Monday, August 30, 2010

Manic Monday? Magic Monday? Mosquito Monday? Insert Clever Alliterative Title Here

I woke up at 5:15 this morning with every intention of making headway on the Inverness sweater while reading a new book I downloaded.

Then what always happens happened. I woke up, got dressed and then...
  • cleaned off the table of a weeks worth of mail 
  • rinsed the dishes and piled them neatly for someone else to do
  • put out bowls of vinegar and baking soda because it still smells like someone elses late-night dinner
  • took some pictures of works in progress
  • made coffee
  • mentally wrote a blog post
  • convinced myself that transcribing said post from my brain in to an actual post would only take 10 minutes
  • Wrote, rewrote and rewrote this list again, eating up all of those 10 minutes before I got to the meat of the post. Shall we carry on? I just wrote "shawl we carry on" which might give you an idea of where my brain is. 
On and off my needles:

The battle of the shawls continues. I think I'm going to go forward with the crocheted shawl out of my cotton warp yarn. I committed enough to steal the needles out of the knitted end, but not enough to rip the knitted portion out. Somewhere in my mind, far away from where rational logic lives, I believe I can make 2 shawls out of 1 skeins of yarn and won't have to rip either.

I finished my August socks. They are comfy, but not very picture worthy. The color is awesome, but the pattern was terrible. I know the reputation of the editor and the designer, so I can't help but believe that there was a mix-up in publishing and the wrong version of the pattern made its way in to the book.

I started my September socks. 4 relatives have already asked me, with a hopeful gleam in their eyes, if I was knitting a baby bootie. NO, I am not knitting a baby bootie. I'm knitting a anklet for my great big grown-up foot. The ribbing has to be smaller to keep the thing on. It will stretch. I already checked.

I've sent the Mythos side-to-side cardigan to time out. This cardigan doesn't work for my proportions. I suspected that before I cast on for Mythos, but really wanted it to work. I know what I can do to fix it now, but I just don't wanna.

The main problem is where the sleeve meets the body. I drew a rough line so you can see where it changes. There isn't enough fabric to stretch from large upper arm to broad shoulder. Additionally, the shoulder before the neckline decreases is much too narrow to look good on me. I need to rip back and add more fabric there. I think a combination of short rows around the shoulder and additional full rows before decreasing will keep the shoulders from just sliding off when I put it on. This is all just more work than I want to do right now, so off to the hibernation cave it goes.

 *checks clock*


I've been writing this for half an hour and I haven't added pictures yet. 1:11 1:01 until my workday officially begins and I still have to take a shower, eat breakfast and finish this "quick" post. Time management, I don't haz it. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ruch. Ruched. Ruching.

Deborah, the mohair queen, knit up this gorgeous scarf in the blink of an eye. She used less than one hank of brushed kid mohair and leftovers of a purple worsted weight yarn to make this ruched scarf. She didn't use a pattern but was loosely inspired by the ruched scarf in Knit: Handmade Style.

You can make your own. You don't need a pattern. There are two theories of creating ruching in knitting as I understand it.  The first is to use a larger needle size for the mohair portions, say a US10, and go down one or more needle sizes for the garter stitch portions.

The other theory is to decrease the number of stitches going in to the garter stitch section and increase coming out of the garter stitch section. So, for example, cast on 40 stitches for the mohair section, work k2tog decreases right before the garter stitch sections, knit 4-8 rows of garter stitch, then resume working with the mohair by increasing back to 40 stitches using the kfb increase.  That's it!

I currently have a few hanks of brushed kid mohair listed in my shop. I'm about to list the rest of it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lunchtime Listing for Friday and a Preview

I was blog-blocked earlier today. I sat for 2 hours waiting for words to form themselves on my screen, but once I got started I had to keep going. That's two--1! 2!--posts for you this stormy Friday afternoon. Ah ah ah ah! Assuming this thunder actually turns in to a storm, that is. The weather has been playing fake-out lately.

I pulled the Cotton Slub from my shop inventory a few weeks ago to inventory and photograph. I despise doing inventory, even if it is just 6 tubs of yarn. I waited until Deborah could help me out. She likes inventory and she brings me vichyssoise for lunch. I think I'll keep her. This is the Cotton Slub. I already have it up in the Etsy shop for today's Lunchtime Listing(s). Shop here. The Cotton Slub starts on page 3.

My creation

Over the next few weeks there will be a lot popping up in the lunchtime listings.

I frequently bring in new yarns and fibers to shake things up. People like to have something new every so often and I like dyeing new things. This quarter I brought in a LOT of new spinning fibers that I already know for a fact I will bring in again, one of which was the tencel/merino from earlier this week and the mixed BFL for next week. I also brought in some brushed kid mohair--perfect for pairing with handspun art yarn or knitting alone in to gorgeous luxurious scarves and shawls. I'll have some examples as soon as I get pictures. Those will start getting listed next week.

