Friday, July 25, 2014

Shop Update: Perfume Oils

Yarn & fiber have always been, and will always be, my #1 focus and my #1 love, but this bath & body thing has kind of taken over my dining room. Not that I'm complaining! I'm enjoying having one afternoon a week where I am surrounded by amber bottles and herbal concoctions, while reading up on the properties of various oils and compounds.

There are 3 new custom perfume blends for fall, and 1 new single note perfume oil.

When you buy a scent from me, you can choose between a coconut oil base or a synthetic silicone base. I will then custom blend your perfume oil and put it in a roller ball container. The roller ball container fits perfectly in a pocket or wallet. The perfumes/colognes are usually a blend of essential and fragrance oils. I try to use as many natural ingredients as possible, but there are some scents for which essential oils are not feasible or responsible. Sandalwood, for instance. In those cases I use high quality fragrance oils.

Patchouli - New- This is a single note perfume. Either you love patchouli or you hate it!
Sweater Vest & Pipe - New - Described by a friend as smelling a bit like a hipster grandpa, but in a good way. :) This essential oil blend contains patchouli, orange, clove, pine, lavendin, lemongrass, gardenia, elemi, and synthetic ambergris. It is a great unisex oil with sticking power.
That's Nice (What Is It?) - New - The #1 comment for this custom blend was "That's nice! What is it?". This sweet, feminine, non-floral perfume has complex notes of basil, lime, orange and rosemary essential oils, plus black pepper and vanilla.
Hannigan's Bathtub Gin - New - This custom blend is described as slightly medicinal, but in a good way. Essential oils of basil, lavadin, citrus, juniper berry and patchouli are used. It has licorice-like top notes. A gin-y juniper berry shines through.
Brown Sugar & Fig - This has been a customer favorite. It is light and feminine, without being floral. Warm brown sugar and ripe fig join together in a subtle, yet intoxicating blend. It isn't too sweet, nor too spicy.
Euphoria - Euphoria is a sophisticated floral scent of jasmine, wild rose and warm sandalwood.
Fraser - There is just something about a spicy, woodsy, citrusy perfume. This is a great masculine scent, and women love it, too. This custom blend smells of clove, sandalwood, tangerine essential oil, and patchouli.
Sandalwood and Sandalwood Vanilla - Sandalwood is such a popular scent with my customers that I am offering it both as a single note perfume and blended with vanilla.

Monday, June 30, 2014

TdF Contests

Here is the info on the Team Dyeabolical contests! 
Contest #1:
GOOOOOAAAAL!
Tell us what your goals are for the Tour. Anyone who joins the group and submits a goal will be entered to win a digital row counter. Drawing for this contest will be on Monday, July 7. [Post to the chat thread]
 
Contest #2:
Fancy Pants
 July 19th is the hardest stage of the Tour, and also the TdF challenge day. To participate in the Fancy Pants challenge, challenge yourself to spin it fancy, and post a picture of your fancy pants yarn on or before July 19th. Fancy can be a luxury fiber (silk, yak, angora, cashmere, etc), a new-to-you knitting technique, an art yarn, or spinning in a way that is different from how you normally spin. Challenge yourself! Drawing for 1 bag of hand-carded rolags will be pulled from the submissions on July 20th. [Post to the Fancy Pants thread]

Contest #3:
How I spin contest
How do you spin? Everyone spins a little bit differently and we would love to see how YOU spin. Upload a video of yourself spinning sometime during the tour to earn a chance to win a prize! The video can be anywhere from a few seconds long to a full tutorial. Just show us your spin! Winner will be chosen at random and awarded a braid of fiber chosen by me. Drawing will happen the Tuesday after the Tour ends. [Post to the How I Spin thread]

Contest #4:
Your Daily Spins
Upload a picture of your daily spin to the chat thread. Anyone who spins every stage will be entered to win 8oz of  the fiber of their choosing. Drawing for this contest will be the Tuesday after the Tour ends, to give everyone a few days to upload their final progress picture. I can't keep track of everyone, so you will be responsible for letting me know whether or not you have completed your goal. [I will open a separate thread for this drawing as the Tour comes to a close.]



Tour De Fleece Countdown


A little over 4 days until the Tour kicks off! Are you ready? My friend Lacey and I have put together this blog post to answer any questions you might have about Tour de Fleece itself, about joining the Dyeabolical Team, and a little about prepping for the Tour.

History: Tour de Fleece was started by  Starathena through her blog Keep Knitting in the Free World. in 2006.  In 2008, TdF moved to Ravelry and has since grown to a very active group, with 7 official teams and over 160 Wildcard teams.

