Friday, December 11, 2015

Inspiration & Holiday Colors Sale

What inspires color?

Sometimes a sound or music.
Sometimes a thought or ideal.
Often a memory or emotion.

I hope you love the colors my memories of holidays past inspired for you.

Coupon Code "HappyHolidays" gets you 25% OFF until December 20th in my Etsy shop.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Color Friday

Here I sit contemplating my day over a mug of coffee while my husband prepares to go to work.  It's "Black Friday" - I really hate black friday. Why, you ask? Because I don't like the crowds and pressure. For me the holidays are about getting away from the crowds and pressure. They're about taking in the season, enjoying the sights and smells and sounds, about pulling back from it all and appreciating what you have, not what you want. The very thought of having to leave my house for as much as a trip to the grocery for aspirin brings me out in a sweat. I used to love shopping for friends and family, but over the years the crowds and pressure have just gotten to be too much for me. I've already (it's 6am) heard multiple sirens off in the distance, presumably rescuing an auto accident victim or headed out to control a retail issue, it doesn't matter; I don't want to get in the way.

And so, I plan my day.  I think today I'll dye.

What a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the season. I'll turn on some holiday music, nibble some cookies... wait - what cookies?  Okay... try again. I'll turn on some holiday music, make a couple batches of cookies to nibble on, and let the sounds and smells of the season inspire me to create some new colorways.  I'll dance, play with the dogs, get a little knitting in between dye batches, maybe do some reading/catch up on blogs. My husband reads my blogs over my shoulder and just reminded me that a glass of wine could be on my list. I can make that happen too. Whole thing sounds like a great plan.

And so, I'm off to create "Color Friday".  How do you spend your holidays?


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Creating Time

The older I get, the faster the years seem to pass me by. This year certainly went quickly, but looking back on it, I think I filled it up pretty well.

2015 saw the launch of my indie-yarn line Dye Monkey Yarns, which has been a tremendous amount of fun.  I've loved developing new colorways . I've also loved developing new patterns specifically for those yarns, and had the pleasure of releasing my Signature Series Kits - pattern/yarn combos for purchase.

2015 also saw a continuation of my pattern design work. I released new patterns for two cowls, three shawls and a hat - whether as individual patterns or as part of a kit.  I have patterns for a hat and a shawl still in the tech edit process waiting for release, yet another shawl being test knit, and so many ideas for more patterns my head explodes for the possibilities! I'm so in love with the develop and design process. I wish I could dedicate more time to it.

And that is the big thing... finding more time to dedicate to what I love. I think we all struggle with that. Don't get me wrong - I don't hate my day job. In fact I really enjoy my "real job" and gain a sense of fulfillment out of it, but it does take a significant amount of time from all the other things I love - my home & family, dyeing, knitting, reading, writing, cooking...

This year, as a gift to myself, my husband and I will be renovating my studio. I talk about wanting more time to do the things I love, and sometimes the best way to make time is to remove the things that slow us down.  Right now, my studio slows me down, mentally, emotionally, even physically.

This renovation will be refining and refreshing. We'll be taking out the scruffy old, stained carpet that depresses and embarrasses me and putting in a floating vinyl "wood" floor.  We're going to paint the walls in colors I love, remove the panel doors from the closets that are always open anyway, and add a bookshelf to consolidate all the knitting and dyeing books into one area. (I currently have books tucked into six widespread locations throughout the house!) The project will be generally updating the space to provide me an organized, friendly work space.

We've got a week off from our jobs to make this happen, and although I know it's going to be a lot of work, I'm looking forward to it. Not only will I get a new workspace, I'll get a week at home, working with my husband to improve our space, an activity we really enjoy. I'm betting I can work some dyeing, knitting, reading, writing and cooking in to that week too. ;)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Signature Series Kit 3: Peaks & Pints Hat Kit


Kit includes 1 skein of Salsa Monkey in your choice of color "Bittersweet" or "Casual Fridays", ravelry/digital delivered copy of Peaks & Pints Hat pattern (written & charted), and your choice of coordinating fabric project bin courtesy of Harbor House Baskets - retail price for items individually is $28.00 - KIT PRICE $25.00 + S&H

International Shipping is available.

YARN: 
Salsa Monkey Worsted Weight Yarn: 100% Superwash Merino 100g/218 yards 
This yarn is soft, durable and felt-able. Perfect for just about anything - this one is a straight up work horse with pleasurable hand.

“Casual Fridays” is a denim blue, reminiscent of the kind of denim jeans you can get away with at work on Fridays - new, no holes, but still obviously a comfortable denim jean. This yarn is kettle dyed and features tonal variations.

“Bittersweet” is a golden brown, reminiscent of bittersweet dark chocolate with very subtle creamy golden undertones. This is NOT milk chocolate or even “brown” per se - this is coffee/mocha/cocoa.. This yarn is kettle dyed and features tonal variations.

PATTERN: 
“Carved perfect turns in fresh powder with friends all day, and now you’re recapping the thrills and trying not to spill your pint at the local microbrewery. Yeah, you took a wicked header and they all laughed, but you’re laughing last… they’re buying and you’re looking cool in this hat.”

Sizes: 
Unisex – Will fit head 20-25”

Kit quantities are limited. Yarn and pattern will not be available for purchase again until March 2016.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

First Frost Lace Weight Yarn Club


First Frost Lace Weight Yarn Club is a 3 month club with shipments starting in December 2015.

The club features two levels:

Level One: Receive 1 skein/colorway per month for 3 months US: $99 / CANADA: $114

Level Two: Receive 2 skeins/colorways per month for 3 months US: $192.75 / CANADA $208.50

Payment arrangements can be made, or you may make a single payment.

Level One: Three Payments of $33 (US) / $38 (CANADA) 
Level Two: Three Payments of $64.25 (US) / $69.50 (CANADA)

Club members will have the option of purchasing additional skeins of their favorite colorways to add to their club. 
US: $31.25/skein CANADA $31.50/skein

  • You will pick the colorways you wish to receive.
  • ALL prices include shipping.
  • You are welcome to order a club membership as a gift.
  • You may choose invoicing via PayPal or Private Listing via Etsy.
  • Shipments will begin December 5th, and subsequent packages will go out the first week of January and February.
  • The club is open to US and Canada only.
  • Colorways will not be available to purchase outside of the club until May 2016.



Colorways (left to right): Smoked Plum, Shale, Sterling, Mulled Wine, Chocolate, Midnight

These colorways were designed as a cohesive collection. Each colorway will work in conjunction with every other colorway for beautiful two-color projects.

