Saturday, June 30, 2007


In honour of Canada Day and the 4th of July
15% off EVERYTHING in my store--from now until July 05th.

So, if you've ever been interested....go now


Friday, June 29, 2007

It's all about colour.

What is it with me and pink lately??

The past 4
rovings I've dyed have been:

Pink/ Orange: "BARBIE


Pink and Brown: "NEAPOLITAN"

Plus there's the yarn:

This is the solar dyed yarn all re-skeined.
I think it's pretty.
It worked well, I think. I did put the oven thermometer in, but then found out it wasn't working.
So I bought a new one, but I think it was too late in the day to get an accurate reading.

The dye did exhaust (except for some of the blue, which is normal).
There was one weird spot where there was some dark purple that migrated onto the pink and turquoise--but it's all blended in when re-skeined.

It's pretty.
I really want to call it "Like, totally Solar"
I have no idea why--maybe all the pastel colours bring out the 80's girl in me.

Princess B is begging for a pair of socks from it. I was going to put it in the shop--but I think she deserves some for being such a good little helper.

rovings are all available in the shop.

I'm still waiting on my first wholesale yarn shipment---I have no idea when it will arrive....
and I have only 1 skein left to dye....
Luckily I just received 3 pounds of spinning fibre to dye.

Oh, and speaking of colour:

We had a hair painting party the other night.
My one friend has black stripes on her brown hair (and she let us cut it) and the other friend has
blonde, red, brown and black. It's wild and I love it.
I didn't know it was that hard to get a decent picture of ones self.
I took about 20 pictures--I don't know how those
myspace/facebook kids do it!!

Well--the kids are in bed and hubby is out (but he starts vacation tomorrow!!!)--so I am going to do some spinning!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So hot it's dyeing yarn!!!

I decided to make use of the crazy heat we are having. It was about 40C (104F) here yesterday and I don't' know about you, but that makes me melt.
So, today I decided to dye half of my last skein of yarn using solar power!
Inspired by Pippi and her recent article in
I decided to give it a go.
I have all the pictures in my Flicker set here:
I had a little helper:

Since Princess B loves Pink, that's what we started with:

didn't' really plan on what colours I wanted, but we ended up with Pink, Turquoise Blue, Purple and Sapphire blue:

I made little sections with aluminum foil, then covered the whole thing with a black garbage bag and the lid, and set it on the patio stone outside.
I put an over thermometer inside, so I can check the temperature later on in the day.
We'll see what happens!!

It's a pretty easy process, only took a few minutes, but my little helper was tired and posed for this picture:

Stay cool, or dye yarn!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I just found out (through doing my own digging) that my "I dreamed of Africa" sock pattern, made it into the 2008 Pattern a Day Knitting Calendar!

You can click here to see a list of all the entries--so if you submitted something, maybe you can find yourself.
*Note, this is a PDF link*

*EDITED TO ADD: Just to clarify, I did submit this pattern but was not aware that it had made the cut. A pleasant surprise indeed!**

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I haven't blogged about some recent acquisitions;

First of all, I won a blog contest over at Omly's blog.
The prize was Stephanie Japel (aka Glampyre's) new book "Fitted Knits"

It's so pretty.
I've seen some of the things she has designed in the past and wanted to knit them.
This book is beautiful and I think I will just ogle the pages for a while.

Then, I won a blog contest over at Diva Knitting and received 7 balls of Berocco "Pronto" in a pretty blue colour (Bluebell I think)

I'm thinking a summer top would be a quick knit with this yarn. Friends at Random House sent me this book as a surprise:

It's called "the Cute Book" by Aranzi Aronzo, and is all about making cute little characters out of felt.
One is called "Pinkie" and would be perfect for Princess B. The description reads:
"Pinkie. Pinkie is pink. Pinkie loves Pink. Maker her with cute Pink felt. You have to make her Pink".
So cute. Thanks Random House.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dye day

Today we had a "Dye day" for the Spinners Guild.
We met at a spinners house, brought out crock pots, woks and pots and dyed up a storm.
I brought some of the fleece that was gifted to me at my first guild meeting--and dyed some of it.
I did some red, purple, yellow/orange and did some in ammonia.
We are learning about natural dyes as we are to put together a "Christmas Tree" full of natural
handspun/handwoven items for a Christmas fund raiser.
Basically--to ammonia dye, you put ammonia and water in a LARGE jar with a piece of copper pipe.
Let it sit out for a week or so and then you can add roving, fleece and/or yarn to it.
It actually only takes a few minutes to take the colour.
I ended up with a silvery blue colour--which when washed might change/lighten again.

Some pictures:

This is Sandra, whose house we were at:

This little cute log cabin is her "studio". She has antique wheels,
handspun hanging all over on pegs, felted items, paintings etc etc etc.

Some of the fruits of our labour (some of mine is on the far left):

We used a combination of food colouring and acid dyes. Sometimes all at the same time.
I am definitely going to be looking for an old crock pot or deep fryer (yes they used a deep fryer)
for dyeing some stuff.
I also learned how to use combs for combing fleece. I tried to comb some of that gifted fleece, but it was too sticky and didn't comb.
It needs a good soaking and then maybe I'll get some dog combs to work through it.

