Saturday, December 30, 2006

Frantic knitting update

Enjoy this picture of a troll cake from the Bazaar Bizarre cake walk while I fill you in on the recent knitting here in the free world.

Please note the hair on the doll reflects my current state of panic.

The good:
I finished the second sleeve, blocked everything and wrote out the basic pattern.

The bad:
I still have to seam, weave in ends, rib the hem, knit the hood, and write out the pattern for other sizes

The ugly:
This project is due at the publisher on the second of January. There is no FedEx on the 31st or 1st. Theoretically I'd have to get it out today. That isn't going to happen.

It looks Like I'll have to ship it on the 2nd, to arrive on the 3rd. One day late. And that's pushing the limits of what I can do. AND seriously destroying any idea that I might do something fun to ring in the new year.

Will the publisher hate me for being a day late? (I tried to ask her but she's out of the office until the 2nd!)

I guess I'll find out.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Knit like you have a deadline

OK I'm feeling like I could make it... I'm knitting at work when no one is looking... I'm past the half-way point...

Here's what I have left to do:

half of one sleeve
seaming and weaving in ends
picking up stitches and adding some ribbing on hem
(cough cough) designing and knitting and attaching a hood (cough cough)
blocking garment

Everything else-
write out pattern based on my thorough notes
adapt pattern for other sizes using MATH
pick up box of tissues and chocolate for emotional meltdown during math session
draw a schematic in photoshop
pack it all up and ship it off in time for January 2nd deadline

OK now I'm starting to feel like I won't make it. Seriously, is this possible?

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm really knitting here

Hello friends. Are you having a warm holiday filled with friends, family, and all around good cheer? Me neither. But I do feel pretty good about most everything going on right now...except for one major mistake.

I completely miscalculated the amount of time it would take to knit up the garment that is due at a publisher in one week's time. Obviously it should be done by now, with a pattern written up in all the sizes and schematics all done up perfectly. The garment should be blocked and seamed and on it's way to the publisher wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and with delivery confirmation so I can check in online regarding where the package is along it's journey across the country. Then I could sit back and blog all day about my next wonderful project while drinking that thick dark hot chocolate drink Starbucks used to carry before they discontinued it and now it's like it never existed. But no, the garment is not in this stage of completion.

Instead, it's spread out on my couch, in a curly mess that I keep stretching out, safety pinning together and "trying on" in the hopes it resembles the drawing I proposed back in August. The threads are all over the place like unintentional fringe, asking to be woven in.

The math took longer than expected. The knitting is taking longer too. The gauge is smaller than I imagined. I'm using size 5 needles to get the drape just right. The pattern is written because I'm figuring it out as I go. (Yes, I'm taking very good notes)

But I will make it. Because I always do. I WILL make it. Even if it means skipping meals (yeah, right) and racing to FedEx at the last minute, I will make it. It's going to be okay. Really... I just have to go ice my wrists a bit and then knit until I fall asleep on the couch.

But you know what I mean when I say that I wouldn't trade it for anything, right?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bazaar Bizarre - now with pictures

Welcome to a cold and rainy Saturday just south of downtown Los Angeles! Saturday, DEC 16, 2006:
Here is the Shrine but the "Bazaar Bizarre" sign out front is small enough that you should take my word regarding what it says.

I was setting up when I took a moment to pose for a picture... Hi everybody!

I put together a a couple of bins filled with hand dyed yarn, roving and homespun to sell. Having never done this sort of thing before, I was nervous about it all and decided I should be eligible for ice cream sundaes if/when I didn't sell anything.

BUT... I basically sold out of everything you see here!

Ok. There was also an ongoing cake-walk, which in my delirium I found hysterically amusing. Lots of good cakes. These were my favorites... a pile of pink cupcakes.

And, "They're all going to laugh at you" - the Carrie cake. Perfect.

Here is a shot of the selling floor from the balcony. Oh we look so small.

Somebody is tired! I had very little left on the table and I could hardly keep my eyes open. But it was fun. Thank you SO much for everyone who came out!

