Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Non-Update and Patterns

I'm still not back to dyeing.  Working on getting there, though.  I did over dye a skein of yarn yesterday and will post pics when I get photos of the dry yarn.  That will be Day 6 of 300 Days of Dyeing.

In the meantime, though . . . I'm putting out a call for designers.  I want to offer my customers a complete shopping experience, but sometimes I just have to admit that I can't do it all.  Like design.  I have written a couple of sock patterns.  And have a couple more forming in my mind.  But I know not everyone knits socks.  Believe it or not, not everyone even wants to knit sock.  I know.  Mind boggling, huh?  Well, not really.  Until you do it, knitting socks does seem a little overwhelming.  And some people try it, succeed, but just don't enjoy it.  Anyway.  I know you want more than just socks.  So  . . . . if you or someone you know is a knit or crochet designer and would like to another outlet for offering your patterns to the public, we might be able to work something out.  Contact me and we'll see what we can come up with.  In the meantime, check out the designs from The Pattern Market



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

300 Days of Dyeing - Update

Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about the Challenge.  I have slept about 6 hours since Friday night.  And right now I have an exploding headache.  That's why I thought it would be a good idea to make it 300 Days of Dyeing instead of Dyeing Every Day.  I knew there would be Days like this.

But  . . . I still have yarn to dye so as soon as I'm feeling better again I'll be Dyeing again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Little Bit of Luxury

Do you deserve a little luxury?  Just for yourself?  Of course, you do! And you know it, too.  But you've probably been denying yourself so you can do something a little extra for someone else. 

I know because everyone does that.  It's just human nature.  Well, everyone does that except me.  I'm not denying myself.  I've found a way to treat myself and someone else, too.  You see, it's this yarn that I ordered. When I was told by the sales rep that it was 'luxury' yarn, I was thinking to myself, "OK.  But it's still yarn." And then it arrived and I knew beyond a doubt  . . . well, after I let my husband cut the box open because he was afraid my shaking hands would cut myself and then I ripped open the bag  . . . then, I knew beyond a doubt that when it came to luxury, this was the real deal!

Since then, I have been treating myself by handling this silky soft, just the right balance of body and drape, I-just-want-to-touch-you yarn every chance I get.  Through every step of the dyeing process, I have caressed this twisted fluff and let it caress me back.  (Am I in love?) And I know that as soon as it's dry I'm going to wind a skein into a ball and cast on.  And I'll treat myself all over again while knitting.  I don't have a clue yet what I'll make.  It will probably become a gift to someone else and they will be treated to luxury for the long life of the item made.

Do you want to see what I'm making such a fuss about? Well, you'll have to wait, like everyone else, for the big reveal. To be one of the very first to see this yarn, sign up for my email newsletter before September 2.  Just to make sure you get signed up, go ahead and do it now. 

Now, for 300 Days of Dyeing . . . Days 4 and 5 have been spent dyeing my new yarn line, so I can't post photos now.  Just rest assured that I'm (mostly) keeping up and I only have 295 Days to go. At this rate, I'll be finished by this time next year.

The green/gray/brown in the lower right was the color of the shawl.

Since I can't give you a peek at the new yarn, I'll show you a photo of one my current projects.  Last year I knit a shawl in a colorway that I simply loved.  I used worsted weight yarn.  Though it knit up quickly (which was good), I never wore it (which was bad.)  The shawl ended up across the end of my bed one cold night and I tucked my feet up underneath it.  It was so warm, I decided to use the same yarn base to knit an afghan for the bed.  Then I decided that since I loved the colorway and it was just sitting there, I would unravel it and add (many) more colors.

It is a simple mitered square pattern.  I'm not sure how large I'll make it. Right now it covers my legs without much left over.  But my husband felt it and decided we should keep it for our bed (my plans all along!), so I'll need to keep knitting.  Speaking of which, I think I'll watch a movie now and work on it little more tonight.

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

300 Days of Dyeing - Day 3

Well, I made it to day three.  Let's see if I can come up with something for Day 4 before it's over.

Day 3's experiment turned out quite nice, I think.  It is a fat quarter of 100% Cotton print, suggested use: quilting. For those of you not into quilting, a fat quarter is a quarter of a yard of fabric in which the yard was cut or torn in half in one direction and then the halves were cut or torn in half in the other direction.  Instead of having a quarter of yard that measures 9" X 44" (that's one quarter length X the typical width of quilting cotton), you have a rectangle that is 18" X 22".  This is a good size for quilters who need just a small amount of a particular color or pattern. Some quilters will use a lot of different fat quarters to make a quilt with a 'scrappy' personality.

