Friday, August 29, 2014

FO: August Ornament Swap - Glub Glub

Who doesn't love a good swap? For the last few years I have been enjoying mini swaps, especially the ornament swaps in Susan Anderson's Itty Bitty Knitters group. One ornament, one greeting card. No fuss. I have gotten the best ornaments for my Christmas tree.

This month the talented Paula sent me this Santa ornament. I love how his beard and hat are hooked. Little details like that always amuse me.
I sent Greg, a fisherman, this fishy ornament:
Pattern: Tiny Fish from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi
Yarn: random scraps
Modifications: I added a fishing bobber to the top. I was going to string this on ribbon, but then someone pointed out that the bubbles were like beads. I had some left over supplies from a previous project, so I used jump rings and headpins with loops on them (not sure what these are called?) to turn this fish in to an ornament.
Card: The card was from a set of dinosaur cards that my friend Mindy made for me.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sundays Are For Blogging

Craft bloggers often post high quality, high resolution photos of their very clean and luxurious living and studio spaces. Who are these people and how come they don't have 14 shopping bags full of wips on the floor or yarn hanging from the book case?

It has been a busy week at Chez Dyeabolical.  The final 30 lbs of the fall cold processed soap is now on the curing rack and the soaping dishes have not yet been cleaned up. The packaging issue for the fall glycerin soaps has been settled. Yarn was sent off to a new shop. My website randomly stopped working, but only for me. I shipped quite a few orders and prepped yarn for this coming week's shipments. I taught 2 spindle spinning classes to 12 really excellent people and then went grocery shopping. I think when the heat index is 105 degrees, parking is bad, and you live on the 3rd floor walk up that grocery shopping gets to count as a major accomplishment. My big plans for today include reading, knitting mindless garter stitch, and later catching up on emails. What is in store for your Sunday?

My Insta-week - a garter stitch shawl made from handspun, freshly cut soaps, new soap packaging for the glycerin soap cubes, the classroom before the spinners arrived, a box of Yakety Yak on its way to Nitro Knitters in Beaverton, OR, yarn hanging to dry, a Christmas ornament from my Itty Bitty Knitter swap partner, a wet batch of Themysicra version 2.0. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A bit of catching up and two new yarns

A customer asked me last week if I was giving up yarn in favor of soap. NO WAY! I will never give up yarn. I suppose it seems like I am way in to soap lately, and that's partially true. I am have been working very intensely lately to expand the bath and body line and to get ready for fall shows.

Some of my new soaps take 4-6 weeks to cure (worth it!), so I have been working like mad in between getting my regular orders together. I'm on my last 5 batches, which will be done today and then it's all yarn, all the time for about another 3 weeks. Then a week of fiber. Then a week of labeling. Then a week of laying on the floor exhausted, then Strange Folk!!


I talked a bit about this on Twitter a few days ago, but I thought blog readers may be interested in how my schedule works.

Every morning I check for new orders, ship orders, check up on social media, and triage my emails.The rest of my day is spent like this:
  • 2 days a week I dye yarn. Dyeing yarn can be physically taxing, and also a challenge when living in a small space. 2 12-hour days is about my limit. This is partially why special orders have a wait time. During that 12 hours I...
    • heat my pots (which takes for-ev-er)
    • wind yarn
    • dye a full lot of each color ordered. If only 1 hank is ordered then I will usually still dye a full lot and put the extras aside for shop updates and show inventory. 
      • kettle dye yarn/fiber one day
      • hand paint yarn on the other day (I don't hand paint fiber anymore)
    • make labels
    • rehank any yarn that needs to ship that week (sometimes with help)
    • clean up
    • order a pizza, because there is no way I'm cooking either day. The kitchen is too busy!
  • 1 day a week I work in a yarn shop. If I'm not too busy catching up on Dyeabolical work then  I have coffee with some friends in the morning and go to my knit night in the evening.
  • 2 days a week are reserved for special projects. What I'm working on depends on the time of the year. During the late summer I am usually doing something show related, like making inventory or cursing my lack of talent in designing booth displays. In the springtime and early summer I am working on patterns, designs, or developing new colors. This year I spent my 2 days working on 2 new yarn lines (see below) and expanding the soap line to be self-sustaining in time for Christmas markets, as well as outlining quite a few new ideas for patterns.

