It has been one of those days: kids home from school so the teachers can professionally develop, weather sucky, dog insanely bouncy, lower back loudly protesting the contorted sleeping position from which it awoke this morning...
This would be the colourway I put up Thursday evening...and meant to blog immediately after but went to bed instead. I'm making progress though, slowly pruning and streamlining and whittling down lists of Just This Once towards that happy day when work and life flow with some kind of predictable regularity. Where, even if I feel like utter crap because of the latest germ that wandered home from school, I have a do-able task list that just carries me through the day, week after week. When I answer all emails within a couple of hours and blog regularly, comment on blogs, and reply to my own comments (though Typepad still has me freaked out with the change in the "reply" feature. It is a big effort to remember to not click the email reply button, and the embarassment of that one day when I did and publicly published a bunch of personal replies has seriously inihibited the quick impulse to respond. I've now got a "Don't Screw Up" mantra inserted at the key point of what used to be a spontaneous flow of conversation.)
It's all just growing pains, I suppose, and I have not forgotten to be thankful that there's been enough growth around here to cause that degree of discomfort.
On to the colourway. I have long been enamoured with the pretty, furry outsides of a bear (actually, well before I got excited about what came from within.)
The undercoat has a fair component of dark bitter chocolate (as glimpsed behind the ears, and of course, extending onto the muzzle), layered over with a rich black, so glossy that it flashes iridescent green and purple in the sunlight. Here's what I came up with:
Some of the others showed a little more chocolate in the final result than I was aiming for - an occasional hazard of the interpretive process. Nevertheless, it is a lovely, rich effect. (Strictly speaking, there's a fair bit of variation from bear to bear, and I'm sure I could hunt down one that matches each skein more precisely, but that might be taking my perfectionism just a bit far.)
You know those fall mornings when you're still wearing a cute little jacket or vest, but it's just nippy enough that your ears will hurt mightily by the time you get back from the school bus? When you're nowhere near ready for a great big winter hat, but a cap leaves those poor ear tips frosty and you long for something light and chic and simple to take the edge off...
Introducing the Hot Chilly Hat, so named because it makes me think of a mug of hot pepper soup on a frosty Market day - the way such a little thing can warm you to your very toes.
It works equally well for men:
and the knit-purl texture showcases a single skein of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn to perfection.
The kids' back-to-school cold has finally caught up with me, on top of the usual Monday-after-Market exhaustion, so I played hookey from inumerable important tasks today and opted for a bit of quiet, completely non-physical work at a ridiculously slow pace.
Fortunately their colds didn't last long, so I have high hopes the fog will clear in short order.
This colourway is one of my favorites for its sheer beauty and versatility as a complex, yet subtle, neutral. It has been reborn using the kettle dyeing techniques I have evolved over the last year, which makes it very repeatable, and I am thrilled with the end results.
Inspired by the silvery tones of heavily weathered wood, it features a shimmering array of greys, from hints of cool mauve, to bright silver, to warm washes of honey and cream.
It is currently available in pretty much every yarn base I dye, which is an awful lot of pictures, so I'll just show you a selection here. The colourway now has its own page in the site however, (more on that whole thing at the end of the post) so you can pop over there to see the full array of possibilities.
News about custom colourways: the demand has grown to the point where I am literally spending hours and hours and hours administrating the custom “system”. Organizing and filing the email exchanges, cross-referencing and storing the components of multi-colourway orders, collating and individually photographing them, formatting the photos, generating invoices and apologetic emails for the wait times.... That’s an awful lot of time that I really need (never mind want) to be spending dyeing.
So as of now, I will no longer be taking custom requests (though I will honour the reservations I have already committed to). Instead, I will endeavour to regularly replenish the popular colourways as they sell out. (No guarantees about how fast/soon each time, so if you really want something, it’s probably best to nab it when you can.) I’ll periodically do some larger batches in the sweater weight yarns, to meet the need for larger dyelots, and there will be individual mailing lists for people who only want to know about updates in a given colourway. Anyone who is on the main yarn update list will see everything that goes up, so you don't really need to sign up for others - this is more for folk who might only want to stalk a particular colour. The regulars are housed in a new and steadily expanding Repeating Colourway category, within which, each colourway has a page of its own.
So... we'll see how this works! I am still totally committed to exploring new territory and creating new and exciting colourways all the time, so the regulars will fit in and around that, but the more efficient I can be, the more yarn I can make.
Lastly, a wee reminder that the free shawl pin offer (handcrafted copper shawl pin with each order) continues until the end of this month.
Despite the girl child being home with the obligatory first-week-of-school cold (which didn't help the tooth misery much - she had a bit more pain after the first day), we managed to get a bit done:
You all were very enthusiastic last week, which is enormously appreciated! There might be a day or so delay in some of the shipping times due to the sheer numbers of shawl pins (and also my stupid wrist/thumb/RSI thing), but it shouldn't be more than an extra day. And for the custom reservation people waiting patiently for me to finish up the summer backlog - the Blackberry and Dark Water are done, the invoices are steadily going out - the end is in sight! (More on some changes to that system tomorrow...)
Thursday noonish (not long after I uploaded the site, come to think of it) we got The Phone Call from the school. (Which, given DD's temperment, tends to happen a lot, so while Rob and I always flinch when the phone rings during the school day, we're also sort of used to it.)
This was the most dramatic one to date, though. Seems she was squatting on the disc while the big kids spun it, leaned back to enhance the effect, bumped her head on a spectator's knee and pulled it in again quickly. Unfortunately, there was a sort of a whiplash effect and she wound up smashing her mouth forcibly against the upper disc.
Thankfully, she has had relatively minimal pain, and the dentist saw her yesterday and did phase 1 of the restoration:
The tooth with the most missing was also quite loose (hence the temporary cement splinting it to its mate), which means she can't bite or do anything that risks bumping the tooth... for a month. To her mind, this is by far the worst part, particularly as she is banned for that period from most of the rough and tumble playground games she adores.
Ironically, the parent volunteer who picked out that bit of new playground equipment.... was the dentist's wife. Also? It was a mere two weeks ago that DD was in for a dental check up, confirming that the poor enamel for which she had the massive amount of work done last fall was indeed confined to her baby teeth (a result of prematurity) and that her adult teeth are flawless. I believe Perfect was they term they used, and we left with joy in our hearts, and a spring in our step, knowing that massive dental bills were a thing of the past.
So I've been feeling the itch to cut loose a bit more with the dyeing. Subtly layered semi-solids are my yarn of choice for most knitted garments, and I'll continue exploring those for mainstream colourways, but Nature also does some pretty spectacular high contrast combos. And where better to go a little wild than on your feet?
First up - Dragonfly - the whole splashy fantabulous bug:
and Mere Sock - my new 80% merino /10% cashmere/10% nylon sock yarn. It's true, that 10% cashmere really does make a difference - it is phenomenally soft and luxurious.
Next - a colourway I've wanted to do for ages, but never quite worked up the nerve. September is the perfect time though, because the bears come down from the mountain where they've been grazing all summer, and the mountain ash are heavy with ripe berries, and... well.... the resulting poop on the trails is awfully pretty.
There's so many colours hidden in the... earthy bit, and then those lovely flashes of red. Just imagine the possibilities for gift giving - the bad puns, the 8 year old humour.... It's a very guy-friendly colourway - just sayin'.
And just in case you missed the announcement on the last post: The shawl pin offer returns this month. Every order placed from now until the end of September (09) will receive a hammered copper shawl pin, designed and created by me. One pin per order (as opposed to per skein), no restrictions on repeat orders within the time period.