Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sport Weight Pattern Suggestions

Howdy! Today I'm happy to introduce the newest base to the Storied Yarns lineup: Storied Yarns BFL Sport! It's a 100% Superwash BFL skein and it comes in at 100g and 278 yards for $25.

Here's a picture of this base, all dyed up and ready to ship in the shop, in my "Ron Weasley" colorway:

I've got a few pattern recommendations for this yarn, so sit back and get ready to browse!
First up, socks! Sport weight yarn is slightly thicker than traditional sock yarns, making it great for warm, thicker socks or for gift-sock knitting (because it goes faster, ha!). Here are a few great sock patterns for sport weight yarns:

Boot Socks - Find on Ravelry
Kalajoki - find it on Ravelry

If socks aren't your thing, 'tis the season for hats, to be sure! Here are some adorable hat patterns (I think that first one is especially fitting for the colorway that's in stock right now!):

Hermione Hearts Ron - on Ravelry

Mel Ski's Drizzle - on Ravelry
Simple - but lovely! - on Ravelry

I'm a sucker for fingerless mitts any time of the year, so here are some of my favorite mitt patterns that I think would work out really well in this yarn:

Siren Sleeves - on Ravelry

Fallberry Mitts - free on Ravelry

And last but not least, a few more patterns just for fun:

Elk Tooth Shawl - on Ravelry

Summer Days - on Ravelry

Well, that's it from me! Be sure you check out the shop - I've done the final update of 2013 so there are lovely new skeins in store for you:

Thanks so much for a fabulous year! I'll see you back here soon with previews of the first update of 2014!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Get Away with Me

Hold onto your hats, I'm actually blogging! I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I've got some exciting new things planned for Storied Yarns in 2014, but before I get to all that I've got an exciting announcement!

I'm having a retreat again this year, yay!!!! This time I've teamed up with two ahh-mazing ladies: Dana & Brittany of the Just One More Row podcast. The three of us are planning and plotting to bring you a retreat that's full of awesome!

A view of the gorgeous Lake Frances
Here are the details:
Where: This year the retreat will be at the gorgeous Lake Frances Retreat Center in Crossville, TN. We'll be staying in awesome cabins so you won't have to share a bathroom with more than 4 people (unless you're part of a large group and you request that arrangement). The retreat center boasts a gorgeous lake, a peaceful setting and so many fun activities! We'll have nightly campfires, beach volleyball, corn hole, nature walks, a ropes course for anyone who's interested, karaoke and - of course - plenty of time for knitting, spinning, chatting and eating! The meals will be fully catered this time and we'll have snacks on hand for in between meals.
When: The retreat will happen May 16-18, 2014.
Cost: The cost is $170 which covers all your food, lodging, activities and goodies for the entire weekend (dinner Friday through breakfast Sunday).

The open-air building where we'll spend our time spinning and knitting!
We're planning to have informal mini-lessons in topics you'll love, so there will be time to learn new things without the pressure and structure of formal classes. We're also going to have a vendor marketplace and we've lined up some FABULOUS vendors for you - you're going to squeee!!! with delight when I'm able to announce them, I promise! We're also working to contract with two massage therapists to give massages by appointment over the weekend. It'll be like going to a spa with yarn!

The path to the cabins

I hope you'll join us for a wonderful weekend of relaxing and fibery fun! Check out our Into the Wool Ravelry group for all the details, including a link to the sign-up form and a list of FAQs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Freak Flag

As some of you may know, I've recently started working as a Virtual Assistant to a variety of awesome and talented creative business owners. One of the tasks I'm taking on in this Gal Friday role is to write posts for the blog at Patterned. Every Friday, we're doing something a little different - we're setting aside time to get creative, think about life and business, and step outside the box. We'd love for you to join us!

In this week's #ThinkCreateReflect post, we're making our own Freak Flags!

In case you're not sure, a Freak Flag is basically an outward expression of whatever makes you a unique, wacky, freaky individual.

