Interviews, Knitting

Interview with Gift-A-Long 2014 Designer Jenny Wiebe (aka JennyVangy)

Thanks to the wonderful Indie Design Gift-A-Long that’s happening on Ravelry right now, I got a chance to interview the wonderful Jenny Wiebe, on Ravelry as JennyVangy (these are Ravelry links – you should go check them out!!)

(“Seven Months “by JennyVangy)

Let’s start with the basics: How did you learn to knit?

I honestly don’t remember who first taught me. My mom and both of my grandmas knit, and so I’m sure one of them must have first taught me when I was very young. My Grandma Betty, who is 96 years old, is still an avid knitter, and I love knitting partly because it is a serious bond that we share.

What was your inspiration to begin designing?
I started doing test knits for other designers and really enjoyed the process of working through a design. The more I worked with designers the more I began to dream of designs that I could come up with. Then, one day I was sitting behind a girl in church with a rayon shirt with ruffles on the sleeve, and I thought, “I could knit something just like that!” I drew out my plan for Edith on the service sheet that day and went home and knit it. And so it began!

(“Edith” by JennyVangy)

I see you make mostly children’s wear – what is your favorite part of designing a new outfit or accessory for a little one?
I have 5 children of my own, 28 nieces and nephews, and tons of friends with little ones as well. I love coming up with an idea and then seeing the kids I love wearing what I knit up from that idea.

Do you have any other crafting hobbies like spinning, cooking, weaving, etc? If so, what are you working on right now?
I’ve dabbled in a lot over the years: growing up my mom always had a craft room, and I don’t ever remember not being a “crafter.” I sewed my own dresses as a teenager, and made jewelry to match. I love quilting and scrapbooking. Years ago I lived with a saddle maker for a while to learn the trade, and came out with a saddle, breast collar and two pair of chaps that I made all myself. Every once in a while I take over my father-in-law’s wood shop to make something for my kids (doll beds, play kitchens, teething toys….) Last fall I took up spinning, although I have a hard time finding time to really get into it. I think that knitting has prevailed because of it’s flexibility. I can pick up a project, knit a few rows (or stitches, depending on the distractions) and put it away easy as that. With many of the other crafts I enjoy I have to devote a whole lot more time and space to do much of anything, and unfortunately that is not a reality in my life right now.

Do you have a favorite design of yours?
I love Grow Old With Me. It was the most challenging pattern to design, but I just love the finished product. It’s sometimes hard to find unique boy patterns, and I feel Grow Old With Me is one.

(Grow Old With Me) – by JennyVangy

Do you have any designs in the works that you can talk about or share right now?
I’m about to release a child’s cabled cardigan called Calaway. Look for it on December 15th.

You have a great promotion for people who make your new designs quickly after they’re released – tell us about it!
As a designer I love to see what finished products other knitters come up with from my designs! If knitters knit up one of my designs in the first 30 days it is published, they can choose a free pattern of mine. Of course, they have to complete a Ravelry project page with a photo of that finished product.

Thank you so much, Jenny, for your time! I’m really excited to see the new pattern, Calaway, that’s being released tomorrow!! I might just have to take advantage of that great promotion!

(All photos are the property of Jenny Wiebe)

 

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Current Projects, Daily Life, Knitting

Progress!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’m actually making progress on the tote of projects I posted about a couple days ago!

Remember this? My Sock Yarn Blankie?

wpid-imag1321.jpg

It has 18 new squares! I haven’t counted yet, but i’m probably going to need about 30 more before it’s completely finished, and will also be doing the i-cord edging, but 18 in a couple days is pretty significant for something I haven’t worked on in years!

Here’s a couple of the new lovelies:

wpid-imag1361.jpg  wpid-imag1363.jpg

Can you spot them? I’m using a bunch of mini-skeins from Ravelry swaps, and it’s turning out quite nicely, I think. I’m just wanting to finish this one for now (you’ll find out why in a week or so..), but i’m thinking if I did one again, I’d probably just buy a bunch of mini skein grab bags off of Etsy, or something like that. I have a bunch of fingering weight yarn, but a lot of it is solid, and in large quantities, which really doesn’t lend itself to this project!

 

Also on my list for this week is adding more products to my Etsy shop. I’ve gotten really bad about that, because i’ve MADE a ton of things, but haven’t added them all to the shop. Hopefully I can add one or two per day, and get everything listed this week!

