I’ll admit it. I’m selfish. I’m a selfish dyer. I love days when I get to do something new, develop a new colorway or dye on a new yarn. Luckily for me, Yarn Lovers are really generous and supportive people who enjoy my “selfish dyeing” and let me know that they like it, too.
Recently, I’ve had the fun of dyeing up a batch of roving. Roving is wonderful stuff – it shows off the dye in a completely different way than yarn does. Those huge “strands” plump up after they’re dyed, showing off the true beauty of the colors! It makes me swoon. It makes me feel a bit selfish – like roving was invented just to show of my colors! (This is likely untrue, as I’m pretty sure roving was invented before I ever started dyeing.)
We have a new retailer – Smitten Yarns (more on them later)– who ordered a fantastic variety of rovings in our standard colorways. Before shipping these lovelies off to their new shop home, I took photos of each colorway so that I could show them off here on the blog. You’re going to enjoy these pretties as much as I do!
Here are some of my favorite rovings, paired with the same colorway on yarn:
First up is SockStar – half rainbow, have tan tonal, Sockstar is exciting but not overwhemling. (No clown barf here, kids!) The different presentation between the skein of yarn which was twisted as it was dyed vs. the roving being braided after the dyepot creates the largest visual difference here. But still – look how might lighter & sparkly the reds & blues look on the plumper roving.
Next up is Courtly. Courtly is comprised of heavily saturated jewel tones. The presentation of the yarn matches the roving much more closely this time. The roving still appears to have much bolder and separate colors than the yarn. The larger strands create contrast, while the narrower yarn creates a much subtler impression.
(I’m nearly undone by how the green + blue combined on the roving to make that aqua. I’m so into aqua right now.)
Finally, we have Charm. This is a bold difference! Number one, the yarn pictured is Scarlett O’ Hara. Scarlett contains a fair amount of bamboo which always softens the saturation of the dye. But still! Are these even the same colorway?
You bet they are! You can definitely see they’re related, but not identical twins.
Enjoy the pretties for now & up next I’ll be bringing you an in-depth introduction to our newest retailer: Smitten Yarns. (If you need any of these rovings, head over there now. They’ll be waiting for you!)
Today we’re excited to feature a very talented designer, and our partner, Kate Oates of Tot Toppers fame. Kate is the designer for Tot Toppers & When I Grow Up and the author of a brand new book, Knitting Clothes Kids Love. She enjoys designing hats and garments for babies and children in particular, these projects often reflect a whimsical spirit. Kate’s When I Grow Up line is for those of us who are not tots, featuring a modern classic style. Kate also strives to add specifically to the growing body of knits for boys as she has three of her own and one on the way!
In her non-knitting life, Kate holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida. She lives with her family in South Carolina, which includes husband Ryan, boys Jesse, Charlie & Oliver (3 very handsome Tot Topper’s models) along with a baby on the way, and beloved dogs Cooper and Lou. You might also see the Oates’ clan at a Clemson football game.
Kate’s beautiful patterns are a perfect compliment to Yarn Love yarns, and she sells small quantities and kits for her adorable kids patterns. Visit tottoppers.com to see all of her work.
We also asked Kate a few questions:
YL: How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?
KO: I have been knitting since I was in middle school. My Aunt Dindy taught me–she first taught my little sister, and I was jealous So she taught me too. She taught us on circular needles and to knit hats in the round!
YL: You design mostly children’s items, where does your inspiration come from?
KO: My own kiddos I usually design the kinds of things they would want to wear!
YL: Do you ever knit for yourself?
KO: Not really, there just isn’t any time. If I am knitting for pleasure, it is usually for one of the kids because my samples are part of my trunk show so do not get regularly worn.
YL: Do you do any other crafts?
KO: I wish I did but I really don’t have time. I do make the kids Halloween costumes every year!
YL: How has knitting/knitting design changed your life?
KO: Its a full time job for me. I travel 5-6 times a year, sometimes more, for shows and shop visits. I work many many hours designing but also doing some of the busy work that comes alongside running your own business.
We’re working on our second Yarn Love Club (you can still get the first one here). While we’re not quite ready to reveal the details of our next shipment, we can introduce you to the designer of the pattern for the next shipment.
Stay tuned to learn more about our next Yarn Love Club Shipment!
What’s a mood board, you ask? Mood boards are a way to visually organize a theme, idea, or feeling. I recently put out a call for submissions for the second shipment of the Yarn Love Club. For this shipment of the club I wanted something that would be an elegant and wearable accessory using two colors of Yarn Love yarn. I came up with this mood board for the call:
Everyone gets their inspiration from different places. For me I looked for classic and wearable accessories that highlight the beauty of the yarn. When creating a mood board there are a lot of things to keep in mind! It’s important to know what sorts of patterns you are looking for, and the pattern’s purpose. As an independent dyer my goal was to get a fun knitting pattern that would be easy to wear, not too difficult to knit, take about 2 skeins of yarn, and really highlight hand dyed yarn. I also wanted to keep in mind my own style and aesthetic, as well as accessories that coincide with current trends. Let’s just say I wasn’t looking for a Cosby sweater!
One of the most exciting parts of this process was seeing all of the amazing submissions that we received! From the six images provided on the mood board we got a ton of ideas from very talented designers. It’s interesting to see how each person interprets the mood board and prompt into accessories which also fit into their own personal looks.
We’ll be releasing the new pattern for the next shipment of the Yarn Love Club in May, so be sure to keep an eye on the blog for more info to come!