Monthly Archives: April 2012

How to Spend a Sunday

When I cleaned out my office, I rearranged a bit and liberated a little bookshelf from the cats’ sun parlor. Which thrilled me because it gave me what I needed for a project that’s been on my mind since Ellie turned two.

mud pie kitchen

A Mud Pie Kitchen! Purple is what happens when Ellie gets to pick.

My Dad cut out the top piece and the burners, Ellie and I painted, Ellie and her Dad made the first mud.

stir stir

See the cookies in the oven?

It was a complex process.


The perfect consistency is somewhat elusive.

The back porch and the shower floor are somewhat gritty.

But absolutely worth it. I hope your Sunday was as gorgeous.

P.S. Tomorrow (Monday) is the last day to enter the drawing for April’s Mindful Fiber from Quo Vadis Handspun!


I was taking some pictures of another one of Roger’s cousins for a customer, and noticed that the Mindful Fiber yarn on the shelf wasn’t silvery (bamboo has lots of luster)!

no sheen, but it's not really that green

But it’s really not that green.

I tried it one more time – since I had the camera anyway. This one is closer.

a little sheen (and still green)

But still not quite right.

You’ll just have to see it for yourself. For a truly unique and surprising bamboo yarn, enter to win April’s Mindful Fiber Drawing.

12 Months of Mindful Fiber: April with Quo Vadis Handspun and Bamboo

**This Giveaway is closed! Please check back in May for more Mindful Fiber!**

As the positive trend of sustainability spreads, I suspect we’ll see more and more plant-based fibers in knitting yarn. Modal, rayon, and soy silk are already well known as ‘alternative’ yarns, but it’s bamboo that makes me believe that people can make yarn out of anything.

Bamboo might be the most sustainable plant on the planet. It is fast-growing (it’s considered an ‘invasive species’ down here), doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers, replants itself, you don’t have to kill it to harvest it and it’s ready to be harvested again in months. This grass is deceptively strong for its weight and has been used to make flooring, furniture, kitchenware and bicycles (I am not kidding). Bamboo products are unique in that they are both durable and biodegradable.

bamboozled haha

This is Lucky Bamboo (not the fiber kind or the kind Pandas eat),
but you get the idea.

Most bamboo clothing is produced as “regenerated cellulose fiber” (like rayon). This basically means that the bamboo is shredded, separated, filtered and put back together in fiber form. Like making paper from trees, this requires lots and lots of water and chemicals, so most bamboo fabrics are not considered organic and the process is not sustainable. Several companies are exploring ways to make refining process as environmentally friendly as the growing process. Various oxides and alcohols can be used (and, for extra greenness points, re-used) to dissolve the bamboo and then the resulting liquid is hardened into cellulose fiber threads that can be spun into yarn.

And what yarn. Bamboo yarn is strong, incredibly soft (unbelievably soft when you consider the source), shimmery, biodegradable and has a fabulous drape. It’s no wonder that bamboo fiber is so appealing to knitters.

A great place to find bamboo yarns (and more!) in unique and engaging colors is Quo Vadis Handspun.

Heidi opened shop shortly after she began producing artisan yarns to satisfy her own fiber cravings. As a vegan (someone who doesn’t use animal products of any kind), Heidi’s focus is on providing exciting and unique plant-based, environmentally friendly and creature-free yarns to her customers. To that end, she has amassed an enormous collection of fiber types!

yarn yarn yarn

Heidi and her stock at Fibers West.

Tencel, microfiber, organic cotton, color grown cotton, corn silk, viscose are all listed for sale as spinning fiber, hand spun yarn or hand dyed yarn. All the yarns and dyes are vegan and 100% cruelty-free, but Heidi says: “Not vegan? Thats ok! My yarns are a fun way to get some veggies in your knitting diet.”

My personal favorites are the yarns that are dyed with natural materials: indigo straight from the plant, madder, marigold, logwood, wood resins, saffron (pink not yellow!). Each yarn’s description contains the dye notes. It’s a little like reading a life story and a little like reading a recipe. Some yarns stay in their dye baths for days to achieve a marvelous intensity of color.

Heidi uses two commercially spun bamboo yarns as a base for her hand dyed sock yarns: Crystal Palace’s Panda Cotton, a bamboo and cotton blend with elastic, and Kertzer’s On Your Toes Bamboo, bamboo with nylon for structure. Since many people have Strong Feelings about elastic in knitting yarn, I chose the Kertzer for April’s Mindful Fiber giveaway.

mmmm shimmery

Because of the shimmer, I had a terrible time getting a picture of this yarn! It’s actually darker than shown – like a storm cloud.

Heidi calls this colorway Anuvittasana, or “standing backbend” (it’s yoga). But to me, it looks like a summer storm where everything suddenly goes dark blue-green and the rain shimmers down. Maybe it’s a Gulf Coast thing, but I’ve picked a sock pattern that matches my April Showers inclinations:

I’ve got a crush on these socks by KellyK! Is there anything better than paw prints all over your socks? I think not! Except maybe cables all over your socks, but this pattern has those too. Yay!

**This Giveaway is closed! Please check back in May for more Mindful Fiber!**

To win April’s Mindful Fiber Giveaway, just leave a comment on this post. The random number generator knows what to do. For more chances to win, refer your friends and have them mention your name in their comment (this is to raise awareness after all). April’s Mindful Fiber Giveaway will be open for almost two weeks (until Monday, April 30).

You can find Quo Vadis Handspun and Heidi on her blog, on Facebook, and, of course, on Etsy.

The bamboo picture and the pictures of the featured yarn are mine, Heidi Hizsa holds the copyright on all of the other yarn pictures. The illustration for the “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs Socks” belongs to KellyK (that’s what it says on the pattern page, so that’s what I’m going with). The pictures that aren’t mine are used with permission.

Two Things are Certain

Today has made me cranky. Giving money to a government that has demonstrated a singular inability to manage their finances effectively (or do anything positive with the appropriated funds) always makes me cranky.

But tomorrow we’ll have a new Mindful Fiber! See you then.

Two Months Later…

The elephant pattern has been sent to the test knitters. If you like to live dangerously (and you make both ears correctly the first time), you can make her with two skeins of Sprout.


My leftovers. I fly close to the wire.

I ordered the yarn for my next pattern this morning (hint: I got purple). I hope I move a little faster on this one. The Elephant in the pattern will be available in the shop sometime this weekend.