Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Knitting in Review

2008 Finished Knit and Crochet Projects

I finished knitting or crocheting:
-6 scarves
-1 scarflette
-1 cowl
-4 hats
-4 pairs of socks
-1 pair of gloves
-2 pairs of fingerless mitts
-1 vest
-3 sweaters

The most challenging project was the cabled vest. It was also the most rewarding project, despite all those nasty things I said about their honeycomb cables and i-cord edging. Compared to previous years, most of my knitting was very simple this year. I knit and crocheted a lot of scarves this year, which is unusual for me. I typically abandon scarves when they are still in the scarflette stage.

While knitting was a refuge from stress this year, spinning became a source of stress. I spun intensely during July for the Tour de Fleece, but the wheel remained largely dormant the rest of the time. I sold the Babe Fiber Starter and upgraded the Traditional with a multi-speed flyer that made it zoom. Less than a month later I accidentally snapped the plastic piece that holds the flyer. Oy. I'm putting the spinning aside until I can dedicate a corner exclusively to wheels, spindles and wools. That won't happen until we move, hopefully in May.

I started many projects in 2008 that I did not finish or never got beyond a few rows. Many of these projects were never photographed. Here are a few that were:
2008 Frogged, Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored Projects
-1 blanket which will be finished this week, now that I have gotten over the knitter knerves. I'm still a little knervous about weaving in all those slippery ends. It seems stupid to be knervous about knitting.

-gloves adapted from the Marina Piccola pattern by Kate Gilbert knit in Devil Jonah colorway. Abandoned after I did the fingers incorrectly. I should fix them and finish them.

-1 self designed fingerless mitt designed for very large hands and knitted from my own yarn in the Unity color. I finished one, put it up as a display to sell the color, took it down and forgot about it. I should finish it.
-A half a sock in color Blue Beetle. I couldn't get it over my heel. This was a theme this year with several pairs of socks. Note to self--enlarge slip stitch sock patterns

-A sample scarf work in progress. This is just a long strip of fabric with a few inches of each color of DK weight yarn on it.

-A side-to-side knit cardigan abandoned for lots and lots of reasons.

-A sock. I have at least 3 other socks in 3 other colors in this exact stage of knitting. Ribbing done, a few rows of knitting and abandoned.

-A simple sweater from an acrylic/cotton blend. The yarn is affordable, wears well and is great for a knock around sweater. Unfortunately, it also shows how badly I row out. This yarn might do better knit in the round.

-Double knitting swatches. This was a miserable failure of a project. If I ever want that Wonder Woman scarf I had better get back to charting and swatching.

-Candleflame shawl. I cast on for this the night our friend Jennie got the call that a set of lungs were available to her. I didn't have anything else available to knit, so I grabbed this from the shop and knit on it. Here's a hint, don't start any kind of lace when your friend is getting a transplant of any sort. It I made a LOT of mistakes and ultimately ended up frogging it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To rip or not to rip

Rainbow Thunder

To rip, or not to rip, that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The mismatched seams and poor finishing of outrageous knitwear,
Or to take arms against a sea of clashing colors and poor yarn choices,
And by opposing, end them. To rip, to frog;
No more; and by rip to say we end
The heart-ache of the thousand dropped stitches
That slippery acrylic is heir to — 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To rip, to frog;
To frog, to rip! Perchance to cast on again.

So, finish or frog? That is my plan this afternoon
to lay out the blanket and determine the next steps
A red border I need to call it finished.
A Babies-R-Us gift just as well?
All that garter stitch? To die! To die!
A million ends to weave in, a bad choice.
What if it pills? What if it bleeds?
I ran out of yarn. The dye lot doesn't match.
A great idea at the time, the time has come for a new idea.
Again I ask, a cash gift just as well?

[I have clippings of all the yarns soaking right now to make sure they don't bleed together. I probably should have done that before I ever cast on. I recognize this is fully a case of knitter's nerves. You know knitter's nerves, right? It is that sinking sense of dread you get right before finishing a big project that you've poured a lot of time and resources in to. It is similar to that sense of dread right before you put a finished garment in to water the first time. Will it be absolutely fine or will you discover that you devoted a month of your life to making something headed to the dumpster? It's nerves, pure and simple.]

[Update: I have been soaking the clippings in hot water and Dawn for hours now. I shook the jar they are in vigorously. No bleeding and no pilling. w00t! This is definitely just knitter knerves. I've started the border and onward we go! Remind me again what I was worried about?]

Speaking of

This post is picture heavy. I apologize to dial up users.

