Close encounter with inspiration and gluten free baked goods

logo[1]

 

I dropped in to Maker’s Mercantile in Kent, Washington, to enjoy their anniversary celebration on Saturday February 28. I arrived early and was amazed to see a long lineup of customers waiting to get in the door! I know this is a special store from my own experiences, and apparently a lot of other people know this too!

Along with mimosa’s served on a tray, customers were handed a raffle ticket for an hourly drawing. My style is usually to hang back and observe, so I watched as customers lined up at the gluten free bakery, Rylie Cakes, (http://www.makersmercantile.com/pages/our-bakery) to get breakfast, espresso, and baked goods.  Karin Skacel greeted  customers and took orders while Rylie herself, along with a small crew of bustling staff, efficiently served up the food.

Since I like to come home with a few choice sweets I confess I got a little worried nothing would be left, but this worry was overcome with the desire to look at yarns in the store.  The full line of Skacel yarns are available, along with local yarns, a wall of Turbo needles, and another wall of buttons that overwhelm.

On this day I was looking  for a high-twist sock yarn to make a second version of a cardigan/wrap I am designing for my own high-twist sock yarn “San Juan”.  I am part of BK Collective patterns with two designs to my name and many more in my head.  With one foot in the yarn company and one foot in design, I like to create patterns that work for my lines of yarn.  I also want knitters to be able to adjust them for readily available yarns or from their stash.  So having a version knit in a commercial yarn is a way to appeal to a more knitters.

Now I admit it had been awhile since I have purchased yarn. When I started the yarn company I drastically downsized my stash to a few unique yarns with sentimental value, such as yarn obtained on a trip.  So I had not experienced that yarn-buyer’s rush in awhile.  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? That endorphin rush you get when you are looking for the perfect, inspired colorway, and you find it?  That feeling as you drive home that you are carrying precious treasure? The almost undeniable urge to sit down right away and begin a project with that fiber slipping through your fingers? This was the experience I had been missing, and Maker’s Mercantile helped me get it back.

I always like to see the samples knit up in yarns and learn about new patterns from designers as part of my browsing experience.  I like to jot down pattern names and look at them later in Ravelry.  This time I was irresistibly attracted to a cowl by Alex Tinsley called “Chevzam by Dull Roar”, knit up in four colors of cotton.  The grey on a bright background of several tones of yellow is fascinating to me.  I had to snap a photo.

2015-02-28 11.09.47Another color pattern that caught my eye was a display of Stephen West designs.  I snapped a picture of a grey-on-red patterned scarf from WestKnits Book 5.

I recently confessed on twitter that I like to cruise used book stores looking for stitch dictionaries. It is a little obsession of mine. Even better is to see some of those stitches expertly executed in an inspired design. I feel a swatch binge coming on…

I made my choices of yarn, needles, and a couple of buttons to sew on my knitting basket.  Then I joined the line at the bakery counter at the back of the store to purchase a hand-made pork pot pie for lunch along with a lemon bar, a coconut lime bar, and a miniature triple berry pie for my husband. (One must stave off complaints about cabinets filled with yarn, after all!) With a bag full of edible and knittable booty I was ready to return home having taken in sights, tastes, and heavenly inspiration.

If you too want to get inspired, find your way to Makers Mercantile:  http://www.makersmercantile.com/pages/visit.  You will find a supply of Jorstad Creek Tweed Sock displayed near the other local yarns!

 

BK Collective 2015 patterns with Jorstad Creek Yarns

2015/01/img_0213.jpg</

2015/01/img_0215.jpg

The new Cedarbury cowl was rolled out to knitters at a recent event at Maker’s Mercantile in Kent, Washington, along with the new Traveler’s Creek Toe-up Sock, each in tweed. The cowl is knit in Jorstad Creek’s Tweed DK, and the sock is in a Blue-faced Leicester wool Tweed Sock. Both patterns were received well and made a splash with customers who turned out for a trunk show and presentation.

