I'm a librarian, spinner, knitter! This is my blog for crafty things, updates to my shop and more.
You can check out my handspun yarns here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns and my hand knit items here - Kitty Grrlz Hand Knits

Friday, November 28, 2008

ART VS CRAFT - Saturday, November 29 in Milwaukee

Tomorrow, I will be at ART VS CRAFT in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Like the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago, and the Craftacular in Madison - this is a great indie craft show with wonderful artists and crafters who make all sorts of items that would make great gifts!

Please come and check it out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008
10am - 7pm
Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center
790 N. Van Buren Street in downtown Milwaukee

I don't have many pictures to show of my new items, but I will have 4 new hand knit cowls/neckwarmers knit with hand spun art yarn, some new scarves, and lots of yarn - though I wasn't able to get as much spun this week as I had hoped. Here is a mosaic of some of the things I should have there -

BLACK FRIDAY SALE going on now!

I am having a special BLACK FRIDAY SALE in my etsy shops!

In my Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarn shop on etsy, I have discounted 21 yarns by taking $5-10 off of their regular price! These special prices last only until 12noon CentralStandardTime.

You can find the sale yarns HERE.

Also, I am still offering FREE SHIPPING in the USA and Half Price International shipping through the weekend! This special is going on in both shops -

Kitty Grrlz Hand Knits on etsy
Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns on etsy

Plus, I have discounted several hand knits in my knits shop. You can find those items HERE.

Happy shopping!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving & a Sale (of course)

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate - hope your day is filled with good food, family, friends and football? Or whatever else makes it a great day!

Last night while spinning I was trying to compose a "I'm thankful for . . . " post, and it just kept getting either really long-winded and rambly, or just a little too sappy . . .

so, i'm going to sum it up really easily and say - I'm thankful for everything that I have and everything that has happened to get me to this point.

And, since this is my "business" blog, I would like to specifically say that I am really thankful for my wonderful customers, the great people who I've met at shows, those who put on and organize those shows, the online fiber friends I've met, and for being able to wake up every day and spin or knit!

Now, on to the Sale -

Starting today and running until 12midnight on Monday night, I will be offering FREE SHIPPING in the USA and HALF PRICE International Shipping in both of my shops -

Kitty Grrlz Hand Knits are HERE
Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns are HERE

And, I will be at ART VS CRAFT this Saturday, November 29 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - but more about that tomorrow, along with another surprise!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you, Chicago!

Once again, the DIY Trunk Show was wonderful!! I am so grateful to the wonderful organizers for allowing me to be a part of it for the past 4 years, AND so appreciative of the fantastic people that come, chat, and buy wonderful handmade goodies! This year was even better than last year for me, so THANK YOU, CHICAGO - YOU ROCK! And, a special thanks to those who have now come and bought from me each year - ALL customers are wonderful but knowing there are those who come back again and again really makes my day - so, thank you!

I do have a few of the new hand knits that did not sell, though the cowls/neckwarmers both sold (and I will be knitting lots more of them for my next two shows!). But, you can find the following new knit items in my Kitty Grrlz Knits shop on etsy!

I also have a few bamboo skeins listed in my Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarn Shop on etsy, too.

This week I'll be working on more bamboo yarns, more art yarns, and more Navajo 3ply yarns. I'll be knitting some more cowls with my art yarns and also some more scarves with "regular" yarn, all in preparation for ART vs CRAFT - the second in the "Indie Craft Show Midwest Trifecta" as I call it. Art vs Craft will be Saturday, November 29 in downtown Milwaukee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Hand Knits ready for the DIY Trunk Show

Well, I am all done for the night. Last minute yarns have been spun, labels have been made and attached, everything (except for the last minute yarns which are still drying) is packed away and ready to go tomorrow morning.

Here is a quick look at some of the new hand knits items I'll have tomorrow at the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago!

DIY Trunk Show - Saturday, November 22 in Chicago

Once again, it is that time of year! The time of year for wonderful indie craft shows, and the first one is THIS SATURDAY, November 22, in Chicago.

Last year at this time I wrote a slightly crazy post about how much the Trunk show has meant to me, so I won't repeat that again. But, if you want to read it, it's right here.

Today, I'll just give you the basics -

Saturday, November 22, 2008
Pulaski Park Fieldhouse
1419 W. Blackhawk
Chicago, Illinois
10am - 5pm

For more information and a list of participants, you can CLICK HERE.

I can't wait! I always love this show! I've got new hand knits - including two new cowls/neckwarmers, and as always will have LOTS of yarn!

