Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the 5th Day of Christmas

Hand made gifts are the best gifts. The crafty Santas in my life have been extra generous this season. What's listed below is just a portion of the wonderfulness that came my way this year. I hope you find it inspirational in your own crafting.

On the 5th day of Christmas, my knitting friends gave to me, this adorable hand-sewn bag and a needle-felted bug-eyed fish. They're both sitting next to me on the couch so I can admire them. I love them Mindy and Kara!

Way back on the 1st Day of Christmas, my mom gave me a stack of headbands from remnants and various fat quarters she had. I don't usually wear headbands in public. My hair is a little too short and fine to pull that off, but I do wear headbands or bandannas at home almost every day. When I wake up in the morning, I go right to work checking emails, dyeing, etc. I control bedhead by slipping on a headband or a bandanna. She also made a very cool advent calendar that is made of fabric chains. You remove a chain each day. Before you ask, yes, the advent calendar is currently living on my rabbit ears.

Year End Sale

Use coupon code NYE30 to get a 30% discount off all orders from my shop. My apologies for not posting this yesterday.

The most up-to-date information on sales, updates, and other shop announcements can be found on my Facebook page.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the second day of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me some size 00 needles and a request that I please wake up at 5am so the cats and I could take our medicine and since I'm up could I please, please, please finish his Christmas present. His hands are cold and he'd like to wear his handspun, hand knitted qiviut gloves when he goes out to brunch this morning. For you non-knitters, qiviut is the down from the Alaskan musk ox. It is 8 times warmer than wool, stronger than wool, and resistant to felting. Cashmere feels like a brillo pad compared to qiviut. It is a precious fiber that requires a bit of scrimping and saving, but oh! To spin it is divine. Just don't do what I did and spin it to a cobweb weight or you, too, will be up at 5am morning after morning trying to juggle sticks that are smaller than skewers trying to get your precious project finished. [Please note that I think it is charming that Scott thinks I'll finish half a glove and 6 fingers in just a few hours.]

It's been a quiet month on the blog, but not in the world of Dyeabolical. When I haven't been pretending to knit, this is what's been going on:
  • Over the last few months I created colorways inspired by the Kakao Chocolate logo, the Pudd'nhead Books logo, Traveling Tea, and Queen's Cuisine, as well as a color exclusive to Ewe Knit Yarns that matches their loglo.  A reporter from the local side of picked up the story and wrote about the new colors. It's been about a week and I am still busting with happiness over the article. 
  • My shelves are stacked full to overflowing with cotton yarns, spinning fibers, and fabrics to dye. What isn't on my shelf is any substantial amount of sock yarn. Oops. That was a major oversight on my part!  Sock yarn will be a little slow to be updated in January, but I will get out everything I can. In the meantime, can I interest you in any spinning fiber? :) 
  • Several of you have noticed that I don't have the November FO post up yet. It isn't because I don't want to! I do! Some of you have sent me pictures of some very nice projects. I'm sorry I haven't gotten the post up yet. My personal and business lives have gotten very busy lately and things are starting to fall through the cracks. 2012 will be the year of delegating tasks, including some blog posts. If you are interested in guest blogging, please shoot me an email at dyeabolicalyarns at gmail dot com
  • I stopped doing my video updates/videocasts/podcasts. They may return someday, but not until I have a better set-up and a faster computer. I started them to save time and they ended up taking up as much time as a part-time job and the production quality wasn't very good. I would love to do some audio podcasting in the future, either involving the business or separately, but I would have to find a cohost and someone more tech savvy than me. 
  • I changed the shopping cart software on the website yet again. What do you think? It's a keeper, right? It was so easy to set up. The site is now tied to Etsy so I don't have to worry about keeping separate inventories for the Etsy shop and the .com shop. I can just list all of it on one site and the inventory is reflected on both sites. The blog still needs a bit of work, but for the most part I think my website is done! Finally!
  •  I've started dyeing fabric! This is the first batch. I don't have them in the shop yet, because I haven't trimmed the stray threads or labeled them yet, but they are for sale. Just email me if you are interested. Each piece is about a yard and costs $15. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Certificates

Just a quick update to let you know that I am now offering gift certificates available in $10, $25, $50 or $75 denominations. I can also make a gift certificate for any other amount. You can buy gift certificates either through my etsy shop or my website. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh, dear.

