Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Don't Do It.

Don't go over to Sheri's blog. You know, Sheri from The Loopy Ewe. And come to think of it stay far, far away from her site. It's better (or worse, depending upon how you look at it) than crack. Fortunately for me, she's mostly sold out of many fantastic hand dyed yarns. So I only bought some Panda Cotton. Lol! Only. I'm supposed to be saving money for the upcoming business events. It never fails, if I'm not "saving" money I'm good about not spending it. But when I'm "saving" money you can just watch it fly out of my wallet. Perhaps I should just stop saving. *giggle* Anyway, Sheri posted these super cute sheep stitch markers in Project Spectrum colors. That's right. Irresistible. Don't click the link in the side bar unless you're prepared for the consequences. *wink* Remember, I warned you.

Completion Issue Socks
They're finished now. They actually have been for two weeks - but I've been too busy wearing them to take pictures. So here are a few for you to enjoy. This is the last day of the month and it seems appropriate that I should be posting them now. These are for Socktopia, of course. They are the second go at this month's theme. The first pair - the Tiger Eye lace socks are just past the heel turn. They were a bit more involved than I anticipated.

These are knit from Emu Superwash - it's a DK weight yarn. They are my first pair of machine washable socks! Also my first knit from commercially spun yarn instead of my hand spun. I cast on way too many stitches at the toe. 16, I think. That would have been a good number for fingering weight yarn, but it makes these toes a bit wide. Plus, the socks are a tad bigger than I prefer all the way around, due to the fact that I didn't swatch. I just cast on at the toe and tried on as I went. Next time, I'll swatch so I get a better fitting sock.

The pattern is my own. A very simple combination of Sand Stitch and ribbing. They're nice and stretchy. Easy to knit but not terribly boring. They're also a bit shorter than I like, but I ran out of yarn, so there's not much to do there. They are totally wearable with slippers and great for around the house. I think they'll also be good for Christmas time next year as they show mostly red and green.

Tiger Eye Lace Socks

The pair that aren't finished today. They won't be either. I'm just past the heel turn. They are really pretty, though. And I am getting faster at this whole lace thing, too. This is pretty much my first outing with any sort of more complicated lace pattern. I've done some simple stitch patterns but nothing this involved. It's also my first time designing with lace. I noticed a couple nights ago that the difficulty rating on this pattern is "Experienced". Oh, well. I'm enjoying it!

I'm through the heel now and about 1" into the cuff. I added a little 9 st lace detail to the center back, and ribbing in between to keep them nice and snug. Should be pretty. I found a great website dedicated to sock toes and heels both for cuff down and toe up. It's fanastic - you can find it here. I did the No Pickup Gusset Heel, version 2. It worked out just fine! I do like it alot. The pics below show you the progress. These are knit from Tofutsies color 724.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Knitter's Connection - here we come!

If you're in or around Columbus, OH, make plans for the first weekend in June. We want to meet you at Knitter's Connection! The exhibitor contract went in yesterday, and now all the hard work begins. This is a huge step for me and the business. Usually, everything is done out of our home and on my schedule. Now I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, travelling and working with a deadline. I'm feeling giddy and a bit like I want to hyperventilate all at once. I'm going to opt for celebrating so the responsible side of me doesn't take over. Hurray for Knitter's Connection.

Come see us. We want to meet you! We'll bring the yarn.

Limeade And Violet Benefit
Just a reminder that $2.50 from every skein of Limeade and Violet yarn sold will be donated to help defray Miss Violet's medical expenses. It's going to be announce on their podcast this week, and I anticipate that the skeins we have will sell quickly. If you'd like some without having to wait for a custom dyed order, get it now. It's very pretty and lovely to see how the exact same dyes look different on various base yarns. You can find all our Limeade and Violet yarn by selecting the Limeade and Violet category on our yarn page. Every skein of Limeade and Violet has a pretty pink ribbon on the picture so you can easily locate them while browsing our other categories, too! See how we like to make shopping easy for you?

They're free - take one
If you'd like to link to us, please feel free to take a button of your choice from the sidebar on the right. We love meeting new yarn friends!

