Sunday, December 25, 2016

Knit Up & Dye Episode 13 - Happy Holidays



In which you travel back in time with me briefly for a gift reveal, return to the present day to check out some cool new colorways and watch me re-skein a hank so that you can see the interplay of colors.  You'll also be introduced to my new studio friend Purl and get a sneak peak at "James"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Knit Up and Dye Episode 12 - Early Christmas



The new colorways have been updated to my Etsy shop.
Any yarn purchase 12/18/16 until 01/01/2017 qualifies you for a free copy of Fancy Foot Bags, a collection of five sock patterns (three are top down, two are toe up). When you order, please be sure to include your preferred email address or Ravelry account name for pattern delivery.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Changes...

Looking ahead to 2017 and all that has changed with my companies, I'm making some changes.

The first, and most drastic change you will see is right here.

I've merged my blogs into one centralized location.  All Jesse Knits and Dye Monkey Yarns content is now located HERE (you're looking at it) on my new Knit Up & Dye blog. All knitting, dyeing and podcast posts will now be located here. I think this will be easier on all of us - no more chasing the monkey around trying to figure out where she put what.

All emails remain active.

There are no changes being made to my Pattern Store on Ravelry or my Etsy Shop.
My Instagram account remains DyeMonkeyYarns.

There are some more changes coming, but they will be far less noticeable. All changes are meant to streamline your experience and my workflow.

Your feedback matters. Please let me know what you like, what you don't, and I'll work to make this experience craftastic for everyone!

Happy Knitting & Dyeing!
-Jessica

Monday, December 5, 2016

Knit Up & Dye Podcast Episode 10 - Making Light of It ALL



This episode is loaded with goodies…
Gratitude knitting challenge continues, with expansions into your daily life, as well as a quick tutorial on conditioning your needles, and a demonstration of picking up stitches, and there is another goody in there if you are paying attention ;)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gratitude Knitting Challenge

Thanksgiving feels kind of buried and lackluster with all the negative focus going on right now. What does Thanksgiving mean to you, and how do you keep it special when times are hard emotionally, financially, or physically?

My mother always had us go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and declare what we were thankful for. I hated this, but not for the reasons she probably thought.

I was young - grade school age, yet the oldest of my three siblings. I suffered depression, and was far more emotionally sensitive than my disconnected/disinterested attitude/coping mechanism let on. Finally, even though I knew it was coming every year, I always felt put on the spot. I wanted to declare so many things, and have my gratitude by heartfelt by my family, but sibling pressure, performance pressure, and the acute understanding/belief that I could light myself on fire and still not be taken seriously held me back and translated to insincerity - if only in my own perception.

In hindsight I realized Mom was trying to instill the "gratitude attitude" and bond her family but, alas, it took decades and, or course, advice from strangers - sometimes paid - for that lesson to take hold.

As I find myself turning to things that bring me joy as a means to push out stress and negativity, I look at Thanksgiving with a renewed sense of gratitude. I have so many things not to be simply grateful for, but deeply, spiritually indebted for.

At work last week on my lunch break (I work in a hospital), I was witness to a homeless man - suffering malnutrition, dehydration, having difficulty communicating, wearing severely oversized pants, t-shirt and just one sock, but no shoes. His hands were horribly chapped and beginning to scar from the cracks that had bled. His exposed toenails were overgrown and gnarled, hobbling his gait, and his underweight skeletal structure was hunched and clearly stiffened. He could have been 50... he looked and moved like 80. As I observed him, I became so embarrassed by the hot soup I was enjoying from my bagged lunch. I dug through my lunch pail and found a granola bar, and took it to him. I asked if he was hungry and he replied simply "Yes." I gave him that bar, and he struggled to hold it for a moment before it dropped to his feet. I picked it back up and put it in his hand. I still ach to think of him, remembering how he asked if I could help him get some water. As I recall this encounter, I still cry. I feel shame and embarrassment.

My shame is simple. I know I should do more for others. We all should.

My embarrassment comes directly from knowing I take my life for granted; my home, food, clothes, car, job, husband, rights, liberties, love I receive...all of it.

And I turn to knitting to comfort myself.

It is my solace.