Somehow it has been almost a month since my last blog update and more like 2 months since I made a blog post that wasn't about sales or new products or shop updates. Not that this is a non-sales, non-new product post, because in about 3 paragraphs I'm going to talk about a new product. I just telling you that I feel bad about not having actual content. 7LetterDebroah says that even feeling bad about it is blog worthy. She also says a lot of business choices I make are blog worthy because people don't realize what it takes to run a home-based micro business.

Today's fun fact: A micro business is a business with 1-6 employees and less than a million or so in sales. So I guess I'm a mini-micro business. Let's blog about it! :)

I'm still feeling a little weird about posting non-wool, non-yarn stuff in the business blog (the one you're reading). I'm toying with the idea of reviving my old blog, Lehcar Blogs for non-Dyeabolical, non-knitting posts. I've only been toying with this idea for about 3 hours, so it might be a bit before I actually get around to posting there.

So what have you all been up to? I've been ridiculously insanely busy with work. My yarns are flying out of the door at Ewe Knits in Webster Groves, sales are pretty good online, I just dyed a color called Kakao yarns to match the Kakao Chocolate logo which was fun (coming soon to my shop), I added a shopping cart to but not sure what the heck to do with it since most of my sales are through etsy,  the fiber and sock clubs are doing decently, Suzanne Shankman Designs used my yarn in a craft demonstration on a local tv show, and I finally hit a pace I could keep up with. So naturally, being all caught up and just the right amount of busy, I decided to bring in 2 or 3 new lines of product and completely overwhelm myself.

Luckily, these 2 or 3 (or 4) new lines are lines that I could easily get someone to help me. Or at least it would be easy if I had a separate studio space that wasn't also my living space and wasn't horribly embarrassed to have any one see how I really live when the crafting hits the fan. It sort of looks like someone had an epic crafting/potluck party in here or like a combo Michael's/McDonalds exploded in here or something involving piles of wool, fabric and dishes.  

My creation
Hand painted silk ribbon, soon to be joined by hand dyed fabric and handmade quilting tape.

I'm sort of (extremely) tempted to start up a different shop to sell this ribbon and fabric stuff that I've gotten in to the last few weeks. It would be a lot easier to do local shows if I only had to pack up the fabric and ribbon and didn't have to bring along the epically heavy Dyeabolical displays, which I would have to do if I sold under the name "Dyeabolical". Plus, changing from Dyeabolical Yarns to Dyeabolical Crafts would mean changing the focus of the shop and I just now have the shop where I want it. There is some argument that selling hand dyed sewing supplies in the Dyeabolical shop means I would be selling to a built-in audience, but there is also an argument that selling hand dyed sewing supplies dilutes the Dyeabolical brand which sells to a very specific clientele. Sigh. Tell me what to do, Internet.

In other news, I still knit! I finished a sweater and a pair of socks last month!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sale, Fiber Club, Shop Updates and a Tentative Schedule

First, click here to sign up for the Dyeabolical newsletter if you would like to get your shop update information that way. I will update no more than twice a month. Probably not even that often, to be honest.

Next, quite a few items have been deeply discounted on the Etsy shop to make room for new inventory. Also take advantage of coupon code "NOVEMBER" for an extra 10% off anything on the etsy shop. This code now works on the website, too.

and now....
Fiber Club Sign-Ups!!

Spots opening Noveber 13

Click here for the 4oz option (available November 13 after 10am central)

Click here for the 8oz option (available November 13 after 10am central)
(renewing members can complete renewals now on the website)

It is almost time to sign up for the first 2012 fiber club! The fiber club offers either 4 or 8 ounces of fine to medium grade wool or wool blend spinning fiber in a surprise color each month for 3 months--January, February, and March 2012.

Each color is exclusive to club members for 3 months after the color is introduced. Club members are entitled to order extras of the club colorway on the same or different fiber base*. The types of wools I normally dye range from fine merino, bfl, corriedale, silk blends, polwarth, and falkland to shetland, cheviot, jacob and other fine to medium wools.

Your shipments will be sent before the end of each month. No combining club shipments with other orders, please.

I am not planning on doing a theme or a swag option for the fiber club, unless that is something that several of you want. Swag and themes work great for sock clubs, but I think us spinners just want to spin! Please let me know if I'm wrong and you would like me to add a swag option.

