Elliebelly is Coming Back


So….This is definitely a thing, and I'm doing it.  Elliebelly is coming back in January 2017.


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It's exciting and nerve wracking!  There is lots and lots (and lots and lots more) work to do on the Elliebelly Website, which is pretty bare bones at the moment.  The fun part, of course, is the dyeing, which is happening at full speed right now.  And, a little bit of plotting: those of you who remember the old Elliebelly know that it contained a lot of guidance on yarn selection and "What Can I knit With It" kind of help.  I'm going to amp that up.  A lot.  And, I have a special collaboration with one of my favorite designers in the works too. Knitting brings a lot of joy, friendship, and support into my life and I hope the new site will do that for you too!  Please make sure to sign up to receive the newsletter in the box at the top right hand corner of the page, so you'll know when we're ready to reopen. 


One of my favorite parts of the new site is the photography of sample knits. If you're not sure whether you're a yellow person, meet Oryx.  Pretty in the skein, but amazing knit up in this Andromeda shawl.  Oryx also looks great paired with other colors, like Crake and Lady Mary, in Ashburn.

image from images4-e.ravelrycache.com

This is Carino, knit in Elliebelly Angel Fingering in the Mystic Tangerine colorway. Angel is incredibly soft, spun from Cashmere, Silk, and Alpaca for the perfect luxury yarn.


The last sample knit I'll share with you today is Isabel Kraemer's Lemmy K Shawl. It's knit here in the heirloom rose colorway in Elliebelly Cloud Soft DK, a cashmerino blend. This is a fluffy scrumptious shawl.


As I work on the new site and prepare to reopen, I'm incredibly grateful to the cohort of knitters who worked with my yarn and supported my ability to select the best base yarns and tweak colorways.  The community of knitters is a wonderful place and each and every one of the sample knits makes me think of a friend, sometimes a new friend who I have never met in real life, but a friend nonetheless.  For me, knitting is all about community.  I'm excited about reopening Elliebelly and helping to give to that community, and I hope you'll come along with me and be a part of it!





Cables And Cables


image from http://joycevance.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341ce9cd53ef01b8d23dac9b970c-pi

I've been working on Rob Roy this afternoon. The cables were hard to figure out for the first few rows, but now they seem to be making sense. I'm a few rows shy of halfway through the first repeat of the cable pattern, and although it was hard to get a photo that shows much of anything, I did want to capture how pretty the yarn, Elliebelly Lyric in the Catherine, Are You Weeping? colorway, looks in progress.

This yarn is incredibly soft and the finished hat is going to be lovely and squishable.  Like all of Thea Coleman's patterns, Rob Roy has just enough of a challenge to it that you feel good about conquering it.  The quirk here is that on a few rows, the cable crosses start at the end of the last row, which sounds somewhat confusing until you get there, but her directions are so well written that all you need to do is trust the pattern and follow them precisely.

Elliebelly Paintbrush Yarns

I have always believed that some of my best dyeing techniques, like many life skills, come from learning to fix mistakes.  Overdyeing, for one.  I have very well-developed skills in that area.  One of my favorite techniques is dyeing my Paintbrush Yarns, a technique that evolved out of a disaster many years ago.  As far as I can tell, the earliest Paintbrush Yarns I sold were in 2007, although the technique started as a skein-saving measure several years earlier when I discovered playing with a toddler and  silk ribbon painting were two things that shouldn't be attempted at the same time!  Typically, I consider my paintbrush-style dyes to be one-of-a-kind because of the way they are created, although there are some dye color pairings I like and repeat with results that resemble each other, particularly when skeins are alternated during knitting.  This week, for the first time in a long time, I set up my process table for Paintbrush dyeing and had at it.

Feeling frisky big blue

This is "Feeling Frisky" dyed on Elliebelly Big Blue Bulky, a 100% Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) yarn.  Although multi-colored yarns can require thoughtful project selection, I've had good luck with them and am going to start with a pair of Melissa LeBarre's new Bearberry mittens with a skein of this yarn.

Lente cowl

One of my all time favorite Paintbrush projects is this Lente Cowl, which I knit during the annual Elliebelly Knitalong, Adventurous April, in 2014. Monika Sirna's brilliant pattern was a perfect choice for this style yarn.


These yarns are all Paintbrush Colorways using variations of the same base colors.  The cashmere on the left became this gorgeous Liebevoll shawl.