But even as I knit quietly in search of inner peace, the mind wanders and stress and distress leak in.

So as I pondered all this, it occurred to me that I could revisit some things and make a better way.  I'd like to invite you to join me in this exercies; this challenge if you will...

Instead of waiting until New Years to make a resolution or change, let's make a change at Thanksgiving this year.  (If we lose sight of the goal, New Year's can be our restart/reminder.)

Here it is:

For each round/row you knit - focus on something you are grateful for. See it, feel it in your mind and really delve into its impact on your life. Let it fill you with gratitude for one round/row.

Repeat, with each round/row, dedicating one gratitude for each.

And don't get bogged down with trying to come up with deep, grandiose things. This isn't supposed to rob you of your energy or depress you. You can be grateful for simple, incidental things, as obvious as the tools, fibers or pattern you are using and build from there. Gratitude is contagious and building. You'll soon expand to deep concepts without effort, only joy and awareness of abundance. Simply remain positive, reflect on one thing for one round/row, and repeat.

And if that challenge isn't enough...

Knit something for someone else - someone known or strange to you that you've never knit for before, who expects nothing from you, and give it to them with NO expectation of getting anything in return except the gift of having given.

Me? I'm casting on a hat to keep in my lunch pail for the next homeless person or cold child I encounter on my lunch break, because I can, and should, give.  And I'm casting on a gift for a coworker who's planning her retirement, She has extended me welcome, support, and warmth - all of which I'm grateful for, and I'll miss her when she is no longer just a few cubicles away.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Knit Up & Dye Podcast Episode 8 - Pay It Forward

This episode is pretty busy. I'm looking for test knitters for a new cowl design (please contact me if you are interested) and I've got FOUR coupon codes embedded here for you to take advantage of.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Episode 6 - Casual Day

Another episode! Yay!

Sadly, due to the renovation nightmare that is my house, there are no technique demonstrations this time, but I do show a number of recent dye projects and discuss the techniques utilized in their making.

Enjoy!



Monday, October 17, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Don't Fiddle with It!

Last week I posted Episode 4 of my podcast featuring a custom dye project I was working on for my mother. This was the first of what I dream to be many episodes showing my dye process. It was great fun to do, and I hope an interesting behind the scenes opportunity for my viewers. I had some interesting challenges as I am both the cast and crew, but nothing a little creative editing didn't smooth over. In the end there was only one casualty: the yarn.

What you see on the film is the proper process. What you don't see is me fiddling with it off camera.

I took late summer off from dyeing this year, a little hiatus if you will. With that time away from the kitchen, some of the familiarity faded, and when I did my podcast filming, I started filming with the very first batch, and the tiniest lack of confidence in my formula note taking.

I take excellent notes. I know that now more than ever. Where I fail is in trusting myself. I mixed up the dye, poured it in the pot, did everything according to formula, but it just didn't look and feel like I remembered it. Instead of just popping on the lid and walking away (like I should have) I poked at the yarn.

With my kettle dye process, I do what I call a wall pour - pouring the dye around the outside wall of the pot, only hitting the yarn touching the outer walls, and a quick dash of dye in the middle. Because the yarn is in water and has been soaking, the dye naturally wicks along the fibers and takes up unevenly for the desired tonal effect.

However, if you poke at it too much, the desired uneven take up of the dye doesn't have a chance to happen and instead, the dye takes up much more evenly and you get a mostly solid color, which is very nice, but ultimately, not what I was looking for in this particular case.

I intend to discuss this and show a comparison in my next podcast of a correctly "dyed to formula" skein vs. a "fiddled with it" skein so that you can see the difference and impact.

Lesson learned: Trust yourself!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's like Christmas!

I cannot express enough just how much fun Mystery Knit-Alongs are for me.  This one has been especially fun because not only is the pattern a mystery, but so is the yarn.  I offered general themes for participants to choose from, as well as a "surprise me" option, but no one, outside of myself and my husband has actually seen what the yarns look like. I feel like I'm preparing Christmas gifts. I'm so full of excitement, anticipation, and hope that all participants love these kits.

