Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday and therefore I will not be working today. Instead I give you a guest post by my friend Jeanne-Marie, whom you might remember from when I visited her in December.

I am a weaver. I have been for 18 years and I still can't get enough of trying new weave structures and weaving with new fibers. I will completely admit that I have cones of yarn in my loom room that I picked up because someday I would have the right project for it. Some of those projects have not yet happened. So the stash grows a little each year. I can't wait to see what it will all become and yet more keep sneaking in. I weave at least 1 hour each day. I do count winding the warp and dressing my looms, yes looms as part of that time. I have notes written to myself all over my room for those someday projects. I usually have at least two looms warped up at any time. I was once asked how I have the patience to warp my loom and weave. Randi Parkhurst answered that the best, " Creating is a joyful experience. A person requires no patience for pleasure". Weaving is my passion and my pleasure. It is what gets me centered and ready for whatever the day has to bring and it is what lets me relax at the end of a day. I draw my strength from that quiet time at my looms. I also use my looms to answer my curiosity on what would happen if...
I learned to spin with a drop spindle, not because I like spinning. I discovered that I like weaving with hand spun and so in order to supply my own demands, I spin. It is all about passion.

 Passions are things that sometimes define explanation and logic. We acted on them and sometimes they act on us. And every once and a while they bring people from very different places in life together to share what moves them.  I met Christian one snowy day and I did not know that day that she and I would have so much in common. It turns out that we both shared affection for medieval history but more important we had a stronger thread in common. Our love of fiber and creating with fiber. When I met her she was already a consummate spinner, with bags and bags of fleece and avid knitter.

  We got to know each other and found even though we were years apart in age our passions ran the same places. We talked about food, fiber, fiber arts and life. In a few short months from meeting her she had found a loom and we spent an evening getting it set up and warped.

 I have always been impressed with her skills. Once she sets her mind to create, like her mascot of the rabbit, she is off. She had her loom warped and was weaving projects in no time. She got very involved with our fiber guild. Sharing ideas and thoughts on various different classes and processes. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She wove, needle felted and presented a banner to our local fiber guild within a few short weeks of meeting us all. 

 We would share ideas, thoughts and patterns for weaving as much as we might share recipes. Her passion for learning and creating in all fiber arts is inspirational. Now states away, I still watch as she sets her mind to the next project. A mornings musing of "hey have you seen this" becomes later, "look what I figured out" and always while there are two or three other projects brewing. 

 I believe having a group that you can talk to or even one person who shares your passions can help you to broaden your expression. I probably would not have learned to spin without the gentle prodding from Christian. She encouraged me and then bought fiber for me to try. Oh how I remember that fiber. It was a silk/merino blend in black and white and was amazing to work with. All her fault. 
 She hunted for weaving structures through the library that I had started to build, copying and trying new things. I see her zeal for trying everything still follows her through in her yarn company and her line up of projects. 

Explore you passions, be inspired to try new things and create everyday. 
Happy Birthday Christian and thank you for being in this world and sharing your skills and passions.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?

Day 4 of KCBW and this one really ties into my process as a knitter.

I live on the coast and the weather changes every few days from nice and sunny to cold and foggy, to muggy and moist. Whenever the weather changes I try to not abandon my knitting but sometimes if its warm and I'm really not feeling my wool shawl I'll switch to a cotton top that I've been wanting to knit for 6 months (like happened yesterday...):

Coachella with Katia Idea Jeans

I rarely will just cast on something new without thinking it through. I always ask myself why my current project is not working for me. Is it too difficult for what I want to do while I knit it? For example last night I reached the heel of Ben's socks, but I wanted to read through Rachael's blog as I knit, so I casted on the Coachella (and then proceed to try and convince myself I could knit through the back loop while reading). I'm also going on a wine tour for my birthday this weekend and I want to wear this since it's summer.

