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

Shop is go!

Countdown to shop opening!

Are you excited? I'm excited. The Official Tipsy Sheep Shop (say that 5 times fast) will be launching at midnight tonight.

The polls showed that most of you wanted the shop to either be integrated as part of the blog or launched as its own website.  In fact, it was split 50/50 between the two!  For the sake of simplicity and continuity, I'm going with the "integrate into blog" option, using PayPal to handle the transactions. Some day soon I would very much like to have a real website with a real domain name, but it's unfortunately not in the cards right now.

Early tests of the shopping card have been successful, with all the shipping calculators working out just fine. I've yet to figure out how to do automatic inventory tracking or  allow you to purchase more than one ball of yarn with a single click. I expect to work these kinks out before launch, but just in case, know that I'm working on it and it will all be ironed out soon.

Don't try clicking on that shiny new shop link up top just yet - it won't take you anywhere until 12:01 am November 1!


October 29, 2013

Ravelry user WatchOutForAnna has recently completed a pair of truly bitchin' socks using Tipsy Sheep's Kir de Reddit, and has given me permission to share the awesome with all of you! You can check out the project page HERE for pattern info.

Thanks for sharing, WatchOutForAnna!  I think I speak for all of us when I say:

If you'd like to show off your Tipsy Sheep knits on the blog, send me a link in the comments!

Another poll: what type of content would you like to see more of?

October 24, 2013

So far this blog has been basically about one think: making bitchin' yarn.  I've thrown in a few book or pattern reviews, a few personal posts, and promoted a bit of my other work but I'm starting to run out of ideas.  I'm not going to keep making new colorways forever (th final one of Part Deux will probably the last new one for a while) which means this blog would die out, and that would make me very sad.

I've come up with a few things I could start putting on the blog but would be more interested in what you all want to see here.  Here's a little poll (pick as many options as you want) and please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and feelings.

survey solutions

Poll! How should the shop be set up?

October 21, 2013

Hey everyone. As you know, I'm planning on opening a real Tipsy Sheep shop in November for those who didn't or couldn't subscribe to the monthly mailings for round one.  Originally I was going to set it up on Etsy, but I've been looking around at other options and suddenly am presented with too many choices. So I'm going to leave it up to you.  Here are the shop types with their pros and cons:

Keep it on the blog - I would set up a shop post where each yarn would be listed, and allow PayPal to handle the shopping cart end of things
Pros: No outside linking, minimal fees per transaction, no listing or hosting fees, easiest thing in the world to set up, PayPal is amazing, great seller protection
Cons: Don't know how shipping would work for multiple items, some people find a blog shop less trustworthy, not too much client communication, anyone who doesn't know about the blog would probably never see the shop

Pros: Pretty easy to set up, well known, decent seller protection, easy client communication, shipping calculations are super easy, could reach people outside the blog
Cons: Lots and lots of fees - monthly listing fee for each item plus they take a percentage from each sale, practically zero visibility in the Etsy marketplace due to the sheer number of fiber artists, very little customization or control

Big Cartel (website for artists to build free shops)
Pros: Gosh they look pretty, site doesn't take percentage fee per sale, no listing fees per item, they calculate shipping
Cons: Monthly hosting fee for more than 5 products, PayPal would still take a cut of each sale, I've never used it before so it might take longer to set up

A real website with shop - it would be nearly the same thing as having a shop on the blog, but with a real domain name
Pros: Lots of room for expansion, complete customization, trustworthy domain, could integrate the blog, no listing fees
Cons: Monthly hosting fees, additional fees for PayPal or whoever we use to handle transactions, harder to reach non-blog customers, will take a while to build as I would design/code it myself

So. There are the options.  If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments - otherwise, use this poll:

surveys & polls

A few more pics of Blue

October 18, 2013

I got all the skeins dressed up in their pretty little labels, so I thought I'd post a few more images. As always, they're behind a cut to keep it a surprise for those who don't want to know ahead of time!

Pictures of all the things!

October 15, 2013

Now that the last ball of KdR is safely in the hands of its new owner (be sure to feed and water it regularly and take it for nice long walks!), I've updated the official gallery post.  I'll be putting KdR as well as the other colorways from Round 1 up for sale in a shop early next month.

I've also spent the last few days dividing and skeining Blue. I'm about halfway through the second kilo now, and haven't made the labels yet, but this colorway is just too pretty not to share.

Although the cocktail for this month is called "Blue," the actual finished color of the drink is mostly a strawberry pink, a result of the pale blue of the blueberry liqueur mixing with the natural orange of the OJ.  Since strawberry is also a dominant flavor in the cocktail, I made a soft pink a dominant color in this yarn.  I also spent a long time experimenting with this one, trying to mix just the right shade of blue to represent the blueberry element of the cocktail, and I think I finally got it.  It's a navy blue with faint purple undertones, almost the exact same shade as a ripe blueberry. The transitions between the navy blue and pink fade to this really lovely lavender color that reminds me of summer sunsets - very fitting, considering that this cocktail basically tastes like summer in a glass.  I kept the orange and lemon yellow elements rather small, with a smooth gradient between them, further reinforcing that sunset feel.