In fact I am thrilled with the pictures modeled and photographed by two talented ladies from Olympia, Washington. Amber Gizinski modeled our 2015 designs, and Christine Corrin took the amazing photographs. More patterns from this photo shoot will be introduced in 2015 as the year progresses. Some patterns are being test knit, and others are just waiting for the right moment. We will keep everyone on their toes a bit as we get them out into the knit-o-sphere when the timing is perfect!

Another great piece that was rephotographed to put into the BK Collective format is the spiral cowl made from Whidbey, the Jorstad Creek 100% merino fingering weight.

2015/01/img_0214-0.jpg

All of these great patterns can be knit in yarns from your stash if you have the correct weights – the Cedarbury Cowl includes an option for a different commercial yarn, for example. The Traveler’s Sock could be knit in a lace weight or fine sock yarn that calls for a size 0 or 1. Of course I hope you will try them in one of my hand-dyed yarns, but either way I think you will enjoy the patterns. All three are available from the BK Collective on ravelry.com.

I am also pleased to be able to introduce a new worsted weight yarn called
“Vashon”, the worsted version of “Whidbey.” It is an ultrafine superwash merino that turns out fantastic using my dye techniques. I’ve been developing the colorways for this yarn over the past year and will be able to offer a good quantity at our booth at the Madrona Fiber Festival in Tacoma starting February 12 through the 15th. I am working on knitted items to show this very soft, beautiful yarn worked up into wearable items.

Speaking of Madrona, I hope to see you there. Please stop by and see what’s new at the Jorstad Creek booth! Kerry

Charity Knitting Deepens the Knitting Experience

Cashmere Goats
Cashmere Goats

 

image
Hats for the Purple Crying project.

This year was the first for Jorstad Creek to take on a charity knitting project. We collaborated with the local Zonta International chapter to provide free hat kits to knitters or crocheters who stopped by our side-by-side booths during the August Harbor Days event in Olympia, Washington.

We gave away all of the kits to be knit up into baby hats and donated to Family Education and Support Services of Olympia (Familyess.org) who in turn donates the hats plus a video and information packet to new parents at local hospitals. The hats are a visual reminder to new parents that sometimes new babies cry for no reason at all, even after you’ve taken care of all of their needs. The video talks to parents about taking care of themselves and how to cope with inconsolable crying in a newborn. The program helps to prevent shaken baby syndrome, a problem that has escalated throughout Thurston County in the past few years.

One person who accepted a kit found me at my booth at Fiber Fusion and shared her enthusiasm for the project. We laid out all of the hats she had made since August, and I snapped a photo that ended up on the Jorstad Creek Facebook page. Having just retired and finding herself in need of a project, she confessed to me how much meaning this act of charity knitting has given to her knitting.

I have been thinking about her experience, and casting forward to what might be another cause for Jorstad Creek to support as we move toward the new year and 2015. As if someone was reading my mind, I ran across an article in the Holiday 2014 Vogue Knitting about cashmere grown in Pangong, India. A Cashmere Craft Center is being built to provide the women of the area a place to go during the winter to spin and weave the locally produced cashmere, and have their children with them in a light, warm environment. Being able to produce products for sale saves these women from having to do heavy manual labor with their infants on their backs.

As a yarn company I feel compelled to embrace this effort on the other side of the world. While I do not currently make yarn with cashmere in it, I have one commercial yarn I hand dye that has a small quantity. It is a wonderful fiber, and I want to know more about how it is produced for the commercial hand knitting yarn market. In the mean time, I can support the building of the center by donating a portion of my company’s profits to this worthy effort at my next fiber market event.

I will be donating five percent of gross proceeds from my booth at  KnitFit in Ballard (November 8 and 9, 2014) to the Cashmere Craft Center effort.  To donate individually, visit http://www.wildfibersmagazine.com/#!ladakh/clejy.

Jorstad Creek at Fiber Fusion NW Oct 18-19

Isle of sky Dep Bay
Isle of Skye Merino-Silk in two colors “Departure Bay” and “Maroon 5”

I’m on the road again to Fiber Fusion Northwest this weekend, taking Jorstad Creek yarns to Monroe, Washington and the Evergreen State Fairgrounds for this fiber-and-yarn oriented show. Take a look at their website at this link:  http://www.fiberfusion.net/

Every year this event gets bigger.  This will be my second year as a vendor, and I look forward to seeing knitters who stopped in at my booth last year.

