Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pretties Left!

Plenty of pretties left, but also close to being able to put my shop on vacation mode for a bit while I work out like a fiend.
I got my new workout plan from the personal trainer at the gym today. It's less time at the gym, but much more intense when I'm there. Eep!

Anyways: Pretties! Help me clear out, pretty please? With the discount the falkland braids (2 of my favorites) are under $11! Nevermind most of the hand painted hand spun yarns being like $20.00. That is ridiculous. Seriously. Christmas pressies perhaps? Use code GNOMEBREAK


Just so people don't think I'm going to turn in to a workout blog. I'm not. I may mention how things are going from time to time, but I'm still concentrating on knitting/spinning/dyeing/weaving, but less shop stuff. That'll be good though, promise. Less hawking of wares, more appreciation for the art!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Operation Gnomebreak

Operation GNOMEBREAK (that is the 30% off discount code btw) is going really well!
Check out my poor for sale roving tub:

Normally that is over flowing and I have more tubs with batts, yarn, undyed, addins etc. that also hold the dyed roving overflow. I love everything left, and it always surprises me when personal favorites are the last to go. You can get the Tallulah's for under $11 a piece, for falkland! The merino/silk blend of Teddy Bear Picnic is like.. um.. *math skills lacking* under $13.

The majority of the handspuns turn out under $20.00 with the 30% discount. That's an amazing price on handspun, especially hand painted.

So yeah. I'm done with my spiel. Help me spring clean!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Huge Discount Because I'm Taking a Wee Break From the Shop

Hi guys! 
You may have noticed that I haven’t had a large update in some time? I’ve been working really hard on getting healthy. It’s been something I’ve let slack these past few years, and I woke up one day and realised that I really had to do something about it. 
Now I’m going to the gym for minimum 2 hours a day, and I’m hoping to add in some classes and such as well.
With that said, I decided I’m going to take a wee break from my shop. I’m not closing, mind you, just finding a new equilibrium.
What about all my existing stock? Check the shop! Buy what you like and use the code: 
to get 30% off your entire order when you checkout. Don’t forget that I also refund any shipping overages asap, and always ship within a day (some times the day of) mon-fri. Please please please take advantage of this and help me clear some items out!
I’ll still be blogging, knitting, spinning, weaving and dyeing. I just can’t spend as much time with it for the next while. 
I have some other things I may put up on destash as well. Namely a large raw mohair fleece (let me know if you’re interested, it’s lovely white, great for dyeing- but still dirty and with a moderate amount of VM) and some raw llama fleece as well. Bits and bobs of carding mats may show up as well. I’ll keep you all updated!
I've been so tired lately I don't have any new projects to show for myself- but I have my one day off a week from the gym tomorrow, so that may find me putting a new warp on the loom. *happy dance*

Note: I have zero clue why www.dyeingforewe.com isn't working. I'm trying to get to the bottom of it, promise! Never buy a domain when you know nothing about websites... trust me in this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Very First Weaving Project Completed!

I finished my weaving sampler! I must admit that it dragged on a bit, and then got pushed aside while I knit a bunch of socks. But I pulled it back out the other night and finished last night! Well, finished the warp, but I still have to figure out what I'm going to do with the ends. 
Specifics are vague. I just warped on a super long warp that ended up being just over 1 foot wide and I think it's nearly 8ft long! I used three different yarns. It's warped with a light fingering/lace weight red wool, weft with the red, a blue of the same yarn (I think it may be handspun? I received it as a gift from my Mum already in cakes) and then at the end I used up the last bit I had remaining of the fingering weight Chroma in the Prism colourway. This is all on a 15" Schacht Flip rigid heddle loom.

Keep in mind this is my first ever solo weaving project pretty please? I'm quite happy with it. (Although I have zero clue what to do with such an oddly shaped item) Tons of mistakes, but I like that I leaned from them and eventually got the edges and weave density (is that the right term for how hard I beat the weft?) worked out. I have no clue what to do with the ends yet lol. 

I'm hooked though! I don't know what to warp next, some thicker handspun or that ball of Chroma I have. I loved how it worked up at the end there. I'm also gratefully accepting any tips and criticism. I love to learn! I have a rigid heddle book waiting on me to give it a good read, but I wanted to have a handle on what was going on so I could understand what I was reading.

 I love the rainbow at the end!

 Here it is, I almost couldn't get it all in one photo.

 I was playing around with my pickup stick and figuring out what happened when I put it up and down. I ended up with the little stripe pattern there.

 Hard to see, but that is a really open weave there, almost netting- with my hand underneath.

