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Mint Julep available until midnight tomorrow!

July 30, 2013

Just a friendly reminder that, if you haven't placed your order for the August 1st mailing of Mint Julep, the deadline is midnight tomorrow!  I'm going to be on the road pretty much all day tomorrow, driving back to Portland from SF, but I totally don't mind stopping to buy more shipping boxes :)

More info on Mint Julep:

Mint Julep won't be available again until November when the Tipsy Sheep shop opens.

I'll be posting info on the September mailing of White Russian on either Thursday or Friday, so stay tuned!

Taking this show on the road...

July 22, 2013

Hubby and I spent about 12 hours yesterday driving from Portland down to San Francisco.  He needs to spend some time at his company's SF and SoCal offices, which means I get to spend some time visiting my family who I haven't seen in months.

The Mint Julep yarn came along for the ride, though, as did my ball winder, yardage counter, scale, and swift.  This is definitely a working vacation for me.  Tonight, after spending the day hanging out and doing some shopping with my mom, I got the first kilo of MJ all divvied up into its 100g skeins and wrapped them in their cute labels.  Tomorrow, after running errands and donating my hair, it will be time to get started on the second kilo.

I may not be updating as much this week, as I'll be pretty busy and don't have regular access to a computer - I'm writing this post on my mom's laptop in the kitchen. Comments come straight to my email on my phone though, so I'll be sure to respond to them.

Mint Julep preview!

July 20, 2013

I know a lot of the original Tipsy Sheep supporters are huge fans of the Mint Julep and it was one of the most requested colorways when I first brought up the idea.  I spent a lot of time doing samples trying to capture this particular cocktail and hopefully it's up to your exacting standards.

Apparently I feel the same way about my yarn dyes as I do about my paintings: by the time I'm done with them, I kind of hate them.  It takes a lot of time for me to like a painting after it's finished, and to stop obsessing over the flaws.  When it comes to yarn, it takes re-skeining from the big hanks into the 100g skeins for me to really be able to see it.  Something about the way the colors interact on the smaller scale makes the yarn appear fresh and new and beautiful to my eyes, and I fall in love with it all over again.  It's like magic. Wooly, delicious magic.

So without further ado, I'm going to put a preview image of Mint Julep behind this jump. Hope you like it!

Reflections on the second round of dyeing...

July 18, 2013

Last month, after I finished dyeing Cosmo, I posted about the process and remarked on my successes and failures. And now, for something completely different, I'm going to do the exact same thing again.

1. Dyeing one kilo at a time is So. Much. Easier.
It takes nearly twice as long, but it was so much easier to spread out each hank into thinner layers so the dye penetrated better.  I didn't have to go over the same areas a dozen times to make sure there weren't any white spots... more like 4 or 5 times. Vast improvement.  And I was even able to lift the bundles of yarn into the steamer pot all by myself like a grown-up.

2. Going full-on Dexter with the plastic wrap is a good thing.
I covered my dye table in plastic wrap like I was about to murder somebody on it.

Glad Wrap - the choice of dyers and serial killers everywhere.

There were hardly any leaks at all, and my garage floor was mostly clean at the end of the day which was pretty awesome.  Plus I feel like the yarn retained the heat from the steam bath better without gaps for the air to get through, which means I got better dye adhesion and less bleeding during the final rinse.

3. Using a fan cuts drying time in half.
Probably the longest part of the dye process - and the most frustrating for me - is waiting for the hanks to dry after rinsing out the excess dye.  Last time it took the better part of week.  This time, the weather is super warm and I have a strong fan aimed at the yarn.  The first hank, which I dyed on Tuesday, is almost totally dry and the second, which I dyed yesterday, is well on its way, too.  Hopefully they'll both be completely dry before I pack them up for the trip to SF (it's going to be a working vacation no matter what, but packing damp yarn is just icky).

4. Speaking of warm weather, my garage gets super hot.
About halfway through dyeing the first kilo, I started to get super dizzy and short of breath. I couldn't quite figure out why until I wiped some sweat out of my eyes and realized it was ridiculously hot in my garage.  I'm really bad at detecting temperature, as I nearly always feel cold, so the symptoms of overheating always take me by surprise. I turned on a fan and aimed it at the dye area and that helped a bit, but I also had to remind myself to take several water breaks.  I don't think anyone wants me passing out and face-planting into a wet pile of yarn.

