Category Archives: Fibers

#knitchat 5/26: Unusual Knitting, Unusual Fibers

What constitutes unusual knitting… knitting a space alien, birthday cake, or even an entire village? Maybe unusual knitting can be knitting part of a gigantic knitted bunny that can be seen from satellite views. Or unusual for you can simply mean knitting socks rather than hats.  Unusual fiber or knitting material can include yarn made of milk, soy, or corn… or knitting with wire or Ramen. Yes, someone has knitted with noodles.

#knitchat Questions:

Q1) What is the oddest thing you’ve every knit or wanted to knit?  If you’d like, share examples of strange/unusual knits you’ve found on the Internet.

Q2) What is the oddest fiber you’ve knit with or wanted to try? What has stopped you from doing so?

Q3) Next #knitchat topic suggestions

DETAILS… DETAILS… If you want to know more about what #knitchat is and how it works

  • Where: Twitter (follow the #knitchat hashtag)
  • When: Thursdays on the date listed above at 6:30 PM PST/9:30 PM EST (1 hour)
  • Who: Me you and other Twitter Knitters/Crocheters & Fiber-crafters
  • How: Need a primer on Twitter Chat… check this out: What does this Twitter chat thing look like?
  • How: to post photos – 5 ways to share photos on Twitter
  • How: to shorten your links. Simply paste your link into the field in and shorten it. Copy and paste this link into the twitter feed.

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Filed under #knitchat, Fibers, Fun Stuff

Erstwhile Future Goat-herder?

Cute pygora goat from

For my birthday a few close relatives threatened to purchase a goat, a pygora goat, for me. No, I’m not kidding about  this ( no pun intended). To my husband’s relief and indeed my own, they were persuaded not to buy me a goat. Well I can think of a few very, very good reasons:

  1. Our yard is not outfitted yet for a goat. Our fences haven’t been reinforced, nor are our gates fixed up to prevent a goat prison break… Also, we haven’t removed plants that are not healthy for goats to nosh on… I just recently discovered that Rhododendrons ( a staple in Pacific Northwest gardens) are very toxic to our little bearded friends.
  2. We do not have a shelter or goat house fit to make the goat comfortable.
  3. I’m not sure what the neighbors would think.
  4. I’m not sure I’m up for the commitment yet of having to milk a female goat daily.
  5. MOST importantly  of all… I cannot be with the goat 24-7. Goats are herd animals and need constant companionship. While other humans could provide somewhat of a substitute as a companion… I don’t think me or the other residents including my husband & the four legged ones, in our household would appreciate having a goaty friend running a round. Not to mention… I’m not so sure one can housebreak a goat. Not sure I want to find out if that’s possible as well.  If we were to have goats, we would need at least a pair.

Livestock of any sort is quite a commitment.

While, I would love, no adore, having a lovely little pair of goats. I have to be fairly realistic and decline the offer… at least for now. As mentioned earlier, I did get a few informative books on goat herding for my birthday. One titled: “Barnyarn in your Backyard.” I love that the Urban Farm has made sort of a resurgence. Looks like a number of people today are attempting to live the life of self-sufficiency that Tom and Barbara Good did in the TV Series I mentioned a number of podcasts back called the Good Life. But I have to say… I worry about people doing these types of experiments and then having to figure out what to do with their animals later when things don’t work out. But maybe that’s me an my city girl inexperience talking.


Filed under Fibers, Goats

Episode 17: Adventures in Felting and Dreaming of Someplace Warmer

I may not be able to go some place warm right now but I can dream about it. I certainly can listen to music and songs that remind me of warm South American days on a beach right? Or I can make myself a hot water bottle cozy.

This is the episode where Rachel and I talk about felting. I think I’ve actually become  convert to this technique.

Episode 17


Two Hot Water bottle Cozies in Cascade 220 and Elann Peruvian Highland Wool


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Filed under #knitchat, Felting, Fibers, Knit, Knitters, Knitting

I’ve discovered felting

Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.

The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:

1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).

2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).

3.) Felting needle.

That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.

This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two.  It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft.  Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.

Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?

My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Dolls, Felting, Fibers, Gifts, Kitsch, Needle Felting, Toys

Spun rainbow

Actually finished this prior to Christmas. Made from felting scraps and other fibers I had on hand. I may have enough to make a pointy ski hat.

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Swatch Day and Blueberry Socks

I know I said I was going to write about swatching as part of my process in the whole “Raglan Sweater Series” of posts. I lied.

I know a lot of knitters don’t like hearing the “Sermon on the Swatch.”  Maybe it’s just part of the lesson. Knitting a whole sweater that doesn’t look or fit right. I’ll be honest. I have had this happen to me… more than once. As a result, I now swatch.

That’s all I’ll say on this subject for now.

I did have time today to swatch a few yarns I’ve been wanting to try… some yarns for spring: a cotton/hemp blend, Silky wool, and a mystery yarn from Yarnia that I purchased at last years Knit & Crochet Show (Fall). It’s a mystery because I lost the tag.

I’m a little worried that the Coto Canapone (cotton/hemp) is a bit heavy and stiff, but I think it will soften up after washing and blocking.  I’ve heard some really great things about using hemp and I’ve swatched some pure hemp before. It was a bit too harsh for my liking, and I realized that it would take many washings before I could get it to the softness I wanted. Though perhaps I should think of this as a trade off for the fact that hemp takes a lot longer to wear thin than cotton.  Apparently hemp had quite a history as a much used textile until recent times.  Perhaps with the economy being as it is… more people will turn to having durable clothing items rather than disposable ones they replace or trash every year.

I’m quite charmed by the Yarnia yarn.  Unfortunately the photo of the swatch I took doesn’t reflect the different greens\ and purple shades in this gorgeous yarn. Some people have noted that they find the loosely spun plies difficult and splitty to work with, but I’ve always felt that if you take proper care, even splitty yarn can make nice fabric as long as your knitting on the ‘snug’ side.

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

I was also able to finish my pair of Heritage Paint socks for the shop model for my “Toe up Socks” class coming up.  I have to say, this yarn is pretty fantastic. I think it’s pretty durable and still fairly soft with no itch. Plus it’s pretty inexpensive and the yardage is huge… 437 yards a skein. I found that the solid colors of this yarn are quite a bargain at around $12-13 dollars a skein. That’s a good price for yarn for handknit socks that should last quite some time.

My Blueberry socks in Heritage Paints

My "Blueberry" socks in Heritage Paints

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Filed under Fibers, Hemp yarn, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Lace, Portland, Portland Knitters, Socks, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Teaching, Techniques, Yarn

Dyeing in History

This is one of my favorite shows… The Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson aka. I-have-a-cunning-plan S. Baldrick from the Blackadder series. I’m sharing the few bits from this show that describe old and ancient dyeing techniques.

Purple makers using rotten shellfish to make ‘royal purple.’


Dyeing blue with Wode

Part I (Part about wode dyeing is about  5 1/2 minutes in. There is an interesting bit on pin-making at the beginning of this video)


Part II


Cleaning  and fulling wool cloth with… yes… Pee. The part about the fulling is actually 3 1/2 minutes into the first video. It’s continued in the second.


Part II


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Filed under Colors, Dye, Dyeing, Fibers, History