Category Archives: dyeing

Busy Bees of Summer

Summer is finally here! Lots has been happening around Studio – major house renovations and all sorts of stuff. I know the website has been a little quiet lately, and I have been opting to take a bit of a hiatus from Ravelry, Facebook, and any other social networking. I just find it all a bit overwhelming and it tends to detract from actually getting real things done. So, these days I am focusing things, getting lots done, and focusing on more in-person shows, and stuff. But, very soon I will be revamping my office to allow me to do more daily website updates, blog updates, etc. I still likely won’t be on social networking much – except for Studioloo blurbs and pictures on Facebook and Instagram. It’s really working out nicely for me not to spend hours of my day scrolling through stuff. We have to balance life…not make ourselves too available all the time. For me, it’s especially important as I have a day job, dogs, family, and so on.

Last weekend we had a big yard sale and managed to knock out Phase 2 of cleaning out the garage – getting rid of old artwork and antique stall stuff that we no longer want to hold on to. It was a fun, successful day. Having a yard sale is a great way to connect with neighbours and meet people.

 

Most of what I have been doing lately has centred around home renovation and preparing for Twist Fibre Festival in August. I have been dyeing loads of yarn, and still have a lot more to dye, and I have been washing loads of fleeces from my haul at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

This week we are also putting in hardwood floors in our living room, and painting away all the ugly beige. My to-do list is a little bit of a nightmare but I am working through it.

So, if we haven’t chatted in a while ….this is why. I will return to civilization shortly..I promise.

Inspired Weekend

It has been a really great weekend of getting work done! I have put a new face on the Studioloo website which I am quite happy with and will be putting up a lot of listings. I have finished so much work that is not currently posted on the site. I took a bit of a hiatus from the duties of running an online shop. It’s a lot of work – the photography, photo editing, writing descriptions of products, uploading photos, updating inventories, carts, e-commerce, FTP’ing information, website updates, and so on! It can be somewhat exhausting at times. But, I do love to get my work out to a broader audience than those in Ontario. I really enjoy selling my work in person as well – it’s nice to hear people tell you their plans for your yarns or how something you made will accent their homes.

I have done a lot of spinning this weekend. I think I caught the spinning bug remembering Janice Rosema, an incredible fibre artist who passed away last week.  She was a great inspiration to me and overall just a really sweet person. We are having a little spin-along in the Ravelry art yarn community HERE.  Feel free to join in or post your photos of your inspired works for Janro on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #spinforjanro.  I also did a bunch of crock-pot dyeing of rovings and yarns and managed to finish a bunch of administrative work for shows I am applying to and so on. My to-do list is getting a lot shorter.

There has been a lot of snow here lately so I have been fighting off my cabin fever just working away on things, doing a lot of home cooking and watching documentaries. They have included ‘Sweetgrass’ – a doc about sheep herders going through the Rockies with their flock, a documentary about all of the craziness and politics of the Barnes’ art collection and it’s foundation, a documentary about the making of South Park and how each episode is done in only 6 days, and a bunch more.  I am a documentary addict at this point.

I have also been working away on my Beekeeper’s Quilt and have passed the 300 mark. 300 Hexipuffs! Holy cow – one day this will be a quilt. I also designed a few charts – one of Catbus (for Studio Ghibli fans) and a few for Adventure Time. They are below:

 

 

 

Have a happy Family Day or President’s Day long weekend!

 

Pretty Things

Some days it is hard to feel positive when you have to see things you really despise in politics, social issues, the environment and so on. I have decided recently to try to do my best to clear my life out of these things by getting rid of media, people, and other exposures to things that don’t make me happy. On my own I am able to seek out the issues that make me passionate; I can fight good fights without having to constantly be bombarded by people who feel opposite of how I do.  I think that social media makes people really angry, pseudo-anonymous, and really geared up to fight, shout their opinions regardless of how they could make others feel and so on.  I have taken a step back recently on how that makes me feel – and how I want to basically portray myself more as a full human being, instead of just someone who has a certain view on a specific social topic. There is more to me than just the fact I support a certain decision. That being said however, I am really torn because there are certain people who I love for what they do, but not who they are – and that can really be a hard thing to deal with. I guess that is a good reason to not ‘friend’ someone on social media – instead ‘like’ their pages where they discuss their art, their business, etc. This being said – I am removing a few people from my social media websites so that I don’t have to be blindsided constantly by political things that I have no power to change – things often that take place in a country I don’t even live in. I know that we don’t have the power to agree, but I want to have the power still to respect the amazing art that is pumped out of these people.

