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January Design Challenge Co-winner - Amanda Flock

January Design Challenge Co-winner - Amanda Flock

Throughout 2017 we will be hosting the FGYCo Monthly Design Challenge where we introduce a “design challenge” project using one of our SilverSpun® yarns.  Designers will have approximately 2 1/2 months to complete the project.  Entries will be voted on by the general public and the design with the most votes wins.

Our January challenge was to design a cowl using a maximum of 2 skeins of SilverSpun® Sport.  We had 8 gorgeous designs submitted and after a popular vote we had a TIE for first place (what are the odds?).  Amanda Flock was one of the winners with her inspired entry, Windy, using hairpin lace.

 

In addition to a $100 FGYCo gift certificate and having her winning design published on our website, Amanda also won a guest interview on our blog.

And with that, I give you Amanda …

Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?

I was born and raised in a few suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I went to college at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL and completed my MBA in Finance online through Capella University. I have been living in central Florida for the past 4 years with my husband, 2 cats, and 18 month old daughter. My mom taught me to crochet about 10-11 years ago, right before I turned 20. I taught a friend to crochet and we both taught ourselves how to knit thanks to YouTube about a year later. I think that I am much better and quicker with crochet, but love the look of finished knit items so much more. I use crochet mainly for bags and blankets and knitting for tank tops, shawls, and chunky blankets.


Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?

I have a craft room, but I usually do most of my designing where ever I am at, at that time ( in the car, on the couch, sitting in bed, pretty much anywhere an idea hits me). The craft room is great for storage and working on large projects, but for the most part I bring out my knitting books and a notebook and work on my design ideas where ever.

Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?

Various things, lately nature has been a big influence. I recently designed a large cable knit scarf, my Climbing Vines scarf. The intertwining of the cables reminded me of the vines climbing up a fence near my house. My most recent design, the Biscayne Shawl, was inspired by the colors and textures of waves in the Florida keys.

Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?

Helle Slente of Helle Slente Design for her really wonderful designs, especially her brioche designs, Frenchie of Aroha Knits for her beautiful shawls, Kate of KGThreads for her gorgeously woven wraps and delicate lace knit shawls, and way too many more to mention, but those three very talented ladies are definitely worth checking out!.

What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?

There is just something wonderful and fulfilling about being able to come up with a design from scratch and bring it to life with your own two hands, and some yarn and needles or hooks of course. There is an even greater feeling of accomplishment when hearing and reading positive feedback from other knitters/crocheters, especially the designers I admire.

What do you have on your needles right now?

I am currently working on a lightweight asymmetrical shawl, and a few cable pattern designs for a submission.

While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?

Usually cotton yarn is coarse, thick, and hard to work with, but SilverSpun® Sport was a dream to work with, and very soft for cotton!

Do you have any other passions besides knitting?

Crocheting is my first love, as I learned that before knitting, but I am also breaking into indie dyeing of yarn (mostly for gradient cakes with smooth transitions as opposed to solid striping yarn), spinning on a drop spindle, needle felting 3D objects, and weaving on a small table top rigid heddle loom.

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View Amanda's winning design here.

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January Design Challenge Co-winner - Taciana Simmons

January Design Challenge Co-winner - Taciana Simmons

Throughout 2017 we will be hosting the FGYCo Monthly Design Challenge where we introduce a “design challenge” project using one of our SilverSpun® yarns.  Designers will have approximately 2 1/2 months to complete the project.  Entries will be voted on by the general public and the design with the most votes wins.

Our January challenge was to design a cowl using a maximum of 2 skeins of SilverSpun® Sport.  We had 8 gorgeous designs submitted and after a popular vote we had a TIE for first place (what are the odds?).  Taciana (Taci) Simmons was one of the winners with her beautiful entry, Northwest Shore - inspired by the northwest beach shores of the Pacific Northwest where she lives. 

Taci's winning design

 

In addition to a $100 FGYCo gift certificate and having her winning design published on our website, Taci also won a guest interview on our blog.

And with that, I give you Taci ….


Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?

