More Indigo Dyeing

Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching my fourth indigo dye workshop at ReBelle, as well as two shibori classes. I have talked about the technical side of indigo dyeing before so this entry won't be about that. If you want to learn a bit about indigo, specifically my love affair with pre-reduced indigo check out that post.

Shibori projects right in various
levels of oxidation.
I love teaching dye classes. They are open to all types of crafters and unlike my other beginning classes, they change every time I teach them so they are never boring. I started with just an indigo dye workshop the first time out, but other than the quilters who came knowing exactly what they wanted to do, the class seemed to be too unstructured for most people. The second time I taught this class it was for the local fiber guild who took nicely to the open dye format. The third time I taught at the shop I added a shibori class right before the dye workshop where I provided two projects (a wrap and a tea towel) and that class sold out pretty quickly. Things worked well with the project format, so well that we added a batik class to the mix and moved both resist classes to a Saturday and the dyeing to Sunday so that students would have a chance to prepare their fabrics using the more involved shibori techniques. This format worked really well, not only did students have the opportunity to try two different resist techniques, everyone had plenty of time to prepare their projects for the dye vat and the results were amazing. Now that all of the kinks have been worked out, I am really looking forward to the next indigo weekend in September.

The great unveilling, cutting the threads on some sewn shibori.


My favorite hat, take 2

Years ago I made this version of Abalone using two colorways of Autunno by di.VĂ©. I wore the hat for six months before it mysteriously disappeared. I love the hat and loved the pattern so when I found out the yarn was discontinued I bought those same colorways again with the intention of remaking the hat someday. That day finally came and other than the slightly larger brim that has become my preference, it is exactly the same as the original hat. Now let's see if I can keep track of this one. Did you ever have a knit garment that you loved so much you made a second or third version to replace the original?


Hello Mona Pattern

Finished Mona still on the frame.
A some of you may know, I have been working on a project to cover the bathroom walls at the shop with a giant collection of cross stitched pieces in gold frames. For about 3 years now, Ihave kept a master list of the patterns I want to use as well as a list of patterns I want to create. One of the things on my list is to do a series of cross stitch interpretations of street art, mostly local to Lexington. As one of my favorites, Hello Mona was at the top of this list. There are several versions of Mona around town, but I wanted to keep the chart kinda small so I decided to go with plain Mona in a red bow. The finished work fits in a 4"x6" frame and the downloadable chart can be found here. Big thanks to Hello Mona for letting me share the chart.

Now for the details. This piece was stitched on 14ct Aida cloth using two strands of embroidery floss, I used less than one skein each of black (DMC 310) and red (DMC 666.) If you want the black sections really solid you can switch to 3 strands of embroidery floss and add an extra skein to compensate.
A printable chart can be found here.


I am ready for 2016!!

It's time once again for my annual New Year's post. 2015 was a very difficult year for me and as I review the year I tend to focus on my failures and all of the negative, but despite all of that 2015 had a lot of goodness. My broken leg gave me extra time with friends and family and also a chance to slow down and really think about what I want (seriously, so much time for thinking.) I used some of my extra time to take a few classes, I opened my online shop, and for awhile I was blogging regularly. It was a good year for the shop and in addition to regular shop stuff, Sarah and I made a knitting-themed unnoffficial expansion pack for Cards Against Humanity called Knitters Against Swatches which did really well and taught us a lot about manufacturing and online sales (any past ideas about creating an online ReBelle are officially off the table.)

Now for a review of my 2015 goals...
1. Eat better, way more whole foods and less processed junk.
I consumed more processed foods this year than ever before. Most of it was due to my broken leg and an inability to stand and cook. On the plus side, once I was able to cook again I did manage to cut out most of the processed foods so at least I finished strong on this one.
2. Schedule one afternoon (four hours) a week of quiet time and don't let it get interrupted by people or work.
I did this for a few weeks, but work kept creeping in so it fell by the wayside pretty fast.
3. Get ahead and stay ahead of seasonal shop tasks.
I created a calendar with seasonal reminders that really helped me keep on top of things, but no matter how hard I tried there were still a bunch of last minute tasks.
4. Finish and frame twelve pieces for the shop xstitch project.
This was going to be a fail, but in my panic at not accomplishing any of my goals for the year I did a marathon week of cross stitching and completed this one just under the wire.
5. Travel more.
6. Ride my bike more.
Double nope.
7. Have more fun.

