Monday, June 27, 2011

[video update] June 27, 2011

It's a long one again! I had a lot to talk about. The first half is catching up on what I'm knitting. The second half is a shop update.  I'm sorry for the intermittent tapping noise. I think it is the some sort of feedback from my light next to the camera.

Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague -- On rewatching I realized I never finished my first sentence about this book. I am going to read the first part of the book instead of just looking at the pictures and skimming the headers. I've only done that with one other pattern book, Big Girl Knits.
Peaches and Creme closeouts
Ampersand Socks by Kirsten Kapur (Ravelry link) knitted from Regia 6-ply
Lazy Sock Monkey on Etsy
Dyeabolical Cotton Warp -- I was wrong. I do have 2 left. I had forgotten I had held 2 back.
The Cast Off Sweater by Debbie New. I was wrong on how many hanks this took. It took 5 hanks of Hempaty 3, not 2 hanks of Hempathy. Not sure what I was thinking there.
Dyeabolical website
Dyeabolical Etsy
Dyeabolical Ravelry
Dyeabolical Twitter
Dyeabolical Plurk -- Please PM me when you add me to Plurk so I can add you back.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I think I'll keep him

Scott is the cook in the family. It takes him for-ev-er to get dinner ready and about another half hour to clean the kitchen afterwards, but it is almost always worth it. In contrast, my preferred method of cooking is heat-and-serve, preferably in the microwave so I don't have to spend time supervising the stove or washing extra dishes.

I've been cooking a lot for myself lately while Scott is at work. The meals have been quick and easy for me, but sort of bland and tasteless. I know how to cook if I start with a recipe. I can cook a hell of a meal if I'm starting with a recipe, but taking a random assortment of food and turning it in to a meal is a skill that eludes me. My mom even wrote a chapter in to the family cookbook of things you can make without a recipe. I'm pretty sure she was thinking of me when she wrote it. "I sent you to a good school and you can't figure out how to turn eggs, milk and bread in to a meal" is not the name of the book, but it should be.

Anyway, by Thursday I was out of eggs, milk and bread and was too busy to go buy more, so I ate anchovy pizza for lunch and cold black beans with a spoon over the kitchen sink for dinner. Then the weekend arrived and so did Scott and his magic culinary skills. He took random things and combined them in to meals! And they didn't suck!
Fresh tomatoes, red onions, basil and oregano from the garden, fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
Italian sausage, turnip and beat greens wilted in the sausage fat (YUM), roasted turnips
This morning he made poached fruit and oatmeal. He's in the kitchen right now making a steak salad.

[UPDATE: OMG. Nevermind all those nice things I just said. Dude just tried to feed me BEETS. Where's the love, I ask you. Where's the love?]

And when Scott wasn't cooking up 4-star meals? He wove me this scarf. I KNOW, right? 
Dyeabolical Cotton Warp "Maude" on a Cricket loom

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Updates

I need someone to make lists for me and then follow around behind me to make sure I do the things on the list. That person would update my Ravelry groups, write outlines for blog posts, catch up on emails, dig through my purse to find receipts I had shoved in to the bottom, monitor my etsy listings for renewals, interpret my SEO/Google stat/blog/website numbers thing, keep up on the business twitter and facebook page, work from home so I don't have to clean my home office for them, never ever ever get cranky with me and either do all those things for less than $600 a year or read the tax code and figure out how I do that employee payroll thing. Not very realistic, huh?

If I had a person like I described above that then they could have pinched me and said "Well JEEZ, Rachel, maybe it would help if you told people that you had updated the shop, huh?" so I wouldn't be sitting here wondering why the heck no one has been looking at the shop. 


Here we go, lots of pictures ahead!
Superwash Merino Combed Top
Superwash merino wool combed top. Perfect for spinning during the Tour de Fleece! 
My creation
Cotton Slub DK yarn. Yes, THAT Cotton Slub DK yarn that I've been talking about non-stop for almost a year now. It's softer and slubbier than the old sport weight, so no abusing it in the dryer, ok? I've started using a new, less labor-intensive method of dyeing the cotton. As a bonus, it makes for much more even dye lots. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that the new dyeing method shifts the color is slightly less intense. That's certainly not a downside for many of my customers who like the subtler colors.

Next up, the new product line with no name! I don't have an official name for this line yet, but it is a sock blank or sock flat if you are familiar with the concept. If you are not familiar with sock blanks, then lemme explain. I take 2 strands of sock yarn and knit them held together on the knitting machine. Then I dye the resulting fabric so that when you unravel it and knit from it you will have 2 identical socks.

