Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strange Folk Wrap-Up

The Strange Folk Festival went really well this weekend. It went so well this weekend that restocking will take a bit longer than I expected. What hasn't sold at the trunk show at Knitorious will be put up on etsy shortly thereafter. New stock will take a few weeks to get up. I first have to order the fiber! Thank you to all the organizers, the volunteers, and of course, everyone who stopped by our table.
Strange Folk set up
Scott and I had a lot of fun. We visited with old friends, made new friends, connected with an enthusiastic group of fiber artists, sold fiber, bought fiber, hunted down bunny-eared hat, knit, spun yarn, ate more cheesy sausages than two people should be allowed, traded for a great bracelet crocheted from wire and bead and a hand painted journal, bought a hand-loomed purse made from plastic bags and successfully conquered a super sugary funnel cake without making too much of a mess.
Very serious spinning

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Newsletter #1

[I haven't set up the mailing list yet, but this news was too exciting not to share. If you would like shop updates via email, drop me a line at dyeabolicalyarns at gmail dot com.]

Knitorious is in the Riverfront Times and so am I!
Knitorious was nominated for the Best St. Louis yarn store in this week's Best Of edition. In the blurb about Knitorious, Dyeabolical Yarns is given a great mention. Many thanks to Suzy of Lucky Find Gazette for the great review of the store.

My first in-print mention ever is a great way to kick off a month worth of firsts.
  • This weekend I will have my first booth at the Strange Folk Festival on both Saturday and Sunday. Strange Folk is the Heartland's largest outdoor indie arts and crafts show. There will be 120 makers from across the country, plus food, activities for kids and music.
  • I will be having my first trunk show at Knitorious in the evening of Wednesday October 1. We will also be celebrating Knitorious's RFT nomination with a party starting at 6. Wear your tiara! No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I will be wearing a tiara.
  • I am sharing a booth with Ambercastle Arts at the first What's On Watson fair will be on October 18 from 10-4 on Watson Rd near the shop. I will be at the booth or at Knitorious the whole day.
  • I will have yarns and roving for sale for the first time at the Weavers Guild sale October 31-November 1. I will be there demonstrating knitting and spinning both Friday and Saturday morning and early afternoon. Even if you aren't a fiber artist, this is a great event to get holiday shopping done. There are a lot of wearables, art, hand woven baskets and jewelry.
I hope to see you at one (or more) of these events. If you cannot make it, yarns and fibers can be purchased through my etsy shop or Knitorious. Starting soon items will also be available for purchase through www.dyeabolicalyarns.com, too!

Thank you for all of your support this year!

Rachel
Dyeabolical Yarns

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Strange Folk Festival (now with extra parentheticals)

Hey hey hey! Are you going to the Strange Folk Festival this weekend?

Strange Folk is the Heartland's largest outdoor indie arts and crafts show. There will be 120 vendors offering various affordable, unique, modern (and retro!) hand crafted items. Additionally there will be music, food (funnel cakes! vegetarian options! funnel cakes!) and activities for kids.

O'Fallon, IL Community Park is a 15 minute drive from downtown St. Louis, and easily accessible from both sides of the Mississippi. I have checked Metro website and it looks like the park is also accessible by public transportation (metrolink to get across the river, then the #12 bus and about a half-mile walk).

My booth is in the same area as the Recycled Crafts activity. I'm on the corner not too far from the info booth. I will be taking all of my etsy offerings offline on Thursday and bringing them with me this weekend, plus an additional 21 pounds of yarn and fiber* (28 pounds total for anyone counting--why would you be counting?). I have some cashmere/wool top, superwash merino top, some silk/wool top, lace yarns, sock yarn (100% merino, reinforced, fingering, sport and dk) and a few skeins of base yarns I have been testing. I have a few pictures up in my flickr account for those who want a partial preview.

Will I see you there?

*Unfortunately a large order of the Unspun BFL base fiber and the Alter Ego sock yarn was delayed on the suppliers end. I will only have one skein of Unspun with me and about a dozen Alter Ego yarns (100% s.w. merino fingering weight). I will send out a notice to the soon-to-be-created mailing list when it becomes available. If you would like to be added to the mailing list drop me a comment here or email me at dyeabolicalyarns at gmail dot com.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Resolve

If there was any doubt that fall in St. Louis was coming they were satisfied when I both turned on my a/c to deal with the humidity and put on Jamie's handwarmers to combat the cold.
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Yesterday Debbie, ahem, I mean 7-Letter Deborah was talking about her New Years resolutions. It tickled something in the back of my head and this morning I remembered that I am supposed to be trying to complete 101 projects in 1001 days. I was going strong through March and then lost track when something shinier caught my attention, most likely a knitting project.

