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AndeeKF Fiber Arts and Photography {giveaway}


Today’s giveaway is from Andee, whom you might know from her blog, Match the Pictures.  She’s been a regular part of our Yarn Along here at Small Things for as long as I can remember.  I am very pleased to be sharing this space with her today!


“My name is Andee and I am a wife and a mother of two sons. I have a huge passion for the Fiber Arts. I have been knitting and making my own patterns for the past 15 years. I grew up on a farm with horses and I loved the lifestyle of living on a farm. About five years ago my parents no longer had any horses or ponies and they decided to fill their pastures up with alpacas. I was so excited when the first alpacas came to the farm. I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to start using their fiber to knit with.


Each Spring we shear the alpacas and send their fiber to a small fiber mill to have it processed. Some of the fiber is spun into yarn, some is processed into roving (which we spin ourselves) and the rest is turned into rug yarn. We have the fiber processed per alpaca or alpacas. Sometimes we blend similar alpacas’ fibers together so we can get more yarn in a certain color. All of the yarn is tagged with the alpaca’s names and sold in our farm store.


I have learned over the years that each time we get the fiber back from the fiber mill it varies in thickness. I wanted to design some patterns that would work well with the yarn from the small fiber mills as well as for handspun yarn. People who come to the farm are so excited to purchase yarn from our alpacas and always ask what they can make with it. This inspired me to create some knitting patterns that would work with varying weights of yarn.


I was also inspired to make knitting patterns after falling in love with some hand-painted yarns. I have found different Indie yarn dyers that make amazing skeins of yarn. I have found myself falling in love with the color of the yarn and couldn’t resist purchasing it. I enjoy designing patterns for these types of yarn.


I started publishing my patterns about a year ago and I have been overwhelmed with the support I have gotten from knitters, yarn companies and yarn store owners. I plan to keep designing patterns that work well for Indie yarn dyers, hand-spun yarns and fiber mill produced yarns. I do also enjoy working with commercial yarns, but my passion is for the specialty yarns.


Because I love yarn and knitting so much and I want to immerse myself in the fiber arts as much as possible I also work part time at Chelsea Yarns in Colts Neck, New Jersey. I help customers select yarn, I help them with their knitting projects and I offer lots of encouragement. It is the type of LYS where people come together to knit, appreciate yarn and a place where many customers make lifelong friendships. It is a wonderful environment and I’m very happy to be on the Chelsea Yarns team. I must admit one of my favorite parts of working there is getting to wear my hand knits!

3-AndeeAll of my patterns can be purchased online in my Ravelry Store. They can also be purchased in person at Arrow Acres Farm or Chelsea Yarns.

 

3-Andee1If you are in the Monmouth County, New Jersey area and want to meet me and the alpacas I will be at Arrow Acres Farm this weekend (Directions HERE). We are having an Open House for National Alpaca Farm Days September 27th & 28th. It is an educational weekend for the public to come and meet our alpacas and learn all about alpacas and the fiber arts. I will have samples of all my patterns on display as well as the patterns available for sale.”

For the giveaway I am offering a copy of my Outlander & Standing Stones E-Book which contains both my Standing Stones pattern and Outlander pattern.  To the same winner I am offering three skeins of Shibui Baby Alpaca yarn in the colorway Mineral, which will knit up wonderfully as an Outlander Cowl or a Standing Stones Cowl.  In addition, I am giving 10% off my knitting patterns on Ravelry until October 5th at midnight EST using the code “SMALLTHINGS”.

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. 

***Comments are closed and the winner is Amber who commented, “Ahhh!! I love alpaca fiber! Pick me! Pick me! ;)”

Thanks, Andee!

 

knitting patterns

Fun with Easter egg dyes and yarn

Larkspur received a very exciting package in the mail recently.  Her knitting friend Elizabeth sent her a skein of bare yarn, along with a set of Easter egg dyes, and even posted instructions for dyeing the yarn on her blog.
.  We started by soaking the yarn in a vinegar and water solution.
I scrubbed out a large fiberglass tray that we have (it still looked really dirty after the scrubbing) and started mixing the dyes.  Beatrix watched and then went with daddy to read some books while Larkspur and I dyed the yarn.
Larkspur wasn’t satisfied with using only two or three colors.  She wanted to use all of them, so we modified the instructions just a bit.  We gently squeezed the liquid out of our yarn after soaking it, and then spread the damp yarn in a circle on the tray.  I mapped out our colors on paper to make sure that we went in rainbow order and only colors that blend nicely would be next to each other.
My mom sent us a box of medical supplies years ago, and these plastic pipettes have really come in handy.
We dedicated one to each color of dye.
Larkspur carefully applied the colors and I helped her work it into the yarn.
Each color was added in four places, and typically Larkspur only wanted to add the dye in one place, and then have me do the others.
Keats helped a little as well.
Soon we had used all the dyes, and were ready for the next step.
We carefully moved the yarn to a glass casserole dish so that we could microwave it to set the dye.  Larkspur thought it was heavy.
After cooking, and cooling, I rinsed the yarn in the bathtub.
Then I squeezed it out between a couple of towels and hung it up to dry.
Larkspur was THRILLED with the results.
Once the yarn was dry, Larkspur wound it into a ball with a little help.
All of my kids think this yarn looks really delicious, like candy.  You know, the brightly colored kind they aren’t allowed to have.  Jonny and I, while admittedly never fans, are both reminded of The Grateful Dead.  Larkspur has lots of plans for her yarn including dividing it into lots of balls so she can sell some and give some away and knit some doll sweaters, hats and mittens.  (yes she may be overestimating the yardage in that ball…)  She has also made it clear that I am not to knit anything with it.
Oh, and Larkspur’s friends were doing the same thing last week so it was sort of a dye along! I can’t wait to show her their pictures tomorrow morning.
p.s.  Elizabeth recommends stocking up on Easter egg dyes the day after Easter when they are discounted!  This really is a fun project to do with kids!