5. 1-inch brushes suck.
I apply the dye using a foam brush, and right now I'm working with ones that are 1 inch wide.  I wind my kilos into 8 foot circumference skeins and they're usually close to a foot wide and a couple inches deep.  I need to rethink my brush strategy.

Spinning resources?

July 16, 2013

Next week I'm going to be down in San Francisco visiting my family, which will be awesome, and I'll finally be able to bring my spinning wheel back up with me, which will also be awesome.  I had to leave it in the custody of my parents when we moved up to PDX because there was simply no room for something so delicate in the Uhaul by the time we were done.  It was either leave the spinning wheel or carry it on my lap for 12 hours and, well, comfort won out.

It's an older spinning wheel that I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away.  Based on its design and some of the books I found with it, it's an Ashford from the '50s or so.

It's not in the best shape - the drive band is missing and most of the metal parts are pretty rusted.  I cleaned it up with some wood restorer so it's not as dry now, but I need to spend some quality time removing rust and maybe even replacing some of the pieces before it's really usable.  (And, obviously, gotta get a drive band.)

So, dear readers, I'm asking for some advice.  Does anyone out there have experience restoring vintage spinning wheels, or perhaps you could point me in the right direction? I'm terrified I'm going to break it or something.

Book review: Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

July 12, 2013

Blogging to you today via the media computer from my couch, because I am still too sick to be without cozy blankie.  And I've got Grease playing on the TV, because it's what I used to watch when I was home sick as a kid. Some cinnamon raisin toast and a glass of 7-Up and the picture would be complete...

Anyway, I thought I'd pretend my opinion matters and give you all a review of one of my more recent knitting book purchases: Knitting Socks with Handpaintd Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski.  As you can guess by the title, it's a book of patterns specifically designed to show off awesome handpainted yarns (like, say Tipsy Sheep...).  If you haven't figured out what to do with your Cosmo yarn yet, this book is bound to inspire you.


One of my favorite parts of this book is the introduction. It talks about the different kinds of handpainted yarn - wild multis, muted multis, and near-solid or tonal yarn, and each pattern has suggestions for which type it works best with. Nearly solid/tonals are great for showing off fancier stitches, whereas wild and muted multis have so much going on already that a simpler stitch is usually more appropriate. The intro also talks about how slight changes in gauge can drastically alter the ways color will pool and stripe in a handpaint,.. so doing a swatch is super important. (Confession: I almost never swatch. I'm clearly a terrible person.)

The patterns in this book are awesome.  There are simple cable and rib variations, and that gorgeous cover image is created using nothing but planned increases and decreases to give a chevron effect.  It's also the first pattern I made from the book, in KnitPicks Imagination Mermaid Lagoon.  

Hand-knit socks: another perfect comfort item in times of illness.

More complicated patterns work with combining two different handpaints, toying with vertical and horizontal construction, and one called Whirlpool even incorporates beads to create fun flashes of light in the finished sock. There's even corrugated ribbing and fair isle flames thrown in just in case you weren't having fun yet.

And the glossary. Ye gods and little fishes, I love this glossary. The illustrations are very clear and the written instructions are easy to follow. It shows you a variety of cast-ons used in the book (including one called the Eastern Cast-on, which I'd never seen before) as well as all the increases, decreases, and grafting techniques that you'll need to construct these bad boys.

As with any publication, there are always errors that pop up after printing, so be sure to check the errata page over at Interweave before starting any project from this book.

This sinus pressure is killing me. And Grease is making me want diner food. Blaaaarrrrgggghhhhh.....

I'm sick and it's terrible.

July 10, 2013

Getting a cold in the summer should be outlawed.  It's not fair. It's all sunny outside and I have a canvas ready to paint and all I want to do is curl up with a blankie and watch Tiny Toons on the couch.

Well, watch Tiny Toons and wind the undyed yarn for the Mint Julep colorway, which arrived today a bit behind schedule.

It's also my six-month wedding anniversary, more accurately called a "semiversary."  Pretty sure we're having grilled cheese with our champagne, 'cuz I don't know that I can even leave the house right now.

This is how I will look after a glass of champagne with a DayQuil chaser.

I'm no good at being sick. Please make it stop.

Oh Em Squee, look at this thing!

July 8, 2013

I guarantee this is the fanciest octopus you will see all day:

Unless you work at a tuxedos-required aquarium...

