Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things Are Getting Better

Last night I spent 3 hours wrestling with some rogue yarn.

8 hours ago I had my first potty related accident at work (not me, a student).

1 hour ago I was still at work for literacy night.

But now...

I have this:
Hot chocolate with lots of mini marshmallows.

In this:
One of my favorite mugs. I will miss you W.

I turned on the heat for the first time.
I refuse to try and sleep in a house where the temperature is below 70 degrees and I don't have a down comforter.

I'm wearing these:
My fuzzy red slippers (still in work pants unfortunately).

The cat is contemplating something.
Probably deciding where she is going to throw up next.

And I'm blogging. I'm also working on labels for yarn and still untangling the rogue skein from last night but I will say things have significantly improved in the last hour.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You Have 15 Minutes

I was trying to post this blog in 15 minutes before I had to go meet some friends for dinner. Unfortunately I was also trying to use iTunes for the first time on my new computer and knit on a sweater vest. Needless to say, I did not get this posted before I had to leave but I present it to you now for your reading pleasure.

This morning I took a little jaunt into Atlanta to the fabulous yarn store Knitch.

I bought lots of yarn (which I will show you in a minute). I also went to Belly which is a wonderful little general store/deli on the corner in front of Knitch. They were out of their delicious sesame seed bagels so I had to settle on a plain one which was almost as good. I forgot to take a picture of the outside but inside on the window sills they were growing potato plants which I found quite intriguing.
The yarn was wonderful, of course, and I think I spent almost 2 hours in there trying to decide what I should get. I finally decided on some Shepherd's Wool (8 skeins) for a sweater I'm looking to make.
I think this is the softest 100% wool I have ever felt in my whole life. Not scratchy at all.

Some organic cotton and some alpaca for a swap through Ravelry.
And when I got home some yarn I had dyed was dry.

These are little left over skeins of sock yarn. About 75 yards. I used them to check my dye to water ratios and try and figure out the perfect combination. I think I got it right this time because these came out quite lovely.

A skein with brown, black, teal, watermelon, and bright orange.
A rainbow skein with brilliant blue, grey, lilac, shamrock, bright red, and yellow.
On the way home I saw this sign in the back window of a car being driven by middle aged Asian man (click to make big).

It says "New Drever." And apparently "New Speller" as well. God bless him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Exceptional Day

1. The faculty meeting this morning was shorter than anticipated.
2. No major discipline problems today.
3. Talked to my family's tax attorney today and he said legality with starting my online company was not going to be a problem so I'm hoping to launch the store in the very near future!
4. Went for a walk today. That's 2 days in a row that I have exercised.
5. This is how much I have done of a pair of socks for Warm Woolies:
6. This is Coral Reef which I dyed last night. Total experimental dyeing. Had no idea how this would turn out.
Yes, it has been quite a nice day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving Right Along

I have been a busy lady lately. I finished a pair of socks for Warm Woolies. I even started another pair and I've only got the foot and toe of the second sock to go! I'm so proud. I've just been knitting every time I get a chance to sit down.
And here are some new dye jobs that will go in my shop when I finally get the legal go ahead to launch.

Deep Blue Sea (though I'm open to other ideas)
I adore the last colorway so very much. The blues are so rich. I will try and re-post after I re-skein the yarn and braid the roving.

I was going to leave you with a picture of an animal but...when I was at my parent's house this weekend I forgot (again) to take a picture of my new "brother." He's an English Springer Spaniel. I also had a picture of Penelope but there was a huge pile of mail in the background and I was sure that wouldn't be good for anyone to see. I guess you will have to be placated by my yarn instead.

Also, Brooke, I got your comment. I'll be happy to send you the yarn. Could you email me at info@vividcreationfibers.com? For anyone else interested the roving and bulky yarn are still available.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photographic Evidence

There now exists proof that I am indeed alive and, furthermore, knitting. Behold! A sock plus some:
These are socks for wee people that will go to Warm Woolies. I like the short row heels (even if I get big holes on the sides) if for nothing else than the fact that for 90% of the time that I knit these I can totally zone out. I finished reading New Moon while knitting these (yes! Knitting and reading together! It can be done!)

The main reason for my absence had something to do with my dye experiment last week. That stupid shamrock green color was literally giving me fits. Laying awake at night plotting, I mean, planning, type of fits. I was seriously doubting any ability I might have as a dyer and this was making me unhappy. So I decided to try again, using a technique I know and love. Time consuming but I love. Thus hope was restored. Behold! (again!):
My first colorway which will actually and truly be for sale. It is so much more lovely in color. I realize looking at these that the green looks kind of icky and you can see nothing of the red in there. But these are not felted together. They are not so super saturated in dye that they are stiff to the touch. These are my hand painted beauties.
Thank you beautiful roving for behaving and allowing me to believe I can dye roving without knowing a thing about spinning. Makes me almost want to take it up (almost).
Thank you bulky yarn for being so soft and fluffy. Thank you sock yarn for not felting into a terrible mess.
This is the red. Much more stunning in person. I love it with a passion. I will be using this color again (and again and again...).

