Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursdays are for Blogging About FOs

 Sock FO #1

Pattern: Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner
Yarn: Fruit Loops by Lisa from Fibernymph Dyeworks. Sadly the ball band is long gone, but I think this is her Squoosh base. 75% corriedale/25% nylon
Heel: Standard slip stitch heel flap & turn
Toe: Round toe. I usually use a standard toe (1 decrease round, 1 plain round) because I can remember it, but round toe (1 decrease round, 3 plain, decrease, 2 plain, decrease, 1 plain, decrease remaining rows) was the toe I used to use in socks. It fits my foot better and I need to remember to use it.

 Sock FO #2

Pattern: Liebelei by Regina Satta
Yarn: Moonlight Kisses by me on a heavy fingering weight test base. Bounce, Sturdy, Tenacious, or Super Ego Sport would make good bases for this pattern.
Heel: Spacious OMG Heel by Megan Williams from Stockinette Zombies Podcast. This heel, you guys. This heel fits great. It's a little tricky to pickup and purl on the edge of the heel flap, but worth figuring it out.
Toe: Another round toe.
Notes: Cables suck up yarn, so for reference, I used 85 grams of a heavy fingering sock yarn to knit 6 cable repeats per sock in a women's 12. I enlarged the pattern slightly by adding a purl stitch to the beginning of needles 1 & 3 and the ends of needles 2 & 4. This pair was nearly perfect. The only thing I'm disappointed with is that I, once again, made the foot of one sock with 68 stitches and the other sock with 64 stitches.

Yep, they stand up on their own.

The bottom of the mini gusset of the Spacious OMG heel

Friday, March 25, 2016


Test Post

Thursday, March 24, 2016

WIP Roundup and an Orange Table

Snow falling on a blooming pear tree
Several weeks ago I decided to cut back on the amount of caffeine in my life. Half-caff coffee has been successfully incorporated in to my life. I eat 2 or 3 dried figs as a snack every afternoon. I don't even recognize myself anymore. Kind of like how snow doesn't recognize that it's spring. 
This is my pile of works in progress. My goal is to finish either the socks or the sweater, plus one wip, before the end of March. Meep, better stop blogging and start knitting.
  • The Liebelie socks that I talked about earlier this month sat until I could focus on doing the heel. Now that the heel is finished the foot should zoom. 
  • The  chevron scarf has been in my wips so long that I forgot what it's called. There are maybe only 12" left until it is long enough to wear. 
  • The Stopover sweater that I started last week got a second sleeve this week. Yep, I knit the sleeves first. No sleeve island for me. And what is a sleeve if not a big swatch?  
  • I only have 2 stinking rows left on the Fruit Loops socks. They've been like that for a week and a half. They are my purse knitting and I keep forgetting to finish them. I should really knock that out tonight.  
  • The 3-Color Cashmere Cowl that has gotten no love since the day I cast it on months ago. I need to either knit on it or send it to the frog pond. 
Scott and I hit an antique mall that opened down the street. We found several tasteful tables that would be perfect in our small space. Then we went to Ikea and found several more small, tasteful tables that would be perfect in our small space.
Scott: Here's a small table. 
Me: Meh. Here's a small table.
Scott: Meh. Here's a tasteful table. 
Me: Meh. It's a little big. Would it overwhelm that space?
Scott: I don't know, but it comes in orange. 
Me: Sold. Let's also buy white chairs. It will be glorious.
Scott: Double sold. 
Ikea is dangerous, y'all. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My hands are working but my mind is wondering if a second pot of half caff coffee is too much caff for one day

Soap News:
 I want to thank everyone who has supported my decision to begin winding down the bath and body sideline as we move in to spring and summer. Some of the scents are selling out fast. The $5 sale on soaps runs through April but you may want to buy sooner if you have a favorite scent. Here are the remaining soaps:
  • Licorice Scrub soap (5 left)
  • Coffee Scrub soap (8 left)
  • Spiked Tea Tree (1 left)
  • Over the Rainbow (2 left) - It smells like fruity pebbles!
  • Kumquat (4 left) - bright citrus notes
  • Juniper Basil (7 left) -- this one is great if you love an herbaceous smelling soap
  • Black Tea & Mint (7 left) -- so good for summer time!
  • Sweater Vest & Pipe (4 left) -- If you like patchouli this is the soap for you
  • Cinnamon Sugar (9 left) -- the soap is a darker brown than the picture and smells so good!
  • Highwayman (10 left) -- very masculine; based on the Thieves Oil recipe of cloves, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, and cinnamon
  • Applejack & Peel (9 left) -- good enough to eat! This apple, cinnamon and honey scented soap gets a lather boost from real Missouri honey blended in to each bar
  • Citrus Rosemary, Calm Yourself, Lavender & Basil, and Black Raspberry Vanilla (sold out)
Yarn News: 
I am taking new pictures of old colorways in their non-rewound (aka rehanked or reskeined) form as they come off of the drying rack. As the knitting population gets more experienced, it seems like I am getting asked more often for pictures of the yarns not reskeined. You can read more about rewinding in this 2013 blog post. 

