Yarn Dyeing Shenanigans

Yarn Dyeing: Wooly Mastadon

Last week on my day off, I ended up getting quite a bit done. I have already shared with you my handspun that I finished last week, but that day wasn’t dedicated to spinning that skein. I spent most of it dyeing yarn. Granted, when I say dyeing yarn I mean with food safe colorings such as Kool Aid, food colors, and icing colors. I own other dyes but I don’t have a separate dyeing space other than the kitchen so I don’t feel comfortable using all the toxic chemicals there, but I digress. Needless to say I ended up getting three skeins of yarn dyed, each around 450 yards.

Yarn Dyeing: Wooly Mastadon

All of these skeins inteded uses are to become shawls. I had in mind to dye up the orange one for a single skein shawl, and then the other two would become a larger two color shawl. However, I was going for black not purple on the darkest skein, and I don’t feel that teal and purple have the contrast I want. Now I’m considering using the orange and teal for a shawl and saving the purple to overdye later and use for the single skein project. Ah well, we shall see.

That is about it for my fun here. TDF is in full swing and I am really enjoying spinning all the things (more on that later this week). Are any of you interested in dyeing yarn with food safe dyes? Do you want me to share more in depth what I used? Do tell, as I don’t do this often but am considering doing it more simply because I like the process.

~Stay Inspired

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th: Wooly Mastadon

For those of you who live in the states, I just want to wish you a happy 4th of July. I am definitely proud to be an American and am proud for my country and what it has fought for. I hope that you enjoy your day, possibly with family and/or friends, but that also you remember to thank those who have helped keep our country free.

~Stay Inspired

Spinning FO!

Finished Spinning: Wooly Mastadon

Of course the race was on once I realized that TDF was coming and coming quickly. Crazy that it starts tomorrow already, but I think I’m ready. I cleaned off all but one bobbin by finishing this project: my Bad Fairy Batt from Camelot Dyeworks. This was my first time spinning a batt and I must say, I really did love it. I am one of those people who struggles to spin thicker yarns and because of the prep I was forced to spin it a bit thicker. Thus my final yarn is about a worsted weight. I got around 254 yards and it fluffed up quite nicely once soaked. I used my new Soak Wash in the Yuzu scent that I purchased about a week ago and am loving it. For now I’m not really sure what this is going to become but I am happy to simply look at the skein. It has to be something fun though, perhaps a crazy cowl as it is so soft.

Finished Spinning: Wooly Mastadon

Now, all I have to decide is which of the fibers I purchased last week will go on the wheel first. Alas, it will probably be spur of the moment when I finally get to my wheel after work, but I’m leaning towards Gumdrops first and then Copper Harbor second. What do you think? Hope you join in the fun that is TDF 2015.

~Stay Inspired

Social: I’m on Instagram

Instagram: Wooly Mastadon

I just thought I’d pop in and say…I have an instagram account now! What?! I inherited an old tablet: long story short but my Dad didn’t like that it could be slow sometimes and got a new one. It’s several years old, but all I wanted it for was social media aka Instagram so I gladly took it off his hands. I am loving being able to reach the knitting community in one more way. My username is @victoriaschwanke so make sure to follow me there.

While I’m at it, I thought I’d do a quick round up of where you can find me on the internet.

Ravelry: lilwestie

Pinterest: vaschwanke

Twitter (not on there often, but more than Facebook): @vaschwanke

Facebook (rarely on here, mostly to update Wooly Mastadon): Victoria.Schwanke

Goodreads: victoria-schwanke

Instagram (yay!): @victoriaschwanke

So that’s about it. Stop by and chat!

~Stay Inspired


TDF Fiber Haul: Camelot Dyeworks

Camelot Dyeworks Haul: Wooly Mastadon

This past week I was finally able to stop by Camelot Dyeworks, a LYS in a neigboring town. It is a lovely little shop stocked with the owner’s hand-dyed yarns and fibers, original designs, and handspun. She also carries needles and notions so it is the perfect place to stop by for any projects. This visit, I was on a mission to buy some fiber. I needed some lovely fiber to spin up for Tour de Fleece (TDF) and since I joined the Camelot Dyeworks team, it was time to stock up on her fibers. I ended up with two braids of fiber, a skein of yarn, and some soak wash.