Skeins shown above have been re-skeined to exemplify their tonal qualities. You will receive your skeins as they come out of the dyepot.

Yarn: Waltz Monkey ~ 80% Superfine Merino/20% Silk 100g/875 yards 
Airy and elegant with a light sheen. Blocks beautifully.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

SALE!

I've moved a number of low quantity colorways to the SALE department and reduced prices to make room for new fall/winter colorways.  Get them while you can!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Signature Series Kit 2: Ferndale Shawl - Now Available!

I'm very excited to announce the Ferndale Shawl kits are now available for purchase.

Kit includes 2 skeins of Twist Monkey in “Old Money”, ravelry/digital delivered copy of Ferndale Shawl pattern (written & charted), and a coordinating fabric project bin courtesy of Harbor House Baskets - retail price for items individually is $80.50 -
KIT PRICE $70.00 + S&H 
International Shipping is available.
Click to Purchase

The project bin included with this kit is lovely! Square base 6.5" x 6.5" (16cm x 16cm) / 7 3/4" (19.5 cm) tall. Cotton with stabilizer/stiffener - shown with top edge turned down to show off contract/coordinating internal fabric. Lovely shades of cream/ecru/beige - will compliment almost any decor; excellent size for your current knitting project & tools. Could readily hold 4 skeins of yarn + project. Multiple home uses as well.

COUPON CODES DO NOT APPLY to this item. Thank you.

Please, if you are not a member of ravelry, let me know what email address to deliver your pattern to. Patterns will NOT be delivered in print format. Thank you.

Quantities are limited, so act fast.  Pattern and yarn will not be available again until February 2016.

Signature Series Kit 2: Ferndale Shawl - Now Available!

I'm very excited to announce the Ferndale Shawl kits are now available for purchase.

Kit includes 2 skeins of Twist Monkey in “Old Money”, ravelry/digital delivered copy of Ferndale Shawl pattern (written & charted), and a coordinating fabric project bin courtesy of Harbor House Baskets - retail price for items individually is $80.50 -
KIT PRICE $70.00 + S&H 
International Shipping is available.

The project bin included with this kit is lovely! Square base 6.5" x 6.5" (16cm x 16cm) / 7 3/4" (19.5 cm) tall. Cotton with stabilizer/stiffener - shown with top edge turned down to show off contract/coordinating internal fabric. Lovely shades of cream/ecru/beige - will compliment almost any decor; excellent size for your current knitting project & tools. Could readily hold 4 skeins of yarn + project. Multiple home uses as well.

Yarn: Twist Monkey - 70% Superwash Merino/30% Silk 100g/438 yards
This is a high-twist single with a gorgeous sheen and light halo.
Very fancy - the perfect choice for formal wear, heirlooms, weddings, etc.

COUPON CODES DO NOT APPLY to this item. Thank you.

Please, if you are not a member of ravelry, let me know what email address to deliver your pattern to. Patterns will NOT be delivered in print format. Thank you.

Quantities are limited, so act fast.  Pattern and yarn will not be available again until February 2016.

Click to Purchase

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dyeing for Fall!!

Autumn is fast approaching. It has always been my favorite time of year. I love the smells - crisp morning air, rain, school supplies, yarn, fresh split logs for the fire, bread... all the things that come with the return to school days and the preparation for colder weather. I also love all the colors, especially the changing of the leaves.

Ferndale Shawl in Twist Monkey "Old Money"
This year I'm hard at work preparing a dye-namic explosion of yarn choices for you. There are new yarn bases, which I wrote about before, and some fun new colors. There are also a couple of exciting new kits on the way - the first of which will be the second edition of the Signature Series. This kit includes the Ferndale Shawl pattern, two (2) skeins of Twist Monkey in "Old Money" and a coordinating project bin in exclusive cooperation with Harbor House Baskets - a very luxurious kit indeed! This kit is available in very limited quantities, so you'll want to move fast once they go on sale. If you'd like to make an early reservation, either contact me on Ravelry in the Dye Monkey Yarns Group or email me directly. Early reservations get first notification when kits go on sale, prior to public announcement.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shop Update: New Colorways for Fall!

 I've just updated my Etsy Shop with new colorways!

Drusilla on Tap Monkey fingering
Two of my favorites this season are Drusilla and Night Shadows.

Drusilla is a strong, powerful, magical and decidedly evil woman. She's also loyal, loving and beautiful, but cross her and she'll call upon the flying monkeys.

Lovely walnut wood tones from deep browns to tawny tans, accented with glorious rich purples and lavenders. This yarn was kettle dyed, but due to some clever techniques, it is likely to self stripe if you knit socks with it.

Night Shadows on Hip Hop Monkey fingering


Night Shadows

Curious shapes appear in the dark of night, especially under a full moon.

Deep navy, black-navy shadows, full moon white and many interesting shades in between.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yarn Around the World

World Wide Shipping Now Available!

I've had so many requests to expand my shipping to other countries outside of US & Canada - thank you all for your interest!  Effective immediately, world wide shipping is now available in my Etsy shop.

Please understand, shipping times will vary.  I will always ship within 48 hours of your order, but once it has left my hands, it is out of my control.  You will always receive an email with shipping notification and tracking number.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sale!


Please be sure to add the Swift River Cowl pattern to your shopping cart. 
Price will be discounted off at time of purchase.  No coupon code needed.

Signature Series Kit 1: Ebbenflow Cowl UPDATE

Chalk Line on HipHop Monkey.
I have exactly 5 kits left!  
Order yours now before it's too late.

The kit includes: Ravelry pattern download or digital delivery of PDF for Non-Rav Members and one (1) skein of Dye Monkey Yarns HipHop Monkey Colorway: Chalk Line (100% Superwash Merino 100g/400 yards)

$35.00 Each, S&H included


If you would like to order your kit with additional skeins of Chalk Line, please contact me for pricing and I will invoice you directly.

I am happy to ship kits as gifts. Please specify in "additional instructions" when ordering or email me directly.

Kits will ship on or before June 13th.
Pattern details can be found here.
A Knit-A-Long will be hosted in my JesseKnits Ravelry Group. Feel free to join us!

My apologies - at this time I am only shipping to North America (ie US & Canada).

***Oh, and do you LOVE the fabric bin I staged the yarn and cowl in?  Sorry. The bin isn't part of the kit, but bins are available for purchase from Harbor House Baskets Etsy Store


Shop Update: New Weight (lace) & New Colors!

Just updated my Etsy shop with new yarns!