 I was beating REALLY tight. It's pretty much solid weft for quite some time. Then I realised I needed to lighten up, which if I recall correctly was my problem when I was 16 as well.

 Tight tight, but I was figuring out how to change colours without gross spaces and such.

 Pickup stick section.

 You can see how I went from super tight (top solid blue) to looser beating so you can actually see the warp red coming though.

 More netting interspersed with too tight beating. The edges are getting better!

 Looser, yay! I was getting the hang of not beating the poop out of my weft.

 Tight red. That is super tight actually.

 Rainbow Chroma! I loved weaving with it. Using a fun yarn really makes things more enjoyable for sure.

 The end. What do I do with it now? How do I get the weft not to loosen like that?

 The beginning, look at that gross edge! Oh and the grey yarn just to start off. Um.. Do I pull that out now?

 Showing off my edges. Not too shabby!

 Edges on one side. (The better side.)

Bad edge. Booo. Go away bad edge.

So that's it! I'm hooked now, but I don't know how much yarn I need to do a handspun scarf, or the warping dimensions. So I'm going to read up on that (tips welcome) so I know what sort of yardage I need to have on hand to finish a good size scarf. Is 396 yards of fingering weight Chroma enough for a scarf perhaps? I'm thinking of using some cream palette for the warp.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Socks: Knitpicks Chroma Fingering

I'm finished the rainbow socks! (March Socks)

Just to recap I used Knitpicks Chroma Fingering Sock Yarn in the Prism colourway. It's a single of a 70/30 Wool/Nylon blend in a plain slip stitch heel, toe up 2 at a time pattern, 1x1 rib cuff and a russian bind off. It fluctuates a tad, but works up great overall. Bit fuzzy. I did have some issues when it came to colour consistency. I had to break and piece together the yarn because there was a knot where they tied blue to orange, and missed all the colour changes in between. Knitpicks customer service was awesome when I called though and they sent me an entirely new ball! I may use it for weaving since I was able to MacGuyver the colour changes back together. Overall it's lovely soft and the colours were great, until the whole knot incident. But I can't even fault them for that because they sent me another ball immediately. I called and said "Um I think I have a flaw in my yarn?" and without skipping a beat the lady offered me a free ball. Customer service seems to be an out dated concept lately, but at Knitpicks they really excel at it. I would never want to take advantage of it though.

Here they are taking a bath..

Almost dry! Hopefully they'll be in the mail tomorrow for their new home in Canada.

I have some more picture to show closer up and how they're a bit fuzzy. Chroma is a new yarn on the market so I know a few people will be interested in seeing how it works up.

Click the pictures to make them larger. I think you get a good idea of the fuzzy though. And the cuff bindoff! I really love using russian bind off to create a nice stretchy edge. When on you don't get the flare that shows in the socks while flat. Toe up bind offs need to be extra stretchy so you can get the socks over your foot. I didn't realise this when I finished my first ever toe up sock and let me tell you, undoing a bind off? Sucks.

Now I'm hoping to finish my weaving sampler tonight! I'm practicing keeping my beating light and even because I've been beating (is that the right term?) my rows way too tight and making a super tight weave that eats yarn like crazy. I'll think gentle thoughts as I finish up my current warp tonight and pick a handspun to warp on for my next project.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wonderful Friends and a Canadian Candy Name Lesson

How is everyone doing lately? Has spring come to your neck of the woods, or are you still bombarded with snow?
Without a doubt spring has arrived to the area of North Carolina in which I live. Rain and sunshine, but also emerging green grass and lovely blossoms opening on trees. This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year.
Getting healthy is going well. I'm doing good with going to the gym for 2 hours a day (except Sunday) but struggling a bit with the food aspect still. I have no clue why my stomach turns into a ravenous beast as soon as the sun goes down, but I'm going to have to learn how to tame it. I have yet to lose a single pound, despite going for 7 days, 2 hours a day, so far.

This week has been wonderful in the parcel department! Kira of Wired Galaxy had a contest on her website and I won! Unfortunately I won earrings, which I don't wear. I thanked her, but told her to hold on to them or to send them to someone else. Instead she went out of her way to make me 2. (yes, TWO!) awesome bracelets instead!
If that looks like a Polaroid to you, you're not going insane. I'm having fun with camera phone apps that create cool vintage looking photos. (Feel free to click on the photos to see them much larger.)
Check out my sexy scooter with the same effect!

And with her rain jacket on while at the YMCA the other day.