I caught up on my goal list this morning and am feeling a little bit more focused. My 101 projects run the gamut from silly to serious.

Goals Progress:

2. Buy that giant pack of colorful Sharpies that make me smile every time I pass them in the store even though I have no use for them. COMPLETED. Scott bought them for me. I love that he indulges my need for office supplies.

2.a. Find a reason to use the Sharpies. COMPLETED. I used them to write my 101/1001 list.
A gift!

3. Spin an average of 15 minutes a day (250 hours). IN PROGRESS. I estimate I have spun 36.1 hours or 8.52 minutes a day.

4. Read or listen to audiobooks an average of 15 minutes a day (250 hours). IN PROGRESS. I didn't keep very good track of this. I have listened to many weeks worth of podcasts, spent countless hours browsing and evaluating knitting books, but not much time actually reading. I underestimated the time I have spent reading and was plesantly surprised, approximately 66 hours, or 15.59 minutes per day.

5. Finish a sock design. COMPLETED. I finished Jess's Shulkie Socks a few weeks ago. It is a simple 4x4 traveling rib offset by 2 every 4 rows. I'll have the pattern up soon. I know, I said that last week. I mean it this week.
Ravelry Picture--Jess's Shulkie SocksShulkie stripes

13. Carry a camera with me everywhere for 1 month. COMPLETED in February.
Day 8: Hoodlums hanging at the gas stationDon't cry over spilled coffee

22. Make 4 pairs of socks for me. IN PROGRESS. One pair down.

24. Do the math on handspun yarn as a regular Dyeabolical product. COMPLETED. The math says HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO. If I thought I could get $200 a skein then that might change things a little bit.

25. Read everything on my 'classics' shelf. IN PROGRESS, sort of. I started with Frankenstein many months ago. I am still in the middle of Frankenstein.

29. Replace dressers. COMPLETED. We replaced our dressers with shelving. It has worked out a lot better for us.

35. Watch all movies in the Netflix queue. COMPLETE, but only because we deleted our queue and suspended our account for several months. I suppose this one doesn't count.

37. Spin all roving. NEARLY COMPLETED. Or at least it was until we bought 2 alpaca fleeces.

38. Write Something Serious at least once a month. IN PROGRESS. So far, so good. Every month so far I have written something here or in other places that contributes something of greater value than my laundry lists of neurosis.

46. Clean storage locker. COMPLETE. We can at least get in to it now.

48. Consolidate student loans. COMPLETE.

49. Get a library card. COMPLETE. Now I want a library card to a library that participates in one of the online audiobook sites. Unfortunately mine does not.

62. Finish writing out 101/1001 goal list. NOT COMPLETE, because that's how I roll.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Knitting with hope

This week was pretty good except for the parts that were spectacularly shitty. Or, if you prefer, this week was spectacularly shitty except for the parts that were pretty good. Nothing serious and nothing I want to talk about, either. It is just frustrating and stressful. I have spent the last two days trying to knit off the residual stress, all the while chanting to myself, "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crisis."

IMG_5815

(It's going to be the Estes vest from this month's Interweave Knits for my mom. I learned to cable without a needle on this project. The first 30 or so cables were slow going but I think I've got it now.)
  • I took down the last post because frankly I was cranky. I'm still cranky, but the last post was misdirected cranky. Thanks for all of your comments anyway. [UPDATE: This project by Katie on Ravelry just cheered me up 1000% percent. They are socks made from my Joker yarn and called "Scar Tissue". Love it!]
  • Shop update: I have a new spinning fiber up in my etsy shop. It is 80% fine superwash merino wool and 20% cashmere. It is oh-so-soft. So soft. Softer even than the superwash BFL I had several months ago. I am currently sold out of the bulky 2-ply Unspun BFL. I'm not sure I'll have anymore before October. I do have a new nylon reinforced superwash merino sock yarn in, too. It is slightly thicker than my normal fingering weight yarn. It is a tight spin with a nice sheen and knits up quickly.
My creationMy creation
  • The possibility of being transferred out of state is less and less of a possibility, but it's still there. Even if we don't have to move, I'm moving out of this apartment as soon as I can and in to one where the neighbors don't weed their garden, do their laundry or check their mail wearing nothing but a t-shirt and sometimes underpants. Sometimes underpants, people! I would also like to move in to an apartment that doesn't have carpeting older than I am, doesn't have black mold growing in the basement, doesn't have country hearts wallpaper, isn't filled with people who like to smoke in the hall, doesn't have drunks in need of middle of the night rescuing, doesn't allow pit bulls as pets, where the neighbors don't feel compelled to talk to me and doesn't have country hearts wallpaper. Oh wait, I might have mentioned the wallpaper already. This place was great when I went back to school and the neighborhood is still a nice place to live, but I'm ready to get out of here. Look for a giant sale next year when my lease is up. :)
  • My base yarns didn't show up early last week like they were supposed to. They showed up later in the week sans the sock yarn I needed the most. I couldn't do anything about dyeing what did arrive because a) I was in the middle of turning over the stash (if you check this blog going back to the beginning you will discover every September I Freak The F*ck Out that moths might get in to my stash; every year I spend days of my life discovering my stash is perfectly safe and fine, yet I still worry) ; b) I was in the middle of a massive fall cleaning jag because I figured if I was going to go faux manic might as well do it all at once and have a clean apartment to boot; and c) I spent every 4th hour for the last 5 days spiking a mild fever and then rapidly dropping. I'm still spiking and dropping, but the variance between high and low is starting to decrease. It's gotta be a fibro thing.
  • I went through my book stash, too. I have over 100 volumes to sort and give away on the wealth of Russian dictators, vampire lore, women's studies, men's studies, queer studies, sociology, law, and several books from the 1920s on the changing role of sex and romance in marriage and family. Guess how many of the 100 I have actually read? Probably less than 20. I suppose collecting books is a lot like collecting yarn.
  • I've run out of steam to finish this post, so I'll just say good night. Good night.

