Saturday, April 6, 2013

Discovering New Things

So after a little over a month of being on the farm, I offer you... YARN!

These are my first two skeins of yarn! The one on the right is my very first one! It's a 2-ply bulky, spun using a drop spindle and fleece from the sheep here on the farm! The left was my first skein on the big-girl wheel! Also a 2-ply, but I practiced spinning much more thin and consistent. The wheel I used is called a Sleeping Beauty (cute!) and is a single treadle, double-drive.


I've just finished my second piece on the spinning wheel. It's still in the process of drying! It's a 3-ply spun from combed top produced by a company called Brown Sheep. There was some stuff laying around that I was able to snatch up and get more practice with! One of the main differences between the two up above and the one below is that the first two I prepped from start to finish (okay... minus the shearing since I've yet to do that). The one below is a pre-prepped and (maybe?) dyed, combed nicely with no VM (as it's called in the fiber world - referring to vegetable matter like hay, sticks, etc). People call this stuff "spinning with butter!" since its so smooth and sleek, slides right off your hands and onto the wheel. 


Okay, so you want to know that I (me, Alisha...) am actually the one producing this yarn, right? Well here ya go! I don't have a photo on the wheel, but here's the drop spindle. WEEEE!

So what have I been doing other than letting wool slide through my fingers into my own yarn (eeek!)? Well, one is lots of adventuring around the area seeing beautiful views!

Seabeck

 Buck Lake

 Solduc

Somewhere along 101 way north!
 La Push (you mean where Twilight was!? Yes..)

 Hurricane Ridge

And something you may or may not know... I may be into cars just a little... So a car meet one day, and adventuring to the mountains the next!




And the other thing I've gotten the chance to do is visit some other farms and meet more animals!! 

Holding a nubian/alpine baby goat! Only a few days old and SO soft.


His name is Blue Eyes. He's a cashmere/angora goat.

These are some fashionable sheep! Jacob is what their breed is called.

Hi there ladies! They decided to follow me around the pasture - even after their owner gave them new hay.

This guy was cool! Apparently he's not a super people person, and often times he'll butt you for food. Well, he came right up to me, I knelt down (little did I know in a patch of stinging nettles!) and we were face to face. Too cute!

This... is Big Boy! His fleece was SUPER long!
 I can't help but giggle every time I see him or his photos and I hope you giggle with happiness too.

And to end you for now, I am enjoying my first cup of goats milk..chocolate milk! (from the farm) with the tulip I bought at my first Farmer's Market here in Washington today!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Join me on my adventure! Part One: The Drive

 Intro: 
So after many posts of just patterns, I decided I'd start a short blog on my latest adventure - farm life. I'm from Northern California (near the bay area) and have recently moved up to a small town in Washington State near Bainbridge Island with the primary goal of learning the process of knitting from step one. This includes taking care of the sheep, watching the birth of the babies, shearing, carding the wool and then spinning and dyeing it. I'll also learn other fiber arts such as weaving and machine knitting! 
 In addition to this side of the farm life, much more will be learned! Milking the goats are a huge part of life here. The milk is used for many things; it's bottled and sold to the public along with cheese and soap manufacturing. After the babies are finished with the mama's milk, we'll then get to start these processes! And of course there's the everyday farm chores of feeding all the animals - rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats and the doggies -as well as collecting eggs and vegetables for our own consumption.

The Drive:
 So I'd like to start this collaboration of photos with a few cool things I saw on my 3 day drive up here.

 First was the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California and the field of elk! 


 Early morning overlooking Portland in the aerial tram. I had gotten up at 5:30 and made my way up to the tram in hopes of seeing the sunrise, but unfortunately it was too cloudy.  So to make my morning even more interesting, I took a one hour ride in the street car through the streets of the West side of Portland.

Followed by my trip around Portland on the street car, was venturing to many of the yarn shops in the area. And what better timing than opening day for the Rose City Yarn Crawl! I went to Angelika's, Twisted, Happy Knits, Urban Garden and Pearl Fiber. Here are pictures of my two favorites!

HappyKnits
 Twisted

And then I reached Seattle! Here's a photo of the gorgeous view from the Bainbridge Ferry!
And of course I had to visit Churchmouse! What an amazing store!!

Go to Part Two: The Farm to read more!

Join me on my adventure! Part Two: The Farm

So if you read my Part One: The Drive, you would have read my introduction in regards to the fact that I've adventured up to Washington State to live on a farm for a few months. My reasoning you may ask? Well, to be closer to what I love, duh! Fiber, yarn, and of course the animals who feed my addiction; knitting! But working here with the sheep is more than just that. I'm learning about self-sustainability, the importance of a healthy diet and how to take care of something other than myself [and my lovely mother of course ;) ]

So here we go! 
Part Two; The Farm!

Animals

Alpine Goats (look at all the babies in the background!) There are also a few Nubians which are quite cute themselves!
What's a farm without chickens? One of my favorite daily tasks is collecting all their eggs! It's like Easter every day. :)
Sheeeeepies!!! (Shetlands)
Meet Mr. Caesar. Isn't he handsome? And a sweetheart too!
The first baby!! A little boy! He's about a month earlier than the season for sheep babies, but I'm happy and he's healthy!