I hope to do this again next year - but with WAY more stuff, of course.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm not giving knitted gifts this year

Well maybe a few. But more importantly, where did 2006 go?

Even more importantly, I have an announcement: I am the worst knitting blogger of all time. Perhaps I am being dramatic. But I don't think so.

I was just reflecting on how I used to write stories about knitting and dying and spinning. I also took a lot of pictures of such things. I remember those days fondly. I am knitting these days but I don't know if I'm allowed to show a picture of the work in progress because it's for somebody else's book. The only part of the story I've leaked is the yarn. I still like the yarn, by the way.

In unexpected news, I received Handspun Revolution in the mail today. I ordered it in May, so I kinda forgot about it. Yeah. You read that right. May.

But this book looks like a lot of fun. I'm quite inspired suddenly. I think I have to start tricking out my spinning wheel. Come to think of it, I might need to start my own revolution. Or join that one. Or... nevermind, It's my bedtime. But you get the idea.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'm still here

I'm happy to say the Bazaar Bizarre was a huge success. I am exhausted! I have a lot of pictures to share as well, and will do so later today.

I have to go to my other job now and have this good feeling re-purposed into despair. But hey, there are only two weeks left on this other job. A person can do almost anything for two weeks, right?

Coming soon: "January 2007, Living the Dream" - you're all invited!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Four days to go...

Bazaar Bizarre is coming.

Goal: (minimums)
10+ Homespun Yarn
12 Batts
30+ Felt Bead Kits
50+ Felt Beads
20 Dyed Yarn (not homespun)
20+ Cuffs
12 Stitch Markers

8 Homespun Yarn
3 Batts
4 Felt Bead Kits (I would have more but I keep selling them on etsy!)
30 Felt Beads (Thanks Ali! - Happy Birthday)
7 Dyed Yarn (not homespun)
32 cuffs
4 Stitch Markers

I think I'm in trouble.

Oh, and I should also dye some silk hankies. And put together some Kool-Aid dying kits. And get some change. And bags. And a tablecloth... and... go to the Clipper's game on Wednesday? I'll be fine. I'll have plenty of time to sleep in 2007.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

ten thousand things

My free time is spent dying, prepping and spinning fiber like mad trying to get ready for the Bazaar Bizarre this Saturday. I vow to have fun, no matter what. That said, I'm going to try hard to also avoid having a sparse booth.

If I'm so busy, why then am I playing around with ephemera? Why do I just want to draw and glue?

There is so much stuff everywhere my mind is starting to clutter. I fancy myself someone attracted to clean, modern design and smooth surfaces. However, my apartment currently looks like I'm about to have a large yard sale, and unrelated items are stacked up everywhere.

But the joy I get everytime I reach into the 15-pound box of white fiber to find the right piece to use is fantastic. I get giddy and excited that I'm allowed to have a giant box like this here. I'm not nuts, I'm an artist. There is potential in every such object, I just need to find what it is...

Or, I need to seriously have a yard sale. And SOON! Before I start to believe this crap.

Friday, December 08, 2006

the new knitty is up...

(Trying to play it cool at work, but inside I am jumping up and down!)

The new knitty is live - and I have an article in it! Go here. Now! (Then come back, ok?)

I'm SO excited I can't believe it! When did this thing go live anyway? I just now figured it out of course.

I'll tell you what's special about this Fiber Friday:

1. Felt beads (hit link)

2. It's my birthday

3. I feel pretty good!

4. I've got some homespun to show-off:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Amigurumi swap loot

I traded some hand dyed yarn for some amigurumi recently and I'd love to show it off: First, an orange from Javastain! I already have a cherry so I'm thinking there may be a day in my future where I have a bowl of crocheted fruit.

Next up, domUNIQUE sent me two things: a hanging bird and a banana tampon cozy.

I'll give you a moment to take that in.

I love everything and I'm still considering adding "write amigurumi patterns" to my to-do list of 2007. That list is getting long, but it mostly all falls in the category of living the dream or returning to the Bohemian Lifestyle.

