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Building FGF & Sourcing

Over the last couple of months, it’s become more clear what the future of Fuzzzy Green Fibers will hold. I’ve been having a lot of fun designing knitting patterns and will continue to do so when inspiration strikes. I quite enjoy how art + math = clothes. And rather than retailing yarn that is natural in some way (which was my only previous aspiration), I’ve decided to fill a hole in the yarn community that I personally have needed. I really want indie, hand-dyed yarn that is trendy, colorful and FUN but doesn’t have any trash in it – so I’m doing it myself. Sometimes I want a sock kit that has exciting colors… but I just don’t feel good about spending money on something with dyes, treatments, and fibers I don’t feel great about. There is a place for making concessions, but I don’t make them for things I knit for myself. Or hey maybe I want to do a faded sweater of some kind… but the only kits I can find are superwash, or I would really have to stretch the imagination and color palette accepability to make a cobbled-together fade look halfway decent. I love natural undyed neutral colors that still smell like the sheep it was shorn from, but I also want some neon speckles in my life. Oh and I need to use all of the colorway names stockpiled in my brain, and a neutral gray doesn’t lend itself well to a name like “Good God, Lemon!”

In addition to all of this, I think my “thing” is turning out to be project bags. I haven’t released any of them for sale yet since I’m waiting on labels for them, but I am in LOVE. I love all of the artistic, utility and ethical decisions I’ve made on each one. Hand tie-dyed organic cotton sturdy project bags? You may have to fight me so I don’t keep them all.

I’m super happy with what I’ve decided to do now, what I’ll do next, and my ultimate plans.

However, there’s this annoying little “not good enough” cricket chirping in my ear. I’m not so much concerned about the quality of my work or the aesthetic of certain things – that will all improve & evolve with time, experience, and preference. What my brain is goading me about is my sourcing for every. Little. Thing. Sometimes it feels like I’m not meeting the standards I’ve promised customers, and especially myself. I’m trying to use the least toxic, least environmentally impactful materials and processes I can. Of course it’s not perfect because I don’t live in fairyland. But even now in my research and development phase, my brain won’t let it go that it’s not good enough. Were your labels printed on recycled paper? Is the yarn you bought domestic? Would you feel safe eating your dye? Are your shipping supplies made from plastic rendered from things found in your own living room? NO BRAIN, NONE OF IT IS PERFECT. I guess I just wanted to get off my chest that I am a wee fledgling learning what it even means to sell products to people. As time goes on, I know I’ll source every last item as well as I can (most natural, least toxic, most local, most ethical). For now, my claims are true: no nylon, superwash, or heavy metal-containing dyes in my yarn; organic cotton fabric, US-made zippers & labels, and low-impact dyes for my bags.

I hope my art & enthusiasm will translate well to those interested in my products. I’m consciously planning and strategizing every day on improving all that is possible to improve. And every time I make an improvement that approaches my ideals (even if asymptotically), I’ll announce it with pride so all you other hippy-nonsense nerds like me can high five a tree or whatever.

<3 Larissa

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Projects on My Needles – July 27, 2018

It’s been a little over a month since my last project update. I feel like I’ve done a shitload since then, but it doesn’t look like a whole lot in 6 weeks. But in addition to the knitting I’ve been doing, I’ve published a Natural Yarn Directory for anyone to use and contribute to, I’ve published my Hero of Time hat pattern (see below!), I’ve been dyeing a lot of yarn, and I’ve been sewing project bags. I do think that after I’ve worked on the sweater design I have up next, I’ll take a break from pattern designing. I have so much dyeing research and development to do still, I AM IN LOVE WITH the project bags I have in the works, and I just want to knit more for myself – I keep adding to the list of yarn brands/bases I want to try.

But at any rate, these are the things I’ve been knitting while watching the Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, Rick and Morty, Archer, Ozark, etc…

Finished Objects

Hero of Time x 3

I was in progress on the first of these three during my last WIP update, and I’ve finished all three and published the pattern since then! These were a ton of fun to work on. I wrote a post that details the story behind this design, and if you’re so inclined, I have kits of the 7 contrasting colors available for purchase with a FREE pattern download in the Etsy shop.

Pattern: Hero of Time (Ravelry), Hero of Time (Etsy)
Yarn: My own Fuzzzy Green Fibers in Erie, and some Recycled Yarn (fingering weight)
Ravelry Project Page: Adult Large, Child/Small Adult, Toddler/Small Child

Works in Progress

Okanogan Socks – For Jason!

I finished my own pair of Okanogan socks, and have cast on a pair for my husband! This time I’m doing the calf-shaping for him. The main color will be the deep gray and the stripes will be the green that my socks were made from. I’ve only ever made him 1 pair of socks, so hopefully these fit him even better and he gets legitimate use from them!

