Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Handspun

I finished a few more handspuns this week. I'll be dropping these off at Laumeier Sculpture Park's gift shop tomorrow, along with some new sock yarn and the cotton tape from last week.

I really love how these yarns turned out. Thank you to the dyers who shipped these fibers to me on such short notice. In a time crunch, it was faster than buying, dyeing and drying them myself.

Organic Merino, dyed by Knitty and Color. Thick and thin, thread plied with gold thread. 

 100% silk, 2-ply, dyed by a vendor from Waterloo Sheep and Wool Festival

Merino and angelina, thick and thin with coils, dyed by Sugarbee Studios

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shop Update: Superwash Merino/Nylon Spinning Fibers

I have finally gotten the superwash merino/nylon roving listed! If you are a spinner and a sock knitter then you want this spinning fiber! It is strong, spins like a dream and won't felt up on you. This is no wimpy wool/nylon blend. It has 25% nylon and the wool is a soft, clean, loftymerino wool. The introductory price is only $17. Trust me, spinners.You want this!
 My creation

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Short shipping and update delay

I was supposed to update my shop today with new superwash merino/nylon spinning fiber, but I didn't. I'm sorry. I have reasons and they involve travel. I hate traveling. Not merely dislike it. Hate it. Hate the reasons I need to be traveling, too. Too many people losing too many people. It's sad. So instead of  updating the shop and cleaning like we planned, we let ourselves get distracted by a little bit of life:

Why yes, that is lettuce, tomatoes, radishes and carrots all growing in the same planter. Thanks for noticing!
We started our first Earthbox, too.

With any luck I will be able to update my Artfire site Monday morning before I leave. If I don't get it done before I leave then I will post the roving on Wednesday. Any orders made between now and Wednesday will be shipped out Wednesday afternoon.
My creation

Friday, April 16, 2010

Upcoming Shows

I have a few events coming up in the next few months that you may want to attend!

I will be at the opening of Tower Grove Farmers Market on May 8. This is a new venue for me and I don't have a tent or tables yet, nor do I think I could fit tent, tables, chairs and inventory in my car should I acquire them. Everyone cross your fingers for partly cloudy skies, no rain and little wind. Alternately, cross your fingers for an affordable tent, tables and a car big enough to take them. The market opens at 8:30 and goes until 12:30.

Laumeier Sculpture Park will be hosting its annual Art Fair that same day, May 8. I do not have a table at the Art Fair, but I will be dropping off sock yarn, handspun and some trial-run yarns to the gift shop the week before the event.

I have just submitted my application for Green With Indie on June 5th in Webster University's gym. I live less than 5 minutes away from this gig, which makes multiple trips possible if I need to make them to bring all my stuff. This show will feature a LOT of cottons, felting fiber and hopefully some spinning fibers. As always, I will have some 1- 2- and 3-of-a-kind base yarns, sock yarns and some hand sewn bags.

Here are some things I've been working on for these shows:

Handspun superwash BFL

Handspun superwash merino/nylon--perfect for socks!

Cotton tape

More cotton tape

Felting fiber

More felting fiber

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Knitting the Queue: Project Update

I haven't had much time to work on Knitting the Queue lately. A lot of my free time has been spent getting my rusty spinning skills back up to speed, gardening and watching Dr. Who. Priorities, you know.

I finished the second block on project #1, the Lizard Ridge afghan, and am almost done with the third block:

I finally finished project #3, the Fake Isle Hat. I used Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in color 555 Tapestry Rainbow for the main color and a generic wool/acrylic blend for the black. I gotta tell you, 555 is powerfully ugly in the ball, which is probably why it was the only color still left on the shelf:

It just goes to show that you can't judge a yarn by its put-up. 555 knitted up very nicely. Very nicely indeed. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In which UPS Guy laughs and laughs and laughs

Yesterday I dyed up a 5-pound batch of superwash merino and nylon blend spinning fiber. It was really really hairy. It stuck to my hands, my hair, my shirt. Everywhere. I spilled a lot more dye yesterday than I normally do, so my arms were covered in purple and blue bruise-colored marks. My shirt was soaking wet because, well, because dyers are always in a state of semi-dampness when they dye. To finish the picture, my bandanna was falling off.

