Lace Knitting

 

Just finished my first attempt at knitting a lace shawl.  Focus would be the word of the day in lace knitting.  It was a big difference from the simple knit, knit, knit, purl, purl, purl, that I have been doing in my previous projects.  Lace knitting switches up stitches. There is a lot of variety and this can be fun, but for me a higher risk of errors. I chose to do a lace shawl designed by my sister-in-law Kitman Figueroa. This beautiful pattern is called Xeni and you can find it in Kitman’s Ravelry store. Another place to purchase this pattern is at our Etsy store where you can get the pattern free with the purchase of a skein of our yarn.

What I gained from this knit is

  • sharpened concentration skills
  • identifying emerging patterns
  • how to tink…(that is knit spelled backwards, so undoing knitting)
  • I learned to read written instructions for this pattern.  Next lace knit I will use a chart.  Maybe I’ll have better luck.

My shawl is knitted with our Toro colorway, which is a very primary red.  So spicy. Kitman expertly knitted the other shawl pictured below.  Notice how I photographed my shawl in a clever drape so that it would be harder to do a comparison. :)

I enjoyed knitting this lace shawl but I think I’ll try toe up socks next.  I still have a quest to become a sock queen.

ImageImageXeni by Kitman Figueroa

Happy Knitting and Crocheting,

Diana Story

Tumbleweed Yarn

 

 

 

Tumbleweed in Review

Wow, where has the time gone!  We here at Tumbleweed Yarn have completed our first year of business and it has been a great year.  We have learned so much and are inspired to do so much more this next year.

Here are some of Tumbleweed’s most memorable experiences of 2013:

DYE WORK SHOP

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Kitman and I traveled from our beloved state of Texas to the great state of Massachusetts to attend a workshop with fiber artist Vicki Jenson.  We had a great time meeting people from other states who have an interest in perfecting their crafts with better dyeing techniques.  Discussing their varied interest in fiber arts such as felting, weaving, spinning and Kakishibu, just whetted my appetite to learn yet another craft, but I must resist! One woman had recently moved her family to a farm and aspired to raising her own sheep; her goal was to go from sheep to sweater! It would be so rewarding to handle the fiber from animal to garment. I think my favorite part of the workshop was learning the backgrounds of these talented women.  Just to list a few, there was a biochemist, a banker, a professor in political science, a theatre lighting technician and a psychologist.  I felt like I was in very good company. Vicki was a wonderful instructor and we left the workshop with hundreds of samples of various colors for us to play with and use in our colorways in the future.

CRAFT FAIR

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2013 marked our first craft fair.  We participated in th3 Dallas Etsy Jingle Bash.  It was a lot of work building our stock for the fair and putting together our display booth.  The weather was cold and rainy so there was not as much customer traffic as we would have liked, but I felt like it was a big success for us.  We earned enough to pay for our cost and still put some money in the bank. Being first timers participating in the fair, we only expected to sell a skein or two, just enough to buy ourselves a beer afterwards.  So we were pleasantly surprised when we did as well as we did.  We look forward to our next fair in 2014.

MKAL

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Kitman had a couple of MKALs this year.  She offered the patterns free if you bought our yarn and we got a nice response to the deal.  The amount of orders we received for the first MKAL took us a little by surprise and we had some long nights filling the orders.  Which was a nice problem to have! It was yet another great learning experience.

2014

Our focus for this year is to try to get the word out about our yarn.  We are feeling confident about our process and now we want to share our wonderful products with more people.

So as you daydream about your next project let us help you be inspired. We continue to add to our stock and below you can see our newest colors.  And please visit our shop to see our other offerings.

ImageLariat Self-Striping Yarn

ImagePrairie Melon

ImageChocolate Cow

ImageCuppa Joe

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Happy Knitting!

Diana Story and Kitman Figueroa

Tumbleweed Yarn

Lone Rangers

We here at Tumbleweed Yarn love experimenting with new colorways and yarn bases and sometimes we have happy accidents in our experiments. The resulting colorways would be impossible to reproduce. These happy accidents along with a few colorways that we are retiring are part of our “Lone Rangers” series. For a limited time we are offering our Lone Rangers at a discounted price. So if you like these one-of-a-kind beauties, please don’t hesitate to order; because once they ride off into the sunset with a hearty “Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!” they will not be seen again.