For starters I purchased a 4oz braid of BFL in her Gumdrops colorway. I have had my eye on this one for some time now and was thrilled to get my hands on it. Confession: I have never spun BFL. It seems crazy but I am really excited to spin this up and see how it goes.

Camelot Dyeworks Haul: Wooly Mastadon

All along I knew I wanted to pick up two braids of fiber, so I also picked up a 4oz braid of an SW Merino / Nylon blend in the Copper Harbor (similar) colorway. I have admired this colorway as well for a bit now and knew I wanted to try it. I am not a brown person, so I picked this colorway to expand my spinning and color tendancies a bit. I’m thinking about trying to spin for socks with this one, but I’m not sure that I’d have enough fiber for it. We shall see.

Camelot Dyeworks Haul: Wooly Mastadon

Finally, I couldn’t help but pick up a skein of sock yarn while I was there. I ended up getting a skein of her Percival Sock (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) in her Raspberry Muffin colorway. I’ll be honest here: I had a lot of trouble deciding on what color to get as there are so many beautiful colorways. What cinched it was the name, raspberries are my absolute favorite berry and in the running for my favorite fruit. I’m not sure what I’ll be knitting this into yet, but I think it would be perfect for a fall accessory.

Camelot Dyeworks Haul: Wooly Mastadon

While I was there I also picked up (read my Mom purchased for me, haha) a bottle of the Soak wash in the Yuzu scent. I hadn’t tried this scent yet, but I must say, I kind of want to finish a project just so I can soak it, it smells amazing. Finally, I purchased an item earlier last week (not at Camelot Dyeworks) that I wanted to mention. There are so many lotion bar brands out there, and I am already a believer in the Lavishea bars, but I have found another good option. I go to a natural/organic grocery store when I visit my Grandmother, and it is awesome. It has everything, health foods, spices, bulk grains, essential oils, and bath items. I stumbled upon Zum Rub and I must say I love it. It is a moisturizer with goat’s milk and it is amazing. I got the Rosemary-Mint scent and it is so refreshing. Fair warning: this scent smells similar to vapor rub so if you hate that smell try a different one, but I love that smell so it is perfect.

Well, I think I am thoroughly stocked for TDF this year. I need to pick up my spinning game, it has fallen dreadfully behind. I’ll have more to share as this starts this weekend so stay tuned. Until then.

~Stay Inspired

More Socks

More Socks: Wooly Mastadon

Hey there. How are you? My name is…well okay, I’ll stop. Yes it has been long over a week since I last dropped by to say hello. It seems that this happens often enough lately, and it’s not okay. Ah well, here I am again and ready to share a few things with you.

When I last dropped by, I shared my finished Opal Socks. It didn’t take me long to need to cast on another pair (read the same day), so here is what I have thus far. I ended up using Lion Brand Sock-Ease in the Sour Ball colorway on my Knit Picks US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needles with my basic toe-up vanilla sock recipe. I have knit with this yarn once before and liked it enough for socks that I thought using this skein was in order. Granted this sock yarn isn’t my favorite when it comes to the color sequence (I prefer a bit more striping or crazy pooling and this is in between), but it is a hard-wearing sock yarn and it was in my stash so out it came. I have been working on it for a bit now, and am loving the progress although I haven’t knit on it a whole lot. This seems to be the way of things.

As for life, I have been working a lot, have had some added graphic design projects, and have been reconnecting with old friends. It has been a fun but crazy bundle of days. I ended up going out of town to my Grandmother’s house (she lives on a lake so a really nice spot) and spent time with family. I packed knitting but committed a crime in not knitting a single stitch. We ended up chatting, playing card and board games, swimming (yay! favorite part of summer), and shopping so my brief two days was spent. It was worth it though, and now I am back to everything else. Don’t worry, I’m still here and have plenty to share as the weeks go on. I’ll be back. After all Tour de Fleece is coming!