I actually submitted a pattern to the new Stitch n' Bitch Men's Book but I haven't heard anything back. It's okay because if/when I get rejected, I already have this amigurumi pattern to launch here in 2007 and I can cross that off my list then! I won't yet reveal what the project is but I might make some for gifts this year. It's crochet for guys, technically, but I would never ever keep a lady from hooking.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Knitty Gritty run-down

I taped an episode yesterday and would like to give a quick review:

First off I don't have any pictures because my camera's batteries died at a very bad time. The host, Vickie Howell let me take a picture with her using her camera and gave me permission to grab the shot off of her blog. I haven't figured out how or when to do this, but I certainly will.

I woke up at 5am to make the 7am call time. When I got there, I met the "knitsters" right away - Anne, Jeremiah and Jef. All very nice and cool and fun - all helped put me at ease as well. I admit to being rather nervous.

The taping took a while due to some technical issues as well as waiting for me to finish knitting rows and such - all in all about four hours. The production team was very nice and they let me show off my homespun at the end too.

Guess when it airs? Around this time NEXT YEAR! I'll be sure to mention it another thousand times in between now and then.

Thank you to all the folks who encouraged me and gave me advice and support! As a small fish in a giant ocean, I was made to feel a bit more confident with your kindness.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Knitty Gritty rehearsal day

To get you up to date, I am going to be a guest on DIY's knitty gritty. Ok, now that you know everything...

I just returned from the rehearsal for Monday's show taping and it went well. I have more knitting to do this weekend, of course, but that pretty much describes every weekend around here.

Here are some questions that came up, and I'm curious how other knitters answer them:

1. Is knitting like other creative things you do? (like playing music, etc.)

2. Do you knit things you can actually use, wash and keep using? Even to the point of wearing them out?

We'll see how I answer those on Monday. I'm hoping they'll let me hang my homespun yarn all over the set. We'll see about that too.

I nearly met Amy Singer from - Unfortunately she was on her way out as I was entering. Sigh. Some day... it would be nice to meet her in person since I am officially a knitty contributor. Yes, my pants are very fancy these days.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bird art

More fizzledimpulse fun. Trust me, I scored a lot in this swap.

I don't have much to say. Enjoy a minimal word, three pictures of birds posting.

PS Happy Birthday Heath!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Knitting journal?

This time of year I'm freaked out and overwhelmed and excited and frightened and most of all, BUSY! The one thing that remains constant, however, are the swap packages that trickle in.

Until next month, when I will have more free time, I may just have to keep showing off this great stuff I keep getting in the mail!

It's been inspiring lately, and brings a smile to the end of a long day. Today I share with you the work of a Craftster named fizzledimpulse.

Actually I scored quite a bit from her, but today I want you to ponder this fantastic book on it's own.

Just because I didn't make it, doesn't mean it isn't handmade, and this mixed paper journal is no exception. I adore it and of course, am too intimidated to use it.

Some things never change.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Keep on dying in the free world

I'm getting ready for the Bazaar Bizarre here in the free world and when I'm not working my other jobs, sleeping or eating chocolate, I'm crafting!

Goal: (minimum)
10+ Homespun Yarn
12 Batts
30+ Felt Bead Kits
50+ Felt Beads
20 Dyed Yarn (not homespun)
20+ Cuffs
12 Stitch Markers

5 Homespun Yarn
2 Batts
4 Felt Bead Kits
30 Felt Beads (Thanks Ali!)
3 Dyed Yarn (not homespun)
27 cuffs
4 Stitch Markers

I also have to sort out the display situation. I'm tempted to bring my spinning wheel but I'm afraid everyone will just want to play with it. I know I would if I didn't own one.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am ashamed

Um, so, yeah. I um, did another swap and uh, got some sweets.

I know I recently got a huge box of chocolates from the UK and NO, I haven't eaten it all yet if that's what you were thinking.