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The Right Tool for the Job

My latest project was a cable knit scarf, which I selected for the purpose of learning how to do the cable stitch. I am quite proud of the results and now I have another tool in my knitting toolbox, both figuratively and literally. Beginning knitting can seem a little boring; knitting and purling over and over again to learn consistency in tension and confidence in technique can seem somewhat unglamorous. However, these are the building blocks and most essential of stitches to master. As I learn different stitches the more my imagination and creativity start to flow, which just increases my love for the craft.

Cable Scarf

Featuring Tumbleweed Yarn colorway Crimson Tide

The pattern I selected was a free pattern I found on Ravelry by Lauren Sanchez. It is an interpretation of a scarf worn by Kevin Costner in the Hatfields & McCoys mini series. I knitted this scarf as a gift for a dear friend who lends me his computer graphic talents from time to time. The scarf is knitted in our Tumbleweed Yarn colorway Crimson Tide. I hope he enjoys the scarf as much as Kitman and I have appreciated his graphic contributions to our little business.

The literal tool I gained from learning to cable knit is the cable needle. Although I was initially taught how to cable without using an extra needle, I opted to try one after watching a couple of different video tutorials. Having lived in a fixer-upper house for 23 years, I much appreciate and value the use of a good tool that makes the job easier. I tried cabling with a plastic u-shaped needle, a crochet hook and a birch wood cable needle. I found that I really liked the birch wood needle. It is a straight needle about 3” in length and is thicker on the ends then in the middle. The needle is shaped this way so that the loops that you transfer to this needle will not easily slide off as they hang waiting to have their turn at being knitted. I also like that the needle was made of the same material as the knitting needles I was using. It help to give a consistent feel to my stitching.

Cable Needle

Cable Needle

When doing any sort of creative work, having the right tool makes the experience so much more enjoyable. With that lesson learned, I will continue to add to my toolbox, both figuratively and literally.

Next…I think I’ll try a hat!

Happy knitting and crocheting,

Diana Story and Kitman Figureoa

June Inspiration : A Dogwood Winter

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This month’s photo inspiration comes from Suzanne of Owensboro, Kentucky. This photo was taken at her sister’s house, just down the road from Suzanne. She wrote to us that they were experiencing a Dogwood Winter. As you can see the fireplace is in use on this particular spring day. I had to look up the definition of a Dogwood Winter. Which is when in late spring … a freak cold snap hits and reminds you that winter only ended a few weeks ago. Before modern calendars and the Farmer’s Almanac, our ancestors relied on the signs of nature around them for indications of the different season beginning and ending. Dogwood Winter usually falls during late April or early May, right around the time dogwood trees start to bloom. I’m not sure why I have never heard this expression before Suzanne’s email; maybe it is because I am a Texan and we hardly experience any sort of winter weather.

There are a couple of reasons Suzanne’s photograph was chosen for this month’s inspiration–first, pink and green is one of my favorite color combinations, and the pinks in these dogwood blooms are amazing. Secondly, there is the thought of an unexpected cold snap in the middle of the spring that to a Texan sounds wonderful. Where I live temperatures in late spring are quite often in the upper 90s, pushing in on that all too familiar 100 to 110 degree weather we have all summer long. And we Texans have a lloooonnnnggg summer. Thank you Suzanne for sharing. We will be sending her a skein of the yarn inspired by her photo, which we are calling Dogwood.

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Dogwood

The majority of the yarns we dye are created with the immersion method but we decided to try hand painting the yarn for our Dogwood colorway. We used 20 oz plastic soda bottles in which we drilled a hole in the caps to apply the dye solution. This method gave us more control over where we place the dye as compared to immersion method we most often use. But not quite as much control over dye placement as we use in our self-striping yarn, where every 4 yards is marked for a color change. We are VERY pleased with the results. We also hand painted our Painted Lady colorway. The colors reminded me of a saloon girl costume I once made. The petticoat was a collection of red and purple ruffles trimmed in gold. That was a fun costume to make then and this was a fun yarn to make now! I am sure Kitman and I will be creating many more hand painted colorways.

