I know I haven’t blogged here in forEVER. The traveling thing doesn’t leave much room for creative, interesting knitting. Instead, I’ve been busy with hats, fingerless mitts, cowls, etc. Nothing fancy, and a lot of it gifty, so I’m afraid public photos will have to wait.
But I do want to share (with whatever readers I have left) a new blogger/designer I found recently, Tiny Owl Knits. She’s a girl from London, a traveling musician, and her work is all magic all the time. I’m completely smitten. I don’t know if I want to date her or BE her.
She is almost as adorable as her knitting designs, which are positively the most adorable things that exist. They’re romantic, fanciful, woodsy, and just plain magic.
I never got to knit my lover a sweater before our end; after all, I have a very wise rule about boyfriends: even trade, sparkly ring for handknit sweater. But if I had, it would have been this ‘oh my bear’ sweater from Tiny Owl.
I only have two of her patterns–the free ones–but when I get home, I plan to buy several more. The ones I have are clear, well-written, and full of detailed photos, a lot of them instructional. Here are some of my favorites of her patterns, ones I fully intend to make one day:
She also has a lovely dpn roll-up case that looks like a little fairy house, some cozy lacy leg-warmers, and several cute wristlet patterns. I’m pretty much dying to try every pattern she has published.
Stephanie is also in a band called ‘snowbird‘ which is apparently opening for the Indigo Girls of late. They have an airy, ethereal quality that sometimes reminds me of Vashti Bunyan, and others of Deb Talan in her early days. Snowbird is a girl band, which I kind of like, because it’s kind of rare for me to actually like a girl band’s music–perhaps because there just aren’t as many all-girl bands as other makeups.
I think I like this girl, Stephanie, and I know I like her Tiny Owl Knits. Click through some links and show her some love if you like what you see, like I did.
I’ve never knit with Malabrigo. (Feel free to send me some.)
Long time no blog, hmm? I feel sheepish. I’m sorry. I’m a bad, bad blogger, these days.
But! I have good excuses!
First, I had a big push in June to get a large collection of handmade yarns ready for honest-to-god, brick-and-mortar retail sale. Queen City Emporium, an art shop in Springfield, Missouri, contacted me via my Etsy shop and asked to feature my yarns. I spun and dyed and dyed and spun until I was tired of both, and got together about 25 skeins of handspun and/or hand dyed yarns to send them. They’ll feature my yarns for four months, and anything that doesn’t sell will be sent back to me at the end of that time. Eventually, any leftovers will make it into my Etsy shop. I’m hoping for no leftovers, though! If I ever discover any pictures of my yarns on display at QCE, I’ll be sure to share them here.
Right around the QCE crunch time, I started feeling a bit of personal angst. My job wasn’t going as smoothly as usual, my boyfriend and I were feeling a need for space, and my feet were just getting generally itchy and wandery. So over the course of a few days, I joined WWOOF UK and contacted several organic farms I was interested in working on. If you’re not familiar with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), it’s an international organization that pairs willing volunteers with hosts on organic farms. In exchange for quite a bit of hard work, the volunteer learns new skills about sustainable farming and living, as well as receiving their room and board.
Long story short, I’m in the midst of dissolving my life in Lincoln, Nebraska, and heading across the pond. I’ll be working with G&S Organics, a family-run farm and box program in Northumberland, England. Northumberland is in the very far north of England, almost to Scotland, on the eastern coast. I’ll be close to the sea and the nearest major city is Edinburgh, Scotland. It sounds as though I’ll really muck in and work hard with the family, and in exchange they promise to feed me well and maybe show me some of the Northumberland sights along the way. They raise cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and lots of vegetables; Beth, the proprietress, is saving some fleeces for me to play with, although their sheep are for meat, not wool.
I’m planning to be gone from early August through December, or until my money runs out! I fly into Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 18. I’ll be in Edinburgh for several days at the beginning of my trip to see the Fringe Art Festival going on there–the biggest arts festival in the world, apparently. Then I’ll make my way by train to Morpeth, England, where I’ll be collected by my host family. I’ll work on the farm until at least the beginning of November, provided all goes as planned, and then spend November and December traveling or wwoofing some more with my good friend Angela, who is currently teaching English in Korea.