I guess I forgot about it but I sent off Kool-Aid to Australia (for yarn dying, of course) and in return I scored some local sweets.

I'm feeling a little shy about all this sugar coming my way (that I of course asked for). I've never tried any of this before, and hope to write reviews when appropriate.

Seriously, I don't eat this much candy. I just happen to have a lot of candy around these days, and don't want any of it to go to waste.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday Tink 11/21/06

Well, I keep thinking about that poem again. Since I can't get it out of my mind, and NO amount of eating chocolate brings the level of peace I am seeking, I thought, why not re-visit an unresolved blog post of the past?

Sunday, October 01, 2006
Another busy weekend
Well I submitted an article for the winter knitty! If they don't want it I will post it here. Hint: It's a last minute gift idea that involves fiber. But it's not exactly a pattern...

Lame hint. Sorry.

I have two weeks left on my soul-sucking job and then hopefully I can re-dedicate myself to artistic endeavors like this blog. I miss spending time more time here. I admit it! Are your dreams on the backburner too?

I also have a lot of sneaky projects in the works and if I find out any of them are going to take off, I'll share them with you. If I find out they are NOT going to take off, I'll write a long self-involved post about my disappointment. Win-win for me either way.

I leave you today with a very important poem by a very important person. It's a good time of year for reflection.

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

I was suffering through a tough job at the time, counting down the days until I was free. It was a high-intensity job where co-workers would yell and throw things to express frustration. This was considered normal behavior. I ended up with one week off, and then got called back to the grindstone, and I had to take the work. I'm now counting down the days until this current job ends.

There has been some exciting news since I first wrote the entry above, the two sneaky projects did take off! First it was getting a project published in an upcoming knitting book. Then it was getting to be a guest on a knitting show!

Bear in mind, I am still waiting to hear from knitty if they want to publish my article in the winter issue. This can't be good, right? On a positive note, I'll publish it here if/when I get that rejection letter.

But really I wanted to look at that poem again as I look forward to 2007. I guess it took me a lot of explanation just to get here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I should be ashamed of myself

So, I sent off some Sugar N' Cream yarn to the UK (They don't have anything like it there) and in exchange I got some fancy yarn and, ahem, (cough cough) some candy.

In my defense, I had no idea I would get THIS much candy.

Some of it we have here in the US but it's not the same! It's manufactured in the UK and is a little different.

I like how the munchies bar tells you what to do - "scoff me." I don't really understand that part about a Yorkie not being for girls. (?)

I suppose with this being a knitting blog and all, I should mention the lovely yarn that came in the package? Hip Knits hand dyed sock yarn. It's very pretty in person. I should have waited for better light to show it off. I wanted to start eating the candy (I mean, knitting with the yarn!) so I ran out and took photos at the first light of day.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Panta fever

It took me a long time to come around to the panta phenomenon. For the uninitiated, behold the wide ridged headband that is panta.

I made one here out of Noro Silk Garden Lite for a swap partner and I now need to make one for myself. They are flattering and do wonders for the bad hair day.

I got interested while on Craftster - be warned, it takes a while to get to the pattern that makes sense.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year

My schedule kicked up a bit, and now it looks like I'll be doing weekends too until January... at which point I'll lie down ad sleep for two weeks.

But I do have most evenings free and can get a LOT done if I stay smart about scheduling and stick to my deadlines...

December 4th - Taping of Knitty Gritty. Must have pattern written and samples knit up.

December 8th - My birthday. Must party.

December 16th - Bazaar Bizarre. Must have buckets of homespun, felt beads, stitch markers, felting kits, dyed yarn, batts, and more ready to go.

January 4th - book garment due. Must have pattern written and sample knit up.

Mid-January - wrap job. Catch a cold and lie on the couch for a week wondering what to do if every second of my life isn't planned.

Late January - Take another dumb job at the same time say yes to every commitment that comes my way?

I wonder what my New Year's resolution should be?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Swap stuff

More swapping to report in the free world. I traded a Wilton's dye kit for a Shrinky Dink art kit.

