Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gorgeously Gothic Spin-A-Long Coming!

My son started reading “The Series of Unfortunate Events” after receiving the first “The Bad Beginning” book for Christmas. Since then, those bothersome books have brought nothing, but leisurely laziness to my home. With so many ill-fated adventures, one must take events into their own hands by stopping to spin a tale using a frenzy of fibers from my Gruesomely Gothic Spin-A-Long! Samples of some of the colorways are headed out in January's Phat Fiber Box, which you can find more information at


Listing for the fiber will go up for sale on my Etsy Store the day Phat Fiber boxes go on sale. I will either card two beastly batts of 2 oz each, or I will dye 4 oz of Superwash roving that is inspired by one of the 13 books. Some of these sinister sets can be viewed and purchased right away. Others, you will have to wait and see what comes in the mail.

The awful batts boast lots of texture and dark colors. The possibilities are endless with angora, Angelina, Firestar, wool, mohair, and other dreadful fibers. (NOTE: if you are allergic to a particular fiber, please let me know ahead of time.) I will also include extra goodies to add-in, which could include sequins, locks, ribbons, or a number of different items.

When you have finished spinning your atrocious yarns, photograph them and send the picture to me at I will then post pictures on the Dawning Dreams “Gorgeously Gothic SAL” Thread for final voting.


1st place - Complimentary 4 oz choice of batt or roving and handmade orifice hook

2nd place - Complimentary 2 oz choice of batt or roving

3rd place - Handmade orifice hook

January 17th - Ordering available

February 1st - Batts will be sent out.
March 2nd - Final yarn pictures due by for contest consideration
March 8th - Winners announced!

Feel free to take pre, process, and post photos of yourself spinning. The more pictures we have to choose from, the better your chances. You will also receive double entries for finished yarn AND finished object photos.

If you would like to join this Spin-A-Long please feel free to purchase this listing (or more if you feel so inclined) and join the fun at


Please, include the following devious details for your bad batts in a message, so that I may make your package as perfectly personalized as possible.

What are your top two color choices?

emerald green, amethyst purple, ruby red, topaz yellow, sapphire blue, tourmaline green, and turquoise blue

Include your selection of add-ins (you will receive a variety of those you choose, though not necessarily everything):

Buttons, ribbon, lace, sequins, locks, metallic threads, beads, faux pearls, fabric strips, feathers, silk flowers, or if there is something else you have in mind that I may be able to find.

Here's a preview of the samples Phat Fiber will be distributing, which includes 3 of the 13 available colorways:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3rd Annual Arkansas Fiberarts Extravaganza

This past weekend, I had the absolute pleasure to vend at the Arkansas Fiberarts Festival on Mt. Magazine. The chairs abounded with knitters, crocheters, spinners, dyers, and every other walk of fiber life. I wish I had gotten a picture of the hallway that was lined with gentlemen and ladies working on projects. There were about 50 at one point!

Pleased to have such a variety of vendors as well, I actually didn't get to shop around due to the fact that I was so busy at my own booth. I did, however, obtain a ball of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn from Mad Science Creations that is a stunning dark blue and black. I also bartered for a neat project bag for socks.

Jane and I spent a little time showing new spinners how to use a wheel. I love sitting around such a variety of wheels and comparing and contrasting. Fiber Festivals are the only place I get hands-on testing of otherwise an unattainable variety of wheels.

Here's my new Jordana Paige Knitter's bag shot with the view from our cabin. As you can see, it was stunning to wake up every morning to such a sight, and gave me plenty of inspiration to spin.

To those who have never attended a festival, I would highly recommend getting yourself to one. They are worth every drop of gas to be among such wonderful and fun individuals that make what we do a pleasure.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fiber Friday the 13th

I finished a baby blanket for my sons Pre-K Teacher. She's on bedrest, and I thought she deserved something special. BTW, this is a super fast knit and looks fantastic in person.

I also finished up several beaded orifice hooks for an upcoming Fiber Festival. They are so pretty! I want to use them all myself. Logically, I know I can't do that, but one can dream. : )

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dust Monsters

I don't have a dust bunny problem. I have a dust monster problem. Ha!