I'm now offering "Email & Merlot" on Salsa Monkey (worsted), and "Single & Fabulous" on Ballet Monkey (lace).

I've also added two new colorways:


"Wizard's Ink" which has a gorgeous mix of purples from lilac to plum, periwinkle to navy and hints of deep teal to turquoise with occasional variances up to pink. Like ink swirling...

and

"Partly Cloudy" with glorious crystal blue skies of summer with just a smattering of clouds. Blues range from pale baby blue to rich "crayola" blue, with hints of everything from teal to periwinkle, and of course hints of silver, white and cream. Really lovely. Both of the new colorways are on Tango Monkey (worsted - high yardage - 430 yards/250g)

Monday, June 1, 2015

The New Yarn Bases Are Coming!

I've just ordering in some new yarn bases to dye for you and I'm ridiculously excited about them!

New in Lace Weight:
Waltz Monkey - 80% Superfine Merino 20% Silk 100g/875 yards
Airy and elegant with a light sheen. Blocks beautifully.

I think Waltz Monkey would be prefect for large shawls. It's very ethereal and the hand is like knitting clouds. Really just a dream. A bridal shawl would be gorgeous in this - just enough sheen to stand out as special, without being overwhelming.

New in Fingering Weight:
Twist Monkey - 70% Superwash Merino 30% Silk 100g/438 yards
This is a high-twist single with a gorgeous sheen and light halo.
Very fancy - the perfect choice for formal wear, heirlooms, weddings, etc.

I'm in love with Twist Monkey. It makes me think of fancy dinners, city lights, cocktail parties, art openings... it's all very high society elegant chic. Again, gorgeous smooth hand. The high twist makes this fingering weight look like a lace weight, but it has mass and will drape. I can only imagine what beads would look like on this!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Pattern Available: Ebbenflow Cowl

Energy, water, air, love, and laughter all experience an ebb and flow. The trick is learning how to go with the flow and, oddly enough, it is ultimately the most natural way. It actually takes more effort to strain against the ebb and flow in our lives. Soft, elastic, light and pretty, this slightly biased cowl will accentuate any outfit. It may not help you sort out all the stresses in your life, but it will give you an easy project to work on while you ride the waves.

Finished Measurement:
This cowl is knit in the round with no seaming. Directions are given for a 56” circumference cowl with a height of 13”. This pattern is easily adaptable. To change circumference you need only cast on more or fewer stitches in multiples of 20. Changes in height are achieved by working more or fewer vertical repeats of the lace chart.

Yarn Requirements:
Necessary yardage will vary with any sizing customization you choose to execute.
Approximately 350 - 380 yards were required for the 56” circumference/13” tall cowl as instructed.

Shown in Dye Monkey Yarns, HipHop Monkey
(400 yards/100grams, Fingering, 100% Superwash Merino, color: Chalk Line).

Recommended Needles:
Size 8 (5mm) 40” Circular needle or size required to get gauge.

Supplies:
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.
Stitch markers and row counter may be helpful.

Gauge:
Approximately 12 sts / 28 rows = 4” (10 cm) in lace pattern in the round, blocked.

Pattern released exclusively in Dye Monkey Yarns Signature Series Kit 1: June 2015

The kit includes: Ravelry pattern download or digital delivery of PDF for Non-Rav Members and one (1) skein of Dye Monkey Yarns HipHop Monkey Colorway: Chalk Line (100% Superwash Merino 100g/400 yards)
$35.00 Each, S&H included




If you would like to order your kit with additional skeins of "Chalk Line", please contact me for pricing and I will invoice you directly.

I am happy to ship kits as gifts. Please specify in "additional instructions" when ordering or email me directly.

Kits will ship on or before June 13th.
A Knit-A-Long will be hosted in my JesseKnits Ravelry Group. Feel free to join us!

My apologies - at this time I am only shipping to North America (ie US & Canada).

Public pattern release scheduled for January 2016.

Today in the Dye Pot...

"Single & Fabulous" on Tap Monkey Fingering
I'm dancing in dye again!

Today's dye pots include a lace weight of "Single & Fabulous"
- just because I think this color would make an absolutely sinful shawl, and I'm playing with blues, purples and hints of teal on some worsted weight.

I'll let you all know once they hit the shop!  Happy Crafting!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Signature Series Kit 1: Ebbenflow Cowl

Ebbenflow Cowl in Dye Monkey Yarns HipHop Monkey
Colorway: Chalk Line
(100% Superwash Merino 100g/400 yards)
I'm very excited to announce the availability of the first of my new Signature Series Kits - the Ebbenflow Cowl!

This is a limited release. Pattern and yarn will not be available again until January 2016.

The kit includes: Ravelry pattern download or digital delivery of PDF for Non-Rav Members and one (1) skein of Dye Monkey Yarns HipHop Monkey Colorway: Chalk Line (100% Superwash Merino 100g/400 yards)

$35.00 Each, S&H included



If you would like to order your kit with additional skeins of Chalk Line, please contact me for pricing and I will invoice you directly.

I am happy to ship kits as gifts. Please specify in "additional instructions" when ordering or email me directly.

Kits will ship on or before June 13th.
Pattern details can be found here.
A Knit-A-Long will be hosted in my JesseKnits Ravelry Group. Feel free to join us!

My apologies - at this time I am only shipping to North America (ie US & Canada).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Last Skein of Colorway on Sale


Last Skein!! Cupcake Confetti on Salsa Monkey - SALE regularly $12.00 - Now just $9.00 (plus S&H)

Birthday Party hot pink, pink, lavender, purple, plum, blue and white.
Variegated and speckled like confetti on top of a cupcake.

This is a hand painted/hand dyed yarn. Variations will occur from skein to skein.
Photo has been taken to best show colors, however color representation varies from device to device/monitor to monitor. 

Salsa Monkey - 100% Merino 100g/220 yards
Soft, durable and felt-able. Perfect for just about anything - this one is a straight up work horse with pleasurable hand. 
Hand Wash ~ Air Dry
Available on Etsy

New Colorway - I love this red!

Single & Fabulous on Tap Monkey.

Okay, so he left. Now what?
Wait.
He didn't leave. Nope. YOU threw HIM out.
He never was good enough; never treated you as good as you deserved.
You were always fabulous, but now you're Single AND Fabulous! wearing your hottest reds and calling him out. Next time he sees you, he'll know his mistakes.

Red. EVERY red. From deep maroon up to a crayon red and on to blushing roses and blood tones, with dashes of whites and pinks. Generally in the blue family of reds. NOT orange-reds.

