Knit Local

Tanis Gray“Knit Local” celebrates America’s homegrown yarn and is written by Tanis Gray. The book includes 30+ beautiful fashions, accessories and home décor projects to knit and crochet. The projects are made with yarns manufactured and sold in North America.

“Knit Local” is all about preserving the local mom and pop businesses, protecting our environment and caring for the livestock as humanely as possible. Also, it is knowing as much about your yarn, what sheep or farm it came from and ending up with a shawl, hat, sweater, cowl, socks…(patterns included in her book), to knit a connection with. More on sustainability and Tanis’s book



Dyeing for dinner

Fiber in Black bean dyebath

The oval cooking pot (Mom's from the 40's

I just finished making my Taco Black bean soup. It called for black beans, can crushed tomatoes, can corn, taco seasoning, ground beef (substituted shredded chicken), sour cream and chips, DINNER!
The most fun of all is that I used the bean “soak water” to dye wool, silk and bamboo fiber that I will spin into yarn. I will let the fibers soak in the dye bath for 48 hours. I expect to get  purple/sliver/blue color. Each fiber will take the dye differently.

Flowers in the dyebath

Dye for wool, silk and bamboo

I also gathered Goldenrod (only the flowers) and will dye fiber with that. A am expecting a yellow/orange, but who knows. When it comes to dyeing it isn’t an exact science…too many variables.

More about fiber

Spring-brings new color trends

The new colors for spring are here. If you knit, weave,spin, sew, crochet…the look for spring is airy, light, diaphanous, ethereal. The look will be classic with a modern twist. It sounds as if all body types will enjoy  the final product. 

Don’t throw out everything in your closet that isn’t this. Make a few accent pieces that are in this color-scheme and work it into your wardrobe.

Grey will be your neutral. Have fun.

Dandelion dyeing

A photo essay “Using Dandelions for Dyeing



In review

Here are 10 titles of knitting, crocheting, dyeing fiber, a child’s book and couple of fiber novels, for you to peruse this summer.
Knitting 24/7  by Veronik Avery 
She has broken the book up into segments of projects that are organized by a.m., p.m. and weekend, defining our wardrobes. These three categories include 30 patterns.

Knitting Nell by Julie Jersild Roth a child’s book. Nell is a tween with a passion for knitting. She is friendly and a good listener besides being a prolific knitter.

Knit Kimono by Vicki Square 18 designs Five rectangles make up the simple shape of the kimono. Finished dimensions are given that you can easily transfer, to crochet these rectangles. The finished items are stylish and fit all body types.

The Stitch Collection by Debbie O’Neil Sterling publication It is a collection of stitches, 5 books in a boxed set. Book 1 covers Knit & Purl, 2 is Rib, 3 is Lace, 4 Cables and 5 is Specialty stitches. The books size is approximately 5 x 8 1/2 inches. Take one or all five of the books with you in your knitting bag.

Toe-Up 2-at-a Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes For this method you will need 40-inch circular needles. The pictures and her words make this a breeze to learn.

 “Crochet Lace Innovations”.by Doris Chan overs the less popular forms of crochet including broomstick lace (aka: Jiffy-lace, peacocks eye or birdseye), Hairpin lace and Tunisian lace. These alternative crochet techniques are covered in a step-by-step tutorial through words and photos. 

  Around the corner Crochet Borders is Edie Eckman’s latest book. The book was published by Storey in paperback This book contains 150 different crochet borders and trims. Everyone is unique and fun. I enjoyed flipping through all of the detailed frames.Each border walks you through the 90-degree, right angles with instructions as well as charts.

Fiber novels:
World without end by Ken Folett equal to The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett wrote these historical fiction novels 18 years apart. The story picks up 200 yrs later in Kingsbridge, England, from 1327 – 1361, during medieval times. The characters are well developed and there are a few plot lines that weave themselves through the 1000+ pages. If you haven’t read Pillars of the Earth don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Get aquainted with the fiber guild of the time.

A Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber The story takes place in Seattle, at a fictious local yarn shop called “A Good Yarn”. The yarn shop is a new venture for Lydia Hoffman, a single 30-year-old woman starting a new chapter in her life. “Maybe because knitting gave me (Lydia) a sense of action, of doing something. I didn’t know what tomorrow held, but with a pair of needles…and a ball of yarn…,I was confident I could handle whatever lay ahead.”

Dyeing fiber:
Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callhan She starts off the book with the materials and set up required to dye fleece and or fiber. Gail stresses this process doesn’t require a lot of space or equipment, and most people will be comfortable working in their kitchen’s.

Spanish moss

Spanish moss goes by many names. Florida moss, long moss and greybeard.  It is an airfern, Making its own food. This type of plant is an epiphyte.

I was just in South Carolina and had to take some home with me for dyeing. The color is supposed to be a golden tan. I have it soaking until I start the cooking process. I already have the yarn I plan to dye.  It is a basic recipe using alum and cream of tartar as the mordants (French for bite). 

Will show you when it’s done.

Check out my dyeing with dandelions.

FYI: Spanish moss is used as stuffing for very expensive furniture.

Hand Dyeing…


Take a good look at this cover: That’s the magic of dyeing. Fiber and fleece changed from one color to another…then more magic as you spin or knit the hand dyed yarn. Physically, the book is spiral bound with a hard cover. The plus; it lays flat while reading the recipe and mixing up the colors. I love color, and she creates a color wheel with dyed fiber. I want to do that, as soon as the weather gets warm. I will also get to try out the pots my mother gave me when she was moving. 

She dyed commercial white yarn on a cone, several colors.

Her tip is…Keep dyeing it to you like the color. She does touch upon making muddy colors, and how that can unfortunately happen.

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan               Storey publishing

Spring is coming in our neck of the woods…well in a few weeks. My yard will be filled with plants, I can use for dyeing. What have you dyed lately?

 Examiner  for a video and slideshow of the book.