I can't wait until this KAL kicks off and we have our reveal. It will be so much fun to show off photos of the yarns, but the fun is only just beginning. Participants have chosen their preference to work the sock pattern either as a toe up or a cuff down, which means... their clues will be different. And they will be working different aspects of the design at different times from other participants. And, there are options built in to each version, essentially ensuring that each pair of socks will be completely unique to their knitter.  I simply can't wait to see what these knitters create!

Even if you aren't participating in the MSKAL with us, feel free to follow along and enjoy the reveals. Kits will eventually be made available for general purchase.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mystery Sock KAL

Are you up for an adventure? Nothing too dramatic, I promise. More of a lawn chair adventure really. See, I’m in the mood for a mystery sock knit along. But this time, it’s ALL going to be a mystery… even the yarn.

Interested?

So, here’s the deal: hand dyed fingering weight yarn in more than sufficient quantity (140g /649 yards), a nearly mindless, not quite vanilla sock pattern in multiple sizes, flexible enough for you to sub your favorite heel/toe into should you wish, worked in the direction you favor (toe up or top down - you pick your path), free shipping, and a four week work along complete with online forum live chats.

Yarns will be offered in themes that indicate a general color family. You will not see the colors until you open your package. For the truly adventurous there will be a “surprise me” option.

This project will be suitable for beach/pool/tv/knit night knitting, however you will need to be able to see your work. This project will be especially pleasurable to process knitters with a big appreciation of hand dyed yarns who enjoy watching colors pass through their hands as they work.

Spaces will be limited. Kits will be available for USD $40.00.

To reserve your space, please go here (Ravelry group thread - if you are not yet a member, sign up, membership is FREE***) and leave a post indicating your preference of either one of the themes or desire to be surprised.

Current proposed start date is July 1, with shipping to begin June 24th.

(***If you absolutely don't want to do this through Ravelry, other arrangements can be made by contacting me at jesse@dyemonkeyyarns.com)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Patterns in Patience

Patience is a funny thing. I always thought either you are a patient person or you're not. I spent years practicing being patient - it is afterall a virtue. But what I learned is patience is a situational behavior.

For example: Are you desperately, darkly wishing I'll hang up before your manager is available to take my call? If so, you've never, ever, ever met anyone more patient. My house could be on fire and I'd have years available to my patient wait for that transfer. Years. That situation is going to be settled (in my favor) even if another ice age has to happen first. And if you terminate that call... I'll call back and be willing to hold twice as long. With a smile.

But, on the contrary, if you are selling brand new shiney, hand dyed, one of a kind yarn, you damn well better figure out either teleportation or time travel because I want it yesterday. Now is too slow.

Why is this? Both situations have a satisfying end. Both ultimately take time (at least for now, I am working on tele-yarn-portation).

I think the answer lies in potential. Those frustrating opportunes to exercise patience have a distinct end. Those opportunes where I find myself frustrated in having to be patient are actually launchpads to new activities. See what I mean:

I'm patient...

  • In waiting rooms for a doctor visit
  • Waiting for movies to release in desired formats
  • Waiting for an oil change or maintenance at the garage
These things are all terminant.

I'm impatient...
  • Waiting for a knitting pattern to release
  • Waiting for shipments involving yarn, books, cooking ingredients and gifts for others
  • Waiting for dye to take up, or yarn to dry

These things are all beginnings or parts of a bigger, more fulfilling process.

What about you? Does your patience, or lack there of, have a pattern?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

We have a winner!

Wow! So many entries! Thank you all so much for participating. You can't imagine what a response of this size meant to me.
My spreadsheet showed 754 entries total. I used the random.org number generator and got "572" which correlates to... 

Drumroll please... 

Carmen N!

Carmen, please email me at giveaway@dyemonkeyyarns.com with your full name and shipping address and I will get your prize right out to you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Giveaway Drawing Tomorrow!

Did you remember to enter?

I'm drawing the winner tomorrow, June 1st.

There is still time to enter. See details HERE.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New Yarn Base!

Pop Royalty on Flamenco Monkey
So, if wool is nice, and a wool/silk blend is nicer, what does that make a wool/silk/cashmere blend? Why, a new yarn at Dye Monkey Yarns of course!

