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
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
  • 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 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.