I'm so busy I have no call doing these swaps.. but I get so much joy out of them I can't stop.

Am I addicted? Maybe. I like to think I can walk away at anytime.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another secret revealed

OK, I revealed one secret project here. I think I can reveal another one today...

I'm going to be a guest on an upcoming episode of knitty gritty! I'm excited!

It's a fun project and it tapes December 4th... I'm terrified! Any tips on how to "be" are appreciated.

It's funny to get an opportunity to do something really fantastic and then it hits... the reality of actually doing it fills one with fear. What is that? But then, who wants to let fear hold you back in life?

In big thing on tiny needles news, the Classic Elite "Miracle" yarn I'm using in the first secret project is really cool - 50% alpaca, 50% tencel. It's such a luminous color it's hypnotic. It's fragile though, and gets fuzzy if you tink. So if you're say, using it to make a garment meant to be photographed in a book, I'd suggest knitting carefully and with perfection.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

beta blogger

It sounds like some sort of medicine for mental disorders. OK, this is about as blogging-dorky as I get (I hope) -

Have the other bloggers out there switched ("upgraded") to the beta (google) version? I keep getting prompted to do so, but for no real reason I'm hesitant. Is it really better? By resisting, am I holding on to the big front wheel bicycle here?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wilton's icing gel dyeing tutorial

I’m sharing here today a method for dyeing yarn in your microwave using Wilton's icing gels. The tutorial is very similar to the Kool-Aid dyeing tutorial I wrote, so forgive me if it seems familiar.

This process also works for carded fiber or roving meant for spinning or felting. There is some casual science involved, but trust me, you can handle it. I am more of an “art girl” so the science bits are likely to be laughable you if understand simple concepts like acidity. For me, I’m more interested in the ways the colors happen.

Roving dyed with a mixture of Kool-Aid and Wilton's cake dyes:

These directions are only suitable for natural animal fibers including different varieties of sheep wool, mohair, alpaca, and other animal fibers like silk. This method will not work on plant fibers like cotton, linen, bamboo and the like. Also, this method won’t work on man-made fibers like acrylic. My understanding is that these fibers only get stained using acid dye, and eventually the color will bleed and fade. If you have yarn that is a blend of fibers, the wool will get dyed and the acrylic will not. If you have an adventurous spirit, you may get some interesting results this way.

The same roving, spun into a worsted weight 2-ply yarn:

Wilton’s dyeing is pretty common and lots of tutorials already exist on the subject. I’m sharing my own experiences here dyeing in the microwave. Your microwave may produce different results and I’m not sure what to say about that except just do what I did, experiment a LOT. You will learn to enjoy the fragrance of wet sheep coming from the kitchen.

Roving dyed with Wilton's cake dyes and Kool-Aid:

My methods are not exact science. I told you that I’m more of an “art girl.” You must love to experiment and embrace unexpected results. This sort of dyeing is done in the kitchen, using kitchen tools and equipment, counters, sink and microwave. If you are using commercial dyes, DO NOT dye in your kitchen. This is strictly food-grade dyeing, got it? Good.

Homespun yarn dyed with aster, rose petal, and cornflower:

List of what you’ll need:

- gloves
- yarn or fiber
- Wilton’s dyes (one jar per pound of fiber or so)
- Vinegar or lemon juice
- Microwave safe containers large enough to fit yarn or fiber
- Oven mitts
- Tongs
- Towel
- Damp sponge to wipe up messes
- Plastic wrap
- Jars to measure out dyes
- Wooden popsicle sticks for stirring
- (optional) foam brush for painting (or turkey baster)
- (optional) small reusable jars for storing unused dye mixtures

Undyed yarn:

1. GLOVES: The number one rule of dyeing is to wear gloves. I know you think you will be careful but it doesn’t matter. Unless you want stained hands, wear gloves. I wear the big yellow gloves meant for household chores. And I wear them every time I handle the dyes. I’m sure the surgical style gloves are useful too.

