December 9, 2011

Yarn Challenge: The 1970's & A Few Other Things

So, long time no blog posts.  Sorry about that the blog just kept getting bumped down on the to do list of things now that Hello Purl is growing.  Jessie and I are so excited, we are looking into offering some fun new fibers so look out for that in the new year.  Gasp, that is right around the corner.  This will probably be my last blog post for the year too (unless we get to 300 Facebook fans before the new year then we will host a giveaway on the blog).  For the new year I am planning lots of fun stuff for our blog so stay tuned.

Now on to the yarn challenge.  I am participating in a yarn challenge with a few online fiber friends and the theme of this challenge was the decades represented in yarn.  Each person was given a decade to translate into a skein of yarn and mine was 1970's.  This is my yarn...

To make "That 70's Yarn" I carded a batt of wool, mohair locks, wensleydale locks and angelina sparkle and spun it while having some commercial yarn auto wrapped and then added vintage 1970's sheets cut into strips (some spun then tied in and other strips just spun in).  I hope you think in captures the essence of the 1970's.

October 14, 2011

I'm Hooked: Crochet Class

So I took a crochet class yesterday night with Courtney from Tizzy Dee at the D.I.Y Studio and gifts.  Oh what fun!  You could say I am hooked.  I made a cuff bracelet and I think it turned out pretty good for my first crochet attempt.  My 3 year old saw my bracelet in the morning so I whipped one up for him.

My first attempt at crochet.

It's a cuff bracelet (and it fits).

The crochet cuff I made for my oldest son.

I know I will be crocheting in the future.  I had fun and learned something new.  I suggest taking a class to learn something new, whether it is crocheting, spinning or pottery.

October 3, 2011

We have a Winner!

The random number generator thingy says that lucky number 15 is the winner and that is Zoe!  Congratulations please contact me at with your information so I can get your Hello Purl goodies!

* I only took one comment from each person so there were actually only 20 valid comments.

This is what Zoe won!

October 2, 2011

200 Fan Giveaway!

I like surprises and I hope you do too!  The winner of our 200 Fan Giveaway will get a package full of Hello Purl goodies!

To enter just visit our Etsy shop and in the comments below tell us your favorite thing from our shop!  The winner will be chosen on Monday October 3, 2011 (9 pm central) via and will be announced here when the givaway ends.

*This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering this giveaway you understand that you are providing your information to Hello Purl and not to Facebook.  You must be a Facebook fan to qualify.

September 30, 2011

Angora Rabbits and A Giveaway!

I did the first shearing of my angora rabbits last week to get them used to shearing and help promote fiber growth.  I used a scissors for the shearing this time but, next time I will use an electric shaver (trimmer). Er, I mean Jessie will be shearing them.  I'm not as comfortable with a trimmer as Jessie is (she shaves her cocker spaniel Jazzy).  The fiber I collected this time is too short for spinning but is possible (it just may shed), it much better for felting.  The next time Jessie will shear them in 45 days and their fur will just be for felting as well.  The following shearing I should get some wonderfully soft and long angora fur.

Niblet before shearing.

Niblet after shearing.

Pearl before shearing.

Niblet after shearing.

If you haven't already seen Jessie and I are featured on After the Bump!  Head over to her blog find out a bit more about us and you could win a skein of our yarn.  The giveaway ends Sunday October 2nd so hurry!

September 23, 2011

My Dye Garden

A sunflower from my dyed garden.  Ready to be harvested.

So my plan for the spring was to build a dye garden so I could collect flowers for natural dying yarn and fibers.  Well, things didn't go as planned.  I dug (well the husband helped) a spot on the side of out house for the garden.  There was a regular plant and flower garden in that spot just not the kind used for dying.  I dug up the dye garden spot later in the season then I planned, lets say sometime in June. 

I had planned out where each type of flower would go but when I went to get seeds at a local flower place they didn't have what I wanted so I picked up substitutes.  Insead of planning where the new types of seed would go I just looked at what was tall and layed out those seeds in the back and the shorter ones in the front.  Next year I may have to order some seeds so I have what I want.

The first sprouts in my dye garden.

The flowers finally started to grow but didn't bloom as much as I thought they would.  I didn't get as many blossoms as I hoped but got some.  The sunflowers did the best.  I also got cosmos and a few marigolds.  The black-eyed Susan's didn't do well at all.   There are a few sunflowers, cosmos and marigolds left that I will be harvesting on Sunday.  Then there are a few that I forgot to cut.  It is best to gather your blossoms when they are at full peak which I didn't always do.

The current state of my dye garden.

I am going to freeze the flowers to use when I get enough to dye some fibers.  That may just be after next harvest season.  You need a lot of flowers to dye only a little bit of fiber.  I have however been saving my avocado skins and pit for dying.  I have also been collecting bark from my birch trees.  I will let you know how things turn out when I use the avocado and birch bark for dying.  What natural dying have you done?  Let a comment (with a link if so) I would like to know.

September 16, 2011

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival

Jessie and I attended the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this last weekend.  We were VERY excited that we both had a hard time getting a good night's rest on Thursday.  We had a art yarn class with Jacey Boggs on Friday morning and just couldn't wait to learn 4 new spinning techniques.  On Friday morning  we arrived a few minutes before class started found our spot, got our wheels ready to spin and we waited for Jacey Boggs to arrive.  We waited and waited and waited some more.  She missed her flight and was unable to come and teach us.  I was heart broken and just wanted to cry.  I know you are thinking really!?!  You wanted to cry?  Yes and actually almost did.  I was excited about this class as soon as I knew it was available.  I really wanted to expand my spinning ability and grow as a fiber artist, this is my passion, I found it and want to do everything to nurture it.  Also Jacey is kind of a spinning celebrity and it would of be super fun to meet her.