One end of the flat will unravel easier than the other. Cut off or unravel the waste yarn and knit from the end that unravels the easiest to avoid potential tangles. I've started putting knots in the new blanks so you know what end to start from, but these first flats don't have those knots. It is easiest to knit these 2 socks at a time using magic loop or the 2-socks/2-circs method. If you prefer to knit your socks one at a time on dpns, it is best to unravel the flat completely and wind each strand in to a separate ball.

The magic of this dyeing technique is you don't really know for sure how each yarn is going to knit up. For instance, I know that this flat will knit generally in to wide-ish stripes:
but I had no idea it would do this while transitioning colors:
Cool, huh?

I did a lot of research online and found that the crazier the flat, the nicer the sock. I tried to dye with htat in mind.

Here are the 4 I listed for sale. I discounted them slightly because I was still working out the dimensions of the fabric and how the heck to take attractive pictures while still showing the whole blank. Conclusion: Taking attractive pics of sock flats is hard to do and will require more practice.

This will stripe in 3 very wide stripes with interesting transitions. The white isn't completely white. As you can see, there was a lot of dye transfer in to the white area.
I think this is going to do narrow stripes and really awesomely cool pooling. My feelings will not be hurt if you don't buy this and I'm forced to knit it myself. *grin*
Killer Bees! I think this will knit in to thicker stripes with awesome transitions.
I think this one is going to pool in amazing ways. Someone buy it and cast on immediately so I can see what it did, okay?

Friday, June 17, 2011

[Video Update] June 17, 2011

Video link:
Strange Folk Festival --
Ultimate Sweater Machine --
Boyfriend Socks by Slipped Stitch --
Ampersand Socks by Kirsten Kapur --
My Etsy shop --
The Cotton Slub Sport will be listed on Monday. It is 260 yards per 100g and will be $14.50 a hank.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mondays are for Black Dots

  • There are only 5 spots left in the fiber of the month club out of the extra spaces I added. I'm only leaving the listing up for 2 more days to give myself time to order the extra fiber. If you would like a space in the club but can't pay right away, please contact me. We might be able to work something out.
  • I feel a lot better than I have the last 3 weeks. Yesterday I rearranged the living room furniture, cleaned the kitchen, made a tasty dinner of turkey meatballs (which take freaking forever to cook, by the way) and lived to tel the tale. Today I managed to get the dyeing started, pack orders, work on a tree sweater (more on that later), go grocery shopping, clear out some old emails and I still have hours left in my day to do absolutely nothing. 
  •  My Amazon subscribe and save orders came today. Every item I ordered was shipped in a different box. In related news, my new mail carrier hates me. So does Mother Earth.
  • Kara gave me an old Ultimate Sweater Machine a few months ago. I finally got it cleaned up and figured out what I was doing wrong. I needed to upgrade a few parts and get some new needles and keyplates, so I bought a new USM kit from JoAnns (with the 50% off coupon it was about the price as the replacement parts. I now have enough needle beds to make a half dozen sock blanks at a time, which I will do as soon as I figure out what the heck I'm doing. 
 Machine knitting is one of those things that looks easy but really really really isn't easy at all and whoever is telling you that is a lying liar who lies. I'm sure I will deny saying the previous sentence once I can machine knit without the stitches leaping dramatically off the needles and making me rip the whole piece out, but in the meantime I'm getting a lot of practice picking up dropped stitches and starting over.

Do you know how to pick up stitches on a USM? You pick them up from behind the fabric and can't see what you're doing. Gotta do it on faith. Also? You have to hang a TON of weight on the fabric to keep it from jumping off the needle beds. As I tweeted earlier today, "Machine knitting can be summed up so far as: *cast on, knit, drop stitches, fix stitches, drop stitches, fix, drop all the stitches on the floor. Repeat from *" I've got 4 weights hanging from the bed and it isn't enough! Luckily I've got a cat who is willing to volunteer to hang off the knitted fabric. Helpful cat is helpful.
The knitting machine and a long, holey rectangle hanging from it.
  •  I volunteered to knit a sweater for a tree at the Strange Folk Festival (see here to knit your own limb coozie). I decided this project will be perfect to help me learn how to use the USM. I hope the trees (and organizers!) don't mind a few holes.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

[video update] No Apologies

[ETA: I want to clarify. I called this episode "No Apologies" because I'm not going to apologize about going over time anymore. I did apologize to the woman who lost her head, although I'm not sure I needed to be the one to apologize, but she was obviously having a bad day and was frustrated.]

I didn't managed a text update between the last update and this update, but I have several in the works. I just have to, well, write them. They all reside in my brain right now. I hope you enjoy the video update in the meantime!

That silly self-imposed 10-minute rule has been lifted.