In no particular order:

  • I dyed a few colors of a thick and thin wool base up for two friends. One was a color called Elmo in royal blue and purple, which I failed to get a picture of. The other is called Mardi Gras Mambo. This base yarn is fairly inexpensive as far as base yarns go. It is a soft spun single plied with a thinner wool. The wool is just regular old wool. It seems sturdier and less prone to haloing than other softer wools, such as single spun merinos and BFLs. and I wasn't planning on introducing it as a permanent line, but the final product turned out so nicely that I think I might dye a few more up later in the year and call the line Rufus. Maybe. I gave Mardi Gras Mambo to Deborah for her birthday and in no time flat she had made the bag below. The color of the pictures are a little off. I'm not sure how to fix them. I have always had trouble getting good pictures of these particular colors. Aside from the colors, doesn't this bag look great?

  • Speaking of weird colors in pictures, Cindy mentioned yesterday that the pictures of my yarns on my blog don't do the colors justice. I confess I have had a terrible time getting good pictures since daylight savings. The winter light just has a different quality that makes good pictures difficult. Luckily, I received a new light tent for Christmas. As soon as I have the lighting set up my yarn pictures should start looking much more professional. Woohoo! No more waiting for the sun to be just right, no more setting up every light I own and hopefully less monkeying with Photoshop.
  • Speaking of Deborah, she bought the yarn and I crocheted this Ann scarf. I love the way it looks, but the yarn was a knot-filled pain in the neck. Luckily the yarn spliced easily and the scarf turned out well.
Ravelry picRavelry picRavelry pic

  • Speaking of friends, the shop has been hopping with a steady stream of knit blog friends this week. It has been so nice seeing seeing everyone. I only wish I had more time at work to sit with a cup of coffee and catch up with old friends. Of course, if I were sitting and catching up with old friends then it would hardly be work.
  • Last winter I discovered several soap makers on etsy and promptly developed a handmade soap habit. For the most part the essential oil soaps are gentle, nourishing, smell better and clean better than harsh commercial bars. Artisan soaps are also more winter friendly than my summer standard, Dr. Bronner's All-in-One. Unfortunately, they are also more expensive. So when I received a Whole Foods gift certificate last week I promptly went on a soap bender. Kitty thinks they smell good, too.
I went on a soap bender this morningCurious Cat iz curiousCurious Cat smells sniffiesCurious Cat iz in ur face
  • Speaking of work and being professional, I have well and truly messed up my website. I clearly do not know what I am doing. I can't figure out where it is hosted or what I need to do. I signed up for a quick and dirty web site builder and can barely figure out what I'm doing. This is not my forte. I can bold and italicize with the best of them, but give me an html or drag-n-drop template and I am lost. LOST, I tell you. HTML for Morons won't be of any help because truly I don't even know where my website IS. What I need is someone who can speak fluent godaddydotcom to help me out. Where do you find such a person?
  • We are supposed to be at our in-laws Christmas gathering this afternoon. Unfortunately Scott has an awful cold and has been in bed all day. I'm not feeling that great myself. The weird weather has really wreaked havoc with everyone. Blargh. This calls for a day of hot tea and Buffy watching. Or maybe a nap first.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Knitting

My Christmas knitting is finished. Scott still needs to finish a hat, weave in a few ends and find the perfect buttons, but we're going to make it and with very little stress. What's the secret? I slashed my 'to knit' list and split the remaining list with Scott.

Here was what we planned:
5 scarves
5 pairs of socks
1 sweater
1 possible afghan
1 pair of gloves

Here's what happened:
6 scarves (2 crocheted by me, 2 knitted by me, two cowls knitted by Scott)
2 pair of socks (knit by me)
1 pair of gloves (knit by me)

That's 3 pairs of socks, 1 sweater and 1 afghan short of my preliminary goal. I'm okay with it. It was only a preliminary list anyway. The only project I regret is not starting a sweater for Scott. The sweater could conceivably be finished before the end of the year, but only if I could hold my head up long enough to cast on. Anyone else feeling congested, vaguely achy, fatigued and unfocused the last few weeks?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'd rather be dancing

My perfect office would have the desk I have currently (a 100-year old wooden writing desk with 2 pullout leaves and a hidden typing desk) plus a stand-up desk just like Thomas Jefferson's so that, if the mood strike, I can avoid dying of a blood clot from sitting at my desk for hours dance while I write. I like to think that TJ liked to dance while he wrote.

My birthday is in February. You know, just so you know.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Secret Santa

Dear Secret Santa,

I hope you read this. Thank you for your generous gift. Last year's gift was a life saver. I'm sure this year's gift will be even more so.

Love always,

Scott and Rachel

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stress Knitting

My creation
I don't usually jump on the bandwagon quite so quickly, but, well, Noro. Either you hate Noro or your have an undying love for it that compels you to drop Christmas knitting 3 weeks before Christmas and knit a 9 foot scarf for yourself even though you just declared to the world that you were incapable of knitting a long scarf for yourself. Noro is a perfectly valid excuse for all kinds of misbehavior in my universe.