 My creation

I don't know that I can hold off listing the merino silk for too much longer. The silk in this lace begged for special treatment beyond the regular tonal/semi-solids I have been doing for my regular lace yarn. I love the way they turned out. I especially love just how many colors are packed in to a single skein of yarn. I will list all 4 of these colors at the same time, probably early in the week.

My creation

This is the mixed BFL. I dyed these up in mostly semisolid colors and in 8oz-1lb lots to accommodate those who wish to spin for larger projects. I'll be listing these piecemeal as I pry them out of Scott's hands. Soft roving, guy colors,  and white BFL mixed with black BFL as the base? I might as well call this roving "Scott Scott Scott Scott". He conveniently (for him) left town before he could tell me which color he wants me to hold back. I'll withhold his weekly Dr. Who episode until he makes a decision when he gets home tonight and then I'll list the rest.
My creation

Startitis and the Sale Bin

I am having a crazy bout of startitis. Is it because fall is coming? Or is it because we desperately hope fall is coming?

These are my July socks, that I finished in August 4th. They are knit from Opal's Rainforest collection in the Coral Snakes colorway.
I started my August socks and am to the heel of the second sock. The sock looks good, but the pattern is terrible. Errors on the errata. The yarn is my Strong Arm Sock yarn in a OOAK lot. There was still 1 skein left of this colorway left at Knitorious when I was there earlier this week. It's a gorgeous color knit up.
A Harry Potter was the next sweater in the queue for my Knitting the Queue project before I abandoned it in favor of knitting every single project in the new issue of Knitty. I know I've said this a few times already, but I think this is one of the best issues of Knitty in a long time and I love Knitty pretty much every issue. I've already made Purlieu, I've cast on and knit the sleeve for Mythos from Cotton Slub in the color Olive You (no pics so far) , and started Coquille from my Cotton Warp in the orange/green color. 
What you can't see in above picture is that I actually started a second shawl from the other end of this ball of yarn. I couldn't decide which shawl it wanted to be so I cast on for both thinking I would rip whichever one got on my nerves first. Silly and pointless, but there you go. Good thing I know where I can always get more of this yarn should I end up liking both of them.  

Where was I? Oh right, the Harry Potter Sweater. I finally chose the new new new  sweater I wanted for my Harry Potter sweater -- a not too wizardy a hoodie cardigan with bell sleeves with a house color stripe tastefully added in-- and then quickly abandoned it when I discovered that the ribbing section would measure 90". NINETY. That's at gauge, too. The theory is that 1x1 ribbing will pull in, but no matter how stretchy the ribbing is, 90" of ribbing will never pull in to 45". 1x1 ribbing may look like stockinette stitch when unstretched, but it doesn't mean that 1 knit and 1 purl take up the space of only 1 knit stitch. It's clever, but ti isn't accurate. The math needs to be double checked on that pattern and I'm not the person to do it, so I ripped it and cast on for a new new new new Harry Potter sweater made from Inverness, another Knitty pattern.

You may ask yourself, what makes this a Harry Potter sweater? Well, it's gray and it looks like something Hermione would wear and it's called Inverness which is in Scotland and Oliver Wood was Scottish, or at least his actor was. OH FINE, It's not a Harry Potter sweater. It's a plain old boring gray cardigan. So sue me. My goal was to be warm while standing in line for the movie and know that my sweater is a HP sweater without looking like a 35-year old HP fanatic. Mission accomplished, or rather, the cuff of one sleeve has been accomplished.

So that's the atartitis. Now about the Sale Bin.

I've added several colors of Cotton Slub to the sale/clearance bin. This time last year I was still working out which colors would be most popular for Cotton Slub line. Hint: It's not these colors. The colors a great for accessories, like bags and shawls, but the colors aren't great for cardigans and summer sweaters which seems to be what most people are using the Cotton Slub for. I also have some wool one-offs left in the sale bin that would make great accessories or baby garments.
My creation

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shop Update

I just updated my etsy shop with 8 new colors of merino/tencel blend spinning fiber. The blend gives a very soft yarn with both memory, drape and a good sheen. The merino is superwash, so it is good for items you don't want to accidentally felt like socks. I dyed 2 skeins of each color, so there should be more than enough for a mid-size project.
My creation

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can't you feel the chill?

How many days have we been in this newest heat advisory? 3? 4? 27? I've lost track. It's so hot it doesn't even feel hot anymore. It just feels heavy. It's the kind of hot that wears a person down even if they never leave the air-conditioning. It's just hot. Heavy. Humid. Horrible. So why am I so cold?

