Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ever have one of THOSE days..

So last night, I was THRILLED to tell everyone that the amazing Kristin Omdahl was appearing as a guest on my Stitch & Dish web show.  I'm such a fan of Kristin's work.  She's got an eye for color, the math skills of a physicist, and the creative ability of Michelangelo.  To say I love her work is an understatement of great proportion.  But last night, due to tech issues, poor Kristin roughed it out and type chatted with my viewers.  And unfortunately for my viewers, they saw me in screen the whole time instead of Kristin's smiling face.  Kristin, gracious and patient, was a terrific sport about the whole thing and did her best to answer the questions via chat.  My poor viewers watched a befuddled host trying her best to relay all information in the viewer screen, at one point VOGUE, announce her love of sheep, and utilize approximately 0.0005% of her vocabulary as she proclaimed everything to be stunning or fluid.

It was a bad day, filled with bad hair, bad dancing, bad tech, bad vocab, and bad recovery.  BUT - in all of this big hot mess, positive things DID emerge: I had a fun and terrific audience who interacted and really made the show a delight.  I had an AMAZING guest.  Kristin is as classy as she is talented and exceedingly patient.  And I got a chance to laugh at myself.  And you know what?  Laughing at myself last night was actually fun and relieved QUITE a bit of stress.

Kristin has agreed to come back on the show after we iron out the tech difficulties.  She has EVEN agreed to demonstrating hairpin lace technique.  As soon as Kristin and I determine a date, I promise to let you all know.

If you were at my show last night, I apologize for the tech issues - but thank you for coming, participating, and having a good laugh.

Remember - Stitch & Dish does NOT air this coming Friday in observance of Good Friday.  But, join me the Friday after for more stitching and a whole lot of dishing. ;p


Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing

Be sure to check back each day this week for a craft book review!

Title: The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing: Techniques and Recipes for Dyeing Fabrics, Yarns, and Fibers at Home
Authors: Eva Lambert & Tracy Kendall
Publisher: Interweave Press
Release Date: February 15, 2010
ISBN:  978-1-59668-181-1
Retail Price: $24.95

Not only is this book THE quintessential book on dyeing fabrics and yarns at home, but it is a stunning,  beautifully photographed book with amazing photo representations of each technique.  I was impressed with the care that was taken to describe the terminology and background of all of the fibers and dyes used.  I truly learned quite a bit from this book.  And now that I have it, I cannot imagine NOT having it in my resource library.  This book is sure to delight your senses and take you from KoolAid dyeing to creating your own gorgeous NATURAL recipes for beautiful yarn and/or fabrics.

This book includes chapters on:
  1.  Understanding the Basics: This chapter really delves into which tools and equipment you'll need as well as how to prepare your yarn and/or fabric to best take the dye.  Again, TERRIFIC pictures here to visually describe the materials you'll need.  My favorite part of this chapter was when they described the properties of protein fibers.  Of course, they also explain how to prep, skein, choosing fabrics to dye, as well understanding color, the colorwheel, and patterns.
  2. Collecting Your Own Dyestuffs: In this chapter, I learned that I could walk into my backyard or nearby field and collect any number of flowers, weeds, leaves, barks, roots, and berries to produce beautiful and interesting natural colors.  This chapter not only describes which plants to collect, but when they can be collected and how to store them.
  3. Dyeing Techniques: This chapter describes the various mordants that can be used for fabrics and yarns.  It describes vat dyeing, top dyeing, tie-dyeing, patterning with ikat, random dyeing, and expanded dyeing for yarns.  It also contains info on the basics of fabric dyeing, multicolor dyeing for fabrics, tie-dyeing textiles, resist dyeing fabrics with indigo, and Batik dyeing.
  4. Recipes: This chapter is FANTASTIC!  In this chapter, you'll learn about what recipes to use to make every color of the rainbow and every color in between.  This chapter gives stunning pictures of each color result and the recipe of exactly how to achieve that result.  This is the meat and potatoes of this book!  
This book also contains information on how to safely dye your yarn and fabrics as well as a pattern motif directory, and pictorial yarn & fabric color recipe selector.

Don't walk... RUN to your nearest book retailer and get this book.  I can't emphasize how detailed and thorough this book is.  This book provides THE BEST dyeing information I've come across.  It's easy to understand and beautifully written and photographed.  As soon as the winter frost is over, I plan on scouring my neighborhood for some natural materials so I can get my dye on!