[P.S. This is not the same Noro 1x1 scarf Scott was knitting in the other post. This is a brand new Noro scarf done in a brioche stitch knit by me.]

[P.P.S. Thanks to 7-Letter Deborah for the brioche idea. I started this scarf 4 times in 4 different needles sizes in 1x1 rib and discovered 4 different times that my knit 1, purl 1 rib needs work--lots and lots of work. Which, if you think about it, is really sad considering what I do for a living. Can I fall back on a 'those who can't, teach' excuse? .... What? That's a terrible excuse and absolutely false? I suppose you are right. I'll be casting on for a 1x1 ribbed scarf right after Christmas knitting is completed (or possibly for Lent *ahem*) and keep on knitting until I consistently produce a fabric I like. It is the right thing to do.]

Monday, December 1, 2008

In which I talk a lot will be down for the next few days. When it goes back up it will probably be a 1-page affair until I can build the site in to what I want it to be. The current configuration and shopping cart software just isn't doing it for me. I'm limited in what I can do with the current shopping cart and website host. Hopefully with the new website will be more flexible and professional looking. In the meantime, Dyeabolical Yarns can still be found on Etsy and I've extended the Thanksgiving sale! Mention you are a blog reader in the Notes to Seller and I will refund your shipping costs if you live in the U.S. or issue a partial refund if you have an international address.

Can we talk about Dyeabolical Yarns for a few minutes? The sheer amount of prep work dyeing requires has has always been a challenge. Prep work has become a real obstacle for me since I went back to freelance work. I perform best when my surroundings are clean and organized, at least my version of organized. If it is out of order I get twitchy and dyeing yarn can't happen if I'm Twitchy.

Twitchy Organized Self, who vacuums a lot and is great at dyeing yarn, is losing the battle to Lazy Cranky Frequently Achy Self who spent Monday, Wednesday and Saturday arguing with a questionably literate client who wants me to find her a first hand account of the afterlife. First hand account of the after life. After sending off a fourth email explaining that such a thing would be impossible, I verified that my sock yarn order would be arriving soon, prepped the kitchen, wound the rest of the wool I had on hand and knit a plain old scarf until I could knit no more. I gave it another shot this morning with the questionably literate client and then dyed my ass some yarn. 2 skeins of a bulky Mardi Gras-esque mutant yarn, 3 skeins of a bulky Elmo, a sweaters worth of chunky organic merino in a Blood Roses and the new White Queen colorway and I'm still boggled at the first hand account of the afterlife request. I'll post pictures of the yarn when it is dry. Do you sometimes feel like life is a non sequitor?

The writing is taking up much more time than I thought it would, especially since the service I use has discovered I have a talent for business documents. Tell me you are a successful salesperson who specializes in high-end electronics and I'll tell you that you are a highly qualified and successful luxury electronics sales professional who consistently outperforms national sales goals.

, I'm grateful for the extra work even at the expense of cutting back on dyeing, but spending so much extra time in my dark cave of an apartment is getting to me. Half of the problem would be solved by either moving the dyeing out of the house or moving to a larger place. Renting dye space seems more likely than moving at the moment. Does anyone know of someplace with running water, decent ventilation, at least some sunlight, and electricity than wouldn't mind the place smelling like wet sheep?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Knit on with confidence and hope

If I were strapped in this contraption as part of a beauty treatment then I think I would have to knit, too. (Found in the LIFE image archive)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Productivity and Predjudice

I have watched all of the Harry Potter movies this week and am beginning the audio books tonight. That must mean gift knitting is well and truly on the way. Between Scott and I we have finished 3 scarfs and have 3 more in progress. I finished a cabled vest with only a yard of yarn to spare. I just need to weave in the ends and give it a wash. 1 pair of socks finished and already on the recipients feet.
Irish Hiking ScarfScott's current project
I made it through the cuff of a glove before I remembered the recipient is allergic to wool. That, of course, made it necessary to go to the yarn store on my day off to buy Rowan Calmer, the best substitute for wool yarn IMO. Scott fell so hard off the yarn wagon while we were there that I think he might have bruised himself were it not for all the yarn he landed on. Lucky for me, some of that yarn will end up as a scarf for me, some a scarf for him and the rest gift yarn. Annie was there the Brooklyn Tweed's stripey Noro scarf. Do you think Jared minds that we call him Brooklyn Tweed as if it were his name? We all fawned over the new Silk Garden colors awhile and with enough cajoling Scott was convinced he wants to knit a 1x1 rib scarf for me.
My Christmas Present
Random Fact about Me--I never knits my own scarves if I don't have to. I keep telling myself that I'm going to knit a scarf that goes all the way around my neck and tied at least once, but so far it hasn't happened. I'm great with the almost scarfs. You know the ones just long enough to go around your neck once but have to be held closed with a pin or button? I don't wear them, but I can crank them out like crazy. The closest I came to making a proper scarf for myself was making two clapotis, one of which I promptly traded with my mom. The second one I made just to prove that I would make a drop stitch scarf out of mohair, good advice and mohair sensitivities be damned. Friends Fiona and Tammie made this scarf for me this past summer. It alternates between Trekking and a very early batch of my own Themyscira. I blocked it a few days ago and have been wearing it around the house despite it being almost 80 degrees in here with the heat off because it is just that neat.
Chevron Scarf