I did my own dyeing yesterday:
"SARAH" roving

"PRINCESS B" (named after my daughter who loves all things Pink and Purple)

and some yarn (which is not in the shop yet)

This is done in the current Project Spectrum colours of
Red, Black and Metallics.

I will
reskein it and put it up in the shop tomorrow.
Or you can e-mail me (
sprouty25 AT gmail DOT com) if you are interested.
$18.00 US plus shipping ($6 for USA, $2 for Canada, $8 international)

Oh, and I have a sock:

It took me 2 nights (about 2.5 hours each) and about and hour yesterday to finish.
My second ball had a little 2 y/old helper--and now it is tangled (of course) --so I wont' be casting on right away.
It's just a toe up sock based on Wendy's generic toe up pattern. Do a gauge swatch, measure your foot--knit. I split the skein in half so I would have equal yardage for each sock.
I did a 3X1 ribbing for the left and just knit until the ball was finished.
Too bad it's crazy hot here, or I'd be wearing it.....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hello little sock

I've started my first sock from my handspun!!

I cast on at the start of a movie last night (Dejavu with Denzel Washington) and at the end I had this:

Here's my swatch:

(the swatch is posing in front of a picture of the yarn on a Handspun Sock KAL that I joined)

Close up of the cake:

and of some stitches:

That's all for today. I expect that if I get some knitting done tonight (it's been rare, since the kids are not sleeping well at all )--that I might get one sock almost finished.
Big fat yarn
Big fat needles

*EDITED TO ADD: If you can't see these pictures, it's because Blogger is being crazy again.
According to the html the pictures are still there--but are hiding.
So, I've uploaded them again, so hopefully this works**

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday meme a-long.

Bold for stuff you’ve done,
italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and
normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items
Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns
Dying with plant colors
Dying yarn

Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Garter stitch

Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)

Kitchener BO
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn

Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with DPNs
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn

Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO

Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down - um, why?
Moebius band knitting

Norwegian knitting
Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys

Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

whew that's a long list.
that's my "i'm bored" blog post for today.
I will be swatching the sock yarn to see if a 3.25mm (US 3) will work.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Canada's Next Top Sock Yarn

A little photo shoot:
Enjoying the Sun

Lounging Poolside

Stretching out:

Up close and personal

I am so happy with this yarn.
Approx 108 g, 3.8 oz
Yardage ??? (have yet to measure, or figure out how to measure)
About 12 wpi

Heritage: 4 oz of domestic wool from PippiKneeSocks in the "Springtime Chocobird" colourway.
2 ply.

I plied it by winding to a centre pull ball--which I am just learning to do.
There was so much yarn in the cake that the centre pulled out and the whole thing tangled--twice.
So there are parts of the yarn that had to be split spliced back together and parts of the yarn where there is no twist left and is all fuzzy.
I. don't. care.
I love this yarn.

I tried to wind it back on the niddy-noddy while wet to let it stretch as it dried, but the skein (of course) tangled and it took me all day yesterday to untangle it. I don't' know why these tangles always happen to me--I wrapped it in 4 places.

Anyways. I will be showing it off to a friend at lunch (sushi sushi sushi) and then I will be swatching and starting socks.
It's like 1,000 degrees outside lately and I'm going to start some 100% wool socks.

It must be love

Monday, June 11, 2007

Did you???

I did.
I first went out for b'fast with a friend whom I haven't seen a lot of recently. That was nice.
Then I went and met up with another friend (new sock knitter, owns sheep--Hi K!!)--for coffee and a bit of knitting.
We had our wires crossed and so I was late, but we did get almost an hour to sit and talk...
After she left I pretended I was checking pictures and snapped this:

(ignore the orange Post it--just marking my spot)
I'm using an old CD case to hold my yarn cake (it works well).
I didn't get much knitting done, but it was fun none the less.

The past couple of days have been busy--errands, food, gardening.
Yesterday we went out for lunch after church and since Aidan fell asleep in the high-chair we decided to go for a drive to encourage him to sleep more.
It didn't work.
We had some awesome ice-cream, the kids made a huge mess and we went to a little park to
skip stones in the water.
It was fun, and only 2 head injuries (Princess B throws a mean rock)

Went to visit an organic farm--bought ANOTHER tomato plant (now I have 9--what am I doing with 9 tomato plants??) and some awesome hand-made Lavender soap.
Weeding, swimming and then the rest of the evening was spent putting A to bed.
Since Friday night he decided to jump out of his crib, we had to change him to a toddler bed.
So, I spent 3 hours last night picking him up and putting him back in bed.

Anyone have any advice??

I didn't talk to him, didn't play, was really boring hoping he'd finally just conk out--but it took until 10pm.
Then he was up from 4am-5am and up at 7....

So, my plan to spin last night didn't happen.
I cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed.

Today--there shall be spinning.
I am finally going to ply that yarn from Pippi and Spunky Eclectic

Yarn pictures tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Plying fool

I've actually been making stuff. This is what I've done this morning:

I finished spinning this on Wednesday at the spinning guild and plied it this morning.

