Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Customer FOs: March

Hello! It's Kara here again! Let's discuss the great FOs from March - y'all were busy! So many great things using Dyeabolical yarn that I hardly know where to start. So, let's start with a couple last minute FOs from February.

Sarah (YarnGeekFibers) finished up a long running project - a gorgeous entrelac shawl she made from a Dyeabolical fiber she spun.
This was her first entrelac project, first laceweight handspun from her very first Dyeabolical purchase. I'm gonna be the first person in line to steal it when she's not looking. :) (project page) [The line starts behind me, Miss Kara. -- Rachel]

Beverly (bevmcc) used Strong Arm Skinny in Neopolitan to make the Weeble Wobble Cowl.
Looks great, Beverly! There's a skein of Neopolitan in the shop now on the BFL Hard Twist Base. (project page)

Back in March, I was able to learn a little about needle felting from Kat at Katatomic Labs and created this flower pin out of Dyeabolical Felting Fiber and some angelina.
If you haven't needle felted before, it's a great way to actually stab something without hurting anyone (unless you stab yourself, then it will hurt you). (project post)

Katie (kittykat86) knit her first pair of socks using one of the Strong Arm Sock Flats.
The pattern is Wendy Johnson's Basic Gusset Heel Socks. I love the way these turned out. Makes me want to whip out my sock flat and get knitting. (project page)

Kate (KateOhKatie) finished up this Saroyan during a car ride to Chicago, blocked it in her hotel room, then wore it about the city. 
The yarn is a special edition Tussah Silk that Rachel had a couple years ago, but the great thing about this pattern is that you can use any yarn weight to make it - something like Mary's Necklace in the Bling would look fantastic in this pattern.  (project page) [I can still get the Tussah Silk worsted base for anyone who wants to do special orders --Rachel]

Another project using the Neopolitan colorway, Kelly (photokitty) knit a Traveling Companion Shawl.
This shawl uses the Bling Sparkly Sock with two (non-Dyeabolical) semi-solids. It would look great in any of the fingering weight yarns in the shop. (project page)

Stephanie (ThePaintedKnitter) used the Bling Sparkly Sock in an unnamed color to make the (Black)hearted Socks. [It's pink! I can dye this color by special order, but she's right. I don't have a name for it.]
These look fantastic! (project page)

The spinners were BUSY this month, whipping out a fabulous selection of yarn.

So many of you decided to spin up the January Fiber Club in March and they all look so different and awesome. The fiber was Portuguese Wool in the Temple Door colorway.

Lindey (LuckyLindey) split her fiber, then spun andnavajo plied it into a fingering weight yarn so she can make some socks. 

Joanna (rxknitter1) also decided to navajo ply her Temple Door, getting 250 yards from her fiber. This was her first attempt at navajo plying, too. Amazing!

Sandy (Sandykins) decided to fractal spin her fiber, then she cable plied it, winding up with about 290 yards of yarn. (yarn page)

Leigh (odettelh) spun Temple Door into 428 yards of a 2-ply light fingering weight. (yarn page)

Stacy (StacyLoves) spun her Temple Door into 210 yards of a worsted weight yarn (yarn page)...
 ...and then turned that into Tony the Toy Box Monster. 
How cute is he? (project page)

Stacy also spun up her February fiber club this month. 
Rainbow Agate was 85% polwarth 15% sari silk fiber, which she spun into 365 yards of navajo plied pretty. (yarn page)

Susan Anderson (who is doing a patchwork sock-a-long in her blog) spun a couple different Dyeabolical fibers in March.
The first is from one of Rachel's batts that contained BFL, merino, tussah silk, and firestar. The final product is a 2-ply worsted weight yarn, 186 yards.

For the second one, Susan used 2 different braids together to get 1,086 yards of a fingering weight yarn. Looks fantastic! (blog post)

Finally, KateJonez spun up this lovely yarn. She got great yardage! 
If I'm not careful, writing about all these amazing fibers is going to turn me into a spinner one of these days. There's some fantastic fiber in the shop right now. Go buy it all and save me from myself.

