Monday, January 30, 2006

Everyone Needs a Hug!

A knitting update:

I started the Hug from Magknits on Saturday, at a loss for something to knit since the screwup with the little brown alpaca sweater. Plus, I decided I needed to let the spindles cool for a bit! So here's my progress so far, I'm AMAZED at how far I've gotten in just a few hours of knitting in the past two days. I used Knit Pick's Sierra yarn in Tide, Leaf, and Pool; I loved the color choices in the original hug, but can't afford Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, so I compromised. I do love the Sierra though, wool/alpaca blend, very soft!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

(Hand-dyed) Fiber is Good for You!

This is going to be a photo heavy post...lots of fiber that I've been dyeing over the past week or so. I only have a stainless steel stockpot and a relatively large turkey roaster, so to get the kind of color control I want, I can only dye up to about 4 oz. at once, so that's what most of these are. Names to be thought of later!

First off, one would think orange Wilton's would least a little! I mean, red+yellow=orange, right? Nope.
Yet the black Wilton's again splits beautifully! I wish you could hold this fiber in your hand and look closely at the different changes the colors make! It ranges from dark almost black greens to dark blues, purples, lighter purples, it's crazy! Will spin up to a gorgeous yarn! Can't wait!

This one is going to be called either "Daffodilly", or, if I can find the actual name of the daffodil I'm thinking of, the proper name. It's a gorgeous pale pale creamy yellow with the palest of pale green accents, and slight touches of pink. I know there's a designer daffodil out there (hmm...or maybe it's a tulip? One of those ruffly ones? Now I REALLY have to double-check myself!) that has the exact colors in it...and the pink came about by accident because I forgot to rinse my dyepot out before dyeing a new batch of fiber (a happy little accident, as Bob Ross would say!)

This one would have to be my favorite so far. I was literally jumping up and down over the dyepot as I saw this one splitting - and my daughter, who is almost 2 and has reached that "Let me mimic everything Mommy does" stage was also jumping up and down. This is dyed with Wilton's violet, and it's just electric! It split into lovely shocking sky blues and bright clear violets, with deeper touches of "dye" for!

And last but not least is some yummy BFL that I dyed with Lanaset (yes, I do use "real" dyes too!) It came out nicely, I think, even though the navy didn't come out as dark as I wanted (I think I need to hand-paint for that).

Ok, and so it's not fiber (well, it is, technically, but you know what I mean!) I leave you with my favorite skein of yarn so far! This one was VERY hard to part with, because I think it's my most creative so far, too. It's domestic wool roving that was dyed in vivid blues and splashes of purple, with blue angelina throughout. I added cochineal dyed mohair locks to it, and it came out great, if I do say so myself! I LOVE it! It's called "Cosmic Prom" and it's on its way to Ashley as we speak!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I just finished spinning up some of the yummiest merino ever! I hand-dyed it with Lanaset dyes in the palest spearming, denim blue, and green gold. It came out so delicate and beautiful, I had to name it Bliss! This was my first time dyeing merino, since I haven't been dyeing all that long, I was a bit nervous about messing up such lovely fiber. I'd had it in my stash since I first started spinning. I had bought it from Copper Moose before I even knew what I was getting into! I have no affiliation other than being a happy repeat customer of his ebay store. He's a great guy, has wonderful fibers and great prices. Check him out if you get the chance! Anyway, here's a pic of the fiber dyed, and on the spindle. I'm just about finished spinning it up, and will have the finished yarn posted on my sale page when it's dry. The pictures don't do the subtlety of the shades justice! It's a shame!

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Yarn Porn!

Here's a new skein I spun up over the weekend! It's from handpicked and dyed wool from Ashley...called Thunderhead. I haven't decided if I'm going to send it to Ashley to sell on her site or if I'm going to sell it on my own. I LOVE the colors in it, and it's way cool and slubby! The flash on my camera was necessary, but this yarn is not as bright as it looks. True to its name, there's a lot more grey and greyish colors in here. It really looks like an angry thunderhead!

Here's some fiber I dyed using Wilton's Icing Dyes. I LOVE variegated yarns and fibers (and plants!) and the way the Wilton's splits into its component colors is so cool, and never the same twice! I did this fiber using Wilton's black, overdyeing some grey Jacob...which I promptly traded to Colleen for some yarn for a top for my daughter! I'm sure she'll have a ball spinning it up! I can't wait to dye more up for myself!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Little brown sweater

Aww...little brown alpaca sweater feels SO good! I went to a new knitting meetup today and actually dragged the sweater with me to knit. I got a decent amount done, but now I seem to be up you-know-what's creek without a paddle! I am knitting the Unisex knock-around cashmere pullover from Weekend Knitting, which I am NOT doing in the suggested yarn because it was $51 a SKEIN! And at my size, I'd need TWELVE skeins! C'mon people, is it really that hard to include some yarn substitutions with these books? I mean, I'm doing the sweater in Knitpicks' Decadence, and I KNOW it's going to be a totally different sweater because the alpaca is really drapey, but I'm knitting this sweater for LESS than it would have cost for ONE SKEIN OF CASHMERE! No lie! I can't justify spending so much money on ANYTHING right now! And this is the first sweater I've ever knit, so I'm not going to blow it with $600 worth of yarn!