This is a hand painted/hand dyed yarn. Variations will occur from skein to skein.
Photo has been taken to best show colors, however color representation varies from device to device/monitor to monitor. 

Tap Monkey Yarn Base - 75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon 100g/463 yards
Soft, elastic and durable; a gorgeous sock yarn. Hand Wash ~ Air Dry 
Available in Etsy Store

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Knowing when to call it quits...

Today, I killed a WIP. Dead. It wasn't working for me. I tried. I tried valiantly, but in the end, it had to go.

I'm still not sure what was wrong with it. It was a sock pattern I'd knit a couple of times before. I liked the yarn - the color wasn't quite me, but the hand was nice. The first time I ripped back was because I'd realized I'd knit the foot about an inch too short. The second time was because somehow I was on the wrong row after the heel was completed. I studied those socks against each other and could not find the error. I'm still not sure if the problem was with the first or second sock, or simply with the knitter.

In the end, I announced to my husband that I was simply going to throw the whole mess away, and for once, instead of encouraging me to fix it and move on, he agreed that this horse was well beaten and it needed to go. I suggested ripping it all back and gifting the yarn. He said no. The negative energy I'd twisted into that yarn would only torment the next knitter. And so, I yanked out my needles and threw the whole thing away. It was stunningly liberating. The weight lifted from my shoulders instantaneously. Now I'm on to new things.

I need to learn when to call it quits. I think I work a lot of things way past dead. Is that part of being a perfectionist?

Strains of Kenny Rogers now haunt my thoughts... "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Towel Wrapped & Dripping Brilliance

I often find I'm my most creative ideas come to me in the shower. This morning was no exception.  I don't understand this phenomenon; I think it might have something to do with the fact that I am at my absolute furthest from pen and paper when soap is running into my eyes. Nevertheless, towel wrapped and dripping, I was able to capture the ideas on paper, and once dry set off to make them realities.

One such idea was for a couple of new colorways. They are on the drying rack now, and you'll see them soon.

Another thing that occurred to me which I will be implementing is a focus on dividing up my fingering yarns into slightly different categories - tonal and self-striping.  This will enable you to better understand how the yarn is likely to behave when you are working with it.

The big idea, however, is going to take a little more time. I will be launching a Signature Series of colorway & pattern packages/kits. Each of these kits will be release in limited quantity and will remain exclusive to the kit release for an extended period of time. My goal is to release a new Signature Series Kit either every two or three months, with the first release scheduled for June. June's kit is already in process - wait till you see this color!

If you are interested in receiving early notification when these kits become available, please visit my Ravelry group and respond to the appropriate post.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New Payment Options!

Midnight Ginger Snaps - Swing Monkey
80% BFL/20% Bamboo ~ Fingering
My Etsy shop has now been enabled with Direct Checkout.  This allows you to choose between using a PayPal account or paying directly with your credit/debit card.  It also enables me to accept Etsy Gift Cards... you know...just in case you were to receive one for Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Shop Update - New Weight, New Colors & a Returning Color

Etsy shop has just been updated! I've added two high yardage worsted yarns (430yds) - Silver Lining and Barn Wood, brought back Email & Merlot due to popular demand, and added four new colorways in fingering: Peppermint Taffy, Midnight Ginger Snaps, Red Grapes, and Fresh Cut Grass.

Don't forget - still celebrating the Grand Opening. Be sure to use coupon code "GoMonkey15" for 15% off your order.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

If wishes were fishes, there'd be pictures

We accidentally discovered, a few years back now, that the best time to take photos of either my designs or products is first thing in the morning in the front garden. There is plenty of true daylight ambient light without it being too direct, and we get the most accurate color depictions.

Trick to that is, it can't be raining.

It's been raining. A lot. A crazy lot for New Mexico. We suspect "they" are trying to rain-seed for California and failing, and it's drifting out here instead.

Now mind you, I LOVE the rain. I'm a grinning fool when it's raining in the desert. But, I don't like the rain when I have mounds of yarns waiting for photography so that I can impress you with my latest colorways.

Yes, I tried other lighting and venues. I'm just not satisfied. So, it will have to wait. The upside is the next update will be a big one.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Busy Day

My day started with coffee and progressed quickly to cleaning the chicken coop, followed by a nice hot shower.  With chores done, my husband took off on his motorcycle for a day-long adventure and I went to work.

I made the most of today and boy was I busy!

I have six new colorways dyed up and ready for photography. With a little luck the light will be good tomorrow morning and I can get that done before heading out to my "real job". Dyeing can be a lot of work, but it's fun work.  I tinkered around with a new technique today and I really like the results. I'm hoping you will too.

I've got several orders packaged up and ready to go out in the morning as well. So far, the post office has been very quick and orders have been delivered to customers in less time than expected. Tomorrow I'll be sending out my first international order to BC, Canada.  I'm curious to see how quickly that package travels.

I set up a separate group on Ravelry specifically for Dye Monkey Yarns. Originally I had DMY as part of my Jessica L'Heureux Designs group, but it was causing difficulty for advertisers. Now, with two separate groups, Yarnies can advertise in my pattern group, and Designers can advertise in my yarn group. More exposure for everyone.

All this and I had time to bake up a new paleo recipe: butterscotch cupcakes.  They are amazing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dye Theory

I'm often asked how I come up with my colorways / what my color theory is. I think this is an interesting question that every dyer has a different answer to.

When I first became interested in dyeing yarns and teaching color theory in my knitting classes I did a lot of research.

When you read about color theory, they start with science, presenting complementary colors, gradients, triads and such for you to absorb like a collection of hard rules. I find rules limiting. Then they tell you if you can't handle the rules to look to nature. Funny thing about nature is, she has a much broader palette to choose from than the average dye offerings. Yes, you can blend and mix up just about any color, but nature doesn't need to create 17 different dyes to present you with leaf green, and until you look at that leaf, really look at it, you don't realize that it is so much more than just green. Of course, then they tell you to watch out for false nature (gardens with non-indigenous plants located close to each other/designed landscapes) and to go with your gut - use what ever color speaks to you.  Ha! How many of you want to knit with construction cone orange?  It's a color I love, but I just don't see it being a big seller.

So what is my "dye theory"?

It's kind of complicated, actually. Intentionally even.

I'm a huge fan of J. Peterman.  Some of you may be familiar with the name from the show Seinfeld; Elaine worked for Peterman.  Some of you may know the name from the catalog.  Some of you may not be familiar at all.  J. Peterman - who, interestingly enough, was one of the founders of Job's Plant Fertilizer Spikes - is/was the owner of The J. Peterman Catalog Company, a seller of fine clothing, accessories and collectibles.  The catalog is known simply as The Owner's Manual, and it's from that which I get most of my inspiration.

The catalog is a non-standard size and featured, until quite recently, only hand drawings of the products beside the most wonderful, romantic, scene setting descriptions you've ever read.  Along with the product, these descriptions sold a feeling, an attitude, an entire world for you to appreciate them in.  They take: "Khaki slacks, 80/20 cotton/poly sizes 2-16" and make it: "Not just another day at the office, but the day. The day your report is selected for presentation to the whole board. The day you stroll in clean, crisp, prepared. The day you are promoted. No sweat. No wrinkles. No problem. Everyday khaki's for everyday success. 80/20 cotton/poly sizes 2-16".  Setting the scene and visualizing the product makes it so much more desirable, at least for me, than "Here. Take it or leave it."  Let's face it.  It's probably the exact same product.  It's the presentation that makes the sale.

So what has this got to do with "dye theory"?

Everything. I can't dye perfect matches of nature, nor can I sell an exclusive line of fluorescent orange yarn successfully. I can however dye the "sketch" - the semblance of something bigger and grander, and I can present the story of what I'm trying to represent in such a way that you'll fall in love with it (hopefully) as much as I am.

The first such of these yarns was Beach House. I had this idea about trying to capture the colors of driftwood. Mother Nature used somewhere around a billion colors to create this fascinating bit of discard. I worked with two. But then I had to connect that bit of wood to its setting: a beach, an ocean. Again, Mother Nature used another couple billion colors, I scrounged around and found.... ta da! two. And so I created a sketch with four colors of something grand and beautiful that takes billions of colors to present, and I aimed to share my story with words - "Crystal blue waves, creamy white sands, and rich, aged driftwoods dotting the seascape - cream, dove gray, pale browns, and blues ranging from pale sky to deeper water denim tones. You can almost hear the gulls and smell the salt air."

I hope my yarns invoke happy memories, warm romantic ideas and inspiration through the color sketches I create. I hope my descriptions help you visualize the colors more clearly so that you can choose the yarn that helps create a perfect piece for you.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Pattern Available: Moontrimmer

Fastest way to get anywhere is by broom, but what if you want to fly to the moon?  Simple, grab a Moontrimmer broom and attain previously unimaginable heights and greater successes. Flying higher since 1901.

Finished Measurements and Yarn Requirements will vary based on your yarn & needle selection as well as chosen number of Body Chart repeats. As a general guide I offer the following:

Sizes / Blocked Dimensions:
Small: (7 body chart repeats) 54” wide x 23” deep
Large: (10 body chart repeats) 75” wide x 31” deep

Yarn Requirements:
Small: Approximately 490 yards of fingering weight
Large: Approximately 980 yards of fingering weight

Shown in Fino (color: 419 Brass Button) by Manos del Uruguay (490 yards/448 meters per 100g – fingering weight – 70% Merino, 30% Silk)

Needles: Size 4 (3.5mm) 40-47” circular needles
Note: For cast on and setup, I prefer to work on either short straights or DPN’s.  It provides more control and less clutter, allowing you to establish your setup with more stability.

Supplies: Cable needle, tapestry needle for weaving in ends, and row counter may be helpful.

Gauge: Approximately 24 sts in pattern = 4” (10cm).  Your gauge will vary depending on your yarn and needle choice.

  Ravelry $5.00 USD

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grand Opening Sale!


I'm celebrating Dye Monkey Yarns with a Grand Opening Sale and Giveaway!

Get 15% OFF your purchase by using coupon code GoMonkey15. Offer good until May 31st.

For every skein purchased in the month of May 2015, you will earn 1 entry into my Grand Opening Drawing to WIN a copy of Wendy D. Johnson's "Toe-Up Socks for Every Body"

Book will be shipped at no charge to drawing winner June 5, 2015.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dyer Moments - Dyer Consequences

In which I tell you a little bit about how this began...

"Beach House" on Tap Monkey
I've always been fascinated by hand dyed and hand painted yarns. I remember feeling like a kid in a candy store the first time I walked into an actual yarn store (not a craft store, but an actual fiber retailer) and discovered all the gorgeous yarns. I didn't know much about knitting back then, but I knew I was in love, and I knew I wanted to work with these jewels. Consequently, I bought a lot of cheap, mass production yarn and "got my needle on". I focused on skill development and worked my courage up to attempting projects with these masterpieces.

Once I understood more about both knitting and yarns, and had done a few projects with "the fancy stuff," I was introduced to the existence of the independent dyers. Somehow it didn't occur to me that yarn could come from anywhere other than some mass factory. I quickly became aware of the distinct differences between mass produced "hand painted" yarns and indie produced hand painted yarns. The really beautiful yarns varied from skein to skein - each a work of art into themselves. These were made with love, and I wanted to draw attention to these artists. I began a series of blog interviews I called Dyer Moments (archives here).

Ever since I did my very first blog interview with indie dyer Shannon Shaw back in December 2011, I've wanted to become an indie-dyer myself and offer my own line of colors. Shannon (with whom I've become fast friends, and from whom I've bought an amazing amount of yardage) and the subsequent population of dyers I interviewed were such inspiring individuals, so full of amazing creativity and passion, that I immediately felt at home with them and the idea of doing this myself.

I spent a lot of time experimenting and studying various techniques and materials. I discovered that one of my favorite techniques was dye-breaking, in which you actively do everything wrong so that the elements of the dyes that were blended to make a dye the color you were sold separate back into their parts and leave a fireworks display of color on your yarn, rather than the blended, packaged tone. I played with this technique extensively and even taught a "Breaking Bad / Breaking Good" yarn dyeing class here in Albuquerque. I loved teaching these classes; they were always fun and students left with their own beautiful creations and a sense of pride that they made it themselves.

And still, I didn't start my own company. Partly because I doubt myself, and partly out of respect and fear that I'd encroach on the businesses of my friends. Oddly enough, they had no fear of this.

Shannon who owns Supernatural Yarns has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. She helped me realize that this is ART and that every indie dyer has their own style, taste, ideas, and techniques. We an all work with the exact same materials and tools and end up with completely different products.

And consequently, I'm trying my hand at being an indie dyer. I hope you'll join me in this journey. Ask me questions, make comments, or simply sit back and enjoy.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Store, A Brand, An Adventure!

Dye Monkey Yarns Etsy store is officially open! And my Ravelry account has been upgraded to Yarnie status so that my brand is officially recognized by Ravelry.

Come join the adventure!

I'm a Yarnie!

I'm excited to announce that my account with Ravelry has been upgraded to Yarnie status to allow my yarns to be listed in their database.

Why is this so exciting?  Now you can add Dye Monkey Yarns to your online stash. Woohoo!

Dye Monkey Yarns can now be found HERE on Ravelry.  Come join the fun.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It's Official!

I couldn't be more excited - Etsy store is NOW OPEN!

I dye, I dyed, I am dying...

I've spent the past week creating wonderful soft and sparkly colorways to offer and I'm dying to get them loaded to my Etsy shop for you all to see. Unfortunately, it's dark and raining here and I'm having difficulty getting high enough quality photos that really show all the shades and gradients for you to see. Once the weather clears, I'll click, save, load and announce.

Until then, here's a little sneak peek: Email & Merlot on Tap Monkey.

Palest possible creams & whites with delicate splashes of burgundy, lavender and lilac...like wine spilled on your favorite white sweater while composing an emotional email that you shouldn't send.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The BIG Announcement!

I'm very excited to announce my latest adventure...
Dye Monkey Yarns!

I have a new blog specific to my hand painted and dyed yarns over at http://DyeMonkeyYarns.blogspot.com where I will be announcing all things yarny including new products, Etsy shop updates, yarn sales and clubs, as well as pattern releases that feature my yarns.

Come play with me!

Dyeing Dance Card

I'll be dyeing your yarn on the following bases:

Lace:

Ballet Monkey - 100% Merino 100g/880 yards
Soft, light, and blocks beautifully.

Fingering:

HipHop Monkey - 100% Superwash Merino 100g/400yards
Soft, elastic and durable; a gorgeous sock yarn. Equally beautiful for shawls.

Tap Monkey - 75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon 100g/463 yards
Soft, elastic and slightly more durable; another gorgeous sock yarn.

Jazz Monkey - 75% Superwash Merino/20% Nylon/ 5% Gold Stellina 100g/438 yards
Soft, elastic, slightly more durable and sparkly! Perfect for fancy socks or special shawls.

Disco Monkey 75% Superwash Merino/20% Nylon/ 5% Silver Stellina 100g/438 yards
Soft, elastic, slightly more durable and sparkly! Perfect for fancy socks or special shawls.

Swing Monkey - 80% Blue Faced Leicester/20% Bamboo 100g/437yards
All drape and shine with perhaps a little less elasticity than Merino, but the added benefit of being naturally anti-bacterial. Perfect for socks and family heirlooms alike.

Worsted:

Tango Monkey - 100% NZ Wool 250g/430yards
Luxurious soft to touch, yet durable, Perfect for "knit-then-felt" projects, hats, bags, sweaters & more.

Salsa Monkey - 100% Merino 100g/220 yards
Soft, durable and felt-able. Perfect for just about anything - this one is a straight up work horse with pleasurable hand.

Welcome!

Here it is, at long last... Dye Monkey Yarns!  I'm very excited.

I spent a number of years teaching my dyeing techniques to other knitters/crocheters and sold the odd skein here and there, but never officially offered my yarns to the public.  Friends, family and clients have been very supportive and encouraging.  I've dreamt of this for years and worked hard to make this a reality. Very soon I'll be opening my Etsy store and offering my hand dyed and painted yarns for sale to you.

I'll be announcing new products, shop updates, yarn sales and clubs, as well as pattern releases that feature my yarns, here on this blog.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Pattern Available: Swift River Cowl

Twisting and turning alongside the equally winding Kancamagus Highway, the Swift River feeds the dense trees whose leaves transform from summer greens to breathtaking shades of yellow and red just as autumn’s temperatures turn crisp.  Pull on the Swift River cowl, hop on your motorcycle and wind your way along the river and through the woods.

Finished Measurement:
This cowl is knit in the round with no seaming.  Directions are given for a 26” circumference cowl with a height of 13”.  This pattern is easily adaptable.  To change circumference you need only cast on more or fewer stitches in multiples of 12.  Changes in height are achieved by working more or fewer vertical repeats of the lace chart.

Yarn Requirements:
Necessary yardage will vary with any sizing customization you choose to execute.
Approximately 380 - 410 yards were required for the 26” circumference/13” tall cowl as instructed.

Shown in Shalimar Yarns, Zoe Sock
(450 yards/100grams, 4 Ply – Fingering, 100% Australian Superwash Merino, color: Sapote).

Recommended Needles:
Size 4 (3.5mm) 32” (80cm) Circular needle or size required to get gauge.

Supplies:
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.  Cable needle.
Stitch markers and row counter may be helpful.

Gauge:
Approximately 28 sts / 36 rows = 4” (10 cm) in stockinette stitch in the round.

 Ravelry $2.50 USD

Saturday, April 11, 2015

New Pattern Available: Aliqua Duo

Any two competitors can become a team and any two teams can become competitors.  Want to show support for your team but want something with a little more pizzazz than that logo’d cap and scarf? Worked in garter stitch with simple increases and decreases, you could whip this up while watching the game, and end up with something distinct, classy and still full of team spirit.

Finished Measurement:
Measurements will vary depending on how strongly or subtly you block your finished piece.  Approximately 74” x 14.5”

Yarn Requirements:
100 g each of two colors (A & B) Worsted Weight
Shown in Malabrigo Yarn Rios
(210 yards/100grams, 100% merino, colors:
66 Lavanda (A) & 138 Ivy (B)).

Recommended Needles:
Size 8 (5mm) 40” circular or size required to get gauge.  Please note – gauge is flexible, but yardage will vary

Supplies:
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:
Approximately 18 sts / 23 rows = 4” (10 cm) blocked

 Ravelry $2.50 USD

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WIP strategy fail

Sometimes things just don't work out, no matter how good our intentions.

I've been working hard to get my WIP pile down. One of the strategies I've been employing is the 15(ish) minutes a day(ish), in which I focus on one WIP for a short period of time to eat away at the task. I've been focusing on completing a second sock for about 2 weeks now. To make this seem more successful, I was NOT comparing my progress against the first sock.

Fail. This "not comparing" so as to be surprised by my progress was not a good strategy.

I discovered my fail during my lunch break at work today. I was knitting along in the sun, feeling very proud of myself that I'd made such progress. I knew I was very close to the end of the leg on this toe up pattern and finally chose to pull out the first sock to compare. I was sure I was going to be finishing a cuff over tomorrow's lunch and celebrating the completion of another beautiful pair of socks. NOPE; not unless I shorten one of my feet by an inch and a half. UGH. I started the heel too soon on my second sock, and the only way to correct it is to rip out the entire leg and heel, back to the foot.

I'm horribly disappointed. So much so that I seriously considered throwing the whole project in the trash. I've also considered simply ripping out both socks and putting the yarn back into my stash.

My husband is very supportive. He says I should just rip back and do it right, which is ultimately the right answer, but I am concerned about how well this yarn will rip back. This yarn is a 80% wool / 20% nylon, but it is incredibly soft... almost feels like it has some cotton content.

I think this project is headed for time out until I find strength enough in my heartache to make a solid decision.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tax Evasion

I do my own taxes. Every year I buy the software and spend my weekends preparing - piling up receipts, adding totals, gathering W-2's, 1099's, etc. and making notes. Eventually I sit down and plug all the data into the software. Then I walk away. I never submit the taxes first time around. I simply don't trust myself. I take a week or two off from the project and let the numbers and paperwork just sit. Then I go back, well rested with a clear head, and review all of my entries to be sure I didn't make any mistakes. I live in fear of the almighty audit.

I have NO reason to be afraid of being audited. I have every receipt, copy, and form from the past 8 years stored away in marked folders, far in excess of the recommended retention. I don't take any chances and don't guess. If I question anything, I ask questions and research until I'm comfortable I'm compliant. And yet, I'm still nervous. I sort of believe the IRS wants everyone to feel the way I do. The way they word questions and lines on the forms leaves me at a loss. According to a study conducted by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literary, 32 million adults in the US can't read - a full 14% of the population, and 21 percent of adults read below a 5th grade level. Someone needs to send a memo to the IRS!  I read quite well, and I still do not understand half of the language on these forms, which is part of why I buy software to spoon-feed me through the process. And even then, the software often takes ambiguity to a new level.

So, this is a knitting blog. WHY?!?! am I talking about taxes?

Ha! Tax evasion, of course.

This is the weekend I'm supposed to be doing my last review before submitting. So far, I've gotten groceries, done laundry, had a haircut, done dishes, taken myself out to lunch, finished a new knitting pattern design, written the pattern for said new design, sent it off for testing, started blocking a shawl, repotted several house plants, taken the winter divider door off the mud room (spring is here afterall), weeded the garden, washed the basket I collect my garden produce in, set up not one, but two crockpots full of porkbutt for shreading, visited my chickens, collected eggs, read, cleaned, updated my annual yardage tracking, updated my Ravelry stash tracking, refilled a soap pump, washed a mirror, gone through old coats and determined what needed to be donated, dusted, and now I'm typing a blog entry. I'm seriously considering baking bacon for the work week and perhaps making a batch of cupcakes. There is also an opportunity to go plant carrot seeds in the garden, and the dog could really use a bath and shave.

No, I haven't reviewed my taxes yet.

Of course, had I simply done the review first thing this morning, it would be done, but look at ALL the things I accomplished by avoiding this one chore.

Now if I simply substituted working on my WIPs for all these chores, and pushed this off for the allowed 10 more days, I might finish my WIPs pile...

Yeehaw! The dryer just buzzed. I've got laundry that must be folded.

Psst, yeah, you read that right... new design coming ;) 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Coupon Code

Psst… coupon code: Spring1540 will get you 40% off any/all of my Ravelry patterns that have a lace stitch. Pass it on! Ends 03/31/15.

WIPs and Blahs

It is very much Spring here in New Mexico. The weather is gorgeous - I'm sitting in the garden in nothing more than shorts, a tank top and flip flops while I type this - and spring activities abound. We've begun our seedlings and are already seeing sprouts. Weeds are already taking over and I'm sporting a sunburn. My husband is busy plotting changes to our vegetable garden and I've sewn new pillows and cushion covers for our patio furniture. All these things fill me with joy... so why do I feel so "blah" right now?

Lunatic Fringe Pattern by Jennifer Dassau
WIP by Jessica L'Heureux since 2013!
First, let me be clear. NO, I'm not depressed. I am filled with joy and loving the early Spring. It's my knitting that is "blah".

This time of year always fills me full of creative ideas. New growth brings forth beautiful colors I want to capture in yarny creations (or in the yarn itself when I'm inclined to dye) and I'm always eager to start new projects. It's almost like the reverse of Spring Cleaning because instead of cleaning and uncluttering, I become overwhelmed with ideas and the need to start new projects and designs. I akin it to mental fireworks. This year is not different. I have an idea for a garter shawl, a lace shawl, another pair of socks, etc, etc, but I also have a startling number of WIPs laying around.

Why so many WIPs?  A number of reasons.

My full-time occupation doesn't afford me time to knit during the day, with the exception of my lunch break, whereas prior to this year, I literally knit at my desk while working part-time hours, then left and stopped at my LYS on the way home, only to knit some more. I have far less knitting time at my disposal, therefore, less gets finished.

Secondly, I hosted a couple of KAL this past fall.  Now, I don't know about other designers/KAL hosts, but if I have knitters all working on a project together, whether in my classes or strewn across the plant and participating online, I knit the project in time with them. These projects override any other knitting I'm doing. They are my focus so that I am there to support my knitters if and when they need me.  I love doing this, and seeing all projects, mine and yours, develop together. That being said, if the class or KAL is for socks, often the class/KAL focuses only on completing one, leaving the knitter to finish the second one in their own time.  I have two first socks laying around waiting for their friends to emerge from my project bags.

Thirdly, I have budding designs in various stages of testing. These stop and go as issues arise in the design and as my time demands pull me to and fro. Sometimes designs need to rest and pull themselves together. Often this can take time. Sometimes a design is dependent on other factors such as fiber or tools, where acquisition can cause delays. I have a very exciting shawl full of multiple lace panels that I've been working on since July 6, 2014. I got going a little too comfortably on it and made a mistake in my work that needs correction in order for me to test the math, and sadly, I just haven't had the strength to face that correction yet. (I HATE ripping back, and can't see through how to drop back the error and simply correct the stitch yet. It will take more fortitude than I have at the moment.)

Finally, there is the personal knitting. The patterns I purchase from other designers that I intend to knit for myself or as gifts always end up on the bottom of the pile. I have a shawl I started for myself March 22, 2013. Yes, OVER TWO YEARS ago. How did this become so neglected? Easy. I can't make money knitting someone else's pattern for myself. My design work has to come first, and therefore anything I'm doing purely for myself is the first thing I sacrifice.

I made the mistake of piling it all up and reviewing the stack.

WARNING. Don't do this.

I find myself overwhelmed with knitting obligation.

I tried the usual tactics - I sorted into 3 categories. Love it, Like it, Frog it. Everything fell into Love it;only one item teeters precariously on the Like it/Frog it border, and it is a pair of socks from a now reworked design, so my practical side is hard at war reminding me that they are socks and I will wear them and love them, if only I will finish them. I managed to eliminate nothing from my workload.

So I moved to the next tactic - 15(ish) minutes a day(ish). This is a great way to slog through projects that you just aren't feeling inspired about, in a baby-step approach. I'm more than confident in my ability to turn 15 minutes into 2 hours simply by starting a row in front of the television. Suddenly I am mindlessly knitting along, and had my yarn been a bag of orange cheesy puffs, my fingers and teeth would be stained and I'd be facing two treadmill hours to recover from the weight gain. I still find I cheat a little here. Sometimes I'm simply not in the mood and replace the knitting with other activities, like working triage on the plethora of dog toys that have lost limbs to the wild beasts in my home, or doing prep-cooking for the work week (we all need cupcakes in our lunches), or flipping through knitting magazines, or designing a new paint theme for my mailbox (yes, really) - anything to avoid finishing these projects. I carry my projects with me to and from work daily, yet often skip knitting on my lunch break in lieu of a book on my Kindle (that I've already read three times!). Can you say "blatant procrastination"?

And so I move on. Now I'm strongly considering a new tactic. Bartering. I desperately have held off starting an new project for fear it would trump the WIPs and I'd only grow a larger pile. I've warred with myself and set demands that I must finish things before moving on. This has only served to squelch my creativity and frustrate me, which in turn has enhanced the "blahs" and made me even less ambitious to face the baby-steps so resembling mountains. And so, negotiations have begun.

When I review the ways that the WIP pile formed, I'm reminded again that all new designs stop and start. This allows time for other things. Provided I allow for the truly organic nature of that ebb and flow, and don't get all time-table about it, and I promise myself that "when Project A tires me, I'll grab Project B for 15(ish) minutes" I may yet be able to muster through the "blahs" and accomplish two things at once.

Now it's just about giving myself permission.

Do you suffer the crafting "WIPs and blahs"?  What tactics do you have for getting yourself back on track? I'm always open to trying new methods. (insert cry for help) Tell me how to relight that fire.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Keeping Perfectionism in Check... Mostly.

I've often written about being a perfectionist.  There are aspects of perfectionism that are good and useful.  It helps me produce clean finished designs with clear instruction. It gives me humility and pushes me to make corrections quick and publicly so other knitters don't get stuck or frustrated with my patterns.  It gives me pride in my work.

Perfectionism has a dark side as well.  Striving for the ultimate is frustrating. It fills me with self-doubt and makes me second guess every step of my design - every aspect, choice and idea from fiber to needles, gauge to stitch pattern and name to choice of abbreviations.  It bins ideas before they get a fair shake.

Double edge swords need to be kept sharp, stored well and used wisely.  I think perfectionism is just such a beast; sometimes you need to indulge in it, and sometimes you need to make efforts to keep it in check.  Today I had the pleasure in doing just that.

There is a wonderful business here in Albuquerque that offers "Sip & Paint" classes.  Each date has a different offering. Book for the image of your choice, grab an apron, glass (or bottle) of wine, listen to good music, follow along with a skilled, entertaining and fun instructor, and anytime your inner perfectionist starts to butt in, have another swallow of wine and remind yourself to let go.

I went with my dear friend Becks.  Becks is the best kind of friend. She inspires me, supports my work (she's my test knitter and exquisite at it!), listens, advises and balances me to so many ways.  She is fun loving, enjoys a good glass of wine, and is up for adventure.  We each painted our version of the class painting. We both encouraged each other to push off our own personal perfectionist. We laughed, we shared a bottle, we painted.

This exercise hasn't eliminated my perfectionist, but it has made me feel more balanced.  I ended up with a painting I love. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of each moment, each decision that I hesitated thinking it wasn't good enough, then set my hesitation aside and let go.  I "wung it" and just painted, knowing that I wasn't there to create art - I was there to have a good time.  And in the end, I actually like the result. It's proof that not struggling each choice doesn't always make the end product better.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jumping into the deep end of the pooling

I'm forever trying new knitting techniques, stretching my boundaries and exploring new territories for design inspiration.  Most recently, I've been playing around with the techniques presented by Laura Militzer Bryant in Artful Color - Mindful Knits and her companion class on Craftsy, Color Patterning with Hand-Dyed Yarns

I love hand-dyed yarns. I've amassed quite a collection as anyone looking at my ankles can tell you - I've knit MANY socks with hand-dyed yarns! - but sometimes I feel... limited.  What? I know, that sounds really weird.

Hand-dyed yarns, although offering gorgeous colorways with vibrant self-striping patterns often detract from the look of fancier stitch patterns.  Sometimes you want the stitch to be the focus, sometimes you want the color to be the focus, and sometimes you want to approach the delicate balance of both.

Laura Militzer Bryant presents her close study of hand-dyed yarns and the math necessary to CONTROL them.  Through use of a "Magic Number" which is actually a simple measurement and calculation of color repeats, you can actually creatively FORCE color pooling into more pleasing stripes, stacks, argyles and controlled chaos.

Want to play?

I purchased the book before she developed her Craftsy class, and can honestly say I'm not thrilled with the presentation.  It was a lot to swallow and wordy with tons of high-gloss vibrant pictures that left me just overwhelmed.  (That's me - this is my personal opinion.) Then the class came along.  In her Craftsy class she presents the concept, math and examples clearly and concisely with a complementary video format that allows me to go back and watch it again, make notes and even ask HER questions.  Having taken the class and referred back to the book, the book has become more comprehensive and manageable. (Again, all me, all my opinion. You may find otherwise.)

So, what did I learn?

Cool math, neat yarn magic trick, and that overall, I'm not interested in designing with this technique in mind, but I'm likely to try to make someone a gift only because controlling a colorway in this manner is a super-cool impressive knit-master kind of thing to do.

And here's where I tell you, no one asked me to review this. I'm not getting paid.  The only benefit I could possibly get for this is if you use one of the Craftsy links here on my blog to purchase a class, I will receive a minor referral fee (and thank you very much if you do), but I don't request or require it of my readers.  I simply tell you about things I like.

Sunday, February 8, 2015