Now Available... Flamenco Monkey
Fingering weight 70% Superwash Merino /20% Silk /10% Cashmere 437 yds/100 gram

Do I need to tell you it has a wonderful hand? Yeah, probably not.

What color do you want?

Custom orders available on this base.

And don't forget your coupon! PARTY35 gets you 35% off all yarns and custom orders until May 31st.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is a big day and to celebrate ALL orders today receive FREE gifts.  Treat yourself or give your family the coupon code and send them to my store with a list of what Mama wants.

Coupon code PARTY35 gets you 35% OFF any order.

First 3 orders will receive one of the custom commemorative Dye Monkey stitch markers.

Further, don't forget to enter into the giveaway drawing. You can get all the details on how to enter HERE. Entry is free and easy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dye Magic

Dyeing is so addictive. I can't wait to see what magic comes out of the pot.

You're probably wondering what I mean by that.  After all, I'm the person adding the dye - shouldn't I know what I'm doing?

Well, yes, sort of.

I have formulas/recipes that I've developed for each of the colorways. But even when I follow my plans, there is an element of magic to dyeing yarn.

Each base reacts differently to the dyes. Some fibers take up dye differently that others. Subtle changes in the atmosphere (temperature, humidity) can affect the final outcome - much like baking a cake. Even how fast or slow I pour dyes into the kettle can affect the look of the final product.

And what yarn looks like in the dye pot is often different from the final washed and dried product. Wet yarn always reflects darker tones than dry yarn, so sometimes when I'm trying to dye subtle colors, I have a little panic time while the yarn is still in the pot and looking too vibrant.

It's all magic, and magic is FUN!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy Anniversary!!! Join me in celebrating!

I'm very excited about Dye Monkey Yarns first anniversary. Woooohoooo!

Starting this business, meeting so many wonderful new fiber fanatics, and exploring color and dyeing techniques has been an amazing experience, and I'm grateful to everyone who has joined me on this journey.

To celebrate, I have several special offerings.

First, and foremost, my entire Etsy shop is on sale! Please use coupon code: PARTY35 and you will receive 35% OFF any purchase now until May 31st.

Secondly, this offer is good for any custom orders initiated before May 31st. If there is a colorway you love that you'd like specific yardage for, or dyed to a specific base, please contact me via Etsy and we will arrange it.

Grand Prize Giveaway!
"Swimming Hole" on HipHop Monkey - 400 yards
Basket courtesy of Harbor House Baskets
Thirdly, there are GIVEAWAYS! (US and CANADA ONLY) 

I will be randomly announcing giveaways all month long, but the Grand Prize Giveaway is this fantastic collection including a coil fabric project basket, one full skein of "Swimming Hole" on HipHop Monkey, and Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy Johnson, valued at $78.00! (Doesn't that yarn co-ordinate beautifully with that basket! Wow!) No purchase necessary!

Want it? Here's how to enter:

Counts as one (1) entry each:
Counts as three (3) entries each:
  • Post your favorite Dye Monkey yarn or this Giveaway to Instagram using @dyemonkeyyarns and tag two friends
  • Post your Dye Monkey Yarns knit or crochet project photo to Pinterest - be sure to include "Dye Monkey Yarns" in the description so we can find your entry! (afraid you did it wrong or just want to be sure your entry is counted? Email link to giveaway@dyemonkeyyarns.com)
Counts as five (5) entries each:
  • Publish a blog entry featuring Dye Monkey Yarns including a link to the Etsy shop and this blog post. Email blog link to giveaway@dyemonkeyyarns.com
  • Include Dye Monkey Yarns in your podcast. Please include a link to the Etsy shop and this blog post in your show notes. Email podcast link to giveaway@dyemonkeyyarns.com
Giveaway is open to US and Canada only.  Winner will be chosen randomly from all entries, and contacted for shipping address. Prize will be shipped no later than June 6th. 

Podcasters/Bloggers working as teams/partners will need to sort the prize out amongst themselves.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mojo Murderer

Sometimes you've got mojo, sometimes you don't, and sometimes it's taken from you. Welcome to my morning.

