Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just another manic Tuesday

Finally, I feel back to normal! Huzzah! Since we've last met, I've undertaken a destash/decluttering/rearranging/reorganizing of epic proportions.

I traded some extra wool for Lucky Gnomekin #13. He's adorbs! Lucky 13 is hanging out with his Binx pals.
* I cleaned off my dye shelf. I thought I had maybe 100 dyes. Nope. 250+. Heavens. I only use 15-20 of those colors, but it is kind of like Giant Box of Crayons Syndrome. No box of crayons will ever be big enough. Still, I need more room on that shelf, so I pared down my stash by a lot. I packed up a big box of dyes, jars for mixing, an extra stock pot, and an extra drying rack (why do I need so many?) and foisted them on to Mr. & Mrs. Yarn Geek Fibers.

*I came to a stunning realization that with just a little bit of shuffling around, and destashing a bunch of stuff, that I could double my dyeing area. This is a good thing and something that needed to happen a long time ago.

* I have finally started carding one of the two fleeces I bought last year at the Waterloo sheep show and made arrangements to have the other one washed. Those two actions freed up another 3 feet of space on my fiber shelves.

*I rearranged the bedroom to accomadate my birthday present, a new Rowenta Steamer. It will never replace an iron for dress shirts, but it works great to freshen up knitwear. While I was at it, I got rid of a pile of clothes to give away, plus the hamper they were in that has been sitting in the corner for probably a year. Success. 

 *I unloaded 2 shelves of books and 3 shopping bags full of pretty yarn on to unsuspecting friends. They were good books and good yarns, so win for everyone.

*And then? I dyed yarn 2 days in a row. I am so relieved that the end is in sight to this knitting needle injury. I am the unfortunate queen of minor, but very inconvenient injuries.

 *I finished 1.5 projects this week. Thank you, snow day.
Comfort Slippers by Reiko Arato using handspun 3-plyed from a braid of superwash cheviot wool in the Themyscira colorway. I knit about 10 extra rows to accommodate my hugenormous feet. Do not make my mistake. These things are plenty stretchy for all size feet without adding extra rows.   

Mixed Wave Mitts by Sybil Ramkin using Super Ego mini hanks in the Highlighter colors. I have 2 sets of these in stock, but they are not listed in the shop yet. Email me if you are interested. They are slightly less saturated than the Alter Ego version in the shop. Or, if you want an eye-searing version of the Highligther colors, click here. :)
This giant pile of awesome was delivered this week. They are textured rolags made by Beth from Blue Mountain Handcrafts. I cannot wait to spin these!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday is the New Monday

My 3-day weekend accidentally lasted 4 days. Oops.

State of the Rachel
When last we met, it was Birthday Eve and I was napping lots.

My birthday was great! I have such amazingly awesome friends and family! I was spoiled rotten by the awesome gifts. I don't have pictures of everything yet, but here is a mosaic of the ones I do have pictures of. So much fun! And the food. Dim sum, giant burgers, wings, fried chicken, cupcakes, cakes over the course of the week. OmigodIamsofull.
My creation

By Thursday, I was in the doctors office because I've had trouble sleeping at night. Every time I laid down, my leg/brain started yelling in a way that couldn't be ignored. The doctor ordered lots of blood tests to rule out scary things and scary things were then ruled out. I'm fine, but it's going to be a few more weeks of working at half-speed. I have to sit down a lot. And stand up a lot. Actually, that kind of describes my regular workday so you wouldn't think it would slow me down. But slow me down it has. Plus, frankly, I just kind of need a mental break. This last few months have been crazy town on both a personal and a professional level. I can only work so many 12-hour days in a row for so many months in a row before I need a little chill-out time. Working part-time suits me ok for another week.

State of the Knitting
I have startosis. I keep starting things, but finishing nothing. Tempest Tea and I are having a mini-KAL of these Mixed Wave Mitts. 
Dyeabolical Super Ego undyed & highlighter leftovers

State of the Yarn
Did I show you these eye-searing minis? It all started with a Ravelry thread when Annie insisted I dye yet another obnoxiously bright yellow. I'm still waiting for Annie's sweater yarn to arrive, but I dyed some mini hanks in the meantime. 9 sets on the Alter Ego base sold immediately and now only one is left. I also have a set or two on the Super Ego base that are not in the shop. Email me if you want a set. Also, I'm happy to take special orders for the minis, as well. 
Alter Ego takes the fluorescent colors BRIGHT!
Friday shop updates are on temporary hiatus while I prepare for the Green With Indie show. I will be posting here and there as I have them, but most of my stock will be going in to the show pile.

Green with Indie is on March 9. If you are local and need a free raffle ticket, let me know. I'll have a table of soap, spinning fiber, and soap.