Unfortunately I might cut my holiday knitting short. I don't want to, but work and sample knitting beckons. I have a few new bases I need to test dye, knit and then work up samples. It's part of that yarn thing I love doing so much and I've been letting the new job get in the way. Can I tell you something? I don't like this writing job. I despise the barely literate people I write for. I hate that they have enough money that they can be so lazy as to hire me to do their grunt work. It isn't a hard job, but a frustrating one. On the upside, I can now write a cover letter in 4 seconds flat for any job in any field. I miss my dye pots. I miss my real job. I miss days off. I hate this economy.

Do you know what else gets to me? Stupidity. Earlier this week I was standing in line at Walgreens when there was a coordinated and successful 3-man shoplifting effort. "Shoplifting" doesn't even really convey how coordinated it was or how much they must have gotten away with. These guys were good. After they got away, the cashier didn't call the manager. "What could he do? They've already gotten away," she said. Scott was waiting in the car so I didn't strangle her right then and there for being stupid, but I did pay with a check so the police could find me if they needed a witness statement. Yannow, in case she actually ever reported to her employer that her employer was ripped off.

Today I was going to check out at the grocery store and saw this sign in front of a magazine with Obama on the cover. I guess it shouldn't surprise me that someone even went through that much effort to be that ignorant, but it does. We suburban St. Louisans aren't generally prone to any kind of action. We mostly just want to be left alone. It always makes me extra cranky to rediscover that some people are energetic in their bile-spewage. I gave it to the cashier, but it wasn't until I asked if she was going to report that to her manager that she started looking for one.

Ahem. Wasn't I talking about new base yarns? I tried two new ones today. One is a thick and thin single very loosely plyed with a thin wool string. I only did one color today and a custom color at that. I love the way the yarn dyed. Once I see how it knits up I'll consider adding it as regular bulky yarn. The Unspun BFL has been knitting up great for customers, but it is a hard sell online. It is one of those yarns you have to have explained to you, largely because it isn't even a yarn. It's a roving.

One of the other new bases, a cotton boucle, is right out. As we speak I have a sweaters worth dyeing in Chinese Red. I've made three discoveries about Chinese Red dye and cotton boucle yarn. 1) dyeing cotton is messy; 2) cotton boucle can sit in a basic solution for 2 hours and never absorb water, which means it is theoretically possible that it can sit in dye and never absorb that, either. I refuse to give in to the urge to peek in the dye bag until tomorrow. If once I rince it I have a sweaters worth of white cotton boucle and a Chinese Red sink, you will know it by my screaming; 3) Chinese Red tinted skin is virtually indistinguishable from skin that is red from a Chinese Red dye sensitivity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stockard Channing Hair and Pencil Thin Brows

*I walked in to the salon for an eyebrow wax and left with a spontaneous haircut. The stylist asked me what I thought of the cut and style. I told her I thought I looked like a fat Rizzo. Not that a fat Rizzo is a bad thing. Just saying--Fat Rizzo.
Rizzo Hair?

I like the cut and how it looks in the picture. The swoopy sticky up bits are keen and I can make it work for me, but the style right out of the chair was a little, er, voluminous. I drove back to work with one hand and combed product out of my hair with the other rather than face my co-workers with specter of Tall Hair. Then I spent the rest of the evening doing my hair impersonation of Stockard Channing.

*I finished a pair of gift socks last night for a friend undergoing radiation treatment and put them in the mail this morning. Hopefully the recipient will have them soon. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Handpainted. It is lovely and soft. The colors aren't pooling. It seems like it will be a sturdy yarn, but only time will tell on that one. I made a size 10.5 mens, but I am a little wary of the chart I used. It seemed a little short. Hopefully the recipient has narrow feet.

*I finished the neck edge of the Estes Vest this morning, seamed the sides this evening and finished one attached i-cord around the armhole. The recipient showed up unexpectedly so I was able to verify the fit and get a quick picture if I promised to leave her head out of it. It looks a little wonky because only one seam is sewn. Better pictures when the garment is finished.


