Thursday, January 28, 2016

What I'm Doing Now: Week 2

What I'm doing now...
Eating fruit cocktail right out of the can, alternating between coffee and cranberry juice, debating if I have time for a nap, and waiting for the dye pots to heat up.

What I'm doing this week..
My friend Sarah and I spent a whirlwind 20 hours away from our crafty jobs to go to Ikea to look at furniture for our yarn & craft areas and then went off to knit night and dinner with friends. Our staycation included staying up late talking about the yarn industry and then waking up early for breakfast and more yarn talk. Yep, we took a few hours off from our yarn jobs to talk about yarn with each other and other knitters. It was glorious.

What I'm knitting this week...
Fingerless glove (my own pattern) in the striping version of Flower Shop Inferno; Off With Her Red Self-Striping swatch

Shawl Seduction by Kelene Kinnersly. Knit from the Teancious Sock base in the colors Lucy, Fuchsia So Bright, and Bigger on the Inside.
This week in shop news...
-Shawl Seduction test knit (above) was finished a few weeks ago and Kelene released the pattern yesterday. Kelene is having a 25% off sale in her Ravelry shop for the pattern itself (details on the pattern page). Or, if you purchase any 2 more skeins of Tenacious between now and Valentines then get the pattern free! Just leave me a note when you purchase and I will send you a coupon code for the free pattern. Thank you to Kelene for that generous offer to Dyeabolical customers. I can also give you a copy of the pattern at now charge if you purchase 2 or more skeins of Tenacious Sock from me between now and the end of February.

-Don't forget the first self-striping yarns are going up for sale tonight at 7!
-Over the holidays I made several special products for the holidays, including body balms, lip balms, and new perfumes. Some of these were special just for the holidays, but look for the return of the Wool Lover's Baa-lm, Good for the Sole Foot Balm, lip balms, and solid perfumes to return in February. New soaps will be hitting the curing racks next week and ready for sale in late February or early March.

What I'm Reading...
I'm halfway through Pioneer Girl. Dang, Laura Ingalls, your life was weird and hard.

What I'm Listening To...
I needed something familiar this week, so Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is keeping me company while I work. 

What are you doing this week?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Self striping yarns -- Update Thursday!

The first batch of Dyeabolical self-striping sock yarn will be up for sale this Thursday at 7pm Central.

The update goes live in the Etsy shop first and then automatically updates to my website a few minutes later. There will be a section called "self-striping yarn" on both sites.
Some background--
So many customers have asked me to do striping versions of my regular colorways. The project seemed daunting and I put it off for years. There is no denying that striped yarns are much more labor intensive than dyeing semis or variegateds (20 minutes to wind vs. 3 minutes, for instance), but I enjoyed the process quite a bit.

A lot of my hesitation to dye stripes came from the idea that I had to be precise and perfect when dyeing stripes. Then I remembered that I am a forest person and not a trees person. I enjoy chaotic color. I enjoy the one of a kind nature of hand dyed yarns. I enjoy getting in to the dye pots and just playing. It has been a long time since I have sacrificed a week of time just to 'see what happens when I do this'. I admit that I am quite nervous for my customers to like these self-striping yarns. Please like them! :)

And now the details--
Important info:
  • All of the yarns in this update are self-striping versions of my regular variegated colors. Please do not purchase the self-striping listing if you are wanting variegated or vice versa. Please contact me if you have any questions. 
  • I have been experimenting with using a wood background for my in-stock pictures. This is not going to happen with this update. All of the items pictured above will be on a white background with a notation in the listing that the item is in stock and ready to ship. 
  • Self-striping yarns cannot be dyed-to-order at this time. 

I have dyed 6 colors in 3 different stripe styles for this update:
  • Derby Girl and Off With Her Red (formerly of the Black& and Alice in Wonderland series) are out of retirement to join us in time for Valentines. Both of these colors are traditional stripes, i.e. semi-solid regularly spaced stripes. Stripe width may vary slightly between hanks.
  • Derby Girl was also dyed in shorter stripes with slightly more tonal variegation within each stripe.
  • Flower Shop Inferno, Blood Orange, and Paris at Last...oh my. I have been dithering for approximately forever about how to get the results I wanted from these 3 colors when shifting from the usual 2 yard skein to a 20 yard skein. I genuinely hope you like these 3 colors as much as I do. There is nothing I would like to do more than to translate some of my other "kettle"-type variegateds in to stripes. The stripe transitions for these colorways are more of a gradual, gradient-style color shift than a stark transitions. Just as how every skein of hand dyed yarn is different, every stripe is slightly different in these 3 colors.
The yarn base is a new yarn called Targhee Sock. It is 90% superwash targhee wool and 10% nylon. The fiber for this yarn was grown, processed, and dyed in the USA. Targhee wool is very elastic and soft, though not as soft as merino (which makes it better for socks, IMO). This 3-ply sock yarn is round, springy, and plump. It is a heavy fingering yarn, knit best at 7-9 stitches per inch on 1s or 2s.