Manly Colorways - Free Yarn!
I am putting together ideas for a Manly Yarn Collection - colors that you can knit up for that beloved man in your life. You know the one who you'd love to gift with a handknit, but he claims all yarn is girly. (Doesn't have to be a significant other - brothers, dads and friends all can fall into this category.) I want your ideas! Please tell me, quite specifically, what colors you think would be a great part of a Manly Yarn Collection. I'm looking for both solids and multi color colorways. Send pictures or swatches of colors or a specific description, please! Let's get the men in our lives something to wear proudly. You can leave ideas in the comments section or email me at: katie AT shopyarnlove DOT com - remember to replace the AT and DOT with appropriate symbols!

If you leave a comment or email me, I'll put your name into a drawing for a free skein of sock yarn of your choice. Last day for entry is March 31st, so I have time to dye & photograph these for the release of our Summer Collection, early May.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Frank? Martha? Excitement!!!!

I discovered several things today.

First Discovered Thing:
I can put linked pictures in my side bar again. I've been hating New Blogger because I couldn't figure out how to put freaking linked pictures into my side bar. I've been beating my head in frustration. Then a sweet, sweet knitter over at (thank-you adriennec!) told me how to do it. (Go to the Layout portion of the dashboard. Select add new page element, choose HTML/Javascript Element and go to town.) New Blogger has been spared my wrath for the moment.

I have serious patience issues when I have to relearn things I already "know" how to do. I mean, seriously, don't these blogger people realize i have three children under the age of three to care for and mountains of yarn to dye? Huh? Huh? I think I'll write and suggest that they improve their help know to be more helpful.

Second Discovered Thing:
Sheri of the TheLoopyEwe has a super fun blog! Go visit TheLoopyEwe for incredible sock yarn. You know, the super drool-worth stuff. Anyway, Sheri has this fun quiz about whether or not you're a Martha or a Frank when it comes to socks. Go take it. You'll like it - unless you hate that sort of thing. And this quiz has a fun contest and challenge to go along with it. The challenge is that you knit a pair of socks out of the ordinary for you. You know, to help you branch out and get past the rut of your usual modus operandi. I've been trying to re-evaluate and change things in my life that seem like a rut lately and this is a fun one. Especially since I'm also doing Socktopia and I can do two things at once.

By the way, I'm a Frank. Apparently, according to the quiz, I'm split 50/50 between Martha and Frank, but after reading what Martha and Frank mean, I am definitely a Frank. In fact, I kind of like it when my socks don't match each other. It's the artist in me, what can I say? Why limit yourself to one color and one kind of sock when you clearly have two feet? Maybe the Frank tendency is why I'm not so stylish. My fashion is probably also severely inhibited because I spend most days in "dye clothes" which are the oldest, frumpiest clothes that I have. That way if they get "blessed" with dye, I'm not upset. Believe me, I have blessed myself, my counters, my kitchen, my floor and more with dye unintentionally over the years. I've even spilled a substantial amount of purple in my hair. I was hoping that it would actually stick (despite the fact that it was randomly sprinkled and splotchy) but it washed out after two showers. Should have heat set it with the dryer before washing, I guess!

And the reason that I'm pretty excited is that I have some big business plans in the works! I'm still plotting like mad to make it to the Knitter's Connection this summer, but one or two other plans have to fall into place before I can do that. Sigh. More details later. I don't want to leak my chickens before their hatched and then tell you how it didn't happen later. (Don't you just love my mixed cliches and metaphors?)
(The photo is some blatant yarn swag. It's what I've been itching to pull off my Yarn Love stock shelf and knit up. I only have one left and even though I can easily dye more, I'm trying to be very good and wait until I've got my Tiger Eye lace socks off the needles. We're not even 1/2 way there, so it's going to be a while. Itch. Itch.

Monday, February 19, 2007

All grown up in three short weeks

You may remember forever ago, when I posted a picture of twin potties, sitting there new in the filter summer morning sun. Another picture of two girls sitting on their new potties in the summer morning sun. Well, the summer morning sun has faded into the the thin, clear light of cold air, and the potties are no longer gleaming and new. Three weeks ago today the girlies announced to me that they wanted to wear their big girl panties. I assented on the condition that from that day forward they would not wear diapers again.

The first day was hell. They went every 10 - 15 mintues. There was no "holding it"; they went as soon as their bladdder had anything in it. Forget the timer at an hour, or 30 minutes or even 20....between the two of them, 10 minutes was usually too long. The second day was better. At least we could go 30 minutes between accidents. The third day Miss E started to go. She was good about peeing but forget poop. Halfway through the fourth day Miss G went once! We still don't spend a lot of time out of the house, and nights are spent in Pull Ups, but they now go without prompting. Only occasionally is there an accident and that's usually due to not getting pants pulled all the way down before proceeding.