Liebevoll© ck510


On Ravelry, there are only a few Paintbrush Colorway projects and stash uploaded.  I'm looking forward to dyeing a few of these yarns and seeing what new projects I haven't envisioned that people will come up with for them.


Rob Roy Hat Pattern, Paid Forward

I haven't made any progress on Rob Roy since last you saw it (because: Jimmies and Two Track).


But, I did want to do the pay it forward part of this project, so Eva, check your Ravelry inbox.  You should have the Rob Roy pattern waiting for you!  Thanks to everyone who commented.  I really appreciated the chance to help Thea, the pattern designer, with her charitable project and at the same time being able to help someone else get started on knitting this lovely hat.


Knit Socks!

I'm knitting Jimmies! These cute little low socks are so adorable that even the fact that I'm knitting them on size 0 needles isn't dampening my enthusiasm.


Part of my enthusiasm is the yarn, which is Elliebelly, pulled from my deep stash.  This is Ella, a paint brush colorway, dyed on BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) Cash-Silk Sock.  I love the subtle color transitions.


So far, so good.  I'm about halfway through the flap on the first sock and looking forward to making good progress during the Thanksgiving Holiday.


Although I'm typically a very loose knitter and struggle with getting gauge, often going down two needle sizes, I'm knitting these more or less as written.  The pattern calls for size 0 for the cuff and size 1 for the remainder of the sock.  I'm knitting everything on size  0 (mostly because I couldn't find my size 1 DPNS).  The cuff opening looks small, and I'll be interested to see if I end up with a kid sized sockie.  No problem either way — this project is so manageable I decided to knit the first sock as my gauge swatch, as I have plenty of yarn, and I'll take it from there.

A Bit Of Elliebelly Knitting History


Princess banner


Here's a bit of vintage Elliebelly ephemera!  This banner is from my long ago life, when Elliebelly yarn was sold on Hyena Cart as part of a "Congo" called Midday Faire with a few other work at home moms.  The banner surely looks dated, but I couldn't stop from laughing when I found it in some old computer files.  We had a great time together at Hyena Cart. This was all long before Ravelry and at the very, very earliest start of knitters finding each other online.

Elliebelly Collage

In this pre-Ravelry era, I had an online group of Mom-Friends who used brightly variegated colorways to knit diaper covers for babies.  The earliest notes I can find from selling hand dyes on line is in 2001. The hand knit colors made cloth diapering seem like an easy and obvious choice, and were lots of fun.  I always liked to sneak in some muted and semi-solid colorways, and these, along with solids, became useful as trim.  And in seemingly no time, but probably more like a couple of years, everyone was knitting baby sweaters and then scarves and shrugs for themselves until we evolved into full blown knitters.

image from farm4.static.flickr.com(c) camdensmom

image from images4-b.ravelrycache.com

Even though I've evolved as both a knitter and a dyer in the many years since then, and have not knit more than the occasional diaper cover for a friend in the last few years, I really honor my beginnings as a dyer.  Although my Grandmother taught us to dye and batik fabric as kids, this was really the first time I had worked with yarn as an adult.  In addition to the scientific approach my Grandmother took, I added in some intuitive techniques from my collage art hobby, layering and glazing color onto skeins of yarn as I would on a canvas. Trial and error was always the way I worked, taking copious notes and learning to view failures as opportunities — to this day, one of my favorite techniques is the result of what I viewed as a disaster in the moment.

My family speculates that I have Tetrachromacy and see more conditions than most people.  In reality, I just love color.  I love it's mix and play and the way it varies when dyed on different fibers.  And it turns out that is the perfect passion for a lifelong knitter, because it lets me bring my love of color, fiber, and finished knit projects together.

Elliebelly is coming back in January of 2017 with a new look, a new logo, and base yarns and colorways that have the benefit of several years of intensive dyeing and test knitting while I've been away from the business of selling yarn.  I'm looking forward to it and hope you'll sign up for the newsletter in the box at the top of the page, so I can be in touch when we reopen.

Early Morning Knitting

It's finally fall here; cool and crisp. Which means perfect knitting weather.

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I took advantage of the opportunity to knit the ribbing for yet another hat. This is Thea Coleman's new Rob Roy pattern, knit in Elliebelly's Lyric Worsted in the Catherine, Are You Weeping colorway. I'm ready to start the cable charts and really looking forward to it!

