Saturday, December 30, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 51 - Here Comes 2018!

I finished socks for my husband after a considerable amount of math - finally achieving a pair that fits him after years of ill fitting hand made socks. I'm currently working on a pair of Coexist socks (pattern by Claire Ellen - available for Free on Ravelry) and, of course, continuing my work on my How To Eat An Elephant blanket. I show of some yarny acquisitions - all wonderful gifts, and have a general discussion of goals and upcoming projects for the New Year.

Also, I discuss Patreon.

I’ve started a Patreon page!

What is Patreon? Patreon is an online membership platform that helps artists, like myself, get financial support from their fans. Patrons can elect to pledge monthly support (in very affordable small amounts) and receive special rewards for doing so.

Rewards vary from level to level, but are always knitty in nature. Current rewards are listed on my page. Every level of patronage has a tangible reward!

All funds collected through Patreon will go toward supporting the filming and publishing of the Knit Up & Dye Podcast, tools, equipment and products for demonstrations and giveaway prizes, as well as travel to knitting related events and classes to develop better knitting and dyeing techniques to be shared through the podcast, yarns and patterns.

And, I have a bigger goal in mind. When I reach $500 per month, I’ll be able to offer exclusive online knitting classes to my patrons in which I’ll teach specific projects and all the techniques necessary to complete them. My dream is to be able to create a knitting class online that you can take from the privacy and comfort of your home, no matter where that may be.

If you are interested in learning more, please take a moment to explore my page.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Gold Dust Woman

This colorway scares me half to death every time I make it, only because it's one of those combinations that initially looks awful, but somehow magic happens and the colors become something so much more than the parts.

"Gold Dust Woman" is exactly that... worth much more than the glittery powder she's made from.

To make this sock blank, I utilize a couple of techniques. First I work controlled wall pours in my roasting pan with bright teal and orange dyes and carefully tilt the pans to allow these colors to swirl and bleed together. This bleeding together patinas the teal and tones down the vibrancy of the orange, turning it to a pretty copper. This copper always amazes me. I've never been able to replicate that color by any other method, and it is hard to control.

Once I'm happy with the way the colors have blended (stopping short of making mud) I bake it off to heat set the dyes. The blank then gets a wash and spin dry before heading off to my airbrush table. I then airbrush in reds and navys to accent the southwest feel of these colors, whilst making use of the voids and adding some unexpected features to the piece.

These processes worked together allow me to offer a blank richly saturated in color, with the whimsy of applied imagery. I'm currently addicted to this process and filling my shop with a bunch of one of a kind pieces.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

3 Month Sock Blank Club!

I'm VERY excited to announce I'm starting a Sock Blank Club!

My first club will be three months long beginning in January, 2018. Each month you will receive a 100g/463 yard single knit sock blank of a unique design and colorway. Yup, that's right... each one will be a delightful surprise in your mail, with shipments posting by the 20th of each month.

This club is VERY limited. If you are interested, don't wait. Purchase your membership today. Next club won't be until April, 2018.


Free US Shipping on any order of $50.00 or more until January 5, 2018 - no coupon code required.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Waiting for Monet

Some colorway effects take longer to produce than others. In this particular case, I knew I wanted to create a sock yarn with bright jewel tones but with a watery tonal effect, rather than fully saturated blocks of color.

For this project, I opted to experiment in my roasting pans with a combination of poured and scribbled dyeing techniques.

I soaked my yarns in a high acid solution in my roasting pans until fully saturated, then added a rich purple color to just one end and allowed it to set in the oven while I mixed up a medium sapphire blue and an emerald green and loaded those to condiment bottles for a scribble application. I applied these colors to the remaining white end, heat setting and then reapplying multiple times to achieve a layered and yet clean, not muddied look. I was careful to carry the scribble application of the dyes into the previously dyed purple to provide a cohesive blend to the overall skein, rather than leaving distinct color blocking.

As I worked each application, I found myself waiting to see if it would muddy or retain the water color look I was hoping for.  I am very happy with the end result. These skeins reminded me of the works of Claude Monet - his beautiful waterlilies and riparian representations, and thus I found with each batch, I had been "Waiting for Monet".

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Instagram Flash Sale Today!

Do you follow me on Instagram? If not, you should. You can find me there as dyemonkeyyarns.

Today I'm dyeing sock blanks and posting pictures of them as I work, not only so that you can see the process that goes into them, but also to give you first chance to nab them for yourself.

If you see a sock blank you love, simply direct message me through Instagram to claim yours! I'll have all the details in the post.

Remember, each one is a One Of A Kind - so grab what you love while you can.

Go spoil yourself!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Northern Lights

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Knit Up and Dye Episode 50 - Knit Mania

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Newspaper & Coffee

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Colorway Chronicles: Midnight Ginger Snaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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