I’m focused over here.

Image

What a crazy day.  All of this that is happening in Boston is just crazy.  I attended Boston University some years ago so it is weird seeing all of the still familiar streets completely empty.  To keep myself from watching the 24 hour news coverage, I turned to my baby daughter and also yarn dyeing to keep me busy.

I am getting into a good rhythm with the yarn dyeing and can typically dye 1-2 skeins a day.  While those are either soaking in preparation for the dye or soaking in the dye bath, I have at least 2 skeins that need to be wound and re-skeined, photographed, and posted on Etsy.  Miss Emme likes to hang out on her activity mat and watch the yarn swift spin around and around with the brightly colored yarn.  It keeps her occupied and allows me to be productive.  (As I type this on the computer, she is sleeping in my lap so where as I was a master of multi-tasking in the prior to her arrival, I am now a full fledged guru).  I am sticking with my study of complementary colors, although yesterday I veered off that path to create an analogous, cool colored yarn.  I decided to name it ‘kismet.’

I’m a big fan of this colorway and am definitely going to revisit the analogous color schemes once I’m finished with the complementary colorways.  I posted this skein of ‘kismet’ and the replicated skein of ‘eadness’ to my Etsy store today.  The second skein of ‘Mirabilia’ is drying right now.

On a completely random aside, do any of you watch “Scandal”?  I’m a HUGE fan of that show and find myself ::gasp::-ing multiple times an episode.  Imagine my disappointment when last night I tuned in at 10:00pm only to find a repeat.  ~sigh~  When has it become common practice for a network to reshow old episodes in the middle of an on-going season?  It would make a lot more sense if they would just show the entire season in one run and then if there were still weeks left before the next break, start to reshow the season again.  With Scandal, the episodes are really following the one step forward-two steps backward formula and it is driving me crazy!  This is why I usually prefer to just watch a show once the season is over with and on DVD or Netflix.

New Colorways!

Today was a great day in the dyeing studio (i.e my kitchen, another plus for using food coloring gels instead of acid dyes!).  I replicated a couple skeins that sold on Etsy and created a new colorway that is drying right now.  It was high time that I start using cooler colors so the new colorway are blues and greens.

On to the eye candy – I completed two new colorways today – ‘Padella’ and ‘Galbion’ Here are pics of them:

Galbion-Padella Collage

On the knitting front, I made a bit more progress on my rectangular log cabin.  All of my “knitting time” this morning was devoted to dyeing yarn and getting packages ready to be mailed out. (third Etsy sale this morning – yay!)

Mason jars are my new friends – Part 2

It’s a rainy day here in Upstate New York, not particularly chilly out, but quite windy.  Emme and I stepped out for a little bit, can’t wait until I can take her to the parks around here so she can really enjoy the weather.  Since she was a winter baby, her time spent outside has been pretty limited.   Soon enough!

Rainy days also mean that it is a great day for yarn dyeing! (Honestly, what isn’t a good day for yarn dyeing?)  I have a skein soaking right now and think I’m going to see how far up a skein the dye will travel when it is not completely submerged in the dye bath.  The complementary mason jar experiment from yesterday inspired this little adventure.  Speaking of the mason jar experiment, I  have re-skeined the yarn and LOVE the way it turned out – the violet stayed violet and the blue didn’t break at all.  The four colors play well together too!

Image

Mason jars are my new friends

Instead of starting this post off with my dyeing adventures, I’ll talk a bit about knitting.  I miss knitting.  The last time I even thought to pick up some needles were January 24 in the early stages of labor in an attempt to keep my mind off of the pain.  (Boy was that laughable, I’ve never dropped so many stitches in my life!)  Since then, my days have been happily filled with my absolutely adorable daughter.  Even when I think about going to grab some yarn and needles, I have no idea what I want to knit!  I’m not much of a clothes knitter and have primarily focused on knitting modular items – blankets, scarves, and lace shawls.  I have knit one sock (yep, just the one), but that wasn’t for me at the time.  I need a pattern that isn’t ridiculously complicated and just something repetitive and easy.  I keep thinking that I want to start working on the beekeeper’s quilt pattern again and then I think how awesome it would be to use my own hand dyed yarn to do that, but I’m not to that point yet.  Soon though!  I want to introduce mini-skeins to the Etsy store at some point in the near future.  Maybe I’ll break out the needles tonight…maybe.