Fall is definitely coming. Underneath all that oppressive heavy air I can feel an undercurrent of fall. I've read other bloggers saying the same thing, which is reassuring because it just sounds nuts to talk about being cold when it is 100-degrees outside and the weight of the air is so heavy that breathing is a chore.

Fall is coming nonetheless and I can feel it. I'm torn between wanting it here now and wishing summer would last longer so I would have more time to knit my winter woolens. That's the thing about being a knitter. Sometimes, frequently actually, St. Louis will have a mild winter where you barely need a winter coat, much less wool socks, scarves, hats, mittens and a comfy toasty Malabrigo sweater. How disappointing it is when we can't wear all of our knitted accessories all at once and yet we keep knitting.

I've cast on for 2 new sweaters, 2 shawls and a pair of socks in the last 12 days and made pretty good progress with each of them considering most of my "knitting" time consists of staring blankly at the television and wishing it would rain, really rain, so I didn't have to go water the plants.

In worky work news, I am listing a limited edition run of a yarn I'm calling Zombie Alpacalypse for today's Lunchtime Listing. A few years ago I did a small run of yarn called Alpacalips (or something like that) that was 100% alpaca. It was nice, but this yarn is nicer. Way nicer. Zombie Alpacalypse is 50% fine alpaca, 30% merino and 20% silk. Hummana hummana! Each skein is 220 yards and approximately 100 grams. It sells for $20 per skein, with a bonus mini-skein thrown in if you buy 2 or more.

Kettle-dyed version of Fate, PhD
Kettle-dyed version of Off With Her Red

Monday, August 9, 2010

FOs and WIPS from Dyeabolical yarns

I don't think this will affect many of you, but if you are one of my Artfire customers, please update your bookmarks to direct to my Etsy shop. I'll still have some items listed on Artfire, but I won't have my full inventory on there. I will still have my Etsy shop and you can still find some of my yarns at Kniorious, Paste and Laumeier Sculpture Park's gift shop.

Now on to some finished objects and works in progress made by some talented Dyeabolical customers.
Mayasveil crocheted this wonderful shawl from a single skein of Strong Arm Sock Yarn.

Here is a better picture of the flowers I am crocheting from leftovers of Cotton Slub.

Deborah has been busy knitting with my yarns probably more than I have been. She made these Hand Charmers from a skein of sport weight yarn I dyed probably 3 years ago and had gotten hopelessly tangled. She untangled it and knit this in about 2 days. I love the way the yarnd is pooling in to stripes.
Turn it upside down and the mitt becomes a ruffled cuff.
More from Deborah! She crocheted this granny square using 2 colors of Cotton Warp and alternating colors every row. Will she use it as a wash cloth?

 ...or a napkin? Or something else?
 Zillaknits finished this beautiful lace shawl from the old Dyeabolical lace base. Gorgeous!

Have you finished any projects made from Dyeabolical yarns or fibers? I would love to include a picture in my blog!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New links, new blog design, new projects, lots of random

Hot, ain't it? Today was 100. Honestly, I can't feel it. It's like it's so hot that my body refuses to even acknowledge it. Good, because I hate being uncomfortable. Bad, because I overdo it really easily. Crazy humid, though. The water I spilled on the wooden deck 24 hours ago is just now starting to evaporate. It wasn't even like it was a lot of water. Yarn isn't drying, either. I skipped dyeing today because my drying rack is still full with wet fiber from Monday. 
  • A mosquito flew in sometime last week and apparently laid her eggs in my open-top terrarium. I just killed one of her babies. I have no remorse. 
  • I'm back on Plurk again under the user name dyeabolical. Do you Plurk? I'd love to follow you.
  • I had a long talk with my genius sister about marketing and the importance of keeping the same theme across multiple web presences, aka branding. I'm slowly working on coding a new front page for my website and I have redone my blog design. What do you think?
  • I donated a skein of yarn to the Makin' Cookies group on Ravelry in honor of their last 2 Cookie A. knit-a-longs. There is information in the group on how to enter to win my skein of yarn or one from the other sponsors. 
  •  I've been crocheting! I am toying with the idea of making a garland of flowers for my booth set-up, but at this pace it might turn out a bit like Auntie Mame's beginning weaving project, an enormous rug...a bell-pull by the fireplace.

  •  Deborah and I are doing our own form of Yarn Harlot's sock club. We committed to finishing a pair of socks a month for the next 6 moths. I didn't finish July's sock, but I enthusiastically cast on for the August sock. The yarn color is a one-off that I over-dyed a few months ago. I'll be honest and say that the color in the skein is not very attractive, but knitted up it is gorgeous! In the skein it looks like a bizarre orange and bronze. Knitted up there are oranges, reds, greens, browns! LOVELY! I wish this picture showed it better. I'll try to get a daytime picture soon.

I'm sold out of the color, but I heard that Knitorious still has a skein of it left.