  • 2 days a week for days off in theory. Whether or not I take a weekend depends a lot on what's going on. This year has been a really excellent and busy year, and there has been a lot of spillover. As any small business owner will tell you, there is no such thing as a day off, even when you have the day off.
  • Sundays are for blogging. Again, in theory. I need to return to this. It relaxes me.

Here is my proof that I haven't slacked off on yarn.

Yaksley, Grapes of Yak, Monterey Yak, Yak of Hearts, Yak of the Pond, Yak the Knife, Yaktastic, Yak It Up
I had a quiet release several weeks ago of two new yarns. The first is called Yakety Yak. It is a naturally heathered gray fingering weight, Italian spun yarn dyed in a rainbow of semi-solid colors. The composition is 60% superwash merino/20% tussah silk/20% yak. YAK!! It is super soft and great for shawls and garments. Yakety Yak has its own category in the shop for dyed-to-order listings, but there are also a few hanks ready to ship under in-stock yarns.

The second yarn is a super bulky single-ply wool that was grown, processed and dyed in the US. There are 57 yards per 100 grams. The gauge is 2-2.5 stitches per inch. Most of my dyed-to-order colors are available on this base, with the exception of the highlighter colors and some of the trickier variegated colors. Click the color you are interested in and choose "Super Bulky" from the drop down list of available bases.  One hank makes a skinny scarf. Two hanks makes the 5-hour Hat and Gaiter pattern.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Halloween and Christmas Colors

A customer recently asked which Dyeabolical colorways would make a good pair of Halloween socks. Her question inspired me to put together this montage of colors and color names that would make good Halloween and Christmas socks. Some colors are available as both spinning fiber and yarn, some are available as only yarn. Dyed-to-order listings are running about 3-4 weeks currently.

Blood Orange

Eye of Newt

Kilt Me Dead

Poisoned Cherry

Solomon Grundy

Luthor's Revenge

Velociraptor Says What

Wicked City Woman
Closer Than You Think

Christmas Is Coming


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Drop everything and knit

Have you seen the newest issue of Twist Collective? Remember that excited breathless feeling we all used to get pre-Ravelry when a new fall knitting magazine would come out? Yeah, same thing. You may as well put your current WIPs in the closet before looking at the newest issue, because you will want to cast on a new project immediately.

I was working on a simple stocking design. The Aislin cardigan is 2 sleeves and a quarter of the front away from being done. I have been knitting on the Hitofude cardigan. A podcaster inspired me to cast on for a Miranda sweater. I swatched and did the math for a Honeybee cardigan. Plus the 2 usual purse socks on the needles. And then I saw the Courant shawl...
Holy. Sheep. Must knit now! 

So naturally I dropped everything and cast on. Mosaic knitting + lace requires every bit of attention I have. This is not a travel project. This is a sit at the table with no one talking to me project. It has been a long time (if you don't count the holiday season) since I have considered taking a day off of work just so I could knit.
I'm using Dyeabolical Yakety Yak in Monterey Yak and Yaktastic

There are dozens of mistakes in the first motif, and a few in the second motif, but I think it will be ok. I tell new knitters and spinners that mentally you know how to do something, but you have to teach your hands how to do it. It's all about muscle memory. That first motif was all about teaching my hands to do lace and mosaic colorwork at the same time. {Some of you might be muttering about how swatching is a great way to work the kinks out of a new technique. LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.}

My knit group motto is "that shit'll block out" and I think that is true for this pattern. The first repeat was hard won and I'm not ripping it back. No one will notice a few misplaced stitches when I flash and twirl the finished stole around like a peacock.