If you buy this book and start dyeing - PLEASE email me your pics!  I'd LOVE to see what you've dyed!!

The author KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this blog post, but was given a complimentary book for review by Interweave Press.  KnitPurlGurl Disclosure Policy applies.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Because I Don't Have ENOUGH WIPs..

I've cast on a GORGEOUS scarf called Wabenschal, which means Honeycomb scarf in German.  The pattern is by gifted designer, Birgit Freyer.  She has some AMAZING shawl patterns.  And there is a Ravelry Group for those knitting up Knitting Delight patterns.  This scarf is worked corner to corner on the diagonal.  This picture is the completion of chart 1 or the first corner.  I've already started chart 2, the middle of the scarf, which is repeated until the desired length (minus the end corner) is achieved.  It knits up very easily.  And I LOVE the yarn I'm using.  I'm knitting this in The Yarn Side Glorificus, 'Talk to the Waves' colorway.  (The Yarn Side also has a Ravelry Group.)


Go Green When Knitting

If you're like me, you print out larger knitting patterns.  Why?  Cuz it is so danged difficult to not lose your place in a chart.  On a read only PDF, unless the highlighting option has been enabled, you really have no other option than to print or to enlarge and keep the line you are working on at the bottom of your screen.

I have no idea why I never thought of this before.  But I recently figured out how to create a sticky note in Windows 7 (I'm a little behind) and used that to place under the line in the chart I am working on (on top of the PDF).  This way I don't have to print my pattern.  It's more green.  No wasting paper and ink.  Not that I think others shouldn't print.  But for me, I typically don't ever knit the pattern again.  AND I am on my computer 24/7, so it just makes sense. (Plus I don't knit lace in knitting group, so I don't need to transport my pattern - it's too difficult for me to pay attention when I'm yapping!)

Here are the instructions for using Sticky Notes in Windows 7.

You can manipulate the size of the Sticky Note by dragging the borders.  You can also make notations on the Sticky Note which is terrific for pattern notes you may need to make.  You can make the Sticky Note any color you like as well. The Sticky Note will not disappear when you shut down your computer.  It remains on the desktop or under Sticky Notes.  You can delete at anytime and add as many as you like. JUST REMEMBER  it will not stay attached to your PDF.  You actually lay it over the PDF file.  So, don't forget to notate on the Sticky Note what line you completed last (cuz when you close your pattern, your sticky will not stay with the pattern) so that when you open your Sticky Notes, you know where to start on your chart!

Instructions for using Sticky Notes In Vista  -OR-  XP via How To Geek.
Instructions for using Sticky Notes in Vista via Microsoft.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Completed Crocheted Stash Basket

I completed the Clutter Control Stash Basket, Size Small in Lion Cotton, Espresso.  It turned out really cute.  I think I may add fabric stiffener to it though so that it stands in a nicer square shape on it's own.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stitch & Dish: Crochet a Washcloth!

On this week's show, I attempt to teach you the basics of crocheting a washcloth using single crochet (sc).  This was such a FUN show.. I had TERRFIC viewer participation on MomTV!  Just remember on the replay, you don't see the chatroom like I do - so it may LOOK like I'm talking to myself but trust me, I'm not. :)  And if I look scatterbrained and distracted that's because I am of my medication.

Thanks to Shannon from ShibaGuyz, Annie Modesitt, and Andi for providing seasoned crocheters' perspectives and some amazing tips & tricks to us newbies!!  :)  Annie, you MUST come on the show as a guest - you're enormously talented and super funny!!!!!!!!!  Don't make me beg! :)


Friday, March 12, 2010

Still Hookin'

Okay I'm totally loving National Crochet Month!  It has given me an excuse to practice my crochet and knock off some fun and quick projects.  Here's my latest crochet project: Clutter Control Stash Basket, size small (Pattern by Bernat).  I wanted the basket to stand up pretty readily, so I used a stiffer cotton yarn, Lion Cotton Solids in Espresso.

I still need to complete the base of the basket and weave in the ends.  But I should be able to finish that tomorrow.  There are three patterns available in this set: small, medium, & large.  So you could create a basket in the size you need, OR make all three and nest them.  (I may make all three!)