The organizers of this event are great to work with.  I love the variety of vendors ranging from fiber artists with fantastic felted clothing and rugs, to pattern designers, to farms selling raw fleece.  The classes offered reflect this variety, too.  Felted slippers and sculpted “bowls” are among the unusual project-oriented classes. They also put  together an amazing number of door prizes for visitors to the event.

I will be featuring new hand painted fingering weight “Whidbey” for this event in two colorways, “Calypso on the Beach” and “Suspense”.  Whidbey is one of the first yarns I added to my line, featuring superwash merino in an amazing lofty spin.  This yarn is one of my favorites for the dye pot, it brings out the best in any color I use.  It is a natural choice to try out hand painting longer pieces on super-long skeins.  I think they turned out fantastic.  I hope you will come by and tell me what you think.  There is a limited supply available for sale.

Also featured will be kits for the Churchmouse folded poncho pattern that I put together using two strands of yarn, Isle of Skye mohair/silk blend, and Iona merino/silk.  Iona is hand painted in small color pieces.  Together they make a fabric that looks like a Monet painting.  I have a number of new color ways in Isle of Skye to pair up for different hazy effects (see first photo above), and a sample poncho knitted up for trying on.

photo (5)

Returning this year with me is the BFL Tweed Sock, in new colors.  I am also bringing  the BK Collective Patterns reworked in a new improved format, featuring options for yarn weights. For spinners I will offer natural colored Icelandic, Gotland, and Finn fleece processed either into roving, batts, or washed locks.

I hope you can join me at this fun show.  The facility and the show itself (with animals to see and pet!) make this a great event for families.  Please stop by, say hello, and show me what you’ve been knitting!  Thanks, Kerry

z

Finding the Best Yarn Companions

Jann talks about yarn choices that make a big difference when paired together either in providing a contrasting effect, or harmonious effect.

KnitKnot Adventures

It is fall in the Pacific Northwest and my urge to knit is strong. Even stronger than the urge to buy school supplies! (Every September I want to buy pens and paper. How can that still be true, after all these years?)

One of my favorite yarn choices is a combination of a one multi-colored and one solid-colored yarn, probably because a wide range of effects are possible. Some combinations have a bold, high contrast look while others combinations are subtle and complex.

MV Woolens-61MV Woolens-62

These pictures show details of a vest I made using sock yarns. Much of the impact of this combination comes from the high contrast between these two yarns. The contrast is created in part by a light-dark contrast and in part by a contrast of hue or color. (These are only two of seven kinds of contrast Johannes Itten discusses in his classic work The Elements of Color

View original post 384 more words

Dancing Waters Coated Sheep

IMG_0139-1.JPG

Remember these?

Remember hot water bottles? My first winter in my little 1938 cottage with baseboard heating, my hot water bottle was my best friend. In the evenings I knit warm sweaters on my lap. Just prior to going to bed I would pre-warm the sheets with a hot water bottle. I remember wrapping my toes around it and drifting off to sleep cozy with the wind blowing outside. I love this kit idea, it takes the humble red hot water bottle up a few notches…

Fall knitting is nearly here.

girl with scarfI am looking ahead toward the winter, not because I want cold weather, but because I am thinking about knitting projects.  Like so many knitters I embrace the fall because it brings with it possibility, choices, design, and all the potential pleasant hours quietly knitting.  It is that emotive power of potential that stimulates the creative side of us.  For some this causes us to not only want several projects lined up like mason jars filled with food, but a whole shelf, cupboard, or even closet full of yarn stashed like a doomsday hoard.  Such a stash provides us comfort and the security of knowing that we will not run out of inspiration anytime soon.

As a dyer and yarn provider some of my clients are snowbirds.  The process of choosing yarn for the winter is a summertime necessity, but it also can be difficult to think of what would please and delight the eye in the waning light of winter days at a time when the yellow Apollo sun is beating down full force.  Do not underestimate the power of light to affect how we see color – a bright full summer sun can make the subtle fall colors we love look dull and lifeless, only to come alive in the cooler and less yellow light of fall and winter.

