy them up! My knit group friends have been a huge influence in my success and confidence in this new adventure.  I can't thank them enough!! 

I knit these socks with a tonal colorway I call Beach House:

 I love dyeing yarn so much that opening up a shop on Etsy was a natural progression.  

Last week I finally opened the shop.  It's called End of the Row Yarns.  I feature sock yarns in a variety of bases. All are machine wash so far!  Here's a peek at my yarns.  Some of these are listed already...some will be listed in the very near future.  









I try to have a nice variety of tonal colors and variegated.  The tonals are perfect for lacy patterns, cables and such...your pattern won't get lost in a nice tonal.  The variegated is dyed in a random way to keep pooling to a minimum (or not at all!). Either one would make beautiful socks, of course, but also shawls, baby items, cowls, scarves and infinity cowls/scarves.  Ok, so pretty much anything you can make with one skein.

Please visit my shop and have a look at all the pretties!
All the yarn is hand dyed by me in my kitchen.  I ship items in 1-2 days so you don't have to wait too long for your yarn.  I know how knitters hate to wait for yarn, I do too!!  I also put in a little surprise in each shipment...another little hand made item just for my customers!  I do like saying that...my customers!!

Have a great day!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring!!

I woke up this morning to rain.  I think it may have stopped by now but it will be raining off and on all weekend.  I don't really mind...good knitting weather, of course! And the rain here is soft not like the teeming rain of Florida we were used to. BUT...yesterday was perfect!!  Sunny and warm but not too warm!  A perfect Spring day.  Perfect for cherry blossom viewing and walking around the Tidal Basin in DC.  Take a look!



 The blossoms were beautiful but not at "peak", that would have been Monday of this week.  Still, we really enjoyed seeing them, so did many, many others from all over the world.  There were tons of people but it never felt too crowded.


 This old gnarled tree was amazing to see! I wonder if it's one of the "old" ones.
There were so many helicopters flying about, too. That's the Jefferson Memorial.


Four mounted police were standing in the shade...so I joined all the tourists and took a picture with one.

Then we found this lovely garden of spring flowers...tulips and daffodils!!  With the sun shining on them, the color was spectacular! 




 I think the ones we planted in our garden are this red/orange variety.
 I love this purple/yellow/orange combo...I should try to dye yarn that color!

 All those pictures of me...I thought you'd like to see one of Mike!  We're sitting on the wall surrounding the basin having a snack. The wing was blowing, knocking the petals off the trees...cherry blossom snow!