Today they called me upstairs to the bathroom, and proudly pointed to the two potties. Both has "presents" of the solid type in them. They'd been sitting up there, side by side pooping. They were so proud. They are so big. Birthday number three is still nearly two months away and they can now go poop on the potty by themselves. I see them gaining independence every day. I miss the little girls they used to be. I love the toddlers they are. I wonder what happened to the time and why I didn't notice the changes. The tiny changes every day, so small they sneak past consciousness until the change is so defined it can't be missed. I remember with perfect clarity the day we brought them home from the hospital. Both 18" long, one weighing slightly less and the other slightly more than 5 pounds. It's bittersweet. Change is here. Change is coming. I wonder what's next?

Today I took a 1/3 knit wash cloth off my shelf, cut it off the two balls of yarn it was being knit from and then hacked it into small rectangles, about 1" in width. Am I dangerously insane? I think not. I just thought that I could pull out some of the ends and spin it into yarn. I do wonder what people would say if (the fiber uninitiated) were able to peer through my office window to see me happily cutting a hand knitted object into shreds. It was freeing, though. No more UFO staring me down from it's jumbled and unhappy corner of the open yarn shelves.

Yarn Swag: just another pound and a half of Joan of Arc gracing my workspace today. I've been rewinding and banding it this morning. The electric winder isn't finished, and every skein of yarn that I dye is skeined and reskeined by hand. In fact, the entire process from cone to finished hank is compeletely done by hand. Hand crafted has a distinct meaning to me. I like that with every skein I mail to its new home, I am fighting mass production. I like that every knitter who uses Yarn Love yarn sees my impression in the strands that flow through their hands. I am a small part of their creative process.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Caffeine Dumps, Flying Yarn and Hot Fridges

And here are the fruits of my labor in various stages of skeining. Sometimes the yarn is so pretty, it just breaks my heart to send it away. A rocking chair full of yarn is one of those simple pleasures of life......


This week has been a flurry of activity. Last week was too, but it wasn't good activity. It's the kind of activity where you feel like you're running 90 miles an hour just to spin your wheels while someone beats you over the head with a two by four. Let's just say that I never want to repeat last week ever again. It wasn't wholesale tragedy or anything like that. Just entirely unpleasant and inconvenient and lots of stressors coming one right after another. The last hurrah of the previous week was the refrigerator deciding it didn't want to work. It had been a little warm on the door, but then cooled back down one day last week so I just assumed one of the girlies held the door open too long. Sunday morning we woke up to find any open dairy item soured. So we loaded all our food into our big camping cooler and stuck it on our deck in the snow and frigid air. Despite the inconvenience of having to make multiple trips out to the deck for any refrigerated item we were doing pretty well. Called a couple of repair places and discovered no one could get here until Wednesday. Grrr, but at least the food is OK in the cooler. Forecast is for cold temps, so we should be OK. The very good repair man comes Wednesday and identifies what we need but has to order it. So more deck food until midday on Friday (yesterday! No fridge for 5 days with 3 kids under the age of 3....starting to get on my nerves.) So the part is in, the freezer is good and frozen and the repair guy says "Load her up! You're in business!" The fridge seemed much cooler so we did. We had company for dinner and proceeded to put all our beautiful bourbon marinated flank steak with garlic mash and decadent chocolate cake into the fridge before spending the evening talking and having fun. This morning we wake up to a fridge that is 60 degrees. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Crap! Stupid fridge!

Ahem, apparently Mr. N is one of the handiest men around because he looked it up on the internet, pulled apart some apparatus in the fridge and found the problem. The space that conducts the cold air down from the fridge and the "warm air returns" were completely blocked with ice. That meant no cold air could get into the fridge and the warm air stayed in the fridge instead of moving up into the freezer to be returned as cold air. So he dried those out with a hair blower and sucked all the air intakes out with our made a huge mess in the kitchen which the girlies thought was the funnest thing ever. And wah lah! We're back in least I supposed until the thing blows up tomorrow morning.

At least the upshot of all of this is I have an extremely clean fridge. If you want to lick your food right off the fridge shelf, just stop on by!