I was born in Brazil in a historical city in North East Brazil called Recife. I have been surrounded by art, crafts and very artistic people my whole life and I have  loved every aspect of it. Both my parents were always very artistic. My dad was a journalist and writer and and my Mama, a nurse by trade, taught me and my 2 sisters to knit and crochet when we were 5 years old. With her I also learned to sew, up-cycle, recycle and find use for everything before you decide to throw it away. Both my parents inspired me to always find beauty even where we least expect. My two sisters have also kept me motivated by supporting even the craziest ideas I have had.

I have lived in the US for 27 years now and I would never have changed a minute of my life. I met my husband 26 years ago here in Oregon. We have 2 beautiful children, a daughter and a son and they are growing up to be such beautiful adults who bring blessing in our lives every day. My husband and my children are my biggest fans they love everything I make for them and they are the reason I am who I am today. They keep my “wheels going”. I also am encouraged everyday for the beautiful gift of friendship. I’m blessed to have so many great friends. We have a fabulous knitting group that we meet at least once a month and I know that without their support and encouragement my ideas would've never become reality.

I went to school for Psychology in Brazil and I’m a social worker by trade here in the US. Although that is a rewarding profession I do love knitting and it has always been one of my biggest passions. I have never been able to fully follow a pattern and I always modify it a little. After a few years of knitting and “modifying” some patterns I decided it was time to start designing my own and share my ideas with this beautiful community. The FGYCo was my first opportunity to have a pattern published and released. I have released a couple of free patterns on Ravelry.(ravelry name is taciravelry)


Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?

I have a small area in an extra room we have in my house which I share with my daughter. She loves to paint and make jewelry and I have all my yarn, my computer and my sewing machine there .. we seem to share it very well and live in harmony in the little space we have. But I have to confess I do most of my knitting and my best designing ideas come to me while I’m sitting in the couch in our living room or in our deck. We live in an area in Oregon called Happy Valley and I’m very blessed that from our living room I can see the whole valley and beautiful Mount Hood. In Spring and Summer especially, I cannot believe that I get to see this beautiful view every day.

Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?

I also get inspired by everything in nature and all the beautiful landscapes that surround me every day. Sometimes it is the waves at the beach, sometimes a little branch in the ground and sometimes the color or shapes of a beautiful flower.

Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?

There are so many fantastic designers out there that it would be too hard  for me to single out who my favorite one is. I think we are so blessed to have so many beautiful and talented people in this community it is impossible for me to narrow one single person. What I can say is that I really love modern and clean designs with yet a romantic flair. I also really like pieces that have an elegant flavor to them.

What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?

My day is not complete until I see my husband, my children, talk to my family, and knit - if only for 15 minutes. For me knitting is like a good medicine when you are sick, it makes everything better. I love art, love expressing my ideas and feelings and I see knitting as a daily opportunity to express my creativity and the artistic side of my brain and my heart.

What do you have on your needles right now?

I’m not a monogamous knitter.  To be honest,  I’m always working on too many projects at a time. I strive to try to only have 2 or 3 projects going at the same time, but most of the time 4 or 5 and is more truthful. I’m always working on a blanket, and right now I’m also working on 2 shawls. I am also always working on a crochet baby blanket (I make at least one every month either for a gift or to donate for a mother in need in Brazil). I sew a flannel blanket and trim it with a crochet edge - which is another one of my passions.

While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?

Being from Brazil I have always loved cotton, but I had never found the perfect cotton to work with until I worked with SilverSpun®. Plus I love the surprising fact that the yarn has some flexibility which makes it absolutely perfect … the final piece is not only soft, but it has a smooth stretch that makes each garment more comfortable than you expected. I cant wait to make some baby hats with it. I think that it will be a perfect combination of warmth and comfort … now I can say I have finally found the perfect cotton.

Do you have any other passions besides knitting?

When I was younger I loved painting, but this days I find that painting with yarn is what I really love to do. So, I have to say that knitting and crocheting are my 2 very favorite things to do. I also love watching good movies ( while knitting), going in hikes (and knitting in the car while my husband drives us there), doing Yoga and drinking a good cup of coffee or tea.

One of my favorite things is to seat in our deck with a good glass of wine, with my knitting in my lap while looking at the beautiful view we are blessed with. As you can see I love lots of different thing, but as crazy as it can appear knitting is in one way or another always present in my daily life and I love that my husband, my children, my family and my friends support me and that I feel completely happy while I’m doing it. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a little bit of my life with you and I hope you enjoy knitting with SilverSpun® as much as I did.