December 20 will find me headed back to the States to spend Christmas with my family, most likely, and then I’ll head back to Lincoln to resume real life. I’ll have to find a new job and apartment–but I’m trying not to think about that part. Everything before then is scary enough.
So there will be some changes around kt*did in the next weeks and months. First of all, I’m working on getting lots of knitting done before I leave to finish projects and work through some stashed yarns. Since I’ll have to close the shop while I’m gone, for the most part anyway, I’m just letting it languish for now, and giving spinning a bit of a rest. If the yarns already up slowly sell, great–if not, I’ll take them down just before I leave and just use ’em myself!
I’m planning to take one bag of necessities with me and one bag of yarn and needles. I figure country life will leave me lots of free time for knitting. I also bought a cute travel spindle and little spindle-and-wool-holding storage basket with a shoulder strap, but my hand-spindling is pretty sad, so I’m not sure how much handspun I’ll make while I’m traveling. If anything shows up in the shop, it’ll likely be handknit items; I’m hoping that I can earn supplementary beer money by knitting my way through Europe!
I also have ideas for a couple of regular blog features in the works. I knit myself a friend to take along: Meet Gnorman the Gnome!
Gnorman’s going to be in all my pictures, since it’s pretty hard to take photos of yourself by the pretty foreign scenery. On the more knitting-related subjects, Gnorman will show up here. Otherwise, I’ll also be updating my personal blog, ktcarlson.blogspot.com, and he’ll be there too. Having an Amelie-esque traveling gnome seemed like a good start to my trip.
Also, I’m mulling over ideas for fundraising. I have money saved up, but in order to make it stretch, I’m going to be very, very poor for the next six or more months. I’m thinking of offering hand knit projects here on the blog in exchange for a donation. I’ll also quite likely accept commissions for knit items while I’m gone. I can’t manage anything so large as a sweater or afghan while abroad, I don’t think, but if anyone’s interested in hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, baby gifts (sweaters, bootees, toys), etc., I’m sure we can arrange a deal. What are your thoughts? Would anyone be interested in that sort of thing?
I think that pretty much explains the silence! I do have an exciting new knitting item to share with you (an item for knitting, not one I’ve knit) within the next couple of days, and some FOs to show off too. In between packing and getting details worked out, I’m enjoying Lincoln summer life to the fullest: going on walks, laying in my hammock in the park with my love, eating lots of fresh farm veggies, going to concerts, riding my bike, and imbibing all sorts of delicious intoxicants. Summer in the star city is a beautiful thing indeed.
I would love any feedback you knitters and travelers and life-observers have. I’ve never done anything like this before; suddenly, it looks as though my only constant will be my needles and yarn, and the rest of my world will be upheaved. Other than knit, knit, knit, repeat, how should I prepare, cope, and thrive, friends?
I’ve loved this commercial for a while now, but I figured everyone in the knitting world had already seen it. I assumed, however, that the amazing knitwork in it was done by computers–I never imagined it was real! Here’s a video detailing how they made the commercial, which is for natural gas, and portrays a house being entirely covered in knitting. At the end of the video, the commercial plays too. Soooooo amazing. And kind of makes me think that all of my huge dreams (and completing my many UFOs) are possible.
But better late than never, right?
Three new yarns in the shop today, all handspun, and all really a treat to spin. There’s a bit of variety here today–a huge skein of Falkland wool two-ply, a big skein ofshiny Merino/Tencel singles, and a small-sized skein of Falkland too.
Things have been selling well lately, a big leap forward for what I expected out of the shop by this time. Also, I’ve gotten further along on the farmer’s market business. As soon as I get my inventory where I’d like it, I’m going to start out at the smallish Havelock Farmer’s Market on Wednesday afternoons. If I do a spinning demonstration, they’ll even give me half off the cost of the booth–which means I can have a market booth for $9 per week!
My etsy shop is going to be featured on the knitting showcase page on etsy tomorrow. If you’ve linked here from my shop and are a first-time visitor, welcome! I hope you’ll subscribe to the blog, put it in your reader, friend me on facebook… something! I love to stay in touch with other fiber nerds.
