Episode 176

It’s been a beautiful week here on the porch of Yin Hoo. In this episode, I talk about making progress on knitting, fleece processing, and sewing projects. I also review some of the gorgeous Brushwork yarn from Blacker. Listen for the details of how to enter a prize draw for 4 balls of this plush and beautiful limited-edition yarn.

The Front Porch

I’m knitting Vanilla is the New Black socks on US0 dpns, using Fibernymph Dye Works’ S’mores Swirl in the Bounce base.

The Back Porch

This week, I took the time to wash a portion of the Cheviot X fleece I purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool this year.  Just look at the extraordinary crimp.  The staple length averages 6″ and the fiber is wonderfully lustrous. After a 24-hour cold water soak, which removed the majority of the dirt and grease, the fleece endured one hot scour bath and one hot soak.

Brushwork Review

Blacker Yarns sent a ball of their new yarn for review. I received the Impasto colorway, and knit two swatches on US4 needles.

Soaked and blocked swatch top/right.

This sport weight,  2-ply, woolen-spun yarn is plump and bouncy as you knit; it is plush and velvety upon soaking and blocking. The knitted fabric has real integrity and softness, a combination that is quite unusual. Because the fibers have been dyed in the wool and blended, some qualities in the color include tweediness, heathering, and even a bit of frostiness, as undyed fibers form a halo above the knitted surface. The first thing I thought of was a hat, cowl and mitts set, maybe with some colorwork. This yarn would be incredible worked up into cables or texture.  At first, I was doubtful about the appropriateness for a shawl or anything with drape — but a bit of drape did emerge in the soaked and blocked swatch. I think this yarn would pair well with any woolen-spun yarn in stash.  What comes to mind is a sweater in a neutral color featuring a colorwork yoke knit in two or three of these Brushwork colorways.

Katie sent along 4 balls of Brushwork yarn (660 yards) in the Velatura colorway, a beautiful, rich blue. Yes, I peeked into this package! Enter to win by posting in the Yarns at Yin Hoo thread on Ravelry.

Episode 175

Casting off, casting on, incorporating magic ingredients, and new sewing challenges.  It’s all here in this episode.

The Back Porch

This heirloom piece will be a favorite and a wardrobe staple. It’s A Twist to It by Melanie Berg, knit with 1,000 yards of Flat Island / silk blend Shackleton yarn.


The Front Porch

  • Ujo by Ankestrick
  • Tempting Ewe Yarns / Ewe So Happy Sock / Maryland Sheep & Wool colorway
  • Becoming Art / Agave Fingering / Phenomenal Woman
  • Malabrigo / Sock / Rayon Vert (854)

Ever-expanding Skill Set

  • Magic ingredient ideas — click here for the discussion thread!
  • nutritional yeast
  • fresh ginger
  • cinnamon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • cashews soaked overnight
  • horseradish
  • smoked paprika
  • pickled red onion
  • red chile paste
  • smoked sea salt
  • miso paste
  • za’atar (Middle Eastern spice blend)
  • pesto

Episode 174

So much color in the Natural Dye Intensive course I took with Jane Woodhouse.  The class, hosted by Hope’s Favorite Things, was an excellent primer on achieving the natural color you want by making careful calculations and mixing dye extracts.

The Back Porch

Yarn spun from Cluck and Baa Farm’s Clun Forest roving. This yarn is spindle-spun and wheel-plied, resulting in a soft, springy product. A high-twist 3-ply would be an excellent candidate for socks!

Batts of Hog Island fiber from a fleece I split with Emily of FibreTown. These batts will be a dream to spin. Working with a drum carder was a good way to remove debris from the fleece.

The Front Porch

I’m planning to cast on Ujo, a dress design by Ankestrick, for the #hipsterkal hosted by Jaclyn of the Brooklyn Knitfolk podcast.

I think I’m going to get mileage out of single skeins by using this color palette.

Ever-expanding Skill Set

Grilled Romain is becoming a summer go-to. The topping possibilities are endless — here I’ve used chopped bacon and hard-boiled egg. Check out the Dishing Up the Dirt blog for recipe ideas.

Wow your guests with very little exertion on your part by grilling peaches at the end of the meal. Close all oxygen intake and let them go. Charred bits on the surface; skins slip right off. Top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with a balsamic reduction for an over-the-top yum factor.

Episode 173

“Perennials” is the term assigned to the new ageless generation. of 40+ women. Find out more in this article by Leah Hardy in the UK Telegraph.

The Front Porch

A Twist to It by Melanie Berg, knit in Shackleton yarn designed by Sarah Hunt.


Spinning at The Point in Pittsburgh: Clun Forest roving from Cluck and Baa Farm in Hollis, NH.


Spinning is so portable!

Yarn Lover at Large

Sonya Clark’s fiber art merges the personal and political. On exhibit now at The Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh.


Albers-inspired work features colored thread wrapped around combs. Click for a link to the Albers-inspired knitted cowl on Ravelry. Someday I need to get around to knitting one of these!

And Sew Forth

Lots of stitching with Marybeth, including these charming needle books and the short skirt design by Alabama Chanin.

Episode 172

This episode includes: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Ever-expanding Skill Set, And Sew Forth.  I announce the winners of #summertopmal prizes at the top of this episode.

Thank you for contributing prizes for the #summertopmal:

The Back Porch

Tsumuzikaze by michiyo, knit it Blacker Yarn Samite


The Front Porch

  • Rose Candy by Martina Behm, knit in Jill Draper’s Rifton
  • A Twist to It by Melanie Berg, knit in Shackleton yarn

Ever-expanding Skill Set

Note: The video is vintage Minimalist (2007). I use the food processor attachment for my blender to create a course texture when grinding the beans.  And I used black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas.  If the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of chickpea or other flour to absorb the moisture.

Natural Dyeing

Indigo-dyed linen circle skirt.


Indigo-dyed t-shirt using shirred stitching for detail.


Handspun Shetland dyed in alkanet, madder, and indigo. These colors will be knit into a colorwork yoke on the Bressay dress.

And Sew Forth


Episode 171


This episode includes the following segments: Yarn Lover at Large, The Front Porch, The Back Porch, and Off the Shelf.

Yarn Lover at Large

“to fill space in a beautiful way”


FullSizeRender 5

A meticulous seamstress, Georgia O’Keeffe sewed and repaired her own clothing for most of her life. The exhibit includes carefully-preserved garments that are nearly 100 years old.


FullSizeRender 2

The artist’s New York era clothing is predominately black and white.

FullSizeRender 3

My day in Brooklyn included a visit to the Botanical Gardens with Jennie, Allison, and Melissa. Thank you, Melissa, for this photo.

The Back Porch

Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston. Knit in a lovely kit from Foster Sheep Farm yarn.

Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston. Knit in a lovely kit from Foster Sheep Farm yarn.

FullSizeRender 7

Willow Tank sewn from ice-dyed muslin that I acquired from a vendor at the Steel City Fiber Festival.

The Front Porch

The #summertopmal will continue until I record Episode 172 — so you have about two more weeks to create and chatter on the Ravelry thread.

Another Tsumuzikaze top, this time in drop dead lovely Samite (bursting fig).

Another Tsumuzikaze top, this time in drop dead lovely Samite (bursting fig).

Off the Shelf

As I thought more about Georgia O’Keeffe, I grew curious about any ekphrastic poetry that may exist.  A little searching led me to a collection by Jessica Jacobs.  In this episode, I read the title poem of the collection, which was awarded the 2015 New Mexico Book Award in Poetry. Click the link below to see an image of the painting that inspired the poem.

a podcast about the fiber arts and other post apocalyptic skills