Whirlwind!

That’s the best way to describe the past four months here at Spencer Hill. Waaay back in September was Knitters’ Day Out in Summerdale, PA; in October came the Little York Fiber Festival in Cortland and the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in all its glory. I didn’t vend there, but I did come home with two gorgeous Romney fleeces and a Finnsheep fleece that are destined for the dyepot. November was spent preparing for a trunk show at WOOLYN in Brooklyn (which was SO cool). December, for school band directors like me, is concert season. That gets us here! I’m tired all over again just reading this. But! There is still yarn…

“Charlotte” Shetland fingering weight is back in the shop for your Fair Isle and other colorwork needs, as is its new heavy worsted-weight cousin “Madeleine.” It’s spun from Liverpool Yarns’ same great 100% Pennsylvania grown and spun Shetland, and I’m finding it to knit up around 16-19 sts/inch on needles sized 5-8. I currently have a patterned yoke sweater on 8s, and the fabric is warm but not too heavy. Madeleine is going for $20, in an approximately 70 yd/2 oz skein. Liverpool Yarns has full-size undyed skeins of this base as well. Like Charlotte, my supplies are limited due to the small-farm nature of the product.

There’s a “clear the decks” sale going on over at the online shop, too. Select colors of “Pippi” BFL/nylon sock yarn are $15 or $18, depending on the color. My entire stock of “Molly” is available for $18 each, and the entire stock of “Lily” is $25 each.

Thank you to our incredible fiber community for all its support in 2016, and may the new year bring us all peace, clarity, and the businesses we desire!

New Yarn, New Site, New Ideas

Long time, no see! Welcome back to Spencer Hill, and our newly-designed (and easier-to-navigate) website. I’m pretty proud of it, and I hope you’ll enjoy what you see. Pippi BFL/nylon sock and Lily silk/Merino fingering are still there, joined by a new base in a wide range of colors: Molly! Molly is 100% non-superwash 4-ply Merino, approximately 218 yd/100g. I’m finding it’s very versatile gauge-wise, holding up well from US 5-8 without becoming bulletproof or fishing net. Sweater quantities are available (think Rhinebeck!). I’m working on Square & Stripe by Veera Valimaki. There’s a couple more very special yarns in the pipeline too, but I’m keeping those to myself for just a little while longer.

If we were able to say hello at the Central New York Fiber Festival back in June, or the Pennsylvania Organic Farm Festival a couple weeks ago, thanks again for stopping by. And if not, my cohort Stephanie from Rock Solid Designs and I will be at Knitters’ Day out in Summerdale, PA, the weekend of September 16-17. Workshop teachers this year include Lily Chin, Candace Eisner Strick, Ann Weaver, and more! Come on by the shop and get ready for fall knitting with Molly, Pippi, and Lily! Happy knitting!

Special Snowflakes!

SNOWFLAKES? Come on, isn’t it May? You know, SPRING? Aren’t we done with snow? Spencer Hill hopes so as much as you do, but we still have a few special ones to share. Special Snowflakes are many things here on the hill… could be a base yarn that’s going on hiatus or will be discontinued; a base or color I’m trying out; an overdye I know I can’t repeat. One way or another, they aren’t going to come around any time soon.

This time, they’re the Lalo base, which is a DK-weight 80/10/10 blend of baby alpaca, Merino, and silk (non-superwash). The singles construction is soft and fuzzy. Four colors are featured, but more are available and will be rotated in. See the online shop for more information.

Spencer Hill + Rock Solid Designs = A New Pattern

Spencer Hill Naturally Dyed Yarn has teamed up with Rock Solid Designs, maker of project bags, notion pouches, pattern protectors, and original knitting designs to bring you the Turtle Cove Cowl. Here in the Northeast, we can’t quite trust a run of nice weather just yet, so a snuggly cowl of Spencer Hill’s Nell MCN patterned with with turtles and the promise of blue skies is just the thing to get us through. You can purchase the kit, which contains the charted pattern and two mini-skeins of Nell needed to complete the project at Spencer Hill’s Big Cartel shop. Rock Solid Designs is undergoing a website redesign at the moment, but please direct any questions about Stephanie’s products through spencerhillspindye@gmail.com and I’ll make sure she gets the message.

Spencer Hill Naturally Dyed Yarn returns!

