I was getting lost around Etsy today and found what I’d want at my baby shower, you know, if I ever found a guy, settled down into a traditional lifestyle, and had kids. It’s a lot of ifs, but I LOVE this item.

This is the first actually cute diaper cake I’ve ever seen. I love the colors, not all pansy at all. Plus, it comes with a Cat in the Hat plush. That seems like a good one to get for a kid. Think of the trouble they could get into and then blame it on the stuffed guy!

I just wanted to share. Usually, these baby things are just so fruity looking, like pastel cloud vomit. This one looks awesome and I’d totally have to have it if I were having a baby shower. It’s epic. If I were to ever try my hand at making diaper cakes and such, you can bet it’d look more like this than anythign you’ve ever seen. You can get it here on etsy if you are planning for a little one in your life.

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I absolutely fell in love with the mini stripe/accent packs of yarn I worked on dyeing last night. So much so that today I went out to get more wool and soda so I’ll be able to make a few more of my stunning stripe kits. They will still be a very limited run. This is good because I’ll be keeping one at a minimum. I can’t tell you how much I love these colors! I want to make black socks with these soda stripes. I think I’ll even try and make a special stripe kit tag for the packaging honoring my childhood cat, appropriately named Stripes.

I also picked up a ton of Cascade 220 with my $40 shopping spree I’d earned by getting enough punches at my local yarn shop. I plan on  using it to complete a project from my first big and original knitting pattern! This will be one awesome looking pattern sample. I can’t wait to get started knitting it up! Plus, all the leftovers of these stunning wool colors will get to be added to the 300 stitch afghan 🙂 I’ve got to get a few more projects off my plate first before tackling my new pattern.

Today and for much of last night, I’m trying to finish the Knitted Toys group’s July Mystery KAL. It’s shaping up to be such a cute pattern even made of cheap leftover acrylic! Unfortunately, it has way too much seaming. I hate seaming. I’ve already made a few alterations to the little sheep pattern to get around some of it. I’d so much rather work in the round. Pictures will be coming soon, just two arms, a leg, and a mini scarf left to knit. I’ve got to hustle because to be eligible for prizes. The deadline is the end of the month. Fingers crossed for a quick finish to the little guy!

On a final note, I’m about to load up on fresh wool to dye. Any requests? I’m looking at adding some 100% superfine alpaca, some 50/50 silk/Merino blend, and some alpaca wool blends to the shop in lace, sport, and worsted. Is there anything else you all would like to see? More sock yarns? I’m getting bored with just wool. Granted I LOVE working with it as evidenced by the major stashing today at Table Rock Llamas, but sometimes you just need some alpaca under your fingers. I’m also considering some cotton at my mother’s request. Soda dye won’t take to the cotton, but I will be able to get close to some of my other colors, like the tumultuous sea that she loves so much.

Today I managed to score a very limited supply of a new kind of soda and am working on dyeing up some of the most stunning yarns. Since the soda came in only 1L bottles and I only have a couple hanks of yarn on hand to dye, I’m making stripe/accent sets! Each set is still the same 100g of yarn, but split into three 33ish gram hanks. I’m making one in Peruvian Highland worsted weight and one in fingering sock weight (75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon). Each set will include 3 separate bottles of soda with just enough of each color to add stripes to your next project or even make up some swatches! I’m probably going to make a few sodas in these smaller sets for myself to use in the Epic 300 Stitch KAL.

I’m so happy with these colors. I also tasted a little shot glass of each soda, and they’re so good! I’m really hoping I’ll be able to get more of these flavors. I found them at a local discount store, but they cost more than normal soda…go figure.

Curious enough yet? I found Jolly Rancher brand soda! I got every flavor they had, blue raspberry, cherry, and my personal favorite Jolly Rancher flavor, Green Apple! Here’s a picture I found online of what the soda’s look like. I haven’t been able to find any of the other flavors, yet.

The worsted yarns are in their bathing process now and look excellent! I love the green and the blue came out so much better than Mountain Dew Voltage, which had to be over-dyed. This set might be my favorite dye job ever. It’s a bit more time consuming to wind up the separate but equally weighted hanks, but I love the colors and the idea of getting 3 littler hanks to play with. What do you all think? I’m hoping to have this batch, a whole 2 sets up in the store by early next week and will make more if I can keep getting the soda.

Just a quick update

July 21, 2010

I managed another 2 swatches today, reverse stockinette and seed stitch. I’d done both before, so that made them easier, but I did manage to mess up on the seed stitch and have to unravel a couple of rows. For those who aren’t familiar with reverse stockinette, it’s the same as stockinette stitch, just flipped over, so you start on the right side with a purl row and all wrong sides are knit rows.

If you want to try to follow my size swatches, I did the first 5 stitches by casting on 20 and working the pattern for 20 rows. For the seed stitch, I cast on 15 and worked for 30 rows. I plan on doing the same 15/30 for my moss stitch which is next. I’ll also be ordering the blocking set from Knit Picks in my next order so I can block my pieces. Expect an instructional post on blocking afghan swatches soon.

Pictures will come later. I’ve just generally had a fail sort of day. I’ve been trying to package up a few of my yarns from the past few Mondyes to list on etsy and it’s rather draining. I need to get a packaging system in place to make this go faster and easier. I’ve got the crafting and the shipping down, but the packaging just isn’t so smooth yet. On the bright side, I did get to send away another yarn today. I’m selling the purples before I can even get them onto etsy! If any of you want Grape Crush Soda Pop Yarn right away, you’ll probably need to message me about a custom order.