Redditor ohjessie made this as part of a site-wide gift exchange and holy crap is he adorable!

The pattern for the octopus itself came from the book Little Knitted Creatures, which is totally going on my wishlist now. Use Amazon's "search inside" feature to see the other cute patterns in it. (I'm particularly excited for the wee turtle and gnome.)

The mustache pattern can be found here and the tophat here.  Both are crochet, but use very basic stitches so perhaps this would be a good intro project for those looking to start crocheting!

So pretty! ... Now what?

July 4, 2013

So a couple weeks ago I posted about a KnitPicks promotion for a free ball of the Brava acrylic yarn.  Well I totally bought one. It got here a while ago but I was so busy getting Cosmo ready to ship that I didn't even open the box until this morning.  And ooooOOOoooohhh...

A week of 80 degree, super sunny weather and today it's too 
overcast for good pictures. Thanks, Portland.

I got the worsted weight Brava in Peacock, and it's a little bit more teal than the photo above shows.  I'm loving this color... but I have no idea what to make with it.

I'd originally planned to make the adorable Star Crossed Slouchy Beret from Ravelry, but upon reading the pattern realized that it wasn't, in fact, written for worsted weight yarn. Oops.  It's written for Aran weight, which is somewhere between worsted and bulky and is, for some reason, insanely hard to find.  A thicker worsted would probably be passable for the pattern but Brava is pretty much a middle-of-the-road, straight worsted weight.

Plus I think my head is a funny shape and that this beret might make me look like a muppet.

So it's back to browsing Ravelry for hours on end to find just the right pattern. Oh the horror. Someone save me from this torment.

Details for Mint Julep (August!)

July 1, 2013

With the Cosmo shipments safely on their way, it's time to open up subscriptions for the August colorway inspired by the Mint Julep!

As stated before, your shipment will consist of:
  • 1 100g skein  (approx 464 yards) of hand-painted yarn in a colorway inspired by the cocktail of the month.  The yarn is a fingering/sock weight in a 75/25 blend of superwash wool and nylon that is SUPER soft but has enough strength to make for a good sock.  And because it's superwash, it's machine washable, which was a must for me as I was shopping for yarns. (I loathe and despise handwashing.)  The yarn compares most favorably to KnitPicks Stroll Fingering.
  • Dyers notes about how the cocktail's ingredients translated into the colors used, and funny anecdotes about the dyeing process which, yes, includes me drinking the inspiration.
  • Instructions for an interesting technique (such as fun cast-ons and edge finishes).
  • The recipe for the inspirational cocktail, which will be printed on the yarn label.
  • There may or may not be candy. Just sayin'.
The cap remains at 20 subscribers per month.  If you choose to sign up for the 3-month option, you'll receive packages for:

August - Mint Julep
September - White Russian
October - Kir de Reddit (a variation on the Kir Imperial suggested by reddit user SewHappyKnits)

Each month is $25, with the 3-month option being $75 - it includes everything listed above plus shipping costs.

The Mint Julep is a beautiful luminous golden green, which be reflected heavily in this month's colorway.  There will also be flashes of warm brown to represent the bourbon and deep greens to represent the color of the mint leaves.  This will be a slightly more mellow colorway than Cosmopolitan, with subtle tonal variations interrupted by smaller bursts of more saturated colors.

Hopefully this all sounds intriguing to you so...

Make my day!

Spots remaining for August: 12

Cosmo has shipped. I repeat, Cosmo has shipped!

I have just left the beautiful air-conditioned oasis of the Post Office and am pleased to announce that all orders of Cosmo have shipped successfully!

I just barely restrained myself from saying this in the post office. Barely.

Due to the US Holiday on Thursday, the earliest US subscribers can expect their packages is Friday July 5.  Because 'Murica.  International customers will probably get theirs Friday as well, but there's a chance it may take as long as 8 days to reach you (so Tuesday 9 July). Sorry. :(

Everyone should be getting emails shortly with their shipping info.  If it hasn't gotten to you by the end of the day, leave a comment here with your mailing CITY, and I'll send it to you again.

It's hot as hell here on the West Coast right now so I'm gonna go get some lemonade and water the lawn, then come back with details about the August Mint Julep mailing!

Update: Total oops! I just realize I forgot to include packing slips with the Cosmo mailings.  If you need yours (for, like, taxes or something? I don't know what you might need them for) let me know in the comments and I'll send it out to you ASAP.