A Dye Day

Well, you know how it is.  You start a project with oddballs and run out of them before the project is done, so you end up buying more yarn to finish the project, usually ending up with more oddballs!  It’s a very vicious cycle, unless you are at the absolute pinnacle of yarn calculations (which, of course, I am not).  This happened to me once before in a big way – I bought some turquoise Mongolian Cashmere (Jade Sapphire brand).  Used it for the top of my prototype knit of “Devon’s Empire Tunic.”  Had a lot left over, so I knit a hat, which I thought would take care of it.  Nope.  Still had a lot left over.  Did a multistranded lace shawl with this as one of the strands, and…that’s when I ran out, about 2/3 of the way through the shawl.  I dithered for a while and then bought some more, finished the shawl, and…had a lot left over.  It sat around for a long time and then I incorporated it into another new shawl design (Vacation) and I’m so tired of looking at it that I’ve listed it in the store.

But you know that I never learn my lesson.  Once the Vacation project was done I had a ton of odds and ends of blue & turquoise-toned laceweight cashmeres.  So I decided to really splurge.  I combined one strand of each color (four strands total) and began to knit an oversized, cushy pullover.  Started with the sleeves.  The sleeves are done, and they’re fine.  The picture is a little washed out.

The first sleeve. The cuff is beaded and missing the strand of bright blue.

Progressed to the body.  Now, I knew I’d run out of my dark turquoise, so I put that at the hem, planning to strand in light turquoise when I ran out.  Fine, that’s fine, it’s all fine, yep, except…I also ran out of bright blue.

So.  Do I Macgyver the project with other blue & turquoise yarns I have around, or do I get more that will match?  Well, yeah.  I threw in a strand of deep blue qiviut from the store stock, which was too dark, and a strand of the correct color turquoise that was 100% silk.  Which was too shiny and didn’t make me happy at all.  I ripped back the silk, ordered the exact color match (in cashmere) from the store where I’d bought the first skein, and then went upstairs and dyed a skein in the correct bright blue.

Net time wasted:  about an hour to knit the few rows with the “wrong yarns,” decide it was no good, and tink back.  I don’t count the dye time as wasted since I got a perfectly usable skein out of it.  This is just a warning to you (and myself) that things always go better if they are done right the first time!

I also dyed some Christmas-green cashmere with turquoise, so now I have a nice deep teal, and two skeins of undyed silk.  One went in the bright blue dye bath and came out lavender, and the other is variegated, half turquoise, half chartreuse.  Man, I can’t wait to knit with that one!

Pics when dry.  Thanks for listening!

No Longer Carrying Qiviut

I just finished a new shawl design which I invented to showcase just one pricey skein of Arctic Qiviut and then a less-pricey skein of your choice.  The finished object was very cute, in fact, it was exactly as I’d envisioned it.  But of course it needed blocking.  I took it upstairs and put it in a cool water bath and it immediately started bleeding dark dye.  Badly.  Ten rinses later it was still pouring off dye (and I was not using Soak or any other kind of additive in the water), so I nuked it with a tablespoon full of citric acid and it stopped the bleeding.  But I hate to sell “defective” things like that, because I don’t want customers getting irritated with me.  I’ve therefore marked all the Arctic Qiviut yarns in the store down to the wholesale price and will not be carrying them after this stock runs out.  Buy now.  There are only 5 skeins remaining, although I do have one ball of “Arctic Dream” (55% qiviut, 30% cashmere, 15% silk) listed in my Ravelry trade stash, because I’d used it, cut some off, and then frogged the project.  If you’ve ever wanted to try this fiber, now is an exceedingly good time to afford some, and…shipping is still free.  Just beware of dye bleeding in the rinse.

I’m still intensely happy with Artyarns and will begin a new project with them in about 20 minutes!

Caveat Emptor

As a seller of patterns on Ravelry I always try to put as much information into the notes (which a reader will see before paying for the pattern) as I can.  People like to make informed choices.

What I’m wondering is why a lot of designers fail to do this.  There are a few nice patterns that continually crop up in my searches, which cost money, and I finally bit the bullet and bought two of them.  One pattern cost twenty dollars!  For one shawl!  I don’t even pay $20 for a book full of patterns, most times.  I thought there was some unique and intricate method that was involved, and I certainly would like to support people developing new methods, so I did it.  I paid $20 for a shawl pattern and discovered there was nothing unusual at all.  Just a sideways-knit rectangular lace shawl, where the designer used different colors and different lace patterns for each stripe.  $20 down the drain IMHO.  I could have whipped something up from my stitch pattern books in about 20 minutes to come up with a similar design.

Well, I tried again later with a $7 pattern.  Short shawl.  A load of people have knit this; a fair number of them complain about the way the pattern is written, but I figured it was better to spend $7 than to try to reverse-engineer a similar design on my own.  There’s weird shaping and so forth.  And…those people are right.  I look at this pattern and I.Am.Daunted.  I don’t even know where to start!  (I mean, obviously I know where to start, start with the cast-ons.  But you know what I mean.)

And, of course, there is no way to get your money back on something like this.  For a long time patterns have been non-returnable (even before the internet), because of the copyrights, I guess.  So I’m off to un-daunt myself.  Might be a while before y’all see me here again.

(Just for the record, my patterns are either free or $4.  I really don’t believe in charging outrageous prices for them.  People do pay the $4 – I hope they’re not dissatisfied with my work.)


“I’m all out of juice!”

No, I am not channeling Lord Flashheart.  Just looking for a juicy title for my post.

Yesterday Chris got a bee in his bonnet about juice fasting.  We did a ton of research in the afternoon and ended up buying a book and a juice extractor (this was our anniversary present to each other).  And about 10 pounds of vegetables.

So, today, we have been making juice and drinking juice all day long!  I believe that out of that ten pounds of veggies, we have left 3 carrots, a bunch of cilantro, and some lemons.  We have plowed through 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, two tomatoes, 14 carrots, 2 cucumbers, 4 lemons, a bunch of parsley, ginger root, 2 beets, and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten.  We are hoping that this approach will help us get healthier and more energized.  Strangely, although you’d think that juiced-up stuff like this would taste weird, it’s not too bad (although we overdid it on the ginger the first time and found our throats burning!)

The juicer is by Breville (same company that makes our K-cup machine and espresso machine) and it’s a real champ, so far.

I am sure there will be some juicy follow-up stories about this on the blog in weeks to come.