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Spinning Wheel "Little Lamb"

I've been wanting a new spinning wheel for a while. It's not that I don't love my Babe, but I wanted one with a more traditional look that I could possibly take to Renaissance Fairs. I also wanted a second wheel so I could teach others how to spin even when they didn't have a wheel.

With all the types and brands of spinning wheels available today, I was overwhelmed with the choices. I narrowed it down to a castle wheel with a large orifice. That still left me with half a dozen choices from the Majacrafts to the Country Spinner. One being too expensive, and the other not very pretty.

Luckily, I had gone to a fiber festival and saw a neat little wheel that a woman was using. I had never seen it before and asked her what it was. Yes, I know a spinning wheel, but what brand is what I meant. She kindly told me that it was handmade by a gentleman in Missouri and proceeded to give me a brochure. Since he's such a small producer, he didn't even have a website. I didn't think much about the little wheel for a couple of weeks until I saw the flyer again when I was cleaning and took a closer look. It was a castle, check. It's orifice is larger for bulky yarns, check. Hmm. . .

My mother-in-law kindly emailed the gentleman to get more information. You see, she wanted it to be a Christmas/birthday gift for me. It was to my great surprise that this wheel is not only $100 cheaper than other big brands, but comes with several excellent accessories such as a lazy Kate and an orifice hook. Safe to say, I was ensnared.

As soon as I got the wheel in my house, I broke her down to stain. I immediately noticed that since it was oak, it was considerably heavier than most other wheels. In my mind, this is a bonus with the kiddos running into it. It also won't slide around easily on my wood floors.

I also found out that he adds little acorn details to the knobs. This dates backs to English as a sigh for good luck. A good part of my heritage dates to England, so this was a wonderful surprise. Unfortunately, I had to completely change how I was going to stain the wheel. I originally wanted a red and black theme, but the acorns had me hooked.

The wood took the stain wonderfully. I used three different colors to obtain a aged look. It took two days to stain, dry, seal, dry, oil/grease, and reassemble the whole thing back together.

Spinning is very easy with a heal to toe pressure. The orifice is huge and accommodates my art yarns well. It has four hooks to change between rather than eight. My only complaint would be that the bobbin doesn't hold as much as my Babe wheel. It's a small sacrifice for such a beauty.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Local County Fair Fun

I recently entered many items into the county fair here in my home town. I haven't had anything in a fair since I was in 3rd grade. Back then, I had drawn a ghost mansion with ghosts and black cats poking around the corners. My mother still has it framed in the kids room at her house.

I finally decided to try it out and enter a few things that I had lying around. Funny that I would have these things just strung out throughout the house, but that is the life of a fiber artist. I downloaded the application and found out that there weren't very many categories specifically realted to knit/crochet and none what so ever for handspun. Basically there was handmade baby afghan, knit clothing, crochet clothing, and regular afghan. Well, I don't regularly make full size afghans, but I have the other categories. So, I blindly took my children and articles up to the building where I thought I was suppose to drop them off and labeled them accordingly, then I handed off my precious treasures to an unknown woman hoping that it wouldn't be the last time I saw them.

The next weekend, my family and I toured all the exhibits and I surprisingly found out that my baby bonnet and hair pin lace tank won forst and my shawl pin and baby afghan won second! I was overjoyed. It was nice to know that my work was appreciated in some way.

After picking up all my treasures, plus a $5 winning check I happily brought my goodies home. The baby afghan I wrapped up for my former teacher who had recently had her first baby girl. I also gave her the ribbon as a reminder.

While it was intimidating to enter all the goodies, I really felt that it helped my feel good about the things I had made. We all get frustrated sometimes while making something especially when we drop a stitch or loose count. The beauty of the garment is that we make it with love and with our own to hands.

I can't wait until next year when I'll get to enter more things and hopefully talk my friends to entering some items as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August Phat Fiber

Meet Me at the Fair!