Besides the frenetic emptying and reloading of the fridge, I've also been on a dyeing tear. Some more yarn came in for an order and I've been busy getting it all ready to go out the door. It's always nice to dye and have the fun of reskeining it all. It's so pretty just slipping through my fingers on it's way to the swift. Each skein has it's own nuances and it's neat to see the differences develop. Yarn Love has been selling like hotcakes, and I've been putting together many packages for shipping. Mr. N drives right by the mailbox every day on his way to work, so I handed him a stack of four and asked if he would drop them off. It's been 0 degrees actual temp with a foot of snow on the ground for the past few weeks, and I just didn't feel like walking down the drive to the mail box only to return as a snowman. A few minutes later, I see these four, beautifully wrapped packages of $200 worth of yarn sitting on his trunk as he backs down the driveway!!! So, I did what any self respecting yarn dyer would do. I threw open the door, ran out into the snow in my slippers while waving my arms frantically and all the time picturing the packages, my beautiful babies, hitting the dirty, sandy, salty snow of the street. He nonchalantly rolls the window down, assures me he knows they're there and proceeds to go merrily on his way.

They all made it safely into the mailbox. I was still cold. And mostly baffled at why he would do that.

And my favorite part of having a distracted week: the Caffeine Dumps. Let me start off by saying that when I am pregnant I don't have caffeine. When I am nursing I don't have caffeine. Caffeine in pregnancy causes the baby's brain to work differently and there's preliminary evidence showing that it causes a host of problems such as ADD, etc. When I'm nursing my body is hyper sensitive to it, and a cup of 1/2 caff, 1/2 decaf coffee will have me laying in bed awake 15 hours after I drank it. So I prefer to stay away. However, now that my nursing relationship with X is minimal (he nurses once or twice in the night) and can have some. But I'm still working my way up and rarely ever get above 1/4 caff, 3/4 decaf blend. Unless I'm so distracted by my funky fridge and copious quantities of dyeing that i don't count the scoops of coffee right.

Oh, the thrill of the caffeine high! I am getting so much done! I feel so great! My kids have never been such angels. Never mind that you can't see the floor in the family room due to the layer of toys. I'll have them picked up in a jiffy. Right after I finish these last 10 pounds of yarn.

Two hours later I can't understand why every little thing is jangling my nerves and I'm the hugest grump you've ever seen. It's so bad, I'm wondering what I can do to get away from myself. Oh, and I hate that 10 pounds of soaking wet yarn waiting for me to dye it. Die yarn, die!

So that in a nutshell is the last few days of my life. My best tip of the Valentine's Day week? If you stand outside in subzero temps for 10- 15 minutes while filling your car with gas on your way home from a bikini wax, you'll notice almost no redness and swelling! It's like instant gratification! So remember that beauty tip from me, your friendly yarn dyer, next time it's off the the aesthetician.

Here is my knitting project of the week. I think I actually started it in the midst of last week, the Week From Hell, because I realized that the gorgeous Tiger Eye lace socks would never get done in time to qualify for this month's Socktopia challenge. I have over achiever tendencies. Sometimes I'm pretty good at suppressing them, but this is not one of those times. Rather than get most of the way through the lacey ones, I just put them down and grabbed some Emu Superwash that had been sitting in my destash box forever. Got to love that. The pattern is one that I made up. It's just like the Beverly Socks, only a heavier gauge and not quite as symmetrical. I didn't actually use a calculator at any point during the knitting of these socks, I just cast on at the toes (which are really much wider than normal) and started knitting. But they're turning out OK after all, and I know I'll wear them. They will be pair number THREE of Katie's hand knit socks when they're done. I'm nearly out of yarn, so it will be soon. I've promised myself that I'll get back to the Tiger Eye lace as soon as these are off the needles. I've already committed to sending that along to Socktopia members as a free pattern. I've never really done lace before...what was I thinking? Eeek!

Some of you have been asking about the Spring Collection on Yarn Love. It's up and you can take home anything you want. I promise to send it right out. I won't keep it even though I love it. Every skein of yarn you buy helps get me to my exhibitor's booth at the upcoming Knitter's Connection in Columbus, OH. So if you want to see me there, buy a skein!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Guess what? Yarn!

Ahem, I know you just are never going to believe this, but this post will be devoted to yarn. No, I'm quite serious. Yarn, yarn and more yarn. Possibly some comments about my fridge if I get side tracked. (I am really easily side tracked, and more importantly, I'm usually pretty happy flying down whatever tangent presents itself. I never used to me. Just since I've become a mom....See, what did I tell you? Easily side tracked.)