And that's March!

As always, if you have any FOs you'd like to share, let me know. You can find me (Kara) on Ravelry or send me an email at starmonkeybrass(at)gmail(dot)com. 

I'll see you soon for April's FOs!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Customer FOs Special Edition - Sample Knits!

Remember a few months ago when I put out a call for sample makers? Wow, you guys responded in droves. I supplied the yarn and the testers choose the pattern. I was able to decorate the booth with some really fantastic samples. Thank you so much to all of my sample makers and special thank to Corrina Ferguson for designing such a wonderful scarf to highlight my yarns. I hope you are as inspired by these projects as I was.  

And now, here's Kara (who was also a sample maker)!

A few months ago, Rachel put out a call for sample makers to work up projects for display at events. We the Sample Makers answered the call and knit and wove some fabulous items (if I do say so myself).

First up is one you have seen before, but it's still amazing all the same. From Corrina Ferguson (aka PicnicKnits), Vittorio - a shawl she designed specifically to show off Rachel's Flower Shop Inferno colorway.

She used the Strong Arm Skinny in Flower Shop Inferno. I'm working on one myself out of the HardTwist BFL base - loving it! [This would also work great in Alter Ego (superwash merino fingering weight), Bling (sparkly sock yarn) or, for a larger version, Super Ego (superwash merino heavy sport)]

Next up, I used the 2-ply Laceweight Merino to whip up a shawl.
Line Break
The pattern is Line Break; it looks fantastic in a semi-solid, but I bet it would work really well in one of Rachel's variegated yarns, too. Or imagine it in a bright sunny color for those summer evenings - like the Lemon Drop Bling in stock now.  (project page)

A different Kara (Shells) finished two sample knits.
This Baby Surprise Jacket is knit from the Strong Arm in Hidden Tiger, but would look fabulous in any of the other sock yarns in stock. (project page)

She also made a shawl out of the BFL Hard Twist in Queen's Tea. [Pictures do not do this shawl justice. It is so amazing in person! Kara did an awesome job. -- Rachel]
The pattern is Iris - Goddess of Rainbows. It would also work well in the Cotton Warp and be perfect to wear in those chilly office buildings.(project page)

Linda (epic1313) made a great looking Litmus shawl using Strong Arm Skinny in Jo Rides a Motorbike. 
Fabulous, right? (project page)

Megan (justrunknit) used one of Rachel's own patterns - All Hands on Deck Mittens - to make some mittens using Worsted Weight Superwash in Roma. 
The great thing about this pattern is that you can use any weight yarn to make mittens custom fit for your hands.  (project page)

From Annett, we have socks out of Strong Arm Skinny in Neopolitan. 

The top sock is the Monkey pattern, while the bottom is a simple stockinette sock. You can really see how the colors in variegated yarns play in different patterns. 

Finally, from Carrie (zinniz), a super amazingly awesome gorgeous twill scarf using Strong Arm Skinny in the Roma colorway as the warp and a solid taupe color as the weft. 

Wow. I love the look of handwoven projects! Carrie does a great job with them. This is AMAZING. [Contact me if you would like Carrie's notes on this scarf. I would be happy to forward them on. --Rachel]

As always, if you have a finished project (or handspun) you want to see featured in the monthly posts, PM me on Ravelry (karamichele) or email me at starmonkeybrass(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Customer FOs for February 2012

Hello again, friends! I'm blogging twice in one week! I know, I know! That's practically unheard of lately. Although I suppose it is cheating to claim that I'm the one blogging. Really, it is Kara who is blogging. As many of you have figured out, and emailed about, and called about, and told me in person about, the finished object (FO) posts got mightily derailed this year. We (that would be the royal "we") decided to get them back on track and asked Kara to step in to as the FO blogger. And now, without further ado, heeeeerrrrrrrreeeeessss KARA! 
Hello everybody! A quick introduction - I'm Kara, and I will be handling the FO posts now. I've been knitting since 2005 (though I learned when I was young and promptly dropped it and all my other crafty pursuits to read) and pretty quickly became a Knitter with a capital K. I've also known Rachel for almost as long as I've been knitting. Her yarn has been part of my stash since she started dyeing. I also do a bit of crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, sewing, and coffee drinking. You can also find me on ravelry, twitter, and at my blog.

