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April 2011

Blackcurrant Jam

My next shop update is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19th, at 2pm Eastern. Here's a tiny preview of what's coming.

I've developed a passion for jams. While I'd love to have the time to make my own - and maybe some berry bushes in the yard too - lately we've been buying a variety of yummy jams for our Saturday morning biscuits. When I first started offering hand-dyed yarn, Lingonberry Jam was one of the first I dyed. Since then I've been wanting to add other "jams" to the collection.

So finally, last week, I came up with Blackcurrant Jam.

Blackcurrant Jam purple gray muscadine sock yarn indie dyer springtree road top down magic loop toe up sock knitting crochet fingering weight 003
Deep purples and plums are my favorites. This time it's on my Muscadine Sock base, but I can see dyeing this on a nice DK weight for a pretty cardigan. Or for mittens to go with my charcoal gray wool winter coat.

Yarn always reminds me of food. That's not weird, right?

Another yarn I have for this next update that I think is particularly special is Tigerlily Wine.  A year ago now, I handspun a yarn that I still think is the best I ever did. Purple and orange is definitely an interesting color combination, but somehow it just worked.

I wanted to see what that color combo would look like on a hand-dyed yarn. So here's Tigerlily Wine, on my Julep Sock base.

Tiger Lily Wine julep sock yarn mcn merino cashmere indie dyer springtree road top down magic loop toe up sock knitting crochet fingering weight 004
Honestly, I couldn't get the pictures to do it justice.  It's light and dark and purple and wine and deep, burnt orange. When I squish it, this yarn lays me out flat! Heavenly.

One more - a little local Atlanta flavor - Frosted Orange! The Varsity is a local fast food joint that's been around forever. Walk in and they'll yell at you, "What'll ya have! What'll ya have!" Their "hot dog" is a chili dog, their "naked dog" is a hot dog, and you've gotta try their onion rings, Frosted Orange drink (creamy vanilla and orange), and fried peach pie.

Frosted Orange julep sock yarn mcn merino cashmere indie dyer springtree road top down magic loop toe up sock knitting crochet fingering weight 002
These Frosted Oranges are dyed on my Julep Sock base.

As for the rest of the update, I've got 34 yarns in 10 colorways ready to go tomorrow at 2pm, Eastern. Some are new colors - like Boreal and Midnight Rider - others are one's you've seen before - like Juno and Delicate Pink, but all are sock yarn in one of my three bases.

Next time ... hmmm ... I'm not sure yet, so please check back!

I've also got just 7 spots left in the Springtree Road Summer Sock Clique! Deadline for joining will be May 15th or when they're sold out, whichever comes first.

 


Ludic knitting

When I was taking my university core classes in English education, all the classes were with the same two professors, over and over again. Except one class: teaching reading. I don't remember the teacher's name, but I remember his ruddy complexion and the whispers that perhaps he often had a bit more to drink than he ought.

Villeray 003

I liked him more than most in my class did (not an easy A) and I learned a lot. What I remember most from that class was his statement that while Shakespeare and the other hard stuff is important, teachers should also make sure their students are allowed some amount of reading just for fun.  He said this is how they would grow as readers - figuring out what they like and reading lots of it. 

This reading just for fun he called "ludic reading."

Villeray 002

That's one reason I will never refuse to get V a book that she tells me she really wants, even if we end up with a stack of 2,000 books on cats, but I actually think of it every time I knit as well.

There are things I want to knit because I like the looks of the outcome and things I want to knit because I know they'll be a challenge and increase my skills. And there are also things I want to knit because they're easy. So some patterns might be difficult, but they always include a simple row of knitting or purling - mindless knitting I call the ludic row. For me, anything cable knit (love cables!) or the simple hat I've knit so many times I don't bother to create a Rav project page for - those are a ludic patterns. 

Villeray 001

Right now, one of the things on my needles is the lovely Villeray scarf by Ariane Caron-Lacoste, which I'm knitting with a skein of my Petales de Rose colorway. For me it's quite a lot of lace because I don't have as much time to knit as I would like and I need a quiet house to knit lace. This one has a purl row on every wrong side - and every time I get there I think, ahhh, ludic row, and I always enjoy it very, very much.


Welcoming Home Baby the Handcrafted Way

Have you seen this adorable book yet? I got my copy a week or two ago. If you're looking for something fresh and fun to knit for a friend's new babe (or your own), Tricia Drake's book is one you want on your shelf. And if you don't knit, you can peruse Tricia's Etsy shop instead.

Welcoming Home Baby

All the patterns are cute as little bunny buttons - I'm partial to the Sweet Dreams Hat, the Snuggle Me Nursing Cocoon & of course the Twisted Taffy Hat (all Ravelry links).

I provided the yarn for one version of the Twisted Taffy Hat and got a couple of sweet mentions from Tricia. My La Vie En Rose super bulky thick & thin handspun yarn is a great accent to the Blue Sky Alpacas yarn she uses in the pattern.

Mention

While I don't have any La Vie En Rose ready to go at the moment, if you'd like to make the hat as shown in the book, please contact me at springtreeroad at gmail and I'll be happy to spin some up for you.

Working with Tricia was a wonderful experience - what a sweetie! Thanks so much Tric! You're a dear. 


Philomath Worsted

A new base yarn is coming to my shop on Monday evening; I'm calling it Philomath Worsted. I've tried to put something personal and somehow charmingly Southern in all the names of my yarn bases. Tea Cakes Lace is named for the cookies my grandmother often made (the easiest cookie ever) and Muscadine Sock is named for the thick-skinned grapes I love that grow like crazy here.

There's a small town in Georgia near where I grew up called Philomath, which I've visited before. When I look at those pictures, it makes me want to get out my map, point my finger blindly, and go on more small town excursions. It's been so long, yet there always seems to be something else I need to do first. So my first inspiration for the name is my love of traveling to the small towns near wherever I happen to be living at the moment to see what I can find.

Tannis teal worsted superwash merino handdyed yarn hand dyed indie dyer springtree road 003 

Philomath, Georgia gets a mention in an REM song. Probably don't want to know what no-good they got up to in Philomath...

Pear golden gold green worsted superwash merino handdyed yarn hand dyed indie dyer springtree road 004 

A philomath is also someone who loves learning, which I think is pretty much everyone, right?

Philomath Worsted is 100% superwash Merino and will come in 100g skeins of 216 yards. There will be four colorways available to start with in my shop on Monday, April 11th, at 10pm Eastern.

Also coming up soon - details on a new yarn club I'm starting for summer!