Hello again, it’s Krysten (Gherkin) back for a second guest post! Thank you to Karin for extending another invitation for me to come over and talk about my creative, fiber life. 😉
For those of you who don’t know me, I am the owner/dyer of Gherkin’s Bucket, a small (I’m the only employee!) independent yarn company. I sell hand dyed and handspun yarn and fiber, as well as patterns and other crafty notions. I hope you enjoy this peek into some of my creative process!
Lately I have been working on a hand dyed colorway for the upcoming Disney release of A Wrinkle in Time (it opens today!). Being one of my very favorite books as a child, when I heard that it was coming to the big screen I knew I was going to want to celebrate it a little. I re-read the book (by Madeleine L’Engle; it is the first in a quintet set) and quickly identified a sentiment that I wanted to “color” to represent what I feel when I read this story. I will try not to spoil things too much for anyone out there who hasn’t read it, but the thematic element of fighting through darkness and not giving up is strong in the story, and I felt that it really resonates with the atmosphere of our world today. Whatever your political bent, I think we can all agree that there is a tense, oppressive covering over our lives these days, and it can be a struggle to feel like there is hope; that there is a way to break through with light. But there is hope, and we can break through. Here is my colorway, “Continue to Fight”, inspired by A Wrinkle in Time:
If you go see the movie I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to check out the book as well!
I’ve also gotten a little spinning in on my spinning wheel. My favorite crafty thing to do is to spin – which seems to surprise people – I think because I don’t have the opportunity to do it very often, and therefore don’t talk about it as much as dyeing and knitting/crocheting. I love the methodical movement of my feet on the treadles and my hands operating in sync as I watch the fiber colors shift and blend before twisting up and into the wheel, onto the bobbin. It is such a soothing process for me and I could do it for hours without stopping…unfortunately the rest of my life doesn’t really take to that very well, so I don’t get to spin as often or as long as I’d like to. Here are a few pictures of one of my recent spinning projects, shown L-R as unspun fiber, spun but before washing, and after a bath:
One of my favorite parts of spinning is that the yarn IS the finished object! 😀 Most of the time I spin just for fun, without a project in mind for the handspun yarn, but I have also spun to exact weights of yarn either for a specific project I want to use the yarn with or for customers who order custom handspun yarns from my shop. As you can imagine, the time involved in creating a single skein of handspun significantly limits the frequency with which I can take on those tasks, but I always look forward to spending time with my wheels. I have an Ashford Traditional and an Ashford Joy and they are both great wheels; I typically do a lot of spinning singles on my Joy and plying on my Traditional.
Another color that I created recently for March is “Easy Money”, which is a fun St. Patrick’s Day yarn full of rainbows and gold speckles. Speckled yarn is so so hot right now and, for us “old” indie dyers, it is rather strange having undissolved dye spots on your yarn because it is the opposite of what we have been trying to achieve thus far! It has been a little bit of a paradigm shift to have those freckles there ON PURPOSE but, I do agree, they are kinda fun…
One of the facets of creating colors is showing people how they can use them – I don’t always have all the time that I’d like to put towards those endeavors, but I think a lot of people can relate to not having enough hours in their day! Because of my typical time-crunch, many of my patterns utilize simple shapes and stitches to highlight the yarn being used, and even though they may not be the most challenging project or the most intricate, sometimes simple is best. Especially when the yarn can do all the work for you, as you can see here with my simple cowl project, knit up with a skein of DK weight yarn in my Easy Money color (the bottom edge is flipped up to show the reverse side, which I love just as much!).
I’ll include the pattern here for any of you who are knitting-inclined:
Cast on 100 stitches on US 8 needles (16” circular), place a stitch marker and join to knit in the round, without twisting your cast on row.
Knit every stitch of every row until you’ve used all the yarn, leaving enough for the bind off row.
Bind off all stitches using a stretchy bind off. I used the German bind off, which is simply “Knit 2, knit the two stitches on your right needle again through the back loop. *K1, knit the two stitches on your right needle through the back loop* rep from * to * for the rest of the stitches”.
I had a gauge of about 5sts/1” with this yarn/needle pairing, and that is the magic that makes the rainbows line up in a spiral stripe around the cowl. If you change the stitch count or the needle size and do not have the same gauge your yarn will work up differently. Don’t forget to have fun!
That’s all that I have for now – thanks for taking a little trip through part of my world with me. Have a wonderful day, and happy crafting!!
Visit my website at www.GherkinsBucket.com to see more about me, including a link to my yarn shop on Etsy where I’m having a 20% off sale on yarn and fiber now through March 18th!