2. YARN OR FIBER: As stated previously, your yarn or fiber you are dyeing must be an animal fiber to use this method. I don’t like to dye more than 2 ounces of fiber at a time. I have better results with smaller batches, and I’m less likely to accidently felt anything. Yarn should be in hanks, not tightly would balls or skeins. You need to make sure the dye touches all of the yarn.

3. WILTON’S DYES: I have a note to share about the difference between Kool-aid and Wilton’s. Kool-aid is already acidic and you don’t need to add the vinegar or lemon juice. Wilton’s is not acidic and you will need to add vinegar or lemon juice for this method to work. I use both Kool-aid and Wilton’s dyes all the time, and often mix them for new colors. Wilton’s colors are often made up of a few colors together and sometimes separate in this process. Learn to enjoy this because fighting it is futile.

4. VINEGAR OR LEMON JUICE: This is necessary for the Wilton’s icing gels. I prefer lemon juice because of the scent vinegar creates. The combination of vinegar and wet sheep is just a buzzkill for me. White vinegar, however, is cheaper and crystal clear. Lemon juice needs to be refrigerated and is slightly yellow in color.

5. CONTAINERS: The containers you use can still be used for cooking since we are using food-grade dyes. I use a set of ceramic bowls in varying sizes for single color dyes. I use large ceramic or glass pie dishes for multiple colors. Use what you have on hand, so long as it can go in the microwave.

6. OVEN MITTS: You will need oven mitts or towels because the bowls will get very hot coming out of the microwave. I’m not exaggerating. USE MITTS!

7. TONGS: Tongs are useful for picking yarn up out of steaming hot water to avoid burning yourself. I also use them to poke around to check if the fiber has taken in all the dye.

8. TOWELS: Towels are important for soaking up extra water that comes out of the fiber and catching little drips and problems. I lay out a big old towel on part of my counter and consider it the “towel station.”

9. SPONGE: A damp sponge is crucial to wipe up messes. No matter how careful you are, eventually there will be a big ‘oops’ and you will be glad you had that sponge handy. Wilton’s stains, trust me.

10. PLASTIC WRAP: I strongly suggest using clear plastic wrap since the colored kind will make it very hard to determine when your dye is absorbed. I use plastic wrap to cover the bowls of dye and fiber when they go into the microwave. Also, plastic wrap is good for protecting your countertops from stains. If you are using the painting technique, you will need to lay out newspapers and plastic wrap to protect your table.

11. JARS: You will need something to measure your dye. You can use a bowl if you like but I prefer a jar or some other container that can be sealed and re-used. Often, I mix up a color and I don’t use all of it, so I just put a lid on and place it in the refrigerator. Also, sometimes I have just a little left over, so I use that as a base to experiment with mixing up new colors. The jar should be at least 8 oz and up to 16 oz for best results. I also sometimes use a big plastic beer cup to mix colors and then pour the leftovers into a small yogurt container to use later. When you see these in your refrigerator, remember that they are not filled with yogurt anymore.

12. STICKS: You need something to stir and dissolve your dye into hot water. I prefer wooden popsicle sticks. I actually use and re-use them a few times before they get too worn out. They are also really useful for scooping Wilton’s dyes out of the tiny pots.

13. BRUSH: If you are using a handpainting technique, you need a brush or turkey baster. I like the foam brushes that cost 15 cents at the craft store. I also can get away with using these a few times before tossing them out.

14. CONTAINERS: Like I stated in step 10, storing your unused dyes is a good idea if you don’t like to waste anything. It’s not just me. Most crafters are like this, right?

Homespun yarn with delphinium and buttercup:

You should now be ready to start dyeing. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to complete the task without too many distractions. The more you get ready in advance, the better your results will be. Once you are in the cooking phase, you will need to stay nearby and focused.