Anyhoo...any of you know of any errata for this book? I've Googled but so far come up empty. I'm doing the decreases down the back of the sweater, right before you join one of the sideways panels for the back, and I thought it would be easy, BO 9 stitches at the beginning of next 4 rows, and then 10 stitches at the beginning of next 8 rows, but I've done the 10 stitches over just 6 rows and have come up with my seam stitches at the end of the needles like I'm supposed to. I think I screwed up the pattern part preceding this where I'm supposed to "travel" the seam stitches out. The directions for this sweater seem more complicated than they need to be, and I'm NOT the best at interpreting hand-written directions into physical being (right, Col?!) So I can only imagine that's where I messed up. Anyone knit this sweater who can give me some pointers? I think I'm going to have to frog, which I don't know how to tackle since I have BO so many rows! ACK!

I've taken a spinning break for today because my fingers are just so darned SORE! It probably has something to do with my technique or something, but I think it could have something to do with the fact that I've spindle-spun something like 15 skeins of yarn in the past week! But I'm back to it tomorrow, and I'll post some pics of the sweater and some new handspun, too! I'll have more up for sale on my sales blog, too! I'm excited, someone actually commented on a yarn and showed some interest! I feel sometimes like this blogging thing is just talking at yourself, so it's nice to know someone other than the few people I've told about my blogs are actually coming across my blogs...and liking my stuff! Woo hoo!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Black Cat SALES!

Just want to let you all know that I have a new blog up that deals strictly with my handspun and fiber sales, I figure I'd rather be able to manage one page strictly with sales, and another strictly with my fiberish musings.

On a fibery note, I am SO excited because I got a bunch of fiber in the mail today from ebay sellers. I'm a big fan of ebay, and even moreso now that I've found it to be a way to get decent fiber at decent prices. I got a nice silver grey batt that weighs over a pound, another that is a pure, snowy white (destined for the dyepot!) that's another pound, two different batts that are white and grey, respectively, with great noils and bumpity-bumps, which will spin up into great, interesting, textured yarns. And they color coordinate! I just finished spinning up some Wensleydale, which I've never spun before. It's beautiful, and fun to spin. It would make a nice, even single, but I spun it thick and's hoping I did it justice! Nice and long and lustrous, very much like mohair but a bit coarser. I'm loving it, and thinking of ordering more. Pics later!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Handspun for your Consideration

The fact that I will be selling my handspun yarns on MY MY as soon as all the details have been ironed out has increased production on my spinning like you wouldn't believe (of course, my lovely sweater I'm knitting for myself has suffered the consequences, but there's always next winter to wear it, right?) And then I found out last night that Ashley at Neauveau will also be selling my yarns on her site (SUCH an honor to me...I LOVE what she does!) so you can hear the little brown alpaca sweater starting to cry in the background! Here are some pics of my recent spinnings.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Big Fat Boy Cat

This is Mookie. Mookie is my big fat boy cat. He (along with his MUCH skinnier and more photo shy compadre Raven) is the reason my little cottage industry is called Black Cat Handspun. There is also Belle, who fancies herself the most beautiful cat in the world...but she's not black, so her loss!

Here is a pic of yarn I've spun up's an example of the kinds of yarn I like to spin. I like single-ply, mostly, although I will do 2-ply from time to time. I'm calling this Twilight at the Beach...sooo soft and pretty~it's a blend of wool, mohair, and silk. It's 119 yards and 3 oz., $34. If you're interested, email me at!

Welcome to Black Cat Handspun!

Hi all! This is going to be a blog about my fiber mania! I'm a stay-at-home mom to an almost 2-year-old little girl who is the absolute light of my life! To avoid ever having to step foot into an office again, I'm trying to spread my fiber mania far and wide by selling hand-dyed and hand-painted fiber, as well as handspun yarns. I have only been knitting and spinning for less than a year, but my stash already threatens to topple over and smoosh one of my poor cats! As of right now, all my yarns are lovingly handspun with drop spindles...hopefully I'll be finding a wheel to call my very own at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this May. Welcome to Black Cat Handspun! Enjoy your visit!
Spin Sisters
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