Pattern: Okanogan by Andrea Rangel
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Mohair Blends 4-Ply in Ladock Woods and Metherell
Green Mountain Spinnery Meadow in Natural
Ravelry Project Page: Okanogan for Jason

Portage

I hadn’t even started this yet during my last post, so I think this is considerable progress along with 3 hats and casting on a pair of socks (and the 685683 other things I’m up to). I just finished the tubular bind off last night (omg so much kitchener) and will pick up the front/collar tonight. I may have to block the shit out of this when it’s done since I made the XS, and I may have to do some color shenanigans for the wrist cuffs since I have 100 yds less than it called for, but I’m so excited for POCKETSES!!!

Pattern: Portage
Yarn: Mountain Meadow Wool Lilura in Teal
Ravelry Project Page: Portage

Near Future Cast-Ons

Contrast Heel-Toe-Cuff Socks

Kelly T
October

I’ve been dyeing up a storm and working on colorways. This was my first prototype of Kelly T which turned out gorgeous, but it isn’t exactly what I had in mind for the colorway. However, my intentions with many of my colorways are to make sock kits with their related base color, so I’m going to use this as a beta-test for that (weight/yardage needed, how the dye technique knits up). Kelly T will be a colorway available for purchase soon, and October is available now!

Pattern: Personal toe-up recipe (Judy’s magic cast on, maybe Fish Lips Kiss or scrap yarn afterthought heel?)
Yarn: Fuzzzy Green Fibers Geauga in Kelly T with October contrast heel/toe/cuff

Rose Cardigan

Another thing I want to offer is dyed-to-order fade kits. Since fades will usually be a differing number of skeins in whichever color depending on your project, I can’t so much have them available ready to ship, but I really like fades that are dyed to be faded, not just colors striped together that hope for the best. Those tend to look tacky and “omg did you knit that yourself, bless your heart!” I’m going to make myself a Rose Cardigan with this fade (even though it’s fingering weight when the pattern calls for sport weight – the gauge calls for 26 sts/4 in, I think we’ll be okay), while coming up with other fade kits too (I’m thinking a navy to beige fade, a gray to mustard fade, etc). I would just buy a fade kit from someone else, but I cannot find another indie dyer using non-superwash yarn who dyes just precisely what I’m looking for, so I might as well DIY and offer it up to the world!

Pattern: Rose
Yarn: Fuzzzy Green Fibers Geauga in Mauve, Muffin Top, Jackie Jormp-Jomp, and Rural Juror

Pullover Design for Nae

For Christmas, I gifted my friend Renee the promise of a pullover that I designed. I’ll probably need to make multiple in a few sizes to make sure the pattern is all mathed-up properly, so I’m happy to gift one of them to my bff. I let her choose what color she wanted it knit in, and while I didn’t quite nail what she described (sry, am dye n00b), she liked the resultant colorway anyway :). This colorway isn’t going to be available in the shop, mostly because I had to do some messing around to attempt to correct it, and I would have no ability to recreate it exactly. However, if this speaks to you, let me know and I can do my darndest!

Pattern: It’s all in my brain at the moment!
Yarn: Fuzzzy Green Fibers Geauga

That’s all for now! I do a lot of daily updates and whatnot on my Instagram page, so if you’re interested in more nonsense from me, check it out.

<3 Larissa

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Crowd-Sourced Natural Yarn Directory

Do you enjoy natural yarn?

You don’t use yarn with superwash or synthetic fibers like acrylic or nylon?

Look no further!

I’ve collated yarn brands and their bases that fall under this broad “natural” category.

Organized by:

  • Company Name
  • Yarn Base Name
  • Yarn Weight
  • Fiber Content
  • Specific Sheep Breed(s) Included
  • Natural Plant Dye Used
  • Country of Company
  • Whether the yarn is ideal for socks
  • Organic Machine Washable Treatment
  • Whether you can buy it by the cone
  • Vegan Yarn
  • Indie Dyers
  • Novelty Yarn (Art Yarn, Handspun, etc)

And of course for your ease of purchasing/browsing, their website is linked with each base.

I’d love this list to be a living document! Please email me additional brands you know of (or corrections if I’ve gotten something wrong!).

You can access it 2 ways:

  1. Excel Spreadsheet Download
    • Sheet 1 is all bases & concurrent information
    • Sheet 2 is only the brand with its country and website
  2. Google Docs Spreadsheet
    • Sheet 1 is all bases & concurrent information
    • Sheet 2 is only the brand with its country and website

*Most recent update: September 23, 2018

Peruse at your leisure, alphabetize by whichever category you like… if you download the Excel file you can delete, reorganize, markup whatever you like!

I sincerely hope this is helpful. Any updates to the list will be announced through my Instagram account and will be reflected here.

Enjoy, happy knitting, okay, love you, bye!