~Stay Inspired

FO: Opal Socks

Opal Socks FO: Wooly Mastadon

I finally finished something to share on this space. With much fanfare, my toe up socks knit in Opal four ply yarn in the color Ecuador-Elly (one of the rainforest collection) are complete. I used my typical toe-up vanilla sock recipe with an afterthought heel. They were knit on my Knit Picks size 1 (2.25mm) circular knitting needles using the magic loop method. Considering I almost exclusively knit on these socks in the breakroom at work, I am happy with my progress. I love these socks, loved working with the yarn, and am ready to cast on another pair of socks. I am slowly but steadily filling up a drawer with hand-knit socks and it is a wonderful and addicting process. Who’s with me?

~Stay Inspired

New Summer Reading Material: Magazines

Reading Materials: Wooly Mastadon

This past two weeks have been really good in the mail department. I received three magazines that I have been savoring and enjoying. May’s issue of Molly Makes is amazing as always. Interweave Crochet Summer 2015 looks like it will be a winner. However, what I am most excited about is Knitscene Accessories 2015. I have religiously watched for and purchased every Knitscene Accessories since they first came out and I absolutely love the magazine. I ordered it early this past week and it’s been here for a week. They don’t normally last this long but work had me tired and not ready to read much of anything so I saved it for when I could enjoy it more. I just quickly flipped through it but it looks amazing, I might have to cast on almost everything. I’ll share more on that later.

This weekend (other than work) will be filled with a bit of shawl knitting, hopefully some Mazie time (my pooch), reading, and drawing. We shall see how all plays out but until then,

~Stay Inspired

Something a Little Different

Sketching: Wooly Mastadon

Around here I like to share my creative endeavors. I enjoy it and I hope that you all enjoy looking at what I’m up to. However, I never ever under any circumstances share what I am drawing or sketching. Why? Not because it isn’t G rated, and definitely not because it’s secret. It’s all because I pretty much suck at drawing. Drawing is my downfall. I go to put something down to paper and it looks like a two year old put it there. I try to shade something in, and a giant blob of a mess appears instead of the detail that was in my head. Granted, I did better than my latest attempts at drawing in my college drawing classes mainly because I was drawing every or every other day for long periods of time.

So there you have it, a connection. Thus, I thought it was high time to start sketching again, not for anyone else but for myself so that I could get better. Here is one of my first meager attempts. Right now I thought I’d focus on people but needed images to work from. Why not my knitting and crochet magazines? Thus, my first sketch was pulled from Interweave Crochet Summer 2015. I opted to sketch the Irish Lace Top by Natasha Robarge. I didn’t choose this to specifically sketch the garment, but I chose it because the model was mostly in view and from the front. I know my resulting sketch is far from perfect: the proportions are way off and it is really light (and hard to see in this picture) just to name a few. However, you have to start somewhere don’t you.

Alas, we shall she how far this venture goes. Do any of you sketch? How do you practice and try to grow in your drawing?

~Stay Inspired

Time Really Does Fly

Time Flies: Wooly Mastadon

It’s crazy to think I’ve been out of college a year. Even crazier when I realized as of last week I have officially been working at my part-time turned full-time job at one of my local grocery stores for one year as well. Although I know I don’t want to be doing this the rest of my life, it has really been a blessing for paying the bills and for health insurance. I am lucky to not have to fight for that like so many that I know. I rememeber last year when I started this job. I was part-time (like 3 days a week) and was working on an internship as well. Now I’m full-time working on all kinds of things. I know I’m not getting to creating and designing as much as I should be (remember this post…yeah, that’s still in the works.), I am blessed to have a steady job. I have no idea what this next year will bring me, but some opportunities may be on the horizon (graphic design and otherwise) and I just might be adding to my full-time job. Am I crazy to consider working a full-time job plus another one? Should I be adding more when I want to be creating and knitting/spinning/crocheting more? Perhaps, perhaps not, but we shall see.

~Stay Inspired