The plan of the day included some gardening, grocery shopping, reviewing yesterday's dyed goods, blogging and dyeing all.the.things., not necessarily in that order. The shopping and gardening was all good. The reviewing of yesterday's work was not.

Yesterday I worked on a custom order. I'm excited about the order. The customer and I have worked together to design a color for her that is destined for a sweater. I love that process. I get to be half of the creation of that garment in providing the supply. I thrill at seeing finished projects made with my yarn.

I wasn't thrilled when I reviewed this yarn. It's still on the drying rack, fresh from yesterday's process. Magic generally happens on the drying rack. Colors bloom there, developing into their final glory. Indeed, that happened in this case, however the end result wasn't what we were aiming for. There are inconsistencies from skein to skein outside of my acceptable "hand dyed" tolerance, and spots where dye simply didn't take up properly. I'm not 100% sure why this happened, but I'm 100% sure I'm not shipping this. I'm not happy with the end product.  Is there anything wrong with the yarn? No. Is there something wrong with the color? No. In fact, it's quite beautiful. It would honestly make a lovely sweater. Simply not this sweater for this person.

Reasonably, this disappoints me. My first response is to "fix it" but dyeing over in this case is not the answer. It won't make it better, only less consistent. My second response is to "do over" but, alas, I haven't got enough stock of one of the dyes to do so. (Interestingly enough, I placed that order yesterday, before knowledge of this disaster.) And, finally, my third response is "serve the customer" and so I did with a message honestly explaining the problem, my apologies, and the timeline upon which I can resolve the issue.

Still, this robbed me of my mojo. I had planned on spending several hours dyeing yarn today. Now, I have no desire to do so. Part of that is coming from my need to fix problems before moving on to other things. It's also in part to just plain being disappointed. I know at this point my mojo is gone and I would be forcing my creative process, which never ends well. Did I fail? No. Some part of the process did, and that happens. Yet, it still affects me.

So, what to do? Why, move the patio furniture out in to the sun and blog to you all from a leisurely posture. Let the process happen. Relax, wait for the stock order, regain the mojo and begin again fresh. I think instead of mixing dye, I'll mix up a fruity drink and work on some new design swatches instead.

How do you handle things when your mojo gets murdered? I'm always interested in learning how other creatives process.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ramping Up for the Anniversary

Dye Monkey Yarns officially opened April 30, 2015, but celebrating for just one day is nowhere near as much fun as celebrating the first anniversary for the entire month of May!

It has been an exciting year. I've dyed hundreds of skeins of yarn in over 50 different colorways. I've done in-home trunk shows for some wonderful hostesses and a couple of craft fairs. I've met hundreds of wonderful crafters. I've fulfilled a number of custom orders and shipped yarn to four different countries. I've expanded my product offerings to include different bases. And I've had lots of fun.

Custom Dye Monkey Markers
Thank You Jillian of WeeOnes
So what will the month long celebration include? Yarn of course. New yarn. I'm bringing in a couple of new bases for you to play with. And, new colors. Lots of new colors.

What else? Sale prices and giveaways!

Giveaways will include books, yarns, and custom stitch markers featuring the dye monkey!

Keep an eye out for announcements here, there and everywhere beginning Saturday April 30th.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Start-itis Explained... Maybe.

You've been there... the sudden antsy, overwhelming desire to cast on all.the.things. We crafters generally refer to this phenom as "start-itis". But what is it really? What causes this, and how do you deal with it?

Start-itis for me is dangerous. I have to be really careful when I have an episode. Just about any project I cast on during a bout of start-itis is doomed to failure. I'm hectic, frantic, antsy and impulsive during these episodes. I suffer an overwhelming blast of creativity. I impulsively buy patterns; I'm sure designers LOVE this, but my wallet doesn't. My episodes almost always happen later in the evening, a mere hour or two before bedtime, or about 30 minutes before I need to leave for a trip, meeting, knit group, dr appt, etc.

I inevitably make tragic combinations of patterns and designs. I frantically wind skeins, search for needles and cast on disasters - often repeatedly and eventually killing otherwise excellent fiber. I make dozens of heavily edited charts, piles of sad swatches, and in the end, I'm so disappointed and burnt out that I often can't knit for days afterwards.