Yes. Those are indeed garbage bags, but they work great! See how Camera FX (the app I use, which is free on the android market) can turn anything into a cool vintage shot? There are other things you can do as well, but the Polaroid is my favorite. 
It looks like a YMCA from the 50's! (Instead of the one I go to everyday lol)

Righto. I may have gotten a bit off track. Remember the pretty bracelets I posted a few pictures ago? I love them! Thank-you so much Kira. The copper one on the left is a super cool every day sort of bracelet, while the gold on the right is my "I'm feeling saucy" sort of bracelet. 

Today I also received a sweet gift from a very classy Faye of The Silver Pumpkin sock bag goodness. I'm in love with her sachets because they leave a lovely lavender scent in my fiber containers, and on my braids/yarn/batts. It's very faint so as not to create any allergy issues, but enough that my containers smell delicious. 
Well, she sent me more! Yay!
Thank-you Faye! I've already put these to good use in my other containers. The rocket candy you included have also been well appreciated.
They also started a bit of a Canada/US discussion when it comes to candies.

See... In Canada those are called Rockets. In the US they're called Smarties. (Despite saying they're made in Canada on the label, which G tried to trip me up with.) Now any good Canadian knows that these delicious treats (which are far superior to M&M's I should add) are the true Smarties candy:
So when I hear Smarties I instantly think "Mmm chocolately deliciousness" and when I hear Rockets I think "Wooo sugar high tablets!"

Both are delicious. But Smarties have a candy shell and contain creamy chocolate.... and you have to eat the red ones last. Rockets get you high on sugar. 

Silly Americans! (Or silly Canadians, depending on which end of the candy discussion you're on.)
See? Rockets!

I declare this candy name war to be over. Smarties= chocolate. Rockets= hard candy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Finding a New Equilibrium and Socks!

Hello all!

Have you ever started something new in your life and it throws your routine all out of whack? That is where I'm at currently. Hubby and I have joined the local YMCA and I'm trying to go every day. So far I've found it awesome for energy, motivation and self esteem, but absolutely horrid when it comes to my current daily activities. I'm not exactly super busy mind you, but I had days where I dyed, days where I took pictures and listed, and really enjoyed the routine. Now I'm incorporating 3 hours (minimum) out of my days to exercise. (That's travel there and back, exercising and showering.) I'm hoping to keep at this 6 days a week and pick up some classes as well to break up the gym time.
I'm really happy that quite a few of my friends are doing the same thing because it's awesome to have a motivating group. Have you started looking at your lifestyle (or waistline) and realised it's time to get healthy? I had to face that my favorite activities, dyeing, weaving, spinning and knitting aren't exactly the most high energy of activities, so I'm trying to find a healthy balance.
With that said, I'm sure I'll find a new routine soon! Sunday is my day off so I'm thinking I'll break out the dyes today and get on it.

During the week evenings are still all mine to knit/spin or weave though and I've put them to good use knitting. I finished my February socks:
They're a slip stitch heel sock knit on 2.50 needles (47" harmony fixed circulars) 2 at a time with Knitpicks Gloss in Winternight. (The colour is much nicer in person, like a radiant sapphire. If you're a blue fan, this yarn colour is for you.) I mailed them off to the recipient before I could get a completed photo. Whoops! They're man sized though, big and hopefully on the loose size for a size 11 foot. I loved working with this yarn, it has a shine and softness that can only be found in the merino/silk blend, but I didn't find it splitty or fuzzy in the slightest. I'm not sure how hard wearing they will be, but they're meant to be comfy around the house socks.

Now I'm working on my March socks! They're another pair of slip stitch heel socks using 2.25 needles (47" harmony fixed circulars) 2 at a time with Knitpicks Chroma in Prism. Chroma is an interesting yarn because it's a single. There are many fluctuations in yarn gauge from a teensy tiny thread (think laceweight but thinner) to a robust sport even DK. I'm trying to draft out the super thick parts, (yay for spinning skills). So far I'm loving how the colour is knitting up (I did it opposite on purpose. Fun eh?), it's really soft and it's getting a fuzzy halo.  They'll be comfy, but I'm interested to see how they wear with time. Nice thing is I can always make Mum more, but in the meanwhile she'll get these fun ones.

Colour is a bit off on that quick snap, but it's a great ROYGBIV rainbow. I like how it's meeting at the purple and then will hopefully continue it's opposite colour progression. It's been a fun knit so far, watching the colours change.

On a related tangent. Why am I showing pictures and progress of socks that are meant as gifts? Because the recipients (these are for my Mum) are far off and know they're getting socks since they asked nicely for them, so why not include them in how things are going? I'm always late with handmade items (bit notorious for it really) so I thought maybe keeping my parents in the loop will let them see how things are going.

Once I'm finished these socks I think I'm headed back to weaving though, that sampler is mocking me I tell you. Mocking!