I have NEW YARN PICTURES!!! Sarah, my official yarn photographer took pictures of the spring line this Saturday and they'll be up on the site today. I can't wait. I love her work and I'm super excited about yarn. (Edited to add: they're now available at!)

The Spring Collection has something unique about it - several of the colors are used in multiple colorways. That means they'll match each other easily. Plus, I'm offering 5 matching solids this season. There are also going to be "Sock Duos" - mini skeins, one varigated one solid so you can do colorwork. Plus, it's easy colorwork because you know the solid color is the same shade that's in the varigated skein. woohoo!

So here's a sneak peak of what's coming. All six varigated colorways are here and several of the 5 matching solid shades. They're pictured on a variety of base yarns including our superwash sock, merino/tencel sock, the new bamboo/nylon sock yarn, merino/silk, etc:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad, Bad Blogger

I have 3 partially completed drafts that I have never posted. I think it's symbolic of my life recently. You won't mind that I've been neglecting you, will you? I thought not. I knew you would understand.

Well, this week has been less than stellar...printer broke, hood flew into windshield while I was driving, my children painted their room with poop during a nap (requiring 5 hours of cleaning....oh, so gross!), last night the kids and I came down with a bad cold, and the freezer is broken this morning. I can't wait for this freaking week to be over.

On the bright side, the Spring Collection for Yarn Love is going in for photography tomorrow. Yay! I've been dyeing like a maniac. I have pounds upon pounds of yarn sitting around here just waiting for new adoptive homes. It's gorgeous, if I do say so myself. And we were able to make a yarn replacement. The new Scarlett O'Hara is a soft, cushy sock yarn that is 60% merino wool/ 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. I think bamboo feels like microfiber. It has that same ultra softness combined with the open loft. If you're a sock yarn junkie, like me, you're going to love this. One of the first skeins of this was sent to the effervescent Lime N Violet, and got a mention on their latest show (#35). I freaked out, it made a rotten day much better. Oh, and there is a colorway this season called Limeade and Violet in honor of the knitty, talking queens.

So, have you all heard about Socktopia? I am participating...nevermind that I lost all my fraking buttons when I accidentally changed the template. (Yeah, the new blogger makes that really easy, let me tell you.) Soon I will be sporting a beautiful Socktopia button, but I've got to get my life back together before I even think about going there. The general concept of Socktopia is one pair of sock per month for the year. If you start and complete a pair of socks within a month then you get entered into a drawing for prizes. Yay! Prizes! There are themes for you to work from, a Flickr group for drooling over everyone's socks and a place to chat. I'm loving it. I knit three pairs of socks last month, but this month I'm hoping I'll make it through one. I'm designing this month's pair. They have a fairly intricate 25 st lace pattern that will go from cuff, to toe. I really haven't knit much lace at all, so it's been interesting. I did rip the first entire repeat of the pattern out (16 rows). Then I placed some stitch markers and things seem to be going better. Next time, I'll remember not to start involved projects during the shortest month of the year! eeek! They are really pretty though. Being knit from Tofutsies, color #724.

I do have some mohair on the wheel. (Actually, it's off the wheel as of last night, but shhh!, it's not plied yet.) It will be plied with some hand dyed merino wool that I hand dyed. It's going to be for socks - what else? I'm a little bit addicted to the handspun, hand knit socks. Yeah. It's gotten bad. I have only 2 pairs of hand knit socks, and I alternate days that I wear them. That way I can wash and block the "off" pair and be in hand knit socks all week long. I seriously need some more pairs. (My wheel really isn't that washed out or dull looking. It's just not a good photo of it. If you look closely, you'll see one of my hand knit socks in action. Seriously. I wear them all the time. It's like an addiction. But without all the rehab and brow beating that comes with traditional substance abuse. I may even make it through my fiber stash this year, if I keep the spinning up!)

This is Miss G - one day I was taking pictures of yarn and she wanted me to take her photo, too. Isn't she sweet? mhm, I thought so, too. Their third birthday is coming up in a couple months. I remember how tiny they were when they first arrived. 18" long, and only 5lbs, 12oz and 6 lbs, 7 oz respectively. Full heads of deep black hair. Sigh. I don't miss the 14 months of extreme sleep deprivation, but who are these beautiful and independent toddlers? I don't remember my babies growing up.