One day I might make a giant Freak Flag banner for my Ready Room (aka my craft/sewing/home office room), but in the meantime I think this giant crocheted shawl of mine probably counts as a Freak Flag -

It's crocheted out of several different wild and wacky skeins of handspun. Some I spun myself, and others I got from very wonderful friends. I cherish this shawl not only because it keeps me SUPER warm in the cooler months but because it's like a Freak Flag I can wear - it's thick and thin and slightly garish and definitely weird, just like me at times. :)

What's YOUR Freak Flag? Head on over to Patterned and share it with us, or take a picture and tag it #ThinkCreateReflect on Twitter or Instagram!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How I Fell off the Face of the Planet

Looking for the candle giveaway? It's over here.

Howdy! Today I want to share a little bit about what's been happening around here the past few months (aka, How I Fell Off the Face of the Planet), as well as how I found my way back down to Earth. Please pardon the temporary interruption to the usual yarn-infused posts. :)

Story time!

A few months ago, summer had just started, and I was facing the prospect of having three rowdy kids home all summer while I attempted to work my regular part-time day job AND run Storied Yarns. Every day was chock FULL of To Dos, and plenty of stress.

For my kids, the #1 thing they heard from me earlier this summer was, "Not right now - Mommy's working."

UGH! This was NOT how I wanted things to turn out.

When you run your own business, the To Do list is really never-ending. I struggled to find the time to work on the day job tasks, work on Storied Yarns tasks, and take care of my kids and my household. I was a hot mess; so much so that nothing worked out well, and everything felt like it was falling apart.

Lucky for me, a few months before summer started I made the decision to join Tara Swiger's Starship. In the Starship I've had access to classes and counsel from other creative business owners like me, and I've learned that I can change my business (and really, my LIFE) if I just sit down and take the time to explore what's working - and what isn't working - and map out the steps to make the changes I need in order to get back on track with where I want to be.

So let's go back to earlier this summer. My path from stress to peace basically went something like this:
1. Freak Out.
2. Break down, cry, talk to a very understanding and sympathetic husband.
3. Put 2 + 2 together to figure out that I'm working 40 hours a week to earn about 20 hours' worth of pay.

In case you were wondering, working full-time hours for part-time pay was NOT my idea of a good life. 

4. Explore what's working, and what isn't.
5. Change schedule to focus on day job primarily, with Storied Yarns worked in around the edges.
6. YAY! Peace, yo!

Now, summer is over, and I follow a schedule that works for me: I spend certain hours of the day focused on the kids and the house, and other hours are reserved for work. I haven't turned into June Cleaver overnight, but most of the time I've got clean laundry, clean dishes, and clean floors - which is a lot more than I had back in June. I even get time for a break every day!

I'm not exactly happy that I had to get to such a stressed-out place to make these changes, but I'm glad for the changes nonetheless. That experience has helped me learn that I can handle anything that comes my way. I'm not 100% there yet (I'm still working to transition my existing day job, which is ending soon, to running my own business of a different kind for a day job income - more on that later), but I'm on the path to living the life I want - the life I choose for myself.

I'm still going with Storied Yarns, and I'm hoping that this new schedule will even give me more time to share my adventures here on the blog. I've already found that by not trying to make my business into a full-time job, I have a lot more fun working on it and it helps me feel more creative and inspired. I hope you'll continue to join me in my adventures, and to share with me through the comments!

Thanks for letting me share a little of my behind-the-scenes today! I'll be back later this week to show you what I'm knitting and what I've been cooking up in the dye pots.

NOTE: This blog post has been part of Tara Swiger's Exploration Party - a celebration of inner explorers, led by Tara Swiger of Explore You. You're invited to share your own explorations with us, too! And if you're thinking that there's an area of your business OR your life that could use a little exploration, Tara's new class could be just the thing you need. (Seriously, I don't normally recommend stuff like this, but the Starship has helped me SO much, and this class is like a mini-Starship experience. Also? She makes a lot of Star Trek references, has pink hair, and she's a knitter. She totally gets us.)

Diamond Candles Review & Giveaway!

Update: We have a winner! Congratulations to Cheryl-Anne!

Hello! Guess what? I'm back! I'm going to try to blog more often, though I make no promises about HOW often because I don't want to disappoint you. :)

I thought it might be nice to bring you a present as a welcome-back kind of a gift, so I got you a candle! Well, really I got you a coupon code for a free candle, but that's actually better because now you get to choose your favorite fragrance!