Anyway. This is what I started with:
And this is what I finished with:

The white printed hearts did not take the dye, just as I suspected.  (Did you notice that they were photographed right side up this time? Woohoo! ) The shading is irregular.  It almost seems that the brown dye 'split'.  Most dyes are made up of mixtures of primary color dyes.  Depending on many factors (insert lots of chemistry here), the dye may split or break and the results are unpredictable.  I rather like the variation in this and changing from one shade to another. This could be very useful in an applique application. The changing shades could give dimension and life to quilt or mixed media art ware instead of a flat monotone image.

I've been on the computer a lot today.  I'm still trying to learn as much as I can about the business side of an art oriented business.  There is a vast amount of information out on the internet, but only a small part of it is directly applicable to me.  Some is more general in nature and some information can be skewed to apply to me.  So I'm slowly sifting through it, trying to find the gems among the stones.

One gem I've already found is "The Creative Empire."  If you have your own creative business or you are contemplating beginning one, I highly recommend The Creative Empire as a place to connect with other similar to you and who are willing to share ideas and information. It's a great group of small business owners who are there to motivate and support one another.

Now, I think I'm going to throw another piece of cotton fabric in the dye pot (or baggie) and see what comes out tomorrow. Y'all take care and enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

300 Days of Dyeing - Day 2

Day 2 of 300 Days of Dyeing . . . I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping up - so far. I finished the dyeing, drying, and photographing the Day 1 victim.  Day 2 suspect is in the dye pot. Or dye baggie rather.  It's a fat quarter of cotton fabric.  I'm trying a little bit of a different technique-on a very small scale.  It's nothing new, just a new little twist on an old idea. This is what I started with last night. I had to soak it in Soda Ash solution before dyeing, so I threw it in a the Soda Ash bucket last night. It is a light tan with tiny white hearts.  The hearts appear to be printed on the fabric, so I'm not sure how they will take the dye, if they take it at all.  And of course, I followed the 14th Rule of Photography, take the photo with the hearts upside down, and not noticing till I was ready to post the photo.  Since the orientation of the hearts really isn't relevant to the activity, I let it go.

Yesterday, Day 1 of 300 Days of Dyeing, began with a couple of skeins of 8ply Super Wash Merino yarn.  This is Fingering Weight (Sock Yarn), 100g/420 yards.  I thought I had listed these in my Etsy store and for some reason no one wanted them.  But when I was looking for them so I could 'unlist' them, I couldn't find them.  So it wasn't the creamy tangerine that turned off the customers.  It just wasn't there for them to begin with.  Anyway.  That's neither here nor there. I started out with one thing.  Added some Fuchsia Red (I love that color!), and came out with something I'm not sure I'm crazy about.  I may have to over dye it again.  I'm thinking some charcoal gray might be just the thing.  What do you think?

This is what I started with yesterday:                                                              

And this is what I have  today:     
Since neither of these are listed, you can save me the trouble if you are interested in either of them.  I can sell them for $18 each.  Send me an email and I'll send you an invoice.

I've still got lots to do today. I'm wanting to write another blog post that's not directly related to the 300 day challenge.  I may try to squeeze that in later today.

                                                                                    Until then, take care and enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

300 Days of Dyeing - Day 1

I have joined The Creative Empire. I'm quite excited about it.  I keep a tab in my browser open all the time to check the forum and activities.  I want to learn every bit I can about building my Creative Empire.  When you get a group of entrepreneurs in one place, you there has to be some good stuff shared between them. I'm not sure I've contributed anything.  But I'm soaking up everything I can.

One of the activities on the worksheet for the first seminar pertained to finding your creative voice.  Now, I feel like I already have a pretty good understanding of my creative voice.  If not, I don't think I would have taken the step to participate in The Creative Empire.  But it still got me to thinking.  That along with a couple of twitter posts that I stumbled across.  I don't remember the exact words, but the essence of both were as follows: "If you want to be a writer, practice writing.  If you want to be a painter, practice painting."

All of these together got me thinking.  Yes, I am a Dyer.  Am I a good Dyer? Yes.  Could I be a better Dyer?  Well, probably.  I hope.  I mean, I know I'm good.  But am I excellent?  On occasion, yes. Can I be an excellent Dyer every time I put the dye pot on the stove? I'm not sure.  But I want to be.  I want to be the Master Dyer.  I want to be the one that others look to as an example of what they want to do. But how can I get there.  If I want to be an excellent dyer, then practice excellent dyeing.