It has been an insanely busy week – I have gotten so much done so that I can go away and spend some rare time with my family on a camping trip. I have dyed and packaged 3 new fun yarn kits/lines for KW knitter’s fair. I have done a full load of pottery – new yarn bowls, vases, bowls, cups, and more – some to join me at the Art in the Open market and some for KW knitter’s fair.  I have gotten a lot of work done at my day job. I have dyed a ton of yarn….and spun a lot too! I am bringing my spinning wheel on this camping trip and I hope to get some great, relaxing spinning time along with some kayaking, hiking, photography and just relaxing.

Here’s a peek at some faux cashmere I dyed – one braid of several different colourways. This is such a nice fibre to dye.

 

And a peek at a yarn I spun this week with some nice wool flowers. I actually got to spin this at my knit night at Whole Foods – it’s such a great place to do creative things. I find you get a lot of positive attention.

 

I bought this beautiful burl from the exotic wood store some time ago and my husband/business partner/slave finished staining and sealing it for me this week. He is truly the blessing of my life and helps me with so many creative endeavours that I cannot even think of ways to possibly thank him enough for all of his patience and support. I am very lucky.

 

There are still about a million things to do tonight before I head to bed early to prepare to wake up at 5am for the market so I should get packing clothes and toiletries, and washing yarn, and so on! I leave this post with a picture of a sleepy, unimpressed Poppy in his new gnome costume.

Breakfast and the Workload

This morning’s breakfast did not feel like it was part of my week of being poor. Homemade scones, a recipe taught to me by one of my early mentors in life, my first employer at a lovely little tea room I used to work in. Along with it some leftover cheese curd from Black River Cheese which I picked up on my journey home last weekend, homemade strawberry/raspberry jam that I canned in July, whipped cream, and melted chocolate. Chocolate strawberry tea pulled the whole breakfast together.

I have about a million things I need to do – emails to answer about artist talks and workshops, and a lot of prep work for shows. I am spending the majority of today trying to resolve a lot of issues with one of my projects in my real job but then once the work day comes to a close, I need to try to finish up ball winding 20 more of these super complicated, secret yarns that will be released as a line in hopefully a week or so. I am really excited about them but they are by far the most complicated yarns I have ever made. They will more than likely be very limited edition because I really don’t see myself wanting to make them very often. Some things are just like that – you need to give yourself those allowances in life and not make everything you do marketable, or well, marketed.

Another venture I have taken up, along with Mike, is making buttons – ceramic, wood, some highly decorated, some very simple. I have a bunch of lovely exotic wood that needs to be sliced into buttons so perhaps later today I will pull out the band saw. Thankfully my dad was able to turn a bunch of the wood on his lathe and make it much easier for me to work with.

I have also started trying to ramp up enough work to fill up a kiln for my bisque firing this month. I will have a whole bunch of new yarn bowls – some with fibre themes and a big load of my octopus yarn bowls. I will also have a lot more buttons and pendants – all to be completed before the KW Knitter’s Fair in September.

I have been feeling really inspired to create lately and filling up a journal with ideas for all sorts of things I need to make/build/sculpt/create and it feels really good. I am totally stoked that this weekend I am taking a paper clay workshop with Lesley McInally.  I have not worked with paper clay before but I love the look of it and she is an incredible artist who’s work captivates me.

After the workshop it will be time to get my fibre mojo working and dye a lot of yarn. I have to dye up a big load of ‘Candy Sprinkles’ sock yarn, a ton of Bootsie sock and and work on my new line of Bamboo yarns as well as dye up more Bamboo lace. It should be great days of finding a lot of colour inspiration.

Pods and Prep

I have been a lazy blogger – but not a lazy maker. My day job has been really demanding of late and I have been preparing for shows which will bombard my life in April.

I have been working away on felting pods, dyeing yarn, spinning, potting – new bowls and buttons and all sorts on their way. I am also thankfully preparing for a much needed vacation in a couple weeks.