*subject to normal custom dye policies and time frames


Shop Updates

A new storefront, combined shipping, and recently listed items

Shop updates can now be found in two places, both on etsy and now at There is some overlap between the two shops, but also some unique items, so be sure to check out both shops. I regularly add a few items a week, but the larger updates are usually announced on Facebook, Twitter, the blog or in the Ravelry group. Here are a few recently added items:


Yes, I know I have been extremely negligent in dyeing spinning fiber.  I'm sorry. I've been going through a bit of ennui with spinning fiber lately, but I'm happy to report that I'm now OVER IT and back to normal, or I would be if I wasn't constantly running out of time. I have 4 gradient-dyed Texel wools to be listed this week. I have 2 semisolid red superwash cheviots that I wasn't going to list, but I will if any of you would like to see them. I will be dyeing custom order the rest of this week, but I will try to sneak in at least 2-4 colors of fiber and will list them next week.

I also have a LOT of undyed gotland and kent-romney fleece. There are some shorter pieces and second cuts, but the fiber is still beautiful. If any of you art spinners or felters would like any dyed up, please contact me and I'll be happy to discuss options with you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Customer FOs for September and October 2011

It's that time again! Thank you to everyone who shared pictures of their finished projects and handspun yarns made with Dyeabolical yarns and fibers in September and October. If you would like me to include your FO in an upcoming post (or if I have forgotten anyone!) email me or message me through Ravelry. This will be a picture heavy post. Those of you with slow internet connections may want to go have a cup of coffee while the page loads.

And now, in no particular order....

LiliMarlene87 knitted this fantastic shrug from Bling. I really love this shrug.  The pictures are really cute. Her partner did a great job on the photography, don't you think?
A few months ago I sent Deborah the Iris shawl pattern. She immediately cast on using a hank of Cotton Warp in Mardi Gras colors. She gets compliments where ever she goes and it is easy to see why. The pattern is fantastic for hand dyed yarns and Deborah is a great knitter. She had enough yardage left to add an extra repeat to the cowl for those of you wanting to try this pattern.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Allison used the Bird of Paradise club colorway alternated with Dream in Color to knit the My Wish shawl by Laura Linneman. Lovely!
This is THE shawl. A few weeks ago Kate decided the day before Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book signing that she would knit a new shawl for the signing. She put her head down, knit for 12 hours and BAM! Shawl.
The Yarn Harlot holding the 12-hour shawl.
Last year Carrie picked up a braid of Falkland fiber from my booth at the Tower Grove Fall Festival. She spun it up in to this beautifully thin and even yarn and knit a gorgeous shawlette. Click the link for more pictures. 
This chickie, Sarah from Yarn Geek Fibers, showed up at Strange Folk with this hand spun, hand knitted Lady Eleanor shawl. Holy crap! How did she make it away with this still in her possession? Because I'll be honest, if I see it again I may steal it right off her shoulders and feign ignorance. Shawl? What shawl?  I occasionally snuck back to her booth to visit this shawl, along with Sarah's very pretty fibers. The bonus time with Yarn Geek and Mr. Yarn Geek was pretty nice, too. 
Handspun singles in the color Themyscira
Speaking of Themycira, a few months ago I dyed a sock blank made from Strong Arm in the Themyscira colors. Knit Night friend Ava knit these gorgeous toe-up socks. I knew I should have kept a blank for myself before putting Srong Arm on hiatus!
Kara finished her Flowershop Inferno socks! Yay! Kermit arms! Kara finished the first sock a few years ago and started the second sock a few months ago. She discovered that her gauge had changed in the years between socks and had to rip and reknit the second one. Sigh. I do that far more than I admit to my fellow knit nighters, except I can manage to mess up my gauge in a matter of hours, so I can sympathize. Great job, Kara!
Here's another one from Kara. She borrowed some scraps of Cotton Slub (which is now on sale) and made this very cool zombie boy for a mutual friend. I sort of love the dangling button eye.
Dena Stelly designed these toe-up socks and used the color Jo Rides a Motorbike to knit them! Nice socks, Dena! I can't wait to knit my own pair.
Here's another one from Kate. This girl likes knitting on a deadline. She showed up at knitting with these on a Wednesday with the cuff of one started and was wearing the pair 4 days later at Strange Folk. Never get in to a knitting for speed competition with her is all I have to say.

