Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blank Slates

Don't you just love a blank slate?  One of the things I love most about my job is every day I start with a blank slate.  There is nothing better than taking raw fleece washing it, dying it, and spinning it. Each day brings new tactile experiences, new fibers, new colors. It excites me to no end when I am immersed in a day of dyeing yarns and fibers.  

Over the years, I have reflected on the colors I choose to dye, as well as how well colors turn out each day I dye.  When my mood is bright and cheery, the colors tend to reflect that as do dark and dreary, wild and funky, and dull and brain-dead.  The best colors come from bright, cheery, wild, and/or funky day. On the other types of days, well, let's just say it is a great thing I keep excellent notes on repeatable colors and color combos ;)

In all seriousness, in the past, I have held quite a few different types of jobs, some I enjoyed, some I hated, & a few I was indifferent to. Working with fiber is the first thing I have truly been passionate about and I hope it doesn't change anytime soon!

One of my blank slates. 

Buddy Sock Yarn in color 'Orchidea'. 

Picked cloud of mohair in the new colorway 'Poseidon'. 

The mohair being spun and finally plied. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Canning Mixed Pickles

Think this might be my favorite summer yet!  This is the summer I learned to can and I LOVE IT!!!  

Up until today, it has been mostly lovely sweet little jams. But today. Today, it was all about pickling!  Bill's Granny made an out of this world batch of mixed pickles which everyone absolutely adored. They were a sweet, tangy, and spicy mix just like Granny Marie!  

Granny Marie passed away several years ago, but Bill's Mom was able to track down her recipe. After a few trial runs, she got it just right and taught my sister in law and me how to make them too!

Here is the recipe. 
10 sterilized pint jars and lids. 
1 head of cauliflower washed & cut into bite size pieces. 
2-3 green peppers sliced. 
2-3 red peppers sliced. 
2-3 yellow peppers sliced. 
4 hot banana peppers sliced. 
6-7 sliced cucumbers. 
1 bag of pearl onions peeled.
4 cups of apple cider vinegar. 
4 cups of water. 
3 cups of sugar. 
4 tablespoons of pickling spices. 

Mix the veggies together in an over sized bowl. In a large pot on the stove bring the water, vinegar, sugar, & spices to a boil. 

Add veggies to the boiling pot and bring back to a boil mixing/ stirring periodically. Don't worry if the veggies are higher than the liquid level. As the mix returns to a boil the veggies lose a bit of water and shrink which returns the levels to normal. 

Once the levels return to normal and a boil is reached, lower the heat to a strong simmer. Spoon veggies into the jars and pack them down. Ladle liquid to a 1/4 inch of the rim and immediately put the lid on and tighten the rim. Flip the jar upside down and leave to cool. Repeat with the remainder of the jars. 

Store in a dark cool place and enjoy!


Frilly Felted Fun

Have had a ton of fun at the shop lately!  Last week we held a felted flower ring workshop and it was so much fun that I left all the supplies out to make ruffle scarves. 

A pile of rings from the workshop. 

One of the ruffle scarves. 

A ring made by the instructor Kristy Sturgil.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

I'm always so excited when Tour de Fleece starts!  There is nothing more fun than watching all the gorgeous yarns spinners around the world create. 

This year my goal is to spin every day and to finish a few projects that have been languishing on the bobbins for quite some time. 

The lace here was started a month before TDF started. Hoping to knit a shawl with it before the summer is out!

Corespun mohair plied with a sequined sparkly thread for balance. 

Bought two Uniquely Yours batts in a destash a year or so ago and TDF was a great opportunity to spin a lovely pastel yarn!

This has to be one of my favorites so far. This yarn started life during a corespinning workshop held at the shop in June. It was spun using a blended wool batt, Moon Cloud, and Teeswater locks. 

A corespun Demented batt plied with sequined sparkly thread. 

One of my first spins of the TDF.   Corespun Demented batt with black Wensleydale locks plied with, you guessed it, a sequined sparkly thread. 

Black Wensleydale corespun. I have a huge fleece with many more skeins to come!

