Friday, January 30, 2009

Mini box winner!

Thank you everyone for the great feedback! I'm sure I'll be re-evaluating things again in the future and hopefully, doing a similar giveaway.
More giveaways coming up!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bhak Tea

So, who of you are enjoying a sampling of Bhak Tea deliciousness?
When I came upon their shop on Etsy, I was immediately pleased to see such in-depth write ups about their products. Their site is so educational!
I consider myself an avid tea drinker and I learned several things just by stopping by!
Sadly, I did not save a tea sample for myself (oh the things I go through for you people) so I would love for those of you who have tried it to weigh in here about it. I will probably be purchasing their "Vanilla Sunrise" Tea soon- it sounds delicious and I would love to replace my morning coffee with some Yerba Mate!
Here is what they explain "Bhak Tea" means:
"Bhakti" is the Sanskrit word for loving the Divine. We try to live our lives according to this principle, and strive to see and love the Divine in everything and everyone.
You already know how I feel about purchasing goods from people who love what they do. Sounds like some of you will be brewing a cuppa love!
If you missed out like me, visit Bhak Tea and stock up! Psst! They offer tea ware too!

BaaHurrah! Rah! Rah! Rah!

This shop makes me happy.
I hope those of you who were lucky to net a FULL SIZE set of Baahurrah knitting needles in your box are happy too! I want an entire set of these needles! I don't care if I even use them, I just want to sit them out in my knitting nook for decoration, because they are beyond adorable. Beth has new Valentine themed ones in the shop now! You all know you need some needle love- go treat yourself! If you haven't experienced these lovelies, let me tell you- they are smooth! Hand sanded, hand painted, and in some cases, hand engraved- and the prices comparable to commercial stuff!!
Picture this: "Sally Jo", a member of your SNB group, has a birthday coming up... why not let Beth engrave a pair of needles as a present?! You could stick them down in a yarn cake or tie them to a boxed gift.
I'm sure these would make great teaching needles too! Have Beth paint one needle in one color and the other a different one for teaching children! She's always available for custom work- and ships 6 days a week!
I want to thank Beth for working so hard to make these for the box. They really made January's box extra special and I hope she considers contributing again!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fire Lizard Studio

Who was lucky enough to get a generous mini-hank of the Fire Lizard Studio yarn? I've got a purple passion for this little store!
I'm so in love with the all the opulent, deep, colors in the shop! The Lizard sock yarn comes in huge 100g hanks- enough for a generous pair of socks- and colors you could wear anyplace! Read the shop profile:
"I started Fire Lizard Studios because I got tired of living a plain vanilla life. My day job is doing research in computer science--I sit in a beige box and type all day. Although I am lucky enough to have a window, it's still a drab existence until you add some yarn! Working with yarn has been a growing passion of mine for a long time. I love to crochet, knit, spin, and dye, and I love putting yarns together in fun and interesting ways. When I work with yarn, I feel alive. For a long time I was afraid to direct that energy into a business, for fear that when it became a job, it would become a drag. But I finally decided to follow my passion and take the plunge. So far, I love every minute of it! I truly believe this is what I was born to do."
I believe she was born to do this too! Discard your plain vanilla lifestyle and envelop yourself in the deep colors and cashmere-like softness of this yarn!
Fire Lizard, we love your stuff! Please please contribute to the box again!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

PFI (Phat Fiber Int'l) Blooming Felt (UK)

I hope you (the folks that read this) are the type of people that shop at the quirkly little stores with the cheery attendants. I know I buy from people who enjoy what they do. I can feel the positive vibes emanating from the items I purchase long after I take them into my home. This should probably be the number one reason to buy handmade.
Blooming Felt is one of those little shops that makes it easy to spend time in. Sarah has taken great care to make sure her cheery little store reflects how happy her felt addiction has made her! I just adore the felted bag she has on her flickr! See what beautiful things you can make with Blooming Felt's array of crafty supplies?! If you are in the market for colorful buttons (they look like candies!), this shop needs to be in your top 5 list! It really has been a respite for me, here in the midwest as we're covered in gray ice the past couple of days!
Sarah sent in little baggies full of adorable felted balls for the January box- I am so curious to see what you clever people make from them! I have been picturing cute little bracelets, but I'm not as imaginative as most of you.
Treat yourself to a little package of jocundity from across the pond, and shop Blooming Felt!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Silver Sun Alpacas (and sneak peek into February's box)

Tonight, I sit curled up on my couch, listening to a subtle din of ice hitting the roof, the road, and unfortunately, the power lines. After braving the madness of the grocery store for last-minute necessities (hot cocoa, a loaf of french bread, and old movies)I actually mustered cleaning the kid's room, finishing dishes, laundry and made a creamy potato soup for dinner. I feel a bit like royalty as I sit here in my now tidy home, the silver glow of my laptop screen reflecting off of my (new yay!)glasses, and the sterling sound of ice glazing and encasing every surface outside.
Which brings me to the subject of this post- the gorgeous carded batt of "Ice Queen" Silver Sun Alpacas sent in to the January box.
This sample was so puffy, soft, and generous it was all I could do, not to keep some for myself! I know some of you are already experimenting and spinning this luxurious fiber, and I'm sure most (if not all) of you who've had a sampling of this, will surely head back to the store for more.
Speaking of their store, it is gorgeous. The array Ricky offers up is absolutely amazing and trust me, you WILL find something you need there. I ache to purchase one of the several fiber clubs she has listed! How perfect would this day have been if waiting for me in the mail box, was a bundle of puffy alpaca fiber to play with on my forthcoming snow days! Ricky is currently taking wholesale bids (I hope to distribute some of this fluffy goodness soon) for those of you wishing to purchase by the pound!
Speaking of pound, have you seen the Mega Bombshell 1lb of spinning fiber she offers?! It says it's for the "Fiber Zealous"- which is what I will be legally changing my middle name to once I can shovel out of here.
Okay, the news you really wanted to hear: Silver Sun Alpacas has sent in more gorgeous batts for February! !
I'm pausing so you can make the obligatory YES! hand gesture. No piccy's but think Their lovely "Ice Queen" Batt only- "Wine".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Life in the Phat Lane" A guest review of January's "Sitches" Box by ZombieCat