In the summer we may be quite content to have a cream, a cornflower blue or a deep pink on the needles, growing into a light accessory or garment.  But fall brings with it a desire for depth, complexity, texture, and colors that say “I am complicated, don’t underestimate me.”  As a dye artist I have to think about these things well before cooler temperatures begin to take over the evenings. Even when the days are at their longest I must develop my sense of what will please a few months ahead.  Along with playing with the “color of the year,” vivid orchid, (a true jewel tone), it is necessary for me to develop deep chestnut, persimmon, forest green, and a red that will speak to you when you see them.

When I hit upon the right tone or shade, I have my own sense of satisfaction and achievement.  My certainty reaches an even higher level when I hear someone say with instant recognition  “Yes! That is exactly right!”  This is what I am building toward right now, leaning over a steaming dye pot and plotting my next color.

New worsted weight Vashon works beautifully for the Churchmouse Ferry Boat mitts, a very quick project and simple too.  I will be knitting them for presents, as they work for both women and men.  I made up kits for this pattern with specially dyed fall colors for Yorkshire Yarns in Lakewood.  The kit comes with the pattern and enough yarn for a pair.  Making its debut is “Sonya’s Red”, a blue-ey red with pieces of dark and light that make for a multifaceted colorway.

What are the colors you look forward to knitting with this fall? Are you thinking about gift knitting and Christmas?  Tell me what color you are dreaming of for the coming season.

 

Summer 2014 – Not So Lazy Days

Safeco Field View behind Safeco Field Isle of Skye with Iona Narfi Icelandic 2-ply Keukenhof CapeletHi friends. It has been a great summer with opportunities to travel locally to Stitch and Pitch events at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, and Safeco Field in Seattle. I took my two teens with me to watch the Mariners play the Baltimore Orioles one summer evening, with the bonus that we could sample the food AND the yarn on the way. We were all joking in the car that the last minute tickets we purchased would probably be in the nosebleed section. After indulging in some treats and looking at lots of beautiful fiber we trekked into the stadium to find those seats. Up and up and up, I could hardly climb the stairs I was laughing so hard. Yep, we were in the very last row of the very top tier, so high up we could turn around and take pictures of the Port of Seattle behind us.

Never mind, we had a really great time and even though we were the farthest away we still had a great view of the game. I managed to balance my knitting project on my knees without losing the ball of yarn down multiple tiers of chairs, an accomplishment in my book. I brought my second Churchmouse folded poncho project, this time made with Jorstad Creek Isle of Skye (mohair/silk) and Iona (merino/silk), and the rows added upon rows as the game progressed (see close up photo).

In the market place was the booth for Lakewood-based Yorkshire Yarns, doing a brisk business in sport-team-colored yarn and project kits. One of my newest yarns in the Jorstad Creek collection, Vashon, a worsted weight version of the popular Whidbey, was also featured in a kit for the Churchmouse favorite Ferry Boat Mitts. Yorkshire offers other Jorstad Creek yarns in their store, including Whidbey, San Juan sock yarn, Tweed sock yarn, and Tweed DK! I am very excited about this new arrangement. Visitors stopping in to their store from out of town ask about whether the store has anything made locally. The Jorstad Creek yarns provide something new and different from the commercial yarns you can find almost anywhere.

Along with the local travel I have been using every spare minute preparing more fiber to send to the spinning mill so I can offer more local sheep-to-yarn products this Fall.  I received back a box of Brynn, the Icelandic fingering weight 3-ply.  Earlier in the spring I received shipments of the local Gotland two-ply and Narfi Icelandic two-ply, both fingering weight.  The Gotland is a beautiful grey and will stay that way, as this fiber is stunning on its own with the natural luminescent sheen it has.  Narfi however is so much fun to dye in colors.  I did some “extreme dyeing” as you can see by the picture above, seeing how bright and how saturated I can get with this great fiber.  Just shipped to the mill this week is this year’s batch of Finnlanka, the 100% Finn wool yarn in 3-ply sport weight.  I am frantically trying to get a batch of Alpaca/Finn ready to ship as well, so I can offer another 3-ply sportweight in a super soft option.

