Sneaky Friends


A line in a certain movie comes to mind as I sit down to tell you this…

Some of you may remember the movie Tombstone. It is one of the three westerns I sat through as a youth-and the only one where I did so without being forced. It’s a moving and surprisingly (for me) entertaining story of the historical account of Wyatt Earp’s activities ridding the town of Tombstone of cowboys. There’s a specific section in there where Doc “I’m your huckleberry” Holliday calls Wyatt an oak for not dancing with his lady love interest. A couple scenes later, when he and the lady encounter each other privately, before chasing off after her, he says, “I’m an oak, alright.” That’s about where we are today…

We left off last time with me saying that I was keeping off the spinning goodies because I’m interested in buying a home. Well…now that’s only partially true. I am still interested in buying a home. I just had a slight relapse…


You know…there are some sneaky people in my life. Take one of my friends who came to whisk me off to the Chesapeake area for a bit.


Everything was beautiful! I love boats, water, and reflections. They’re so soothing. The food and the atmosphere in this area is awesome too!


It was wonderful! But, I was just being buttered up for this…


Now, I ask you…What am I supposed to do with that?! It has been a while since I have been in a yarn shop. The last time I was in my LYS in Delaware, I had a bad experience and I haven’t returned. But this wasn’t just any yarn shop! This beautiful paradise is called Vulcan’s Rest. This location, previously unbeknownst to me, was probably about a 20-30 minute drive from my home. Curses! (And Jackpot!!)


Just look at that!


Wowzers! In the middle of the store, I also got to meet a representative of my favorite commercial yarn.


This is Jamie and she works for Cascade Yarns. If I had to have only one choice of commercial brand yarn to work with for the rest of my life, it’d have to be Cascade. Not only are they affordable, but they’re great to work with and wear! They don’t make me itch and they don’t pill as badly as other brands I’ve tried-even for daily-wear items. Loves them!


Jamie was there to show the owner some new yarn swatches. I found that Cascade even sells a Noro-like yarn now! Although Vulcan’s Rest carries Noro too…That shop is tough to top! There must’ve been yarn everywhere! But that wasn’t all either…


Great..Just what I needed.A new portable wheel to wish for too. What are these people trying to do to me? Wheels were poking out from the craziest places all over the room. This Louet Victoria S95 is sweet!! It’s a little more expensive than I recall my other wheels being. It’ll have to stay on the wishlist a little longer. But, my oh my…that thing is gorgeous!! I did pick up a couple wallet-friendly student grade spindles though. What can I say? Force of habit. πŸ™‚

Of course, with spinning wheels, there had to be a stash, right? Of course there was. But it’s down by two now…


These two gems came home with me. Because I’m an oak, you know.

I don’t know what I’m going to use to spin them yet-wheel or spindle. I still have some unloading to do for the one I think these would dress the best. My main spindles are my Golding Cherry Tsunami and this Moosie Midi. The tsunami is spinning some musk ox I got a while back that I found in my Joy bag, so it’s out.


For the Moosie here, there’s only the tiniest braided bit of that purple/blue combo left. But since I already spun and knit the rest for Girl Child’s mittens, I wasn’t rushing this one…it has been languishing in my nightstand basket ever since. I may have to kick this one into high gear now though.

I keep wondering which will look best on it…

_MG_4457 _MG_4450

Sigh..I love color! If there’s one thing that could excite me into a yarn and fluff frenzy, it’s color. Anyone who has ever read this blog can attest to that…which brings me to some other sneaky friends…My friends at Storey Publishing

Once upon a time, I used to be contacted by representatives of publishing companiesΒ that would send me a book to review. Honestly, it hasn’t happened for a while since my family situation changed and I moved…Then, lo and behold…I get this book in the mail.


Now, who would go and do a sneaky thing like that?! Storey Publishing, that’s who, lol.

The Essential Guide to Color Knitting by Margaret Radcliffe was actually published a few years ago. You know how I know? Because I bought the book. The ebook, that is. It is about color, you know. (sucks teeth, rolls eyes)

Flipping through the book anew, I remembered all the things I liked about it (which is probably the reason I bought the iBooks, slightly pricier version rather than the Kindle version at the time). In my opinion, the book is pretty comprehensive in how it deals with colorwork using stripes, multi-colored yarns, patterning, textures, stranded knitting, and intarsia. There’s enough tips in it to satisfy anyone who wants to upgrade their color knitting game. But, it remains clear and accessible for those are just getting into color knitting as well those who just want to flip for a refresher on a tip they may have forgotten…Like how I always forget to slip the first stitch purlwise of the second row when I’m hiding the jog in stripes. Rip…again.


The book starts with an intro to color theory in yarn. It’s a beautifully illustrated walk through your primaries, secondaries, tertiaries, and their color families like complements, analogous, and split complements, etc. It also covers hue, value, and saturation while discussing how color placement (all color is seen in context) and yarn properties (like smooth versus fuzzy textures) can change the appearance of the colors of a yarn or pattern.

