chicken pants

The best part of being “out of session” is you get to experiment a lot, knit a lot and find new great things. I have spent December and will spend January dyeing new yarns, a mulberry silk/ wool blend that is natural, non superwash- but yes, the silk worms do not get to become moths. This is a fact I will need to weigh. It is a beautiful yarn and takes color very well.

This is in marigold and avocado, a double knit hat size 3 needles. I am making plans to dye the rest of this, choosing which colors I love. I kinda love these! Next I wanted to knit with and wear my merino wool in worsted weight. I had some yellow, not usually my thing for a whole garment but I am so happy I did. This is the Felix cardigan, I love it. I did take the buttons off and replaced them with penguin buttons. My daughter said I looked like a preschool teacher, but hey I am channeling my inner Antarctica. By the way the sweater is shone on the same weekend, different light. It is still very very bright yellow!

me modeling at The Artful Yarn
that’s me and my niece

Ok, so then I wanted to check out exactly what a certain color combo looked like. These photos are not well lit, but I achieved my goal. When you go buy a two color skein, what will happen when you knit?

These were natural and avocado. I like the look a lot on this simple 2×2 ribbed hat. I knitted that up in a night for my kid to take on a ski trip- will they ever know what we really do for them?

OK, so the big reveal is the CHICKEN PANTS as we have come to call them at my house. They are actually Hosenmatz by Mayumi Kaliciak and Antje Litzmann once published in Lanade in 2016, now available free online. You can locate the pattern via Ravelry. I have made many pairs of these pants from the pattern. In the past I had used a fingering weight and a smaller stripe but I wanted to try out The Darling Yarn Company’s alpaca sport and it is perfect! So soft!!!!!

Now you see why we call them CHICKEN PANTS. Anyway, these are knitted in the smallest size and are, as expected, a size I would call 3-6 months, instead of 0-3. This is a yarn substitution which, happily with babies, works well. The belly cuff and ankle cuffs can fold up or down to help with size and accommodate some growing (as they do so quickly). The only thing I will do differently in the future on these is indeed use the smaller needle on the belly cuff too so it will be a bit more snug. There is an option to add an I cord for larger sizes if you look through the pattern. If you look at the ankle cuff close up you can see the bind off is a ribbed bind off. I went through a gazillion videos and pdfs to find a ribbed bind off that was not overly cumbersome but still worked very well. I really like this bind off and will teach it in an upcoming class at The Artful Yarn this Spring, along with the other skills needed for these, German short rows, ribbed cast on, jogless stripes. Oh what fun. The other question these answered, as they are washed and blocked is THE COLORS DON’T RUN. I get asked that a lot. You can see no color migration to the natural wool from the yellow.

OK, so there was a lot of yellow in this knitting session. It happens to be my favorite color (not necessarily to wear) and it is a very happy color. There are many other colors available at the store. That is all for today- I need to get a baby blanket finished too. I am doing crocheted starburst granny squares in Mrs. Moons Plump DK, it is finally getting finished and is so cute. I will put it on Instagram once it gets all put together.

The Winter Dye Session is in the Shop

So I had fun with purple this session and did a few batches of hand painted yarns. These were not the bright many multicolor skeins you see from a lot of indy dyers (talented ones, I will add). I am more conservative in the number of colors I wear at any single outing. So I chose a more muted palette. I still love best knitting with the kettle dyed solids that have slight variation for interest in solid garments but not too much craziness. There is a yarn color for everyone and every project, right? With the cold settling in place, dyeing is a bit hard- so in addition to some travel, over the next few months I will be doing some experiments and developing a few color combinations for stranded work. These should show up in the Spring. In the meantime head to The Artful Yarn and check out what I have dyed. There are some 100% organic merino skeins in worsted weight from happy sheep in Virginia USA. These skeins soften more and more with use and wear, but are lovely and lofty right now. Also there are the super soft-right-out-of-the-box baby alpaca sport weight skeins waiting for you to knit them into a hat, or scarf or socks, maybe a sweater. I have seen some lovely baby garments made from the alpaca. I will be getting a pair of cute baggy baby pants started here soon for a baby on the way. The parents are so excited to be welcoming their second little one and I am excited to present them with a hand dyed, very natural garment to keep him warm this winter! Soon I will get to wear my Felix Cardigan knitted up in The Darling Yarn’s 100% merino worsted, dyed in daffodil. Photo will show up on Instagram just as soon as I block it and get some buttons. Send me photos of what you knit with my yarn. Insta is the_darling_yarn_company and you obviously found me at spread the word. Keep creating and Knit Naturally.– Christine

Back from Vacay, got inspired

We had the privilege of travelling for a bit over two weeks out west in Sedona, Capital Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon. We had a lot of time to really explore Capitol Reef and I just got reminded once again why I want to work hard to make less of a footprint on this earth. (I know travel itself is a footprint.) I am zeroing in on making The Darling Yarn Company, Ltd. as superwash free as I can, but superwash yarn has its place. Why do I want to offer non-superwash yarns? Making superwash yarn is a pretty caustic process that suprised me when I learned about it. The process chemically removes parts of the yarn that are a little rougher then adds a very thin layer of plastic to the yarn that makes it not compostable. It is impossible, at this time, to buy all clothes and fiber that are unpolluting and do not contain plastics, but each non-superwash skein I produce will be a small effort from my hands to yours to offer a cleaner product. I continue to seek US made yarns and it looks like I will be in good shape for my winter dye session in that regard- more on that later when I actually secure the yarn bases. In the meantime I am knitting up some fun samples and will get those posted soon. The Artful Yarn has my yarn in stock, some alpaca sport and some 100% organic merino worsted weight, so stop by to check it out. My test yarn is sitting for three months now in the window and is unfazed! We are working on a mitten pattern to wow you and the Avocado Toast Hat by Tiffany is in the store (pattern on Ravelry) with yarn to choose from. OK, so I need to get ready for Winter Dye Session. I am thinking in blues!

Fall Sessions doowop

So the Fall Dyeing Session is wrapped up, well not yet wrapped, but hanging and drying. I can’t wait to get knitting with some of this yarn. For the worsted I am knitting up the Boyfriend Scarf by Angela Juergens available for free on Ravelry. It will look great in a single color- maybe happy happy yellow! My sport weight will be going into some knit caps for my husband and I for our upcoming 25th Anniversary trip. Not telling you where we are going but it will be cold so I am knitting my version of OneOne Winter Hat by Karen Fechter available on Ravelry for a small fee. I suspect some winter gifts will get worked out too in the form of cabled scarves and mittens. Next dye session is in January. I am going to try ice dyeing. Hmmmmm? Below are some yarns that came out of the pots today, green teas, golden rod, madder, iron and soda ash worked in various combinations brought me these alluring hues.

Fall Colors!

I have gathered fall foliage, extracted the colors and added the prepped yarn to the dye pots. I have cured and washed and am now drying the beautiful yelllows, oranges, reds, burgundies, pinks and tans and greys. Can’t wait to get them to the shop. Keep an eye out for an adorable hat pattern by Tiffany Perry. We will be pairing some alpaca sport with her deceivingly simply pattern.