A little while back, Diamond Candles contacted me and asked if I'd like to do a give-away on my blog, and review a candle for myself. I jumped at the chance, because I love to burn candles to make my house smell warm and inviting any day of the week. Plus, Diamond Candles uses 100% soy in their candles so they're all natural, which is a definite bonus. I'll be the first to admit that I don't live a totally environmentally-friendly lifestyle, but I like to do what I can so I like that the (all-American!) soy beans used in Diamond Candles make them a sustainable, earth-friendly product.

I got to choose the fragrance I wanted for my review candle, and it was a tough one! I was tempted by so many - Rosewood, Gingerbread Latte, and Ocean Mist, to name a few - but in the end, I went with a fragrance inspired by one of my favorite indulgences: Cinnamon Tea.

At the end of a long, tiring day, all I want is to relax with a spiced cup of chai or cinnamon tea. I knew that burning that candle would help me relax all throughout my day, and I was right! The fragrance is nicely strong without being overpowering, and the candle smells really good even when it isn't lit!

Of course, the best part about Diamond Candles is that they put an actual RING inside each candle! Since they want the fun of burning a candle to be even more exciting than usual, Diamond Candles hides a ring worth anywhere from $10 to $5,000 inside each candle. When you burn the candle, you can see the ring inside it and after the wax burns down enough you can fish it out!

They take care to protect the rings; they're carefully wrapped in gold foil. After just a few hours of burning time, I was able to use a fork to pull this out of my candle:

I let it cool off for a minute or two, and then I unwrapped it to find this:

If you find "14K" written inside your ring, take it to a jeweler and have it appraised! My ring wasn't a "big winner," but it's still really lovely! I gave it to my daughter, who was just as excited about this whole process as I was. I definitely see more Diamond Candles in our future.

How about you? Do you want a Diamond Candle of your very own? Just enter below! I'll leave the contest up for one week, so it will end Monday, August 19, 2013. The winner will receive a coupon code for the free Diamond Candle of your choosing! This contest is open only to residents of the United States.

Disclaimer: I participated in this review and give-away because I got a free candle for myself and a code for a free one to give away. Diamond Candles sent me my candle for free, but I gave an honest review and the opinions stated in this Diamond Candles review are all mine. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Companion Bag: Your New Best Friend

Hello, lovelies! Today I am very excited to introduce you to a new product here at Storied Yarns Central: the Companion bag! Yay (insert Muppet-esqe flail here)!!!!!

This one is made using TARDIS print fabric but I'll be making this same bag in a variety of awesome, nerd-tastic prints!
When I decided to start making project bags on a regular basis, I decided that I wanted to make bigger (on the inside? ha!) bags than most of the ones I own. This bag is large enough to hold a few different skeins of yarn at once or to hold a single-skein project with plenty of room to spare for things like an e-reader, a printed pattern or book, pens, notions, etc.
The Companion bag features double-sewn seams for extra sturdiness as well as interfacing to help the bag stand on its own. It won't let you down with a lot of sagging and slumping while you're trying to knit, that's for sure! It has a wristlet handle, zipper closure and a zipper pull for easy opening and closing.

Inside the bag you will find two snap-open (and closed) yarn guides; this is great for knitting two-at-a-time socks or alternating skeins while you work without tangles. When I knit my socks 2-at-a-time with these bags, I simply turn the bag when I turn my work and it keeps those strands in line.

Here you can see the yarn guides "in action" with two separate yarn cakes. (By the way, that's 8oz of worsted weight yarn in there with plenty of extra room!)

 Here's a shot of the bag holding one of my sweater lots - this is over 1300 yards of DK weight yarn!