What follows is an excerpt from a phan's blog:

"So (waaayyy) back in December I caught wind of this yarn and fiber sampler box that this wonderful woman, Jessie, was going to be putting together. She'd be getting sample skeins and batts, stitch markers and balms, needles and bags, and all the wonderful things that go along with this great lifestyle. Each month indie crafters would send her their samples in the theme (I LOVE themes!) for that month.
January's theme was "Wintery Mix", and on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 8:22pm (during knitting group, what better time?!) the limited amount of boxes went on sale at Phat Fibers etsy site. Your humble blogger (that would be me), was able to procure a box (there were two available, a fiber and yarn box, and a yarn only box. I went for the latter.) and now I present to you, my spoils:

From left to Right:
BunkyBoBo's Superwash Merino Sock in Hera (10g); Melissa's Kre8tions, no info on color or fiber content but it looks handspun and ranges from yellow to red, about worsted weight (4.5g); The Fuzzy Bunny 100% Wool, light sport weight (10g/25yd); Whorled Peace, 3 mini skeins of handpainted sock yarn (total weight 2.8g); Chocolate Princess 100% Wool in Early Winter, dk weight (9g); Wildethyme handspun Wool/Mohair/Tussah Silk, bulky thick 'n thin, and a beautiful purple beaded stitch marker (8.5g); Hedgehog Fibres 65% Merino/20% Bamboo/15% Silk sock yarn in Water Edge, super, super awesome soft (4.3g)

From L to R (and top to bottom): Moonlight and Laughter 100% wool in Leaves of Grass, bulky weight (2.4g), 75% Merino/25% Nylon sock yarn in The Golden Road (1.7g), BFL roving in Deep Lake (3.6g), and an adorable orange glass stitch marker; Crazy4Dyeing Jolly Sock, 100% Superwash Merino in Glacier (13.4g); Yarn Candy by Melissa dark and light blue smooth, metal/enamal stitch markers (and a 20% off discount code which is why they're upside down); Tracy Rios handspun Mohair/Wool/Cotton yarn (11.5g); Turtle Cove Farm Turtle Feet (75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon) sock yarn in Ice Flower (10g/46yd); SummerStar Creations stitch markers, two red glass beads and one awesome business card! ;); Handspun and Dyed Too handspun Falkland wool (10.5g); Faerie Dust & Angel Fluff 100% Baby Merino Wool, lace weight. This is the SOFTEST bit of yarn I have ever touched. I WILL be buying more of this! Ahem...(2.7g); In Stitches stitch marker and offer for a free gift with purchase, nice and lightweight.

From L to R (and top to bottom): Artemisia Ink 100% Merino Wool (handspun by Ashley Flagg) in Ocean Seaweed, bulky weight (34g/23yd); Island Sweet Fibre Arts handspun Merino/Corn fibre/Ramie/Novelty in Glitter Storm, bulky thick 'n thin (7g); Designs by Tami sent a cute "matchbook" style notepad in a pretty, retro flower pattern; The Lote Tree (this is the wonderful Jessie, mentioned above, that put together this whole thing) Peppermint Lippschitt (great name!) lip balm. I'm wearing it right now and my lips are smooth and tingly! Dragon Lady Designs sent three adorable stitch markers, the strawberry is my favorite! Infinity handspun Superwash Merino/Alpaca, bulky weight (16g); Knit Get a Grip handbalm in Home scent, as far as I can tell it's a balm to make your hands a little tacky so you can grip the yarn and needles better. That's what I get from the instructions anyway, at any rate it smell delicious! DyedByDanido (the tag for this was missing, but I found out who it was from the forums on ravelry. eta: the colorway is Katchemak and it's 100% wool. Thanks for the comment DaniDo!) sock yarn and a link to an exclusive pattern for the yarn (2.2g)! All of these lovelies are laying on the Ruddawg KIP bag that I got. It's big enough to hold a small project such as socks (or the scarf for Ray that I'm working on, more about that later). It's very well made, and while not in a fabric that I would have chosen, it will get plenty of use.
There were also coupon codes for Moonwood Farm, P2tog, and Andey Originals. Hooray for discounts!
All this wonderfulness (either I use this word a lot, or it is actually a word because the spell check isn't underlining it...hmm....) only cost $33.00! That was including shipping (which was mighty fast). I won't be buying the February box (ONLY because I went over my yarn budget this month and need to stop for a while) so if anyone wants to check it out, go to the Phat Fiber blog and email Jessie and she'll send you a notice as to when it goes on sale. However, in March you can bet your sweet, furry yarn biscuits that I'm going to be clambering for one of those boxes. So please don't get in my way, I would like us to remain friends. ;)"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Actual Size Creations Valutree