And that's how we felt.

Jessie and I tried to shop our sorrows away.  There were two large barn filled with vendors (and I can't believe I forgot to take a picture to show you).  We brought back mohair locks, bamboo, mulberry silk, new dyes, angelina and oh yeah two German Angora rabbits.  After we tired out from shopping we found a bench and did some spinning.  I spun a coiled art yarn (which I learned how to do from Jacey Boggs Sit and Spin DVD) and Jessie worked on spinning more green (for our Packer wrist-warmer custom order).

Me spinning.

Check out the cup holder and bulky flyer!

The coiled yarn I spun.

Jessie spinning.

On Saturday we took a nuno felting class that was a lot of fun.  I've always wanted to learn how to nuno felt and just looked at books and was always afraid to dive right in.  The class really helped and I'm glad I got to learn something new over the weekend.

The nuno felted collar I made.

The nuno felted collar Jessie made.

Our mission for next year save up and hope Jacey Boggs will come back (she was unable to teach any classes over the weekend) and take all of her art yarn classes.

My new German Angora rabbits (at home).

September 2, 2011

Phat Fiber Fun

So I got the August Phat fiber box (I get a contributor's box sent to me if I send in enough samples for that month) of fluff and yarn.  Well I can always find a use for the fluff but wasn't sure what to do with some of the yarn samples.  I usually knit with thicker yarn (which is why I choose to spin thicker yarn) and most of the samples are sock weight (thin) yarn.

August Phat Fiber fluff "Bollywood".
August Phat Fiber yarn "Bollywood".

I like quick projects (maybe that is why I like chunky yarn) so I decided to use a few samples and knit myself a cuff (pulse warmer).  I used a superwash yarn from Sunrise Fiber Co. (I believe it is commercial spun and hand-dyed) and some cria (baby alpaca) and llama handspun yarn from Plum Crazy Ranch and Fiber Art.

Yarn samples I used in my project.

I think I was drawn to the bright colors of both of the yarns.  Plus they were a little thicker than sock weight yarn.   Both of the yarns are soft (especially the baby alpaca & llama) and very nice to work with.  I came up with a simple pattern for a slip on cuff knit in the round on double point needles.

The Pattern:
Cast on 33 stitches (more or less depending on the size of your wrist), with yarn you would like to use for the edge.
(Use seed stitch pattern)
Row1: K1, P1 until end of row
Row 2: P1, K1 until end of row
Row 3: K1, P1 until end of row
Rows 4-7: Use contrasting yarn for the middles section and knit until desired size (I knit 4 rows)
Row 8: Knit with the yarn you used for the edge
Row 9: K1, P1 until end of row
Row 10: P1, K1 until end of row

This is what I got...

Cuff/pulse warmer I knit with my Phat Fiber samples.
Cuff in action.

Next one I am going to make I will cast on only 31 stitches (you need an uneven number for the seed stitch part of the pattern), since it was a bit loose.  I want pictures if you knit up a cuff of your own.  Also let me know how the pattern works out I am not a professional pattern writter by any means (I leave that up to Jessie).

August 26, 2011

Siever's Fiber Art School and a Few Other Things

So I know that things are going to get busier as the Christmas season approaches and I don't want to neglect the blog, I think we have a good thing going here.  So I am going to post something fiber related on Friday's and hopefully you will enjoy reading it.  I would love to do some fiber reviews as well.  If I start having a bit more time I will defintially do some non Friday fiber posts. 

I will be moving my "Treasury Tuesday" posts to our Hello Purl Facebook page as a link so you can check them out directly on Etsy.  Be sure to become a fan if you haven't already (I like to give coupon codes and share what is happening in the studio there).

Everyone's work from the weekend at Siever's Fiber Art School.

I won a weekend at Siever's Fiber Art School through my guild the Traveling Treadlers and I enjoyed a weekend Spin Retreat on Door Co.'s Washington Island.  It was lots of fun and I learned a lot.
  • I changed my spinning technique so I draft back which allows me to control the type of yarn I want to create better.  
  • I learned how to do a long draw draft (this is where you pull the fibers back far from the wheel's orifice).  I only practiced this for a few hours so I have far from perfected it.  
  • I spun some cotton, not very well but I think I may have to give it a try again.  
  • I dyed all of my fiber samples for Septemnber's Phat Fiber box.  

Fiber dyed and drying for September's Phat Fiber "Enchanted Forest" theme.
  • I also learned how to Navajo ply, which is where you create a 3ply yarn from a single bobbin.  Navajo plying creates a nice round yarn. 
Some spinning I did at the retreat.

My first Navajo ply yarn (fiber dyed from Punk n Sparkle).

Everyone was wonderful and I had lots of fun.  If I can scrape the money together (or win another weekend) I would love to go back and take another fiber arts class.

August 12, 2011

Phat Fiber Sneak Peek

Don't forget to try and snag your Phat Fiber box this weekend!  The theme is Bollywood and it sure to be full of sparkle.  If you are a Ravelry member (it's free to join) you can check out a sneak peek video in the Phat Fiber forum.  If not just check out the photos of our contributions below to get you excited.  You can try and get your hands on the fiber goodness here on Sunday August 14th at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. CDT (Chicago Time).  Don't forget full sized versions of the samples we created will be in our online shop on Monday!

The Bollywood samples we sent in for the August Phat Fiber box.

A sneak peek of a full sized version of a Bollywood mini sample batt.