So, what became of the other colorway? Hmm, well the bulky and the roving have been shoved into a bag and double tied. Ask me about them in person and I will deny their existence (by the way...if anyone is interested in some possibly more than slightly felted roving and/or bulky yarn please send me a comment. I will send it to you free of charge. Serious). The sock yarn I thought was salvageable. Thought being the operative. I over dyed what I thought was a gross shade of green (damn you shamrock!) with more green and got a lovely shade of pale blue.
Not really what I had in mind but I thought it would be at least usable.
Wrong! The kind of pretty pale purple has a nice little felted mass in it (by the way....if you are interested in some slightly felted sock yarn please send me a comment. Yours. For free. Granted you don't live in India and it costs me $300 to send you a skein of yarn. But even then, we can work something out...). Bleech.

I'm not letting this disaster that is still lurking in my bathroom put a damper on a much more successful dyeing experiment. I would love to just dye the whole rest of the yarn that I have (4.5 pounds total) this weekend but I have a University of Georgia game on Saturday and the Highland Games are this weekend and I have been wanting to go for years now so we shall see. Also the apartment seems to be suffering from my not cleaning it for many moons and there is no food in the house (seriously, nothing to eat, hello Taco Bell!). I may have to get to some of that tonight. But not before I go pet some yarn...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Cat is Getting Restless

She's walked across my lap about 20 times today for no apparent reason except that I am sitting here. I think she has missed my presence on the couch for the last few days. Let us back up shall we?

This is what 6 pounds of fiber looks like.
It took me 3 hours to skein and weigh all the yarn and roving for dyeing.

This was the most helpful tool that I got with my acid dyes.
A complete color chart of all the colors of Washfast Acid Dyes. I cut all the little samples up individually so I can put different colors next to each other and experiment.

Here's the (k)nifty little electronic scale I got.
In case you can't see it, that is exactly 4 ounces of BFL roving. I can also understand why spinners like roving so much. This was a pillowy cloud of softness. A pillowy, shedding cloud of softness.

And this is my first attempts with the acid dyes.
Let's look closer shall we?

Specimen #1: Bulky weight in lilac, shamrock (green), and brilliant blue
Issue I have with this: I used way too much dye stock. The dye didn't exhaust and I had to rinse it a billion times before it even stopped running blue. Also, everything is just too blue.

Specimen #2: Sock weight in the same colors as above.
Issues: I think I got the dye stock proportions right this time but alas I realized after I put the yarn in to soak that I had forgotten the citric acid. Kind of need that for bonding purposes. I tried to mix it in but I don't think I did very well and the green came out this light-ish green/yellow.

Specimen#3: Roving in same colors.
Issues: Ok, the blue and the lilac did well. The shamrock, not so much. I think it was because I put the citric acid in first and the dye clumped to it and didn't fully dissolve when I added water. When I took the roving out of the green it was a shade of blue with some yellow bits and the water was yellow with green settled on the bottom. I'm going to fix this green problem by experimenting with some leftover sock yarn.

I have been knitting. I know that Kate was concerned I'd get too distracted by dyeing but fear not! :)

This jacket is going to be in contention for World's Thickest, Warmest Knitted Garment.
It's coming along. I'm praying that I don't run out of yarn...

Jaywalker socks...
Eh, same. But oh look!
A new project! Some socks for charity. I do wonder why though, on nearly every pair of socks I knit I have HUGE gaping holes on the sides.

Doesn't matter if I do a heel flap or short row heels. Same color or different color. And I hate gaping holes at the heel so I always have to go back and stitch it together. Hmm....going to try and fix that on the second sock as well.

And finally...

I have totally and completely been sucked into the Twilight series.
I picked this up at the bookstore on Friday and I'm already on chapter 16 of 24.

I also picked this up at the bookstore on Friday.
The inaugural edition of the Debbie Bliss knitting magazine. I saw this awhile ago and I liked it but I told myself I would pick it up later. I'm glad I got this copy. It was the last one on the shelf. Will make for good reading when I'm done with my book.

The cat has settled down on her blanket again and I'm nursing a pretty bad headache right now. My allergies are killing me and it doesn't help that I've got a lot of tension in my shoulders or that I spent the last few hours at a very emotional communion service at church. Thankfully tomorrow is a teacher work day so I won't have children with me tomorrow (which is good because for some reason I'm really feeling like I should be on an extended holiday and I'm not looking forward to going back to work). I do have meetings and I told myself I would clean my room but hopefully when I get home tomorrow there will be more dyeing, more knitting, and a little nap :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Have a Whole New Respect...

...for sock dyers. Last night I skeined 2 pounds of bulky yarn, measured out 2 pounds of roving, and attempted to skein 2 pounds of sock yarn. My swift had other ideas. Like collapsing after I wound only 2 ounces on to it. This was after my calculations (again) proved wrong and I had to re-wind the bulky yarn (on a side note: you should really read Jenny Ryan's post on why math is evil. I think I may agree with her after last night). I had to wind the sock yarn onto my ball winder and measure out 4 ounces using my electronic scale (thank goodness for my new electric scale). Today I was able to wind these balls into skeins. For some reason the swift decided to cooperate with me.

This morning I made 6 dye stocks. I admit I was a little paranoid when I first started. I've read all these posts about how you can get lung irritation and breathing problems from this stuff and there are some people who seem to go a little overboard with their precautions. I don't have the means to have a separate dye studio so I have to use my sun room. After I made the first few stocks I got a little more comfortable. When I was finished I was more relaxed about the process. I will admit I was a little concerned because I used my teapot to boil the water but I didn't bring it near the dyes and I put the hot water in a measuring cup I only use for dyeing purposes. But then I got a little panic-ed because as I was cleaning out the measuring cup a few drops of dye got on some plates I had in the sink. Then I was afraid that I'd kill myself or my cat because of that. I decided a nice hot wash under the facet and then again in the dishwasher should do the trick. If anyone out there thinks I should be concerned about this more than I am please tell me. I'm not a person who likes to freak myself out over things but I tend to do that on a regular basis unfortunately.

I'm currently waiting on my first real dye experiment to finish up. I'll be sure and post pictures as soon as it's done so that you all can get a sneak peek at what will be in the store!

P.S. The website is live but, unfortunately you can't see anything. Go ahead and bookmark it if you wish though :) It's www.vividcreationfibers.com.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Things Continue Apace

I started the second Jaywalker sock from the frogged Summer of Socks sock last night.
Then I felt guilty because I had so much other knitting that needed to get done so I started a sweater for Warm Woolies.
This is part of a sleeve. I love this charity but I'm sure you'll all be glad after November when I can knit some other stuff for awhile. Of course, then it will be secret Christmas knitting that I can't show you...
And I finished the other Warm Woolies sweater vest I was working on.

That's about all for now. Going to go knit a sleeve.

Oh, and my new website is looking to be in its initial stages of operation by Wednesday! That's exciting :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Take Two

This is the blog I wanted to post yesterday but couldn't. Hopefully I remember everything...

Here is some yarn I recently dyed and re-skeined.
School Carpet


I've Got Sunshine on an Autumn Day


At school we have the option at the beginning of the year to take part in a secret pal gift exchange program. I signed up and made a little list of all the things I like, including knitting. I know that there are a lot of people who don't know a lot about knitting but I think everyone can give it the old college try. Plus, I can think of very few things that I knitter wouldn't want. On Friday I got a lovely little package from my secret pal.
Vanna's Choice yarn in gray and purple (one of my favorite colors)

and a Knifty Knitter loom. I find it crazily ironic that I received this gift for 2 reasons. First, this person had no way of knowing my online persona was The Knifty Knitter. Second, even though I go by The Knifty Knitter I have never actually used a Knifty Knitter loom for anything! I really don't know how to use one but I'm willing to give it a shot.Overall I was very impressed with my non-knitting secret pal's ability to pick out knitterly things :)

Almost FO:
A Warm Woolies sweater vest. Almost done, details to follow (and yes, that's a Fender Stratocaster guitar in the background, I used to be a rocker chick :) ).
Not really knitting but...I just finished the book Twilight on Friday after school and I loved it. I'm a big fan of anything fantasy related and vampire tales have always been a fascination of mine. I'm also a big fan of teen literature because it never gets too serious and wordy like some adult fiction can. I thought the two main characters were well written, especially Bella. The secondary characters are still a little shrouded but that leaves more for the other 3 books. Bella is amazing though. I totally connected with her and saw a lot of myself in her. This book brought me to (almost) tears a few times and that wasn't even at the climactic parts. In the end I was a little heart broken at how it ended. I don't want to give it away and, honestly, I don't think most people will feel the same as I do when they finish the book. I just felt like I could relate to Bella so much that I was feeling her pain and ended up a little frustrated and sad at how the story closed. It just makes me want to read the next three books though. Especially the last one because I'm wondering if Meyer will draw the series to a close or leave it open for more.

Other productive stuff:
I ordered fiber and dyes for the store today. Almost a whole months worth of secondary income was invested in the start up. My tech guy (who I hope will let me reveal who he is) will be coming over tonight to help me set up the shop side of the website. Maybe by next weekend there will be some sort of initial web pages for you to see!