I might be having issues with the yarn. This can lead to a dreadful event of frogging and tossing it back into the stash, but if its a gift I'll try to pair it with something I like. Maybe I get to knit it and watch Casablanca, or I have to knit to a certain point before I can switch to that other WIP I want done so badly.

I do not like to waste my time so everything I knit has a well thought out reason as to why I'm knitting it.

When it comes to the seasons it is more tied to events that are going on. Spring I have birthdays as well as Mother's and Father's Days to plan, summer is kind of a free for all while I shop for Christmas and then Fall and Winter is the mad dash for Christmas.

This over thought process is handy though. My stash is small and nearly everything has a plan, I don't spend the rent on yarn, my stash fits in a small area, I get things done, and I feel like I have control over it all. I might be delusional, but I really feel like I have a handle on the yarn and projects.

Today's Question:
Do you knit for the seasons? Do you have a plan for your knitting? Are you buying yarn left and right without a thought to what it will become? Be honest!

Winners from yesterday:
1. Peppermint Mocha Mama
2. Knittingdancer
3. krisknit

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero

My knitting hero has recently changed. Up till a few weeks ago it was the Yarn Harlot, but then I stumbled upon Rachael Herron.

Her blog is Yarn-A-Go-Go and you'll love it! She is funny, picks out the best projects, knows what it means to work hard and after reading nearly all of her blog I have to say she's awesome. While reading I almost always add her projects my my favorites because we not only have similar tastes in clothing, but similar body shape as well (she might have about 5 inches on me though).

I first can in contact with her work when Barnes and Noble had a special on her book A Life in Stitches. Stina had seen that A Life in Stitches was the daily special and recommended it to me (this happens a lot). I was in the market for a new books to read as I knit and I was surprised by how I ripped through it in a few days. Then I started in on her blog like its a book.

I do this with nearly every blog I like. I'll go to the very first blog and start reading it post by post. Rachael's starts in 2003 and I have to say that its like taking a trip down memory lane. Impeachment of Grey Davis (I was so angry I was too young to vote), earthquakes, 9/11, and fashion styles. There are a lot of posts and this makes me really happy.

She also just had a new book come out recently, The Little Book of Knitting Wisdoms. After she posted about the book coming out in only New Zealand and Australia I laughed and told myself I could get a copy. I did, and I might be one of the only Americans to do so. The internet is a wonderful thing and after applying my Google-Fu I found a website based in Australia that had digital copies of it. I bought it, downloaded it on my computer and read it. Around 11pm I finished it, emailed Rachael about how much I loved it, and about how the online store now has now restricted the people that can buy it to a handful of countries.

This is what I wrote to her regarding my favorite parts of her book:

"Some of my favorites are: 

"If a man complains about your stash ask about how many guitars he has." I can fully relate to this as my bf has never complained about my stash because his hobby is tinkering with motorcycles and cars. As of right now he owns 11 vehicles between cars and motorcycles and yet we are almost always driving my  Honda.

"When a sleeve measures the right length cast on immediately for the second." Same goes for socks.

"Don't argue with a friend over which stitch is better." Seeing as I'm the only continental knitter in my friends I must warn others that teaching new stitches is best avoided as well. "

She is so cool she even emailed me back!

Today's Question:

Who is your fiber hero and why?

Winner's from yesterday:
1. Danielle
2. Mary/May
3. Kenyetta

All winners please contact me to receive instructions on how to claim your prize! radbitdyer at gmail .com

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photography Challenge Day!

Today is all about being creative with yarn, the world and photography. So I give you yarn barf:

I even scrubbed it for you

I hate when I have a tangled mass of yarn (800 yards of blue lace anyone?) so when this topic came up I instantly knew I wanted to address not just the nice fun side of knitting but the bad side of it as well.

So today's question is what is your least favorite thing about knitting? Nupps? Sewing in ends? Realizing you can't count? What makes you want to abandon a project?