*I have been back and forth the last several days over whether or not to start a birthday present sweater. Should I? Shouldn't I? Do I have time before birthday? Should I? Shouldn't I? I have settled on shouldn't. While I would love to give a sweater as a gift, my real motivation is to have the excuse to shun other knitting commitments (a few remaining Christmas gifts, shop samples and test swatches). I exchanged the yarn I had for a smooshy gray-brown color that Scott wanted to use for his own sweater. So naturally I started thinking about how I'm going to appropriate Scott's new yarn and make myself something nice, like an EZ sweater. Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn't I?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This blog's rare political statement

"With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

--Keith Olbermann, excerpt from Special Comment on the passing of California Proposition 8, emphasis mine. Full video here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stapling Sheep

Me (frantically working on holiday knitting on size 1s): I'm only knitting with giant yarn from now on. Like a stitch an inch.
Scott (leisurely knitting on size 13s): A stitch an itch? Why don't you just staple two sheep together?

Twisted Cowl Close up
The author of Bowling Across America: 50 States in Rented Shoes, who happens to be Annie Knits' brother, is landing in St. Louis on Thursday November 13th 7pm at the B&N located at 1600 Clarkson in Chesterfield. Right now I have a big job due that night, but I'm pushing to be there anyway. Read the book review here.

I have been carrying around the new Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, It Itches and Free-Range Knitter for several days now savoring 3 months worth of book budget one page at a time. Not one, but two books of knitting humor! If there was any doubt that I was far gone about this knitting thing, I submit the previous sentence as evidence.

Friday, November 7, 2008

October Keywords

[I should probably tell you now that this blog post is rated R for "aRe you f'ing serious?"]

It's time for the October Keywords! What combination of search terms and phrases did people use to find my blog? Can you guess? If you have read this blog long enough I bet you can!

Top 5:
1. Dyeabolical--seems reasonable
2. M*hair f*tish--I never should have posted about that guy and his m*hair f*tish. He appears again no less than 3 dozen times with variations on m*ohair f*etish p*ink f*luffy and c*ardigan. Mister, I hope you develop an m*hair allergy.
3. Roving yarn--I believe I have what you are looking for
4. In case of zombies--If my dreams are to be believed then in case of zombies you should bake cookies, frog your knitting, hire an exterminator or vote.
5. godzilla 2007--you buy 1 tee-shirt with godzilla on it and the blog never lets you live it down

Answers to other searches
pain in the ears while yarn--You might be using the yarn incorrectly, son.

photos of wood duck nests--Please tell me there isn't a wood duck nest fetishist out there.

what happened to lime and violet and stalking lime and violet--I get a few of these hits every month. Lime is in graduate school. Violet is still going strong.

refluff after hand dying yarn--Fluffing Reskeining after dyeing is a matter of personal preference. On one hand reskeining makes the yarn look better in the skein. It gives you an idea of how colors will look knit up. Sometimes colors that look great straight out of the pot may look like a mess when reskeined or knitted. Sometimes colors that don't look so great straight from the pot may sing when knitted. Not reskeining looks gives the customer a better idea of how long color runs are and takes less effort. Most of the time it just makes it look different, not better or worse.

regia color nation 5399 and where to buy kauni yarn--Knitorious has both in stock.

fibermyalgia--try searching for fibromyalgia

i fucking hate the world-- I'm not using an asterisk here. I DO what someone to find this. Last month someone searched for "i fucking hate myself". They must have gone through hundreds of google links to find this blog, because the closest I ever wrote was that I effing hated fibromyalgia. To whoever is searching for these two phrases, I HEAR YOU. Maybe you typed these in to google because you wanted someone to hear you. You might think no one is listening, but I heard you. I hope things get easier for you. I don't know you, but I care. I hope you find what you are looking for.

I think I'll add some happy words in this post and see if November's search results are cheerier. Commencing keyword experiment in 3...2...1...

bunny monkey hippo dragon cashmere yarn warm socks friends family framily love knitting challenge intellect puzzlement pansey nell hearth st. louis indianapolis knit night hand dyed hand painted merino camel vicuna dyeabolical superheroes wonder woman superman batman marvel dc outlander buffy angel spinning fiber spindle dpn tiara kitty ears antennae dinosaurs fresh paper green pens highlighers fall art yarn thanksgiving

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Catch up

  • Do you know why Ravelry is so great? I can brag all about gift knitting and crocheting to my knitting friends and just post a teaser pic here.

My creation

  • The Weavers Guild Sale went really well, although I think the Unspun BFL baffled a lot of people. I brought my wheel to demonstrate spinning on Saturday. I did fill a bobbin in record time with some of my own s.w. merino/cashmere blend, despite my wheel being less than cooperative and annoyingly sensitive to stress. A very aggravating person walked in and my wheel just fell apart. I must have tensed up my grip on the fiber because before I knew it my drive band broke, the brake band released and my flyer went shooting across the room. I need to replace the brake and drive bands before I take that wheel in public again.

  • I have been playing catch up all week. I listed a few new items on the website and on etsy. I designed two new ads that should be running on Ravelry soon. I have organized pictures from a few small adventures. I caught up on friends blogs and declared blog bankruptcy for the rest. New dyes and potential new base yarns have arrived, but I forgot to order soda ash and the acid I use is back ordered, so no dyeing. Looks like I'll have to find some other way to occupy my day off, like cleaning (boo!) and knitting (if you insist).