Other dyeworks in the pipeline include the preparation of new Fall colors in the Tweed DK and Tweed Sock, kits for the Churchmouse ribbed skirt in Brynn (posted in a previous blog), and kits for a new pattern to be published, the Keukenhof Gardens Capelet/Cowl (see photo).  Keukenhof was inspired by a trip to the famed garden of that name in Holland when I was about 8 years old and living in Germany with my parents.  Keukenhof Gardens is a well-known destination that features tulips in every variety, color, and shape you can think of.  Trips to Holland with my parents are fond memories for me because I struggled to learn the German language and many of the Dutch people spoke English at the time. When Lismore DK merino came out of the dye pot in this red I knew I wanted to knit Keukenhof-inspired tulips in memory of my time in Holland.  The rich brown of the background represents the dark earth from the flat floodplains of the farmlands in the Netherlands, the sage and green for the leaves and the bright china blue for the expansive sky.

Also in development are new patterns by Jann Hoppler of the BK Collective for the Tweed DK, including a cowl in two ways,  and finally my favorite toe-up sock in the Tweed Sock yarn.  Check back  here for updates as we prepare these patterns for launch in the Fall.  Those of you who have been waiting for the promised updates to other BK Collective patterns, we are close to having them ready for download in early Fall, with lovely new pictures and an updated format that is knitter-friendly.  Please check for them at http://www.ravelry.com.  You do not have to be a Raveler to purchase and download patterns from the Ravelry website.

The next event for Jorstad Creek is Olympia Harbor Days at the end of August.  This labor day weekend event is a huge community gathering for arts, crafts, food, and local non-profit organizations, not to mention tug boat races, a local tradition.  I will be set up near one end of Columbia Street next to the local Zonta Club, providing free Purple Baby Hat kits (yarn and pattern) while they last, to support the parent-education project to prevent shaken-baby syndrome.  After Harbor Days the next event will be the Nordic Knitting Conference in Ballard at the beginning of October.  Check back for specific dates and locations on this blog for more fiber events coming up throughout the Autumn months.  Until then everyone enjoy the rest of summer!  Kerry

Chanel Sheep and other woolie tales

Finn cabled hat croppedHello again fellow wool lovers,

This is the first day of spring according to the calendar, but in wool country sheep shearing has been happening since January!  Many of my shepherd friends wait until April, but the Icelandics will felt right on the sheep if they aren’t sheared early.  This brings to mind images of sheep wearing those boiled wool Chanel jackets, but  believe me it isn’t pretty.  Or the image of poor bare ewes shivering in the cold.  Not to worry, these animals are hardy, and the wool grows back amazingly fast.

I was reminded today by a dear knitter friend that gardening will soon compete with knitting time.  For me, the warmer weather means I will be able to set a table out in my backyard and start picking wool fleece to prepare for the spinning mill.  This work starts as soon as the weather gets nice enough, and doesn’t stop until fall when the rains come.  I sometimes extend it by putting up a shelter and an outdoor heater, but even I can not persist too long under those conditions.  The good thing is I get to hang out next to the woods behind my house, listen to the birds and the deer moving about in the trees, and entertain my dogs with that enticing sheep’s wool smell that has them fascinated.

I am happy to report that the Madrona Fiber Arts event in February was a great success for Jorstad Creek yarns.  There were new yarns to showcase, new samples to display, and new patterns from the BK Collective as well as shawl kits for Evelyn A. Clark’s traditional shawl patterns.  I greeted return customers who stopped by to pick up more yarn or show me their knitted projects. The hat featured in the picture is made of the sport weight Finnlanka (100 % Finn) from a customer who created this hat to show off the yarn in cables.  She completed the set with a matching scarf.

Along with the return of the Gotland, Finn, and Icelandic yarns and yarn blends, I featured more colors of Tweed Sock and Tweed DK, made from merino wool.  New additions to the collection include merino wools in DK weight and worsted weight.  I also added a beautiful silk/wool blend I named Iona for an island off the west coast of Scotland.  For color, I indulged myself with new shades of red (see my prior blog about red mojo!), a sapphire blue as deep as the ocean, cool moss green and chartreuse, and combined new and old colors into multi-colored yarns I’ve never made before.

