Saturday, December 16, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Northern Lights

I grew up in Maine, and even in southern Maine, on the rare occasion you can catch a faint glimpse of the dancing lights in the sky caused by colliding electrically charged particles entering the Earth's atmosphere over the north pole known as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

Now the faint displays are nothing like the vibrant pictures of this phenomenon you can find in your google search, but there were a couple of occasions that I remember being awe inspiring and even a little scary. What was this magic that caused what looked like blue fire in the sky? I'm older than google, so at that time, I didn't have the answer in the palm of my hand.

"Northern Lights" is my interpretation of the aurora borealis. I intentionally used my Disco Monkey base in this colorway's creation due to its stellina content, which provides me a starry sky. I layer multiple blues, being sure to leave some white, silver and grey for the brightest of flashes. Knit up into socks, the colors chase each other around in a spiral, mimicking the swirling flashes of color I saw in the northern skies.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 50 - Knit Mania

I'm a knitting fool - two pairs of socks, a fingering weight sweater and and fingering weight blanket are on the needles! I demonstrate the Chinese Waitress cast on - if you are looking for a super stretchy short tail cast on, this one is for you.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Newspaper & Coffee

I actually demonstrated and talked about this colorway and its inspiration pretty extensively in my podcast (Episode 43: Inspiration), but wanted to kind of expand on how everyday items can be inspiration for colorways.

In this particular case, the colorway was inspired by a yarn my mother had purchased and described to me over the phone. That yarn had a colorway name of "newsprint" if memory serves, and I found myself immediately inspired by the romantic idea of the peaceful scene around your morning newspaper and coffee.
I dyed this yarn in my roasting pans using a high acid solution soak and my scribble dyeing technique in which I apply dye to the yarn in random patterns using condiment bottles. For this colorway I incorporated a black, silver and coffee brown tone. What I created captured the warm yellow brown tones left behind by coffee rings on the varying intensities of print found on your morning paper. This colorway makes me feel all warm and relaxed and peaceful; triggers all the feelings of that newspaper and coffee experience.

This experience/emotional triggering is often my goal when creating colorways. I want to surround myself/my knitting customers in warm, happy, memory drenched familiarity.

If you are looking to create a colorway and need inspiration, look to your favorite activities. Look at the colors of the environment that holds that activity for you. Whether it's the color of the tile at your favorite spa, the seats and drapes of your local theater, or as simple as the color of your fuzzy slippers, a yarn dyeing in these colors will provide you a gateway to re-experiencing this happy place for the duration of the project you knit with it, and the life of the product you produce.

After I finish reading the paper over a cup of coffee, I have a cowl to knit that will remind me of that morning quiet time for years to come.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Midnight Ginger Snaps

Someone (Kait!) once asked me which of my colorways do I hate to make and why.

I honestly didn't have to think too hard about the question before I came up with this answer.

"Midnight Ginger Snaps" is the result of a rescue attempt on a bad dye job.

This colorway is one of my earliest creations. I actually love the colorway. I hate making it for a number of reasons. The first reason being that it reminds me of a time that I strove for a particular look and failed. Miserably. All the other reasons are tied to anxieties about trying to recreate accidental perfection from not great notes and the fact that multiple processes have to be worked to achieve it, but I digress...

I LOVE the colors orange and blue together. So much so that on casual Fridays at work, you will often find me in blue jeans and a construction cone, day-glow orange polo shirt. It is my favorite color combination and I set out to make a yarn that captured that.

What I got was a hideous yarn with navy and ugly vibrant burnt orange that was going to pool. It was hideous. I allowed it to dry, hoping the colors would bloom and I would see it differently the next day. It only got worse. Even my very supportive husband inquired "What are you going to do with THAT?

I was very unhappy. I knew it needed a rescue, and so, I over dyed it. From that came some unexpected results.

Working with dyes, strange "not color wheel" things happen. For example, if you apply a light purple over yellow, you get a rich gold color. In this particular case, I applied navy over orange and got a lovely ginger color.

The over dye result was more than a rescue, it was a win. I love the result. It made me reminiscent of a camping trip I had taken with my husband in which we had unwisely packed dry ice on the top of our food cooler and effectively frozen everything solid. Our first dinner on that trip was eaten by flashlight in our navy tent and comprised solely of that which wasn't frozen: corn chips, peanut M&M's and gingersnap cookies. "Midnight Ginger Snaps" resembles the colors in that memory, as well as how making do with what we had became so much more.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 49 - Traveler's Tales



In which I gab at length about my trip to Knit Ithaca NY, visit mum & sis in Maine, then Pop Up at Unwound in La Crosse WI and show off my projects and acquisitions as well as some upcoming designs.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 48 - You only have to imagine it

So much to share! Questions and answers including the Infinite Long Tail Cast On for Invisible Join, current projects and my very exciting upcoming visit to Unwound in La Crosse, WI!

Contact Unwound to reserve your spot at the Breakfast with the Monkey @ JavaVino! Visit the shop for the Dye Monkey Unwound Take Over and be among the first to enjoy new colors, new bases including sock blanks, new kits and more! November 18-19th

Monday, October 23, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 47 - You asked for it

I keep getting great feedback about my demonstrations and recently have had requests to get back into the kitchen, so here it is: a whole episode dedicated solely (ha!) to airbrushing and stenciling a sock blank. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Come and get Unwound with Ms. Monkey!

The UNWOUND event is coming! 
Do you reside in, or plan to visit, the La Crosse, WI area?
Join me at Unwound November 18-19!
See the event schedule for more details and be sure to sign up and join us for Breakfast with the Monkey @ JavaVino on Saturday morning!!!

I have wonderful new products that will be available exclusively at the shop, including project kits and new yarn bases. I look forward to meeting you!