My 2016 goals...
1. Improve my handwriting.
2. Develop 4 new classes.
3. Submit 1 article and 4 patterns for publication.
4. Improve my overall health.
5. Finish and frame twelve pieces for the shop xstitch project, again.
6. Spend more time with friends, regular outings and phone calls.


DIY Cross Stitch Ornaments

Finished ornament hung with a simple ribbon.
I made this simple cross stitch ornament for a last minute gift class at the shop. The pattern is easy enough for a beginner and should take less than two hours to complete regardless of skill level so let's get started.

You will need the following:
14ct Aida cloth
1 yard embroidery floss
cross stitch needle
3" embroidery hoop
a small scrap of coordinating fabric
sewing needle
sewing thread
scraps of paperboard (a cereal box will do)
piece of ribbon (or hook for hanging)
iron (optional)

Once you have all of your supplies you can begin by cross stitching the chart below. You can either do this in the 3" hoop you are going to hang it in or you can use a larger hoop and move it into the 3" one when you are finished. If you are new to cross stitch I suggest you start with this tutorial by Becky Stern, she does a terrific job of explaining everything, far better than I could.
A printable pdf of this chart can be found here.
Once your project is stitched and in the frame you will want to sew a running stitch around the outside perimeter of the Aida cloth and pull tight to gather the excess material in the center of the hoop. If you have a large amount of excess Aida cloth you will want to trim it so that no more than an inch hangs over the edge before doing your running stitch.

Next you want to cut a 3 1/4" circle out of paperboard and a 5" circle out of your scrap fabric. Repeat the perimeter running stitch from above to encase the paperboard in the fabric.
Backsides of both the paperboard backing and the hoop.
At this point you can choose to iron the backs of both objects to make the fabric lay flat, this is totally personal preference. Once your two backs are ready to go, apply your favorite fabric glue to the outside perimeter, put the two wrong sides together, and weight with a flat heavy object, I used a heavy book, until dry. Once dry, add a ribbon or hook and it is ready to hang on your tree.

Since I am posting less than a week before Christmas and you might not get to this in 2015, I went ahead and made a 2016 version of this ornament, that chart can be found here.


Finally, a shop update

Two of my goals for the year were to relaunch my blog with an entry every week and to reopen my online shop, then in May I broke my leg. It was my first broken bone and it wasn't just a little break, it was a complicated break. I was able to avoid surgery, but as a result my recovery time was long. I was unable to bare weight, walk, or drive for the first eight weeks and I was unable to sit with my leg down for longer than a few minutes at a time. Basically I spent the entire summer on my sofa with my leg elevated. I knitted, read, and watched Netflix, not much else. My recovery was long an while I am still not totally healed, I am finally to the point where I can stand for reasonable periods of time and my leg requires minimal elevation. Last weekend I taught my first dye workshop all summer (well, technically I taught three back-to-back workshops) and I survived so I decided that now it is officially time for me to get back to my dye experiments and start blogging again.
Handpainted Panda Top available in my shop.
It's been awhile, but I have started selling my handdyes again. I dyed the fiber above for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and some for the shop. Since I am walking and driving now, I am ready to sell online again. With all of the controversy surrounding etsy, I decided not to reopen my etsy shop, instead I am using Square's marketplace and hosting some of the items here. It's better for me which makes it better for you.

Over the coming weeks I will be adding several updates to my shop with a bunch more items. This week I am starting with some handdyed Panda top. Panda is a blend of 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon making it a perfect blend for spinning sock yarns. As a variation, I spun some a little thicker to make the yarn for a version of Woolly Wormhead's Abalone. The bamboo and nylon content make this hat perfect for the transitional weather between winter/spring and fall/winter. 

As a thank you for being one of my first online customers, use the promo code FibulaReparo for 15% off any order placed before September 15th.


Sheepies in Love Pattern

For Valentine's Day at the shop this year I designed a free embroidery pattern of two sheep in love for our customers. Valentine's has come and gone and since this weekend is the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Fest, I thought I would offer it up here. The sheep love pattern can be downloaded here.

Also, if this is your first embroidery project or your first hard copy transfer, I highly recommend Jenny Hart's tutorials, they are how I learned. For this project I used the tracing paper and transfer pen technique, but if you don't have a transfer pen or carbon transfer paper, you can get away with tracing it lightly onto your fabric with a thin graphite pencil. Have fun!!