Thea is using pattern sales to make donations to a charity that serves girls. The pattern was gifted to me by a Ravelry friend and I'd like to pay that forward, so leave a comment below if you're interested in knitting the pattern and I'll randomly pick someone to gift it to at the end of the weekend.

image from http://joycevance.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341ce9cd53ef01bb09547c12970d-pi

I was grateful for the company of my knitting buddy, Wingus The Cat, this morning. He loves my project bag from Fringe Supply and tries to climb inside every chance he gets. But he's still good knitting company and I'm glad to have the ribbing finished. Happy Saturday y'all!


Knitting Quick Christmas Gifts

Over the past few weeks, Amy Miller, one of my favorite knitting pattern designers, has released four patterns for low socks.  They're adorable, and they're quick.

image from images4-b.ravelrycache.com

© amymiller

I love all of them, and intend to knit them, but was particularly take with the pattern for It's a Gansey.  Ganseys are hand knit woolen sweaters, worn by fisherman in Britain.  They were knit on tiny needles for warmth and to be waterproof, with shifting patterns that identified their village and family, so their bodies could be returned home for burial in the event of an accident at sea.  These cute little socks change in patterning across the foot, mimicking the traditional approach to knitting a Gansey.  I'm going to follow Ravelry knitter MStephanie2's very clever idea, and knit each patterned band in a different color.


© elliebelly

From left to right, that's Muslin, Lost Coast, Dear Theodosia, and Lady Mary, all on Elliebelly BFL Constant.

All four of Amy's little sock patterns, found together here, are just right for some quick gift knitting.  I'm envisioning Jimmies in a variegated Paintbrush Yarns and perhaps a quick pair of Netties because the cables (or are they faux cables?) are so sweet. I'm so glad I found these sweet little patterns and can't wait to cast on!


Definitely My Favorite Knit Hat

image from joycevance.typepad.com

Mendota is definitely my favorite hat that I've ever knit.  When I shared it with you Saturday, it was still in need of a good blocking, which it never actually got, because one of the kids has apparently run off with the glass head I use for blocking hats. Instead, I plopped it over a plastic tub I use for mixing dyes and steamed it, with the result that it has rather a ridge about two-thirds of the way up.

image from images4-e.ravelrycache.com

It doesn't really matter, though.  And, I'm not even put off by the fact that the dog chewed on the pom pom some (my darling husband, who sat calmly by while she swiped it off the table muttered something about wolves liking sheep).  I went ahead and used it anyhow. The color was too perfect.

image from images4-e.ravelrycache.com

The result is amazing.  So perfect that I haven't seen it since we took these photos, because she won't give it back to me.

image from images4-cdn.ravelrycache.com

It's just a hat, right?  But, sometimes a hat is more than just a hat.  Sometimes a hat becomes your best friend.  But I'm not going to know how that works with Mendota, unless I knit a second one for myself.  And that's exactly what I plan to do!

Making A Mess In The Studio

I need a creative day.  One of those messy, carefree, just for fun days.  So, I'm up early, mixing dyes and soaking yarn.


I'm always at my best when I'm playing. And, it seems like a good day for working with a gray I have been wanting to capture on yarn.  Old jeans and a big apron are the attire of the day and I'm listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack.  If you haven't, you really should.  The music is catchy and the lyrics are clever. If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself inextricably drawn to rediscovering the history of the revolutionary era, reading biographies and thoroughly enjoying yourself.  But I digress, back to knitting.


In addition to Elliebelly BFL Constant, which is the undyed yarn soaking above, I'm planning on dyeing some Rainey DK.  Rainey is a yarn I started working with this summer as part of my ongoing search for the perfect linen blend.  Rainey, which is a blend of linen, silk, and alpaca comes in both a fingering and a dk weight, and is a new favorite.  You can read about a test knit project with Rainey here

NewcolorsI also need to get  labels on a bit of yarn I dyed last weekend. (If you look closely, you can see I was listening to Hamilton last weekend, too).  If you haven't noticed the sign up box at the top of the right hand column on this page, I'm gearing up to reopen Elliebelly in January.  More on that later, but for now, I'm working on dyeing and implementing some long planned changes on the Elliebelly Website.  I hope you'll stay in touch and look forward to Elliebelly coming back as much as I am!