I am currently accepting special orders. I am running about 3 weeks on special orders. Also, I will have polwarth/silk spinning fiber, pol/wilk DK yarn, superwash merino worsted and BFL Hard Twist back in stock soon. I don't have any listings prepared for those yet, but email me if you would like to reserve a color.

I am doubling my dyeing capacity! YAY! To make room for another cooker, I cleared off my dye shelf. Guess how many dye jars I have? OVER 250!!!! What the heck?!? I only use 15 or so dyes, so I have no idea why I'm hoarding all that dye. I organized them all in to bins of dyes I use all the time, dyes I use sometimes, dyes I don't use but that I keep because one day I might need them (*cough*dye hoarder*cough*), and dye colors I could live without if I absolutely had to. I am destashing those 50+ dyes for $135. If you are interested in a list, shoot me an email and I will discuss the details with you.

Corrina Ferguson from Picnic Knits released a new pattern that features my yarn! This is her Bryndis pattern knit from the Knit Crate Cafe colorway (exclusive to Knit Crate). Beautiful, isn't it? It takes less than 1 hank of my Super Ego yarn, which comes in 150 gram hanks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesdays are for Catching Up on Monday's Blogging

Every day this week has involved an unscheduled siesta. Some people love napping, but it makes me feel like a slacker. I could be doing something with all that time. Like knitting and reading, or heaven forbid, working.

What's new in the shop
I'm still on a part time schedule. My leg is healing. You can't even tell I jammed a needle in my leg just by looking at it, but sometimes it lets off an almighty twinge just in case I forgot for a minute how dumb it was to store needles unprotected. And yet, despite feeling better, my work still isn't getting done at its normal brisk pace. I blame the IRS and their stupid Schedule C. Ugh, taxes. Curse you, Schedule C!

I did manage a small update yesterday. Friday noon updates are temporarily suspended until I can get back on track. For the next few weeks, I will post new items as I finish them.
There may or may not be some highlighter colored yarns destined for mini-hanks drying in my kitchen right now.
I will be at the Green With Indie show on March 9 in Webster University's Grant Gym. This is a fun mid-size Craft Mafia craft show full of indie crafters, many who you see at other shows around town like Strange Folk and Rock 'n  Roll.  It's worth a trip if you are local. If you would like a stack of flyers to hand out in your office or to your friends, email me and we will make arrangements. Each flyer has a form for you to fill out your information and be entered to win a door prize. No purchase necessary, but you do have to actually attend GWI to be eligible to win.

What I'm working on

One Comfort Slipper is finished. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, but I am using a superwash cheviot sport weight handspun 3-ply in the Themysicra colorway. I'm surprised it fits as well as it does. I thought it would be too small for me, but it is actually a little large. Do as I say when it comes to matters of gauge, not as I do. No, I didn't swatch. This pattern is easy, but for some reason I'm finding the back and forth at the bottom of the foot to be tedious.
This is the beginning of a garter bias scarf. It's my purse knitting.

What I'm reading
  • I just finished Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. It was a book club selection and I've already told the chooser of the book that I'm going to give her such guff over it. Guff! Guff! Guff! :) I didn't enjoy the book, but I am very much looking forward to the lively conversation it will inspire. Those are the best kind of books, I think. I dislike conflict in real life, but when it comes to books, it is boring when everyone agrees.
  • Speaking of conflict dislike, I discovered the Captain Awkward blog this week. She has some great advice for navigating sticky situations.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Local Artist Katatomic & Some Soap

It's a picture heavy post today. I hope that doesn't bog anyone down.

I try to periodically promote artists and crafters local to St. Louis. Today, I want to brag on one of my friends & customers, Kat. Kat, aka Katatomic, is a local artist who specializes in super cute animals & adorable accessories. You can find her on Facebook and, if I poke her enough, I hope she will update her Etsy shop with little tiny felt sheeps made with real sheep locks.

"Bahhhhh me from Katatomic Labs!"
Kat made this felted pumpkin spice soap for Scott. We're a fan of the felted soaps around here. 
I traded some dyed locks for this pretty awesome felt scarf. Do the colors look familiar? I dyed the raw materials for her in to the Viola Overboard colorway. Then Kat manipulated & felted the wool to this fun scarf with lightly ruffled edges. It is merino wool, so soft and warm, but the fabric is thin enough for indoor wear. It lives with me now. :) See Kat? Everyone loves these scarves. Go post 'em to Etsy! 

Katatomic even has her own Dyeabolical colorway. She asked me several times to try these colors together and I resisted her each time. Why did I resist her for so long? This is hands down my favorite colorway ever.