I was trying a new (to me) method of winding it into a ball and plying from both ends.
It turned out balanced (i think):

There are actually parts that are under plied, but over all I am happy with it.
It's some Alpaca from a lady from our Guild--she dyed it with Green food colouring.

Then I moved on to the Neapolitan BFL of mine that I finished spinning the other night:

Again--there are parts that are actually under plied (which is different for me--i usually put way too much twist in everything) but I'm happy with it.
Here is a warmer picture of the colours (not completely accurate, but pretty)

(No children were neglected in the making of this yarn.) Aidan has been getting up at 5:30am-6am for a while, then it stopped, then it started again--so I decided that since he wanted to sit quietly by himself after b-fast I would pull out the wheel.
He decided he wanted to help:

And speaking of the guild:

I finally took some pictures of them.
It's our last formal meeting until the Fall.
We are having a dye day in a couple of weeks--and then a BBQ in July. (At the Shetland farm where I bought my fleece. I'm a nerd--I want to meet "my sheep")
There are also some other things that I may or may not get to.

The lady sitting beside me on Wed was actually in the B2B Wool Competition that competed against the Toronto Spiders.
I know of the Spiders through reading Wannietta's blog and know that they won last year.
I can't imagine--grabbing raw fleece off the floor, spinning it, plying and knitting a whole sweater in about 6 hours.

Well, I'm off to try on dresses--in my closet. Hubby is officiating his first Wedding tonight!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fleece in a bag

Fleece in a bag
Originally uploaded by thechickswithsticks.

This is the start of how I washed my fleece tonight.

Hubby was out, the kids were sleeping and this fleece needed washing.

"Elsie" is the name of the sheep the fleece came from.
Here's a link to a picture of her on the farm.

So I gathered all my materials:

Bagged up the fleece:

*the only part that I didn't put in the bags is that little bit of fluff in the front. It's, um "tags" from the fleece (poopies) that I didn't' think I needed.

So, I filled the washer with HOT water, put some Dawn in (not to make bubbles, just to clean) and let it soak for 45 minutes.
Drained/spun dry, took the bags out and filled the washer again.
*you don't' want to have the fleece in the washer with water pouring on it, or it can felt*

Another soak for 30 minutes and it looked like this:

It's hard to see, but the water is only a little bit murky.

A rinse in HOT water with about a 1/2-1 cup of vinegar.
Spin dry
1 more rinse and now I'm done!!

I've left it hanging up down stairs as it was rainy here today and I don't' want the fleece to get rained on.
It actually smells just like wool now--the barnyard stink has been washed away--well, it's in my washing machine, but that's to deal with tomorrow.

I will post a picture when it's drying and when it's dry.
It's soft already.

There is still a bit of VM (Vegetable matter) in it so I will have to do some picking.

I have spinning day tomorrow and I'll ask about processing it.
(I know that I can get hand carders and I can use dog combs, but i want to get some advice)

So, more progress pictures to come.

Oh, and I finished spinning the "biffle" (Dyed BFL) and have started on some Alpaca that I got from a lady at the Spinning Guild--I might spin it tomorrow to let her see.

I'm off to bed--it's WAY too late...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

99 Red Balloons

99 Red Balloons
Originally uploaded by thechickswithsticks.

This a progress shot of this batt-spinning-skein.

I love it.
I have no idea how much yardage is there..and I don't' know yet what I will do with it, but I think it's cute.

I am now spinning a sample of BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) that I dyed.
ohmyword soft.
The stuff practically drafts and spins itself.

Hubby and kid are back--had fun, not at the cottage (long story) but at my MIL's house.
I think my son developed more language in the 30 hours I didn't see him.
He's like a bigger kid this morning.
After breakfast decided he wanted to go potty, so went into the bathroom, lifted the lid and started taking off his diaper....crazy kid.

Anyways, my plan is to finish this BFL ("biffle" as some call it) and then....
wash my fleece.

I really wanted to do it on the weekend but hubby had the camera and I'm a nerd and want to take pictures...

I'm off--the wheel is calling me.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

...oh the quiet

I just sent hubby and the kids off to his Mom's cottage until tomorrow.
House. to. myself.

Never had that before.
Needed it.

I am going to spin, clean, knit, clean, eat whatever I want, sort, watch a movie, clean and stay up/sleep late.
I needed to get some stuff done that never seems to get done b/c hubby is so busy on wekeends and you can't sort clothes/papers etc with a little one who is into...everything.

So, they are gone until tomorrow night and the only sound I hear is the keyboard and the fans....
it's awesome.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Girls Night and coffee can make it all better

I feel better now.
The night out was fun and much needed.
I had coffee twice and some chocolate.
That's what I needed.
I'm thinking of getting a private online journal to hash this stuff out--not here on my knitting blog.

Pretty roving makes me happy:

Those are in my shop.

Right now, I'm off to swim with Princess B--hubby has the pool ready and it's sooo hot here.
The weather people say 16C but really it's more like 30 with humidity.
Maybe that's why we are all so crabby.

Anyways, today is another day.