Here's a front view so you can see how easily it holds that much yarn:

This is obviously just one of my bags, but I make them all using the same Secret Formula so any Companion bag you buy will have all these awesome features.
Here are the details:
- Dimensions: The Companion is approximately 13 in. wide, 9 in. high, 9 in. across at the base and 4 in. deep (that's approx. 33 cm wide, 24 cm high, 24 cm across at the base and 10.5 cm deep).
- Materials: I use high quality cotton fabrics for the inner and outer portions of the bags. The shell is also lined with heavy interfacing and the bag features a zipper closure. You can machine wash these bags on a cold cycle and tumble dry low if needed, or simply spot clean here and there.
- The bags will all be somewhat limited edition; due to the time consuming nature of creating them, I will not be taking custom orders. I also will not be likely to repeat my fabric choices very often (if at all), so once a particular print sells out then it may never come back. If you see a bag and you want it for your new Companion, you'd better grab it up quickly.
- Each Companion bag sells for $30.
I hope you enjoy my new bags, and that they bring an element of Nerdy Awesomeness to your next WIP! You can find the Companion bags at Storied Yarns and Storied Yarns on Etsy. If you want to see sneak previews of the bags as I create them, follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

She's Baaa-aaack!

I'm back! After a brief experiment posting blogs at another site, I'm back to good ol' Blogger. I hope you didn't miss me too badly! I'm about to re-post a few things from the other site to this one, just to keep everything where it belongs, and then I'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging very soon.

Thanks, everyone!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Knitting a Hand Dyed or Hand Spun Sweater

Hello, everyone! Today I listed some exciting new packages in the Storied Yarns Shop - the Ultimate Fangirl Sweater Kits! These kits will give you plenty of hand dyed yarn (in the colorway and base of your choosing) to knit a sweater, and they're available in DK and Worsted weight yarn options as well as a Combed Top option for you spinners out there. For every kit you get two full pounds of yarn or fiber!

So, how about some suggestions of what to knit with these lovely kits?

First up: the Ultimate Sweater Kits (2 pounds of yarn or fiber) ...

For the DK weight option, you will have 2000 or 2650 yards of DK weight yarn, depending on the base you choose. What sweaters can you knit with that? Quite a few, I should say!

How about a simple cardigan with a pop of textured detail at the collar and sleeves? Roheline should do the trick! This one would look really great in a semi-solid OR a variegated colorway, I think. For something with a little more detail (that would probably work best in a semi-solid "Stock Character" colorway), how about The Archer, a hooded pullover with cable details, or a cabled cardigan - Locke Street Cardigan?

For the worsted weight option, you will get 1696 or 2480 yards. Emilien is a great, basic hoodie pattern that would look awesome striped with two colorways or in one semi-solid or variegated color. Girl Friday has been a favorite pattern of mine for quite some time, and I also really love Dark and Stormy. I think either of those would work best in a semi-solid, stock character shade.

If you're going to buy the fiber option, of course your yardage will vary depending on the weight you spin and the yardage you are able to make. However, a few suggestions might help you narrow down the sweater patterns that would work especially well for handspun yarns. My friend Brittany recently published Libretto, which has a really fun shape and structure that lends itself well to textural yarns. I also really like Idlewood, which would be super cozy in handspun. The clean lines and stockinette body of the Effortless Cardigan and Atelier would also work really well in handspun, colorful yarns.

Next up: The Major Fangirl packages (24oz of yarn or fiber) ...

For the DK weight Major Fangirl sweater kit, you will receive 1500 or 1980 yards. Summer Solstice is a cardigan that would look fantastic in a boldly variegated yarn or a tonal one. Vodka Lemonade is an adorable cropped cardi that would be really nice in almost any color. Gnarled Oak Cardigan has beautiful details which would stand out really well in a semi-solid stock character colorway, and Calligraphy Cardigan, which I totally lust over, would be fantastic in a variegated colorway (note: for the largest sizes you may need to upgrade to Ultimate Fangirl for that one).

For worsted weight, try these on for size: you're going to have either 1272 or 1860 yards to play around with. I love the interesting structure of the Levenwick cardigan. The Brownstone pullover has a male model but I think works really well for either gender, no matter who that sweater will be for! Don't forget Francis Revisited; that one would be great for a colorful worsted weight yarn OR handspun.