I am working on a new soap design. There is a lot of work left to do, but I will have several bars ready for Green With Indie in....oh crap, 3 weeks. Oh crap, oh crap. Um, I'm going to say right now that I stabbed myself in the leg a week ago and that somewhat has slowed down production. While my booth will have yarn, fiber & soap in it, it might not be quite as packed to the gills as usual. And you already know updates have been light lately. Wait, where was I? Oh yes, a new soap design. I kind of love chevrons. I will have several bars ready in about 3 weeks. Are there any color requests?

On Monday, I mentioned wanting to play around and find a new way to photograph soap so it really showed the soap off well. Here is the so-so picture I started with:
and here is the new picture. I think I nailed it! 10:30 am, on my dining room table, on a tray, with the sun coming in from the south-facing window.
I liked the results so much, I took photos of the rest of my stock.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mondays are for Blogging

2013 is all about creating new routines and what's this? 2 consecutive Monday blog posts in a row! Surely that is a step in the right direction. When do I get my medal? :)

Last week was eventful.
  • Related to one of the bullet points below (you can guess which one), I'm having a surprise sale until Tuesday - 15% off using coupon code "15OFF" at checkout.
  • I ran in to the bookshelf & doorknob really hard last week. My sock knitting was hanging from the doorknob. Badda boom, badda bing, now I have a puncture wound with a side of blunt force trauma to add to the list of incredibly stupid injuries I have had. It's insulting to both stab and punch oneself in the same spot simultaneously. Annoyed? Yes. Sidelined? Slightly. Pumped full of tetanus vaccine and antibiotics? You betcha. What are your favorite point protectors for double pointed needles?
  • I had dinner with one of my favorite felt artists (more on that later), asked Kara nicely to please drag my carcass to knit night, had homemade lasagna at my in-laws house, got a haircut so bad that I think it might have involved an actual hatchet, drove all over creation on Friday (thanks, numb leg!), watched the rest of the season 3 of Downton Abbey (Fonzie is strapping on his life belt and just about ready to jump over that shark) and generally overdid it so much that Saturday I was forced to sit on the couch. Oh darn. No, that's actually what Scott said. He handed me his qiviut gloves with a big giant hole in them and said "Here. Darn." and so I did. 
  • I made some soap last week. Or rather, all I made last week was some soap. Photographing soap has a whole new learning curve. It's different than photographing yarn. I will be playing around today trying to get better pictures of my soaps. In person, this soap looks like blueberry Jello or French nougat, but fancier. The blues are saturated and subtly variegated. The white is actually tinged with blue. There are swirls and layers and it is moderately scented with a fragrance called Cashmere & Cotton. In the picture? It's blue and white and blah. Can I just tell people it is pretty and have them trust me? No? Darn.


Friday, February 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review and Looking Forward


You might have noticed, but 2012 was a dismal blogging year for me. Thank goodness for my friends Kara and Kate, who help out with some of the business writing, or there would be very few updates from the Dyeabolical at all.

Because 2012 was such a dismal blogging year, and I rely on the blog to refresh my memory, I am sure I am forgetting major highlights. 

I felt like I was 2 steps behind most of 2012. I blame the time suck known as allergy shots. 2 shots twice a week, in the middle of the day, plus the obligatory post-shot wait time and the inevitable nap that followed, plus another half day of fatigue for 6 months meant that 2 days a week I only worked half days. Yeah....I'm not doing allergy shots any more. They work fantastic for some people, but not so much for me.

Naturally, my knitting suffered in 2012. Most nights I would pull out my knitting, but then stare at the TV. I finished many mini-swaps on the Itty Bitty Knitting board. I did the Odd Ducks Favorite Color Swap. I assembled an package of epic proportions, which was then stolen from in front of my swappees door. Grr! I did finish my favorite sweater I have ever knit, so that's something.
I finally made a second Ravelry profile in 2012. DyeabolicalYarn is my business profile. My past projects are still there, as well as pattern suggestions for pooling yarns and art yarns.  I will use that profile for official Dyeabolical posts. My new personal profile, with all my new projects and my personal queue, is called lehcarstl. I am using my new personal profile to all of the non-Dyeabolical stuff and to chat with.

And now for the knitting of 2012:

2012 FOs
  • 2 adult hats
  • 1 set of baby mittens
  • 1.5 preemie hats
  • 1 sock to finish a pair of socks
  • 10 ornaments
  • 1 tank from hell that fits beautifully, but doesn't look good with anything
  • 1 soaker
  • 5 afghan squares ranging from tiny to large
  • 1 bag
  • 1 toddler sweater
  • 1 shawl
  • 1 cardigan
26 projects. It's up from 23 in 2011, but the projects this year were quite a bit smaller than last year. It isn't a race, but it is frustrating to have so much stash and knit so little. To remedy that, I cast on for about 12 new projects in the new year and already finished 4 small projects.
My creation