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Find Taci's award winning design here.

 

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The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

Our new yarn, SilverSpun® Silk, is a glorious blend of American grown Combed Cotton, Tussah Silk and Silver.  Each skein is hand dyed using the best natural dyes available.  We are very proud that we are using only natural dyes for this yarn and thought it might be helpful to share what botanical dye(s) we used to create the beautiful colors of the SilverSpun® Silk color pallet. 

Today we take a look at, "Brick Dust".  The intense, deep red color of this yarn was created using Quebracho Rojo.

Quebracho Rojo –  Found in the Gran Chaco region of Argentina,Quebracho (Schinopsis quebracho-colorado) is a dense hardwood that is commonly used as fuel for the legendary Argentine barbecue but it is also an important tannin for the leather industry as the heartwood contains between 20-30% tannin. Recently quebracho has been listed by winemaking suppliers as it is used to resist oxidation of red wines as well as impart flavor. Quebracho is  suitable for dyeing cellulose fibers and also performs well on silks and wool, and yields a lovely pinkish peach to brown rose color.  Try Quebracho on wool with aluminum acetate as your mordant for a brightened color effect. When overdyed with indigo, it creates a deep steel gray-blue.

You can find this color, as well as all the other beautiful naturally dyed colors of SilverSpun® Silk here.

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April Design Challenge - a Wrap

April Design Challenge - a Wrap

Our April design challenge is a little more free wheeling than our previous two.  This month we'd like you to design a Wrap.  It can be any kind of wrap, as long as it covers the shoulders.  It could be a lacy shawl, a long rectangle, a simple triangle, anything your creative mind can come up with, just as long as while wearing it it can cover the shoulders.  

This month's challenge uses SilverSpun® Silk (max. 1 skein)

  • The deadline for submissions is June 5, 2017
  • Public voting will take place June 7-14, 2017
  • Winner will be announced June 16, 2017
  • Read full details here.

Think you want to give the Challenge a try?  Let us know by clicking here.

Thanks for taking the challenge and good luck to all!

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The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

Our new yarn, SilverSpun® Silk, is a glorious blend of American grown Combed Cotton, Tussah Silk and Silver.  Each skein is hand dyed using the best natural dyes available.  We are very proud that we are using only natural dyes for this yarn and thought it might be helpful to share what botanical dye(s) we used to create the beautiful colors of the SilverSpun® Silk color pallet. 

Today we take a look at, "Terra Cotta".  The warm, orange/yellow color of this yarn was created using Madder Root & Weld.

Madder – Madder (Rubia tinctorum) is one of the oldest and most frequently used traditional dyestuffs known. It has extensive history in Turkey, India and Iran where it is still being used for dyeing knotted and woven carpets. The secret for Turkey red, a deep rich red color, was guarded for centuries throughout Central Asia and involved more than twenty steps to create this prized shade. Madder extract will produce pale pink and peach shades all the way through a deep, wine-colored red.

Madder is found in different forms: Rubia tinctorum in Central Asia, Rubia cordifolia in India and Pakistan, Rubia peregrina (Wild Madder). In Japan, madder is called akane and refers to Rubia cordifolia, which was obtained through trade with India. Lady’s Bedstraw, a common member of the Rubia family, was used for stuffing mattresses and its roots yield a lighter red dye.

Weld Extract – Weld (Reseda luteola) is the most light fast of the yellow dyes, used by ancient tapestry weavers in Central Asia, Turkey and Europe. Weld is the brightest and clearest yellow flower dye and in combination with iron creates a rich chartreuse, or overdyed with indigo is a clear lime green.

You can find this color, as well as all the other beautiful naturally dyed colors of SilverSpun® Silk here.

Continue reading

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

Our new yarn, SilverSpun® Silk, is a glorious blend of American grown Combed Cotton, Tussah Silk and Silver.  Each skein is hand dyed using the best natural dyes available.  We are very proud that we are using only natural dyes for this yarn and thought it might be helpful to share what botanical dye(s) we used to create the beautiful colors of the SilverSpun® Silk color pallet. 

Today we take a look at, "Dusty Rose".  The soft, subtle pink color of this yarn was created using Madder Root. 