Whew! That was a lot of knitted objects. Time for the hand spun. This bit of neapolitan pretty was spun by our Annie. She was testing out some batts I'm considering selling in the shop. She gave the batts the thumbs up, so I will start listing them just as soon as I, um, make some more. I, uh, may have possibly, um, spun up all of my original stock myself. I guess that's my prerogative, but I still feel a little guilty about it.
Fluid Pudding's Angela is a very new spinner, but she spun this lovely 2-ply! Very nice, Angela. (Go read her blog!)
Karen, who I see each year at the Artisan Guild of Southern Illinois booth, spun the yarn above and below from club colorways earlier this year. I really love seeing Karen at Strange Folk each year. She always has a yarn to show me and they're always beautiful.
Rose-Marie, proprietor of Bea-Gin Design, spun this from some hand pulled roving I did earlier this year. Pretty, Rose-Marie!

 Joy spun this from a braid of fiber called Jeannette. I got to visit with Joy a few weeks ago and see this yarn in progress. I wish I could remember which colors I used to get that mauvey pink...
Finally, a color that was technically one of a kind, but that I'm going to try to recreate. This is Mourning Clowns, so named by the spinner, Steven of Dramatic Knits.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A sale and a request

BIG ETSY SALE! I've drastically marked down 21 items, plus take an extra 10% off ANY item by using the coupon code "NOVEMBER". Sale good through November and good only through my etsy shop.

Then, when you're done checking out my etsy shop, take a look at my regular website. I've added shopping cart software and rearrange things a big. I'm still not sure that I'm ready to leave etsy altogether. I can put identical listings on both sites, separate stock on each site, new stock on one site and older stock on the other. I just haven't decided. I'd love to know what you would prefer and what you think about the new site. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shop Preview

I spent too much time on Wednesday trying to make a narrated slide show, but it just didn't work out.

These items will be listed in the shop on Friday around noon central time.

My creation
Bird of Paradise on the bases Sporty!, Superwash Merino Worsted and an 85/15 Polworth wool and silk

My creation
 Fate, Ph.D. on bases Sporty!, 50/25/25 merino wool/bamboo viscose/silk and Finn wool

My creation
Hidden Tiger in bases Sporty! and superwash merino worsted

My creation
Sock flats in the Strong Arm sock yarn base. These are the last of the Strong Arm base I'll have before the base goes on hiatus. Remember I will still have Strong Arm Skinny in stock. 

carnivale skinny 2
Carnivale in Strong Arm Skinny

My creation
Marilin's Bags Reversible Project Bags with ribbon ties. Made by Marilin, distributed by Dyeabolical

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hello! Wow, a lot of you visited my website yesterday! You might be new here, so I thought I would reintroduce myself and give the who, what and wheres.

Thank you to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for linking me in her blog post. Major mucho thanks to KateOhKatie, who power-knit a shawl so I could be at Stephanie's book signing in spirit. How cool is that?

Now, who the heck do I think I am and what do I do?


Rachel--knitter, dyer, spinner, coffee drinker. Former freelance writer and editor who abandoned the profession because I am really quite bad at grammar and spelling. I was excellent at turning other peoples ideas in to long bits of serious-sounding fluff, but it sort of killed my soul to do it. And I write slow. And I start sentences with "And". It is really best for both the writing world and myself that I dye yarn now.

I am the dye mistress dye master  dyer for Dyeabolical. That's Dyeabolical with a ®. Before I was a really bad freelance writer I took law classes,including an intellectual property class where I learned how to turn a (tm) in to a ®. I'm not sure that was worth the $1200 in tuition for that class, but there ya go. Oh yeah, I also like to digress a lot. A lot. 

I am the sole dyer for Dyeabolical, aka Dyeabolical Yarns and Spinning Fibers. I have been doing this job since 2007, first part time while I worked full time at a yarn shop and now full time. I have a ridiculous origin story on my etsy profile page, but the true story of how I got started is this. In 2007, the colors I liked weren't being dyed, so I dyed them. I had it in the back of my mind that I might want to do this as a profitable hobby someday, but at first I was just practicing. I took the yarns to the LYS I worked at to show them off to my co-workers and strangers bought them wet off the hangers. Then it happened again. Then it happened again. The owner offered me shelf space and BAM! A company is born.


My dye style is bold, saturated colors in strongly variegated handpainted colorways. I have branched in to other forms of dyeing, including tonals, semisolids and kettle-dyed yarns and I like those just as much as I love the variegated sock yarns.

I prefer doing one of a kind artisan yarns, but I accept that my customers want repeatable colorways. The picture above are several of my repeatable sock colorways. You can also request these colors on a different wool base or on spinning fibers.

You will find both one offs and repeatables in my shop. Repeatables usually have a colorway name and one ofs usually do not have names.
I do needle felting fiber, too.