Blog, Current Projects, Daily Life, Spinning

So.. I have a spindle and fiber.. How do you actually SPIN yarn?

There’s plenty of things in life that we know what they should look like in process, but just can’t quite execute ourselves. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair like the hairdresser when you were a kid? Exactly. You know what it looks like to get your hair cut, but you can’t do it.  Spinning isn’t like that. North American culture (for the most part) doesn’t use spinning, or even know about it beyond sleeping beauty pricking her finger – and even that’s on a wheel, not a drop spindle!

I got a comment on this post I wrote about making my own drop spindle, which for some reason didn’t show up on the site, so i’m not able to respond to it there. I’m sorry Katie, whoever you are, I hope you see this post!

-Katie asked: What did you do after you made it?  I mean to spin it and all.  I have never attempted this or even thought I could do it.

-Answer: I’m a super beginner when it comes to drop spindling, so I can’t necessarily tell you how i’ve perfected my technique, what to do, what not to do, all that. BUT! I can show you where i’m learning from!

The internet is fantastic, and i’ve found a number of excellent spinning videos, and i’d like to share a couple of them with you (and what i’ve learned from them).

Absolute favorite tutorial: Abby Franquemont, hands down. This video will help you with drafting, basic spinning, and understanding what in the world people are talking about in other videos when they explain spinning.

You have to be able to draft the fiber before you spin it

The Paradise Fibers Intro Tutorial – I really like this one for its details, and not making you feel silly!

Megan La Core – She also has an entire series on spinning

This isn’t so much a tutorial, as a fascinating video of a very experienced Navajo spinner/weaver. I find it extremely helpful to watch

people who are skilled at what i’m trying to learn, and to listen to their advice, because it stays in my head when i’m attempting to spin.

 

So here’s what i’ve learned so far:

-Spinning (at least the basics) isn’t the difficult part – consistent drafting is.

-Consistency takes practice – your first spinning isn’t actually going to come out looking like machine spun yarn.. because it’s not machine spun. Did you miss what my spinning looks like right now?

Image It looks like twisty wool. (I’ll post better pictures soon. Promise.)

-Watching experienced spinners (even when they’re not doing tutorials) is an awesome way to learn what spinning should look like.

 

Katie, I hope this helps, and that you saw this!

 

Anyone else have good spinning tips? Like I said, i’m still a super beginner! I can use all the help I can get!!

 

 

 

Current Projects, Designing, Uncategorized

I’m finishing up my PhD!!

No, really, i’m finishing my PHD!

my Projects Half Done!!

 

There will be pictures soon, I promise! I have soooo many projects i’m in the midst of, you wouldn’t even believe it! Ready for my list (because i’m totally a list person…) I’ll link patterns when I can, but some of these are either my own pattern, or i’m test knitting for someone, so the pattern’s not up yet!

This is me:

knitallthethings

1. Squirrel’s Paradise Lace Baby Blanket Test Knit – Finish cabled i-cord bind off over 650 (ish) stitches!

2. Crocheted princess hat with braids and crown – add braids, make crown, ship to customer!

3. Doctor Who double knit blanket squares (5) – Start… make… finish.

4. Samantha, the big Fluffy Teddy Bear – Make Legs, attach appendages, give to Sister in Law – this pattern is a mix of two: Sam and Jif

5. My orange Wool of the Andes Spinning Project (as seen in the post below this! Ravelry Link for those interested)

6. A Pink Mesh Cotton Beach Bag – Make and add handle

7. Fluffy Rainbow Colored Owl Obsession Blanket – Add White parts and sew together

8. A Rainbow Infinity Scarf that i’m designing – Make 85% of it, and get pattern tested, publish pattern

9. A crocheted bag that i’m designing – make 50% of it, and get pattern tested, publish pattern

10. Lafayette Scarf – Finish other 50% of it (I’m using 1 skein instead of 2, I think, for a scarf instead of shawl)

11. Blue Serenity Blanket – Finish the last 25%

12. Waterfall Blanket – Finish last 40%

13. Jude Bag – Just Add Lining!!

14. Cabled Slipper Boots – Make 1 foot, and 2 tops

15. Color Block Blanket – Make the other 50% of the squares and sew together

16. Cool Kid Cowl – Knit 20% more and Finish off

 

There’s more, but I think you get the picture for now!! This isn’t even including the ones I WANT to make – That’s another list in and of itself.. maybe you’ll get to see that sometime too!