So far the Tour has been a blast and I will hate for it to end. But the spin will definitely go on!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Artist Or Craftsman?

As a fiber person who sells handspun in addition to handdyed, I have quit using the term 'Art Yarn' and prefer the term 'Handspun'. It was not something I took lightly in making the conscious decision to quit using the term. Basically it was with quite a bit of soul searching that I came to the conclusion....  I don't want to be known as a fiber artist.  Because, I simply am not. 

What I am is a damn fine spinner and dyer with an excellent sense of color who can create a plethora of awesomely textured or sublimely smooth handspun yarns for my customers who make my pretties into gorgeous wearable/useable works of art. Seeing the beauty my customers make is why I do this!  It fills me with joy and pride in knowing my hands created something that enabled them to bring their beautiful ideas, garments, and creations to life!

I don't want to be an artist. I want to be and feel that I am a craftsman (or woman).  I work everyday to perfect my craft and share it with the world or at the very least those who can truly appreciate the work put into it. 

Yep. I'm definitely a Craftsman. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Smock It

Finished the next article for the American Livestock Magazine.  A simple block that is the first of many blocks to be created for my new project, an afghan.  the afghan is meant to be a study of stitch patterns created in various degrees of difficulty.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Handspun love

Have gotten a little tired lately hearing people say that art yarn isn't good or useful for knitting. What is a girl to do?  Knit a fun art yarn shawl of course!  Here is a sneak peek before the ends are woven in. 

A bulky cashgora corespun yarn plied with a polyester sequined thread. Oh, and it is a rainbow gradient yarn:). Thinking it should be another shawl!

Really into bulky lately!

Fred helped me pick a batt to spin the other day. Basically if chunk- muffin touches/loves on  the wool I can't sell it. Like to keep the fibers kitty free for allergy sufferers:)

Applebutter was jonesing for more horsey treats the other day. Looking forward to when the cold weather goes away! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The first article.

In this weeks news...

How to card tweed yarn by none other than Stephanie Stratton, aka me, was published is the American Livestock Magazine!  Not sure if this makes me an author, but sure does feel good! 

The search is finally over for a cowichan style spinning wheel!  Cowichan wheels were traditionally used in British Columbia to spin a thick single ply yarn for traditional sweaters. The new addition to the spinning wheel herd is named Mildred and we are fast becoming good friends!

A copy of the article with the actual batt and yarn used to write said article. 

Mildred in all her glory with our first spinning venture together.

Our second spinning collaboration, a bundle of Corriedale wool bulky spun and plied back on itself. 

Friday, January 31, 2014


What a thrill last year was. Full of epic  ups and downs to thrill me to my soul. 

Last year Louet launched the 'art yarn' flyer with a giant orifice and sliding ring guide.  There are no hooks to catch large loose locks as the glide effortlessly onto the bobbin.  It made me fall in love with tailspun yarn again. 

Looking for the art yarn flyer by Louet, check it out here: Lunabudknits

Last summers Tour de Fleece Suri alpaca tailspun. 

American bred and raised Teeswater tailspun. 

More lovely Teeswater. 

Wensleydale locks waiting to be tailspun. 

Fred helped me take the photos for the article on blending fiber for tweed yarn to be published in an up coming issue of the American Livestock magazine.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Stephen West's Rockefeller

It is finally finished!   Have yet to wash and block the Rockefeller shawl, but so glad to say that it is done, finito, and off the needles. 

Last year shortly after the Stephen West 2012 Mystery KAL, I bought the pattern because, well, who wouldn't want to knit this absolutely stunning shawl.  Knit from the top down and incorporating short rows, color changes, picking up stitches, floats, etc, the Rockefeller kept me so very engrossed.  My version is knit in colors Marine & Chronos using Glammy

Unfortunately when finishing the second clue/section, there was a mistake due to operator error. And it wasn't just a simple little mistake. The pattern was off by 20 stitches due to a misplaced stitch marker. Normally I do not use markers, but for some unknown reason opted to use one for this shawl. The naughty little marker was initially placed at the 50 stitch mark with out taking into account the increases. 