Start by soaking your yarn. Fill a bowl with hot from the tap water. Also, add a few glugs of vinegar or lemon juice to the bowl before putting in your yarn. I use about a tablespoon per cup of water. I made this number up completely, but it works for me. Use your tongs to smush all the yarn under the water but do not over-agitate. Get out those air bubbles! Once the yarn is submerged properly, don’t touch it again until you are dyeing. This yarn needs to soak at least 20 minutes, ideally 30. I usually get all the yarn soaking at once, then move on to prepping the dyes.

Now it’s time to mix up your dyes. You’ll want to use about an eighth teaspoon per ounce of fiber. I usually scoop out about half a pea size with a popsicle stick and start with that.

Yarn dyed with Juniper, buttercup and a few drops of delphinium:

Procure a separate jar for every color of dye you intend to use. You can use as many colors as you want, it’s your project, right? Put on your gloves and squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in the bottom of the jar first, then scoop out about 1/8th teaspoon of dye into the juice and stir. Pour hot from the tap water over the goo and stir with a wooden stick to dissolve. I usually pour in about 8 to 16 ounces of water, depending on the color and saturation I’m seeking.

The amount of dye matters more than the amount of water in terms of the final results. You want less water if you are pouring or painting bold dye on a small area. You want more water if you are dyeing the whole hank with one color, and need to have enough water in the bowl. You never want the yarn to dry out in the microwave. This is considered a disaster.

Wipe up any spills that have already happened.

Roving dyed with juniper, buttercup, and a few drops of delphinium:

Once you have all your dye jars ready to go, it’s time to get the dye bowls ready. If you are dyeing in a bowl or pie plate, get them ready on the counter in you towel station. Get the plastic wrap ready to go. I like to dye two yarns at once, because one yarn will be in the microwave while the other one is cooling. So get both bowls or dishes ready. If you are painting, lay out newspaper on your table and cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Get your brushes ready to go. Now check the clock, has it been 20 minutes yet? Good.

The same roving, spun into thick-thin singles yarn:

With gloves, take out one hank of yarn and let it drip out into the sink. Gently wring the water out of the yarn until no more water drips out of it. You can also blot the yarn in a towel to remove excess water. For dyeing with one color, pour the dye into the bowl and lay the yarn into it. Use the tongs or your gloved hands to push the yarn into the dye water, making sure everything is covered. If you need to add more water, carefully pick the yarn up and add water to the bowl, then place the yarn back. To avoid accidental felting, don’t agitate, over handle, or change the temperature of the water on your yarn. Don’t ever run water directly over your yarn. Once your yarn is properly submerged, cover with plastic wrap (with a vent hole) and set aside to do your second yarn.

If you are making a two or three color yarn with pooled colors, set the dried yarn into an empty bowl or better yet, a glass or ceramic pie plate. Arrange the yarn so that it is in a spiral, as close to one layer as possible. Avoid bunching and tangling. Pour the colors gently over the yarn and let them pool in the bottom of the bowl. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside.

To make a handpainted yarn, lay the damp yarn on the plastic covered newspaper. Using a brush or turkey baster, paint colors onto the yarn as desired. This will take longer than you think it will, but you may like the results better. For self-striping yarn, paint sections of yarn at a time. Make sure all of the yarn has taken up some dye and it is all wet. Carefully pick up edges of plastic wrap and roll around the yarn. Set the bundle into a bowl or dish and set aside.

Roving soaking in delphinium, juniper, buttercup and copper:

Once you have your two bowls of yarn and dye ready, it’s go time. Be sure to use your oven mitts, okay? The dye formula is as follows: microwave on high for two minutes. Remove from microwave for two minutes. Repeat until done. The reason I suggest doing two is that when one is resting for two minutes, you put the other one in to cook. The timing works out well. This process usually takes 6 to 12 minutes of actual cooking time. It could take longer if you use a lot of dye. I’ve also noticed that Wilton’s take longer than Kool-aid, and colors with blue in them take the longest. For example, with Wilton's black dye you’ll end up with some yarn that resembles bruises before you get black. The colors will separate. Embrace this. If the yarn starts to boil, stop the microwave and let the yarn cool for five minutes. Boiling will felt your yarn. Overcooking will felt your yarn.