This months Phat Fiber box was most definitely one of the best months so far. It was full of many types of fibers in bright, glorious colors to spin. Some were art batts full of lumps and bumps that gave the resulting yarn more texture. Some fibers were silky smooth that perfectly held the locks in place.

I know some spinner's don't like rough textures, and when I'm spinning a lace, I don't want a lot of texture either. Every once in a while, though, I have to spin something crazy and fun to break the monotony.

With all these fibers, I spun a fun single interlaced with locks. I used mostly materials from the box with the addition of some locks I had stashed. I can't help but smile when I see it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tour De Fleece Finish Line

Well, it's all over! How did you all do? I didn't do too much crazy outlandish yarns. I mainly worked on lace weight for a shawl I want to create.

It's funny how I can spin 175 yard of a worsted in 2 hours, but it takes 24 total hours to spin 1200 yards of lace. I don't think people realize just how much more time goes into the finer yarns when you compare the two side by side, which is mainly the reason you don't see a whole lot of handspun lace on Etsy or Artfire. It just is too costly to sell, and no one will buy it. Sad, but true.

So, to tally it up, I have:
Here's the end of a wonderful spinning month.
Art Yarn for BKG (176 yards)

Finally Finishing lace (344 yards)

And finally my peacock shawl lace (~1200 yards singles)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Christmas In July Fiber Festival 2009

I had a wonderful time at the festival. Thank you everyone who had been there for making it such a positive and creative environment.

With the variety of fibers from raw fleeces to hand dyed silk caps, I loved perusing the tables and talking to everyone. I picked up some major deals as well! I finally have my own loom to learn how to weave, although I had told myself not to get sucked in just yet. However, the price was right as well as the person.

I also promised that I wouldn't buy much. Well, let me just say that there was a sale of $4 for a pound of yarn, no matter what the type. After several minutes of digging, I actually walked out with 8 lbs of yarn. I know, I'm so bad. : (

Oh! Have you seen the alpaca fleeces?!

I was also excited to get to finally take a class by Nancy Barnett on Angora Rabbits. We were able to get to spin all four different varieties of bunny fiber in one sitting! I got to work on German, French, English, and Satin. You can see the different varieties on my bobbin here (bottom white is German and middle is Champagne French). Now, I just need to find a bunny just for me!

If you haven't ever been to a fiber festival, such as this, I think you should take a road trip to one sometime. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. : )

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July Phat Fiber Box

It's that time again! The box is in hand, and samples are being, well, sampled. Check it out!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bamboo Dye Day

My friends always laugh about my the knowledge my children have of fibers and fiber animals. Truthfully, they can't but absorb the different types and textures with the abundance of textiles in my home.

Today, I introduced them into the world of dyeing. We worked on my favorite fiber, bamboo. I love the silky feel of bamboo and it's drape when spun. It's like silk of the plant world. Many spinner's are afraid to try it because of how slippery it can be. Yes, it isn't as catchy as wool, but I actually can spin it faster because of how it slides through my fingers. If you haven't tried it, you should.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


It all started with a new camera.

My old Kodak C875 finally kicked the bucket. The flash broke. Boo! Without a flash I couldn't take the pics I need to of my kids, business, or blog. I was a bit irked and devastated at the same time.

So, I went online looking into options for a new DLR camera that the "pros" use to take pics of items. There were several highly recommended ones on etsy, but with a $400 price tag, I couldn't take the dive. So, I settled on a Canon A100 Powershot. It has the Macro setting for my Etsy store and the face recognition for the family. What could be better for only $125!?

Let's just say I'm in love with it. I walked around all afternoon shooting pictures of my kids and things that I love to look at. After uploading it all, I was amazed to see how the world looks from my point of view. Having come from a very non-imaginative family, everyone wonders how I became how I am. One of my brother works for the US Air Force as a manager of sorts, not a solder. The other brother, is a manager of a bar. My mom works for the Police, and dad, who is also retired from the military, is a Postman. So, how is it that I love to dance and write and spin and craft?

I've never lost that wonder of the simple things that many adults lack. I still look at objects and wonder how they can used in ways that they were not intended.

So, here we come to my point. My pictures of the things that inspire. The world from my point of view in a crazy binge of photo taking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tour De Fleece with Dawning Dreams

Well, the Tour De France begins soon, and being spinning lovers, a spinning challege has been created to support, in our own way, the bicyclist who work hard during their journey.

The Tour de Fleece, which began in 2006, is continuing this year. I'm happily joining the ranks to represent Team Phat Fiber and Team Bad Knit Girls on Ravelry. I plan to do some Art Yarns and finish my lace that I've been working on.

As a way to show my support, I am offering a discount on my Etsy store. When you purchase one item, you get one 50% off of equal or lesser value through July 15th. Enter code: Tour de Fleece at checkout.

Buy Handmade

Thursday, June 25, 2009

July Phat Sample Peek

For July, we all all going non-wool. So no fluffy BFL batts or Merino lovelies, but this time around we are sending in cottons, silks, alpacas, and angoras. I'm very excited about what treasures and sensations will be up for grabs in this assortment.

For my samples, I revisited my knit jewelry. I actually made the samples themselves about a month ago. They have been sitting in my desk awaiting the proper adornment for their trip around the world. (Yes, lots of the Phat Boxes find their way overseas. Isn't that great!)

I finally saw these little boxes for wedding favors at the store. They were perfect for putting my pins in. Unfortunately, I did not spend the money to buy them there. I didn't partially because I was on vacation, and didn't want to tote around the buggers for the remainder of the trip.

Boy, I feel like an idiot now. I looked online at the cost of purchasing the little favor boxes. Outrageous! The boxes cost more than I thought they would. So, being the crafty individual I am, I grabbed a stack of stock paper and a template, and I cut out and folded 50 little cute boxes. It took 4 hours to get everyone of them finished. When I had finally packed my goodies in a mailing box along with a batt, I was exhausted. I'm surprised I didn't get a paper cut!

So here they are! Someone will receive one of these designs in their box. Now, don't be upset if you don't wear shawls. I get that sentiment a lot, "Aww, they're pretty, but I don't wear shawls." The beauty of these is that they can be worn many, many different ways. Pin it to the front of a cardigan to keep it closed, use it as a accessory on a purse, pin it to a winter knit hat. . . the uses are endless!

So, if any one you get one of my beauties, I love to see a picture of it in action. You can post here with a link or on my Ravelery group at

Thank you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bottle Cap Hot Pad Pattern

Beer Cap Hot Pad
by Dawn L.E. Riden

I originally made several of these for a vintage crochet potholder swap. They were such a huge hit, I decided to write down the pattern to share with everyone.

6.5 inches across

Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet (Size 10); need approximately 75 yards
Size 9/1.40MM crochet hook
19 beer caps of your choice
Sewing needle

24 dc/12 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

Ch = Chain
Dc = Double Crochet
Sc = Single Crochet
Sc Dec = Single Crochet Decrease (Insert hook in first stitch indicated, yo, pull up loop, insert hook in second stitch indicated, yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through remaining 3 loops on hook.)
Sl St = Slip Stitch

Cap Cover

Ch 5, slst to first stitch to join.
Ch 3, 15 dc in ring, slst to join at top of ch 3. Make sure to dc over the tail of the chain to hide it. (16 dc)
Ch 2, sc in same st, *1 sc the next three sts, 2 sc in next st*, repeat between * two more times, sc 3, slst with top of Beg ch to join (20 sts)
Ch 2, sc in every st around, slst with top of Beg ch to join. (20 sts)
Ch 3, dc in every st around, slst with top of Beg ch to join. (20 sts)
Insert bottle cap before decreasing. 
Sc Dec around, slst with top of Beg ch to join (10 sts)
Sc dec around, slst with top of Beg ch to join (5 sts)
Break thread and weave through remaining 5 loops, tie closed and weave in ends.


Using scrap crochet cotton, sew 6 cover caps around one central cap on the underneath side where they touch. Then join 12 covered caps around the six. You can mix and match color however you like, so use you imagination!