 

Stick around, you’ll be seeing a lot of progress/ finishing pictures of these projects and more soon!

 

Daily Life, Designing, HPKCHC, Spinning

In Which Ruth’s Fiber Addiction Reaches the Next Level!

It’s finally happened!

I knew the day would come…

I can finally spin my own yarn!! {because I made my own spindle!! you can too – keep reading!}

 

I’ve dabbled in spinning before, but without having done much research and, it seems, without having a decent spindle, most of what I produced was super super super bulky weight yarn, which doesn’t do anyone much good.

I know i’ve mentioned before that I participate in something on Ravelry called (don’t judge my nerdiness) Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (henceforth referred to as HPKCHC). I love this group because i’m forever learning new crafting techniques and being challenged to try new ideas! This month, the Room of Requirement challenge is to make your own spindle! There were a couple tutorials but, being me, I wanted to figure it out on my own.

I went digging through my craft drawer and found the following:

A dowel (don’t ask me the size, I don’t know), and a wooden wheel of some kind

Spindle and Wheel

So My first problem is that the hole in the wheel wasn’t big enough. Thankfully, I have a lovely husband who knows how to use power tools, loves to help me make things, and fully supports my fiber related endeavors!

First we matched the drill bit size to the size of the dowel:

Matching Sizes  Matching Sizes 2

 

Next, I got to play with the power tools and drill a hole in the wheel

Drilling Hole Making Ruth's Spindle 011 Making Ruth's Spindle 012

 

 

Clint had to help me put the wheel on the spindle, because it was a super close fit and I didn’t want to use any wood glue to keep the pieces attached:

Making Ruth's Spindle 013

 

Since I didn’t have a hook to put at the top like normal people have, we used a screw.

Clint says to tell you that if you’re going to do this, you must drill a hole in the dowel first, or else you could crack the wood. I’m also supposed to tell you to use a small-ish bit, because you still want the screw threads to catch the wood, not just be all loose and rattly in the top hole.

Making Ruth's Spindle 016 Making Ruth's Spindle 018

 

Making Ruth's Spindle 019 Making Ruth's Spindle 022

 

I left the screw a pretty good bit out of the dowel, and Clint cut a notch in the side of the screw for me.

I tried to use just the screw to secure the fiber (silly me!) but alas.. it didn’t work. The notch in the screw works REALLY well, though!

Want to see what happened when I started spinning?!

Making Ruth's Spindle 024

BAM! I’m so pleased!

Better pictures will come soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share this!!

 

Have you ever made a spindle? What materials did you use, and how did it work out?

 

Crochet, Current Projects

Circle of Love (Part 1)

So a couple days ago I began the Circle of Love Afghan.

As soon as I found it on Ravelry [Link], I knew I wanted to make it, so I ordered the yarn and began.

Progress so far:

 

Pretty, right? Except that I noticed my pattern is swirling counter clockwise, and the designer’s swirls clockwise.

I have absolutely no idea why this is happening.. But I guess I’m not quite as good with reading crochet patterns as I am with knitting ones!

I’ll check back in as I make more progress, I’m super excited to see what ends up happening as I get further along!

For anyone curious, the pattern can be found at Mooglyblog.com, or at the Ravelry link above!

Blog

10 Stitch Blanket

Hello, my name is Ruth, and I have a yarn problem.

I’ve known this for a while, but when I get stuck in Jo-Ann’s for about an hour and a half, that really confirms it to me- especially since I spent all of that time fondling yarn and deciding what lovely things I could make with it.

Long story short, I am beginning work on a new baby blanket for my SIL who is not due for a LONG while yet, in hopes that my start-itis may be overcome if I have 7 months to finish it.

Pictures to follow, but for now…

Check it out: Frankie Brown’s 10 Stitch Zig-Zag Blanket

Blog

Ugliest Sweater Ever?

I think i’m making THE ugliest sweater ever.

I had great intentions… such as using up scrap yarn before buying more, making a sweater out of old yarn from other projects, so it would be all cool and sentimental… but wow.

This is the $5 In Paris Sweater (Ravelry Link).

I know this is blurry… but here’s the crocheted cast on I used cause I want to do something other than 2×2 ribbing for the neckline.

It looked good in the display picture… But i’m having my doubts now.