Category Archives: New Purchase

Traveling in Style

Hello, everyone.

It seems the only way to complicate the re-opening of Maiden Yarn was for me to whisk off to Iowa with my mother for a homeschool conference. That’s alright, though. It’s giving me some wonderful catch-up time with her, relatives, and friends.

And plenty of time to hang out at the best cafe ever. If you’re ever in Winterset, Iowa, check out the Northside Cafe. It’s been newly decorated and re-opened, and looks (and tastes) like a million bucks. Gorgeous interior – slatey blue greys, charcoals, and deep walnut browns – and even better food. I strongly recommend the Smoked Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

But, besides that, I’ve been knitting away with two of my new colorways. The two yarns I’m using are the bases I’ll be carrying in my store, and I’m even more in love with them than I was before. If I had a decent camera with me, I’d show you now. Suffice it to say, I’m having a hard time keeping my hands off the rest of the new inventory.

I will show you a new skein of yarn I picked up this afternoon, though. (Compliments of my Aunt.) Araucania’s “Ruca” in the most lovely shade of Caribbean or lake blue. It’s made from sugar cane! I could hardly believe it. A fiber content I’m not familiar with. Super, super exciting. And please pardon the lovely “iSight” computer-camera photo.

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The yarn is very smooth and drape-y, rather like heavy silk or bamboo. What this yarn will become, I’m not sure, but it has to wait its turn while I’m working on the other two projects.

This weekend is the convention. (Two days of a whole new world. But I think I shall enjoy it.) I’ll get home to Georgia late Sunday evening, so Monday morning will bring the initial scramble into getting everything ready for Maiden Yarn’s grand reopening on June twentieth. Huzzah! You can expect a pretty steady stream of blog updates. I’ll have lots to show and tell.

Something Old, Something New

Let’s start with the new, shall we? Everyone likes to see pictures of new things.

I recently participated in a trade with a local dyer. MamaJude does simply beautiful work with plant dyes and can also dye cotton. I cannot dye cotton, so we worked out a swap where she would acquire a couple skeins of cotton boucle from me, and I would receive some indigo batts from her.

The batts arrived a few days ago, and they are gorgeous! There are six of them total. I haven’t weighed them, but I’m guessing the batch is in the six-to-eight ounces category. Here’s the best picture I could nab of one in the fading afternoon light.

I keep thinking that I should mix these with some of the lovely soysilk I have stashed away and make something large. But they’re so light and fluffy, I’m wondering if I could find a light spring/early autumn top or cardigan pattern. That might do them more justice. Whatever I decide on, it’s going to have to wait awhile. I’ve got two or three other spinning jobs lined up, plus the BFL lace I’m finishing up now.

A Drum Carder

It’s been a few days since I drove down to pick this little feller up, but I’m still excited. Allow me to introduce my drum carder!

Of course, I can’t properly introduce him until he’s cleaned up and actually presentable. At the moment he’s in need of some tender loving care. But, I’ve ordered a new drive band for him, and my dad says he will help me get the rust off the handle, and after that, it’s just a matter of dusting and getting any last little wisps of wool out of the teeth.

In case you’re wondering, I got him for free. (Thank you, Heavenly Father!) It’s been several months in “coming” (I contacted the owner last summer), but the timing was great. Hooray hurrah!

New Storage And A Teaser

I may as well admit it up front. I’m a sucker for nice baskets. They’re pretty, lightweight, non-plastic (usually), and can hold practically anything. Not to mention they come in an enormous range of sizes.

All that to say, look at the lovely new baskets I have to store my dyeing equipment in! Thanks to Mom and Aunt Debbie, I don’t have to dig my stuff out from the top shelf of my closet anymore. Hurrah! Life is suddenly so much easier, and less clutter-filled. I’ve toyed with the idea of changing out the fabric liners seasonally, but that might be a bit over-the-top.

A Few New Babies

Time for a “new stuff” reveal! I’ve managed to accumulate a lot of bits and pieces without sharing, so I’ll do that now.