It took many, many episodes before I started to watch the symptoms and work out strategies to survive start-itis.

I think start-itis stems from the intersection of boredom (or fear thereof) and inspiration. When these two states meet, inspiration by contrast is exponentially bigger, and with a lack of structure becomes a wild fire. Therein lies perhaps an answer: structure.

Inspiration in a structured environment channels into great designs, great projects, great everything. Take the pressure cooker "Project Runway" as an example. Give designers a limited budget and limited timeline with a general goal and blam! Genius happens. Loosen this structure, give them a bigger budget, send them home for 6 weeks, and flop! Designers without discipline and self imposed structure develop expensive ten piece collections that lack coherence and vision and spend three days in a panic reworking and starting from scratch. My start-itis differs only in that I often have a time constraint, and I'm the only judge.

And so now when I recognize an outbreak coming on, I apply structure. My structure consists mainly of a forced lengthened timeline and a current project. I pull out a notebook, a WIP and I determine that I won't cast anything new on until x amount of the current project is complete and/or I have a definitive plan/design in place - with ALL the details worked out.

This plan can vary. As I work my WIP, I fantasize and work my way through a new design, plotting through shape, drape, color, sizing, stitch pattern, editing, and target market, whilst taking notes. Sometimes my start-itis takes on the form of knit.all.the.things because I'm over inspired by Instagram/Pinterest/Ravelry (aren't these AMAZING gifts?!?). In this instance, again, I mentally prioritize a list of these future projects determining wearability, color, feasibility, and materials on hand. Wearability is always a biggie - often patterns for me present a fantasy that doesn't necessarily fit into my daily wardrobe. Mindlessly progressing through a pair of useful socks whilst coming to terms with my un-glamorous life has saved me from casting on numerous ill-fitting expensive sweaters, dresses, capelets, legwarmers, ponchos, and novelty designs.

I've found this technique solves the boredom, channels the inspiration, prevents disaster and in the end I'm infinitely more satisfied with my cohesive plan vs being horribly disappointed and burnt out.

Have you found ways to channel or control your start-itis?

Another Podcast Worthy of the Dye Monkey Yarns Stamp of Approval

Out of the blue I got an earburn through Ravelry linking me back to My Two Tips Ravelry Podcast Group show notes for Episode 6. Curious, I grabbed a mug of tea and settled in to watch.

Much to my delight Elise is a natural. Her honesty, energy and personality glow on the screen. she shares her current, past and future projects, shows off stash, discusses her actual knitting experiences, fears, triumphs, and answers viewer questions. I loved every minute of her podcast (especially when she was plotting to knit my Double Agent sock pattern!) and immediately added her to my subscriptions. This is a genuinely interesting woman - the kind of girl you'd go to lunch with and end up having dinner with because you became so engaged that time became meaningless.



Please check out her Ravelry Group and YouTube Channel.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

More Summer Inspired Colors

I've been business fantasizing about summer and dyeing yarns to match.  Here are a couple of the new colorways. Remember... when summer is gone, so are they, so get them while it's hot!

Dunegrass available on Etsy
Dunegrass on Twist Monkey

It's like a thousand degrees. Home is hot, the car is hot, it's hot in traffic... ick! Great day for the beach.  You pack all the essentials, sweat your way to the shore, park a million miles from the beach, but have a sense of hope because you can smell the salt air, and start the hike, laden down with sunblock and beach chairs and coolers... and then... dunegrass.

Fresh salt air, yellow-green and sage blades blowing in the ocean breeze, creamy white sands, all of the shore's romance in one last hill before the beach.  I've captured it here, on a silk blend. Imagine the shawl.

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

Sandcastles available on Etsy
Sandcastles on Jig Monkey

Do you remember bright sun above you, cold ocean next to you, wet sand under you and buckets, shells, seaweed, sticks, stones all around you as you built your fantasy masterpiece? Maybe it was a mermaid's castle. Maybe it was your castle. Maybe you were the mermaid. You built it tall and wide, decorated it with your findings and dug out a moat when the tide started to come in. The only interruption was the constant reapplication of sunblock. The only threat was the tide... or your little brother.