 

I recently decided I would join the Neilson Park Creative Centre and the Etobicoke Spinning and Weaving Guild so that is a nice thing to be excited about and have some more involvement in. I hesitated for a long time to join a guild because I am not a good rule follower when it comes to my work and I have been in a lot of guilds and groups where your work can get sort of …bossed around, or stifled by those around you. However, the folks I have met so far are wonderful. I am just going to try not to dedicate myself too much to responsibilities on a board type situation. I do enough of that already and I am feeling like in the next few years I need to take a hiatus from those sorts of things to allow myself more time for research and development on my craft and to discover new things and organize what will work for me on a longer term basis.

I should also mention the shows that I have coming up soonish!

April 14th – Stitch n Kitsch

April 21st – PENDING – Waiting to hear if I made the cut to get into the Made by Hand Show. I know there were about 60 extra vendors than the venue had room for so we shall see.

April 28th – Downtown Knit Collective – Knitter’s Frolic – I will be in The Black Lamb’s booth with all my goodies.

I am also happy to announce that I solved an issue I was having with a few dyes that I recently purchased. I had a couple of customers advise me that their yarn was bleeding a bit of colour when they washed it. Of course for a yarn dyer, this is a BIG deal so I immediately started researching the issue and found that for a few dyes I use there have been some recipe changes and they need to be mordanted a little differently. So, I have worked out the kink and tested it and now all will be well. Thank you to my customers who let me know about this problem. Things like this cannot be fixed if they are not identified.

And, I have managed to finish the Dark Birdcage hat for a recent show that I entered.

 

I have done a lot of photography today, and I am planning on updating this blog more and doing sort of an ‘object a day’ thing where I may not have anything to say..but I will try to post pictures frequently of things that inspire me, that I covet or make. I think this will be a good way for me to get myself back into blogging. It’s good ‘me time’.

 

 

Up Anomaly’s Creek

Summer is really winding down quickly here in Ontario. It has been really chilly but I am not bothered – it’s making me want to update my Fall wardrobe and wear scarves and go to evening outdoor events where you can bundle up with hot cider and listen to live music – that sort of thing. Nesty.

I think sometimes when I am trying to give a name to my blog posts that I get sort of frazzled ..trying to figure out how to give a title about everything I am going to write about so it ends up looking like ‘Random Art Show, Some Food Stuff, Dog News, etc’ so from now on I am going to raise the stifling curse on myself and give random one-liner names of words in my head at the time. Why is it important anyhow?

So, the Kitchener-Waterloo knitter’s fair was a great success. My wares looked lovely in the generous booth space and there were many patrons, and overall nice people. I got to meet some people I know from Ravelry, in person and with the boys there to help me, it was not overwhelming at all. I really started preparations for the show ahead of time so I set myself up for success on the big day. Here are some shots of my booth!

The overall booth

Hand Dyed Yarn Wall

Candy Sprinkles Yarn and Fiber Goodies

Octopi Yarn Bowls, Test tubes of Beads, Bamboo Lace

Stitch Markers, More Bamboo Lace, Buttons

So, I think I am all finished for canning season this year, except husband is going to try to pickle some insanely hot Thai green chilies that we used 4 ounces of in our salsa. The salsa turned out completely yummy. So, for this year I did huge loads of salsa, canned whole tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes, plum butter, strawberry jam, candy apple jelly, dill pickles, and rhubarb marmalade. Today is farmer’s market day though so one can never be sure if something else might catch my eye. I am thinking something apple, but not apple sauce would be nice.

Mat and I have started podcasting again, after over a year of not doing so. So, for Muststashyo listeners, you can download the new episode here: http://www.muststashyo.com/ We are working away on the next one too and it will be recorded and uploaded on Sunday probably.

I also have a massive yarn update on it’s way – a new link called ‘Wink Wink’ of hand dyed worsted yarns perfect for hat and cowl projects. And, I have the new Fall 2011 Bootsie colours as well as some new merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn. Here’s a peek:

Bootsie sock yarn

Wink Wink Worsted

Lastnight was a lot of fun too – I went to the Brampton Indie Artfest at The Rose Theatre and we saw The House Plants, The Shuffle Demons, some great art installations, heard some poetry slamming, ate organic cotton candy, and saw a lot of smoking hipsters. The best part of the night would have to be The Shuffle Demons though – they sounded great and reminded me of when I was a kid and used to hear them playing their music from across the street. There was a little old lady who lived across the street from me as a kid and the least sax player/singer of the band was married to her daughter.