Winners from yesterday:
1. josiekitten (Please contact me to get the details)
2. amchart
3. knitterlydesign

PS. Go check out Pat's giveaway at BusyBee. Her roving is awesome!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 1

This week there will be a blog post every day in celebration of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.

If your interested in finding more blogs on Knitting and Crochet now is a great time to find them! By just Googling 3KCBWDAY1 you'll find blogs that are currently participating and many of us are also doing giveaways. You can learn more about my giveaway at the end of this post.

I decided to participate in KCBW to kind of shake things up around here. Everyday there is a topic and in a way its an open house to let people learn more about use bloggers.

Today is all about color.

Now I love color, but you would never tell. I don't wear too much color as I prefer comfort over fashion and believe that a shawl is best worn with plain clothing so it stands out like a fine work of art.

I tend to go through phases with color. Sometimes it last months or just a mere week. At Stitches West I was in a short lived purple phase which made me buy a huge bag of yarn in a color I'm now not too fond of. But as I'm a dyer I can dye it into another color!

Right now I'm in a bright color phase. It's spring, the sun is shining and all I want is a bright top (right now I'm wearing a bright yellow green top).

When I'm dyeing I take a look at what is in the shop and make lists of colors it's missing. Then I go look at what I currently have in my favorites on Etsy. Since I'm usually shopping for fiber to spin I put a lot in my favorites and I use it as an idea bored when I can't figure out what colors I need. When all else fails I have a safety network of artists that dye with me and as many have heard me say "It'll work itself out." Caren is one of my frequent dyers and she usually leans toward Noro types of colorways, which I do not.

What are your favorite color combination?

Now the giveaway part!

Everyday that KCBW is running I will be giving out three $5 gift certificate to my shop. To enter all you have to do is comment below (see the question above), follow me on Twitter, and/or follow my blog via Google. You can enter up to 3 times per day if you do all of the above. In your comment just give me your Twitter name and Google name as well as your answer to the question.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


On March 13th I showed everyone this great big pile of yarn and casted on my swirl:

On April 13th I casted it off and now it is blocking:

The right sleeve is on a blocking mat

This sweater has kept my fingers working through reading a entire books, watching Top Gear, chatting with friends and family during the holidays and its really just amazing.

When I say amazing I'm not only talking about the fit, but the dedication I showed to it.

It felt like just when I was getting bored with it it would have me move onto the next part. Sure the welts kind of got boring around #8, but once I reached #10 I realized I was over halfway through the lower back/collar/fronts and that they were starting to take less time because of the decreases. Caren had assured me that this would happen, but I was so caught up in the fact that I'd casted on 456sts I never thought I could decrease to 216sts.

The back bodice took only last Monday morning and then in the evening I sat down to work on the sleeves and poof. It Was Done!

The only problem I see is that it might not fit. The sleeves turned out to be shorter then I thought they would be and there is a plan if they are too short. But if the entire thing is too small then I'm going to sell it an buy more yarn.

But if all goes well I'm going to twirl in my swirl on my birthday!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Checking In

This week has been super busy with the new dye day, finishing my swirl (more about that later) and getting ready for the Golden Fleece's 1 year anniversary.

Next weekend join us at the Golden Fleece's anniversary where we will toast to Gunilla's first year and support her on her second.

I will also be there spinning up a storm to promote my first class!

Starting on May 20th and running till June 10th every Sunday from 10am to 12noon I will be teaching a sheep to shawl class. Learn how to process raw wool, different types of carding, ways to spin and how to choose a project that is right for your wool in 4 short weeks.

Space is limited so call Gunilla to sign up or come in next weekend to see the shawl that I have designed for the class. Till then take this picture of my lace with you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Doctor, We Need You!

The Doctor is coming in the form of 2 clubs!

Radioactive Rabbit has just opened up sign ups for the Dr Who Bag Club and the Dr Who Yarn Club!