Sandcastles celebrates these summer memories with deep ocean blues, puffy cloud whites, and numerous shades of shell and sand (both wet and dry tones) in a cohesive collection.

Set of Six Jig Monkey Mini Skeins: 75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon 20g/93 yards/mini skein
Soft, elastic and durable; a gorgeous sock yarn. Hand Wash ~ Air Dry

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Romantic Inspiration

Skipping Stones on HipHop Monkey
Sometimes the romance of a moment is all the inspiration I need to create a new colorway.

This one is called "Skipping Stones" and I've dyed it on the HipHop Monkey base.

He was cute - a lot cute, and he had this fancy trick he did where he could throw a stone just so across the top of the water and make it skip. Your heart skipped when he wrapped his arms around you to show you how. 

Clear morning lake blue tones, grey sandy stone, silver.

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.

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

I love this yarn for socks, but do keep in mind - there is no nylon in this blend. It is a perfect choice for cowls and shawls.

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

Please message me if you have color concerns. I will match it to the closest CMYK/RGB/HEX color match for you to compare to at home on your personal color wheel/color tool at your request.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Podcast with the Dye Monkey Stamp of Approval

I have a number of knit/crochet podcasts that I watch, but I've recently found one I'd like to share. I happened upon Chain344 totally by accident on Instagram.These ladies are very down to earth, honest, infectious, amusing and inspirational. They review yarns and patterns, show their projects, host giveaways and KALs/CALs and share their lives.

Their podcast is not over-produced - you are in the living room with them. Although you can't actually participate in real time, you become fully engaged and feel very much a part of the conversation. You'll find yourself laughing along and wanting to cast on. I recently binge watched hours of Chain344 podcasts due to an unfortunate bout of the flu, and honestly wish I was still ill and there were more episodes to watch. You can find Carolyn and Kait in their Ravelry group and on YouTube.

In support of their podcast, I've sent yarn and patterns for them to review, should they choose, as well as yarn and a pattern to distribute as prizes in their drawings. You can participate and possibly win some Dye Monkey yarn!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Returning to My True Love

Cherry Blossom on Twist Monkey
Fresh from the dye pot to the drying rack.
I tried. Really I did. I pushed myself to look to nature for color inspiration, viewing flowers and scenic panoramas, but in the end, I returned to my true love - food.

But that's okay, right?

Food can be inspiring, sensuous even. Who really isn't turned on by chocolate? Okay, I know there are a few of you, but you have a favorite... I know you do. I simply found that I was more inspired by a trip to the produce section of my grocery store than I was staring at places I've never been. With food all my senses light up. And so now, I dedicate myself to finding your flavor, with some exceptions. I still don't think I'll ever sell a "Shrimp Scampi" colorway, despite my love of the dish.

Today I spent my afternoon dyeing some fun new colors: "Blueberry" a lovely tonal blue with teal accents on Salsa Monkey worsted weight, and "Raspberry" a subtle, yet vibrant and feminine tonal on Twist Monkey silk blend fingering weight.

What food turns you on?


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Creativity Stinks!

Sorbet Mini Skein Set - Click to View in Shop 
The smell of boiled wool and vinegar permeates my house. It is the smell of joy and creativity. It is the smell of a dyeing day.

My husband hates this smell. He understands and encourages my dyeing - he knows it is part of the process. It is truly just the smell that gets to him. He often goes out and works in the garage when I'm dyeing to escape it, but only after closing the doors to all other rooms, throwing open windows and setting all the fans in the house to high.

The irony is I hate foods that contain vinegar (pickles being the one and only exception), and he loves vinegar. Add wool, and the tables turn. Yes, I know I could use citric acid and avoid the smell altogether... but I like it.

It's okay. I'm not particularly fond of the smell of exhaust and two-stroke oil and it is a great excuse for him to go do the things he love.

What does your creativity smell like?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mini Madness

Boardwalk - Set of 6 mini skeins
available at Dye Monkey Yarns on Etsy.
I completely understand the madness for mini skeins. They are cute, adorable even. I have the need to collect them ALL. It's like having a taste of everything on the dessert tray and still staying true to a diet. There is pleasure in owning ALL the colors.

But then, I get stuck.