Madder – Madder (Rubia tinctorum) is one of the oldest and most frequently used traditional dyestuffs known. It has extensive history in Turkey, India and Iran where it is still being used for dyeing knotted and woven carpets. The secret for Turkey red, a deep rich red color, was guarded for centuries throughout Central Asia and involved more than twenty steps to create this prized shade. Madder extract will produce pale pink and peach shades all the way through a deep, wine-colored red.

Madder is found in different forms: Rubia tinctorum in Central Asia, Rubia cordifolia in India and Pakistan, Rubia peregrina (Wild Madder). In Japan, madder is called akane and refers to Rubia cordifolia, which was obtained through trade with India. Lady’s Bedstraw, a common member of the Rubia family, was used for stuffing mattresses and its roots yield a lighter red dye.

You can find this color, as well as all the other beautiful naturally dyed colors of SilverSpun® Silk here.

Continue reading

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

Our new yarn, SilverSpun® Silk, is a glorious blend of American grown Combed Cotton, Tussah Silk and Silver.  Each skein is hand dyed using the best natural dyes available.  We are very proud that we are using only natural dyes for this yarn and thought it might be helpful to share what botanical dye(s) we used to create the beautiful colors of the SilverSpun® Silk color pallet. 

Today we take a look at, "Weld".  The soft, subtle yellow color of this yarn was created using Weld and Myrobalan. 

Weld (Reseda luteola) is the most light fast of the yellow dyes, used by ancient tapestry weavers in Central Asia, Turkey and Europe. Weld is the brightest and clearest yellow flower dye and in combination with iron creates a rich chartreuse, or overdyed with indigo is a clear lime green.

Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) – is a commonly used dye throughout India and grows primarily in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is an upright tree with small oval leaves and lovely bright yellow flowers. Myrobalan has always been used as a primary component for cotton dyeing in India and is often employed as a mordant prior to creating brown and black on cotton fabrics. Myrobalan extract overdyed with indigo makes a beautiful teal color. Using higher percentages of myrobalan yield a brownish yellow, while the lower percentages yield a light buff color.

You can find this color, as well as all the other beautiful naturally dyed colors of SilverSpun® Silk here.

Continue reading

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

The Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silk

Our new yarn, SilverSpun® Silk, is a glorious blend of American grown Combed Cotton, Tussah Silk and Silver.  Each skein is hand dyed using the best natural dyes available.  We are very proud that we are using only natural dyes for this yarn and thought it might be helpful to share what botanical dye(s) we used to create the beautiful colors of the SilverSpun® Silk color pallet. 

Today we take a look at, "White Tea", the lightest of the dyed colors.  The soft, subtle color of this yarn was created using Black Walnut Hulls. 

Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is a common source of brown dye throughout North America. The fleshy hulls are full of tannin, juglone and other pigments and are the primary source of the dye. Walnut hulls were used to dye hair, make inks and clothing and are also used in herbal medicine. The rich brown color develops with oxygen, so it is necessary to simmer the walnut powder for about two hours with an overnThe Naturally Dyed Colors of SilverSpun® Silkight cool down before adding the fiber.

You can find this color, as well as all the other beautiful naturally dyed colors of SilverSpun® Silk here.

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February Design Challenge - Fingerless Mitts

February Design Challenge - Fingerless Mitts

Our February design challenge is the ever popular Fingerless Mitts.  Feel free to design them however you like - knit in the round, knit flat, pieced.  The sky's the limit.

This month's challenge uses SilverSpun® Sock (max. 1 skein)

  • The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2017
  • Public voting will take place April 17-23, 2017
  • Winner will be announced April 24, 2017
  • Read full details here.

Think you want to give the Challenge a try?  Let us know by clicking here.

Thanks for taking the challenge and good luck to all!

 

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January Design Challenge - A COWL

January Design Challenge - A COWL

We are kicking off the 2017 Monthly Design Challenge with a relatively easy project - a COWL.  Let your imagination run wild as you design yours!

This month's challenge uses SilverSpun® Sport (max. 2 regular skeins)
  • The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2017
  • Public voting will take place March 17-23, 2017
  • Winner will be announced March 24, 2017
  • Be sure to email us at contact@feelgoodyarnco.com to let us know you will be participating.
  • For full details click here

Thanks for taking the challenge and good luck to all!

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