That's when I decided to challenge myself.  I've seen other challenges that involved doing something every day for a year.  There are quite a few 365 day challenges out there.  The most popular is 365 Days of Photos - or whatever the actual name is.  If you Google that, you will find it.  I'm thinking that making a commitment to dye something every day for a year is a little ridiculous, for me, anyway. There are just too many things that can go wrong.  Like Life.  But if mold this idea to fit me, I think I can make it!  That's where 300 Days of Dyeing was born.

The challenge: Dye something - anything - for 300 days over a period of approximately one year.  Knowing me, this will take more than a year.  But that's ok.  It's not a race.  It's a developing and evolving experience. Some days will be planned dyeing days for my business.  Some days will be dyeing days for me.  Others will be to experiment.  And yet others will be for the sole purpose of improving. I may improve a color or colorway.  I may improve a technique.  Or I may improve on not making such a mess when I dye.

Here is the yarn I'm over-dying today.  I will dye just one skein. I'll be able to photograph these together later so you can see the difference.  I hesitate to say 'the improvement',  but I've yet to make a skein worse by over-dyeing it.  Many of my favorite yarns are over-dyed.

I may not post everyday that I dye, but I hope you will check in often to see my progress.

Until next time, 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Deeper Roots

Have you ever been thinking about something and your mind just goes from one thought to the next?  The thoughts are all tied together.  But the first has nothing to do with the last. That happened to me a couple of days ago.  And suddenly that light bulb over my head lit up and I thought, "I'm going to have to write a blog post about this!"

Now, as I said, that was a couple of days ago, so I have no idea what I was thinking about at the time.  But I do remember the part about the roots. And watering the garden.  Maybe that's where it started.

Our garden is about to take over.  Once again, I planted the tomatoes way too close.  And as usual, during the very hot and dry weather this summer, we only watered them two or three times.  The pepper plants in the containers got watered more often. But the tomatoes were left to their own devices, to survive or die as they might.  And they survived.  Every single stinkin' last one of them.

Do you know why they survived? Not because we watered them, but because we didn't.  The tomato plants had to sink deeper roots to draw moisture from deep in the soil.  The deep roots received not only moisture and nutrients from the soil, they also received stability.  The plants grew slower during the dry spells.  But they grew stronger with the nourishment they received and the stability provided by the deep roots.

What has this got to do with anything?  Well, I'm not sure now what it had to do with what I was thinking of a couple of days ago.  But this concept can be applied to many aspects of our lives.  The similarity between the tomato plant story and the support provided by our families is pretty obvious.  And I'm sure you can find ways to apply it to other areas of your life.

I see similarities in our knitting/spinning/quilting/love of arts and crafts communities, too.  I'll tell you a little about my situation and how it applies to me.  I work from home and don't get out much.  For the most part that's fine.  But when I started knitting again, I missed the companionship of other knitters.  When I wanted to learn a new method of casting on, I didn't have a friend close by that I could ask to show me. I was in a 'knitting' drought.  I had to look elsewhere for what I wanted.  That 'elsewhere' was the internet.  Then I discovered a great river of knitting.  I sank my roots deep into that moist soil and began to grow. And get stronger.  And more confident.  The nourishment I received from putting down those deep roots to get what I needed where it was (rather than waiting for it to come to me) gave me stability.

I now see the knitting/spinning/quilting/love of arts and crafts communities growing and spreading.  People like me, who once made our way to the internet to find what we couldn't find in our home towns, are now meeting in person to share their love of their crafts.  Because of the deep roots, nourishment, and stability, we are now finding one another and adding to our numbers.

And my tomatoes are, too.  Adding to their numbers, I mean.  There are quite a few ripe tomatoes that need to be picked and canned. I better get busy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday

I have finally photographed and will list later today some hand dyed merino wool, ready for spinning.  One is a light to medium turquoise.  Probably more light than medium.  I love this color.  It's so soft and cool.   But the fiber is soft and warm. The other is Navy Blue & Khaki.  I haven't come up with any witty names for either of them.  They will probably end up with some off the wall name.  Or a number.  But I really, really hate numbers for names.  If you have any suggestions before I list the them, please let me know.  But you better hurry!


Now for the Fiber Arts Friday.  Please post a link to your blog in the comments area here.  I would appreciate it if you could leave a link back to Teresa Levite Studio in your blog, but it's not necessary..  And you can also check out WonderWhyGal's Fiber Arts Friday blog and leave a link to your Fiber related blog there, too!