For handspun, any of the above suggestions would probably work, too, as would Abalone - it only needs 500 yards! :)

Don't forget to check out my album of available colorways, including the milder Stock Character semi-solids in addition to all the bold, variegated options. If you're interested in a sweater package but not sure which one is right for you, just contact me on Etsy! Together we can make you the fangirl sweater of your dreams. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fiber Friday: Wandering in WIP-Land

psst - Are you looking for information about the Fiber Arts Retreat in April? Read THIS

Hello, and Happy Fiber Friday!

This week here at Storied Yarns Central, I feel like I may be slightly drowning in WIPs. I recently cleaned out my personal fiber bin (more on that next week), and inside I found a handful of project bags full of knitting WIPs. Now my WIP bin is overflowing instead of my fiber bin! ACK.

The only WIPs that I'm actually working on at the moment are a crocheted handspun shawl and a hat for my husband.

First up, the shawl - I'm using the Rippled Wrap pattern by Cheri McEwan, and I really like it because once you get past the setup rows, each subsequent row is basically the same as the last so it makes for nice TV crocheting. I also like that it's crochet and I'm using a really big (size US P) hook with super bulky handspun so in theory it will be a fast project (if I ever get the time to work on it, that is!). I'm using a variety of handspun skeins that are all hot pink but each one is unique; originally I made these into a bolero but I didn't like the way it fit, so instead they're going to make me a super cozy shawl for those cold winter nights.

Let's just not talk about the fact that it might be spring before I finish it, okay? 

Here is that lovely shawl in progress:

The hat I'm knitting for my husband was a special request from him. He wanted a "Ron Weasley hat," which to him means a hat with ear flaps and ties. Of course, being ME, I had to dye up a Ron Weasley colorway for his Ron Weasley hat, and then I had to use handspun for the hat instead of regular yarn, because that makes it more complicated more cozy.

Here's a picture of the hat along with the rest of the yarn I have in order to finish it - the yarn is a 2ply of my Ron Weasley colorway on SW BFL with a ply of natural oatmeal colored Icelandic wool. I love how the natural wool kind of mellows out the Ron a little bit, making this hat JUST wild enough for my husband to still wear it (I hope!).

I'm using the basic idea of the pattern, A Practical Animal Cracker Hat, by Becca Evans. This hat was inspired by the actual Ron Weasley hat from the third movie (the one my husband is referring to when he tells me the kind of hat he wants), so it's what I'm modeling my hat after. I had to frog the first one, though, as it turned out several inches too big circumference-wise, so I'm continuing on with my own method of decreasing since my numbers will be off from hers. For that I'm using Crazy Aunt Purl's guide to decreasing the crown of a hat.

The down side of this "quick hat" project is that I'm going to have to line it, because the Icelandic makes this handspun a little scratchy and I don't want the hubster NOT to wear it because it's too scratchy. So I'm going to use a SW Merino/Bamboo blend yarn to line it so it will be nice and soft and double cozy that way, but essentially that means I have to knit two hats. Oh well, at least it's going to be a fun one when it's finished!

The reason for all my rushing on these WIPs is that I'm DYING to cast on for the gorgeous pair of fingerless mitts that my friend Steph designed for quarter one of my A Yarn and a Tale book club. I'm making myself finish at least one of the above projects first, though, preferably the hat. So, there's that.

I did manage to squeeze in a little spinning this week - I spun this corespun yarn from a pair of batts by Ever Improving Me. I plan to knit it into a corespun crown for a KAL in the Funhouse Fibers Ravelry group. Wahoo!

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you, Fiber Fangirl. I also added some new goodies to the Storied Yarns Shop this week:

So, I guess that's it for me! Watch for an announcement next week about Quarter 2 of A Yarn and a Tale, and to stay the most up to date, hang out in the Storied Yarns Ravelry group.

Happy Stitching!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet a Colorway: Tesseract

Hello, and welcome! Are you looking for information on the Fiber Arts Retreat in April? Here you go!

Today we're up for another rendition of "Let's Meet a Colorway!" If you've been here before, you know that all of my gorgeous colorways for yarn and fiber are inspired by characters and stories. When I meet a new story, I tend to obsess over it; I dream about it, I think about it, I find myself quoting it in my head. All of this tends to continue until I make a colorway inspired by it. Then I can finally move on and think about other things, ha!

