Monday, March 14, 2011

Time to focus and simplify... yeah, right

I love dyeing yarn. Playing with color and fiber makes me happy. Normally this would be a good thing, but dyeing seems to be taking over my life. I'm having great fun coming up with new colorways and working on the sock club, but my knitting has totally taken a back seat to the crock pot. This morning vberry was telling me about her knitting plan over the next few weeks so she can do what she needed to get done. I was inspired to come up with a list of my own:

1) Only work on my Bannakaffalatta Baana at lunch or if I’m positively brain dead after work but still want to knit
2) Finish clue 1 of Louise
3) Knit the damn Bella Mittens I’ve officially avoided for 3ish months and complete them just in time for winter to be over
4) Throw this plan out the window when shiny new yarn comes into my life and I have to start knitting something awesome and wonderful with it NOW
5) Pout when I realize that by throwing the plan out the window I haven’t completed anything that I wanted to, but at least I have something shiny and new
6) Go back to the plan
7) Finish my 2 pairs of fingerless mitts that are lonely and looking for their non-existent mates

Vberry lovingly replied with "Wow, those 2 pairs of fingerless mitts are so never getting done…"

She was totally right ...sigh...

I don't want to keep neglecting my knitting. One day I want those mitts to have mates. I didn't even mention the stuff I want to make for my BFF and the baby she's expecting. The baby's due in June. Eep! Anyway, here's the realistic plan. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (for the record, I've always been somewhat creeped out by that saying), right? Maybe if I put these baby steps on the blog for all the world to see then I might actually do something about it. Whaddya think?

Here are my bite-sized knitting goals:

1) Only work on the Bannakaffalatta Baana at lunch and when I need brainless knitting
Yarn: Wicked on Shimma from Nerd Girl Yarns Random Fandom club
Stitch markers by Schmutzerella Yarns

2) Finish clue one of Louise (In Dreams KAL) by bedtime on Friday. I only have 8 rows left on it and no beading is involved so this should be totally doable.
Yarn: Ice Ice Baby on Awesomesauce from Schmutzerella Yarns
Stitch markers by Beadmarkers (I exclusively use hers for lace projects)

Wish me luck! We'll talk about crocheting and dyeing goals another day ;-)

Oh, and just because they need some love - here are the single mitts that long for mates

Snarky Reading Mitts
Pattern: Susie's Reading Mitts
Yarn: Snarky on Epic by Schmutzerella Yarns

Tilting Tardis Mitts
Yarn: Tardis on Sweet! by Schmutzerella Yarns

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Throwing plans right out the window

I'm sorry to disappoint, but I didn't knit today. At all. I'm pretty sure the only time I picked up the needles was to put my mitts back in the project bag and into my purse about 15 minutes ago so I'd have them for lunch time knitting tomorrow at work. There shouldn't be any problem finishing up the thumb and tacking down the hem tomorrow, so I'll still get half credit for Team Tardis at Nerd Wars. Too bad I won't get the team spirit points... I had such a good explanation for them. Oh well, life happens.

On Friday I put together all these wonderful, amazing, and highly productive plans as to what I was going to do this weekend. I was going to organize my stash (please hold your laughter until the end, that's not even the funny part), reskein and photograph all my yarn waiting to go up in the shop, label and organize the same yarn, finish dyeing the yarn for the Big Damn Sock Club March shipment, photograph my selections for the Quidditch traveling swap box, photograph and organize all my WIPs, finish up 2 pairs of mitts, dye a couple of Alice colorways with Vberry, and take my new spindle on a quick test spin. Where in the world did I think I was going to find the time to do all that?! I'm exhausted just thinking about that insane list, and it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that there were two main flaws to my plan.

1: "Dye a couple of Alice colorways"
Have you seen that movie?! Tim Burton did wondrous things with the story. It's like 2 hours of amazing color and imagination. Even the Academy agrees - it won 2 Oscars tonight for Art Direction and Costume Design. I couldn't just leave it at a "couple of colorways." Technically the plan was to dye three - a theme that I provide that both of us dye, a theme that Vberry provides that both of us dye, and a personal challenge that Vberry issues. Just three. Well, that three turned into nine: Cheshire Cat, Most Everyone’s Mad Here, Futterwacken, Bandersnatch, Down The Rabbit Hole, Um From Umbridge, Frabjous Day, Her Name Is Alice. Why Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk?

That nine then turned into 13 because I was on a role and had other colorways just itching to get out. Who am I to deny the call of the dye - especially when the crock pot is already on and the dyes are sitting there waiting to be mixed? I ended up with two new Doctor Who colorways (Captain Jack Harkness and Bow Ties Are Cool) as well as an old "friend" (Don't Blink). Then I tackled a colorway inspired by a Jayne quote from the pilot episode of Firefly, "Let's Moon 'Em."

Here's a peek of it cooking away in the crock pot:

2: "New spindle"
I'm not a spinner. Well, that's what I tell myself even though all evidence seems to point to the contrary. I've had a drop spindle for over 6 months and I play around with it occasionally, but I've yet to spin any fully functioning yarn. I usually end up with a small amount of single ply then my spindle starts spinning all wonky and I get sick of fighting with it then I pack it up and decide to deal with it another day. That changed last month when I decided to dye some of my own roving. The roving came out quite pretty (tropical blue and lime green - no one should be surprised by this) so I dug out the spindle and sat down to spin again. Same problem, different day. I had a cheap spindle and didn't like using it. It pretty much sucked.
A couple of days later while surfing etsy, I stumbled across Zebisis Designs and absolutely fell in love with this turquoise spindle.

I knew it was a bit extravagant for someone who doesn't seem to particularly enjoy spinning, but it was pretty and I wanted it and I was having a really crappy day at work so the next thing I knew I'd received an order confirmation from etsy and it will arrive in a week or so. In the meantime I went down to Stitches West and bought oodles of hand dyed roving. I blame lack of sleep and intoxicating fiber fumes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, I've spent the past week walking past my piles of roving just petting them and waiting for my new spindle to arrive. It showed up at my door on Friday and it was true love. I resisted spinning anything until last night after I finished the top cuff of my Snarky mitt, but then I picked up my new roving and my new spindle and I was a goner. All day today I dyed and spun. I've barely put a dent in my 4oz of Polwarth Top in the Amazonia colorway by Lisa Souza, but I've loved every minute of it. This spindle spins like a dream!!! Zebisis Designs was a delight to order from and I definitely see myself being a repeat customer in the future.

So there you have it... Of all the things on my to-do list, I only managed to accomplish two. Well, two and a half. I managed to reskein a couple of previously dyed skeins and about half the dry skeins dyed on Saturday. Here's the thing that matters though: I had an awesome weekend. After a week of frustrating work and stupid snow, I still managed to have a relaxing yet productive weekend full of creativity and yarny goodness.

And all those things I didn't get to? That's what tomorrow is for, right???

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Dyeathon

After a couple weeks of planning, Vberry and I finally got to have our Alice in Wonderland Dyeathon. We started our dyeathons last month during a Lord of the Rings marathon. It's a ton of fun - we both watch the same movie then spend the day texting dyeing ideas back and forth and issuing challenges to each other. I managed to dye up 6 skeins today - 5 based on the Tim Burton version and 1 inspired by the classic Disney. A few more Burtonish skeins are planned for tomorrow and I can't wait to see what Vberry has dyed up! The new colorways will hit the shop on Wednesday, March 2.

In other news, it snowed more again today. Nothing too exciting, but it was a good excuse to stay inside. Unfortunately this meant that I couldn't run out to pick up candy for my sample Schmutzerella Surprise box. On March 1 I will roll out the surprise boxes (March's theme is monkeys!), but I wanted to put a sample together so people would have some sort of idea as to what will be in the box. I ran with the Dr Seuss theme and the following is what I came up with...

This box includes a Cat in the Hat 11.5” square reversible project bag, Truffula Tree chainmaille stitch markers inspired by The Lorax, two 1” round pins featuring Horton Hears a Who and Green Eggs and Ham, Oobleck on BamBam (new fingering weight merino/bamboo blend) inspired by Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and a box of Swedish Fish for One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (not pictured). Since I put the box together anyway, I've decided to put this up for sale in the shop tomorrow. It'll be $37.50 including USPS priority mail. Lots of Seussy goodness :-D

In between all the dyeing awesomeness I managed to work a bit more on my Snarky mitts. All that's left on this one is the thumb and tacking down the hem. Only 2 days left to this term of Nerd Wars - keep your fingers crossed for me that I'll be able to finish them in time to bring points and glory to Team Tardis!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow Day!

I'm ready for winter to go away. You might think that as a yarnaholic that I'd totally dig the winter months because it's a great time to dig out the squishy soft warm goodness and wear layers upon layers of yarny awesomeness without dying of heat stroke. You'd be right. It would be a fantastic idea... if I had layers upon layers of hand knits to wear. I haven't even been addicted to knitting for a year yet, and most of that knitting time was spent knitting gifts for friends and family. That was great fun, but 2011 is the year of selfish knitting so maybe I'll be prepared for next winter. As you might know,  I've been crocheting for years, but crocheting wearables has never really been my thing. I prefer toys.

Anyway... the point is that when the snow hits the Puget Sound, the idea of going to work is even less appealing than usual. Not only are the roads dangerous, but I spend the day attempting to stay warm. Thank goodness for my Tenth Doctor fingerless mitts - they're quite an improvement at work over last year! Wednesday, on my way to work, I looked at the snow dusted evergreens lining the freeway and inspiration struck. Snow Day yarn could be totally cool. Cool in the good way :-)

As luck would have it, it snowed hard enough and the roads were dangerous enough that I didn't have to go to work yesterday. I got a true snow day. As much as I wanted to go build a snow dalek, the call of the crock pot was stronger and I spent the entire day dyeing. 6 skeins total, most of which will go up in the shop next week, but one that I just can't wait to share and now available in my shop...

Snow Day on Schmutzy

Proof that I'm preparing for next winter: One of my many current WIPs, Slightly Snarky Reading Mitts. This is the first mitt, just starting on the thumb gusset. I'm hoping to finish them this weekend between all the dyeing. Wish me luck!

Oh, and for the record, I'm sad that spellcheck doesn't seem to think "dalek" is a real word.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Blog? Really?

Yes, really. I've been thinking about getting back into blogging lately, but the old one ( just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I still love the old site and I'm going to keep it open for the patterns I have posted there - I just think that something specific for my new yarny business is needed. Don't get me wrong, I definitely plan on rambling on and on about nothing in particular as per usual, but hopefully more of it will be related to the business stuff. Announcements, works in progress, that kind of stuff. I don't know... it probably won't be anything spectacular, but it'll be mine. That's all that counts :-)

I'm not feeling particularly inspired by words tonight (as I'm sure you've figured by now), but I'm finally back to the dye pot for the first time since vacation! Inspired by the snow today, I dyed up a new colorway called Snow Day that actually came out exactly like I imagined it. Love it when that happens!!!