First up we have not one, but two braids of blue faced leceister/silk roving. Both from OrangeJello. “Bonfire” and “Violet, You’re Turning Violet!”

Even Dyers Impulse Buy

When I first began dyeing my own yarn and fiber, some people thought I would never “need” to buy colored stuff again. Ha ha ha ha. That’s like saying “You cook, so you won’t ever need to buy food at a restaurant again.”

Or, if you want to get really out there, it’s like saying, “You stand up, why would you ever want to sit down again?”

There’s so much to be said for dyeing your own stuff, but every so often you want a break. And, as it happened this time, I found this gorgeous braid for sale. It’s a merino/mohair mix (a blend I’ve never bought before) and the colors jumped right off the screen and grabbed me. (Yes, it was scary, but a good scary.)

Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. The thought of a hat or smooshy cowl crossed my mind, or perhaps a little shawlette. I could go for socks, as it’s a four ounce braid, but I don’t particularly feel like spinning sock yarn right now. Ha, well, true, I probably won’t get around to spinning this until later this year. Oh, I bought it at FiberFancy, if you’d care to take a peek at some of the other lovely stuff there.

Under Certain Circumstances

So, yes, I did say I wasn’t going to buy any more fiber until I’d made a significant dent in what I already had. (And I can already hear you chuckling to yourself.)
But, there are certain circumstances that are just plain not worth resisting. And in this case, it was because I had never heard of nor seen this particular kind of fiber before. Well, that, and because it was shiny.

This is called banana silk. It’s derived from the leaves of banana trees, so it’s a plant-based fiber, and you can see how shiny it is in the pictures. I’d heard of yarn that had banana fiber in it, but it had never registered in my noggin that that would mean there was banana spinning fiber floating around somewhere to be pounced on.

From Cowl To Tam

I bound off my navy cowl! And promptly discovered that it was bigger around than I thought it was, which means I probably should have gone ahead and used the second ball of yarn in it.

It’s hard to tell how big something will be when it’s scrunched up on circulars. And, of course, doing a stitch count and the necessary math would have just been overkill.

So, now it’s big enough to go up over my head like most enormous cowls (instead of the neckwarmer I thought it would be) but it’s not wide enough to do more than make a feint at keeping the top of my head warm. Perhaps I can knit the second ball into a similar size, then graft them together down the middle. I’m also hoping that the minor stretch job I gave it while blocking will help it expand.

Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve been having an absolutely top-hole new year! (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of British comedy lately. Why do you ask?) It’s been downright cold around here. We even got some snow a few nights ago, and it covered the back porch in a whopping half-inch deep drift.

Well, for my New Year’s Dash I got the sum total of about three quarters of the superwash merino sock yarn spun. Ta-da!

Next year, I start earlier.

I did, however, get the start of the first draft of that spinning article I mentioned. And I also got a pretty good chunk of the black llama deguarded. That wasn’t on my list, I know, but hey, it’s still spinning related.

The nice pile of chosen and selected fibers is still teetering on my desk, so I have decided that this month shall be a spinning month. The idea is to see how much of that pile I can spin before February, while keeping things fun. If spinning becomes a stress factor we have a major problem.

Yet More From The Texas Trip

Here we are at Part B of my lately acquired stash. It’s rather sad when it requires two posts just to show what I came home with from two yarn stores and a friend’s house. What would happen on a shop hop? I dare not think.

Well, let me see, where to start. Perhaps some of you remember when MamaMentor gave me those beautiful blue stitch markers? I’m happy to announce that they now have cousins. MamaMentor made me some gorgeous amethyst ones as well. Beautiful! (Thank you so much.)

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We got the beads at a wonderful yarn and fiber store called Rose Path Weaving. Note the fiber. I happened to find certain fibers I had been planning to get for a sweater project, so I jumped at the chance to save shipping. I got some cream baby alpaca, BFL, and mohair locks to blend. The mohair doesn’t appear to be washed, so I have to decide whether I want to try washing it before I blend it into the others, or just wait and wash the yarn to minimize risks of felting.