Monday, September 1, 2008

World Sheep & Fiber Arts Festival

Scott and I headed down to Bethel, MO Saturday to go to our first fiber fair, the World Sheep & Fiber Arts Festival. It is a small fair, but worth the 3 hour drive. We met Ann, Katie, Bridgett, her two young ones, Sandy, Ed and Cameron down there.

Scott and I promised each other to look only. No touchy, no buying. Promise. So it was a serious surprise to us when we accidentally came home with 1.5 blankets of alpaca fleece from Whirlwind Ranch. We had started by walking through the vendor area right as we got there. We had almost escaped when a sudden whirlwind rose up around us so strong it ripped money right out of my bank account in St. Louis. When the dust settled Scott was holding a .06-lb skirted fleece from the blanket of a baby alpaca named Tui (23.4 microns!) and I was holding a 1.03-lb bag of skirted fleece from the blanket of a chocolate brown adult named Kajam.
Scott's First Fleece Alpaca FleeceAlpaca Fleece
I found a tiny bit of pooh in my alpaca when I spread it out and now I can barely keep myself from refering to our haul as fleces. There ya go. That's how my mind works.

Ann and Bridgett entered their knitting to be judged. Both walked away with 2nd and 3rd place ribbons. I think they were robbed, but I'm biased.
Ann's 2nd place Hemlock and 3rd place Irish Hiking ScarfBrigette's Second Place Sweater

When Sandy arrived, Scott and I walked through the vendor tents. Sandy picked out her first spindle and some inexpensive roving. Less than an hour later she had 2 more rovings and 3 boxes of angora fiber tucked under her arm. Less than 24 hours later she announced that she needs a wheel. Thatta girl!
Sandy, about to fall hard for spinning

We watched several sheep get shorn. We learned that sheep are dumb as rocks. They struggle and struggle to get free, but turn them on their backs and they are as content as can be.
Dude? DUDE! Your crotch is ON MY HEAD!

Scott and I wandered up to Main Street in Bethel. Bethel started out as a utopian society based and led by the Golden Rule. Something about such an idyllic philosophy and history doesn't quite jive with the number of confederate flags hanging from many porches. One of the historic plaquards we read said that in 1870-something the majority of the population left the utopian colony and re-settled in Aurora. I wonder if the community split apart over differing Union and Confederate loaylties?

We visited both a rug show and a quilt show on Main Street, as well as stopped in several little shops.
Moar Ships! Er, More SheepSheeps!

The rug show was nice, but behind the rugs was a treasure, a loom from the original Bethel colony.
Loom from the original Bethel ColoneyLatimer House LoomLatimer House Loom

Scott and I drove home along the scenic path through Hannibal, MO. We saw a lot of interesting bugs (pictures in my Flickr set) and enjoyed a crystal blue cloudless sky. On the drive I finished weaving in the ends of my Cast-Off Sweater in LanaKnits All Hemp 3. I really like the way this pattern looks with one exception. The center decreases hang straight only if you are absolutely still. Hopefully washing will relax the fiber and this problem will be eliminated. Hopefully I won't discover that my decreases are biasing because I did them in the wrong place. There were a few times I dropped the ring marking my decrease stitches and had to guess where it went.

Mississippi River Mississippi IMG_5637

More pictures are in the slide show below or you can visit my Bethel set on Flickr by clicking here.