Many of you are already enjoying their generous mini sock yarn hanks from Actual Size Creations. Imagine my sheer delight when opening the box of samples! The vibrant color, the softness, the generous size- I was nearly swooning. You saw me get all flustered in the video when it was time to fondle the "Absinthe" sample. I said I will be getting some of it soon and by Dodd, I did. I bought the worsted weight "Absinthe" because, well, my sock yarn stash is getting a little out of hand. I have no plans for this yarn. I just MUST have it. Smoosh on Rav mentioned carrying around yarn samples in her pockets to "pet" them while grocery shopping and other taxing non-fiber related duties- A sort of "worry stone" if you will. The only thing I can think of is wrapping the entire hank of Actual Size Creations yarn around my neck and wearing like a necklace when I go out. You all think I'm joking- I'm not. My thoughts on how pretty the yarn is quickly turned to how can I start stocking these in the phat shop. I am so in love with everything Val does in her shop, I'm having a horrible time deciding on what to get first. So, everyone let me know which type of hand dyed deliciousness you'd like to see in the Phat shop.

Worsted? Fingering? Bulky? Roving perhaps? Post your comments below!

Contest! *Feedback on Blog*

I've changed the look of the blog to be a little more reader- friendly. I want to make this as entertaining as possible and I need your help making it better! Post below your suggestions and be entered to win a mini Phat Fiber box! There were enough samples left over to make a half box (10+ samples)
What would you like to see more of?
What things bother you about the blog?
Any new suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

This contest will be a fairly long one- drawing will be held next Friday.
Remember to leave an identifying mark!

Friday, January 23, 2009

PFI Phat Fiber International Wooliesje!

All the way from the Netherlands! The awesome Serajah sent in several mini batts and crocheted flower embellishments! I'd love for everyone to post what they make with them!
I really enjoyed how bright and colorful her wool was! Almost neon! When I opened her box and saw all the crocheted flowers, I just couldn't stop thinking about how much time Serajah must have spent making them. Thank you so much! I think they are cute.
If you want to see some other really cute items, check out Wooliesje's felted flowers in her shop! They look like they fell out of a book of fairy tales! Notice in the second picture how absolutely gigantic they are. Imagine wearing a little black (0r white) dress with a giant felted flower pinned on the front. Chic! That is one way to wear a wool creation during the summer! Her prices are so reasonable too, so feel free to enjoy some handcrafted love from Zwaag!
Serajah, please consider contributing to future boxes- we all enjoyed your wintery mix samples!

Fuzzy Bunny Winner!

I so wanted her to win too (power of intention people!)!! She actually made a little video saying why she wanted the pom poms!

email me your addy Vickie!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fuzzy Bunny Fibers and *Giveaway*

I have a handspun crush on Fuzzy Bunny Fibers. Many of you have gotten her adorable yarns in your sampler box in January, but there is something you didn't get, and you have a chance to win it later.. but first, Back to the Fuzzy Bunny fiber. I hereby proclaim, that it shall be pronounced: "Fuzzeh Bunneh Fibers" for the rest of my post. Somehow, between passing bar exams, taking care of two buns and operating a delightful bath and body shop, the industrious Miss Elizabeth has time to spin up delicious fiber for us to enjoy as well! Look at all the handspun spectacularness (a phrase probably copyrighted by Miss E.) in her shop! I love the way the shop looks too.. clean, crisp, and all of the colors just pop right out off screen. Graphic handspun. I really really want the "mossy" handspun she has listed! It is made of "Faux Cashmere" although, she had me at "mossy". The samples that were sent in for January's box were so deliciosly colorful it was hard to pick favorites!If you don't have a yarn crush on Elizabeth yet, here is what she posted in her shop's profile: "My favorite things: ridiculousness, banter, strong black tea, fuzzy horse noses." I could go on, about so many things, like the fact that one of her bunnehs is named Lenni, that she also stocks handknits and makes duct tape wallets- but I won't. I'll leave that up to you, because we're giving away a bag of Fuzzy Bunny pom poms! Visit The Fuzzy Bunny Fibers shop and find something you like. Post about it below here. Plurks, tweets, forum posts, youtube videos, and blog entries will get you more chances to win. Drawing to be held Friday, so post post post! Please remember to leave an identifying mark too. Good luck everybody!
Thank you so much Elizabeth, for having such a fun shop, fantasical fibers, and for taking care of the bunnehs (it's a tough job and somebody's gotta do it). Please join us for future boxes and let the fluffiness abound!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whorled Peace

I, like many of you, feel today- no dream is too big to achieve, or obstacle too steep to overcome.I chose to feature the samples sent in by Kellie of "Whorled Peace", as that is what I hope today's events usher in. Pretty lofty goal, I know, but I'm a believer through and through. Whorled Peace is based in Lancaster Pennsylvania and can be found locally there. This is someplace I think I must visit someday soon- so many cool people I know come from Lancaster! I thought the samples Kellie sent in were adorable. She bundled 3 different samplings of sock yarn wrapped in simple, but chic brown cigar type labels. As you can tell from my photos of her samples and by visiting her shop, she offers an incredible myriad of fiber offerings. Rovings, handspun and hand painted yarns abound! There are even a sprinkling of hand-knits and patterns in there! I am eyeing her "Dandelion" colored hand painted Merino fiber.. I"m not normally attracted to yellow, but that is just yummy looking! Time to start dreaming of all of delicious handspun you could make with that! Many thanks to Whorled Peace for the adorable samples- I know you will all have such fun playing with them! I'm eagerly anticipating what Kellie will cook up for February's box!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Avalon Fiber Arts Designer Lynne Wardrop