Once the realization sunk in, the shawl was relegated to the back burner as I tried my best to imagine a correction that would not end in ripping back to the mistake...... 

Fast forward four months to Stitches South in Atlanta. Imagine a group of knitters in a hotel lobby. One knitter has a drink in one hand and a WIP in the other. Yes, with a little moral support and a bit of liquid courage the shawl was frogged to the original mistake with all live stitches picked up to start anew from before the oopsie-daisy. 

And here it is finished!  And I love it so very much and am so glad I ripped it back to correct my mistake!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It did not take too terribly long to decide what the Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy wanted to be.  There is a longing in the air for stable warm temperatures that do not fluctuate at the drop of a fine cat hair in our neck of the woods.  If you live in Kentucky, you so get what I am trying to say and for those who do not,  in a few short days we have gone from 60 to 19 temperature wise.

So to not beat around the bush, why not shoot for thoughts of Farmer's Markets & long walks on sandy beaches with the sun shining on your back.  And that is why I chose the Ilene bag for my first Hempathy knitting project.

While the pattern is fairly straight forward, I did a wee bit of tweaking.  When knitting the base rectangle, I added several rows so that the edge would be tidier when picking up the side stitches.  What I will do next time is knit a few more rounds after picking up the stitches in blue as I think it might look a little better.  Not saying it isn't cute as it is, I just like to tweak things a little here and there:)

The color was then switched to the two pretty little green chartreuse balls of Hempathy.  As I had never knit an expanding market bag before, I opted to knit a couple of extra rounds in the mesh pattern.    Once happy with the length, the color was changed back to the original blue and a quick switch of the needles for a 1x1 rib which was knit to my desired length after which I followed the pattern to a tee;)

From the photos, it should be quite visible that extra rounds were not necessary, but I opted to err on the side of caution.  To give you a good idea of what I can cram in this bag.... Stuffed with in are: 2 lbs of wool roving, 6 skeins of Noro Kureyon, 1 skein of Noro Silk Garden, 2 huge skeins of handspun yarn (1 pounds worth) and a couple of felted flowers.  Yes, this bag is that huge!!  And the kicker.... I could have crammed in so much more!!!

When switching colors, I knit with the end of the old ball and the beginning of the new ball for a short length of time.  The mesh lace hid this very well.

Next time, I will pay more attention to where the 1x1 rib is placed for the handles.  Would have liked this much better if the join could have been kitchnered.

One ball of blue

Two balls of chartreuse.

And Fred did a great job of over seeing my knitting!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The shop

As it is Valentines day this week, a treat was in order.  We had a great evening filled with laughter and red velvet hightop cupcakes with cream cheese icing centers....... YUM!

There is an awesome array of knitters, crocheters, spinners, and all around fabulous fiber folks who come to the knit night on Monday nights and knit day on Thursday days.  It makes every meeting that much more special!  

One of the more interesting facts about the Sit and Stitch groups currently running is that the majority of knitters who attend are not local.  It really warms the heart to know that something as simple as creating something with a bit of string can bring together so many.

With that said....... I LOVE what I do!  I love how it brings people together.  I love how we sometimes come to find how small our world really is.  I love when we have conversations at knit night about two people living in the same town in another state around the same time, but not meeting one another until they come to the little shop in Nicholasville.  I love how each of us are so different, but still the same!  I love my fiber peeps!  

If you are ever in my neck of the woods, aka Central Kentucky, please stop by the shop, A Tangled Yarn.  We would love to have you on Knit Night or Knit Day!

Fred is of great help assembling afghan squares.

He is also the Mack Daddy of fiber weights and is happy to help keep your fiber from floating away!

The beginning of the second 'Fish Hat

Don't forget to check out our fresh off the carder batts too!

Other Fun Facts..................

I taught myself to knit by watching a woman while on a flight from Scotland to the USA in 1996.

I taught myself how to spin yarn Feb 15th, 2007. I think I've done fairly well:)

'Lunabud' is a combination of two dogs' names I was loved by, Buddy and Luna:)