Also, I’m quite curious, for those of you who need to rehank something from its original hank, how do you go about it? Is it best to have two swifts or should I make another few niddy noddies in the lengths I want for my hanks? I’ve got some stunning sock yarn I need to rehank to get into a soda pop bottle. I prefer center-pull cakes of sock yarn myself, but those don’t fit into 2L bottles very well.

Mondye July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010

You know you’ve been looking for it, your Mondye eye candy! Here’s the week’s work:

This week’s dye lot includes some new sodas, a custom order, some Wilton dyed, and roving, worsted weight and fingering sock yarns! The left side is worsted weight Peruvian wool and superwash roving both in Big Red soda pop. The earthy one next to it is a sock yarn I’m falling for myself. The top back left is Orange Crush soda dyed onto fingering sock and the top back right is Grape Crush on worsted. This Grape Crush came out a bit more saturated in color than the last one, which was made into this awesome bag. The middle right yarns, Grapette I’ll be sending to Oregon and Cherry Crush, are both worsted. I learned that Cherry Crush and Big Red dye to exactly the same color red. Both are much more red than the pink of Mountain Dew Code Red. Finally, in the front right we have a roving I’m calling “tumultuous sea”.

Here’s a close up of “Tumultuous Sea”:

Additionally, I’ve got a close up of the Big Red roving because the fibers are so delicious and close-ups so luscious:

My last big dyeing project this week was to start making a dye binder and color cards. I figure this will help me to get color combinations I actually want for my cake dyeing and also to track which sodas look good together, how dark they dye on different kinds of yarn and fiber, etc.

I hope you love all the colors. Let me know if you see something you would like. Most of the goodies pictured in the top dye lot shot will be heading to my etsy store as soon as I get them dried and packaged up.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this review on Ravelry. This was posted by a fellow LSG group member who purchased some of my Grape Crush soda pop dyed yarn in Worsted Peruvian wool. I think you’ll agree her project is stunning!

“I purchased some lovely worsted wool yarn dyed with Crush Grape soda from swamps42 at her etsy shop: Hairballz Creations.

Soda Pop Yarn

It arrived promptly and I had to cast-on promptly too 🙂

I made a Ballband Bag with it.
Ballband Bag 1

You can see the Soda Pop Yarn in the garter stitch at the base, but to be honest the photo doesn’t due the subtly of the shading justice. The color ended up being just want I wanted; not too pink and not too purple-y.
Soda Pop Yarn

It felted up very nicely after a couple laundry loads:
Ballband Bag 2

Very happy with the final results!”

She also added, “when knitted in garter stitch, it felts to approximately 75% of its original length (didn’t pay attention to width as I was more concerned with how long to make the strap). This info might be useful for some.” so those of  you who want to use this yarn for your felting projects have a better idea of how it felts up. Of course, I know some people felt their projects differently. I personally felt the heck out of my stuff so it’s impossible to see the different rows and I’ve seen plenty where it’s still possible to see the rows and columns of stitches in the knitting. It looks to me like the 75% length is a pretty complete felting job.

I hope you all love historyweaver’s bag as much as I do! You can add comments to the original review thread in LSG here. I’m personally feeling quite inspired to try that pattern and likely will once I get a few other projects off my plate.

I’m still looking for the perfect name for this colorway and just wanted to get an update out before I go lie down for a bit. I got the first ball plied. I didn’t Navajo ply as I normally do because I didn’t want the yarn to bulk up too much. I have a REALLY small orifice on this wheel. Navajo plying tends to get the wool stuck. The only problems I ran into here was that my bobbin was just way too small. I had to remove the drive band and hand wind the yarn on since the bobbin was so full it was getting stuck on the flyer. It took much longer. I hope something can be done about the size of my orifice and flyer/bobbins soon.

I discovered a new trick (or at least new to me) for plying. The benefit of Navajo plying is that you go from one bobbin to one bobbin. You never run the risk of running out of yarn on one side and having a ton left on the second bobbin like you would doing a traditional ply using a lazy kate and multiple bobbins. I took the single I’d spun and ran it through my wool winder to make a center pull cake. Then I spun in the reverse direction (like for all plying techniques I’m aware of). The trick is, I spun the inside pull strand of the cake to the outside strand of the cake. You do have to be careful the cake doesn’t spin in circles on the floor tumbling around and tangle itself, and the last few yards takes more concentration, but all-in-all it worked fantastically well. You work with the inside and outside pull strands of the cake just like you would use the two strands coming off the lazy kate. When you reach the end of your plying, the end just forms a loop and so far seems to hold the twist better than just plying two cut strands together. The loop on the end prevents much twist from running off the end of the finished yarn. This also produces just as great of a balanced yarn as does traditional plying. The benefit of never having to worry about having one bobbin still partially full is awesome AND you don’t have to wrestle with the awkward and slightly bulkier Navajo plying.

Get out your wool winders and put them to use in your plying! I’m interested to hear how it works for you. I know this will be a huge future time saver in my plying. I’ve just got to get a bigger bobbin and flyer to hold a full size hank. I estimate this to be about 72 yards of a varied weight yarn. It varies from a thin worsted like Cascade 220 to a thinner bulky, not anywhere close to a chunky yarn like Jiffy Thick and Quick. It has some thick and thin elements, but is a rather nice yarn. The slight barber poling really adds to the character. Some parts are entirely red, some entirely maroon, and some with the poles. I really love this yarn. It’s going to be a hard one to part with. I’d love to see it in a hat and scarf set once I spin up the other batt. Just imagine it with a charcoal pea coat and snow flakes beginning to cling to the ever so slight halo of the yarn. I’m going to wait until I have a bigger flyer to spin up the rest, hopefully tomorrow…or rather later today. It seems I forgot to sleep once again.