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And the Love Fest Continues

As my friend, Jane, would say: "And the love fest continues.."  The love fest with crochet, that is.  This time, I crocheted this uber-cute clutch.  Yesterday, while I was wasting time engaging in social media on Twitter, I came across a tweet from Leisure Arts announcing a free pattern from Drew Emborsky (The Crochet Dude) called, Berry Sweet Clutch.  I took one look and was in love.  Then I saw how easy the pattern was, and I was in lust!  So I grabbed me some Lion Brand Yarn Vanna's Choice in Magenta & an Addi crochet hook, size 6 mm, and got hookin'.  It worked up SO fast.  And the flap decreases are PERFECT for the newbie: simply leaving stitches unworked on the end in every row.

This clutch fits everything a gals needs: A compact, credit card, chocolate bar, & a lipstick!

So whether you're a newbie, like myself, or an advanced crocheter, this project is cute, fun, & fab!  It works up with very little yarn, in a jif, and looks like you spent hours on it.  I happened to make this project for my DD, so Vanna's Choice was perfect: durable, reasonably soft, washable, and came in a bazillion colors (My DD has already requested a metallic version.).  For a little added umph - one could put a cute clasp or decorative button on the front.  Since it IS a clutch, you don't need a fastener, but a decorative touch, if not over-powering, might be cute.  Also, since the body is a rectangle, it would be fairly simple to line it with some funky, bright fabric.

Hook on!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Kick Off National Crochet Month with Some Crochet Basics!

I am by NO MEANS a crochet expert!  Anyone will tell you that! ;p  But I am the type of gal who has to learn by watching and needs things explained to me.  I noticed that some videos showed the ACTUAL stitch, but not how to do the 2nd row.  OR they showed one how to perform the stitch in a work in progress, but not how to get to that point.  I also noticed that there are as many ways to perform these stitches as there are crocheters.  Some crocheters ch and then turn.  Some turn and then ch for the next row.  Some ch 2 at the end of a dc for a cleaner edge while most ch 3.  Some work into different stitches than others for various reasons.  So, if you're a newbie to crochet, please don't get discouraged.  It can be overwhelming to read and watch so many variations.  But like knitting, as long as the stitch is formed correctly and you like what you've created - GO WITH IT!

So here is my very amateur attempt at bringing crochet to newbies.  I apologize for my camera resolution.  I may need to re-record the videos. Below the tutorials, I have links for beginner crochet projects.  So practice a bit and then give 'em a go!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quickie Knitting Stitch Marker Tutorial

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Following PDXKnitterati's lead, I decided to make myself some stitch markers.  And goodness knows if I can make them, so can you.  I was able to get every one of these items in the beading aisle of JoAnn Fabrics.  You could absolutely buy them at jewelry and beading supply stores.  But I found them to be very inexpensive at the craft discount retailer. I will list the brand I purchased in parenthesis although the brand is not important.

In this tutorial, the pictures are above the corresponding step.

You'll Need:

Step 1:
  • Cut a comfortable length of wire.  I threaded my beads onto the wire and doubled the length plus 1/2" for the loop length. 

Step 2:
  • Bend your wire in half (w/o leaving a crink) and thread a crimp tube up the bottom two ends until you see a loop.

Step 3:
  • Pull the crimp tube up until the loop is the size you want it.  Using the crimp tool (See video instruction directly above from Blue Moon Beads on how to use the Crimping Pliers), crimp the tube to secure the loop.

Step 4:
  • Place beads on the wire in a configuration you like.
 Step 5:
  • Thread another crimp tube so that it is sitting below the beads you just threaded.
Step 6:
  • Crimp the tube, using the crimp tool to secure the beads.
Step 7: 
  • Snip the excess wire below the 2nd crimp tube off.

NOTE: Not being a beader by hobby, I didn't realize how important a beading mat was until I had seed beads flying about. Save yourself some trouble and invest in a beading mat to work on.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Booking Guests on Stitch & Dish

I am currently booking guests for the 2010 Stitch & Dish Web Show.  Past guests have included Jennifer Hansen of Stitch Diva Studios, Dawn & Kelly of Namaste Inc., Amigurumi Designer, Amy Gaines, Jeny Staiman..

