fiber

Jenn from Midnight sky Fibers runs a small fiber business where she uses only natural and nontoxic dyes and mordants to create her unique fibers.

midnightsky fibers

Jenn is generously offering 3 wonderful kits as a giveaway to Whipup readers. These kits are worth about $40 each and each contain patterns to make 4 different hats and enough beautiful fiber for one of these hats. Go to Midnight Sky Fibers to see more of these kits and as an added bonus Whipup Readers will get a 10% discount on purchases with the code “whipup” valid until 8 July 2009.

To enter to win one of these kits please leave a comment telling us your favourite type of yarn that you have used. Good luck – comments open for 48 hours. comments now closed thank you all for entering.

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book: Crochet Chic

by contributor on July 4, 2008

in Books

Crochet Chic: Haute Crochet Scarves, Hats & BagsBy Francine Toukou, published by Lark Books (November 1, 2007)

Firstly, this is a hardcover book, and that gets my vote straight away. I love hardcover books, not only because they look and feel so nice, but because wear well over time.

Sometimes it seems that a book has a whole heap of amazing things in it, but only one or two patterns that people would feel comfortable wearing in public, or that people would be happy to buy in the supplies for and take the time to make. The patterns in this book are very usable, lots of bags and scarves – and some more unusual patterns such as the Victoria Collar.

This book gets another big tick from me since it looks as if most, if not all of the projects work up very quickly. Crochet is great for that anyhow, but team up a quick technique with a speedy pattern and I am very satisfied. Another big plus is that all of the projects are made using crochet, but not many of them look like they are crocheted. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the one hook method of playing with yarn, but so many patterns look like granny squares all sewn together, or seem to be made into things that don’t hang or wear well. I can forgive the two patterns in this book that ARE actually made of granny squares all joined together because the rest of the projects use a combination of embellishments (pom poms, fringes, ruffles, flowers, appliqué, bobbles or a contrasting edge), a variety of yarns (mohair, ribbon yarns) and techniques (felting), and of course well written and designed patterns to create items that look and feel gorgeous.

In addition to seducing the reader with so many great projects, this book goes on to educate any reader new to crochet as to actually HOW to do the stitches and techniques used for the projects. This section includes information on the very basics of crochet, how to do the stitches mentioned, how to join things together, and how to make the embellishments. It even has a section on garment care and keeping your projects looking nice. On top of all this, it has another section that includes handy information on gauge, hooks and different kinds of yarn.

This is a stylish book full of projects that are quick, easy – it is well designed to showcase the projects and to make it easy for people to make them.

About the author: Kate is a busy mother of three (soon to be four) and has far too many craft projects on the go at any one time. These could include, but are not limited to, crochet, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

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book: shear spirit

by contributor on May 28, 2008

in Books

This is not your normal pattern book (though it does have 20 patterns) the real attraction is the inside view of the ten Fibre Farms and the different fibres they produce. (book website link)

Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn by Joan Tapper (Author), Gale Zucker (Photographer), published by Potter Craft (April 15, 2008).

Each chapter concentrates on a different fibre farm, I found each and every one of them totally enthralling. Anne from Meadowcroft Farm in Maine is working on a degree in Agriculture and Resource Economics while her husband restores the old house on their farm. She says running the farm is “part inspiration and part planning”. She loves to create systems and has essentially taken on the entire production process: growing her feed, selling livestock, selling wool and products like sweaters and blankets that create piecework jobs for home knitters and showcase her hand spun and hand dyed yarn. The images of her hand dyed wool left me wide eyed. She goes into some detail of the dying of the wool in that she carries salt water from the river up to the farm. She does quite a bit of experimenting with some natural dyes and some authentic aniline carbon based dyes, though she still favours indigo which she grows. But even with the detail she has gone into, it has certainly wet my appetite to read more. She offers two patterns which show off her use of dyes. I truly loved reading this chapter and wanted a whole book on each – in fact I wanted to jump on a plane and go visit!

This image is just one of the lovely patterns featured in the book – Montana Tunic –

Each of the ten chapters is about a different farm, different animals, different fibres and different skills and experiences in different areas in the USA. Each chapter, is a sample of the lives each of the people live on their so different properties. These are people living out their dream, something we are
not all able to do.

Each farm offers a couple of patterns from bags to adults and children’s cardigans, shawls and berets and socks all from different animal fibres. I personally liked the Mariposa Cardigan for a child from the Victory Ranch, and simply loved the photo of the child with the alpacas. The Welsh Travelling Socks from Autumn House Farm would be an inspiration for anyone to even learn to knit and possibly dye their own wool as well. For those who like weaving Kai Ranch show some hand dyeing and a photo of one of their lovely natural coloured rugs from mohair fleece.

Its a book I would recommend to anyone who themselves wanted their own little corner of the world and to those who enjoy various crafts and seeing what others have made and possibly make themselves its certainly inspiring.

About the reviewer: Janette lives in suburban Australia living out her own dream in her retirement. She spins, knits, and surrounds herself in all sorts of fibre related crafts.

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