For the first time you can get Dr Who project bags! In the bag club you will receive one 9"x9"x3" flat bottom project bag that can easily fit any small project! A subscription to this club will get you access to the same high quality, carefully designed bags 6 months before I release them to the public!

The Dr Who Yarn Club will have yarns inspired by each month's bag and will have variegated yarns and ombre yarns!

You can get 20% off when you sign up for both clubs at the same time. Coupon Code: DrWeNeedYou"

Sign ups will close on June 1st at 11:59pm PST. The first shipment of bags and yarn will go out on June 15th and the other two months will go out on July 1st and August 1st.

The bags and yarns that are sent out will not be available to the general public for 6 months, at which time any remaining inventory will be listed in the shop.

Sign Up HERE!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Ēostre Day!

Seeing as I consider myself more spiritual rather then religious I look as Easter as a day for family, friends and fun.

Growing up Easter was not a big holiday in my family. When I was younger the kids in my complex would have an egg hunt and I would have to find my gift basket. However, since my mother wanted me exposed to many religions, rather then to follow one, things would get rather confusing.

I know what Good Friday and Easter mean to most Christians, I have celebrated Passover with my Jewish friends (and I had to explained to Ben what Passover was and he thinks it's very dark), I have been read the story of Ēostre/Ostrata (which is where the word Easter comes from) and learned that many different places celebrate it differently.

But whatever your beliefs are, wherever you are, I just hope you have a great day and think of how great spring and rebirth is!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Looking for Things

I have just finished my Grandma's lace scarf.

The Scarf is for the Grandmother who gave me
this great rabbit pillow

It's Grandma's Checkerboard Lace made with Eco Dou in Natural.

I'm not really excited about this being done. Like most scarves it felt like it took forever when it really just needed me to buck up and become dedicated to it.

Well the dedication came when I realized that I have broken my second pair of cable needles while knitting my swirl (granted I've been using cheap cable needles). I cannot for the life of me find all my interchangeable needle connectors (that's actually a lie, I have one on my Krista T and the other in my hand). There is one more set of my interchangeable needles floating around, because when I went to grab my size US5's to use this connector I could not find them in the case. The only reason they would ever be out of the case is if they're being used so I'm going to hunt for them.

First I run a mental checklist of my projects and when that comes up with nothing I refer to my Ravelry project's page.

I'm really good at listing my projects because I want to know what size needles I'm using for something in case I decide to just take the needles out of them and use them for something else.

Right now its turned into a game. I see a project with size 5 needles, I grab my handy needle gauge (please note that I've only ever owned one), and I hunt it down to see if its what I'm looking for.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You Asked. I Listened. Plus the April Giveaway

Due to the comments from the "It's in the Bag" blog post I give you the new bags!

There are bids, butterflies, sewing stuff, yarn, cats (with yarn), cute Japanese stuff, "green", retro and food inspired fabrics. The only thing missing is sheep and that's to come next week because I did not want to give you guy's bags that everyone and their mother's are making.

The bags I make are to not only carry your knitting, but are also to showcase another part of your personality. I may love to knit but chubby birds make me smile.

Some of us love to cook so I dug into my no longer in print fabric hoard and found you pasta:

I scored The Lorax fabric that is made from organic cotton and shows knitting, tuffula trees and the Lorax:

And to kick off these new bags I have decided to start a monthly give away. Every month I will be giving away one unique bag that will be made from out of print fabric, rare organic fabric, hard to find import fabric or a gift certificate for a bag of your choice. To enter every month all you have to do is make a purchase! Every item you buy will be one entry and on the first of the following month I will announce the winner.

For April I will be giving away this bag, which is made from fabric from "An English Tea" collection by Susan Branch.

This fabric is long gone and has been in my personal collection for over 5 years now. I have only made 2 of these bags and the other is being given away on the Phat Fiber blog sometime this month. That means the only way to get one of these bags is to enter the contests!

So make your purchase now or watch the Phat Fiber blog like a hawk and enter to win one of these rare tea time bags!