It’s been a while, but after two successful shows (Knitters’ Day Out and For The Love of Fiber!), Spencer Hill has a new look over at the online shop, and plenty of Pippi BFL sock, Nell MCN, and Lily Merino/silk for you to chose from. Pictured is Lily in the color “Roz Red.” With more updates on the way, and some new bases on the horizon, there’s plenty afoot on the hill. Stop by for a look!

A little louder, indeed!

My last post said that I would go a little quiet to get a little louder… and that’s exactly what happened at Knitters’ Day Out last weekend! Thank you to everyone who came out, stopped by, and just plain made my first big show a resounding success. I came home excited, inspired… and wiped out! 4th graders at their first band lesson have nothing on fiber people looking for a new project! (Almost.)

Between what sold out and what I’ve taken down to Wooly Minded (should you find yourself on Market St. in Corning), there’s still enough for a very tidy shop update. Look for it on Sunday!

Going Quiet to Get A Little Louder

On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Spencer Hill’s Big Cartel shop will go dark for a little bit, as I take it on the road with my cohort Stephanie of Rock Solid Designs to Knitters’ Day Out in Summerdale, PA, on September 18-19! This Friday evening/all day Saturday event includes vendors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, New York, and Australia. If you’re in the Harrisburg area, I hope you can stop by and see Stephanie’s sweet project bags, needle rolls, DPN protectors, and original projects (including one she’s working up with my Nell yarn), and of course, my goods too. I’ll have some hand-dyed and sheep-colored fiber available as well as naturally-dyed yarn. And that picture up there? If I were the student instead of the teacher at school, it would be the subject of my “what I did over the summer” essay. That’s my own personal dining room table with a summer’s worth of dyeing on it. It’s even better in person, if I do say so myself.

Stash? What stash? I don’t see any stash…

I don’t know about you, but there are yarns out there that I can’t resist. SHOCKING. For me, Kauni is one. If I had a whole wall with one (or two or three) of each colorway, just to look at while drinking my tea every morning, I could die a happy woman. Except…it’s a little scratchy. And you can only wear so many rainbow sweaters as an adult before people look at you funny.

Then on Ravelry, I came across the LightWaves pattern by Susan Ashcroft. Well. Say no more. I wanted to abandon everything I was working on, and pretty much did. Not only do I try not to dye the same skein twice, I rarely make the same pattern. This? I’ve made twice and #3 is in the wings. My Lalo baby alpaca/wool/silk blend makes the top of the shawl so soft and cozy, and you can get two shawls from one skein. Kauni make so many color choices, you could have fraternal-twin shawls and perhaps justify some of that stash. (I would never judge your stash, though, not me!)

I’ve posted some newly-dyed Lalos to give you some color inspiration (indigo/osage orange, weld, and cochineal), plus my first LightWaves. The Lalo top in that one was a one-off indigo overdye. The new skeins aren’t in the shop yet, but by the end of the weekend, they plus a few others (Pippi BFL sock, Nell MCN sock, and Lily Merino/silk) will be. Thanks for stopping by!

Never the same skein twice…

Welcome to Spencer Hill! I’m Barb Kish, and Spencer Hill is not only my company, but my beautiful almost-in-the-country neighborhood in Corning, NY.

I knit. I spin. I weave, embroider, and sew. I was lucky to grow up in a family that not only enjoys handwork, but has a deep respect for the time and effort that goes into it. I was taught that the end product is only as good as what you put into it-from your own effort to the materials you choose. I can still picture my grandma turning my work over to see if the “wrong” side was as tidy as the right.

I first experienced natural dyeing in particular while observing a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina (you should check it out if you like traditional craftwork). It was an indigo vat, and it was magic. I had to know how to do it myself, so I bought a kit for beginners, and never looked back. That was almost ten years ago, and once the amount of experimentation reached critical mass (i.e., I can’t knit as fast as I dye), I opened my shop.

You won’t find high-volume dyeing in my shop; this is partly because I’m also a full-time 4th and 5th grade band director! But it’s also in my post title: “never the same skein twice.” Part of what fascinates me about natural dyeing is that even if I use the same material, on the same yarn, on a different day, I’ll get something different. Heck, I’ve gotten something different from the bottom of the pot to the top! If you’re looking for something truly unique to give your handmade creations that something special, I hope you’ll visit my Big Cartel shop and see what else I have to offer. I’m in the middle of a big dyeing blitz (it’s summer break!), so watch this space for updates. I’m excited to be here on Indie Untangled! Thanks!