Each skein of Targee Sock is 430 yards minimum, or about 115 grams. Targhee Sock in the self-striping colorways retail for $30. As with all hand dyed yarns, I recommend hand washing in cool water.

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    What I'm Doing Now

    There is a hashtag on Instagram called "widn", which stands for "what I'm doing now". I like the idea of taking a snapshot of what's happening right now. I just finished a book called "Steal This Art", so...I'm stealing the #widn idea for my blog. :)

    What I'm Doing Now-ish: 

    -Cherishing my alone time. My days are filled with work work, a special project (more below), getting back in to a post-holiday routine, reading, and knitting.

    -Modified sun salutations. Let's be honest, yoga people. Sun salutations are really just slow motion burpees. They should count as cardio.

    What I'm Knitting: 
    - Lots of samples of self-striping yarns.

    -I recently finished a test knit for Kelene Kinnersly for a pattern called Inamorata. This shawl will get its own blog post once the pattern is released. [Kelene also has 3 new, free hat patterns on her website made from Dyeabolical Superwash Worsted; along with a tutorial for knitting your first hat.]

    What I'm Doing At Work:

    -As always, dyeing special orders. Whenever I dye a special order I throw in 1-2 extra hanks of yarn to round out my dye lot. These extra hanks get placed in my Extras bin. Once the Extras bin is full, I do a shop update.

    -One thing I am not working on is soaps. Production on spring soaps will start spinning up in the next week, but for now I'm enjoying a post-holiday break from soaps.

    -Shop update. I did a shop update earlier this week.

    - I have had a little bit of down time recently and used that time to make some self-striping versions of my more popular variegated colors and 2 previously retired colors. More details will be coming early next week, along with a shop update later in the week. Self-striping yarns are very labor intensive, but I have really been enjoying the process and foresee doing more batches in the future when time allows.

    What I'm Reading Now:
    Recently finished:
    Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon - Common sense advice for creative people.
    Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell  - I loved this book of charming and creepy short stories. If you feel the same way about scarecrows that I feel about scarecrows, then save the last story for daytime reading.
    Something About You by Julie James (audiobook) - The first in a series of books about U.S. attorneys and FBI detectives who fall in love despite a series of misunderstandings and bad guys trying desperately to keep them apart. Rabbit hole, here I come.
    Recently abandoned:
    After Alice by Gregory Maguire - I've never met an Alice retelling that I couldn't tolerate until now. Yawn. So much yawn.
    Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff - The prose is good, the narration is excellent, but the people are horrible and too familiar.

    Currently reading:
    I'm apparently on a pioneer women kick!
    My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
    Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Bibliography by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Pamela Smith Hill (editor); My favorite annotation so far is not about LIW, but about Teddy Roosevelt and Jack London. The president calls out Jack London by name in a popular news magazine for being a "nature faker" and exaggerating the characteristics of nature for the sake of narrative drama.

    Friday, January 1, 2016

    2015 FO Round Up

    In 2015, I completed these knitted projects:
    • 8 hats
    • 4 pairs of fingerless mitts
    • 4 shawls
    • 2 pairs of mittens
    • 1 pair of socks
    • 1 toddler sweater
    • 2 cowls
    • 1 toy
    • 12 soap sweaters
    • 4 tiny trees
    • 2 wash cloths
    • 1 afghan

      My only goal for 2015 was to knit more than I did in 2014. I accomplished that with 299 yards to spare. In addition to the projects finished above, many of which were started in 2014 or earlier, I also have 1 scarf 75% finished, 2 pairs of socks on the needles, 1 pair of slippers cast on, one shawl 80% finished, and 1 cowl about 15% completed.

      My 2016 crafting goals are limited:
    • Replace a few pairs of sad socks
    • do lots of swatching, testing, and sample making of potential new colors for Dyeabolical
    • continue to narrow my focus for soaps & sundries to better fit my customers
    And that's it. I don't like pressure when it comes to my crafts!

    What are your crafting goals this year? What items did you knit, spin, or craft last year? Do you have art that you would like to share? Please post a comment or a link to your blog below! I would love to see what you made in 2015.