Tuesday, April 20, 2010

THE WONDERFUL VERSATILE HUMBLE DISHCLOTH


When I was learning to knit as a young teen, someone gave our family a white cotton hand knit dishcloth. It was just plain garter stitch knit on the diagonal, but for some reason it fascinated me. It was so soft, so absorbant, and so cleverly crafted. My mother stashed it in a kitchen drawer reserved for "special" things. (This drawer also included special potholders that I wove on a loom, special cross stitched aprons, special decorated towels, and many many other special items that she saved for over 50 years until she had to move out!) I made it my knitting goal to copy that dishcloth, and was exceedingly proud when I succeeded.

I still love making dishcloths! They are so cheap to make (less than 50 cents each), practical, and people love to receive them as little gifts. From a knitting perspective, they give me a cheap way to experiment with new color and stitch patterns when I am feeling creative, and they can also provide portable, mindless entertainment for those times when I need such.

Here are some of my favorites from over the years. The images are linked to the free patterns- just a click away!


















To purchase hand dyed cotton yarn (perfect for dishcloths!) from Sara’s Colorwave Yarns, click on the banner below.

Monday, April 12, 2010

APRIL FLOWERS












Flame azaleas (above)

I have always been a nature lover. I adore outdoor sports such as hiking, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, biking, even spelunking. I have found many inspirations for yarn colors in flowers, outdoor scenery, and rocks. Here in Charleston the azaleas are in full bloom everywhere. Here are some great yarns that grew out of spring flowers.

Orchids












Iris










To purchase hand dyed flowery yarn from Sara’s Colorwave Yarns, click on the banner below.

Friday, April 2, 2010

ELECTRIC SPINNING THINGS

video

I really love squishing color through fiber! It’s so much fun to see how the colors interplay, and to end up with some beautiful yarn! Kind of like having babies in a way. And also like babies, there is a great deal of laborious preparation and finishing work that goes with the process. I generally reserve one day a week for dyeing, and the rest of the week for purchasing supplies, winding yarn into skeins, rinsing, drying, untangling, labeling, accounting, scanning and uploading photos, winding skeins into balls, wrapping up packages, and trips to the Post Office. Yikes!

When things get really busy I enlist the help of the rest of the family, particularly with the winding and balling. At first my three children enjoyed winding balls by hand. Eventually I had to stand behind the kids with a bullwhip: “Wind FASTER you FOOLS!” “But Mommy my arms are TIRED!”

I finally got smarter, and purchased two machines which have been absolutely essential to my business: a heavy duty electric ball winder from Nancy’s Knit Knacks, and an electric skein winder from Fricke Enterprises. You can see them both going at once in the little video (I don’t generally recommend having both going at once because of potential tangles, but it made for a more interesting motion picture). Oops- you can also see lots of crud on the carpet, and clutter everywhere. Well, you can’t be good at everything. Maybe I will have to get that bullwhip out and get after the children with the vacuum cleaner!

To purchase hand wool sock yarn from Sara’s Colorwave Yarns, click on the banner below.