Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tour de Fleece and Ravellenic Games: Fuel Up

Hello all, and Happy Friday!!

So, the end of the Tour de Fleece is in sight; just 7 more days of spinning. I don't know about you, but I haven't quite met all of my goals yet for this TdF, so I'm hoping to spin like a maniac in the coming week, ha ha!

Right on the heels of Tour de Fleece, we'll be gearing up for The Ravellenic Games. Wahoo! I'm planning to knit myself a sweater this year, and that's going to be the main project I focus on along with a few little designs if I can get to them. I'm planning to knit the Rivel Cardigan using yarn that I bought on clearance at MDSW about 5 years ago! It's about time, right?

If you're looking for a team, feel free to pop on over to the Storied Yarns group. We'd love to have you! And even if you don't join our team officially, I'm still going to be offering prizes for anyone who uses Storied Yarns yarn, fiber or patterns during the Games. So make sure you post photos in our official thread (that goes for Tour de Fleece, too)!

Anyway, for today's post I thought I'd do something a little different. In our BohoCrafty TdF team, we've been sharing recipes. I shared one of my own recipes, too, which I call Jess's Jumping Beans and Rice! I suppose I should technically call them Mike's Mexi-Melts since the recipe was my husband's invention, but he's not on Ravelry so I took the credit, HA!

Anyway, if you're going to be participating in some marathon crafting you'll need the fuel to keep you going, right? This dish is filling, delicious and vegetarian (with an easy vegan alternative). The meat-free ingredients are pretty cheap, so it's perfect for cooking dinner on a budget, too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Jess's Jumping Beans and Rice (aka Mike's Mexi-Melts)


- 1 small to medium onion
- 1 green pepper (or the color of your choice)
- 1 can black beans
- approx. 1/2 can corn
- taco sauce (can substitute salsa/picante sauce)
- 1 cup dry rice
- shredded taco/cheddar cheese (vegan alternative: soy cheez)
- 1 tomato (optional)
- 1 hot pepper (optional)


- Chop up your onion and green pepper into small, bite-sized pieces. Toss them together in a skillet over medium high heet until the onions start to get translucent and the peppers start to brown.
- Add one can of drained/rinsed black beans and 1/2 can of corn. Mix together.
- Pour in a heavy tablespoon of taco sauce OR approx. 1/4 cup salsa. Mix some more.
- Optional: Some like it hot, so if you're one of those, add a chopped up spicy pepper.
- Simmer over medium-low heat to allow the flavors to blend.
- Meanwhile, cook 1 cup of dry rice according to package directions. I use brown rice but white is also fine.

Serving Options:

- Option 1: Spread the rice onto a plate. Add the skillet contents and sprinkle with cheese (or alternative) on top, then add a diced tomato (also optional). Season with additional salsa or taco sauce as needed. Eat with a fork.
- Option 2: Follow directions for Option 1, but eat with tortilla chips.
- Option 3: Put a flour tortilla on the plate first, then stuff it with the ingredients from Option 1 and eat it like a burrito.

I hope you enjoyed my little off-the-beaten-path post today! Also, if you happen to need more fuel for your spinning and knitting, there's plenty of fiber in the Storied Yarns Shop. (Ha ha, I couldn't resist!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Semi-Solid Stitching

Hello, and welcome!

Today I updated the Storied Yarns Shop with this lovely selection of my "Stock Characters" (semi-solid) colorways on my Storied Yarns Bamboo Sock base:

Every time I dye up my Stock Characters, I think of all the gorgeous hand-knits they could create. These colorways are all semi-solid or tonal, so they'd make ideal choices for things like lace work or color work where you really want your stitches to stand out and show off.

I also love to imagine the gorgeous combinations you might create by pairing these colors together in groups of two or three. How about these combinations?

This is my kind of color palette. Deep blues and purples, burgundy wines and a pop of bright red-orange just for fun.

I've come up with a few other combinations, too:

Pinks and purples to show off your feminine side, moody blues for subtle contrast or bright, summer fun in pink and orange!

I've been browsing Ravelry for some two- and three-color pattern ideas. How about this Two Color Crescent Shawl in Unicorn and Evil Queen? I've always loved Stephen West's Spectra Shawl, which I think would be ahh-mazing in Hot Shot and Princess or Hot Shot and Crone. The colorful pattern of the Ulmus shawl would be good for showing off a bit of contrast, like with Time Traveler and Unicorn.

You could make two contrasting pairs of Vagabond Mitts or Cordelia Fingerless Gloves using any two of the yarns in today's update - how about The Vampire and The Crone?

Anyway, I hope you'll find as much inspiration in these colors as I do! As always, feel free to send me a message if you're looking for a specific color that isn't currently in stock. Thanks!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What to Knit with DK Weight Yarn

Hello and welcome to Storied Yarns Central, where we're bringing you another edition of "What to Knit with That" today! I recently added some Giganto Skeins of DK weight BFL wool yarn into the shop. Wanna see?

The top one is a rich, eggplant purple color and is called The Sorcerer. The botom is a dark, spooky hunter green and is called The Enchanted Forest. Both are part of my semi-solid stock characters line, and with these skeins you get a whopping 250g and 500 yards of DK weight 100% BFL yarn for only $38!