I am heading back for a second night tonight to see Lily Frost and some other acts. Anyhow, the work day beckons and I should listen.

PS! Worldwide Spin in Public Day is this weekend – so find an event near you! http://www.wwsipday.com/

Gearing Up for KW Knitters Fair

It has been a busy week and I am working long days of the day job and long evenings of show preparation for Kitchener Waterloo’s Knitter’s Fair.

Much yarn has been dyed and photos need to be taken. I did up a little indigo dye pot yesterday for some indigo tie dyed in fingering and worsted weights and I really love how it turned out.

On the weekend I made a little piece of wall art – from miniature furniture for doll houses..I was thinking it was quite Alice in Wonderland feeling and imagined a whole wall made of this…would be fun!

We got to dogsit our neighbour’s lovely St. Bernard. Her name is Kelowna and she is a giant ball of love.

I got this amazing phang spindle from my girlfriend Janet – it is entirely made by hand from a local Wax Myrtle tree – how amazing is she?

Ok, billions of things to do…so I must say adieu! Dog kiss!

River with the Puppies and a Nice Dinner

It has been a decent Saturday. I dyed up some merino for the steampunk gauntlets I will be making for a secret friend, along with some other wool that was hanging about asking to be dyed. So, the drying racks are a bit full. I have cut the pattern for the gauntlets and need to get some more foam wrap to make templates for more felting ideas I have in my brain. I actually finished another of the pod sculptures a couple of days ago. Here’s a process photo and the final piece.

I feel like I got quite a bit done today. I got up really early and went grocery shopping, gave myself plenty of time to putter around and organize a few things, and then headed out to the river with the puppies. They had a fun time. Lulu seems to be more ambitious about doing a little swimming these days.

There are some little signs around this park that we hike at warning about this invasive plant species called giant hogweed. I had no idea that this stuff can cause allergic reactions and that it is even evasive. I remember picking the white umbrella like flowers from this plant when I was a kid. Anyhow, I saw some wee little snails parasailing on one of the flowers and it was neato.

Some of the snails are really tiny and cute. Check this one out next to Mat’s hand (wearing the awesome Kinekt gear ring I got him) for size comparison.

Then after a nice hike we all came home and bathed the puppies and I made a nice, light and modern antipasto and focaccia for dinner.

Great Dye-ventures!

I have been a dyeing machine lately – and received a nice new shipment of bamboo lace, merino/cashmere/nylon  and merino/seacell fingering weight yarns. The Etobicoke Fiber festival was also a couple weeks ago and I had a great time – it was really well organized with great volunteers, good attendance and a lovely space. The weather outside is making me feel energetic – it’s warm and breezy – really nice. Spring may finally be peeking it’s head out.

Last weekend I did a bunch of dyeing. I bought a load of silk cocoons and needed to get them dyed so I setup a bunch of dye jars and got to work. Being the waste-not want-not kinda girl that I am I decided to dye a bunch of silk carrier rods along with the cocoons and then fill the rest of the jar with this amazing wensleydale fleece (all young locks) that I bought at Rhinebeck. A great decision it was. If the upcoming photos do not make you drool, then you are not a fibre maniac like me – and I understand that.

So here are the jars with just the cocoons all lonely:

Then all filled up with locks and carrier rods too:

So now things have been drying away for a few days and I am left with this amazing palette of colours.

This is a yummy skein of merino/cashmere/nylon in the colourway ‘Anjou Pear’ that Mat and I dyed up – it’s part of a new line of yarns we are calling DALI-CASH, named after Salvador Dali and a promotional part of our podcast – yes, Muststashyo will be making it’s return very soon. We just had a lot going on – work, life, etc. but we think we will be able to get recording again. Mat has already started writing and I have an idea and plan to record something tomorrow night. I have SnB tonight so no dice.

And some of the new merino/seacell – this yarn takes dye so nicely.