  • Lenora made a great headband and ankle warmers from some of my Super Ego DK yarn in the Firefly colorway. I especially love the headband. She swears she didn't plan it that way. I'm not sure I believe her. :)
Ankle warmers and headband by Lenora

  • I made a pair of thank you fingerless mitts for a friend. The color is Dark Knight. The picture is fairly awful. It is a 64 stitch cast on, 2x2 rib with a buttonhole thumb halfway up.
Dark Knight Fingerless Mitts

  • On a visit to see a friend we passed Indianapolis's Children Museum. They dressed up the dinos for Halloween!
Dino Witch

  • Speaking of dinos, Scott and I went to see the dinosaurs at the St. Louis Zoo on our anniversary (way back in September). Unfortunately one of the dinosaurs got loose:

Godzilla!Me, being very serious

  • Here's a picture of a hippo. Does there have to be a reason?
Nom nom nom

  • Scott and I spent an October Sunday looking for adventure. We stopped at Lone Elk Park...

  • ...Castlewood State Park...

  • ...and then hopped a ride on the Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zombie Sez Vote!

6am! What an industrious time for me to be awake! I rise to greet the morning and the sun on this beautiful Tuesday morning. The day is fresh and shiny with possibility!

Except in reality I have been awake since 3:30 when I had a dream that I forgot it was election day yet for some reason went to the school I vote at. I hadn't studied up on the candidates or issues but figured I'd go straight ticket. When I got to the ballot box zombies told me (in kind of a zombie-esque sign language that involved a lot of pointing to pre-printed pamphlets) that party politics had been abolished and I would be forced to complete an oral examination on all the candidates with a hungry and politically active zombie exam administer. "Try not to be nervous. As long as you studied we won't eat your brains" the zombie communicated with jerky movements and then pointed to a cue card that said "Try not to be nervous. As long as you studied we won't eat your brains." I've been up with cramps and clutching my sample ballot with all the correct answers filled in ever since (and knitting).

This calls for a meme.

The official rules are mark with bold the things you have knit at least once, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest. I'm changing it up a little. I am going to bold the techniques I have done. I italizcising everything else because, truly, I want to try it all. My notes in parentheses.

I-cord (hate it, keep picking patterns with i-cord edging)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire (I'm torn between knitting it myself or buying a knitted bracelet)
Shawl (love knitting them, never wear them)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down (Have I!)
Socks: toe-up (and how!)
Knitting with camel yarn (spun buffalo, does that count? Probably not.)
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk (silk blends--I am saving some of my own silk for a special project)
Moebius band knitting (I've read the book. That counts, right?)
Participating in a KAL (Summer of socks, Socktober)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting) (I have literally one bazillion modular items in my queue)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn (*whistles*)
Slippers (crocheted slippers way the heck back in 5th or 6th grade)
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)

Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments (I wouldn't say designed so much as wrote down simple patterns in my head)
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book (That would be so awesome)
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca (only a sample swatch)
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting

Knitting for a living (sort of)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn (Absolutely! Roving, too. See here!)

Knitting art
Fulling/felting (just not on purpose)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves (half done now)
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom (this loom intrigues me)
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (no, but I did contemplate some Golden Retriever/Wool yarn at the Weavers Guild sale this weekend even before I realized it was dog)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Weaver's Guild Sale reminder

Don't forget to stop by the Weaver's Guild sale at Brentwood Community Center this Friday and Saturday. Today I dropped off all my yarns, unspun and spinning fibers listed in my last post, with the exception of Wicked Garden and Themyscira.

I stayed after checking my things in to help set up and display the merchandise. Amazing! There are literally hundreds of beautiful handspun skeins of yarn, some hand dyed yarn and quite a bit of spinning fiber. There are two rooms at the sale. One is for yarn, spinning and wearables (knitted, crocheted, felted and woven). The other room is for housewares and gifts, such as baskets, rugs, ornaments and sewn/felted animal and dolls.

The sale is open Friday 10-8 and Saturday 10-5. If you are there Saturday morning, say hello! I will be demonstrating knitting and spinning from 10-3.

Monday, October 27, 2008


If you are here from Susie's post, welcome! There is much mutual adoration for that woman and her yarn and fibers, especially this roving. Someone go buy it, please. It has been staring at me on my favorites page for months. It is completely unreasonable for me to buy superwash roving when I have pounds and pounds of it right here, but man-oh-man those colors speak to me.