So, what do you knit with 500 yards of DK weight yarn, anyway? I'm glad you asked! Here are some of my suggestions:

If you've got a little one to knit for, why not the Olearia sweater which comes with two cardigan options and one shrug version in a single pattern? This pattern goes up to 700 yards for a size 8, so with 500 yards you should be able to get several size options.

I'm a pretty big fan of hand knits that grow with a child, because I don't want to go to all the effort to knit something for my kid just to find she's outgrown it in a few months. With that in mind, I absolutely love the Bloom pattern; it fits as a dress on a younger girl and then when she grows it becomes a tunic/top, all in the same size! The medium works with DK weight yarn and is shown in the pattern photos on an infant and a preschooler - the SAME dress!

If you've fallen in love with those deep, dark shades above and you want to knit something for yourself, how about the Clothilde shawl? You can get a full-sized large, lacy shawl out of one of these skeins, perfect for the transition to cooler weather (or out of it, depending on where you live)! I also really like the shaping on the Miami Beach Shawl, if you're bored with triangles.

Of course, there's always my Infinitely Simple Lace Infinity Scarf! It's a free pattern and you could get two or even three of them out of one of these skeins, perfect for holiday gifts!

One last suggestion: Trivium is a set of THREE patterns - a hat, a cowl and a pair of fingerless gloves. Knit all three from just one giganto skein of this yarn! Wouldn't these colors look lovely with your winter coat? Now you can have a coordinated set!

Psst - if Semi-Solid Giganto Skeins aren't your thing, I've got a few variegated 100g skeins of DK Superwash Merino in the shop, too!

As always, if you'd like one of these skeins for yourself but in a different color than the ones in the Storied Yarns shop, just send me a message and I'll be happy to dye up a custom skein for you!

So, now that the TdF is almost over, what are YOU going to be knitting next month?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fiber Friendships

Every once in a while, something happens in this lovely world of Fiber Arts that just warms my heart. Yesterday was a day like that.

I opened my mail box yesterday to find a package inside. For once I hadn't actually ordered anything recently so it was a bit of a surprise. A very pleasant one, I soon discovered! I opened the package to find this:

It's an adorable project bag from my friend Sally! It's super sturdy, has adorable and handy handles and closes with a drawstring in matching cupcake ribbon!!

Plus, it's PINK, which of course I love. I can't wait to tote this baby around town with all my newest and top-secret WIPs inside!

The part about this that was truly fun and magical was that I had sent Sally a package last week, and it arrived the same day I got her package! Kismet, I tell you! Here's what I sent her:

Sally's expecting her second baby in just a little while, so I sewed up a patchwork blanket. The top side is shown above and the bottom side is solid green fleece. Here's a close-up of the center panel, which just screamed "Sally" to me when I saw it:

It has adorable little moose on it (perfect for a woman who uses "Muddymoose" as her Ravelry ID) and cute little woodland cottage scenes. The fabric for the patchwork squares around the center is all from my stash, most of which I got FROM Sally in the first place when I first started to sew. It's like the Crafty Circle of Life! :)

I also made a cute little Crinkle Bot for her son (he's almost two and about to be a big brother for the first time), but I forgot to take a photo of that. It was a fast and easy gift, using felt from my stash. Also I was pretty sure he'd love it because my own 2-year-old came into the room while I was making it and immediately demanded a second one for himself, ha!

Of course I couldn't leave Mommy out of the gift, so I sent Sally this skein of yarn - it's a 2ply from some of my batts that I knew she had liked from my shop:

I'm really grateful to have awesome fiber friends like Sally. Surprising mail days are just one of the benefits of having friendships with other knitters!

What about you? How are you cultivating your Fiber Friensdhips?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adventurous Spinning

Maybe it's the festive spirit of the Tour de Fleece, but lately I've been in the mood for some adventurous spinning. In the Team BohoCrafty thread we've been talking about the ways that some fiber artists seem to have a knack for combining different fibers to create stunning yarns. Follow along with our discussion here, if you're so inclined.

All this talk of combining fibers has had me thinking about the ways my lovely friends and customers at Storied Yarns might combine character colorways in order to spin an adventurous story. Today I'm here to offer some suggestions on the ways you might combine fibers from my shop - stay tuned until the end of the post and I'll even give you some coupon codes!

OK, let's see. If you like warm and earthy colors, why not this combination?

 That's Mrs. Patmore, Haymitch and Rue.

If you're a fan of blue (like I am), then I bet you'll love this combo:

 Gonzo, Zoot and Titania; gorgeous!

For the pink lovers out there, this duo is sure to please:

Fun, feminine batts inspired by Aphrodite and Effie!

And one more - I couldn't resist a purple pairing, now, could I?

This combination is my fave - snag it from the shop and save me from myself, please!! That's Mulan and Vidia, both on superwash bfl top, yum!

If you're not a spinner, right now I'm offering FREE Spinning Service in the shop! Buy any fiber (including the sets I've listed above) and send me a message at checkout. I will spin them for you for no additional charge!

I've also got two very special coupon codes that are active right now - use code TDF12 to save 12% on anything in the shop, including custom orders and club listings, now through July 31. Use code July4 for the next 3 days only (July 3-5) to save 20% on any in-stock item (excludes customs and clubs). Shop now at Storied Yarns and save!!

Thanks, everyone, and Happy Tuesday!