There is also new bamboo aock yarn!

And bamboo lace!

I have managed to get some knitting done also! I just finished the ‘I Heart Poms’ hat which I call ‘Wrath of Poms’. I made it from Malabrigo Rios – that yarn is so decadently amazing.  And, the pattern is so simple and cute – it cinches at the top so has a nice shape.

I made this cute, bubbly, cowl for a friend also. It was a lot of fun to make – my first experience with dropping rows of stitches, on purpose!

Sorry for the mannequin boobage. The knitting crowning achievement lately however happened lastnight when I finally finished the Flutterby Socks I have been working on forever – not because they are hard, just because I have been distracted.

And, as socks go – a pair off the needles and a new pair on – Nutkin will be next, from Malabrigo sock yarn in ‘Primavera’

In the next couple of days. I will be updating Studioloo with a ton of new lace and sock yarns, as well as new plush toys and handspun art yarns. So stay tuned…

Out of Blog Hibernation

Holy cow! I have failed at blogging recently, but it’s not because I haven’t been up to much. I have just been focusing a lot of doing different life stuff. I have joined a gym and I am working on a lot of personal health goals, and I have been up to a lot of fun stuff. But, I think I am ready to try to keep things in my online life up to date a little bit more.

So, each morning I still wake up and get to see my wee Poppy doing something cute, like sticking his tongue out at me.

The puppies have been doing really well although sometimes they perform self-imposed pillow seperation.

Lately I have also been feeling more creative with making breakfast. Breakfast is a meal that I struggle with. I am not really a breakfast person. I think it’s a genetic thing – my parents aren’t breakfast people either. However, everyone around me these days are breakfast people. So, I have been playing in the kitchen with some fun things. I will write up the recipes for both of these a little later so you can try them out for yourself.

First off – Sausage Fudge Pancake with Sugared Pecan Topping  (or as the boys call it – Pigs in a Mattress). I decided I needed to make something really special to go with this single press bottle of 2o1o maple syrup I splurged on. And it was totally worth it. Imagine a fat pancake with fresh organic breakfast sausage and bits of yummy dark fudge in the middle, sprinkled with sugared pecans and baked golden brown. Yes, it was that delicious!

Then I experimented with chicken and waffles and this has become a bit of a favourite for any meal when we are feeling like we have spent enough time at the gym. 🙂 Waffles are one of those easy go-to favourites that are really hard to mess up, and the batter is my dad’s old family recipe.

I have also been really busy with fiber related things. I will be getting studioloo.com updated this weekend with a bunch of information. First off, I have confirmed that I have the following shows coming up – with dates and links below:

April 2 and 3 – Etobicoke Fibre Arts Festival

June 11 – Stitch n Kitsch

September 10 – Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair

As such, I have been preparing and starting to get lots done. I am planning to do a lot of spinning in the upcoming weeks as well as a lot of dyeing and making loads of other things. I recently updated yarn stock at The Fibre Garden so if you are in the Niagara region and looking for some new yarns from me, check there. It’s a wonderful shop with lots of unique fibres. I will be adding a bunch of art yarns to my site this weekend, if not sooner.

I have also been dyeing up more bamboo sock yarn, and will have bamboo lace next week to get started in the dye pots.

And there has been mass felt making – beads and freeform!

I have been very busy with pottery as well. I am now participating in my pottery guild’s executive as the coordinator for monthly meetings and workshop planning. It has been nice scheduling guest artists to present to the members each month and also gives me a chance to do lots of baking. Right now, the boy and I have been making buttons like crazy!

I am hoping that winter starts to make more of an effort at going away. I really want to get to work in my backyard and try to turn it into a multi-purpose space this year. I need room for outdoor dining, the BBQ, and would like to have a bit of a garden. I see much pruning in my future.  I just want to get planting. Work has been unbelievably busy lately that I am behind in to many things. But, I am inspired by the lovely things I come across. Sometimes I find such pretty pottery that I can’t help myself. I recently picked up this plant pot – glazed amazingly in a colour and texture I could never get in non-toxic glazes I am sure.

And with spring, comes new shoes! These are my new shoes for the season. They are so cute and comfy. They are made by Groundhog shoes and are environmentally friendly.