To watch on itunes go to Advanced>Subscribe to Podcast and enter


My Etsy shop

Boyfriend sock

Amazon Subscribe and Save

Eight O’clock Coffee

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook

Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City

Did you hear the last 5 seconds? Did I say "Bye y'all?" Why yes, I did and it was completely by accident. The KnitGirllls must have more influence over me than I thought. "Bye y'all" is their tagline and I have been watching them all day! Sorry Leslie and Lala! 

Love you guys!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

[video update] The One With The Explicit Tag

I formally and officially give up on trying to keep my vlog updates under 10 minutes. I am physically incapable of rambling for less than 15, it seems. I do hope you are still enjoying these video updates. They are a simple way to supplement the blog, but less work and less responsibility than a full podcast.

I rambled on for almost 19 minutes this time, but I hope you enjoy it, even with the adult language on my coffee cup.
Custom Knits
Dyeabolical on Ravelry
Fiber Club Sign Ups

Friday, June 3, 2011

More fiber club spots (and info on a waiting list)

The fiber club sold out in 1.5 days! Thank you so much. I honestly wasn't expecting that.

If you weren't able to get in to the fiber club, I have good news. I have added 10 more spots. If you miss out on this club, you can email me with the subject line "Fiber club waiting list" to have your name added to a waiting list. I will not add people to the waiting list until all 10 open spots have been filled.

Customer FOs for May 2011

FOs are Finished Objects. A finished object is any item knitted, crocheted, woven, felted, spun or otherwise transformed from Dyeabolical yarns or spinning fibers into another form (e.g. yarn knitted in to mittens, warp crocheted in to dishcloths, fiber in to a felted object, dyed top spun in to yarn). 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. Thank you to my customers and friends for letting me share your FOs!

You people have been busy. Your needles must be smokin'! Can you believe these FOs? Every one of them is a winner.

Shells is my Cotton Slub test knitter. She knit the darling purple sweater featured last month from my old Cotton Slub Sport base and then immediately cast on for a new sweater, which is the one above (close-up below), out of the new Cotton Slub DK base so she could give me a side-by-side comparison and recommendation. How awesome is she? It still kills me that the mill discontinued the Slub Sport base, but Shells has given 2 thumbs up for the Slub DK base. It will be in the shop this month, I hope. More on that later.
Tempest Tea managed 2 pairs of socks this month! The first one is made out of a Strong Arm Sock Yarn color that I have never managed to name! What name would work for it?
Tempest Tea's other pair of socks is made from Flamingos On a Croquet Law colorway. I love these!
LegalGirl knit these Ampersand socks in just a few days, it seems. She used the "Julia's Apron" colorway that was the April's sock yarn of the month. I'm inspired to rip out my socks started from the same yarn and make these! 
Some of you may know SwedishRose, who knit these Superhero-colored socks, by her other name--BeaGin Designs. She produces the snagless stitch markers I send out with each order. Do you think she used some of her markers for these great socks?
SwedishRose knitted up this cute bunny nugget from her leftover Superhero sock yarn.
Deborah finished a shawl from Victorian Lace Today in the "We're All Mad Here" colorway in the Bling base. She ran out of yarn with only rows to go! Luckily, she knew where to get more. No, not from me, but from our friend Annie who had snagged 2 hanks for herself just days before! [Deborah, I just notice you have not updated your blog since April 28. Ahem, ahem. Get on that, will you?]
Back of Deborah's shawl

Mayasveil knit this beautiful Citron shawl from Merino Silk Lace. I just love the Citron shawl. I need to get knitting on mine!
Guess how long it took HotPinkSocks to knit this Multnomah shawl? This color was one of the last one I did before I left for Kentucky Sheep and Fiber, which was on May 21-22. Today is June 2 and I've had these pictures since yesterday. 10 days from the day she bought it until the day I had pictures of it blocked and on a model. I think the actual knitting of it only took her 5 days! There are 2 hanks left of that color.
SaliorJuliet used Cotton Warp in the Fire Harvest colorway for this great shawl. She mentioned in her blog that the pattern might be better in a non-variegated colorway, but I love it. Of course, I may be just a smidge biased. :)
TaiwanDawn has been a prolific user of the Cotton Warp yarn and this month is no different. She crocheted a sweet dress, also out of the Fire Harvest Colorway.

KateOhKatie knit 2 projects this month from Dyeabolical yarn. The first is a set of legwarmers for cute chubby baby legs.

KateOhKatie's second project is this awesome hat. Do you see what the pooling did? Very cool!

Last, but certainly not least, is Liat's handspun yarn. She took a braid of my merino, carded it with sparkles and the spun this great art yarn. She also sells her creative art yarns in her etsy shop