AND, if you aren't in Illinois, but rather the Poynette, Wisconsin area, you can actually find some of my yarns at the Lapacek's Orchard annual Hoedown for the Holidays, which is today (Friday, November 21) and tomorrow (Saturday, November 22). It is 1/2 mile east of Poynette, Wisconsin and you can find more information right HERE. I sent a small collection of yarns for their show, including a few bamboo skeins, some "Batt-tacular" yarns, a two-ply, and even a couple of small art yarn skeins. All yarns sent (except for the 2plys) are $30 or under!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Navajo 3-ply Yarns

Currently, I am running a featured yarn ad on Ravelry for my Navajo 3-ply yarns. I learned how to Navajo ply in the summer of 2007, I believe. It took a bit, but finally, one day, I just sat down and said, "I AM going to do this." I used Lynn's (aka the Yarn Wench) wonderful video and tutorial that can be found here. The key was I needed both the video AND the description to help me finally get it. Once it clicked, though, I was so happy and spun 3plys nonstop for awhile!

There are two main reasons I like the 3ply over the 2ply. The first is that I like how it keeps the colors together a little better. It doesn't dilute them or mix them quite as much as a two-ply does. I love the colors in Lynn's roving, and Navajo plying helps keep the colors a little more solid and intense. The effect of a two-ply can also be really beautiful, but it tends to mix the colors and dilute them. So, Navajo plying is what I do when I want to maintain the integrity of the colors.

Plus, it is sort of easier to spin - all you need to do is spin ONE single ply strand and then Navajo ply it into the 3ply! You only need two bobbins and you never have any "left over".

The second thing I really like about it, though, is the roundness of the yarn and how it looks when knit. I remember reading early on that 3plys are preferred by some because of the even, round nature to them and the fact that they really show off the knit stitches. I didn't really believe this until I actually knit with one of my 3plys. Then, I realized and could see the difference between something knit with the 3ply versus the 2ply. I think both have their purposes and everyone has their preference - but I think I prefer the 3ply now, too.

The one downside for me about Navajo plying is these types of yarns take me *so long* and you always get less yardage from the fiber than you would if you spun a single or even a two-ply. And, it isn't actually the plying that takes the longest - that is actually pretty smooth, fun and easy - but spinning the single is what drives me crazy! I've been spinning a bit bulkier lately, but usually I try to spin a really really thin single to end up with a thinner end result. It's spinning that single that seems to take me longer than anything else! But, I do still love spinning them!

My preference of fiber for the Navajo 3-plys is the merino/silk blend, or the SeaWool fiber which is wool and seacell. Though, I think the merino/silk works better for this type of yarn. I also like using merino and Falkland.

Here is a mosaic of some of my newest Navajo 3-ply yarns - all of which can be found on etsy HERE.

I am hoping to continue to list new 3plys through the end of the month. I have lots more merino/silk I'd like to spin this way, and will have at least one more skein of the SeaWool spun, too!

And, what do I like to knit with the Navajo 3ply yarns? Wristwarmers or Fingerless Gloves! While fairly basic in design, I really do love how the 3plys work for them. I can get a small pair out of less than 2 oz of yarn, usually two pairs from one larger skein of Navajo 3-ply. I also prefer to knit them on double-pointed needles so that I don't have to seam up the side. Here is a mosaic of some of the ones I've done. (Some of these are available in my Kitty Grrlz Knits shop HERE.)
That's all from me today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The last of "Plum Divine"

This past weekend I spun 4 more skeins of one of my favorite colorways. It is "Plumgrove" and hand dyed merino wool from the Yarn Wench. Over the past year I have spun so many versions of this colorway, but finally I come to the end. As much as I love this combination, I do believe I'll be "retiring" this colorway and will not be spinning it in 2009. That's not to say I won't have other purple/green combinations, but they would not be "Plum Divine"

Here are the last four skeins -

And, how exciting to find out this yarn was featured on the All Things Dearly blog, as yesterday's Daily Find! Yay!

In other weekend spinning news, I also spun up the last of the "Autumn Spice" colorway. This color originally began as a custom request for a special order. Even though we ended up going with a different color for that project, I loved this combination so much, I still commissioned quite a bit of it from Lynn aka the Yarn Wench. Though I do have more of it in a merino/silk blend, this is the last of the merino spun into two art yarn skeins -

Now, I'd better get to work - I've got lots of Falkland wool to spin into single plys today!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last weekend's new Art Yarns

I forgot to post pictures of the art yarns I finished last weekend. Well, I finished the last ones on Monday, but these were all spun between Friday and Monday night, from the fiber shown in this post -

From top to bottom -
Elizabeth's Garden (merino wool fiber, colorway "Elizabeth")
Neon Yuletide (merino wool fiber, colorway "Atomic Yuletide")
Holiday Treat (merino wool fiber, colorway "Crabapple")
Dreamscape (merino wool fiber, colorway "Dark Shadows")

Most of these can be found in my ETSY SHOP HERE!

I'm not sure what my challenge for this weekend is going to be. I *think* I'm going to do some more art yarns, but I also might take a break from them this weekend and work on some Navajo 3-plys spun from merino/silk blends and seacell fiber! I'm going to see how today goes!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Knitting with Hand Spun Art Yarn

For the past week, I have been wanting to post something about knitting with hand spun art yarns. I know for some they are a little intimidating, but if you can break through that fear or uncertainty of "what do i do with it?", knitting with art yarns can be amazing! This post is a collection of some of the tips and suggestions I give when people ask me questions about knitting with my art yarns, and some examples.

My first advice is always to NOT BE AFRAID of the yarn! Don't let it intimidate you! I do know this feeling - when I first started knitting with hand spun yarns from The Yarn Wench, I was always afraid of "not doing the yarn justice", or not knowing what to do with smaller skeins. This fear would paralyze me and all that pretty yarn just sat there . . . waiting.

But finally I just started knitting with it! For some, it may seem "boring" to "just knit a scarf", but with an art yarn - even a plain scarf becomes an adventure. And, a unique adventure since each yarn is different! Here are some examples of skeins to scarves -

This is an art yarn Called "From RocketMan to Red Hat", a 98-yard, 3.4 oz skein
I took this skein and knit it into this scarf -
I used size 15 needles and cast on maybe 10-12 stitches (I know I should keep better track but each yarn is slightly different). I use a "drop stitch" pattern to help show off the yarn AND get a little more length from the yardage. For the drop stitch pattern this is what I do -
1. Knit 2 rows
2. On the third row, when knitting the stitch, I wrap the yarn around the needle TWICE. This means that you actually have twice as many loops on your needle at the end of the row, but they are coupled together.
3. On the fourth row, when knitting, put your needle only through the first loop of the two-loop stitch and as you pull the stitch off the needle, let that extra loop drop. So, in effect, you are knitting the first loop but the second loop drops. After doing that across the row, you are back to the same amount of loops/stitches on your needle as when you started.
4. Knit 2 rows.

Sometimes, if I want extra length I may wrap the yarn around 3 times! Also, I tried to find a video but wasn't able to come up with anything in a quick search, but did find these instructions, which may be better than mine.

Here is another -
I took a similar skein to this one -

And knit this scarf -

This one was a similarly sized skein at 98 yards, but I cast on fewer stitches, and in the blocking process tried to elongate it even more, so it is a longer, skinnier scarf.

Unblocked -

Blocked -

These pictures show how blocking can help even out your art yarn project. Sometimes, I actually like the look of the unblocked scarf, but have started to block them for a more "professional" look. For this one, I even *hung* it to dry so that it stretched out a little bit more.

There are other small projects you can knit with one skein of art yarn, too! Here is a hat that was knit with only a small 68-yard skein - and I didn't even use it all! I like to use size 10-1/2s or 11s when I knit hats with the art yarns.

And, these wristwarmers were knit with only about 40 yards of art yarn! I used size 11 needles for these, but maybe could have gone down to 10-1/2's
Cowls are another *great* item to knit with art yarns! You don't need that much - one skein should be enough - and you can knit them in the round fairly quickly. Here are a couple of cowls knit by Naomi of Ryono Creations - you can find her on ETSY HERE! These pictures are courtesy of her - you can see all of her pictures on flickr here!

and, one more -

These are just a few examples of the beautiful and unique items you can knit (or crochet!) with hand spun art yarns. Don't be afraid to "think outside the box" or "pattern" and you can create a wonderful, one of a kind piece of fiber art!

Update 5-5-2012 - While I plan on doing a complete update to this post, I am editing it to include some links to some other places you can get ideas of what to make with art yarn!  Here is one of my Pinterest boards that shows things made with Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun yarn , some of them the art yarns.  Here is my Kitty Grrlz Knits shop which includes cowls knit with the handspun yarn as well!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This weekend's art yarn challenge

I'll be spinning art yarns again this weekend - here is a shot of the fiber that (hopefully) will be spun into art yarns by Monday night!

All merino wool dyed by the Yarn Wench - colors are "Elizabeth", "Atomic Yuletide", "Crabapple", and "Dark Shadows".

I also just listed a new single ply, thick n thin merino yarn -

AND, I am having a pretty good weekend sale for all those who have signed up for my NEW NEWSLETTER! To sign up and get in on the weekend special - please check out the bottom of this page - http://kittygrrlz.com.

Off to spin now!