As a dye artist the opportunity to process so much yarn gave me a freedom to try new colors, new combinations, and new techniques.  I was able to try a color in one fiber blend, and then see how it performed in a different blend or over a grey wash.  Tonal colorway experiments were possible for me, so I was able to dive into a color and push the boundaries as far as they would go.  It is hard to describe in words how much fun this is, playing with color.  The closest thing really is knitting with variegated yarn, where each row is a new surprise to see how each row builds with the changing color.

Madrona was followed closely by the Vogue Knitting Live! show in Bellevue.  The market for this event was bigger than last year.  We were located next to the fashion show stage and across from Spokane’s Paradise Fibers.  The location gave me and my daughter Katelyn the chance to see all of the wonderful designs on live models as they walked the runway.  When there were lulls in the activity, we darted across the aisle to get yarn wound by Paradise Fiber’s complimentary ball winding station!  My daughter was inspired to start a scarf with Aranmore, the new merino worsted weight yarn we offer.  I started swatching with an eye toward making Sally Melleville’s design “L’Enveloppe”, a part wrap, part sweater design that can be knit in a variety of yarn weights.  I am trying out my DK weight Lismore in a saffron color in this design.

This Saturday, March 22, I will set up my booth at the “Puget Sound Flea Market and Fieldhouse Full of Awesome Stuff” event.  I was asked by the organizers to join this event, and since it is local and for a good cause I said yes!  Even though this is not a fiber event, I am sure there will be knitter friends that will find their way to booth number 31 to say hello.  I hope you can stop by if you are in the area!  In the mean time hope you are able to both garden and knit.  Please check out their link for information on how to get to the University of Puget Sound: https://www.facebook.com/events/584035618338336/       See you soon.  Kerry

I Found My Red MoJo

Red Mojo Scarlett
Red Mojo Scarlett

Red MoJo is back.  I know most of you didn’t know I lost it, but indeed, I was struggling to reconnect with RM for some time.  As a dyer, not having a great red in your repertoire can really psych you out.  I tried a number of techniques, branched out into other commercial dyes, and really fell into somewhat of a color crisis.  I did not want to abandon my beloved Mother McKenzie “Worker Red” dye precipitously.  I consulted my notes from dye classes, and exchanged emails with Judith McKenzie on my inability to get the reds that came easily to me before.  I discovered that indeed, RM is no lady, but quite the opposite.  She takes patience, temperature, chemistry, and a good talking to.  Even then she might not listen.

With a little work, pun intended, “Worker Red” is performing better in the dye pot.  I have coaxed RM back into my life and into the dye studio.  In the process I discovered the Scarlett I have longed for.  Violating my general guideline of not dipping a wool more than two or three times, Scarlett came from a grey, two dips in Worker Red, and a final trip to a second pot with a another brand of red dye to produce the rare and wonderful color I thought would never be mine.  Like Tara’s Scarlett, this lady rocks a ball gown and an attitude.  I am over the moon Vivian Leigh.

Now, how to duplicate this rare and wonderful accomplishment?  Five hanks of this color is not enough.  Heavy sigh.

Events and Adventures

Now on to what’s next.  I have sent off over 50 pounds of Gotland fiber to be spun into yarn.  This year’s Gotland supply was supplemented by a new source to add to my growing group of farm friends, Springbank Farm www.springbankfarm.org.  The quality of the fiber this year from the Gotland sheep was just fantastic, and it was difficult for me to let it go to the mill for yarn.  I wanted to keep so many fleeces for fiber.  I argued with myself until finally I picked out an assortment to keep for offering as spinning fiber.  I have “pre-orders” for the Gotland in yarn form already; that is, a couple of friends have demanded I set aside skeins for them so they get a chance to purchase some this time around.  Thankfully due to the additional fleece I expect to have more supply than last year ready for Madrona.