Anyway, today's spotlight colorway was inspired by a story that I first read a long time ago: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.

This colorway is called "Tesseract," and it's inspired by the wrinkles in space/time that Meg and her siblings use to time-travel in the books. It's a fun and funky blend of white, grey, charcoal, midnight blue, violet purple and burnt orange:

When I look at this colorway on the skein, I'm reminded of those awesome photos they take with satellites in outer space, where all you see is a blanket of stars against a dark sky and then there are these mysterious, colorful, glorious clouds:

Andromeda Galaxy from Space.Com

This colorway is one of my all-time favorites, and it was inspired by a book that I truly loved as a child. Need some ideas for what to knit with it? How about Time Traveler Socks? Ha! Or maybe a Wrinkled Scarf? I also think this yarn would be ahhh-mazing as an In the Pink Shawl. I mean, wow. It would look just like a galaxy on your shoulders!

Buy this yarn for yourself when you want to escape to another place or time. Buy it for someone else who encourages you to try new things, see new places, or is always there for you when you get lost and need to find your way home. 

You can find Tesseract in the Storied Yarns shop. And hey, I just updated it today, so there are a few other new lovelies in stock as well! If your favorite colorway happens to be sold out, just use the custom order yarn or roving listing and I'll dye it up for you. It's okay, fangirl - I've got your back. ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stitched Together 2013: A Fiber Retreat from Storied Yarns

I am SO excited to make this announcement! A dream I have had for a long time is finally going to come true, and the best part is that I get to share it with my fibery friends!!!

This year I will be hosting a Fiber Arts Retreat - YAY!!!! (Enter Muppet Flail Here.)

Do you want to join me?!? Of course you do! Here are the details:

What: Stitched Together 2013: A Retreat for All Things Yarny

When: April 26-28, 2013

Where: Fall Creek Falls State Park in Pikeville, TN

Cost: $100 per person to include food, lodging and extra goodies.

Come join us in a mountain retreat for the weekend! We'll surround ourselves with all the natural beauty Tennessee has to offer. Fall Creek Falls has six waterfalls, including the one called Fall Creek Falls which is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States! There are nature trails to explore and other activities including golf, horseback riding, and sports fields.

The theme I've chosen for this year's retreat is "Circle of Friends." Last year was a very challenging one for me in a lot of ways, and I felt that I got bogged down in the negativity. This year I'm trying my best to elevate myself, my circumstances and my surroundings. One way for me to do that is to gather together a circle of friends for a weekend of fellowship and fiber! Though we may not all know each other before the weekend begins, I'm sure that through the magic of yarn we will leave as a circle of friends. :)

The main thing I want to do this weekend is relax and play with yarn! I'm sure most of you feel the same way, so that will be our main event. I will bring as much of my fibery equipment as I can pack, so you can try out something new. We won't have any structured classes, per se, but it's my intention to form smaller, impromptu group lessons and demonstrations so we can all learn or see something new. On Saturday I will invite fiber artists to showcase their wares in a mini marketplace, so come ready to shop! We'll also weave a group banner and take at least one nature walk together. Options will be available for you to add on other activities on an individual basis as well, if that's what you prefer.

I will be providing the food for the weekend; we'll eat together in the dining room of our group lodge, with a casual and relaxed, home-cooked atmosphere. I will do my best to accommodate any dietary needs you may have as well. We'll eat three meals a day and indulge in plenty of snacking. ;)

Please note that this is a retreat for YOU, not your family. Please leave your children at home for this and come and enjoy a weekend with the girls! Special exceptions may be made if you have a child who is an infant/nursing. :)

The spaces are limited as the lodge only holds about 30 people, so sign up now if you are interested! The cost is $100 for the weekend, but I can set up a payment plan if you need one; just let me know. The registration form is here; get your name in now and then you can pay via PayPal or check/money order after that.

If you are interested in vending at the retreat, please use this form here. I will give preference to the vendors who are also going to attend the retreat for the weekend, and the vending spots are limited as well.

I really hope to see you there! If you have any questions at all about the retreat, you can visit this thread on Ravelry, contact me on Ravelry (I'm Jessecreations) or e-mail me at