The process of making yarn: 
So it's not shearing season just yet, but here's an earlier fleece that we laid out for a quick clean up. 
And then it get's the real deal! Dawn dishwasher soap is used to get most of the grease (lanolin) out of the fleece. 
The next step after the fleece has finished it's bath and has dried and been sorted, is to card it. This is an electrical carder, but there are several devices to do this step.
And vwa-la! My first two bats! (And a grungy me... Hadn't showed in two days! Amazing for me.)
 The first stage of spinning. This is a drop spindle (the easiest way to learn to spin.) just a single ply. This will later be plied together with another yarn for more durability. Pretty good job for my first one! They were impressed. Nice and consistent. :) Later, I'll move on to the wheel.

 Another favorite daily task that I do is collect greens from the hoop house. Got stung by stinging nettles the first few times. I'm now much more careful!

So it's been 5 days on the farm. I'd say I've learned a good deal so far and can't wait to learn more! Stay in tune!

:) Alisha

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rainbow Sock Monkey Hat!

At last, one of my favorite projects has a published pattern!  A friend showed me a photo of a hat that she wanted me to make for her niece.  The only problem was that it was crocheted. Although I know how to crochet, I'm a knitter, not a crocheter. So I decided to make a knit version! Every moment of this project has been a blast from buying the yarn, designing, making sizes newborn (and see it on a baby) to adult (and wearing it myself!), seeing the smiles it puts on peoples faces when they see it.

Download the pattern on Ravelry! Yarn kits are available for $30 + shipping - just contact me at illuminangel@gmail.com. They include everything except the needles and buttons (I can include buttons if requested for an additional $2). 

I hope everyone is just as excited as I am!



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cute and quick!

Here's a cute and quick free pattern! I just got my business cards and decided I needed a cute holder :) It's a simple pattern that can be easily finished in 1 - 2 hours. Download PDF


Business Card Cozy


Materials

Yarn
35 yards of any fingering/sport weight yarn
1 yard of another color yarn of similar weight
Needles
US size 2 circulars, any length
Gauge
7sts/in
Finished Measurements
Length 4”
Width 2.5”

This project is knit in the round using the magic loop, starting at the bottom and working up.

Bag
CO a total of 36sts (18sts per needle) using Judy’s Magic Cast On.
Knit in the round for 4” (place a marker at the beginning of the round)
On the last round slip the very last stitch purlwise – do not knit it.
BO 24sts purlwise fairly snug, slip the last BO stitch back to LN and k2tog, k5 and continue to BO purlwise to EOR. Cut yarn

Strap
There should still be 6 sts remaining on your needle.
Starting on the RS, rejoin yarn and knit strap as follows:
*Row 1: ssk m1L k2 m1r k2tog
Row 2: s1pw p4 s1pw*
Repeat Rows 1 and 2, 4x
Row 11: ssk m1L k1 yo twice k1 m1r k2tog
Row 12: s1pw p2 drop one of the yo’s and purl the other p2 s1pw
Row 13: ssk m1L k3 m1r k2tog
Row 14: BO knitwise

Place button in center of stitches, 8 rows down. Block and then embroider your own design! 





2012 Copyright illumiknit designs. Alisha Bright. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Website!

Woo hoo! I now have an actual  Website up and running!

Currently it's more of an "informational/photo" website. It's intended for people who simply want to look at photos of my work. Eventually I plan to add direct links to the patterns.  None the less, I'm so excited to have an actual website!

In addition I have a few patterns I'll be releasing in the next few months. Stay tuned. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Excitement all around me!

Happy! I don't normally do the "typical blog post" of sharing in vivid detail what's going on in my life, but I feel that my news is too exciting to not be shared. :) So here I go!

Over the past year or so I've been moderately active at my LYS (local yarn shop if you have yet to come across that term) - frequent customer, knitting displays/projects for the store and recently helped out a SF Giants themed workshop (as I live in the Bay Area of California). I also participated in a "Design a Hat" contest where proceeds and hats went to a local charity, of which I was one of two grand prize winners. You can find the free pattern to that hat here on my blog - A Scoop of Neapolitan. :)

The owner recently had a position open up at the shop and asked me to apply, knowing I am an avid avid knitter. So I put together a knifty little portfolio and applied, and I received an e-mail yesterday saying she wants me to stop by this week to discuss a schedule. :) So tomorrow I go in to start my training. It's starting off as a part time position - maybe 2 days a week and will hopefully grow into something more permanent and active. Perhaps I can start selling patterns through the store? Maybe teach some classes? Oh the possibilities! So exciting. *does the happy dance*

On another note, as some of you have seen, I'm starting to sell my patterns (Grayscaled Cables being the first) - these are going to be presented in a more professional format as well as test-knit prior to release. I'll still offer the occasional free pattern but as I'm getting fantastic feed back from my work, I'm thinking it's time to take the next step.

All my hard work, finally paying off. I get to work in an environment where I am most happy and engage in knitting conversation all day (or...while I'm there anyways hehe). Eeek!

Conclusion of excitement rant.