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Painted Lady

  

Happy knitting and crocheting,

Diana Story and Kitman Figureoa

Tumbleweed Yarn

Grandma

I love being a grandma! Even though I cannot believe I am old enough to be one. Aging is funny the way it creeps up on you. One day your eyesight is a little blurry and you seem to find it harder to get up from a seated position on the floor in a fluid graceful movement. I’m not sure I was ever able to really do that but you know what I mean. Despite the slowing down of my body, I have found the benefits of aging out weight the disadvantages. And at the top of the benefits’ list is being a grandmother! My two beautiful granddaughters, Isabella and Juliana, have been a joy. When my older granddaughter Isabella was born I wondered what kind of grandmother I would be? What was my role? But it all seemed to come so naturally. Everything they do seems so cute and funny to me. For example, lunch time with spaghetti. Juliana seems to get more on herself and the floor then in her tummy. HA!

juliana

I remember the same sort of things being done by my own children– but not being so cute and funny to me at the time.  (Benefit of aging—you seem to have more patience).  And because of my new business and the quest to call myself a knitter, I did a very grandmotherly thing. I knitted for my sweet granddaughters.  Because I have just begun to learn to knit, I missed the opportunity to knit booties and I am not yet skilled enough to knit a full-fledged garment. So I decided to knit them a toy.

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These little monsters are from designer Rebecca Danger.  I read a great article about her in the Spring/Summer issue of Vogue knitting magazine.  My younger granddaughter, Juliana who is 18 months old, was initially startled by her mama and baby monster but after big sister Isabella explained that these were nice monsters like the ones on Monster’s Inc. she now finds her duo cute and cuddly.   Isabella wondered why I gave them moustaches; I had to explain they were teeth.  You see how cute and funny they are?  I love being a grandma.

 My next knitting project will include learning to cable.  I have a scarf in mind and a friend I will be knitting it for.  I hope it turns out well.  My friend dresses very fashionably and I really want him to actually wear the scarf.  As always Kitman and I are working in the studio to create more colors to add to our inventory.  If you would like to see all the colors we have to offer please visit our Etsy store.

Toro

Toro

Indigo

Indigo

Glo Worm

Glo Worm

Outlaw

Outlaw

Campfire

Campfire

Campfire

Campfire

We Made More!

Kitman and I have rolled up our sleeves, donned our aprons, and have been like little mad scientists mixing our powders together to come up with some beautiful new colors to share with you.  Please visit our Etsy site to find more detailed information about our yarn colors.  I hope you like the colors as much as we liked creating them.

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Cheyenne

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Miss Kitty

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Sonoran Desert

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Dusty Sky

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Prairie Grass

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Prairie Grass

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Señorita

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Señorita

Happy Knitting and Crocheting,

Tumbleweed Yarn

Diana and Kitman

O Canada!

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May’s color inspiration comes from Loresa Jordan of Prince George, British Columbia. Loresa submitted photographs from her wedding anniversary trip to the west coast of Canada. Congratulations to her and her husband who were celebrating 19 years of marital bliss! The happy couple stayed at a small seaside community of Sooke. They explored many miles of seashore and rainforests, took a whale watching tour in a zodiac, enjoyed afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, devoured scrumptious seafood meals, and watched seals playing from their room on Sooke Harbour.

The photo selected was taken in Sooke Potholes Provincial park, named for the series of deep, polished rock pools carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River. Viewing opportunities of this park include coho and salmon spawning, old growth Douglas firs and wildlife including elk and bear. Loresa was happy to report that she and her husband did not experience a surprise encounter with the latter. Green is my favorite color and the variety of greens in these rocks was quite inspirational. I think we captured the beauty of the deep forest green with highlights of the bright chartreuse in our new colorway that we named Moss.

moss1

Loresa began knitting in earnest around the year 2000. She was determined at the time to knit sweaters for her new nephew. Her current passion is knitting lace. My business partner Kitman has designed many beautiful lace projects. If you are not already familiar with her designs check them out at her Ravelry site.