What Will you be knitting when Obama is sworn in?I hope it is something, fun, useful, and of course beautiful! Why not go download a sock pattern from Avalon Fiber Arts designer Lynne Wardrop! Lynne generously submitted several full color patterns (complete with charts!) for the first few months of Phat Fiber boxes! The ones we included for January are a toe-up, worsted weight sock using the ever popular Lorna's Laces yarn.
I am completely sold on toe up socks! Who doesn't like the ability to try stuff on while you're knitting it?! I am really really itching to make some of these! I have never tried a sock in worsted weight before... they must go faster than sock weight- right? And warmer too! I know those of you who have received Lynne's sock pattern in their box will be squee-ing with joy, but if you did not- feel free to instantly download them from Ravelry and Patternfish.
Somebody knit me a pair, I'll love you forever if you do... promise!
Okay, if you don't knit them for me, be sure and post pics of your finished projects on the phatforum here: or on our group in Ravelry! We wanna see!
Please thank Lynne Wardrop for creating these lovelies for us to enjoy and for contributing a generous full-sized pattern for the box!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Infinity sent in several very very generous sample hanks of handpainted yarn, handspun, beaded stitch markers, and some dyed and braided tops. All of the samples were so generous, soft, and pretty- it was really hard to part with them! Take a look at her shop! I am very intrigued at the camel and silk bulky handspun- it looks so lofty and warm!For all you fellow contributors to the box.. look at the very pretty woven sachets! Wouldn't those look lovely in your stash pile?Don't you love the overall wintery feel of this shop? Makes me want to go grab a cuppa tea and knit something- actually it looks so soft, it's crochet comfy!I think you will all be thrilled when you recieve your Infinity samples! If you weren't lucky enough to get a box this month, maybe we can convince Infinity to contribute to February's!

Buttermilk and Honey whooeee!

Buttermilk and Honey has probably already invaded some of your homes with their goodie bag of spicy nuts. If you tried them, you know your New Year's Resolution has been blown. This little Grandma and Grandpa outfit had Marcus and I hooked a few years back after we tried their spicy nuts during the holidays. I think you will agree that these really should come with a warning---something like, "Eat one and you will be hooked for the rest of your life!" They make a totally sweet version but I like this type, and asked for their contributions for January to be the ones that are sweet and salty and occasionally pack a bit of "whooeee" as they put it. They have a bit of hot spice that only crops ups now and again, and makes you turn and look for the tall glass of iced tea. You really have to try them. The only way you can get them right now is to privately convo them at the etsy site: - mainly because I begged them to open an etsy store and they had no idea what they were getting into LOL. I understand they can make up orders of any size. The ones in the sampler boxes weighed about 2 to 3 ounces. And yes, Marcus had to be quarantined from the packing place while we placed them into the sampler boxes. Buttermilk and Honey promised to add a shortbread and Ghiradelli chocolate cookie to the February sampler. My hips and thighs are just aching for more company anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Launch Week Winners!

KIP Bags- cthulhulovesme !

Happy Housewife Cupcakes- AuntKathy !

Enchanted Yarn Fiber- Pumpkinmama !

LocalGringos greeting cards- Aster !

$10 in Bombbucks- Jags !

Congrats everyone!!!

I have some really talented artists and designers coming up- as well as more (really really awesome as in yarn and fiber and squee- must. hold. composure.) giveaways!

Ok people puleeze leave identifying marks when you write your posts!


COLORBOMBcreations and *Giveaway*

What a great night we had!

Fun! Fun! There will be a box in February, so those of you who didn't get one last night-there is hope for you yet. You can always enter contests here too! The launch week giveaway contest will be drawn today, and this will be a part of that.
Sometimes, when I find a piece of art- a book, a song- a yarn I immediately must seek out everything else that artist has produced. I think once you've experienced a COLORBOMB you will want/need to find out more. I had a great opportunity to have a virtual "sit down" with the velutinous Velma of COLORBOMB creations.
I apologize in advance for not having all of the folks she mentions in her interview hot-linked.
Describe a COLORBOMB?

To be literal, it was a comment left by Linda Scharf/StoneLeafMoon (aka Pinkveneer) on one of the yarns I spun for the (now defunct) Fiber Friday spinning challenge on Livejournal. I'd been struggling to come up with a biz name that a) was specific to what I'm doing, but isn't b) so specific that it limits me (so the original 'LovinKnit' was out). Anyway, when I read Linda's comment - "color bomb. nice!" - despite at that time not knowing her from Adam, or more likely Eve, I immediately knew: there's my business name! Now that I can consider Linda my friend, it means even more to me.In a larger sense, a COLORBOMB is an explosion of color, and of course as with any explosion, there's a lot of bits and pieces thrown about; in this case, the bits and pieces are textural interest. Oh, and a COLORBOMBer is someone who understands that COLOR CAN'T HURT YOU! (Get it? It's a bomb, but it can't hurt you.) We COLORBOMBers are the adventurous type. We like our yarn arty and color-filled and tactile-y delicious!

What led you to a life of fibery pursuits?