Cue the UPS guy.

So I open the door to sign for my package and the UPS guy bursts out laughing.

"You look like you've been in a fight with a cat," he wheezes.

I reply that I'm dyeing wool. "I'm a wool dyer. That's what I do. I dye wool," I say, a touch too proudly considering my current state.

Blank look from the UPS guy.

"Wool gets everywhere."

 UPS Guy mouths "wooooool" silently.

"Ha! You know wool, right? The stuff that comes from sheep?  You know? Wool? You're delivering wool right now. Sheep wool? In the box. That's wool. That's what I do," realizing that this might be one of those muggle moments Yarn Harlot is always talking about. There is no graceful way out of this. "You know....wool?"

UPS Guy blinks once.

UPS Guy blinks twice.

UPS Guy starts laughing again and turns to walk down the stairs. By the time he reaches the sidewalk he is clutching his sides from laughing so hard. 
 In other news, you know you're in a dyer's house when there is roving hanging from the chandelier.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shop Update

I am listing new items! If they aren't currently in the shop they will be soon. I will update this post with links directly to the items as I list them. You can find all of these items in both my Artfire and Etsy shops.

Alice Colors
2 of the 3 Alice colors have sold out. I have added a 4th Alice color as well. 

Off With Her Red! is still available.

I dyed another batch of Hookah You? inspired by the Caterpillar.

This is the second batch of Mock Turtle.

I love this new color called "Flamingos on a Croquet Lawn". I used this color in a new base yarn I am testing out and knitted a pair of fingerless mittens. Click the picture to enbiggen. Thanks to Deborah for modeling and for helping me so very much lately. 

More Sock Yarns
I dyed a new batch of Pumpkin in the Strong Arm base (75% sw merino/25% nylon). The lot came out nice, but much darker than Pumpkin usually is. 

Many customers have requested more semisolid sock yarns. I had 2 skeins of undyed yarn left after dyeing the above, so I tried out a turquoise at the request of customer MaryJo. She immediately snapped up one of the skeins, but I have one skein of semisolid turquoise left. I will be dyeing more semisolids very soon. Some will be listed here and some, locals, will be going to Knitorious.

Cotton Slub
Knit on a 4-6US with a gauge of 5-5.5 stitches per inch for a loose fabric, perfect for summer. 2-3 skeins are enough for a summer sweater at this gauge, 3-4 for a February Lady Sweater of nearly any size, 1 is enough for a baby garment or maybe even 2 garments. This yarn looks very nice at tighter gauges, as well, but check your yardage before buying. Note: The skeins are sold at 100g. Most actually contain 5-10 extra grams at no extra charge.  

I have 8 skeins of Perfect Turquoise. I am only listing 4 right now, so if you need any more than that, please let me know. 

I switched dyes for Peculiar Purple and love the results. The hue is the same, but the purple is more saturated. The picture doesn't show it well, but there is some lovely semisolid variegations.

Jadeite is a new color. I have asked and looked at many shades of green trying to name this color. It is a little greener than aqua, a little deeper than seafoam. It is very close to what some people call spring green, although I'm looking out my window at the spring blossoms and and do not see this color. Thanks again to Deborah who finally narrowed this color down to "Jadeite".  

"Olive You" is my new favorite color. I want to keep it for myself and knit a Skif-esque cardigan, but I have a rule. I get to keep 2 projects worth of my own yarn in stash. Right now I am over my limit with 3 projects worth in stash. So, sorry Olive, I've got to list you. It is a comfort to know I can redye you any time I choose, but you have to know as Dye Lot #1, you are my favorite. 

There is one skein left of this Tussah Silk. This is the same color I made the cowl from last week. One of a kind!

There is one skein left of this teal Tussah Silk. At 150 grams, it is enough for a long scarf or great shawl.

And now to the Silkerino....

