Handspun Meal

I have Etsy to thank for my newest money-sucking addiction: handpun yarns. Handspun lacks the regularity of commercial yarns, preventing one from creating using them in intricate projects where an consistent weight is needed to show the detail of the pattern (i.e. The Branching out Scarf). But, you do end up with an incredibly unique item that often has colors and textures more amazing than any high-quality commercial yarn. The inspiration that floods over me every time I look at my newest additions to my stash makes the higher prices well-worth the occasional splurge.

My favorite yarn seller on Etsy is Castleman because of her colors, plying techniques (raisin yarn one and two), and her choice of amazing materials. I cannot do her Tussah silk yarn justice with words. It's soft, silky, shimmery, and environmentally friendly (the silk cacoons are collected after the worms discard them). Also, her silk prices are a great deal when compared to the 100% silk yarns I've seen at my local yarn store. The quality is much higher and the price much lower.

The yellow and blue skiens are silk yarns from Castleman, the other is her "raisin yarn" and a coordinating skein in wool.

Handpsun Silks
Rasin Yarn

And while I'm a Castleman groupie, I do try to buy from other yarnmiesters. Below is a very soft and bulky yarn I purchased from Elysium Yarns. It's merino wool, hand painted in a dark jewel-toned rainbow. So stunning in person, I've been carefully planning how to use it. I'm thinking fingerless gloves as a scarf would be too stereotypical. Fingered gloves would be awesome, but I think it's too bulky for fingers.

Rainbow Jewel
Jewel Rainbow

Seaside Scarf

Project: Seaside Scarf, using the seafoam stitch
Materials: mohair and metalic yarn blend, glass beads

This scarf was inspired by the beaches around Seattle. They're always cold enough to warrant a scarf, even in the summer. Using a crochet hook, I picked up green and coppery glass beads into the stitches at random intervals. The scarf begins and will end with five rows of garter stitch, and the rest of it uses the oh-so-elegant-and-simple seafoam stitch.

Costal Scarf
Coastal Scarf Detail

Blame Canada!

I signed up to participate in an international craft swap through Craftster. While there's a certain amount of risk and trust involved in the other party, craft swaps are a wonderful excuse to make new items and try new techniques. Also, it's just really fun sending people goodies, and getting a nice suprise in return.

Here's what my partner in the not-so-distant Vancouver, BC received from me:

  • Cowboy bandaids with a toy inside
  • Rubber chicken key chain with a nasty egg that pops out when you squeeze it
  • Burt's Bees sampler
  • Jesus beads
  • Junk Food charms
  • Apple magnets
  • Zink (my favorite mag)
  • Swivel (an awesome female literary mag stationed in Seattle)
  • Found Magazine (awesome beyond words, especially if you like collages)
  • Three tin cards of old US propaganda posters ("America needs more MEAT", "Let Guns do the Talking", "National Donut Month")
  • Jesus Patch
  • Bush Playing Cards ("Even more slanted to the right!")
  • Assorted stickers that I thought represented "White trash" and cowboys

And... in package #2, I sent her: An "Obey" paraody with Bush, bamboo fiber yarn, various kitschy fat quarters of fabric, a copy of The Stranger, See's chocolates, Moose Munch, Seattle Pork Rub, Cadburry eggs and Peeps, and the much dreaded Applets and Cotlets that have somehow become a Washington novelty food (blech).

And finally, here's the wonderful goodies I received from her.

Package #1:

  • A really cute card
  • An awesome metal red hanging bird
  • Adbusters! (Amazing anti-commercialism magazine)
  • Chopsticks
  • "Not wanted on the voyage" by Timothy Findley
  • Tasty ginger and seasame candies
  • Awesome Shea butter soap
  • Tasty lip balm
  • Vinyage Buttons!
  • Seed packets for my front porch garden
  • kitschy tourist pen and pencil (perfect for writing in a stuffy "hip" cafe that needs more kitsch to lighten the mood)
  • Canadian nail clippers and stickers
  • Gold sequins (form Canada, which makes them special magical sequins)
  • A crazy crow magnet
  • Bangles!
  • Package #2: A mixed CD with Canadian artists, crazy fabric with rocket ships and He-man wannbes shooting lazer guns, and a cute nest with eggs pin.

    The Source of Bad Luck

    I decided to clean out my craft coffers, digging up relics from my childhood. The idea was to attempt to sell some of these relics, but when one comes across the below obscenities, what the hell do you do?


    I hate to throw them out because they're perfectly usable stamps. Just...I'm not going to use them. And are you going to use them? Didn't think so. I know someone out there would want to use them, considering they were made in the first place. But...damn...