I started doing fiber and sock clubs this year. Fiber club runs 1st and 3rd quarter. Sock club runs 2nd and 4th quarter. Signups for the clubs start about 1.5 months ahead of time and will be announced here in this blog. Fiber club sign ups will be starting next, in about 2-3 weeks. 
My creation

The easiest way to find me is to go to From there you can link to my shop, my blog and see where I am vending next.

You can also find me on:

I also have a video blog that embarrasses me deeply and yet I do it anyway, most often when I am suffering from chronic writers block and have better things I should be doing. You can find my video blog here in the archives of this blog or you can subscribe using iTunes. Just search for "dyeabolical" in the iTunes store.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Markdowns on Cotton Slub DK and Cotton Bamboo

I just listed new markdowns on the Cotton Slub DK and Cotton Bamboo yarns. They are all now $12. These are great spring/summer yarns. Stock up for spring!

My creation

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In which Kate is competitive...

Never challenge Kate in jest. Girl takes challenges very seriously.

(slightly edited, mostly because I can't spell)
[ETA: Can I just say that I read Kate's newest post and I just realized on a seriousl and profound level that she knit that shawl just so I could be there in spirit? Yeah, we egged her on (and scoffed) and it was a lot of fun, but it didn't really all the way sink in that she knit for 12 hours so I could sort of see Stephanie, too. Kate, you're the best.]

Me to Kate: Just realized I can't make it to YH tomorrow. Sadface. Can I bribe you in to getting me a copy?

Kate to me: Sure thing! (sorry you'll have to miss it though... :-( ) Any special request on the inscription? :-)

Me to Kate: I can't think of a thing, unless you can persuade her to say nice things about my yarn, which you probably can't. CHALLENGE. (Seriously, just a signature would be fine. Should I paypal you?)

Kate to me: Oh shit. IT'S ON. I'll wear my Joker socks tomorrow! Rather than Paypal, would you be able to take that cost off a skein of secret yarn? :-D
Kate's Joker Socks

 Kara to Kate: so...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, then? :)

Kate to us: I'mma try. Kara - help me start brainstorming awesome requests?

Kate to the world: So stinkin' excited for the YarnHarlot talk tomorrow.Now just wish I'd made a whole sweater or shawl of @dyeabolicalyarn to show off... :-D
Kate to me: I am an eeediott! I have Damson and Milkweed both in (discontinued, right?) Dyeabolical.

Me to Kate: Sort of discontinued. It just never sold enough to bring it on full time.

Kate to me: Which is a cryin' shame, I must say. Lovely stuff (both of 'em).Think I could whip up a Traveling Woman before 2:00pm tomorrow? :-D

Me to Kate: yes, you could do that before 2 tomorrow [I should not have said this.]

Me to Kate 2 seconds later when I realized she might take me seriously: You are insane and no knitting a whole shawl in less than 12 hours!

Kara to Kate: Okay, I'm gonna have to stop you right there. No knitting a shawl in 12 hours. [Kara has witnessed many a crazed knitting attempt and participated in a few herself.]

Kate to us: Awright...we have a bday party tonight at 6. If I started at 7, knit through to midnight, got up at 6, knitted 'till 9 or 10......then pinned it for a quick block immediately (windows open and fans on high), left the house at 1... I dunno...

Kara to Kate: No. Nononononono. Seriously. It's a quick knit, but I don't think even you can knit that fast [This is where Kara made a critical error]...and you shouldn't make yourself insane with trying it. Seriously. You have to work & go to a party and sleep.

Kate to us: I dunno, I'm starting to think it might be do-able. Have wanted a green shawl for a while, too. (would use stuff I got Wed.) But that's me possessing a special kinda stupid, isn't it?

Kara to Kate: And do you really want to meet the Yarn Harlot looking like some crazed knitting lunatic?

Me to Kate: I'm not supposed to poke the crazy and finishing a shawl between now and tomorrow with work and a party? That's crazy. [This was my critical error. I should have known then that Kate was going to make us eat our words.]

Me to Kate 10 seconds later: *pokepokepoke*

Kate to us: LOL. We'll see. If nothing else I'll have a nice WIP to show off :-D

Kara to Kate: I have clearly failed in reasoning with you. So I'll join in and just poke the crazy, as Rachel so eloquently stated.

Monica chimes in and also pokes the crazy. We all have a good laugh.

Kate, 12 hours later and clearly proving us all wrong: At the Yarn Harlot event, 12-hour shawl and all! :)

Winning at knitting