Is it just me or has October been crazy? It started with the Strange Folk Festival which was wild and wonderful. Then launching the website (woefully understocked). The What's on Watson fair was next. Next weekend is the Weaver's Guild sale which will have woven garments, accessories, baskets, hand crafted jewelry, yarn, spinning fibers and more. I saw a few other artists while I was waiting to be juried. Yowza. I predict that I will spend more than I make at the Weavers Guild sale. [For a preview of what I'm planning to take to Weavers Guild, see my next post]

In between preparing and working at those fibery events, I have been doing a lot of worrying. It is an exhausting sport. Our friend Jennie, daughter of a very good friend Selena, was airlifted to St. Louis with complications from a recent transplant, namely one type of rejection. She was released from the hospital almost two weeks ago and unfortunately was only home for a day or two before having to return with more rejection--this time two kinds of rejection. She is currently in the hospital having her immune system, as her doctor phrased it, "destroyed". As awful as it sounds, as awful as it is, her immune system has to stop rejecting her new lungs. As her mother, another dear friend, says "prayers, karma and good wishes welcome". If you want to help materially, you could donate to the Children's Organ Transplant Association.

In the meantime, another friend was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to remove the tumor (which proved to be the cure) and is starting a bout of preventative radiation just in case. Other friends have been struggling with frustrating ailments and I worry about them. I have been moving at a break neck pace to keep everyday life moving forward, including starting a new job (that makes 3), dealing with expensive car and home drama, trying to mitigate the stress of the factory closing (it happens this week--we still don't know what's going to happen) and going through the sniffly sneezing coughing aching fatigued fibro/allergies/asthma amalgamation that is the change of seasons. [Update--add to that the flu. Stupid flu. Go away.] Plus, I've just not had enough time to be a good friend. Through all of the craziness some corner of my brain has been sitting and worrying, holding my friends' collective hand and wishing I had more of myself to give and trying to forgive myself for not having enough for everyone.

Friends, I need a nap. BUT, this is a knitting blog so lets talk knitting.

Remember what I said last holiday season when I said I was only going to knit for people who asked for it? I have a brother-in-law with a standing order for socks, a mom who will wear anything I make her, a stepmother with cold feet and a request from another brother-in-law for a warm scarf. That's one scarf, one pair of socks and one whatever. Totally manageable, so I decided to make a vest for my mom (nearly done), a sweater and hat for Scott*, a scarf for me (already abandoned due to boredom) and a pair of socks for each of my sisters (not for Christmas, just because). Still manageable, enough to keep my needles busy through the end of the year, and the bonus of no self-induced holiday knitting pressure. So naturally....

Scott knitted a scarf for last years extended family swap. It was so well received that I decided to let rest of the family know we were starting to knit for winter. Historically they have said they weren't interested, but they loved Scott's scarf so much that I thought there might be a few takers. I let them know that if they wanted something we would be thrilled to try to accommodate. If not, no worries and no offense. The response was...well, unexpected. The Holey Shepherd and Old Man Winter must have joined forces to spread the Word of the Wool to the chilly and shivering. Nearly everyone in the family responded positively to offers of knitting.

First off, Wahhoooooo! I love gifts that I know are wanted and appreciated. Even better that they are knitted for I love the knitting. I am thrilled at the response, especially from those who have been lukewarm to the idea of knitted gifts in the past. Second, OMG What Have I Done? The preliminary total for knitted and crocheted gifts this year? 5 scarves, 5 pairs of socks, 1 sweater, 1 possible afghan and a pair of gloves. Third, this is karmic payback for all those nasty things I say every year when I'm up in the middle of the night the week before Christmas watching Harry Potter over and over again. [4 Harry Potter movies = 1 sock] Fourth, if I didn't love the pressure I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't do crazy Christmas knitting. I wouldn't do the Tour de Fleece. I wouldn't start a 101/1001 and I wouldn't ever entertain Knitting Olympics. Fifth, when the night before Christmas has rolled around and I'm saying all those nasty things, someone remind me how much I love this and how happy I was on this day. Because really? I love the pressure and I am so happy that I can make something for the people I love and know that they will appreciate the time, money and love that goes in to it.

*Poor Scott. He's like the cobbler's kid. I have knit him a grand total of one pair of socks and then promptly felted them so much that he can't get it over his heel. The silver lining is, he now has a nice pile of felted potholders and coasters. By the way, older Jitterbug labeled as machine washable totally isn't.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I needed a new slogan

I've spent the last 15 minutes of my life sloganizing my name. Now you can, too. Link here.

Dyeabolical Yarns Tested, Mother Approved.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more Dyeabolical Yarns slogans.

[My mother approved, at least.]

I'm Only Here For The Dyeabolical Yarns.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more Dyeabolical Yarns slogans.

[Aw, you're so sweet!]

Only Dyeabolical Yarns Can Prevent Forest Fires.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more Dyeabolical Yarns slogans.

[You do want to prevent forest fires, don't you?]