Grad school washout? Unemployment ran out? Suicide-before-cubicle-life? Can't afford to keep myself in handspun? Need to dominate the world through color & texture? A smattering of all of these, plus fancying myself an "artiste" at heart. As a Gemini, I have a very inflated sense of self, believing that it is my sacred duty to share my love for art yarn with the beige people and the one dimensional; I am a proselytizer for color, a missionary for texture, an advocate for adventure in fibery activities. Think my head is too big? ;)

What inspires your creative use of colors and textures?
What doesn't? Really, I'm just inspired by color & texture; those 2 things, along with adventure, form the triad that is the foundation of COLORBOMB Creations. I'm that girl who has always walked with one hand outstretched so I can feel the world as it goes by: the tactile pleasure of a fence, or a shrub, or a stucco wall against my fingertips is one of my favorite things. That experience translates directly into my work. As for color, I once had a friend from my years as an undergrad tell me that it was easy to find me anywhere on campus: just scan the crowd, & whomever had the most color on, that was bound to be me! Sartorially-challenged? Maybe. Basis for my fiber color palette? Definitely.Mostly I just let the fiber guide me. I've noticed that when I have a preconceived idea of what the yarn "should" be with a particular fiber, it flops. So I'm frequently less pleased with the yarns that come out of my efforts of spinning along a theme, say or for a spinning challenge issued by others; the yarn just never seems to live up to the idea I have in my head. Instead, I try to follow the lead that a particular fiber suggests; I often spin a little bit, decide I hate what's coming off Harry (my wheel, a Lendrum DT), and just set it aside for another day. More often than not, when I go back to the fiber and try something else, it just clicks. Forcing materials to be something they don't want to be just doesn't work for me. On the other hand, themes and spinning challenges are great for getting my creative juices flowing. I participate in two Ravelry groups for art yarn spinners, Novelty & Art Yarn Spinners and Intertwined Spin Along, which offers a wealth of creative inspiration. The spinning challenges issued periodically by The Yarn Museum are also good for getting myself thinking in new ways. The community of art yarnistas is really growing by leaps & bounds, which I see as a really positive sign.

Do you have any spinning mentors? If so, whom?

Oh-my-dog, YES! I follow in the footsteps of the great art yarn spinners that came before me. First & foremost, I was inspired by Lexi Boeger of Pluckyfluff renown. I own possibly the largest collection of her yarns extant today; I learned to spin specifically to be able to create the kind of art she pioneered. Early on (this was say 2002, 2003 or so), I was a big Jenny Neutron Star customer too, but she seems to have faded away. Jacey Boggs/Insubordiknit, Elizabeth O'Donnell/YarnPunk, & Reenie Hanlin/Material Whirled are also inspirations. Recently, Ravelry has been the nexus of the burgeoning art spinners 'scene', and I've had the pleasure of meeting and being befriended by a score of talented spinners there, too. I've been particularly inspired by Linda Scharf/StoneLeafMoon, Cindy Cole/StudioLoo, Tracy Hudson/Himalaya, and HollyEQQ. This is by no means an exhaustive list; anyone stretching the envelope of what "can" be yarn really floats my boat.

Describe your favorite yarn.

Wow, that's a toughy. It's cliche, I know, but they're like my babies. I remember their names, and their personalities, and want to find good homes for all of them. I do have a few that I was so partial to that I just couldn't part with them though. The two that leap immediately to mind are 'Spring Carnival', one of my LoopyDoopy style supercoils yarns in a sheer riot of colors that became one of my favorite hats: the Dread (K)naught, and the Lockalicious style 'Easter Bunny on Acid' of pink, yellow, purple, & green Cotswald locks which morphed into Power Beanie, my entry into the contest of the same name at The Yarn Museum. Oh, and 'Bug Balls', my first true art yarn in the throw-in-crazy-shit-and-spin-it-up sense; it has plastic bugs, orange pompons, synthetic wig hair, and polka-dot ribbons in a black wool base; I'm working on a hat called Helloween with it. Then there's 'In the Buff' that became my WedWrap, and, and, and... You can see the yarns and the hats in my Flickr photostream and, if you're a Ravelry member (I should hope!), you can see them in my stash and on my projects page, too.

Describe the least favorite yarn you've made.

Hmm, well, I generally find something I appreciate about all my yarns, even the ones that don't really do it for me personally (like most of the earth-toned and muted skeins), and I always learn something from a spin, even the "failed" attempts (which I either recycle, give away, or work up myself). But if I had pick one, I'd say it's 'Fog', which was an experiment spinning for a Fiber Friday theme: Lost. I wanted to spin yarn that resembled fog (I get lost easily in the fog), so I grabbed the bag of synthetic "super stretch-super scary" spider web fiber that I received in a swap, and set to 'spinning' it up. I wanted it to be as lofty and airy as possible, and realized that it needed absolutely no twist, so I just drafted it straight onto the bobbin. It 'worked' except that it is so sticky, it is unusable; it just gloms together. It came off the bobbin as one big amorphic mess! C'est la vie.

Do you listen to music while spinning? If so, what is your spinning soundtrack?

My aural backdrop of choice lately has been episodes of The West Wing, Law & Order, Scrubs, and pretty much anything not war related on The History Channel playing in the background. It needs to be dialogue-driven TV, not action-based; spinning to TV scripts has taught me that action movies have no substance! Nothing to listen to, they're all visual stimulation. (Duh, I know, I just never thought of it that way before. I ride the short bus, get off me man!) But when I turn off the TV and plug in the iPod, there's no telling what will turn up; I'm as likely to listen to Ween as Wagner, Beastie Boys or Booker T., Reggae or Rockabilly; the only thing I don't listen to is hate-rap and contemporary Country & Western (which, I maintain, is neither country nor western; nor good.). And this year, The Year of Book Gluttony at Casa Velma, I expect there might be some audiobooks on the ol' iPod.

