Posts filed under Behind The Scenes

Development of the Colorways Page

Originally in my development plan, I was going to dye all of the colors I had available out of Norwegian Elkhound for the purpose of creating colorcards for yarn stores.  Out of this concept came the idea to create different types of swatches for a book intended for marketing purposes; a side use would be to display all of the beautiful colors on this website for easy viewing purposes.  I decided to create a knit swatch, a crochet swatch in double crochet, and a woven swatch made from Schacht's Zoom Loom.

While I already knew how to make the knit swatch out of stockinette (as knitting is my main craft), I had to consult a friend as to what type of swatch would be appropriate for crocheted fabric.  (Thanks Erin!)  She suggested using the double crochet stitch, as it's commonly used for fabrics and swatches.  I was able to learn to do this stitch with my minimal knowledge of crochet with help from the internet (thanks Youtube!), and it proved to be a delightfully fun thing to replicate.  The final swatch was for weaving.  I purchased the Zoom Loom because I knew it would create the size of the swatch I needed, without the hassle of setting up a larger loom.  I consulted a friend to make sure that it would accurately portray the colorways when woven, and she verified that it would.  (Thanks Kristen!)  It's fantastic that the craft community has such a presence on the internet, as there's little that you can't learn with a simple search.


Thus begun the month-long process of knitting, crocheting, and weaving 4in x 4in squares.  It was a terrible amount of fun being able to work with all of my own colorways, many for the first time, and I know that the colorways page on this website will be a huge resource for myself, and hopefully other people as well! 

The Colorways page is easy to use: decide on a color you'd like to see, click on the colorway, and a lightbox will appear on your screen with the zoomed in image.  To easily view other images, you can use the left or right arrows on your keyboard, click the image to view the next, or click on the x at the top right corner to choose another color.

  My next project is to create different swatches of the types of yarn bases I carry.  This part of the project will take far less time.  There are 60 swatches for the colorway section; in comparison, there will be 24 swatches for the bases.

Now that you can see all of the colorways at once, which ones are your favorites?



Reminder: I will have a booth at the Downtown South Bend First Friday: Dog Days of Summer.  Come visit me if you can, as I will have a special treat for both you and your pup!  More details can be found on the Events page at the top.

Posted on June 5, 2013 and filed under Behind The Scenes.

Skeinwinding & Reskeining

Last week, I received a new skeinwinder in the mail, purchased from WoodenSpinner!

Dwight helping to wind the yarn.

A skeinwinder can be used for mainly two things, winding a skein or reskeining a skein. When spinning yarns from a spinning wheel or spindle, a niddy-noddy or skeinwinder can be used as tools to remove the yarn from a bobbin, rather than winding it into a ball by hand. Niddy-noddies can come in various forms, such as tiny wooden ones for sampling, hand crafted wooden ones, or PVC plastic. I started out with a PVC one until my fiance made a beautifully personalized niddy-noddy that, until last week, I used religiously.

The beautiful niddy noddy my fiance made for me.

There are two schools of thought for how a skein of yarn can look for its final form, generally based on personal preference of the dyer. The first is to keep the skeins naturally as they were right out of the dyepot; the second is to reskein the yarn, rearranging the yarn so that all the different colors lay next to each other. I consider reskeining yarns one of the yarn industry's magical little secrets because of what it can tell us. Reskeining rearranges the yarn so that all the different colors lay next to each other.

On the natural yarn, you can clearly see the pools of color. I think this is just as pretty as the skein below, but the reskeined yarn gives us a lot more information about what the final garment will look like.

Reskeining on a niddy-noddy is far more labor intensive than using a skeinwinder, particularly for lace skeins, which is why most professionals choose skeinwinders. To use a niddy-noddy, you have to wrap the yarn around the four edges in a zig-zag pattern, twisting the niddy-noddy and the yarn to complete the movements. (I have gotten very sore from hours of this!)  In comparison, skeinwinders can exist either vertically or horizontally, and spin around in a wheel. They're not as compact, but they're far easier to use because the range of motion is smaller.  Like the niddy-noddy, they can come in many forms: PVC, furniture quality, as well as many having motorized options.

What do you think?  Do you like skeins when they're natural, or after they've been reskeined?

Also, an upcoming event: I will have a booth at the Downtown South Bend First Friday: Dog Days of Summer.  Come visit me if you can, as I will have a special treat for both you and your pup!

Posted on May 29, 2013 and filed under Behind The Scenes.