TdF Basics (borrowed from the TdF group): 

The concept is simple:
Challenge Yourself. 
Spin. 
Have fun.
This year, the Tour de Fleece starts on Saturday July 5 and runs until Sunday July 27th, 2014.
Guidelines (NOT RULES):
  • Spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 5 through Sunday July 27th. Days of rest: Tuesday, July 15th and Monday July 21st. (Just like the actual tour.)
  • Spin something challenging on the challenge day (usually the toughest high mountain stage: this year, it’s Stage 14, on Saturday, July 19th, when they climb over 3,000m at grades from 4-6%).
  • Wear yellow on Sunday July 27th to announce victory. Why not wear yellow on any day you feel particularly successful? (Yellow is the color of the race leader in the Tour - but here we are all ‘race leaders’) Other colors if desired: Green (sprinter - think FAST), Polka-dot (climber - as in uphill), and white (rookie).

Getting Ready: Are you in? If so, have you...

- Joined your teams? You can join as many teams as you would like. There are official teams or Wildcard teams. Team Dyeabolical is a wildcard team.  --> IMPORTANT: Joined the Dyeabolical group to stay current on our team's activities, get more information about contests, and post your daily progress.
- set your personal goals? You could try and spin a pound over the course of the ride or spin a specific amount of yardage or keep it simple and just try to spin daily.
- cleaned your bobbins off? (Scott uses the Andean Plying Technique when he cleans the last of the singles off his bobbins.)
- got your wheel up to fighting weight by tightening things up, checking your drive band, and cleaning and oiling? Knitty has a good article on basic spinning wheel maintenance.  
- prepped your fibers? I (Rachel) like to "pop" my fibers if they have been in storage for a long time, especially if they have been squished down in the bottom of a plastic tub for months *cough*years*cough*. I unbraid the fiber, hold a section about 8-12" apart and snap it back and forth. I find that it opens up fibers nicely. Is your goal to spin woolen style like a production spinner? Check out Beth Smith's article on prepping fiber for production woolen spinning.



CONTESTS! We're having them! See the team threads or this blog post for more info!
Helpful Resources
- Not a spinner? Learn to spin videos: 
          - With a wheel  (Caveat: The video recommends pre-drafting. Some spinners pre-draft, but it is not necessary to pre-draft a well-prepared fiber. Just give it a little "pop" or "snap" and spin!)
          - with a drop spindle 
- Want to join lots of teams? Check out this thread to see what other Wildcard teams you may want to join. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Row counters and Tour de Fleece



 If you love spinning and you love sales, then read to the Tour de Fleece section of of this post. 

Heyo! It's feast or famine when it comes to blogging around here. I have been under the weather the last few days and I've wrapped up some big projects recently. That seems to have freed up some of my mental and creative resources. I have had so many ideas lately, started so many new projects, and finished a few others. For instance...
 
B(ias)^3 by AECDesigns out of my new superwash merino Bounce base in the Thunderboom colorway

Two consignment stockings. Not only did I knit the once, but I spent an entire weekend reknitting and repairing parts damaged by a red that wanted to bleed. I am never knitting bright colors and white colors in the same project ever again!

Whoops, I lied.
Mixed Wave Mitts by Sybil R. Knit out of a Highlighter set on my Super Ego base.
I don't currently have any Super Ego dyed up on the Highlighter base, but I do have some available on Bounce and Sturdy.
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The Tour de Fleece starts on July 5 and I have a surprise. Dyeabolical is hosting its own team! Team Dyeabolical is a low-key group for spinners of all skill levels. Here's the main rule: Try to spin every day that the Tour rides. If you miss a day, we'll still love you. We prefer that you spin at least one Dyeabolical yarn, but we want to see everything you spin! Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules. Here is the Dyeabolical Team Page and the official Tour de Fleece group.
It would be rude to announce a Dyeabolical team and not give you an opportunity to buy fiber, right? So we're having a SALE! 15% off all made-to-order spinning fiber between now and June 15. If you order in that window, then you will have your fiber dyed just for you by the first week of the Tour. No coupon code needed. The prices have already been marked down.

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Row counters are now back in stock.  You are in luck if you really like red & pink, as that was the bulk of what was sent this time. There is also 1-2 of some other colors. I have another shipment that should be here in a few days. The assortment sent each time is random, but I am super duper hoping for an assortment heavy in purples and blues next time.

And now some news, 3 customers (that I know of) received counters from the last batch that jump a number whenever the large button is pressed, regardless to whether the screen is awake or asleep. It should only jump a number when the screen is on. The counter is perfectly usable (I've been using them) but it is not consistent with the other products. I am currently discussing this with the manufacturer. If you received a counter like this and would like a different one, please contact me.