What I am looking for:
Designers of knit or crochet patterns for demo
Spinners for demo
Knitters/Crocheters who want to demonstrate a new technique
Authors of fiber arts books for interview
Hosts of fiber arts related shows, podcasts, vodcasts, or popular blogs to interview
Owners of fiber arts related businesses for interview
Crafters who create knitting/crochet related accessories for demo

What does one need to participate?
Web cam
Internet Connection
Stickam Account (free)

When does the show air?
Fridays, 8p EST

Is the show live?
The web show is a LIVE, interactive show.  The viewers interact with the host and guest via chatroom or webcam (their choice)

How do I inquire about booking?
Contact me:


Monday, March 1, 2010

Yarn Luv

Here's a pic of the delish yarn I WON from The Yarn Side Twitter contest.  It's Glorificus in "Talk to the Waves" colorway.  It's a 435yd fingering/sock weight yarn.  It's super soft 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, & 10% Nylon.  Yummy!  This would make a cute shawl or pair of socks!

Behold the GAWGEOUS yarn I got from Birds Nest Yarns.  This is 220 yds each of Peacock 100% pure silk yarn in "Blues, Purples, & Teal" colorway.  This pic does not do it justice in the least.  It's so shimmery and beautiful.  It's incredibly soft (silky, if you will).  ;p  I can't wait to knit up a small shawl in this!!


DVD Review: Knitting Daily TV Series 400

As you probably know, March is National Craft Month AND National Crochet Month!  Getting inspired to get your craft on by learning to knit or crochet?  Then the Knitting Daily TV Series 400 Complete DVD Set is for you!

Although I wanted to watch these videos marathon style - I broke them into chunks, 1 DVD at a time, in order to preserve hubby's sanity.  (He's not all about the knitting like I am.) The 400 Series contains 4 DVDs and 13 episodes of knitting and crochet how-to goodness.  Eunny Jang, Shay Pendray, and Kristin Omdahl pack oodles of amazing techniques and wonderful tips to make your knitting and crochet fun, fast, easy, and gorgeous!  I LOVED these shows.  I really learned quite a lot.  The format flowed smoothly and the segments were all relevant to the show's theme.  The shows were well thought out and executed and delivered impeccable knit and crochet instruction as well as entertaining interviews and information.

Eunny really breaks down each technique into very doable language.  She even shows a couple of different ways to perform each technique in some cases, giving the knitter the opportunity to work with the option that is most comfortable for them.  Her slow, methodical demonstration really makes learning new skills or perfecting current skills a snap.

And thank goodness for Kristin.  As you've been reading, I don't exactly have mad crochet skills.  Kristin's new "Crochet Corner" started at the very beginning of learning to crochet and advanced all through the series, providing a nice basis for future crochet demonstrations.  I have watched and rewatched her segments numerous times.  And someday I will conquer crochet!

Shay always interviews the most interesting guests.  She brings in designers, fiber professionals, and shop owners who present the latest and greatest in fiber fashion as well as explain how to achieve professional looking garments.

Featured Knitting Daily Season 400 guests include Halycon Blake, Laura Bryant, Lily Chin, Linda Cortright, Jennifer Edgar, Kate Gagnon Osbourne, Cecily Glowick MacDonald, Carol Huber Cypher, Mags Kandis, Courtney Kelly, Adina Klein, Barry Klein, Melissa LaBarre, Dr. Catherine Leslie and her students, Clara Parkes, Linda Pratt, Lisa Shroyer, Karin Skacel, Penny Sitler, and Theresa Schabes.

Here are the show topics for the 400 Series:
  • 401: Fearless Knit & Crochet
  • 402: Fashion Forward
  • 403: Knit & Purl Magic
  • 404: All in the Finish
  • 405: Natural Fibers
  • 406: Fiber Tech
  • 407: Wild About Wool
  • 408: Crazy for Cotton
  • 409: Creative Scarves
  • 410: New England Knits
  • 411: Think Thin
  • 412: On the Edge
  • 413: Trade Secrets
So pick up a copy of this DVD set.  This would make a wonderful National Craft Month gift for someone just getting started with knitting or crochet.  OR would make a terrific Easter Basket or Mother's Day gift.  (Or the perfect little gift for yourself!)

I was fortunate to receive the complete Knitting Daily TV 400 Series DVDs courtesy of Interweave Press.  KnitPurlGurl Disclosure Policy applies.

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