In the meantime, I’ll use Emme’s activity mat, nap, and other quiet times to work some dye magic with the yarn!  I am currently using food coloring gels to dye all of my yarns as I don’t want to risk any airborne acid dye particles with an 11 week old in the house.  Food coloring gels need an acid to change the pH of the water for the dyes to be absorbed so I add a bit of white vinegar to the dye baths.  Well vinegar also “breaks” some of the dyes I’m using, and that mostly includes purples, blues, browns, and blacks.  The different components of these dyes absorb at different rates so more care needs to be taken if you actually want to get the intended color instead of streaks of “broken” dye.  Needless to say, the dyeing process is lengthier when trying to get these dyes to absorb correctly.  Today’s successful venture:

Success

 

I’m continuing my work with complementary colors, but I needed my blue-violet and violet to behave!  I decided to bust out the mason jars and dye individual sections of the yarn instead of letting all of the colors mingle in one large dye bath.  First I divided the yarn and tied it off in four sections using acrylic yarn (since that will never take the yarn like an animal fiber).  I used four colors – the biggest difference is that I didn’t introduce vinegar into the process at all until the yarn had first soaked on its own and then had soaked in the dye for about an hour.  Once I saw that the initial dye had been absorbed into the yarn, I added the tiniest bit of vinegar to each jar to get the other dyes to absorb.

DyeingFun

I even brought the jars out of the kitchen to show Miss Emme…and to see the yarn in a better light.

DyeandEmme

CoolingDyes

I definitely used a bit too much dye as it took a bit longer than usual to rinse out the lingering colors so next time I’ll use a bit less.  I like how some of the exhausted dye bath was absorbed higher up into each section.  Hopefully I’ll have this one up in the Etsy store tomorrow or the day after.  I have the two complimentary skeins that I dyed last night to post too.  I have just one more skein left to dye, but another shipment is on the way!

Complementary Connections

I was able to get a better picture of the yarn I dyed yesterday that I decided to call ‘Mirabilia.’ I’m a big fan of the way this yarn turned out – it has a fairy tale like quality. It should be up in my Etsy store tomorrow!

Mirabilia

Today I took a look at the handy dandy color wheel again for some inspiration for my next few skeins of yarn and I decided that I really wanted to do something with complementary colors. Now I know that sometimes complementary colors can go extremely wonky when the dyes mix (i.e. turn muddy) so I knew that I had to be careful. My first attempts with greens accompanied with reds and purples. It turned out mostly well although next time I will certainly add more red dye because it didn’t take saturate it quite as much. It still looks great so perhaps I’ll withhold all judgement until the skeins dries.

My second attempt paired oranges with blue. I’m pretty pleased with the way this one turned out! I took a picture, but since I wasn’t finished dyeing until well into the night (and if I’m honest with myself, I didn’t even rinse the orange/blue skein until the new episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ was finished) so the lighting is trash. I just couldn’t help myself though. Even my husband was quite pleased with them. (Someday I’ll have to write about my husband’s reaction to my wish to start an Etsy store and sell yarn. He is always supportive, I just have a lot of plans for him to support!)

ComplementaryColors

Alright, it’s late and Miss Emme beckons – more dyeing adventures, general fun, and much better pictures tomorrow!

Naptime Photography Ninja

After my relative successes with dyeing over the past few days, I decided that it was time to devote some time to photography.  I was pretty happy with my first round of pictures for the spring collection,  but I’m always looking for new fun and creative ways to photgraph yarn. 

I had to be a naptime ninja and set up shop in the nursery while Emme was napping/having some quiet, contemplative crib time. So I got all set with the camera and stuff when my helpers showed up.

image

Those are two of three of my little furbabies, Evie and Korben.  They are always so curious about what I’m doing and they love to get into investigate everything.  They didn’t stick around too lobg though as I was all business with the naptime timer ticking in my mind. 

I tried several poses for the yarn- swirling, twirling, laying, etc, but I kept coming back to a helix pose.   The yarn wasn’t perfect, with the odd stray strand sticking out here and there, but I kind of like the effect! Besides, I had skein photos with the yarn nice and neat so this was a chance for the yarn to ‘let it all hang out.’   Here is the helix look:

image

The angle is a bit tricky on this one, but I really like the close up.  All in all, I got some great shots of the yarns I have dyed the past few days.

image