Larissa

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Dyeing

Ever since I started dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid, I haven’t stopped dyeing. As soon as I saw a color work out, I immediately bought a dye kit. I chose to buy Greener Shades acid dyes. All of their dyes are heavy metal-free, making them less toxic than other brands of acid dyes. If you’ll remember, my concern in environmental responsibility and toxicity when it comes to materials is never the end product – it’s the process used to achieve the end product. Essentially, things end up in the ground & ground water ultimately, and I’d rather it didn’t cause problems, ya dig?

Anyway, my dyeing began with making up some colors to design a hat my husband requested and has grown from there. I’ve decided that there aren’t enough indie-dyed yarns out there that are both nylon and superwash-free. So that’s where I’ll come in! I’m developing colorways at the moment – both semisolids and variegated/speckles. It’s taking a little while since all of my colors need to be custom mixed from the 9 pigments I have to work with. Although Greener Shades does have a little PDF of some shade-mixing ideas.

Additionally, I hope to find the perfect nylon/superwash-free yarn for socks! Something soft enough that you could make and wear a shawl from it, but durable enough to be worn as socks, like nylon blends. It’s proving tricky to find something that both has these qualities and that I can buy at a reasonable price so that I don’t have to sell it at an exorbitant price point.

See below to lovingly gaze on where I am with research & development of colorways on 2 bases so far. Check out the Etsy Shop FuzzzyGreenFibers to see what’s in stock!

I’ll be adding more skeins as I dye them, both in semisolides and variegated/speckles. I’ll also be working on adding more bases.

And keep an eye out for super-awesome project bags, too! These are going to kick assssssssss.

Okay that’s enough, love you, bye
Larissa

Erie: 100% Non-Superwash Merino, 1-Ply, Fingering Weight

Geauga: 70% Non-Superwash Merino/30% Silk, Fingering Weight

Pumpkin
Pewter
Gold
Silver
Mauve
Chartreuse
Liver Chestnut
Tempest
A Girl Has No Name
It from the Pit
Coming Soon: Kelly T
A one-of-a-kind non-repeatable colorway for Nae. Destined to be a pullover designed by me!
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Kool-Aid Yarn

I don’t know what the impetus was for me wanting to dye yarn, but once I got the idea in my head, it happened. I bought some undyed yarn and first wanted to try Kool-Aid as a dye. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to buying a whole bunch of yarn dye if the whole process sucked (it didn’t). I’m designing a hat based on the Legend of Zelda video game for my husband and figured I could use those colors to try out some dyeing. From my limited research, it seemed like about 4 packets of Kool-Aid per 100g skein of yarn would do the trick.

I bought the 9 colors of Kool-Aid packets that my grocery store had, dissolved them in some water, and let a piece of yarn soak in them overnight to get an idea of the colors.

I was a bit fooled by my scrap of yarn overnight soak, and expected relatively vibrant colors. So, I attempted 4 solid colors:

  • Yellow – 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Orange.
  • Green – 3 packets of Lemonade and 1/2 of a packet of Mixed Berry.
  • Blue – 3 packets of Mixed Berry and 1/2 of a packet of Grape.
  • Red – 1 packet each of Hawaiian Punch, Black Cherry, Cherry, and Orange.

Once I decided which colors I would use & blend, I bought more and got to work. First, the yarn took a bath in some Dr. Bronner’s soap to get any excess oils out of it, and to make sure it was soaked throughout to guide dye-laden water into the fibers.

Yarn was rinsed and added to a pot with enough water to cover it and the 4 packets of Kool-Aid. Brought to a temperature below simmering until the water turned clear. Let cool. Rinse.

I did this process with the other colors. I was lulled into a false sense of vibrancy from doing the red first.

As you can see above, the yellow turned out pale creamsicle orange, and the blue & green turned out very pale.

The red, however, turned out adequately saturated!

I honestly was mostly just curious if this would work, and it did. I had already decided that I wanted to get a small starter pack of heavy metal-free acid dyes once I dyed the first one, so I wasn’t concerned about re-dyeing those pale skeins.

I also bought some extra packets for Scottie to play with. We did 2 experiments:

  1. We used some damp yarn in a casserole dish with some paper towel paint brushes.

Added a bit more water and cooked this covered on the stove until the water was clear. Looks like a mess, but wait for it…
Ta-da! Scottie is an artist.

2. Then we did a speckle experiment. Damp yarn, Kool-Aid powder, a glass of water, and a fork. We wrapped it up in cling wrap and steamed it in a pot for 30-45 min.

Again, looks hella messy…
Obsessed.
Being knit into a hat (in low light).

So obviously, you can get some really cool yarn from Kool-Aid, but it for the most part needs to be kind of a lot of packets.

The skeins below are the first 4 that I tried to dye with Kool-Aid. I re-dyed all but the red one with acid dye.

I think you’ll be seeing a lot more dyeing from me in the future. I am having WAY TOO MUCH FUN OMG.