Gasoline Rainbow, Moonlight Kisses, Nehi to a Grasshopper, and Flower Shop Inferno
 The colorway "Taupiary" hasn't gotten much love since I debuted it last year. I tweaked the recipe recently a little bit to give the color more variegation. Taupiary is a great by itself or paired with another color. It is dyed with a semi-random application of dyes, much like Gasoline Rainbow is. While it would make a gorgeous shawl, hat, or sweater, your socks may be more fraternal than identical.

Knitting News:
 The twisted cables sock from last week has only gotten a little bit of love this week. I was distracted by a sweaters-worth of lite Lopi that showed up on my doorstep on Saturday. The Mason Dixon bloggers hosted a KAL called #bangoutasweater last month. I'm late to the game, as always. The pattern for the KAL is the Stopover sweater by Mary Jane Mucklestone. 

This sweater is different than a regular Lopi sweater in that the fabric is quite a bit looser than a practically waterproof traditional Lopi sweater. The pattern calls for 13 sts/4" using a US 10.5. I started with the sleeve (because what is a sleeve if not a big swatch?) and proceeded to *knit, measure, rip out, change needles, cast on, rep from * 4 additional times. Ultimately I decided that I liked the fabric of 15 sts/4" better. The sleeves fit me at that gauge, but I may need to do some math when I reach the body portion.

These are the colors I choose for my Stopover. Violet Heather is the body. The two neutrals will be the majority of the colorwork, and the grass green will be a pop of color inside each motif.

I decided to cardiganize the Stopover because I'm not entirely sure what size I will be when it is cold enough to wear an Icelandic wool sweater again. I have talked a few people through the process of steeking at the yarn store. I have done all the required reading about steeking. I have cut in to someone else's sweater with actual scissors and did not mess it up. But this is my first sweater that I will be knitting and steeking myself. I'm not that worried.

The only two things I am concerned about with this sweater are a) whether or not the armholes will be too deep (always a risk when you knit a sweater in the extended plus size range); and b) which ribbon I am going to use to face the button band. Grosgrain is the recommended ribbon when facing a button band, but I sort of want to choose one of these gorgeous jacquard ribbons. The risk with the jacquard ribbon is that the cuts may fray. The bigger risk is that I'm going to end up ordering $100 worth of ribbon at wholesale cost when I only need 1 yard and then I will accidentally start a second Etsy shop to sell it all. Longtime readers will recall that I'm susceptible to doing exactly that sort of thing when it comes to buying ribbon...

Monday, March 14, 2016

$5 Soap Sale!

Hello friends!

I vended my last craft show with Dyeabolical Soap this weekend, so it's time to update the shop with the rest of the spring soaps. 5 new scents have been added, along with fresh restocks of past favorites. To celebrate spring, and a major transition (more below), I am having a $5 soap sale for this rest of March and April.

The most popular scent this spring has been the Citrus Rosemary (with a touch of vanilla) and Calm Yourself (lavender and geranium) essential oil soaps. My favorite is the Spiked Tea Tree soap. It has a traditional tea tree scent (slightly antiseptic) that is softened with cinnamon leaf essential oils.

And now some news. Bad news first:

Dyeabolical Soaps is winding down operations with an estimated close date of mid-June. Most of my soap sales have been focused here in St. Louis, but if you are an online customer then now is the time to stock up on your favorite soaps, perfumes and lip balms. As products sell out they will not be restocked. [It's just the soaps! No one panic and spread rumors about the yarn, ok? The yarn is fine!]

Soaps have always been part of the Dyeabolical plan. When I finally had the room to soap 3.5 years ago, I went at it like crazy. I made a business plan, set goals, met goals, carved out months of time to devote exclusively to developing my product, and asked myself vital questions about the business of soap along the way.

When I started talking about soap making and the chemistry of perfumery, my friend Jen had to interrupt me and ask "Yes, but does it smell good?" It's a metaphorical question that I've kept in my head throughout this process. I had a 7-season business plan and at the end of the last season I asked myself "Yes, but does it (the work, the extra hours, the weekends spent at shows, the sacrifice of studio space) still smell good?"

