Now taking orders for January's colorway, Pretty Rickey! Or sign up for two months of yarn!

Countdown to Kir de Reddit!

September 29, 2013

Hey everyone. Sorry for the lack of updates this week but I was dealing with a personal matter.  I'm back now, just in time to remind you that there's less than 36 hours left to sign up for Kir de Reddit!  Shipments will be going out first thing on Tuesday, October 1, which means that orders for it close at 11:59 pm on September 30 - TOMORROW!

To make sure you get yours, either click the "buy now" button at the top of the blog or head on over to THIS POST.  Preview images (if you don't mind spoilers!) can be found HERE. There are still 11 unclaimed skeins - won't you please give them a good home?

This is also your last chance to get 5% off when you sign up for Round Two of the Tipsy Sheep yarn club.  This subscription will run for four months (from November through February) and includes colorways inspired by Blue, Alaskan Ice Tea, Pretty Rickey, and Tequila Sunrise cocktails.  Signup info can be found HERE.  As of October 1, the price goes back to $100, so act fast! Still 16 spots left!

Unexpected absence

September 24, 2013

Hey everyone. I've had some unexpected family stuff come up and won't be updating with posts this week.

Don't worry - this will NOT effect the October 1st mailing if Kir de Reddit.

Kir de Reddit preview!

September 20, 2013

This yarn came out AWESOME!   The finished cocktail (which is delicious, by the way) is this lovely plum color that became the center of this colorway.  Deep bluish purples represent the black currant of the creme de cassis liquer, with rich tones of raspberry for the raspberry liqueur.  Rosé wines come in a variety of shades, from deep reds to warm blush to bright cantaloupe, so I chose a middling blush and an orange/peach to bring in the champagne element and to add pops of brighter color to the finished yarn. The orange/peachy color came out a little bit more on the orange side than I had anticipated, but the color creates a very interesting contrast to the pinks, plums, and purples present in the rest of the yarn so...

And now some pictures, for those of you who want to know what's coming.

Kir de Reddit Dyeing Complete!

September 18, 2013

I was waaaaaay ahead of the curve this month and actually had both kilos of KdR all dyed super early.  Hopefully this whole "getting things done ahead of time" thing will be a new trend for me. Makes things so much less stressful.  With four whole kilos of yarn due to arrive by Friday (for the upcoming Blue and Alaskan Ice Tea colorways), I'm thinking I might actually be able to have the next four month run completed by December so I can begin working on other projects.

As seems to be the way of things, each subsequent dye gets a little bit easier as I work towards perfecting my methods.  Successes and failures this month:

1. More intense colors tend to wick beautifully. Both the dark purple and the raspberry dyes used in this month's colorway require heavier concentrations of dye to get just the right color - roughly 3 times as much dye per kilo as for the softer colors.  Because of this, it seems like the dye gets sucked up by the yarn much more readily, so that it wicks (spreads through the fiber) very easily.  This created some really beautiful and subtle transitions between the colors.

2. Fiber content matters way more than you think for some colors. The dyes I use are good for all animal fibers - wool, silk, nylon, angora, alpaca, etc.  Up until now, I've been doing samples on 100% wool even though the yarn for Socktails is 75/25 SW wool/nylon, and there hasn't been any difference in the colors on the sample versus the finished product. Until now. I did a couple samples on the wool which were nice, but ran out before getting it just right... so I switched to a 75/25 blend just like the sock yarn. Wow, so different!  I'm so glad I ran more samples using this new yarn because otherwise you would all be getting some really weird looking skeins later.

3. Nitrile gloves are the way to go. I've been trying to salvage my nails, which got all messed up during the move up here, and a big part of that is keeping them dry and away from weird chemicals.  Especially my right index finger, which was severed (and reattached, thankfully) straight across the nail bed when I was a kid, resulting in a "trauma nail" that has a lot of problems.  I've been wearing regular kitchen gloves while dyeing but find that they (1) leave my hands smelling funny and (2) make it hard to feel the yarn and know what I'm doing.  This month I switched to blue nitrile gloves - the kind your doctor probably uses - and they felt way more natural and comfortable.  I still can't find any small enough to fit my apparently freakishly tiny woman hands, but the nitrile fits better than the rubber gloves and that's a start.

4. Raspberry colored dye is just as messy and unpredictable as actual raspberries.  You know how, when you eat fresh berries, you tend to find stains and splotches even in places you SWEAR were nowhere near the berries in question?  Raspberry-colored dye is the same way.  How did it get on the bottom of my socks? I wasn't even wearing socks while I was dyeing!  Sigh.

Anyway. Those were this month's grand revelations.  Stay tuned later this week for preview pics of Kir de Reddit!

Integrating Twitter!

September 16, 2013

TL;DR: Guess I've got a twitter feed now.

During the looooooooooooong drive back from SF to Portland this weekend, Dear Hubby and I started talking about Twitter and how I truly don't understand the point of it. I've never been one to follow celebrity gossip, let alone celebrities themselves. I joined Twitter about a year ago to make one and only one tweet: to Neil Gaiman, inviting him to our wedding. He never responded. (We'd had dinner with him early in our relationship, thanks to some of hubby's parents' ties to the Arts and Lectures board at UCSB, and he signed a bunch of books to BOTH of us, thereby ensuring that we would be together forever.)