I have talked about the Silkerino before. It is a wonderfully luscious, soft, gorgeous, beautiful, amazing, awesome, great yarn. I have been doing some thinking about this yarn. I was thinking about keeping this yarn as a regular yarn. I sent it to Kate who knitted the lovely shawl above. She gave it great feedback. I personally love it. People have ooh'd and ahhh'd over it since I first dyed it up, but these last few skeins haven't moved. I took them to the Knit-In yesterday and there was more oohing and ahhing, but no sales beyond the few I made last year. Shoot. 

I did some mulling over this morning, including some hard core mulling that involved a calculator and have come to a decision. I'm lowering the price...a lot. *coughcoughsputtersputter* Someone hand me my inhaler.  

 There are some new silk blend yarns on the market, primarily sock yarns, that are a lower base price. I still believe the Silkerino base is superior for the purpose I intended it for. The new bases are, obviously, superior for the purpose they were intended for, namely socks.  Silkerino has loft and drape. It shines well. It dyes well. It has a very mild halo-ing effect that looks very nice in shawls. It is NOT a sock yarn and was never meant to contend with sock yarns, however....

....wellll, the specs for the silk sock yarns and the Silkerino base sure look pretty similar. They are mostly about 400-450 yards per 100g and they are a 50 silk/50 merino fingering weight. If you compare numbers to numbers, the silk sock bases are a better value if you don't know how the yarns are different. And there's the rub. People don't know they are different just by looking at a picture. They know one is a lot less expensive than the other even though the fiber content is the same.

...BUT, the numbers only give half the story. The Silkerino base and the silk sock yarns are different yarns. Different numbers of plys, different qualities of silk, different kinds of silk, the angle of the twist, the method of spinning (worsted vs. woolen) all make a huge difference in the final product. It is difficult just to look at a picture and tell that one skein is fairly priced at $24.50 and the other is also fairly priced at $42.50. 

Both are excellent yarns, both would look good in shawls, just in different ways. Knowing the difference is something that is born out of experience and (or?) a geeky academic love of fiber. I do want people to experience the difference between the two, while simultaneously accommodating a perceived downward trend in silk blend costs. [See me use my degree there? Good to know it isn't completely wasted.] For that reason, I have lowered the price on my last 4 skeins of Silkerino to....



If these last 4 skeins sell quickly, then I will bring in more Silkerino colors at this lower price (assuming that the supplier doesn't up their prices).  If it doesn't sell well, then in to my stash it will go and I'll investigate bringing in the silk sock yarn (or a different 50/50 blend). That wouldn't be a tragedy by any means. I mean, how awesome would it be to throw your gorgeous silk socks in the machine?

It isn't that I don't love the silk sock yarns dyers are using now. I DO love them. It's just that Silkerino is one of the few non-supewash yarns I do and I really really really really really really really really like and I only have so much room in the brand for a fingering weight silk blend. 


Silkerino is a 50% merino wool/50% silk base yarn. It is a fingering weight yarn ideal for shawls and scarves. It has 440 yards per 100g. I have one skein left of the light blue-green that Kate made the above shawl out of and I have 3 skeins of Evil Jeanius.

Buy 'em. Tell me you love them. I would love to bring more of this yarn in.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Knitted superhero guy and a knit-in at Laumeier Sculpture Park

The Laumeier Sculpture Park Knit-In is tomorrow! There will be a gallery talk at 1PM with Mark Newport, the creator of the knitted superhero costumes. The costumes are fascinating, both in concept and construction, but also in the reactions of who is viewing it. I have noticed in my 2 visits that knitters have to exhibit extreme amounts of self-control to prevent themselves from flipping the costume inside out to look at the stranding or grabbing a leg and counting the calf increases.

There will be a knit-in in the park following the gallery talk. There is a small possibility that I will miss the gallery talk, but I will definitely be at the knit-in.

The gift shop is worth a visit, as well. There is some great jewelry in the cases and other hand-crafted items on the shelves. I know for a fact there is hand dyed yarn there, since I'm the one who dropped it off there a few weeks ago. *grin*
Laumeier Sculpture Park is at 12580 Rott Road in St. Louis County, near Interstate 44 and Lindbergh Boulevard.