A Trip to Estes Park

Summer is gross here. It isn’t even officially summer for a couple more days and I want it to end. Temperatures have been in the 90s in Kansas City for weeks and there has been little rain. That new sod we got a couple months ago is just so, so sad. We decided to abandon our browning yard for a week and went to Estes Park, where it was still kind of warm, but so much less hot and humid than here.

We did our usually Colorado stuff on this trip. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mike took some pictures, I did some crochet, and we just had fun in nature. I got a wildflower identification book so I could stop driving Mike crazy with my “What kind of flower is that?” questions:

Flower ID in RMNP | Webster Fiber Arts

Yup. It’s a flower.

The Estes Park Wool Market was going at the tail end of our trip, and Estes Park was celebrating Fiber Week leading up to it. Much of the town was yarn bombed in celebration:

Yarn Bombing in Estes Park | Webster Fiber Arts

The FACE of Fiber in the Rockies exhibit also opened while we were in town, and we stopped by to check it out. So cool! There were so many gorgeous pieces in the exhibit, and there were so many different kinds of fiber art on display. The group’s Facebook page has some good photos of the award recipients’ pieces. I think my favorite pieces were by artist Melody Money. Go look at her website immediately.

If there is a wool market, it is a good bet there is going to be yarn to buy, and I came home with a few treasures:

wfa-epyarns

The browns on the left are skeins of handspun alpaca by Chris Switzer of Switzer-Land Alpacas that I picked up before the wool market at The Weavers Attic in downtown Estes Park. This yarn is so soft. I have one of the skeins on my shoulder right now and I pet it every so often. I love them.

The big, plushy orange and gray toned yarn on the upper right is from Fiber Optic Yarns out of Ohio. Again, this yarn is freakishly soft and I love petting it. I also love orange and gray, so I am happy.

The orange and teal yarn in the lower right (yup, I like orange) is from Western Sky Knits in Montana. Even before I saw the name of the colorway on this one, I thought, “Oh! It’s like goldfish in a bowl!” I nailed it because this one is called “Fishbowl.”

That’s what I did on my not-quite-summer-yet vacation. Yay!

Until next time,
Annie

Eco Dyeing with Weeds

Hi folks,

I hope spring is treating you well. I have been busy making things and working in the yard. I ended up with quite a few mosquito bites from my weeding and mulching last week. It is too early in the year for the number of bites I have, but I am now the proud owner of two tubes of anti-itch cream (one for the house and one for my purse), so I should now be able to find relief from the itching where ever I am.

I have also been doing some yarn dyeing, this time using nature to get my colors. While I have been weeding, I have been collecting yard waste, and have come up with some pretty cool yarns:

Eco Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

I am so pleased with the way these turned out! I have three skeins of 100% wool yarn there, one worsted weight and two bulky. I broke these into little mini-skeins for my dyeing because I didn’t have huge amounts of dye stuffs. I have looked at several books and websites about natural dyeing, but I referred to the directions at The Spruce while I was working this time around.

Some of my plant matter worked better than others, but I had (and am continuing to have) fun experimenting with flower petals and such. All of these colors are very muted, which is what I was expecting. Since I am usually so drawn to bright, vibrant colors, this is a big change for me, but I really do like these shades.

Grape Hyacinth, Tulip, and Tea Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

In the photo above, from front to back, I have grape hyacinth, red tulip petals, and a bag of Luzianne tea. Initially, the tea skein was to be dyed with little violets that I painstakingly plucked from the yard before Mike did his first mowing of the year, but those petals yielded no color in the pot, so I threw in the tea bag and I love it!

Dandelion Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

These three skeins are from dandelions. I popped a bunch of these babies out of our flower beds, roots and all. I separated the flowers from the greens for my dyeing. On the left is yarn dyed with the dandelion flowers, and the two skeins on the right are from the greens. I did not drain the plant matter away before I threw my yarn in the pot, which may account for the slight color variations in the yarn. I love the result, but cleaning the little bits of dandelion off the finished yarn was a pain.

Daffodil Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Last, I have this super awesome buttery, lemony yarn that I dyed with spent daffodil heads. This yarn was such a wonderful surprise! I love it so much. The color is so creamy.

I have been plucking dried flower petals and weeds this last week and have a bag of them in the fridge ready for more dyeing. From what I have read, flowers in bloom are probably a better choice than dried up ones, but I can’t bring myself to cut down a flower in its full glory to dye yarn. I’m such a softie.

Until next time,
Annie

CGOA 2016: The Yarn

CGOA Yarn | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Yesterday, I told you about my classes at the Crochet Guild of America’s 2016 Conference. Today, I want to show you my new yarns. I think I actually showed quite a bit of restraint, considering how much gorgeous fiber there was in the shopping area.

First up is this red and blue combo pack from LYDIA Yarn:

Yarn from LYDIA Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

LYDIA Yarn is a South Carolina company. These yarns are going to make me a spectacular striped KU Jayhawk-colored scarf.

I also got these cute little silk mini-skeins from Sheepish Creations:

Mini Silk Skeins from Sheepish Creations | Webster Fiber Arts

Sheepish Creations is out of North Carolina, so fairly local to the Charleston conference, too. My cell phone photo does not do justice to how vivid and shimmery these fibers are. Since these are small skeins, I will likely use all five to create a colorful cowl.

This natural beige-colored yarn is from another North Carolina company, Empty Pockets Alpacas:

Yarn from Empty Pockets Alpacas | Webster Fiber Arts

This yarn came from an alpaca named Special. You can see a picture of Special on the tag on the yarn. All those little alpaca faces starring up at me from the yarn racks might have contributed to my purchase—I can’t resist those cute little faces!

This yarn comes from Artisanal Yarns:

Orange and Turquoise Yarns from Artisanal Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Again, my cell phone didn’t pick up how gorgeously vibrant these fibers are. Artisanal Yarns uses a variety of acrylic and polyester rescued fibers and ply them together to come up with some really stunning color combinations.

Finally, I picked up these yarns from Designing Vashti:

Lotus and Treat Yarns from Designing Vashti | Webster Fiber Arts

The Lotus yarns are cotton in rich magenta and deep purple. The yellow fiber is a super soft wool that I had to have once I held it.

Until next time,
Annie

Field Trip to Columbia

Field Trip | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Yesterday, I met my mom for lunch in Columbia, Mo. After we had our meal and went our separate ways, I hit up a couple of yarn shops in Columbia.

It was a cold, rainy, snowy, gray day in Missouri yesterday, and I think that influenced my purchases. Everything I came home with had some orange in it. I love orange, but everything I bought? I was definitely looking for some sunshine.

First, I stopped at Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. There was a group of ladies spinning while I was in the shop. Yay! There was also a lot of really fun fiber in this shop. I came away with this 100% wool yarn called “Sunspot” from Universal Yarn.

Universal Yarn—Poems—Sunspot | Webster Fiber Arts

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part I: Yarn Acquisition

Yarn Bowl | Webster Fiber Arts

Hi folks,

Mike and I took a trip to northwestern Arkansas last week. Since our trip straddled the fall equinox, this was technically a summer and fall vacation, but whatever it was, it was lovely. We stayed on Beaver Lake and had a great view of the water, some very active hummingbirds, and some squirrelly squirrels. We spent time in Eureka Springs, visited a couple of state parks, saw the Crystal Bridges Museum (amazing), and spent a day at Silver Dollar City. We came home with many fine treasures, and I came home with a fair amount of yarn.

In Eureka Springs, we visited the Shoppes at Fleece ‘N Flax, a place I found online before our trip. They have supplies for all sorts of fiber arts here—rug hooking, weaving, spinning, and, of course, knitting and crochet. I found some really great stuff here, and Vicki at the shop showed me some of the things she had been working on, including a crocheted rug that I believe she said was made from a very old doily pattern, but she used very bulky yarn and a very large hook to make it rug sized. Awesome.

My treasures from the shop are pictured below!

This super colorful Berroco Boboli Lace is called Strawberry Jam. We also came home with about a 10 year supply of jellies and jams, so this was an appropriate choice. The color name wasn’t printed on the label, just a number, so I only discovered the name when I went to the Berroco website.

Berroco, Strawberry Jam | Webster Fiber Arts

This is another one that is full of color: Cascade Yarns Tangier in Amazon. This one is a Silk/Cotton/Rayon/Acrylic blend and felt really nice in the little knitted sample the shop had on display.

Cascade Yarns, Amazon | Webster Fiber Arts

Next is Delicious Yarns Parfait in Jellybean. Delicious Yarns is out of California and their yarn lines are beautiful and clever. You should visit their site. This yarn is going to be fun to play with.

Delicious Yarns, Jellybean | Webster Fiber Arts

This one is by Tempted Handpainted Yarns & Fibers from Oklahoma. It is called Box of Crayons.

Tempted Yarns, Box of Crayons | Webster Fiber Arts

And finally, this guy. I can just drop this skein over my head as is and it is a pretty fabulous necklace, but I know I am going to want to play with it a bit more than that. This is Ozark Opulent II from Ozark Handspun. The coloway is called Lilies.

Ozark Handspun, Lilies | Webster Fiber Arts

We ended our trip by stopping at Silver Dollar City on the way home. I love Silver Dollar City. We lived in Springfield, Mo when I was a child, and made many trips to Branson and Silver Dollar City. I will forever associate the scent of cedar mulch with Silver Dollar City, and that is a pretty nice association to have when I am spreading bag after bag after bag of mulch in our flower beds. I think this little section of the year is the best time to go to Silver Dollar City because they have the National Harvest Festival going on, and there are all sorts of artists and crafters at the park selling and demonstrating. I picked up this completely awesome yarn bowl from one of those artists, Nancy Fairbanks of Fairbanks Pottery Studio.

Yarn Bowl by Nancy Fairbanks | Webster Fiber Arts

I mean, come on. How perfect is he? I love him so much!

I also found some yarn at Silver Dollar City. These are from Canfield Creations Yarn Patch, a store operated by Cindy Canfield of canfieldcreations. Check out this monster:

Plymouth Yarn, Earth | Webster Fiber Arts

That is Plymouth Yarn Company Oskar in Earth and it is a bulky beauty. This one reminds me of trees, which is probably why it called to me after having spent so much time in parks and forests the week before. It is also a fall-ish yarn, as is the other yarn I purchased at the Yarn Patch. This handspun yarn by Kathleen D. Brewer of North Cadron Handcrafts reminds me of Thanksgiving.

Kathleen D. Brewer Handspun | Webster Fiber Arts

And there you have it. A cornucopia of yarn from our summer/fall adventure.

Until next time,
Annie