Now - on with the FOs. We're starting out by catching up with the finished projects and yarn from February.

The amazing Peggy (MissP) finished TWO Dyeabolical projects in February: 

These Openwork Socks are made out of one of last year's sock club colorways - The Lonely Goatherd in the BFL Hard Twist sock yarn.(project page)

Her Citron shawl is made out of the one skein of 2-ply Laceweight in Evil Jeanius. This turned out great! She increased the size to 7 sections, which made it large enough to actually wrap around. I love it! (project page)

Next up, from Kim (gmadewie), we have a set of adorable baby items.

Using a skein of Sporty! in We're All Mad Here, she knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket, hat, and Mary Jane Booties. I can't believe I don't have a skein of this color in my stash yet. (project page)

Bonus picture! I couldn't resist sharing the cute modeled photo. :) [omigosh! so cute! --RK]

Dawn (dhop76) made these mittens using a Strong Arm Sock Flat in Soldier Field paired with a gray (non-Dyeabolical) yarn.

I am loving the mix of a variegated yarn with a solid. It lets the colors shine in a different way than when the yarn is used alone. (project page)

Carrie (TangledStrands) made a Multnomah out of Strong Arm Skinny in Hidden Tiger. Rawr.

This pattern looks great in the variegated yarn. Yep, this one is definitely in my queue now. (project page)

Now, on to handspun!

Lynda (lyndahitt) spun this fabulous yarn out of the September 2011 Fiber club.
She spun 225 yards of DK out of this 100% Finn fiber in Whirligig.I love the colors and how they meld together in this yarn. So great!(yarn page)

Sarah (YarnGeekFibers) spun some merino/bamboo in an unnamed colorway that she had picked up at the Strange Folk Festival a couple years ago.
She has 194 yards of sport weight yarn here out of 4.2oz of fiber. Fabulous! (yarn page)

That's all the FOs for February - I hope you enjoyed seeing what everyone has done with Dyeabolical yarn and fiber. As always, check out the shop to get your Dyeabolical fix, then share your FOs!  Next time from me - a special post highlighting the gorgeous samples that the test knitters made for the Dyeabolical booth. Then we'll see what happened in March!

If you have any FOs or handspun you would like to see here, please PM me on ravelry or email me at starmonkeybrass(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This is why I shouldn't be allowed to go off pattern

Can we talk about this stupid sweater for a minute?
This sweater even resists being photographed attractively. Stop resisting me, sweater!

On April 27 I wrote
On Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday of last week I cast on for a tank top pattern that is 5" too short for me and needs lengthening, in the largest possible size, that requires 1 more hank than I have available, that is in the wrong gauge and is alternately too wide and too narrow depending on where you measure, and that needs to be done by tomorrow so I can wear it....I keep finding reasons not to knit (like blogging). Yet, I still hold out hope that 24 hours from now I will be wearing a tank top knit with my own 2 hands. I know all of you knitters out there know exactly what I'm talking about.
Obviously it is still not done. Can we talk about why?

1. Although I have been monogamous to this project, I have fallen in to the knitters trap of believing that if I think about the sweater enough, but not actually pick up the needles, that the sweater will somehow get finished. 

2. I have a ridiculously long torso. Additionally, it appears to have gotten wider. How is that fair? The sweater is slightly too narrow from the edge of the decreases to the bottom of the stripes. It looks O.K. if I wear the tank under something, but I need to knit more length to compensate for the negative ease. 