I have them. Now what?

Yes, endless hours of petting and admiration, playfully stacking them with each other have been spent, but I want something more. I want the "perfect project" to highlight my hoard.

And so I search.

I've spent hours on Ravelry and Pinterest combing through knit projects and patterns looking for "the" project. I've favorited and pinned.

Why not just jump in? Why not simply add a stripe? I'm sure you think I'm foolish. Sure, I could do this. It's that I have a fear of the colors looking like a jumbled mess.  I also have a serious case of "not good enough for this yarn".  I'm sure you've been there at least once before. It's that overwhelming feeling that the project is somehow less than the yarn deserves.

Do you have a favorite mini skein project? What pattern would you recommend?

Use coupon code "MADNESS35" to get 35% OFF any order now until 03/31/16.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Too Close to See

There are some colors I just can't manage to capture the glory of. I think it's because I'm trying too hard.

It's like the more I focus on a particular shade/tone, the more it alludes me. I get too close to the project analyzing undertones and hues, and like zooming into a photo and seeing individual pixels, the more the math/science/formal becomes to complex and the result is mud.

And yet, when I back away and let the dye work its magic - well, there it is. Magic happens and glorious surprises await.

What accidentally came together in your projects when you stepped back?

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Challenge to Bloom

Crocus on Tap Monkey fingering weight yarn
Available at DyeMonkeyYarns.Etsy.com
Ever feel like there aren't enough colors in the rainbow?

Maybe not, but today, I do. I have this same phenomenon hit me in the grocery produce department where I find myself wishing there were new and exciting vegetables to try. Maybe this is a consequence of boredom. Perhaps the cage necessary to force creativity?

Now there is a concept...

When we are given limits, we are prone to testing them, are we not? Or perhaps the test isn't put upon the limits, but in fact, ourselves.

Currently I'm pushing myself to reproduce colors found in nature - flowers to be specific.Often I gravitate to food for inspiration - that is my culinary background desperately trying to make itself useful beyond my daily three squares. but I don't see a huge market for yarns named "Shrimp Scampi". Maybe I'm wrong, but I digress.

Spring is upon us and soon life will be thrusting forth from gardens and pavement cracks alike. The palette seems virtually limitless, and yet, it's all made from that same handful of colors I find so confining. The trick is in the shade, hue, value and combination. Add Mother Nature and suddenly there are more colors, or rather combinations, than you can wag a willow at.

Challenge accepted.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Homeless Yarns Available for Adoption - Placement Fees Waived

This has been a wild weekend.

I dyed. I dyed a lot. Over 60 skeins of yarn went through the dye pots in my kitchen and fantastic things came out. I'm exhausted but I LOVE what I do. Dyeing yarn, creating new colors and shipping beautiful things out to wonderful people who will make even more beautiful things from my yarn is so much fun. I only wish I could do this all day long and skip the "real job" thing.

So now that I have all this wonderful yarn, I need to find homes for it. How about you? I'll sweeten the deal. Use coupon code FREE2EWE in my Etsy Shop between now and Leap Years Day (02/29/16) on your order of $35 or more and I'll ship it to your US address for FREE!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Studio Renovations Done-ish...and back to work!

I'm proud and excited to announce the studio renovations are done(ish). We still have a couple of projects to finish before it will be truly complete, but the work on the space itself is finished, right down to the trim work. Now I have a functional, peaceful space to knit and design in.

So, no more excuses, right?

Well, I don't have any grand new designs for you right now, but I have recently released a couple of designs that had previously only been available via the Signature Series Kits. The Ebbenflow Cowl became available for individual pattern purchase in January, and as of today, the Ferndale Shawl is also available. You can find each of these patterns on Ravelry.

Part of the studio upgrade included an upgrade to my product photography via a photobox. If you pop into my Etsy shop Dye Monkey Yarns anytime in the next couple of days, you'll notice a number of products have new photos. I'm working hard to provide the absolute best color representation possible. And just for you, I'm adding new colors too!

Oh, and if you read the whole blog post you win! Use "LOYAL15" in either my Ravelry or Etsy shops until February 14th and get 15% off your purchase. Coupon code is good in BOTH shops.

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