I would like your opinions. These are just little knitterly questions that have been swimming around my head…
1. Do you think I could knit pasties? And would that too-closely walk the line between sexy and grandma? Would knit pasties be an etsy shop graveyard or goldmine?
2. Have you seen the latest internet craziness, teenagers making haul videos? I heard a story on NPR about these teenaged girls who go shopping at the mall or Target and then bring their armloads of bags home to their laptop and use their webcam to film a video of themselves showing off their “haul.” They bring each item one by one out of the bag and explain why they chose it, the positive attributes of the item, and how much it cost–or what a good deal they got. I thought this was ridiculous, bordering on horrifying… but then I came home after a four-hour-trek to new yarn stores in Hastings, NE, and wanted to show off my loot! I’ve already burned through most of the stuff from that trip (knit or spun it up, etc.), but I have a nice little mini-haul from a LYS in Fayetteville, Arkansas, still in its bag, and thought perhaps it could be the beginning of a regular feature: yarn shop haul videos! What do you think? Yay? Nay? Am I terribly self-centered (not to mention yarn-nerdy) t0 even consider it?
3. I’m considering a farmer’s market booth later in the summer at our local downtown farmer’s market. I still have to figure out the cost and decide whether I can make it up, but it’s something I’d really like to do. I figure I’ll bring Israel (my boyfriend) to handle the money so I can just sit and spin (har har… question in question: does anyone else find that phrase to be a dirty joke? i giggle every time i say that…). What farmer’s market attendee could resist buying yarn from the cute young redhead sitting at a spinning wheel? Any ideas for gimmicky things like “Here, pick your fiber/colors out of these baskets, and I’ll spin you up a special 20 yard mini-skein of your very own for far more money than it’s worth”? Anyone have experience with booths like this and whether or not they’re successful?
Tell me what you think puh-LEEZE!
So far four skeins of yarn have found new homes through my etsy shop! To replace them, I added four new ones last night. The first, “Mermaid Lagoon,” is commercially-spun yarn hand-dyed with Kool Aid, 85% wool and 15% mohair.
Next is one of my favorite yarns I’ve made so far: Fuchsia Lace. I hand spun some bright pink wool in a fairly consistent singles, and then plied it with vintage Shasta boucle yarn. My friend Shannon sells vintage clothing items and hand-sewn clothing made from vintage materials. When she came across some vintage yarn and brought it to me, I knew I’d use it to ply with handspun. It’s lacy, light, and so fragile, but plied with the wool, it doesn’t break so easily. And it turned out soo coool! It reminds me of something a derby girl or tattoo artist would knit with. I think it also renews my lust for pink hair a little…
The next two yarns are both hand-dyed and handspun; both are from rovings from cosymakes on etsy. I joined both of Cosy’s fiber clubs and my African Violets handspun is the first installment of her Falkland club. The colors were vibrant and bright in the fiber, but when I spun them they blended together to become more muted. At first I wasn’t sure “muted” was good, but now I think I like the subtlety of the purples and greens. I’m thinking it’d make a pretty hat, maybe with some embroidery on it.
Last is probably my favorite. Four ounces of Falkland wool from Cosy’s shop. This was the opposite–this was my least-favorite of the three rovings I got from Cosy this week, but it spun up so wonderfully! I aimed to try to get more yardage out of the four ounces than I usually do; it’s so fun to spin thick-thin bulky yarns that I don’t usually wind up with more than 150 yards out of four ounces of fiber. But I took my time with this and got 210 yards; that’s even more than a skein of Lamb’s Pride, which weighs the same! It still has thicker parts and thinner parts, but that’s part of the charm of handspun yarn, I think. And the colors turned out pretty nicely; the yellow-red-pink-peach-orange mixture sometimes blends together and sometimes is contrasting, which I like. I think you could get two hats out of this skein of Raspberry Lemonade, and one would probably be mostly yellow with red/pink highlights, and the other would be mostly red and pink with some yellow bits thrown in. (Obviously, I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if this one doesn’t sell…)
That’s all for this time, but I’m hoping to put up at least as many new yarns as I sell each week. This week I have plans for at least two new handspun yarns, one of them a super-big skein of wool/tencel shiny shiny! I will most likely update again next Sunday; until then, there are nearly 20 pretty yarns to choose from in the kt*did etsy shop!