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?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mystery Knits

Hello there!

It seems like mystery KALs (knit-alongs) are all the rage these days, aren't they? For those of you not familiar with them, the basic concept is that you start to knit something without knowing exactly what it is that you're knitting! You might know as much as what type of garment/accessory it is and how much yarn it will take, but beyond that the actual design and construction are a mystery. The designer reveals the patterns via a series of clues or sections and at the end you have a fun new item you never knew you were going to knit!

In case you've been bitten by the mystery bug, I thought I'd showcase some of the yarns available in the Storied Yarns shop that will fulfill the yardage requirements for a few of the mystery KALs that are "hot right now" on Ravelry.

First up, the WestKnits KAL; this was a KAL for a shawl and the final clue was revealed earlier this month, so you have the advantage that you can peek in the projects if you want to see the finished shawl before you cast on! For this one you need 460 yards of a main color and 410 yards of a secondary color. Might I recommend the combination of Grandma Redbird and The Handmaiden?

Another option is the Dandelion on a Meadow KAL; this one uses one or two skeins. For a single-skein shawl, I think Night at the Fair would be a gorgeous choice; if you'd like to add yardage then why not pair it with Hot Shot?

Designer Laura Nelkin has a new KAL as well; it's called Trapeze and it's for a shawl that will work with a single skein of fingering weight yarn. She recommends a yarn that is semi-solid or slightly variegated/tonal; I think anything in this palette would work really well:

From left to right that's The Princess, The Farmer's Daughter, Arabian Days, The HotShot and The Handmaiden.

The Wendy Knits Summer Mystery KAL also recommends using a yarn that is subtly variegated or semi-solid. How about one of these?

Left to right that's The Ingenue, Arabian Nights and The Crone.

I keep going back and forth about the Leethal Knits KAL myself; I'd love to join but I'm worried about having the time! Maybe one of you can just sign up and do it instead and I can watch and live vicariously for a while. ;) This pattern is easy to customize to different yarn weights and yardages, but the designer recommends anywhere from one or two colors for the main and up to several options for contrasting details. I personally think it would be awesome to knit a shawl in this combo:

That's The Ingenue, Arabian Nights and The Handmaiden. Can't you just see how awesome the three of these yarns would work together in a shawl?!?

For something that takes a little bit less commitment, why not a skein of Daisy combined with The Princess for contrast?

Even if you're not into mystery knitting, any of these color combinations would make an awesome project! I myself am planning to knit a top out of a color palette very similar to this one:

That's The Crone, The Ingenue and The Handmaiden for those of you keeping track. ;) Whatever you knit, stitch yourself a story worth telling with yarns that are worthy of your project! Visit the Storied Yarns shop today for these beauties and several others. I just updated today! ;)

Thanks, everyone, and happy stitching!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Meet a New Colorway: Donna

Hello, and welcome!

Today I'm introducing a fabulous new colorway, inspired by Donna Noble (so far my favorite companion of the one and only Doctor Who). Do you want to see it? Of course you do!

Ahh, Donna. Throughout her time on the show, she's forever yelling at people, the Doctor included ("Oy, Space-Man!"). Though it seems like she's mad at the world, we know she's got a heart of gold underneath; after all, it was Donna who saved that family in Pompeii and wept with the Ood when she heard their song of captivity.

Toward the last few episodes of series 4, the Doctor figures out that Donna doesn't really value herself. She's always yelling at people because she thinks nobody would listen to her otherwise. She doesn't realize how special she is. Then, for one bright, shining moment, she gets to be the most important woman in the universe. The Doctor-Donna is born and she is fabulous.

I created this colorway in honor of that bold, sassy redhead. It's a combination of deep red, fiery orange, rich gold, time-traveling peacock blue, purple and teal. This is a kettle dyed colorway, so each skein will come out slightly different from the last and I never quite know what I'm going to get from the dye pots (a lot like Donna herself, don't you think?). You can see in the following photo that these two skeins are a little bit different from one another, even though I dyed them in the same pot:

Since I believe that character-inspired colorways add depth to your knitted and crocheted items, I'd like to offer some suggestions for these skeins, if I may. I think a skein of this Donna colorway would make a gorgeous lace shawl for a time when you just need that little extra "pow" in your outfit. It might also create a fabulous hat to transform your outlook on life or the most amazing pair of socks to lift your spirits from head to toe.