I told Hubby that a bunch of people had recommended I create a twitter feed for Tipsy Sheep, and that I couldn't imagine what I would tweet about. "Dyeing yarn." "Still dyeing yarn." "Hey guess what, the yarn's dyed." How boring would that be!?

And then Hubby - who has always been in front of me on the curve of technology - said that it was possible to integrate Blogger and Twitter so that when I write something here, a tweet is generated that automatically links to the new post.  That way people can get updates right in their twitter feed and don't have to check the blog every day to see if there's something new.

It kind of blew my mind.

So, awesome readers, if you have a Twitter account, you can now follow me @tipsysheepyarn (there's a button in the column to the right) and the miracle of technology will tell you when this most fabulous of blogs is updated.

Updated the gallery post.

September 12, 2013

Now that USPS is telling me all the shipments of White Russian have been successfully delivered - and sorry, lone person whose order took a week longer than everyone else's for no good reason - I've updated the gallery post with photos of the colorway.

Hubby and I are still down in SF, but I've placed orders for yarn and dye through December, so I'll be able to get right back to work when we return to Portland.

Finally, a finished project!

September 6, 2013

It is, of course, not one of the listed works-in-progress that I blogged about before.  I'm too easily distracted by new patterns and yarns to do something as sensible as finish something I've already started. No no, this was a new project - a blanket for my neighbor's newborn daughter, Coral.  Nobody knew if my neighbor was going to have a boy or a girl, so I wasn't able to start this project until she was born... after which I promptly ran out to Michael's and bought a bunch of yarn in the appropriate colors.

I'd had the pattern picked out for weeks: The Chevron Baby Blanket by Espoace Tricot.  I wanted the colors to reflect her name - something aquatic and reminiscent of a mermaid lagoon.  I used Red Heart Soft (100% acrylic worsted weight) in Grape, Avacado, Teal, Deep Sea, and Sea Foam.  The pattern is deceptively simple, using yarnover increases to create the points of each chevron, and mitered decreases to create each valley.  I modified the stripe pattern slightly to have more purple stripes and make it a little more feminine.

I was able to do one or two stripes per day (each stripe is 10 rows) between dyeing and other crafts and getting obsessed with Final Fantasy XIV, and wound up giving Coral her blanket on her three week "birthday."  Her big brother has his own special blankie that another family friend crocheted for him, and he thought it was really cool that his little sister would have one now, too.

Without further adieu, PICTURES!

The finished blanket. Measured about 28x35.

 Mid-blocking. My two assistants were Panda the Cat and Orson Scott Card :)

Some nice natural light photos.

We also gave the new parents a gift! We'd all gotten together to play CaH a few weeks ago and they absolutely loved the game, so now they have their own set of cards.

Just an FYI, hubby and I are going to be travelling back down to SF next week, so blog posts will probably be sporadic.

Details for October - Kir de Reddit!

September 3, 2013

Well, this will be the final mailing of the first round of subscriptions, so it's only fitting that the idea for this cocktail came from the same community that support the idea so fully: the awesome people over at /r/knitting.

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.  

The cost for this month is $25, which includes all of the above plus shipping.

The Kir de Reddit was the suggestion of redditor /u/SewHappyGeek and is a variation on the Kir Imperial; it mixes rose champagne, creme de cassis, and raspberry liquer.  The finished cocktail is this amazing warm pinkish purple plum-y color, which forms the cornerstone of this colorway.  There are also areas of deep bluish purple to reflect the black currant flavors of the creme de cassis, and rich tones of raspberry for the raspberry liqueur. Rose champagne comes in many colors, from deep berry reds to peachy oranges, so I chose a middling blush and a bright peach to bring in the champagne and to add a pop of color to the finished yarn.  Overall this is a very balanced colorway, with areas of highly saturated color giving way to more muted tones and just a few pops of brightness to create areas of visual interest.

Hopefully this all sounds appealing so...

Kir de Reddit!

Spots remaining for October: 15

Also, the 5% off deal for the next round of colors (November - February) is still going. Check out this post for more details.

White Russian away!!!!!!

Hey everyone! I hope you're all very happy with yourselves, because all these orders caused a major line build-up at the post office today. There were probably 15-20 people in line behind me by the time I left, and they all looked slightly angry and confused.  I scampered out as quickly as I could, trailing a very long receipt of tracking numbers.

Everyone who ordered for September (and one very special person for whom someone else purchased it as a gift) should be receiving their tracking numbers via email soon, and your packages will be safe in your hands by Friday.  Anyone who ordered but didn't get a tracking number, please leave me a comment and I'll figure out what went wrong.

Details for the October 1 mailing of Kir de Reddit will follow shortly.

Thank you. Really, thank you!

September 2, 2013

I just wanted to say thank you, everyone.  I posted a picture of the White Russian colorway on /r/TwoXChromosomes, and not only did I receive a ton of upvotes and positive comments... but I also got a bunch of new people signing up to buy yarn!  The blog got over 1,300 1500 hits that day, which is absolutely unbelievable.

And, for the first time, I sold enough yarn this month to break even.

That's ... it's just such a wonderful feeling.  Thank you. Thank you so much. You're all awesome.