I love the names of your handspuns. Which comes first, the yarn or the name?

The yarn, always. I rarely make more than one skein of any given colorway, and each gets named at some point in the spinning process; sometimes a name suggests itself as I'm spinning, sometimes at the very end when it's getting tagged, and occasionally a name changes between those two points due to the personality and look of the yarn morphing. So I've had 'Slap-and-Tickle' (laden with tassels), 'Clown Pants' (named in honor of Ravelry's Bubbo), 'Weiner Poopie' (the yarn embodiment of a news story featuring feuding neighbors, a concrete Jesus statue, and dachsund poo), and the aforementioned 'Easter Bunny on Acid' (fairly self-explanatory). And once in a blue moon I am completely flummoxed by the whole appellative mess, and I enlist my peeps in choosing a name; that happened recently to the yarn that became 'Forget Me Not' - thanks, Velvetpurrs!Now, the naming of yarn lines, like LoopyDoopy and Ménage à Trois, is somewhat different. Sometimes the yarn comes first, sometimes the name. When I try a new technique, and I'm happy with it, I name it; other times, I have a 'look' in mind, and the name comes first. LoopyDoopy is an example of the former; I learned how to spin supercoils, then cast around in the recesses of my moldering brain 'til I found the appellation 'LoopyDoopy', which I think captures the loops you see in coils yarn. On the other hand, I had the name Ménage à Trois in my back pocket long before I learned to actually spin a 3-ply yarn. There are a couple of yarn styles that I haven't perfected, or in some cases even tried yet, but I've already picked out their names; I collect colorway name ideas the same way, just like an expecting parent choosing baby names.

I read in your profile, you created a year-long freeform fiber project. Tell us more.

Sure! The idea was this: begin a piece of freeform knitting, and update it daily for three hundred and sixty-five consecutive days, either scanning or photographing it's progress each day as well and posting it to the group (on Flickr). Why? That can be summed up by the following: "What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). To be fair, I started a year-long freeform piece; I actually only completed 263 days. What is they say? "How you do anything is how you do anything"? I've always had a virulent case of startitis; beginning projects is easy for me, but hanging in there to completion, therein lies the rub. I'd been wanting to try freeform, but was hampered by the (erroneous) belief that I shouldn't start 'til I knew how to crochet, the traditional freeform medium (bitten by "should" again). And then, you know how it is: I was ready for it and the universe provided exposure to this new freeform-365 project which had just gotten started, and I just jumped in with both feet, my usual strategy. It was the best possible experience too, the perfect 'grand experiment'; in terms of discipline, creativity, community, resourcefulness, pushing myself, technique - just, everything. I think it can be best expressed by the motto that grew organically out of our group's process discussions in the forum: "It is what it is because I say it is!" That is the real nugget I took away from the project; I'd say that might just be my fiber art motto, even. My work doesn't need or want to be like anyone else's, or what anyone else wants it to be; it just is what it is, because I say it is.

If you were to create a self-portrait in yarn, what would it look like?
Oh, I've really been wanting to do that for awhile now! But I don't have any sense or internal vision of what it might look like, how I'd go about it; maybe that's why I haven't tackled it yet? Generally, I just wait until WHAM - an idea just pops, full-formed into my head. That's how it was for my Babies in a Blender hat, a freeform crochet piece made using handspun art yarn from Insubordiknit and cast-off doll arms. Originally, I was envisioning it as a twisted kind of Medusa, and I will probably do another one with more arms than BiB, which has just 3. Maybe feet too. Hmmmm.....

What's your favorite color?
Ha, I always answer that question the same way: my favorite color is COLOR! There really aren't many colors I'm not enamored with, with the possible exceptions of beige and pastels. I am generally drawn most to warm colors (orange, red, pink), the brighter the better, but I'm a sucker for a good purple, and definitely enjoy a good blue-green combo. I'm a word person, and lately I've been feeling the pull of specific color names: cerise, vermilion, carmine, alizarine - they just feel good in my mouth. Weird, I know. Notice how they're all red, too? Maybe I'm on a red bender because Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

Guess what?! We're giving away $10 in BOMBbucks! Visit Velma's shop, find something you like, and post about it below! Plurks, tweets and blogs get seconds. Remember to leave an identifying mark! We'll be doing a major drawing later today!
Thank you so much Velma! You're a true bright spot in a stormy world. Please, Please, join us in future boxes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Local Gringos and *Giveaway*

