Posts Tagged ‘dye’

A few months ago, I read a Yarn Harlot blog post about knitting directly from some unspun, undyed silk hankies – mawatas – and thought, “that looks interesting” and “I must get hold of some of those in my next yarn/fiber order”. Then, a few weeks ago, they came up again, in a Ravelry conversation, and I remembered that I was going to, and set about placing my order. Well, it turned out that she’d blogged about them again, only not in plain black and white, but in full color, and this time, the knitting world had – as one woman – apparently gone crazy. I find that interesting: truly, color speaks. Suppliers were suddenly running out of stock left, right, and center, and the company she bought hers from was even forced to pull their listing from the online store in the face of frenzied demand. (As an aside, sometimes I think I would love to have that level of popularity, either as a dyer, or a blogger, and then, I read through as many of the sycophantic comments on any of her posts as it takes to make me change my mind. Turns out, not as many as you’d think.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short (for once: am I quite well?), my first supplier was out of stock; my second supplier claimed to have stock “but we’re running low for some reason” (I knew the reason, if they didn’t), but turned out not to; then my first supplier got them back in and I was able to get my hands on some.

Oh, swoon – the delights of playing with pure silk. The tactile pleasure. The colors. The sheer sensuous feast.

There’s a good news/bad news aspect to this in that I’ve sold the first batch already. I’m not even sure I have any left to play with myself, which was all I ever expected to do. So, my ‘good problem to have’ for today is, do I order some more, while the dyeing’s good? Because, I sure loved dyeing them, and I would totally love to sell a few more, and hey, I’d still quite like to try knitting/spinning some, actually. And they take a pretty photograph, too.

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I like to think I have mine straight:

tea kettle, pasta pot, dye pot, dye pot

Perhaps it would be better if I didn’t mention that the food is in the small pot in front, and the giant next to the kettle is the single most expensive pan in the kitchen (even shading out the awesome le Creuset monster I recently screwed up my courage to buying).

Oh, and then, there’s the coffee-making equipment on the other side of the kitchen. Because coffee is important too.

In fact, when we recently redid the kitchen, one of the major challenges was to rehouse the coffee pot family from the back of the stove. I’m pleased to say they seem to have adapted happily enough to the internal windowsill looking into the glass/utility room.

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This is a short message about wool.

I love wool. I really do, and that’s evident from the fact that I’ve been playing with quite a lot of it recently (more than usual). Some has been sold to the nice lady at the local knitting shop, some has been traded for, er, more-but-different wool with some people I know on Ravelry. Some – quite a lot – came in this week from a supplier, and some – just a little – has made it into a tiny Easter Uprising of Wool of my Etsy shop today.

There’s even a very little of a new cashmere blend sock yarn, which is squishy beyond my wildest dreams, and is currently inspiring dreamy colorways like ‘A Cloud in Trousers’

And yes, there is still a lot of wool lying around my house. And now that I’m enjoying the new, even more unwieldy and unreliable pleasure that is fiber, I’m about to put in another large order for that. Because you can do some really seriously cool things with fiber. And if you can then sell it to people who actually know how to spin, well, you may just have helped bring a thing of beauty into the world. And who can say better than that on a fine spring day?

Nice stuff, huh?

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I got some nice sock yarn in from the wholesaler recently, and ordered some more dye, and slowly but surely, I have been preparing for a shop update, in between stirring batches of sweater-yarn custom orders. The sweater yarn comes in one-kilo hanks that have to be wound into more manageable quantities, but although I complain, if it doesn’t get tangles (which only happened once), it’s not too painful a process, and I forgive this yarn almost anything, I like it so much.

So, first up, some sweaters-in-waiting:

I have to say, I’m pretty excited by them, especially as I get to knit by proxy this way. If someone goes to the trouble of buying or bartering for a sweater-quantity of yarn in the color of their choice, I think they are quite likely to knit with it. And I love to see my yarn knit up. That tempting skein of pretty sock yarn is just so easy to buy, and leave in the stash. Ask me how I know?

That said, I would naturally wish to encourage the purchase of as many random skeins of sock yarn as my loyal Midnight Sheep fans feel inclined to indulge in. Please don’t let me stand in your way. The actual purchasing opportunity starts on Thursday – 5 November, at 5 p.m. EST, which is when I will officially be restocking my Etsy, but the preview photos are up on flickr now.

This update will be all sock yarn, using that new base I mentioned earlier. It looks like a nice quality, classic sock yarn – 75% merino, and 25% nylon, and it is superwash. The yardage is good, too: 460 yards/100g.

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I’m so excited to have found this.

Mary loves designing hats, and she’s recently got into the fun of knitting socks (although she did have to be dragged in the sockward direction kicking and screaming pretty lustily). Me, I just like reinventing the wheel, and doing things like unventing the afterthought heel – done mid-sock with a perilous crochet provisional cast-on (which never, ever unzips for me, in either direction, and I’m clueless as to why). All in all, this new pattern in the Fall ’09 Knitty looks like it might appeal to both of us.

I’m so tickled by the think-outside-the-box quality of the hat-heel sock. I might have to dye some really special short-repeat stripes for a striped heel-and-toe yarn. After I’ve dyed my custom order of a sweater’s-worth of chartreuse. Which is only waiting on me hand-winding the kilo of satisfyingly sheep-scented merino, and finding a very, very big pot.

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I hav to buy a new reskeiner. Again.

It’s that damned dinner-making that’s to blame. I’m trying to multitask: I’m in the kitchen making curry, and inocently reskeining some yarn I dyed the other day, when I realize I need to cook one half of the reskeiner… possibly both, depending on which recipe I choose.


Coconut milk and organic merino in the color ‘Stella Maris’ – a perfect laps lazuli blue, the color of the Virgin’s cloak in medieval art. Chicken curry recipe to follow.

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This is my personal mantra: I rather want people to remember me as ‘One Who Used to Say Such Things’.*

I’m suffering under a perfect example at the moment. Since I enjoy dyeing yarn, and can’t knit all that fast (frankly, no-one can), I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell it, and keep the process ongoing, in the same way as for the glass. Well, the glass is significantly hampered by the demographics of Etsy: most of the customer base is in the US, and glass is a) heavy to post, raising my costs relative to American producers, and b) initially imported from the US, raising my production costs relative to competitors’ as well. Yarn, not so much. The postage costs are relatively less of an issue, and I’m on more level ground.

Also, yarn photographs a lot better than glass. The upshot is that I am selling stuff faster than I can make it. I’m thrilled. My first item sold within hours of my listing it, and now I’m running at a total of five listings and four sales. What a delight. And I do think it’s nice – go look for yourself (but you’ll have to look in the ‘sold’ section if you want to see anything, ha, ha!)

Geez – the hardest part was choosing a name. That took longer than either dyeing the yarn or making a sale. Though to be honest, I do think I’ve been lucky.


*Apologies to Thomas Hardy

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