Also at the mill is the specialty yarn “Svana” that takes two years to produce.  This is the de-haired icelandic lace weight used in the naturally colored Brimnes Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.  I expect to offer this yarn in four natural colors from the fleece; white, medium grey, dark grey, and dark brown/black.  Most of this yarn will likely be packaged into shawl kits, depending on the quantity that comes back from the mill.

The next fiber to be sent off to the mill is this year’s lambswool that produces the Icelandic 2-ply “Narfi” and the 3-ply “Brynn.”  I have added two suppliers to my Icelandic sheep family, and so the result should be a bump up in the inventory for these two yarns as well.  I hope to feature these new farms in upcoming blog posts, as each has a wonderful story to share about the animals, their owners, and the small land holdings that support them. Also slated for the mill in the next couple of weeks is the alpaca and Finn wool that go into making my sport weight “Finnpaca” yarn.  I am excited about this yarn because it has been a long time since the first batch was produced, and I have learned a great deal about fiber and color combining since then.  I am shooting for a medium grey instead of brown as the base color this time around, although I admit learning to over-dye on Alpaca brown is a worthwhile test of a dyer’s skill.

As for events, I hope to procure a booth at St. Distaff’s Day in Lake Stevens, Washington, on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  I will confirm whether I made it into the event on this blog.  What is St. Distaff’s Day?  Find out more about this event by checking out the St. Distaff’s Day group on www.ravelry.com!  This is a big spin-in that also has a market.  If I am accepted I will highlight spinning fiber prominently, but if you come to the event I will also have a selection of yarns to sell.  If there is something specific you would like me to bring, please contact me and I will do my best.

The next opportunity to see me and my booth after January is at the Madrona Winter Retreat in Tacoma, Washington on February 13 through 16, 2014.  You can find out about the festival, classes, demonstrations, and the free market at www.madronafiberarts.com.  I will blog more about this event and what is getting cooked up just for Madrona in the next month or so.

On the Needles

In the midst of all the craziness of being up to my elbows with cleaning and washing raw wool, sorting and shipping, and dyeing yarn, I actually find time to knit.  I am working on the short version of the Churchmouse double ribbed skirt pattern using five colors of Brynn, my Icelandic 3 ply.  The finished skirt will be for my daughter Katelyn to wear when she works in the booth for me.  The original pattern examples are shown in a solid color, but for my version I am alternating colored stripes in a mock-Fibonachi sequence.  I think this skirt is going to be stunning when it is finished and blocked.  (See work in progress photo.)

I am also working on the second of a pair of boot socks using my toe up pattern.  I am using the 100% Finn wool I have named “Finnlanka,” which actually means Finn wool in the Finnish language.  I know, original, but I liked the sound of it.  By keeping up the stress-relieving knitting I am determined to get through Christmas and make it to St. Distaff’s Day without a complete melt down.  So far so good.  I miss the excitement of seeing everyone and sharing the yarn and fiber at events, but I am sure glad for time to do a little knitting, a little blogging, and a good deal of staying close to home!  Stay warm and woolie.  Kerry Graber

Skirt in the making
Skirt in the making

 

Beaded cuff kits at Knit Fit

Beaded Cuffs In Merino2013-10-19 10.11.36 (2)

Hello Blog Readers!  Since my last blog post I had the opportunity to attend the Fiber Fusion Northwest event in Monroe, Washington.  With me were my designer friends from the BK Collective, there to help out with the booth sales and to show off newly knitted samples of the Mock Cable Cowl and Reversible Infinity Scarf in additional yarns offered in my booth.  These variations and the instructions for making the variations will be offered to anyone who bought the patterns previously.  Be sure to let me know if you purchased one of these two patterns previous, and would like to receive an updated version of these patterns.  I will be sure to email them to you as soon as they are ready.

Shown in the second picture above is a finished shawl by a Fiber Fusion customer who purchased skeins of Icelandic two-ply “Narfi” in June at the Black Sheep Gathering in order to make this popular pattern from Ravelry.  Holding the shawl next to the proud knitter is Kaia Petersen, designer for BK Collective and the talented knitter who produces many of the lace shawls we show in the Jorstad Creek booth.