Every counter in every shipment is now tested individually, so any counter you order from the website will work as advertised. However, I now have more jumping counters than I can use. I would be happy to sell one for $3 + shipping (normally $4 + shipping) to anyone who contacts me. I mostly have greens & browns.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Catching Up



Retiring colors reminder: Off With Her Red, We're All Mad Here, Serendipity, Tequila Sunrise, and Themyscira are retiring at midnight on Friday, May 30.

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Hello! I've missed blogging lately. Spring has been very busy!

I have been working very hard on expanding the soap business. Later this summer, or early fall, Dyeabolical will offer cold processed and hot-processed soaps, in addition to the glycerin soaps currently offered. Some soaps will be simple, nature-inspired rustic soaps. Other soaps will be ridiculously bright and fun. There is a pretty good chance that you will, at least occasionally, be able to buy soaps and yarn that match each other. No, I don't know what the point of soap and yarn matching would be, especially since I don't sell cotton dishcloth yarn anymore, but doesn't it sound like fun?

In other soap news, Soap of the Month Club memberships have been starting to sell out each month, or come close to selling out. I am adding several new spots in June that will hopefully solve that problem. New spots open up on June 12th and can be purchased from the online shop.

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Yakkity Yak
I promised myself that I would not add yet another fingering weight yarn. I am terrible at keeping promises to myself when the mills keep introducing such awesome yarns. I bought a bag of superwash merino/yak/silk fingering weight to try out and fell in love. It took very little convincing for me to buy more yarn and start dyeing test colors (pictured above, straight out of the dye pots and before their glamour shots). This yarn is a natural gray and takes colors so differently that even my regular colorways look drastically different. It is lovely. In a few weeks, this new yarn will be available for sale.

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Knitting time has been scarce lately and spinning time non-existent, but I did finish 2 major projects this week. The first is a cotton blanket for our red futon that I started last year. There is no reason it should have taken me this long to finish it. It truly was a quick knit, even for its size. This is the second blanket I have made out of Blue Sky and I love it.

The second major project I finished this week is one I will blog about later, if I ever recover from the horror of looking down on to a red and white project and seeing pink.

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      2014 Reading Challenge
   


       

          2014 Reading Challenge
       

     

        Rachel has
             read 24 books toward her goal of 52 books.
     

     

       
hide

     

     

        24 of 52 (46%)
     

       

          view books
       

 

   
My reading progress this year is better than usual thanks to getting hooked on narrator Amanda Ronconi. I have torn through Molly Harper's catalog, and am currently tearing through Tate Hallaway's Garnet Lacey series, both of which are narrated by Ronconi. Both series are similar enough. They are regional romances, with a little comedy and a lot of paranormal hijinx, featuring powerful women who don't know their own strength, and surprisingly (not) powerful and sensitive vampire dudes. YAWN, amirite? Yet I have listened to 18 of these books and several of them more than once. 
 
I will need to charge my Kindle for June, though. The new Outlander book is out, the second Robopocalypse book comes out, and the new Discovery Of Witches book. I'd better find a new garter stitch project, too. Reading makes garter stitch go faster.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Retiring Colors


Hello! I want to give you a heads up that the following colors are either retiring on May 30, or have already retired:


Look for new colors to be unveiled later this summer, along with new soap designs and perfume scents!



Thanks,



Rachel

















Monday, April 21, 2014

How I Manage Intarsia Tangles

Expanded from a picture originally posted to my Instagram page.

Someone asked me why I don't use bobbins in intarsia. I told them I would post a picture the next time I had a good example, which happened to be last night when I only had my phone with me. Please excuse the poor picture quality. 

I am working on a Christmas stocking for a client and, like most stocking patterns, there is some intarsia colorwork. Intarsia = Tangles, amirite? 
 
A lot of people successfully use bobbins for color work, but I never remember which way to turn my work to avoid bobbin snarls. I use butterflies instead. If you make yarn butterflies (wind several yards around 2 fingers, tightly wrap one end around the middle to hold the butterfly together) then you can easily pull out what you need. It looks like a rats nest, but everything still pulls free fairly easily. 

If you hit a massive snarl that can't be worked anymore, then you can easily detangle the mess by pulling the ends free one by one and rewind them back in to butterflies. This took me about 2 minutes to untangle, much faster than it would take me to untangle plastic bobbins.
 
Some people don't bother making butterflies. They work with short lengths of a yard or less and let the ends hang free.