Without further adieu, here are some pics of the yarn!

Notes on Dyeing, Part 5

October 11, 2013

The second kilo of Blue is steaming away happily on my stove, and the first is nearly completely dry and should be all skeined up by Tuesday.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: each time I dye yarn, I get a little bit better at it. Here are the things I've learned this time:

1. When I'm all alone in my garage, my furnace is the scariest thing ever.  Remember in Home Alone, where little Kevin is terrified of going into the basement because of the monstrously terrifying furnace down there? I sympathize. Mine is a much more modern furnace, but it still roars like the bejeezus when it comes on, and therefor scared the crap out of me about 4 times.

2. Cough medicine + empty stomach + long hours of dyeing = no fun at all. I mentioned before that I'm getting over a cold, and was still all hopped up on Dayquil while dyeing the first kilo.  I don't really feel hungry when I'm sick, so I guess I hadn't eaten enough that day because I started to get super dizzy and nauseous.  Miraculously I managed not to cough, sneeze, or vomit on any of the yarn. You're welcome.

3. There is a new love in my life, and his name is navy blue.  I am totally in love with the dark blue used in this month's colorway.  Some blues get so dark you can't tell what they are, but this maintained its blueness very well even in the darkest areas.  It also fades beautifully into this lovely twilight lavender color, which made for some really cool transitions into the strawberry pink.  I'm considering dyeing a few balls of worsted yarn with this dye and making a blanket or something.

4. Some of these colors change dramatically when they hit the yarn.  That same blue above looks positively purple when it first touches the yarn; similarly, the berry pink starts off with a strong orange undertone.  But both of these colors change significantly after a few moments. I don't know if it's a reaction with the protein fibers, or maybe with the acid agent, but it's really cool to watch.  It's also why you ALWAYS DO SWATCHES. Because the color of the powder doesn't equal the color of the dye, which doesn't equal the color on the yarn, which doesn't always equal the FINISHED color on the yarn.

5. The more I like a color, the more of it winds up all over me.  My nails have navy blue dye under them, my forearms are stained blue, and there's even some in my hair. I have no idea how any of this happened, but I'm okay with it.

I'll be updating the gallery post on Monday with pictures of Kir de Reddit (which all US customers have received by now), and then stay tuned for preview pics of Blue!

Halfway through Blue

October 9, 2013

And you guys are gonna love it. It took me way longer than usual to dye the first kilo - because no amount of cough medicine is helping at this point - but it was definitely worth it.  The first kilo is drying over the bathtub right now, and I'm hoping to finish the second one this week so I can put up preview pics on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Now back to my blanket cave and kitty snuggles.

I have been struck down.

October 7, 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates last week. I had planned to spend most of last week dyeing Blue - and maybe even being proactive and dyeing Alaskan Ice Tea as well - but I was struck down by a cold.  I haven't been able to do much the last few days but lie on the couch, marathon Supernatural, and whine. I haven't even had the energy to knit, which is really depressing.

Luckily my husband has been taking very good care of me, and Panda has taken it upon herself to be my fuzzy nurse.

I'm feeling a little better today, and hopefully the Dayquil will kick in enough that I can maybe at least get the big dyepots mixed so I can start dyeing when I stop dying.

Details for November - Blue!

October 1, 2013

With Kir de Reddit sent on its merry way, it's time to open up subscriptions for the first colorway of Part Deux: Blue!

As was the case with Part One, 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.
  • I am addicted to candy, and you should be to.  Allow me to enable you.
The cap remains at 20 subscribers per month.  You can choose to get one month at a time or sign up to receive one ball of yarn each month until February!  If you choose to sign up for the 4-month option, you'll receive packages for:

November: Blue - see description below
December: Alaskan Ice Tea - aqua blue with highlights of pale yellow, lime green, and bright orange, and a bit of darker blue thrown in for fun.
January: Pretty Rickey - pale peaches and pinks, rich cherry red, and flecks of lime
February: Tequila Sunrise - a smooth gradient of sunny yellow to orange to pinkish red

Each month is $25, with the 4-month option being $100 - it includes everything listed above plus shipping costs.  International customers, I'm afraid shipping costs have gone up recently so it's no longer feasible for me to cover the difference in shipping costs; please choose the international option from the drop down menu.

Despite its name, this cocktail is actually a fruity strawberry pink, which will be featured strongly in the yarn.  There will also be a large swathe of deep blueberry and highlights of lemon and orange.  This yarn is a nice balance between dark and light, making it perfect for simpler lace and cable patterns that show off the yarn without overpowering the stitch.

Sound good? Great! Here's the button!

Choose your subscription!

Good news, everyone!

Even though Congress has essentially decided to take home all its toys because it's not winning the game, the US Post Office is still doing its job.  I wasn't feeling too well this morning so I got there later than I'd planned, but all orders of Kir de Reddit are safely on their way!  You should be getting an email shortly with tracking information.

I'll be posting info on the next mailing, Blue, which is the first of the second round of colorways, later this afternoon. So stay tuned!