3. The gauge issue. I'm not knitting to gauge. That sucks up more yarn and more time and more figuring out since I'm knitting more stitches per inch, but also more fabric, and I have a non-standard shape.

4. "Non-standard shape" is code for long-waisted and apple-shaped, a combination destined to cause "fit issues"-- a baggy bodice, a tight torso and a too-short hem. These all require alterations to the original pattern.

4a. The baggy bodice problem was solved by knitting to my underbust measurement and then dropping in 1 full set of short rows and 1 partial set of short rows to give enough coverage. I'm told this should work. The face I'm making right now? It's my dubious face.

4b. The tight torso, which leads to a too short hem....yeah...well, ideally I would have realized somewhere an inch north of the cast on edge that my gauge changed and the torso was now too narrow. As it is, I didn't notice until I was through the first set of short row shaping above the stripes, which were originally supposed to be around the waist. I compensated by knitting another half set of short rows in the bust and knitting a few more inches all around before casting off the arm holes.

5. At this point, I have the armholes cast off and I a starting to knit the front and back pieces. My only consideration now is running out of yarn.  I run several striping strategies past my knit group. We decide that chunky stripes around the waist, then a red bust, red until I run out of red, and striped straps. That was on Wednesday.

6. On Friday I try the sweater on again to see if I'm ready to start the front neck cast off. Scott walks in, declares the stripes around my waist look awkward. Not that I listen to what he says, but I take off my knitterly glasses and really look at the stripes around the waist. I hate it when he's right.

How does one salvage this? Like so...

7. I refuse to reknit the stripes, so I rip the front bodice, the underarm shaping, the 1.5 sets of short row bust shaping back to the stripes.

8. I yank those stripes up around my bust and call it good. I proceed to knit the front bodice with underarm shaping. I don't knit the back of the bodice because I know I'm low on red yarn. I need to come up with a plan for that. Like every part of this sweater, I'll deal with that issue when I get there.

9. The front bodice is finished! YAY! Of course, I have raised the stripes up about 5 inches, so now my hem is 5 inches too short. I cut the cast on off, along with the garter eyelet hem, which I didn't care for anyway. While I'm at it, I rip out the waist decreases. They were spaced too closely and decreased too quickly to begin with. I wasn't going to fix them, but since I'm there I might as well reknit them.

10. I knit down and down and even more down. I'm down to 4 tiny balls of yarn salvaged from the cast on. Remember, I have taken out the short row shaping, so my front and back pieces are exactly the same length. Problem is, my real front and real back are NOT the same length. The back of the sweater is now hovering around low hip and the front only reaches my belt. Plus, I'm almost out of red yarn. Did I mention the red yarn? THE RED YARN IS LOW!

That's where I am right now.  Don't worry. As Lucy said to Ethel, "I have a plan". I need about 3 more inches in front and 0 more inches in back. Time to be creative. I'm going to add side slits, tunic style. I'm thinking if it looks like I meant to make it stupidly long in front then it will be fine.  The hem will be several rows of garter stitch. I'm nearly out of red. In fact, I am sure I don't have enough red to finish off the armholes and neckline, but We Will Cross That Bridge When We Come To It. In the mean time, break out the cotton scraps. I have a striped, garter stitch, split tunic-style hem to conjour.

(This sweater is never going to fit)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mill ends

Fiber mill ends are my favorite thing ever. I grab a bag whenever I can. You never know what you're going to get in a grab bag. The last bag of mill ends I got were full of what I think was cashmere and camel. The bag of mill ends that arrived today feel (and smell) mostly like wool. There is definitely some sort of silk in there.  Maybe some mohair, too. 2 bags ago was purples and tans. The last bag was natural colors. This bag seems to be the clown color bag. This pile will get separated and "filed" by color in to my oh-so-fancy wool filing system made totally out of leftover shipping boxes. Later I will card up some surprise batts for the shop and for me. I love a surprise!