One of the best pieces of advice for those looking to experiment with creating their own color harmonies was making up the color wrapping cards according to a color sequence you want to try. Think of it as a Pantone palette for knitter’s. Pretty cool. The author also offers various ways to discover palettes. I personally enjoy using photos I like to create palettes.

Although I can always appreciate the other sections of the book, I must admit, my curiosity is primarily in dealing with variegated/multicolored yarns. I can recall many times when a ball of yarn looked so scrumptious in its skein only to look horrid all knit up. Pooling and striping are not uncommon when using a beautifully handpainted/variegated or multi-colored handspun skein. Not to worry though…the author has a very accommodating toolbox of techniques to use that treasured skein successfully even down to tips on how to make your colors match for items such as socks and gloves (for those of you who have eye twitches for fraternal knits). Firstly, determining how long the color changes are helps. Then, experimenting with needle sizes, patterns, and widths of fabric are essential in discovering your yarn’s true potential. Textured patterns using slip stitches, alternating knits and purls, etc., and stranded knitting seem to be the methods I gravitate toward most often. But, the modular knitting section offers a nice alternative as well. The author covers geometric knitting in its own section to show how the shapes are used to break up color pooling tendencies. She rounds things up with a section on sweater construction and a glossary of knitting terms.


Probably the best advice given for this yarn type and any other, however, is to just swatch, swatch, swatch, and experiment, experiment, experiment.

Throughout the book there are patterns to test your hand at the suggestions that are offered. The photos are all beautiful too. It’s a handy book and widely applicable since color applies to nearly all crafts. Case in point, if you spin your own yarn, many of these tips, of course, can be applied to your spinning too.


This handspun I showed you last time is a variegated yarn in which I incorporated a solid green color to get away from the pastel palette a little. Here I’m just checking out the approximate wpi. This yarn is about a DK. I like! The initial fiber was a very pale/pastel pink, yellow, and green with some areas of white undyed fiber. Neither color was dominant, however. Without a dominant color, sometimes, a color arrangement can come off as dull. So, with three muted colors and a neutral, I spun the pastel colors as a fractal and added a darker, more aggressive green for a 3-ply yarn. Although green isn’t my favorite color of all time, overall I think it makes for a more pleasing color arrangement. It does stripe a little, but that is purposeful in a fractal, and I tend to like stripes. The bits of white give it a more blended, heathery look, I think. Below is a swatch of this yarn in stockinette stitch.


This would make a good yarn for a stranded knit or some cozy two-colored socks. For the alternate color, I could even embolden this more with a yarn in a red-violet combination…or keep it tame with a sea-foamy blue-green-yellow yarn.

Gotta love color theory.

Well, that was fun. I guess having a sneaky friend or two isn’t so bad, after all. πŸ˜‰

Thanks guys!


  1. Marlene Toerien says:

    HI, a wonderful blog, We now have plenty of yarn shops but not spinning wheels on shelves which is a good thing otherwise i would have had more spinning wheels than I really can use. I envy you the ease you spin with on a spindle, I struggle.

    • Thanks! I guess now you see the danger in having such a store so close to me lol! I learned the spindle before I learned how to spin on a wheel. But not on my first try. On my first try, I failed miserably and after 5-10 minutes of it, threw the spindle and fluff in a corner for about seven years. My next try was more successful…after I locked myself in a room for about 2 weeks with a spindle, some fluff, and a subscription to Netflix. πŸ™‚

  2. Super post, purposefully learning color theory, and touch typing are both on my list! I must admit it was the Bosworth that pulled me in, my bossies and my journey wheel are my favorites.

    • Ok…I got it now. I did not know that was referred to as touch typing. I can do that pretty well on a regular keyboard. But, this texting keyboard…not so much. I have big thumb issues. πŸ™‚

  3. You lucky lady! I’d love to try a Journey Wheel! They look so beautiful and so well made!

    Now it’s my turn to ask…what is touch typing? I’ve never heard of touch typing…just typing. Wow. I’m getting really old now…I’m going to look that up lol.

  4. Sneaky friends like the ones you have are the very best kind! πŸ˜€

  5. Those are the best kind of friends! The very first yarn (also handspun) I ever worked with was a really similar blue and purple to the one in your photo. What a great combo!

  6. Oooh, such a pretty yarn shop (and such nice friends)! That book looks awesome too.

  7. aaah! I LOVE your pictures … That fiber looks so soft, I want to snuggle with it …. I am glad to hear from you again. You seem to have had a wonderful time! πŸ™‚ I am really looking forward to seeing more of your spinning projects. πŸ™‚ Lots of love and hugs! πŸ™‚ You rock.

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