A real post coming soon...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's On Watson Festival

Hey kids, I am splitting a table with Amber Castle Stained Glass and CopperHead Designs at this Saturday's What's On Watson Fair. I will have everything that is currently listed in my etsy shop and on my online store, plus new colors of superwash merino roving/top and a few new colors of the fingering weight silk. I'll be at Knitorious working most of the day (come visit me!) but Scott will be there to answer any questions about the yarns and fibers. Be sure to stop by the tables to say hello to Scott, Sandy, Tammie, Amy, Pat and Suzanne and co-owner of Amber Castle, Fiona.

(from the Knitorious newsletter)

WOW Festival

October 18th, from 11 to 4 p.m.

Come see What's On Watson.
Sample restaurant fare, peruse craft and shop booths, and listen to local musical artists. Don't leave the kiddos at home either because there are special events and activities just for the younger set too. Knitorious Knitsters Rachel, Tammie, Amy, Pat and Suzanne will have craft wares and yarnie things for sale, along with other local crafters.
Featured Restaurants:
  • LoRusso's
  • Stelina
  • Tratoria Marcella
  • Chris' Pancakes
  • Biggies
  • Brazzies
Parking is available one block north of Knitorious at Watson and Scanlon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Website Sale

Strange Folk ended two weeks ago and it has been non-stop ever since. Scott and I went straight from the festival to the hospital to see Jennie and her family, the next day another friend got some worrisome health news, a few days later another friend. Follow that up by stress, stress, stress. I forced myself to take two days off in the middle of friend and family stress to launch my website, update my etsy store and put everything on sale. Then I made quick arrangements to go out of town to help a friend who had just had surgery, came home and wondered why sales were so down. I thought about it all night and finally figured out why--I didn't tell anyone I had launched my website. D'oh! Let me fix that right now.


I will continue to list items in my etsy shop and now I will be selling from my own website, too. If you order from both websites I will combine shipping. To celebrate everything in the Dyeabolical Yarns shop is on sale this week, plus all the lace yarn in my etsy shop is also on sale. For a limited time, all and orders totaling over $75 (separately or combined) qualify for free shipping.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lots of random

  • I can't stop fondling the alpaca roving I picked up from Prarieland Peruvian Alpacas at the Artisan Guild of Southern Illinois booth at Strange Folk. It spins like a dream with very little VM and the color! We picked up some handmade ginger spice soap from another guild member (whose name I didn't catch) that is some of the best handmade soap we have had in ages. It is cleans well and more imporantly, holds up. It is so frustrating to buy a nice handmade soap and have it dissapear quickly down the drain.
Alpaca RovingAlpaca on the bobbin
  • I'm a little bit in love with the Artisan Guild of Southern Illinois. They wooed us good. They are a small group of mostly fiber artists excited about their craft and in learning new techniques. They have one general meeting per month and 3 study groups for spinning/dyeing, knitting/crochet and weaving. If there are 5 weeks in a month then they have a demonstration or study group for a different art, such as iron working or wine making. Scott and I are crazy busy this month, but I think we will be checking out a meeting in November.

  • The tiara party and trunk show at Knitorious was fun with many tiaras and silly hats.
Katie Oh KatiePrincess Katie and Tonks

Woodland FairiesThe Woodland Princesses

QueensThe royal court

My boss about to sucker punch my momTwo Royal Hams
  • There has been a lot of good in this week, but a lot of stress, too. Friends are in the hospital or having surgery, other friends are dealing with relatives in rapidly declining health and the job security roller coaster continued on. Stress. Stress. Stress. Stress. Stress.
I have been cheering myself up with the new Norah Gaughan collection, a skein of the Opal Harry Potter sock yarn in the Dumbledore colorway, reading up on Lance Armstrong's return to cycling, and looking at recent things knitted from yarn I dyed. There are some talented folks out there:

Recent FOs  made with Dyeabolical Yarns
1. Socks in Alter Ego (Slither) yarn by Gerda
2. Armwarmers in Super Ego (Firefly) by 7-letter Deborah
3. Gaiter in African Grey one-of by TalesofYarn
4. Star in Alter Ego (Themyscira) by Spinnerin
5. Capelet in Unspun BFL (L. Green and Blue Rooster) by Lavendargrrl
6. Socks in Strong Arm (Joker) by Katie oh Katie
7. Socks in Sporty! (Frogs IAB) by Bunkybobos
8. Handspun in SW BFL (Dance Mistress) by Ann
  • Tonight my friend Elizabeth is having a release party for her newest book, Abaddon. There is a write up on Elizabeth in today's Belleville New Democrat. The "Abaddon" release party will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. today with deejay music and wine at the Blum House, 408 W. Main St. in Collinsville. Admission is free. Book supplies are limited, so people who want copies are encouraged to reserve them in advance at The cost is $8. For more information, visit the Web site at
  • Annnnnd that's all the random I have today. See you!