I am so pleased to let you all know about the most delightful shop! Local Gringos has sent in several of her kNotes for kNitters greeting cards for the January box!
After my Christmas knitting was done, I did what any real knit-a-holic does after completing several projects- join swaps! I have two to do in Feb! I think everyone should stock up on these beautiful, glossy, greeting cards- they really are the perfect ephemera to send with either your completed projects or with swaps!
Margaret is an archaeologist turned artist, who is now addicted to fiber. After amassing vintage photographs of knitting an fiber related crafts, she began to use them in altered art collages. I feel LocalGringos products have both vintage and modern appeal. These are the type of cards when you receive, you keep in a drawer or scrapbook someplace.
Speaking of amassing old photos. When I was in high school, (100% true story follows) I was "awarded" a summer internship at a local mental institution. A very very old one, complete with underground tunnels, old brick buildings- an entire compound. One week, they placed me in a little room stacked high with files they wanted me to "purge". I felt a lot like the young girl in Rumpelstiltskin who had to turn straw into gold. Upon opening some very old dusty, nay- decaying folders (some from very early 1900s) I was thrilled to find tiny black and white photos of past "residents". They wanted me to shred these- *gasp*. Well, I couldn't do it. I would stuff them in my jeans pocket and carry them home of a night. There were so many, I had to become picky about the ones I kept. The girl with the rose trellis behind her, the old man with thousands of deep wrinkles and an absent grin-they are still with me, hidden in a box for someone else to find. Those memories, instantaneously rushed back to me when I saw LocalGringos' cards.
Margaret was sweet enough to send me a card for my very own use! I mailed the "Knit Love, not everybody gets it" card to my sister who just learned to knit a few months ago. How relieved I am to finally have her as an enabler!
You are going to love your cards! In case you don't get one though, I am offering up a set of two as a giveaway. Just head over to LocalGringos, find something you love (difficult, I know), and post about it below! The winner will be drawn tomorrow! Plurks, tweets, forum posts and blog entries get additional points! Remember to leave an identifying mark!!
Thank you so much LocalGringos! We can't wait to see what new collections you'll come up with next!

Gratitude and more box details!

I am going to take a moment an express sincere thanks to my friends and family for their support over the past few months! That is "Best Boy" Marcus in our tiny cottage studio packing boxes like mad! He looks big and burly (and he is) but don't let his gruff exterior fool you! He is extremely devoted to his family and friends! Warm Fuzzies to Marcus for going to work 'after work' and helping Phat Fiber! Many warm thanks to my Mom, Dad, and Sisters as well for putting in their share of hours! Tonight, during prime time, we'll be listing the boxes. I've already sent an email to those of you on the "waiting list" with the exact time of sale. Please read over the shop policies before purchasing.

Contests are still going on until the big drawing tomorrow! Go post below!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enchanted Yarn and *Giveaway*

Upon entering the arboretum, I made my way up the usual dirt path that winded around the familiar algae filled pond. As I approached the edge of the water, a turtle plopped under the green duck weed surface.Almost by accident, I notice a silken cord winding it's way around the pond in the forest. Without a second thought, I follow the trail of gleaming yarn coiling and twisting through the undergrowth, making my way by stepping over and bending under as if weaving myself through the trees and branches. Where was this leading me? Suddenly, a clearing in the thicket opens and to my delight- a small, painted cottage is only a few yards away. There on the grass, in front of the porch, sits a smiling woman. As the creak and whirr of her spinning wheel echoes softly from the trees behind me, she beckons me closer. Next to her, a painted wooden stool stands with two worn wooden carders and silken tufts resting on top. As I start to card the gossamer strands, my inner dialogue begins questioning this happy encounter. Before I could speak, the woman turns to me and utters a simple "you're dreaming".

And, here I am, sitting at my desk with ice cubes for toes, wishing it wasn't a
dream. The woman I "met" in the summery green forest is Margie from Enchanted Yarns! She sent in the most amazing samples for the box! I have a small bag of painted
cotswold locks in "Pomegranate Martini". These soft, curly locks would be perfect for spinning, felting, doll hair, free form crochet or knitting- so fun! I'll be giving this one away, but let's discuss the yarn!
As you might have noticed in the youtube video, the handspun samples she sent in were so generous! Each one seems to have it's own personality and each are so different from the next. This is one of those shops where you could just hand your money over, and be delighted with whatever came back! I really wanted to keep the spiderman yarn (yes, I said spiderman yarn), my son would have flipped if he got a hand-knit spidy hat! Enchanted Yarn has pages of yarn and fiber for you to gawk at! If you can't find anything that suits your fancy, ask Margie to create something custom for you! How much better can it get?
Please visit Enchanted Yarns, post a comment about the shop below and you'll be entered to win the painted locks. I'll be drawing all of the launch week giveaways on Friday so enter while you're here! Be sure to leave an identifying mark and tweets, plurks, forum posts get you more entries! Have fun, and good luck!
A big warm fuzzy thank you goes out to Enchanted Yarn. Stay tuned to find out what Margie will cook up for February's box!! I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Housewife and *Giveaway*

Can you even believe it?! Happy Housewife Soap (the Violet half of Lime and Violet) whipped up some cupcakes just for Phat Fiber! We are debuting HH's new cupcake scents in our box! For those of you who do not get cupcakes (perfume vials) in your phat box (on sale Thursday night!), you'll be able to buy them in their shop after January 15th. For those of you who are not familiar with Happy Housewife (shame on you) or Lime and Violet, beware! You are about to be inducted into a CULT full of wool *prOn*, scented sundries, and a few radiantly hilarious women who let us listen in about their lives, business, and of course knits in progress! Knitting podcasts.. who knew?!
I have yet to sample their yarn (shame on me), but my hands absolutely ache to try some of their "intention" yarns!

On to the cupcakes! As some of you know, I am a wearer of perfume. I wouldn't go as far as calling myself an aficionado- I just like the "bon vivant" and part of that is smelling nice. I am especially fond of indie frangranceurs as the sheer scope of scents offered by a company like Happy Housewife, will keep me busy exploring and sampling for a good long while. The quality of the product you get from a smaller company will always keep you coming back for more. As I mentioned previously, these scents are not yet on the site, so very few people other than me have smelled these. I guess what I'm trying to say is, these are exquisite scents and don't take my interpretation for anything, as you really do need to experience them yourself!