Thank you again Loresa for the inspiration and informing us about the beauty of Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. This July my husband and I will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary and we usually take a trip to celebrate. I have never been to Canada so this might be yet another type of inspiration for me.

Happy Knitting and Crocheting,

Tumbleweed Yarn

Diana and Kitman

April’s Inpiration & New Knitting Kit!

This month’s color inspiration comes from BreeAnn from Bristol, RI.  On a recent trip to New York City, BreeAnn ran into this amazing street artist in Washington Square.  I did a little investigating and found out that the name of this artist is Joe Mangrum. The medium for Joe’s art is colored sand!  His detailed, one-of-kind pieces can take 7 to 9 hours to complete.  When it is done and time to go home, he sweeps up this beautiful swirl of colors into a dustpan. I love this type of art! It is in the moment.  I guess that is why I have loved my work in live theatre.  It is a shared experience that happens in that moment and then is never recreated in the exact same way ever again.
sidewalksand
This artist’s vibrant and playful colors were a perfect inspiration for this month’s new yarn.  As I have been working towards becoming an accomplished knitter of socks, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at dyeing self-striping yarn.  The colors that Mr. Mangrum uses in his sand art inspired me in our first offering of self-striping yarn.  After much reading on the topic, the building of a warping board, and enough math to make my head explode, I present to youSidewalk Sand.  Thank you BreeAnn for the photo and the inspiration.  If you want to know more about the artist Joe Mangrum there are several YouTube videos that you can check out to see this amazing artist at work.
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Tumbleweed Yarn will be offering this self-striping yarn as a kit, which will include the 400 yards/100gms of Sidewalk Sand self-striping yarn and 30 yards of a matching pink yarn.  The pink yarn can be used for a contrasting heel and toe if you choose to knit socks–or the pink can become fringe on a very festive striped scarf.
Kitman has also designed a beautiful lace collar that we will offer as a free pattern when you purchase our Rust yarn.
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This is a simple, fast pattern for those of us who need immediate gratification.  The open lace pattern makes the collar light and it can dress up a simple T for the spring weather or would be a nice addition to a sweater come fall and winter.  Kitman knitted this collar using our Aubrey Fingering weight yarn in the colorway Rust. Aubrey is 100% Superwash merino wool.  This collar scarf only uses 55gms of yarn so this would be a nice project to knit in order to use up some of that extra yarn you have left over from other projects.  Read a more detailed description of this collar scarf and the kits we are offering on our Etsy website www.tumbleweedyarn.etsy.com.
Happy knitting and crocheting,
Diana and Kitman

“My Socks”

“beauty is twice beauty


 and what is good is doubly good


when it is a matter of two socks


made of wool in winter.”

             Excerpt from “Ode to My Socks”

            By Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)

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Knitting my first pair of socks was not near as hard as I first anticipated.  Thanks to Staci Perry and her video tutorials.  I happened upon Ms. Perry’s pattern and lessons doing an Internet search for beginner socks.  Her pattern and instructions were very easy to follow.  I am now a big fan of Staci’s and will visit her site for future projects. (www.verypink.com)

Being a visual learner, having a video of each step of the sock making process was fantastic. YouTube is a wonderful tool for the likes of me.  You can find almost any knitting stitch demonstrated for you by some lovely soul who took the time to video the process and put on the Internet.  Technology can be a wonderful thing. It was fun to see the shaping occur as I stitched along and when I completed both socks and tried them on for the first time it was like Pablo Neruda says in his poem

my feet were honored in this way

by these heavenly socks.

they were so handsome for the first time

my feet seemed to me unacceptable

like two decrepit firemen,

firemen unworthy of the woven fire,

of those glowing socks…

Okay maybe that is overdramatizing the moment, but they sure were cozy and comfortable.  I look forward to knitting many more socks and giving them away as gifts to my friends and maybe one day my hand knitted socks will inspire the poet in one of them to write a poem about my socks.

Happy knitting and crocheting,

Diana

I strongly encourage you to read Pablo Neruda’s entire poem “Ode to My Socks”