I've made well over 1500 bars of soap in the last few years and loved (almost) every minute of it. I love my soaps, I love my recipes, I love my customers who get so excited when they smell their favorite scent. But I love my family and I love my weekends. I don't love working out or taking medicines, but I need to make time for that, too. Moreover, Dyeabolical Yarn needs more attention. Working weekends and double shifts doesn't smell good anymore.

And now the good news:

There may be a buyer. I met someone who expressed an interest in starting her own soap company and we talked. I don't know if it will go through or not, but if we move forward then you will be able to buy my soap recipes again from a different company. If it doesn't move forward then I am considering publishing an e-book with my recipes.

And the other good news is that a well-rested Rachel means more mental energy to devote to yarn. I've had new test colors sitting on my desk for 4 months waiting for me to have time for them. I've had 2 stripes updates and the response has been amazing. There will definitely be more stripes in the future, along with new tonals and semisolids.

Of all of my creations, I love yarn the most. Yarn smells good.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm in love, I'm in love

Something has been missing in my life. Two something have been missing in my life. And those two things are cables and socks.

Look at this nonsense. Those tiny cables on either side of the heart cable are my new favorite knitting trick. How have I gone for 10+ years not knitting tiny cables? I've lost more sleep this week working on this sock. I find it charming and I want to marry it.

All the pictures in this blog post were taken from the same angle in the same light all within 30 seconds of each other. The first picture is the most accurate. Teal is so awesome that it does not show up on camera without a lot of diva-esque coaching, leading one of my friends to say "That's so teal!" when referring to an awesome thing. Teal is awesome. Photographing teal is not teal.
And check out this heel. It's the Spacious OMG Heel by Megan Williams. It's fiddly, but so smart. It's a heel flap and turn with a mini gusset, but it doesn't involve the top of the sock at all, which makes it great for striping yarns. As my knitting friends pointed out, this is not a self striping yarn, but the heel fits great. (I'm betting that Megan is a combination knitter & purler based on her purl row directions.)
 Bonus: The bottom of the heel makes a little pooch that lets the sock stand up on its own. Or maybe that's just the yarn.This yarn does want to stand up on its own a bit. I love this yarn. (I hope it holds up terribly under wear. No really, that's what I hope, because if it holds up as beautifully as it knits up then I'm going to have to carry it in the shop. If I carry it in the shop then one of the other sock yarns has to go. It's irrational for me, a tiny kitchen dyer, to have that many sock yarn bases. Talk me out of this. Or in to it. Tell me what to do.)
The pattern is Liebelie by Regina Statta. The color is Moonlight Kisses. It is a glaze-dyed teal and I love it.

The pattern is in German. The charts have an English translation for the chart symbols only, but not for the pattern itself. Since I don't read German, I did a basic sock and dropped in the charts. I'm doing a 17 st/needle sock with 10 rows of twisted 1x1 rib, dropped in a Spacious OMG heel, then knit 10 rows plain before doing a round toe (I used the round toe from Rose City Rollers pattern by Mara Bryner specifically.) 

I'd love to talk more, but I have  3.5 hours until I have to be ready to set up for a craft show with the soaps tonight and I still have to rinse yarns and get ready. Plus, I want to cast on for the second sock and contemplate which German sock knitting pattern I'm going to make next. Can you see this Ravelry search for socks designed by German designers? I hope you can. Look at all the glorious patterning done with variegated yarns. That is right up my alley. I love designers who don't shy away from variegation.

If you are in the St. Louis area, I will be at the Lindbergh Craft Show on Saturday and Sunday with a full selection of my essential oil soaps. See you!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Self Striping Shop Update

There is a shop update tonight, Thursday, at 7pm central. Here is a direct link to the self-striping section of the Etsy shop. Navigate to other sections using the links on the lefthand side (desktop) or using the "sections" drop down menu (mobile). Don't forget to use the coupon code SHIP50 on orders over $50

Blood Orange Stripes - Blood Orange Stripes has a "watercolor"striped effect.
There is a regular stripe pattern overall, but every strip will be slightly different and the color shifts are more gradual. It's a lovely effect.
There Goes Bill - This is a new color, inspired by Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland.  There Goes Bill has a regular stripes. Regular stripes are semi-solid in nature, with relatively abrupt color changes and occasional speckles.

Derby Girl has regular stripes.

Flower Shop Inferno is a watercolor stripe.

Kara is a watercolor stripe.

Katatomic is a watercolor stripe.
There are 2 sizes of Katatomic available. 115 gram or 100 gram. Each size has a separate listing.

Lucy has regular stripes.
There are 2 sizes of Lucy available. 115 gram or 100 gram. Each size has a separate listing.