The first cupcake offered up is "knit" Which is described as "A musky vanilla sweet concoction just right for those garter stitch scarves" For me, it is both sweet and fresh. At first a deep and sweet vanilla that has a very light and powdery dry down. Comfort in a vial.

Next is "Purl" which is described as "A sharp and sweet tea-and-chocolate scent perfect for those stockinette moments." Purl is more complex- it has a fleeting bitter chocolate note at the beginning which melds into a cup of orange pekoe with an incense-y dry down. The more I sniff, the more I likey!

I love this concept and I hope Happy Housewife will pursue more of these "sitches" and make a series! I felt these were extremely thoughtful and well-executed. Two is good to start with because we can dab one each wrist while we knit! Wearing perfume has the added benefit of lightly scenting your F.O's as well, yay!

On to the contest! I have reserved a special cupcake duo for you! Remember, you have until Friday to post, we'll be doing mass drawings then. Please visit Happy Housewife soap, find something you like, and post about it below! Plurks, tweets, blog and forum posts will net you additional entries. Remember to leave an identifying mark so I can hunt you down later when you win! Good luck!
Ten thousand thank-you's to the Lime and Violet team for contributing such delightful samples to January's box. I beg you to contribute to future boxes!

Monday, January 12, 2009

KIP Bags and *Giveaway*

We have featured yarn, fiber, handspun and more here on the blog, and now it's time to feature something you need to hold all of your new goodies in! KIP Bags! Brenda, the seamstress behind sent in many many KIP bags to go in January's phat fiber box. Those of you who will be getting one in your boxes are so lucky! Her samples were sewn using adorable, high quality fabrics and were all lined! I was truly amazed at the craftswomanship and attention to detail displayed in each sample KIP (knits in progress) bag!Her shop carries several different sized bags- and her prices are ridiculously low!

When I first saw the range of bags she has and at the low costs- I immediately wondered how she could do it. Being the eternal daydreamer, I pictured Brenda pushing fabric through her lightning fast sewing machine- foot treadles being operated by oompa loompas, whom she allows 15 minute chocolate breaks every four hours. Then, I decided that a much simpler answer must exist, and I think I have figured it out. She loves what she does!! When You read her profile, you'll see that Brenda has been sewing for over 30 years, but only in the last decade has learned to spin and knit. Her bags are a fusion of the two fiber hobbies. If you knit and travel- anywhere from the seashore to waiting in line at the post office- you could certainly utilize one of her bags!

As part of our Launch Week Extravaganza, I'll be giving away a KIP bag to a lucky commentor! Please visit Brenda's shop- find something you like and post a comment below! As usual, plurks, tweets, blog and forum posts will get you extra entries. Help me get the word out about these awesome bags! Oh, and do leave an identifying mark when you post- rav id, email, etsy id whatever I can use to get a hold of you.
Thank you so much Brenda- for your wonderfully, awesome samples! Please consider participating in future boxes!

Stash Up *Winner* and Launch Week

I've emailed you so check your hotmail account!

This week, I'll be doing a giveaway every time I post! It's our Launch Week Extravaganza! And you're invited to play along! I will be doing drawings for each item on Friday (the day after the box goes on sale) so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stash Up Yarns and *Giveaway*

If there were a hand-painted yarn heaven, it might very well be called "Stash up Yarns". Do you want bright yarn? Stash up has it. Something more subdued..? Find it at stash up! The passion (I refer to this in my daily vernacular as "vibe") Nina exudes from her work is worth the yarn purchase, let alone the prodigious color options she offers. The samples she sent in are so fragrant (she uses organic lavender wool wash) and beautiful, they seemed to arrived from the celestial concourse. I know, I may sound a little "too" much in love with yarn, but keep reading.
I would love to take a clippit from her etsy shop profile:
"It was just a few years ago that I became intrigued by knitting and yarn. In a very short period of time I turned into a yarn addict. I scoured the Internet for any and all yarn shops local and virtual. I spent unseemly amounts of money on yarn and needles and patterns. And here I am even more addicted to knitting and to yarn than I have ever been before. The very idea of winding a hank into a center pull ball using my improvised nostepinne gives me a thrill. And even though I have already purchased every current knitting publication I never fail to revisit that section of the magazine racks because the sight of a knitting magazine is truly a joy to behold. And its contents even more fascinating to read and peruse again and again. The next leg in this pursuit of yarn fiber has led me to hand-dyeing yarn. Dyeing may keep me away from knitting, but who cares? As long as yarn is in the picture, nothing else seems to matter."
This sounds like an artist who has found a true calling! Let this be a warning to all of you. Once you start surrounding yourself with quality yarns in amazing colors, you'll soon find yourself addicted. Nina, the brilliant woman she is, has enabled all of us to make a purchases by naming her yarn "Stash UP". That means you don't have to have a project in mind when buying- stash enhancement at it's best! 10000 Thank you's to Nina of Stash Up Yarns, Please Please join us for future boxes!
You all had better love me too, because I am about to offer up and entire 400 yd hank of absolutely deliciously dyed 2ply "Stash Up yarns" Sock yarn in "Samira". This has taken immense self control on my part and you all should be proud. Contest details: Go to Stash Up Yarns, find something you like, and write about it here. Let's really let Nina know how much we appreciate her awesomeness! Blog, tweets, plurks, and forum entries counts you for 2 posts. Drawing will be held on Monday Morning!! Remember to leave and identifying mark, and good luck!