I started with lots of ideas gleaned from fashion pages and special requests for my hat patterns featured in this edition of Wayfaring Yarns. Needless to say, there were many more that did not make it here than did. Below is one that I worked to the bitter end.
I’m not an artist and have no training in design, just a desire to create something beautiful, something that gives pleasure throughout the entire process of planning, working and gifting. My Sweet Baby James, who is an artist and loves color, innovation and presentation tried to give me gentle hints when I asked his opinion:
Me: (halfway through) Don’t you love these colors?
Me: (before edging was added) Try this on, baby, tell me what you think.
James: It looks like a helmet from The Holy Grail.
Me: (after adding edging) What do you you think now? Would you wear it?
James: Well, probably not. It does look better, though.
Hahaha! Have I learned my lesson? Probably not. But I will continue to solicit his sage advise.
The photo shoot location for the hats I didn’t frog was the Wilson Ranch, a Wyoming Centennial Farm and Ranch. This honor is given to Wyoming farms and ranches which are owned and operated by the same families for 100 years or more. Thanks to Meredith and Dana Wilson for their permission to use this lovely piece of Wyoming.
Thanks to all my beautiful models
and my Sweet Baby James.
While driving through the Rhône-Alpes region of France last year
my husband and I stopped in downtown Grenoble so I could check out a yarn store (feeling lots of hubby-love here❤️), Maille á Part, located at 5 rue Génissieu. I went straight to some fingering weight alpaca, and stood there, trying to decide on a color. This was my first experience with Lang Yarns, a German company which has been in business since 1867. That’s almost 150 years!
Lang Yarns carries several wool yarns that are traceable, meaning can enter the yarn information printed on the lable here and learn about the farm and the sheep on the farm that produced the wool you are holding in your hand. Pretty cool.
Baby Alpaca is not a traceable yarn, but that didn’t take away any of the pleasure I enjoyed while knitting up the Grenoble Fair Isle Hat.
This month I’m joining with The Fringe Association in celebrating fashion the slow way – Handmade, Quality over Quantity, Indie Fashion, Small Batchs, Sustainability, Know your Source, and Buy Local.
This Mobius Cowl designed by Maie Landra, owner of Koigu Wool, was featured on the cover of Vogue Knitting Winter 2013/14. While I am a huge fan of Koigu yarns, I chose to use some yarn from my stash – Frogtree Pediboo, to create this lovely, fun-to-knit cowl.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
While learning to knit and design, I have learned that I enjoy working with quality yarns. I love the beauty and feel of natural fibers in my hands. I love learning about small companies and co-ops all over the world who employ local create fabulous yarns. This Aprés-Ski Wool Sock pattern knit in Noro Kureyon will be featured in my Winter 2016 collection.
Thanks to internet sites like craftsy, ravelry, knitty and etsy, it is now easier than ever for individuals and micro businesses to be in the business of designing fashion. I’ve jumped into the game myself! Below are two designs-in-progress that will be featured in my Winter 2016 collection: Downtown Jackson Scarf and open cable cowl (working title).
I had a great time visiting the Mountain Colors workshop earlier this summer. Hats off to the many yarn companies and individuals who hand paint and hand dye their beautiful yarn. I’m making the most of these stunning colors with my new design, Selway Poncho, a part of my Winter 2016 collection.
A year ago I took a trip to europe for my 50th birthday. One of my favorite purchases was this no lable dk merino wool from The Green Wheel in the artisan section of Dresden, Germany. The owner explained that their yarns are from southern German co-ops who raise sheep. I love working with this high quality merino yarn. Pictured are my Green Wheel Merino hats. In the works is a complimentary neck gaiter design for the boyz to keep them cozy during ski season. The free pattern will be available in my Winter 2016 collection.
KNOW YOUR SOURCE
The Buffalo Wool Company is an excellent example of a yarn company who really knows their source. The downy bison fiber used in their exquisite yarns and clothing is sourced from their own bison herd in Texas. I have used their yarn for two of my new designs; Yellowstone Skate Ski hat and Downtown Jackson Gloves, both available in my Winter 2016 collection.
Ron and Cheryl Smith, owners of Paintbrush Alpacas sold me this beautiful yarn at a local fiber fair. I enjoy supporting local artists for purely selfish reason, the yarn is unique and lovely! This pattern is from Country Weekend Socks by Madeline Weston.
Autumn at Last
Local Yarn Stores
Koigu Kersti Yarn Giveaway
I’ve always loved autumn. The year is ending, earth is cooling off and giving up its harvest, but for me it signals a beginning, a fresh start. Autumn brings me crisp mornings and cooler evenings. It brings me time during the day while my kids are at school to start a new exercise routine and have a long quiet soak in the hot tub. It brings me after-school music students who are actually practicing! It brings me lots of good reasons to relax at night with something warm to drink and lots of soft, cozy yarn to knit.
Autumn is the perfect time for me to publish my first issue of Wayfaring Yarns Magazine. I’m excited to use this online format to share with you my yarn adventures, my travel adventures and the results of my first ever foray into the endlessly fascinating world of knitting design.
All of my designs thus far are easy to knit, made elegant by beautiful yarns. In fact, I get great pleasure in figuring a design for the yarn that showcases the particular qualities inherent in that yarn.
I’d like to thank my models for their time and especially their patience with my very amateur attempts at photography.
Thanks for joining me!
Musician by trade
Knitter by choice
Traveler by chance
The boyz and I decided to hit the road to the Bitterroot Valley in Montana to visit the Mountain Colors workshop.
We followed the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, traveling up the Sacagawea Historical Byway in Idaho then onto the Salmon River Byway and into the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
Once we crossed the Montana state line, we entered the Bitterroot National Forest and drove down the mountain pass into the Bitterroot valley.
The valley is most famous as the setting for “A River Runs Through It,” but we traveled there for the yarn. Mountain Colors is owned and operated by Leslie Taylor and Diana McKay.
I was tickled to catch these hard-working ladies in action.
I took along some of my finished designs for show and tell
and came away with more treasures.
As every knitter knows, no matter what’s in the queue or what’s in the stash, when new yarn comes home we have to get our hands on it right away!
If you’re on the road and in the Missoula, Montana area take a few minutes and stop by the Mountain Colors Workshop. If you’re not on the road, check out #mountaincolors on Instagram for more of their lovely, vibrant yarns.