Knit with Donna to make something for a woman who needs to be reminded how wonderful she is; maybe that woman is YOU, so knit something pretty for yourself! I think we all have a little bit of Donna inside of us - we all have the capacity for her boldness and bravery as well as her self-doubt. Let your inner Donna come out to play when you need a fiery redhead on your side, and use this yarn to remind you that sometimes YOU'RE the most important woman in the universe, too! ;)

In case you're wondering, these skeins are available right now in the Storied Yarns shop and Donna is a repeatable colorway available for custom order on any yarn or fiber base.

Thanks, everyone!!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Put on Your Party Hat


I'm sorry I haven't been good at blogging regularly. Life is insane here, with school just starting and lots of goings-on at Storied Yarns Central that I'm not quite yet ready to reveal.

I have been plenty busy playing with yarn, though, so don't worry about that! I've got a Hunger Games themed update planned for Saturday in the Storied Yarns Shop. To keep you busy until then, today and tomorrow you can save 16% using code BigTen in honor of my 10th wedding anniversary on August 16th!

Most of the knitting I've done lately is still in top-secret stages of development. However, there is one project I recently started and finished that I'm ready to share!

I should preface this with a brief apology. The only other person home right now is 3 years old and not so great with a camera, so I had to take some not-so-fantastic self portraits in my bathroom today, ha! I'll try to get better pictures later, and I might even weave in the ends first! ;)

Anyway, here's my recent FO - a slouchy hat:

One of the things I hear a LOT in the knitting community is that nobody knows what to do with 4 ounces of handspun yarn. They take one look at the uneven gauge or the low yardage and they run for the hills. I think this is a real crying shame, because one of the greatest joys of my life is knitting with handspun yarn (oh yeah, and motherhood and all that stuff, lol)!

It IS the uneven gauge that I find so interesting about handspun. You can take a basic stitch pattern and instantly transform it into something magical and awesome with the use of a fabuous yarn like the one pictured above. The fiber I used to make this handspun was from the Fiesta Spin-Along from CraftyPuppyLover's shop, and this yarn was definitely a party to spin. Just look at the way the texture worked up in the stockinette fabric of the hat:

There were only 68 yards in this skein of handspun, and it weighed in at 3 oz. I added just .6 oz of a 2ply superwash merino handspun to make the brim, so overall the hat still weighs under 4 oz.

Here are some tips I've learned about knitting with handspun yarns. These are tips that apply specifically to knitting a hat like this one:
- Use needles that are bigger than you might think you need based on the yarn's weight. This yarn was a pretty standard bulky weight, but I used size 15 needles. This gave the thicker parts of the yarn room to spread out in the stitching and also helped only 68 yards of yarn go a lot further.
- Knit hats from the top down. This helps with customizing the size as you can just stop increasing when your hat is wide enough (or too wide, if you want it to be slouchy like mine). Also, if you happen to run out of yarn then you can use a contrast yarn for the brim and not the top.
- Don't be afraid of the yarn! Embrace it for all its beautiful and unique properties. Put it together with a simple stitch and a basic pattern and watch it become something extraordinary.

Hopefully by now you're all fired up to work with some awesome handspun, too! I challenge you to put some handspun on your needles this weekend. I promise you, it'll be an instant mood lifter (trust me, this week I know a mood lifter when I see one!). If you don't have a big drawer full of handspun like I do, I happen to have a shop full of yarn that can help you out with that. (Don't forget the coupon code, and remember I offer spinning service if you buy my fiber!)

If you're not sure what to make, PLEASE feel free to ask! I'm happy to help you pair up a gorgeous skein of yarn with just the right project. Just leave me a comment here or on Ravelry or Etsy!

I'll leave you with one more photo of me posing like a nerd. HA! Happy stitching, everyone!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meet a New Colorway: Severus

Hello, and welcome to the Storied Yarns blog! Today I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to one of my new colorways: Severus.

Severus is inspired by Severus Snape, the character from the Harry Potter series. I created this colorway as a custom order request from one of my customers, so the skein above will be going to live with her tomorrow. Don't despair, though, because this skein down here is going to go into the Storied Yarns Shop:

Severus is a combination of mulberry purple, emerald and spring greens, mysterious midnight blue and black.

Here are some of the things I thought about when I created this colorway:
- "One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
- Lily's eyes. "After all this time, Severus?" "Always."
- The jealousy felt by a little goth wizard, bullied by the cool kids.
- The mystery of a mind closed off to the Dark Lord, a double agent to the bitter end.
- The final gift of memories and truth at last.

Ok, here I go getting all teary-eyed over a skein of yarn. This is why they pay me the big bucks, folks; I geek out over these colorways in a big way. ;)

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Severus and that you'll give him a proper greeting in tomorrow's Storied Yarns Shop update!