Next up for Jorstad Creek is Knit Fit at the Ballard Community Center in Ballard, Washington.  You can find out more about this event at www.knitfit.org.  Featured speaker and teacher Mary Scott Huff will be presenting a talk on Friday evening, November 1, and then the market will be open Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3.  I was fortunate to take a color class from Mary Scott Huff at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September, and I must say she is a really delightful person and an accomplished knitting talent. The Jorstad Creek booth will be there, and I hope you will stop in and see me.  Access to the market is free.

I am busy packaging up kits for the BK Collective pattern Beaded Cuffs by Jann Hoppler for sale at this event.  (See photo)  Kits will include the pattern, a skein of “Whidbey” yarn, and glass beads in a complementary color.  All you have to do is provide needles and a crochet hook!  Also ready for knitters are new larger skeins of “Tweed Sock,” and a brand new  yarn “Tweed DK.”  I am finishing up a cowl-necked poncho made from this new DK weight yarn, and it is going to be exceptional.  The pattern originally called for a felted DK yarn.  By substituting yarns the result is a garment with more drape and elasticity in my own hand dyed colors.

Look for more local yarn as well made from my beloved Finn sheep sources.  This yarn dyes up into stunning colors, although the natural grey is beautiful on its own.  The medium staple of this wool is very soft and versatile in a sport weight three-ply.  I hope you have a chance to get your hands on some of this yarn to see for yourself.  I will be getting a pair of socks from this yarn on the needles as soon as the poncho is done, as I owe one of my new shepherdess friends a pair so she can show everyone what her fiber looks like off the sheep!

If you are unable to make it to Knit Fit this coming weekend be sure to come back to the blog for postings on more events leading up to the Holidays.  I am still waiting to hear back from applications to two local events in the Olympia area, and I’ve been invited to a spin-in event “up north,” so I will let you know about them as I receive confirmation.

For 2014 I am confirmed to have space at the February 14-16 Madrona Fiber Arts Festival at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington.  This premiere event is like attending the fiber Olympics!  The BK Collective designers and I have already been planning for this event, plotting over coffee and our knitting, and looking forward to all the return knitters we hope will stop by.  We will have the Madrona scarf knit up in Jorstad Creek yarn, an exculsive pattern in a kit from accomplished lace designer Evelyn A. Clark, and printed copies of Evelyn’s Icelandic Lace book. We are also working on new patterns from the BK Collective, and I am shipping off fiber to be spun into more Icelandic, Gotland, and Alpaca blend yarns to be rolled out for Madrona.  I will have some of these unspun  fibers available for spinners, too.  I have been spinning the last roll of grey Gotland roving that I held back from selling at Madrona last year.  I look forward to getting more of this great fiber made into roving again to offer for sale although I am sure I will save some for myself again…

I want to thank everyone who trusted me with their email addresses by signing up for my email list.  I finally have them all entered into the Jorstad Creek address book, so I will be sending the occasional email letting you know about fiber events, new yarns, and new patterns as they become available.  I hope you will make sure that the Jorstad Creek email is marked as “not spam” so you can receive these messages from time to time.  As promised, I will not bombard you with email.

I want to end this blog by thanking all of you for your kind words, encouraging feedback, and for sharing your love of all things fiber.  The joy in having the yarn company and having the booth at events comes from meeting each of you and sharing your enthusiasm for our craft.  Over and over I am compelled to say that “knitters are the nicest people” and I mean it sincerely.  I am overwhelmed by the sense of community we fiber people have with each other.  It is my goal to share this sense of community by connecting with the farms and small ranches that raise the wonderful animals that are the fiber source.  The folks that raise sheep and alpaca do not always have this connection directly with the people who purchase the end product, so whenever possible I give them a glimpse into the fiber world we occupy.  Again, thank you for making this possible!  Kerry

Great Steppe Fiber Project

A scoping project to establish a fiber company in Mongolia based on the principles of Fair Trade

Jorstad Creek

A yarn and fiber company.

whit::knits

(and crochets, and stitches, and is otherwise generally crafty)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

Interweaving life with fiber arts! (Photograph by Carly Moskat.)

%d bloggers like this: