Back in 2020, I turned attention to sewing face masks and ended up collecting beautiful fabrics. It was also fun exploring and shopping at wonderful online fabric shops!
Well, like most things with me, one thing leads to another and sewing masks turned into sewing quilts. I created a t-shirt quilt from my old movie crew shirts and that came out well for a newbie quilter. I then decided I wanted to tackle something a little bigger.
I found some great patterns on stores like Connecting Threads, Missouri Star Quilt Company. I fell in LOVE with designer Riley Blake’s “Destination” Panels and started putting tother a plan. . .
Our goddaughter, Lani, was turning 15 in 2021. I thought it would be fun to create a quilt for her showcasing some of the places she’s lived, where she was born, her family ancestry and the place for which she was named. Here are some initial swatches for Lani’s “Heritage Quilt”.
The pieces came in from different stores so once they all arrived, I washed the fabric, ironed then starting measuring and cutting. Now, I’m terrible at measuring so I measured many many many times. I started by cutting out her name using a solid dark blue fabric and applique-ing it on top of the pretty turquoise swirl fabric.
I did the same for the squared versions of the Japan and Swiss flags – cutting out each shape, then sewing the pieces on the background color. And yes, they are two different shades of red. (Some of these images are from the final quilt. I didn’t take work-in-progress photos of each step unfortunately.)
Then I sewed the “Lani” section to the “Hawaii” section to form the top part, and the “Flag” Section to the “Hooray for Hollywood” for the bottom – with a light gray fabric in between for the sashing.
Another round of measuring for the backing fabric, then making the quilt top + batting + backing sandwich. I used fusible backing for the quilt and placed an ironing mat underneath the quilt so I could iron on the floor. I ended up using quilt pins anyway so I think I’ll just use non-fusible batting after these quilts.
Now, for the FUN part! Hand quilting! I first used fabric pens to mark the wave pattern on the quilt top. Then I tried using quilt hoops but ended up just making a 2 ft x 1 ft PVC frame which worked wonderfully! I was able to have one hand on top and one underneath the frame since it sat on my lap. I used HUGE binder clips to hold the fabric down, but later found nice PVC pipe clamps that worked better.
After 3-4 months of nightly hand quilting, I sewed the binding on to finish the quilt.
At the end of January 2022 (literally 2 days ago), I was finally able to give this quilt to Lani – just a couple weeks shy of her 16th birthday. It had been nearly 2 years since we last saw her and her brother (I’ll follow up with Kai’s Heritage Quilt next!).
Between the Hand-Painted Mermaid Skateboard my husband gifted her and the Heritage Quilt from me, it truly was a fun gift exchange – and a fabulous way to end the first month of the new year.
Here is a brand new colorway to the shoppe: Lion Monument in Winter! This was inspired by a photo I took while visiting Lucerne, Switzerland in the winter of 2010.
The monument honors the fallen Swiss Guards during the French Revolution – revolutionaries stormed the palace of King Louis XVI and overran the Swiss Guards in 1792. This monument was dedicated in 1821 in a beautiful grotto. Over 200 years later, it still impresses any visitor to see it. I’ve seen it twice – in Fall and Winter, and each season carries beauty, reverence and contemplation.
It was great fun to get back into the dye studio and create this colorway. I love neutral colors (my wardrobe consists of a lot of grays, blacks & white) and I envision knitted/crocheted socks or hats to go with any outfit!
Available in lace, sock, DK & worsted weight yarn on AlohaBlu.com.
Here are more images from that Switzerland trip. This one shows a good scale of the Lion with me in the foreground. Truly a beautiful and massive piece of art.
Here is one of my favorite pictures – hubby calls it the “Christina” hobbit photo.
Years later, I still have this purple wool coat, and have since purchased some lighter weight puff coats for colder weather. Though after watching “Shetland” on Britbox, I may have to invest in a navy blue double-breasted peacoat like Jimmy Perez wears. . .
Here’s a night shot of Lucerne! Just stunning.
I would be remiss if I didn’t post some food images. After all, Switzerland is the land of chocolate and cheese. (FYI, Swiss Air serves cheese sandwiches and chocolates as snacks on their flights. How.Truly.Awesome.)
I’ll end this with a fun photo of my first time skiing! What better place to learn then in the Swiss Alps with a master ski instructor (our Godson’s Grandfather, who worked for a ski equipment company)? He fitted us up with the proper equipment and gave us lessons in skiing & snowboarding.
I had a blast going up and down the kiddie slope along with pre-teens and toddlers (even the toddlers with pacifiers-in-mouth were better at skiing that me – LOL) and was happy I did not fall down once! Jake and I have vowed to go skiing/snowboarding again so it’s definitely on our bucket list.
Aloha! Thought I’d share the colorways that I posted on the shoppe in January. Most of my yarn & fiber colors are inspired by photos that I take myself and post on my photography site. Though, sometimes I will see a beautiful photo and ask permission to use it.
Luckily, this first one was inspired by a photo from someone I know, so it wasn’t too hard to get their permission. My parents love to travel all over the world and they make sure to take lots of photos! Dad took this one while they were vacationing in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. He said it was one of his favorite photos so I wanted to create a colorway to show off all those shades of blues. There are even hints of very dark green with the foliage, so I added a bit of that in the yarn & wool too.
Colorway: Evening at Nanoose Bay.
This next one was inspired by my hometown. During the Fall/Winter months, we get incredible sunsets here in coastal Southern California. I often find myself waiting for the sunset with camera (or two) in hand to capture the colors. It’s not uncommon to find our neighbors doing the same, so we exchange pleasantries through our backyard fences.
On this particular evening, the view was amazing. The clouds were set up perfectly to create this funnel effect through the sky. I cannot even tell you how many photos I shot, but loved this one the best. Definitely felt like the sunset was ‘raging’ through the sky.
Colorway: Raging Sunset SC
For the final colorway, we’re heading to my mother’s favorite state: ALASKA! My parents rented a cabin on the water one summer and invited my husband and me to visit for a few days. The cabin had an upstairs loft with a view of the water and a small lanai to sit out and take your morning coffee.
We traveled from Los Angeles to Seattle, then took a smaller plane from Seattle to Sitka. As we descended on the island and were flying over the ocean, we kept getting closer and closer and CLOSER to the water . . . with NO runway in sight! About the time we were nearly eye-to-eye with the waterline, we hit terra firma and slowed to a stop on the tiny runway. Needless to say, my heart was racing just a wee bit.
As expected, the airport at Sitka was downright charming! It was quaint and small, reminding me of how the Hawaiian island airports used to be, decades ago. Traveling around the island didn’t take too long and views from every angle were breathtaking. One evening, I took this photo from the cabin and watched as the clouds came down so low that they exposed the tip top of this mountain. Sitka is definitely on our “to return” list!
Hope you enjoyed some of the stories behind the yarn. I will re-cap the non-yarn photos in my next post.
22 years ago today – at the tender age of 24 – I boarded a plane to embark on a month-long SOLO trip through beautiful Italy.
Armed with a wheeled carry-on luggage, backpack, calling card to phone Mom frequently and let her know I was ok, 1000+ page fiction novel, guide books, Lira currency (!) and 35mm camera with lots of film, I had a reservation at a modest pensione in Rome to start the journey.
Back in 1999, my roundtrip airfare from LAX to FCO was less than $400 USD, Eurorail pass was less than $400 USD!
During my month there, I met up with friends-of-friends who toured me through the little towns outside of Rome, connected with my cousin Laura in Firenze and stayed with her former classmates in their Florentine flat, took a bus tour with architectural grad students through the streets of Verona, stayed in a seaside hotel in the Ligure area, had my breath taken away by all of Venice and hand carried 3 bottles of wine back to the States.
Most of the time, though, was spent in quiet contemplation about the future . . .
What turned out to be a trip of a lifetime, I look back with delight that 1) I actually did that, 2) how different the world is now and 3) I wouldn’t do anything different. Well, I wish I didn’t have bronchitis and walking pneumonia during the trip – THAT I would change!
I would return to Italy 5 years later with my (now) husband, making even more incredible memories while reliving the great ones of the past.
Closing the chapter on the year 2020, I look forward to what 2021 will bring: more memories, hope and amazement for what is yet to come. (And more yarn, of course).
Happy Spring! It’s been a busy 2018, and exciting nonetheless. Last month marked my 1-year anniversary of starting the new AlohaBlu.com website – whew, a year already! I still have my original Etsy shoppe open and post my patterns & dyed-to-order listings there as well as the main shoppe. It’s been wonderful to have 2 sites going simultaneously!
A little change for me – late last year I started working part-time in the new field of ‘virtual reality’. After 2 decades of entertainment production experience, I find the new VR media exciting and challenging and keeps me on my toes. From learning new processes and terminology to the fast-paced non-linear nature of this medium, I sometimes feel like the slow tortoise being lapped by the feisty hare – lol! But, I’m having fun finding the balance between this amazing opportunity in a new field and my passion for fiber arts.
Along with a new job, I decided to start a FB page for my photos. (Backstory – Along with using my photos as inspiration for colorways, I’ve been posting a weekly photo on Instagram and have enjoyed sharing them with other photographers and travel enthusiasts. So, I changed my IG handle to be alohablu_photography and post every Friday.) I now add my photos on Facebook as AlohaBlu Photographywith photos/products available on Society6.
Here’s a photo I took one evening during our recent visit to Maui. We watched the sun set out on the lawn right by the shore, then moved up into the lobby for this photo of the pool area with just a sliver of a sunset left on the horizon.
Here is one I took while out paddle boarding just after sunrise with Jake – still lots of cloud cover with a hint of color poking through on the horizon. I think we were probably 1/2-1 mile offshore and it was super calm and peaceful. I was hoping to bump into some whales, but I think they were still sleeping 😴.
Come follow along on Facebook and/or Instagram for more photos.
For the shoppe this year, I’m hoping to keep dyeing up new and oldie-but-goodie colorways, and aiming to do another “Menehune Mini” (mini-skeins) listing this summer. Perhaps some more project bags/sock yarn kits too!
I’m also hoping to start an email newsletter, so if you would like to join, add your name to the list by visiting AlohaBlu.com, then scroll to the footer to find the sign-up menu:
Ok, now onto the COLORS!!
I’ll start with a new colorway, inspired by this photo I took last year. San Clemente is a famous surfing town about 2 hours south of Los Angeles. It’s pretty laid back and quiet and the sunsets are amazing – great restaurants too. I dyed up some sock yarn and roving in this beautiful sunset colorway.
Then I followed up with a couple oldie-but-goodie Hawaiian-themed colorways: Hawaiian Storm Clouds and Big Island Volcano. The former representing the island of Oahu as storm clouds were rolling in – look at the beautiful teal color of the water! The latter representing the big island of Hawaii where Jake and I saw this smoking volcano via helicopter!
Let’s stay on the islands a little bit longer . . . shall we? This colorway, “Wailua Falls 2” was inspired by this photo I took on the island of Kauai. These are a set of twin waterfalls that flow into a secluded lagoon below. You can hike down and bathe in the lagoon or stay topside and get a birds-eye view. For those of you who remember a TV show called “Fantasy Island”, these were the waterfalls seen in the opening sequence of every episode!
As the 2018 Winter Olympics were starting, I was asked to come up with a variegated colorway in sock yarn. Happy to oblige, this is “Best of the Best”, inspired by the 5 colors of the Olympic Rings. (Mahalo for the inspiration, Arlene!)
Let’s travel now to the land of magic! We live a few miles from Universal Studios Hollywood and love to visit the Harry Potter section of the park. I took this photo during our very first visit and noticed that beneath the gray stone castle, the foundation rocks had shades of pastel colors. What a great inspiration for yarn!
Speaking of magic, I think artist Aaron Spurgeon’s artwork is simply incredible. Aaron has done numerous illustrations for animated films/projects and is currently designing the cover of the Vistor’s Guide for the City of Pasadena (yup, the city of the famous Rose Parade!). When Aaron showed me this teapot design a few years ago, I created a colorway and dyed it again this year.
Another oldie-but-goodie is one of my favorite springtime colorway: Saturated Spring. I don’t have a photo inspiration for this one but love the combination of greens, magenta and brown.
Next up, the Winter 2018 edition of Addicted to Sock Knitting eZine was recently published and I took part in the “Dyer’s Challenge”. The theme for this edition was your favorite recipe and I love these Chocolate Covered Banana Pops by raw chef Debra Garner. Find the super easy and delicious recipe here.
One of our friends is moving back to the US after living in New Zealand for a number of years (and loving it!). I remember visiting out there years ago and recalling how everyone we met really enjoyed the lifestyle as well as the awesome natural beauty all around. This is a new colorway I dyed up inspired by the colorful hydrangeas we saw at the Wellington Botanic Gardens. It’s on our bucket list to return for another visit!
Traveling onward from New Zealand to Paris: I took an oldie-but-goodie colorway and created a kit! When I saw this lovely fabric at the store, I knew I wanted to create a kit using my Rainy Day Eiffel colorway. I still love how the sunset creates such a beautiful silhouette of the Tour Eiffel. The kits have sold out, but there are still single sock yarn skeins available.
Being a sucker for Purple and Gold, I had to share this custom order listing for a Lakers inspired colorway. I had meant to photograph the self striping skein and the two min skeins prior to packaging, but forgot so here’s what it looked like before it shipped out.
I’m working on more colorways and will post them next time.
Moving onto . . . finished projects!! Here are a few things I’ve finished this year.
This pattern was inspired by the Hawaii State Flower (which I know is the Yellow Hibiscus, but I think the Pink version is just as pretty, don’t you?)
Another Hawaiian-themed pattern:
Osmosis Socks Pattern by Leah Oakley available on Ravelry. This colorway was inspired by the Dragon our godson Kai drew, which his godfather Jake later recreated and gifted the original drawing to Kai on his 8th birthday.
Finished socks from the ASK colorway challenge
Cavalier Mitts (available soon in the Accessories section of the shoppe)
Some accessories in honor of my beloved Minnesota Vikings:
And some spinning projects!
This one was probably the largest skein I’ve spun up at over 6oz of continuous yarn! I think I’m going to knit up a cowl for myself.
This is one of my most favorite colorways and have wanted to spin this up for a while now. Love how it came out so soft and shiny!
More to come! Mahalo for reading along.
OH! If you have a finished project in AlohaBlu yarn, fiber or sock pattern and don’t mind me showing it off, PM me with a photo as I’d love to add it to the “Showcase” page of the website!
Remember sign up for the newsletter on the shoppe and Happy Spring!
Aloha all! For this blog post, I’m going to deviate from my normal yarn/knitting focus, and I’ll be writing about a great convention that hubby, Jake Rowell, and I participated in the weekend of November 17 – 19th. CTN Animation Expo has been running for 9 years in the Marriott Convention Center in nearby Burbank, California and could very well be the animation industry’s top convention.
CTN Expo centers around wonderful panels from leading experts in the entertainment industry, demonstrations on various artistic techniques, recruiting efforts from many studios, as well as a venue for artists to sell their books, prints, etc.
Over the years it has encompassed much more than traditional animation and has included CG animation, interactive games industry, and this year – the virtual reality medium. Jake was invited to share the award-winning projects that he has worked on: theBlu (produced by WEVR) & Jon Favreau’s Gnomes & Goblins (produced by WEVR and Reality One). We had a special venue designated as the ‘VR Room’ in Parlor 131 of the Burbank Marriott Hotel.
We started setting up on Wednesday, November 15th. Steve Galle and Ramiro Duran of WEVR were kind enough to help with the VR Cube installation while we worked with the furniture delivery & artwork set-up.
We went well into the evening hours for calibration and testing of the system. The system uses 2 sensors (called Lighthouses) mounted at the top of the cube, across from each other. In this photo, one of the sensors is mounted in the right top corner of the cube – looks like a square black box.
On Thursday, we worked on more preparations and in the evening Jake and I were invited to a VIP Event to kick off the CTN Festivities.
This year, the presentation was with animation producer Don Hahn, director/animator Glen Keane and legendary basketball player extraordinaire, Kobe Bryant. Kobe and Glen worked on an animated short film, Dear Basketball, based on a poem Kobe wrote during his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers. A poignant and honest tribute to a sport and world he loved so much, to a mind and spirit that would not quit, and to a body that had driven too many miles with too many injuries.
Here’s the link to the short I found on youtube with Kobe Bryant narrating to John Williams conducting the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year (yeah, that sentence has way too many wow factors in it . . . )!
Sock knitting while we wait.
Kobe talking about his love for animation.
Don, Kobe & Glen
And then we were off and running! Friday started with a bang and I met with Registration each subsequent morning to find out what slots were taken. They handed them out first come, first served and we sold out each day. By Sunday morning, we were sold out before I even got to the Registration table at 8:30am! We had people stopping by to add their name to the standby list, and word-of-mouth had spread that by Sunday the list had more names than we were able to show. Wow – just wow . . .
We were thrilled to have Lead Artist, Eric Foos, who worked on the Gnomes & Goblins Preview, fly out from his home state of Ohio to work with us on the first day. Eric had never attended CTN before and was truly inspired by the art, artists & energy of the expo.
We loved seeing people’s reactions to being in VR and the projects – many of whom didn’t know what to expect. We opened each session by explaining what roomscale VR was and what to expect during the projects. We told them this was THEIR time to experience VR and ask questions of the director and the crew who worked on it.
People LOVED having one-on-one personalized time with Jake and the crew. They asked questions while in the headset and many stayed for a few minutes afterwards for more conversation about how they can get into the industry, technical aspects of the projects (UnReal? Unity? Refresh/Frame Rate?), how to monetize these projects and more. My favorite reaction was from a European man who was so speechless after the session that it took him a few minutes to compose the words to tell us how awesome it was.
Then, each ticketed guest received a sealed special bag with some swag from Jake (signed prints from AstroBoy, Call of Duty or Superman Returns!) as well as signed posters from theBlu and G&G.
One of the videos we had looping on the monitor:
We had evening time set aside for our friends and colleagues, again, many of whom had never done roomscale VR. CTN was a great way to re-connect with our friends – some of whom we hadn’t seen in years! (click/hover over the photos to see names)
On a related note, this summer Jake has honored to be selected to be one of the featured artists in “The Artist Within: Book 2” by Author/Photographer Greg Preston! Greg was also here at CTN and had his “hot-off-the-presses” book available for sale.
Just a little history: about 10 years ago, Greg published his first book that showcased renowned artists in their studios. For this edition, Greg has over 100 amazing artists and he visited our home this summer to photograph Jake. We were so excited to see the book and had it on our swag table for folks to look through.
On Sunday, CTN founder Tina Price and Greg Preston organized an amazing book-signing that had over 20 of the featured artists in attendance! I believe I heard it was the largest book signing event ever at CTN. Here’s a group photo taken by fellow featured artist, Michael Peraza (front row, second from left). Michael and Patty (front row, 2nd & 3rd from left) are featured on pages 188-189 of the book. Group photo is used with permission.
Jake was seated in the front row, second from right (Greg Preston is standing behind him in the red shirt).
Jake was seated next to incredible artist William Wray (pages 254-255) who was kind enough to join us for lunch afterwards. We learned that William worked on Space Jam with Christina back in 1996! Small world, huh?
Both William and Jake got to meet legendary artist Drew Struzan (pages 236-237) at the book signing. If you’ve ever seen the iconic movie posters for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Harry Potter franchises then you’ve seen Drew’s artwork.
Also on Sunday, CTN Founder Tina Price came by to check out the VR Room!
By Monday morning, the event had ended and we were back in the room to tear down. Funny how things tear down much faster than they are set up!
Whew – what an amazing weekend! We want to extend our gratitude to the following people for making our first CTN experience so memorable:
Happy Fall Season. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday here in Studio City, where it topped out at 94 degrees Fahrenheit! It quickly turned about 20 degrees cooler so all the trees in our neighborhood decided to shed their leaves. It’s nice to have cooler weather finally.
I’ve been creating more new colorways and here are a few posted on AlohaBlu.com.
So, this September, the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games were announced, and for the 3rd time ever, Los Angeles will be a host in 2028! Yes, it’s 11 years away so there is plenty of time to prep, but still an honor to be a host city again. I dyed up a colorway – appropriately named 2028 – inspired by their logo.
Staying in my hometown of Los Angeles, here are new colorways inspired by the Gemstone/Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I took these photos this summer when we visited the museum with our niece and nephew! This is FERROAXINITE and FLUORITE – beautiful colorways in purples and burgundy.
I added a couple more colorways to the collection with CHRYSOCOLLA and REDDINGITE!
On my personal/photography Instagram account, I posted a picture I took while cruising through Alaska years ago. I had such great feedback that I decided to make a new colorway: RIDING THROUGH GLACIER BAY 🙂
This summer I participated in a Knit/Crochet-A-Long with the Facebook Group, Love, Peace and Yarn, and we made the Wonder Woman Wrap! It was so awesome to see what colors everyone chose – some paid homage to the classic character costume, while others – like me – took a more modern approach. I dyed two colors for my wrap: Courage Red (a pretty wine/burgundy) and Warrior Gold. The yarn kit is still available on the shoppe.
As some of you may know, my parents like to send me photos of their travels and I love to turn them into yarn and fiber. Here are a few from my folks that I dyed.
FALKLAND ISLAND PENGUINS. Though the weather was cold and sleeting, Mom and Dad took a 4-wheel drive tour through a peat bog to a penguin colony and took photos of these cool creatures.
YELLOWSTONE BEAR was captured on film by my Dad! Can you imagine being this close to this guy – or looking up and seeing up above you in a tree?? I thought his colors would be great for fall projects.
Here’s another photo Dad took at a museum in Seattle. Beautiful works of GLASS ART!
Along with my parents, I have other artists in my family from whom I draw inspiration. Our godson, Kai, drew an image of a dragon (he loves dragons) and when my hubby saw it, he wanted to do his version – so art inspiring art. Once hubby Jake was done with his dragon, he framed it up and gave it to Kai for his 9th birthday. Here is a collage of both artist’s work and my yarn/wool interpretation of GODFATHER/GODSON DRAGON.
I later decided to dye up an oldie-but-goodie this fall, called MEMORY. Years ago I had a fiber friend ask if I could create a colorway for her based on a memory of a walk through the woods. I loved this colorway so much that I dyed it up again!
I was excited to add a new sock yarn base to the shoppe, called Lanikai. It’s a lovely superwash merino/lurex yarn so it’s deliciously sparkly. Here are a couple skeins available on the shoppe: PUMPKIN SPICE and ORPIMENT.
I also dyed up a Holiday Collection. Coming from a multi-national, multi-cultural family I thought I’d do a selection of yarn to honor the various holidays we celebrate during the end of the year. Sending lots of love, joy and peace to my Catholic, Christian, Protestant, Jewish & Buddhist families in the USA, Philippines, Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan!
I recently spent some time with my sewing machine again to make some project bags after falling in love with this beautiful purple batik fabric! I paired the bag with a vibrant purple sock yarn skein, and the kits sold out already!
This past weekend, I was able to finish up a custom order for 3 hand-dyed, hand-knit socks in the Lanikai base. Fruit Stripe Gum Socks and Pay Day Socks are by Leah Oakley. Find her patterns on her pattern store on Ravelry. Here are the final socks:
And finally, some of my sock patterns were recently published on Knitpicks!! I also have Smocked Socks, Vertigo Blinds Socks & Shoreline Socks available on both shoppes and Ravelry. Here are the direct links:
It has been a busy summer so far and the Fall Season is proving to be just a busy. We’ve had a few family events before the kiddies went back to school so it was nice to see our nieces, nephews and godchildren. Amazing how fast they grow up!
In September I’m aiming to release some colorways from my Holiday Collection as well as some new Gemstone/Mineral colorways – so stay tuned!
As far as sock projects are concerned, I’m working on finishing up a couple more patterns that were recently accepted into the KnitPicks Independent Designers Program, so I will be busy wrapping those up to send out the final versions – exciting!!
More to come, but in the meantime, here are the colors for weeks 25-34.
During my Senior Year in college (any fellow Cal State Fullerton Titans out there?), I had an internship on a TV show being filmed on the Warner Bros. lot here in Burbank. It was the first half of their second season, became wildly popular and ran for about 10 seasons! I created a colorway called I WAS AN INTERN ON FRIENDS, and posted a fun video story on my AlohaBlu group. This is a 6-stripe colorway inspired by the show’s logo. I was gifted the cappuccino mug and bag for Christmas from the production staff and have kept them ever since.
I knitted a pair of shorties socks for myself (wearing them as I type this) and experimented with a rolled cuff, a K2P2 cuff and reverse St stitch for the sole.
Back in June we visited the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County with our niece and nephew – Hannah and Mason – who were visiting from Ohio. I made sure to visit the Gem & Mineral collection to take photos and I found a handful that were wonderful and interesting. Here is the first of this collection in hand-dyed yarn. ORPIMENT is a mineral that was used for centuries as a pigment in painting and sealing wax – this was before learning that the mineral is arsenic. Another one of nature’s beautiful-but-deadly combinations . . .
This is a tonal yarn dyed using an immersion technique with shades of pink, orange, gold with a final overlay of light brown.
When I switched to this new blog layout, I promised a new colorway was coming inspired by the panorama photo at the top of the blog page. Here is MAKENA BEACH SUNSET – photo taken by my hubby Jake on one of our favorite beaches on Maui. This panorama photo captures the sailboat on the left side to the sun setting on the right. We were married on this side of the island, not to far from this very beach. Mahalo Nui to my awesome hubby for the photo!
I started a new collection this summer of yarn colorways based on food and drink – and yes, I made myself hungry each time I had to dye something! I made sure to take photos of these delicious dishes beforehand and ended up with some fun colorways such as Coconut Pecan Caramel Waffles, Mango Sorbet, Coconut Lime Pie and Chocolate Mousse Cake! I ended up creating a set of Menehune Mini’s called DRINKS & DESSERTS – the set includes 10x – 10gram center pull balls of fun. No need to wind them, just pull the top string to start crafting. Perfect for scrap blankets, hexipuffs, scrap socks, etc.
As you know, I contribute to the Addicted to Sock Knitting eZine – patterns, interviews, photos – whatever fun thing Debra comes up with, I’m in! This past summer the eZine was dedicated to Harry Potter and Debra asked dyers to come up with a new take on HP-themed yarn. I found a beautiful image of Hogwarts castle online (click here for image) and dyed up a tonal yarn inspired by the nighttime castle. This is ALOHOMORA, the unlocking spell in Harry Potter.
Speaking of tonals, this next colorway was inspired by a photo I took during a black-and-white photography class I enrolled in at Pasadena City College many moons ago.The assignment was to take photos of shadows , and the lines and shadows created by the sunlight coming through these vertical blinds made for an interesting photo. I processed the film and print by hand (in a dark room) and loved how it turned out! I decided to create a colorway in self-striping, variegated and tonal yarn. This is VERTIGO BLINDS, from the photo of the same name.
If you’ve ever seen the movie, Charlie’s Angels, with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, then you’ve seen this garden before. One of the most famous areas of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is the JAPANESE GARDEN where I took this photo. The koi ponds and replica house are just amazing – not to mention the adjacent Zen Garden. For this colorway, I used an immersion dye technique and ended up making a Ghost Gardens Shawlette for myself!
Another one of California’s well-known spots is Santa Monica Beach. We don’t visit very often but when hubby’s brother and sister-in-law visited a few years ago, we headed out to the pier around sunset. I took this photo of a SANTA MONICA SUNSET at the beach park and loved the cloud patterns, sky color and palm tree silhouettes – perfect for a colorway!
This next colorway was really fun to do! A few years ago, my parents traveled through Asia and visited Vietnam. One of the great things that they do is visit cities that have well-known industries (like hand-blown glasswork, lacework, ceramics, etc) and visited an embroidery business in Vietnam. They loved this piece so much, they brought it home with them and it now is showcased on their living room wall. I loved the handcrafted nature of this embroidery as well as the colors so I snapped a photo and created VIETNAM EMBROIDERY.
Rounding out the last of the food collection yarns are COCONUT LIME PIE and WINE ON A VINE.
The former is a fun speckled yarn inspired by a super delicious and no-calorie dessert (yes, being sarcastic) from Lei Lei’s Bar & Grill on the fabled North Shore of Oahu.
The latter was inspired by a photo I took while wine tasting at a well-know region of New Zealand called Martinborough. We visited 2-3 different vineyards and each one was wonderful! I snapped this photo of the grapes turning color and thought it would look lovely as yarn and wool.
I’m trying out a new theme for this blog and the header photograph is a panorama photo taken by my amazing hubby, Jake. And yes, this will be a colorway soon 🙂
The past few months have been amazing and I’m still getting used to the new shoppe platform as well as keeping the Etsy shoppe. It has been a wonderful – albeit scary – learning experience and I have come to learn that both platforms have their pros and cons, just like everything in life. I’m so grateful for all the support from my fiber friends, non-fiber friends and family as I go along this fun journey of mine.
I’m super excited for the summer and have some fun things planned. We do have some family coming in tomorrow so I might put the shoppes on vacation mode or else just know shipping will be delayed a few days for in-stock items.
I’ll keep you posted on summer plans, but for now, here are the colors for weeks 10-24.
Starting with the most recent, I had dyed up this colorway in cotton yarn years ago and finally got around to dyeing it in wool. We were driving around pineapple fields on Oahu one year and I just loved how the sunset was making the fields a beautiful reddish color. In addition I did take a photo of a pink pineapple at the Dole Plantation which was astonishing to me since all I’ve ever seen were yellow! Here is PINEAPPLE FIELDS in yarn and wool.
This past week was Pride Week here in Los Angeles so I dyed up my RAINBOW PRIDE FLAG colorway. This was my very first self-striping colorway and I don’t dye it up very often. One of the first skeins I did dye was used for my Love is Love Sock Pattern. This years’ yarn skeins have already sold out, but the pattern is still available on both shoppes, Ravelry and Knitpicks.
For the Spring 2017 “Addicted to Sock Knitting” eZine, indie dyers were challenged to come up with a colorway based on their favorite children’s book. The book I chose was Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Peaand created both a self-striping yarn and variegated yarn. The pre-orders are now closed, but here are the two versions I created.
You know how I love sunsets and I couldn’t help but create a colorway from this photo I took of a SAN CLEMENTE SUNSET. We have family living down in Orange County and we visited them just after Thanksgiving last year. So so pretty!
This year I started a new dye collection inspired by food and drink. I just completed my final dye session and will be creating a new set of Mini’s (!) soon. In the meantime, this is a colorway based on a fabulous dessert we had at the Blue Bayou Restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland!! This is CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE and the dessert was divine . . .
I expanded my Sports/Team self-striping yarn this year and found many colorways can be used for a variety of teams: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, racing, local schools, etc. Here are a few that I dyed up and can be suitable for schools/teams in Los Angeles, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina and more. These are now available in the dyed-to-order section of the shoppe.
I dyed up this one because I love these colors!
ROSE GARDEN is a self-striping colorway created using 2 different dye techniques! The inspiration came a few summers ago when we took our visiting niece to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Gardens in San Marino, California. The Rose Garden was exceptionally beautiful and the photo I took of Alayna walking through the garden reminded me of beauty, romance, innocence and young love that I knew I had to create a colorway.
This next colorway is an oldie-but-goodie and it has oh, about 13 different colors in it so I don’t dye it very often. I did do a gradient yarn too, so the colors don’t repeat – I thought it would be fun for a shawl project! I took this photo at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and just love all the colorful fish and plant-life – not to mention the coral and rocks. I ended up spinning a small skein of the wool and love how the colors came out using a Navajo ply. Some skeins/braids of AQUARIUM are available on the shoppe.
Here is the Rambouillet/Silk yarn I spun:
My first set of 2017 mini’s sold out, but I was ready with my ‘Spring Set’ of MENEHUNE MINI‘s! I do have a couple of these sets available on the shoppe. These are 10x 10-gram balls of hand-dyed sock yarn that I already made into center-pull balls. You just pull the top yarn to start crafting!
Remember how I said I was doing a food/drink collection? Well, here’s a fabulous one from Oahu: MANGO SORBET. Jake and I were staying on the North Shore one trip and often dined at a restaurant called Ola’s at Turtle Bay Resort. It was a family owned joint, right there on the beach where you can enjoy drinks or a meal while watching the world go by . . . Ola’s recently closed but I’ll always remember the view, the food, the awesome staff and their wonderful desserts.
Since we are talking about Hawaii, here’s another one – inspired by a super special drink called the LAVA FLOW. I had my very first drink at Duke’s on Waikiki Beach with a handsome man who would later become my beloved husband Jake. After he bought my first Lava Flow, it became an instant favorite and to this day is still my favorite tropical drink. I always loved the pinks and red of the drink and thought it would be a fun colorway for yarn and wool.
Just after I dyed up this colorway, my friend Chantal said she needed a pair of custom socks for her niece in Africa and they NEEDED to be pink! Well, how perfectly timed is this?? I used Lava Flow in sock yarn and used black yarn for the personalization. I was told recently that Zozi loves her socks!!
Continuing with the food theme, this new colorway was inspired by a breakfast I had while visiting with an old colleague. Jake and I met my old Producer at a well known waffle place in the next town over and though I knew this was incredibly sinful, I couldn’t help myself. I ended up only eating half this (it was already a half portion), but the whipped cream and caramel sauce on top of crunchy waffles was so worth it! This is COCONUT CARAMEL PECAN WAFFLES and luckily the yarn and wool are zero calories!
This next one is another oldie-but-goodie and ironically, I was with the same Producer when I had this dessert! AVOCADO CHEESECAKE seemed rather odd to me when I was first presented with it at an Indian vegetarian restaurant. But, after the first bite, I realized why it was such a hit. The raspberry and mango sauce were a nice touch and the creamy cheesecake was amazing.
The final two colorways were inspired by photos my parents took while visiting the Seattle Art Museum last fall. My parents love to travel and I always ask them to keep an eye out for interesting photos that I might create into yarn. Dad took these amazing photos and I am told they have even more for me from their most recent European trip! This one is called FILMSTRIPS and apparently the artist took these rolls of film and handpainted (!) each one in different colors and patterns. It definitely made me nostalgic for the days when you would take your rolls of 35mm film into the drugstore to get processed – ha!
The last colorway is AFRICAN ART TRIBUTE – inspired by this wonderful exhibit showcasing African art and culture. Dad snapped this photo and thought it would look great in yarn & wool! The exhibit is now closed, but my parents were grateful they were able to see it.
Now for some projects . . .
Back in January I posted a new colorway called CHINESE GARDEN. I used an immersion dyeing technique and was thrilled with the outcome that I ended up dyeing a skein for myself and knitted up a shawl using the Ghost Gardens Shawlette pattern by Kelene Kinnersly. I just love this pattern and already have plans to make another one!
I am fortunate to have a customer who loves my Yin Yang Socks and I’ve made a few for her already. She challenged me with translating the pattern into a hat and scarf for her. I finished the hat already and did a snug cap design. I’m still working on the scarf and am using a double-knit approach so the pattern is reversed on the back – so far it’s working well but it does take some brain power (at least for me!).
I have also been working on a few custom order socks and finished a pair just last night!
And a few spinning projects. . .
This one I knit into a pair of shorties socks and have quickly become one of my favorite pairs! It’s hard to see, but it’s a Rambouillet/Bright Nylon yarn so there is some sparkle in it. The colorway is BOX OF CHOCOLATES.
I’m in LOVE with Rambouillet wool and dyed up a braid in my SATURATED SPRING colorway. I spun this up in a laceweight yarn and don’t have a pattern in mind yet . . .
This was my submission for the June SPINNING BOX – the theme was Sunsets and I snapped this photo on Maui while hubby was driving. My submission included 1 oz of Merino/Tencel roving, a photo of WEST MAUI SUNSET and a Hawaiian Islands Mango Maui tea bag. I spun up a small sample for myself!
Aloha! After much anticipation, my new website is live! For this site, I wanted to share the products I create, but also show you the images that inspire the colorways. So, the new www.AlohaBlu.com will be part shoppe / part gallery and I hope you enjoy the views.
The first colorway I posted was inspired by a photo taken last year on Maui. THE COLORFUL MR. G is a brightly colored gecko who we found sunbathing near our room. I dyed up some yarn and roving, and even created a video about the colorway which you can see on each product listing on the new shoppe.
The next colorway is a new take on an oldie-but-goodie: DARK UNIVERSE 2 uses similar dyes as the original, but these yarn skeins are kettle dyed rather than handpainted so they result in a wonderfully random pattern!
Years and years ago when I was first starting out in my film career, I was able to go on a ‘field trip’ with other team members to JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Pasadena, CA. After getting information on space, stars, constellations and galaxies, we left with packets of material including fabulous photographs taken from high-powered telescopes. I was amazed at how colorful outer space was and this colorway reminds me of those bright accents of color against a dark background.
I also created a video for this colorway, which can be seen on each of the product listings.
It’s time for MENEHUNE MINI’S! This set of 10x – 10 gram mini balls are from my European collection. These colorways were inspired by my travels through Italy, France and Switzerland. I’ve already wound them into center-pull balls so all you have to do is pull the top yarn and start crafting.
Here are some of the inspirational photos that I took on my travels: