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 ;) 

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