Dawn is an energetic doting mother of 3, loving wife of 1, and friend to many. She enjoys creating unique designs using wire, yarn, and fabrics. To learn more about her and her inspiration, check her out on her blog at:
You can also support her habit by checking out her online store at:

Copyright 2009. Dawn L.E. Riden. hese patterns are for personal and non-profit use only. You may not sell items made from these patterns. You may make them for yourself, as gifts, or for donation to charity sales or auctions. And these patterns love being used for knitalongs or other organized knitting events that are free of charge.

Merchants may not download or print these patterns for sale, free distribution, or class use without prior written permission from the author. If you received one of these patterns directly from a yarn store, or are taking a paid class using one of these patterns, please verify that the store has written permission from the author.
Printing or downloading a pattern constitutes agreement with these terms.

June Phat Fiber Box

I finally got to enjoy opening my box with a friend, and we just ohhed and ahhed over everything. Are you ready for it? I am!

Corgi Hill Farm - Burgandy Black Dahlia - I've been wanting some from Corgi Hill for a while, and it was worth the wait! This is a stunning blend of Superwash merino and firestar. If you aren't a fan yet, you will be when you see the samples!
It's a Colorful Life - Mykonos Dark Merino/Tencel - This is that perfect blend of wool and tencel that gives it shine without being squeaky. I love the blend of blues!
eXtreme Spinning - Milk Latte Sable Island - I love the sheen of milk fiber, and it feels like silk in hand.
WondersMohair - Orange Mohair - Super soft in a vibrant orange. This is a perfect example of how mohair should feel!
Bunky Bobo's Hand Dyed Yarns - Hotspur Merino - This wool is perfect for a needle felting project I have in mind. Great job!
Goat Goat Sheep - Curls - Have you ever seen such well formed perfect curls?! And the shine is amazing. Gotta find out more on this.
Moonlight and Laughter - Sunshine on the shore - Very airy with a hint of sparkle! Pefect for those who want something different without going crazy.
BohoKnitterChic - Crab - From one of my favorite Ravelry friends! This blend of wool, cormo,
and angelina is a funky batt that is full of life. Can you hear it say, "Spin me!"?
Northern Lights Fiber Co. - Corriedale Wool Breaking Clouds - This is another beautiful feltable roving. I love the combination of the gray with the bright bursts of blue.
Nikobee - Superwash Merino Whirling Tides - Very soft! I love the way the dye is speckled in the roving.
Giffordables - Beach Glass - The most fluffy of all the samples, this wool is made of Wool top, mohair, and BFL. Every time I see this bright green/yellow in a wool, I want to spin it up.
Liberty Fibers - Merino/silk roving. So pretty! I love the blend of silk and wool. It soft yet easy to spin.
Moonwood Farm - Bamboo Earthsea - Great book and even prettier roving! Bamboo is one of my favorite fibers.
Polyart Girl Designs - Merino - What a beautiful combination of pastel colors! This would spin into a lovely baby blanket yarn.
1000 Petals - Silk Noil - I love silk noil! It's very versatile to add texture and softness to any battt, and what a variety there is!
WineMakersSister - I have a thing for Koi fish and this cloisonné fish is perfect! Thank you!
Slv Folk Arts - To top it all off, I got a small project bag! And it even came with a cute magnet.
Quite Nice - Crochet Sample - The sample sparked my curiousity, but it was the shop that I found amazing. There are a variety of treasures to be found here!
Miss Becca Designs - Stitch Marker - This beauty will be a perfect addition to my ever expanding trinket bracelet. Thanks!
4StitchMeKnot - Stitch Marker - I love the join on this adorble stitch marker. It would be perfect for sock knitters.
Heartstone Ceramics - Blue Button - I hoped against all hope to get one of these fantastic handmade buttons, and I got one! This beautiful button will adorn something special soon.

If I missed anyone, I'm sorry! I tried to catch all of them, but my 18 month old had other plans. I loved this month's box! I just seems to get better and better! Thank you all who contributed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bottle Cap Hot PAds

I recently finished my hotpads for the Hot Pads! and Pot Holder - The Swap that was hosted Hello Yarn.

Thank God we had two months to finish these potholders! I had a small collection of bottle caps that I started with,but soon ran out of. I enlisted my husband and friends to save theirs for me. Now, that I've finished using them, my husband doesn't know what to do with his. To him, it now seems a waste to throw them away.

I used every minute of it working on these darlings. I would crochet in the car, at the kids Doctor appointments, during knit nights, watching movies, and everywhere in between. Even once I finally got all 95 caps covered, I still had to sew them all together! : )

All the work aside, I absolutely love the way they turned out. They are very sturdy and they stay put when you set them down. (I find very important when you trying to put a pot on it.) Being crochet thread, I know they will last a lifetime with proper care.

So, to those of you who receive my lovelies, take care, enjoy, and know that a lot of love and hard work went into these.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May Phat Fiber Review

Hello all again to another round of the Phat Fiber box, here on my blog. Let's get to it. There's a lot to look at. . .

FIBERS - Purple & Green Falklands 56 Wool top - I love the colors here! They are very vibrant and rich. This would be great to spin into a yarn for purse or mittens. - Breeze 80/20 merino/bamboo - This is very soft, but not too slick. It would be a great into roving into bamboo spinning. - Superwash Merino Top Crocus - Beautiful! I love a good merino. This will not disappoint. I could roll around in this all day and be happy. - Take Out Club Bellino 70/30 Mohair Merino - Isn't the takeout box adorable. Great idea! The fiber is delicious. You can feel the silky mohair and it's very airy and light. - Chloris Superwash Merino - Once again, great packaging! I love the way this variegates from bright color to bright color. - Merino Novelty Purple Batt - So much fun! I can see Angelina and silk, and I even think some sari silk scraps. Glitz is grand! - 1/3 suri 2/3 Hucaya - I love alpaca. it's so finely textured and silky. If you haven't spin it, try!

YARNS = 100% Wool Petal Pushers - Beautiful subtle color variations that remind me of a vintage tea pot. Great weight to work with. - Orange Baby Alpaca fingering Weight - Once again, I love alpaca. It doesn't have the same texture as wool. I sometimes think it's like silk and wool got together and had a baby. Warm like wool but soft like silk. . - Recycled Rainy Day Cotton/Acrylic - Recycled! Yay! This is really the way to go if you want this weight yarn. It's a thread that you don't see often at yarn stores or online. I love that it is recycled! - Victory Merino Sport Weight Yarn - The motorcycle inspiration rocks my bobby socks off! This would be for a great accessory knit. - Peonies and Bluebells Hand spun - I am a big fan of hand spun. It has personality that a machine can't catch. This single ply thick and thin has lots of life and is wanting to be knit! - Crabapple Hand spun 2 ply - The sparkle of this yarn is stunning! There's Angelina in this superwash that absolutely glitters in hand. I love that the fiber was dyed by Extreme Spinning. You have to check this out! - Snuggle Toes Sock Yarn Spring Shower - This is very soft for a sock yarn. This would be an excellent choice for a shawl, too, with the nice subtle colors. Lovely!

- A dog cookie! So cool! I don't have a dog, but my Fat Cat loves them! Thanks! - Great packaging. It really caught my eye. On the tiny stitch marker is even a tinier acorn with the website. So adorable! - More stitch markers that are snag free. I love these for fine lace project that even my needles get stuck on. - This stitch holder looks like a drop spindle to me! I think it's actually a bell, but to me it will always look like a spindle - 5 sample tags - I love that I found someone who makes tags. Sometimes you just don't want to make your own and this would be a great alternative. - Bookmark - I read a lot. . . no really. .. a book a day. So it's great to have something to put in it now when I have to quit. Thank you! - Flower stitch marker - Yay! I am constantly drooling over this stuff. If you want something unique and special, check them out!

And my favorite part! The card holder that turns into a needle/accessory case! You are awesome Phat Fiber Lady! It really makes the box special!