The same roving dyed with delphinium, juniper, buttercup and copper:

Your yarn is done when the water is clear and all of the dye is absorbed into your yarn. If the water is nearly clear and you’ve gone over 12 minutes, just let the bowl sit, covered, until the dye is absorbed. This will reduce the risk of overcooking. The yarn will continue to absorb dye so long as it stays nice and hot.

The same delphinium, juniper, buttercup and copper, spun into a worsted-weight 2-ply yarn:

When the dyeing is over, remove the plastic wrap, being careful not to burn yourself. There will be a lot of steam coming out and it gets very hot. Let the bowls of yarn cool until you can handle them. Using tongs, lift the yarn and pour out the water in the bowls. If you aren’t sure that the dye has set, you’ll want to rinse your yarn. The way to do this is to fill a bowl of water the same temperature as the yarn. Good luck with this, I can’t match temperatures unless the yarn is cool. I usually wait until the yarn is cool and dry before rinsing. Some people add a bit of soap to the rinse but I don’t. Gently wring out the yarn and roll around in a towel to dry. Hang yarn on a clothes hanger and put over your shower head to dry.

Crazy novelty homespun yarn using everything:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

There has to be an explanation

There is a running joke in my family that for some reason the phones are always malfunctioning and need to be replaced often in my parents home. Why is this? No one knows.

I believe I may have inherited the gene. The phone in the bedroom can't dial out and creates a high pitched feedback sound when you put the receiver to your ear. (left in photo)

The phone in the living room (far right) randomly loses the ability to dial out and has a battery life that could kindly be described as short.

My cell phone suddenly has terrible reception. My house is a no reception zone as is my work.

What is going on here? Am I some kind of superhero or something?

I just picked up a new cell phone but it's too complicated for me to set up and the new home phone is here (second from right) but I'm scared to touch it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

One secret revealed

Reveal number one - I'm hard at work on a top secret project, right?

Well, I'm going to have a pattern published in a knitting book!

I received my first donated yarn for the project like a real knitwear designer. I'm acting as if.

Now I have to write the pattern and knit the sample. That's all. I can do that, right?

I hope so.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My first amigurumi

No laughing at me. Only laughing with me, okay?

This is a little cat that I made for a swap and honestly it looks a little crazy in person. I based it on a few different patterns but felt confident enough to wing it.

While searching the web for amigurumi inspiration I ran into some fantastic creations. It seems like all the books are in Japanese though. I believe there is a big market here in the US for an amigurumi book, so let's get started on that people!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fiber Friday 11/03/06

Here is some homespun yarn I'd like to share with you. It's over 6 oz and measures 123 yards.

It's a thick-thin singles blend of merino, targhee, rambouillet, superwash, mohair, cotswold, recycled sari silk, nylon firestar, and sparkly angelina fiber.

I don't own it anymore but I hope something nice is born from it!

I used the technique where you put fibers in a bag and randomly pull them out to spin. It's very liberating for me to work this way!

To get your homespun fix today, look at the Fiber Friday yarns on Craftster.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Travel needle roll

From Offhand Designs. Let me say they are absolutely beautiful and really well made. I couldn't even wait to fill it up before I took the picture!

I heard about these reading the stitchdiva newsletter - they send you a bag of your choice if you make a donation to a really worthy cause. Or you can flat our buy them. I just wanted to let eveyone know, if you didn't already. I believe the deal is ending soon.

Just go to the site and hit "Kyann's Wheelchair Fundraiser" to get the details.

I'm having that problem again where something is too nice to use. I need to get over that already.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tiny business cards

Okay so recently I fell in love with flickr all over again.

I ordered their business cards and they look amazing. They would also make great tags.

I'm going to try the little books next.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Lookie the cute felt ghost and felt envelope I scored from IamSusie in another Craftster swap!

It's basically the cutest ghost of all time.

I think Halloween might pass me by this year though. (work) Any good plans or costumes out there?