Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yarnography: February 28, 2012

I take a lot of yarn photos, both of my own yarn for my Etsy or of yarn in my stash. I end up liking a lot of them too much not to share, but I don't really have any reason to show them other than they're pretty. So, welcome to my newest feature of the blog: "Yarnography", in which I show off pictures I like of yarn.
 


The yarn in these photos is Gynx Aran in the colorway "Totoro #2".

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gynx Yarns' First Employee.

I often describe my business as a one-woman operation, but I think it's time I finally introduced the one employee I have here at Gynx Yarns.

I never really wanted an employee. Right now, at least while Gynx Yarns is still only about a year old, I would really prefer to be in charge of everything myself. My employee kind of forced himself upon me. I turned him away several times, but he was very persistent about wanting to be a part of the company. He has a big passion for yarn, and I can tell he really loves what he does.

So, I gave him the title of Quality Control Director. Since he's been here, he has watched every yard of Gynx Yarn as it is reskeined and been on site for every yarn photoshoot. His dedication is impressive, although he's never actually given me any input. That must mean I'm doing a good job.

 Working hard.

You've actually seen the Quality Control Director on my blog before. His name is Augustus, and even though he's young (less than 2 years old) he has a better work ethic than some people 15 times his age. He's always on time, he works late, he's always dressed up (in a tux, no less), and he actually lives here with me so he can help me if I'm working during odd hours.

 Checking up on the photo shoot.

The only problem is his freeloader brother who lives with him. He doesn't do anything here, and actually tries to steal the yarn sometimes.

 This is not posed. He stole this skein this morning.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February is Knitting Needle Emergency Month.

... Or at least it is for me. Last week I needed a set of dpns that I didn't have, and had to buy some at my local yarn store. Yesterday, I was working on my shawl using my Knit Picks interchangeables, and I got to the part of the pattern where I was supposed to switch from size 7 to size 8 tips. I went in my bag, grabbed my 8s, and was reminded of how I had an accident with the 8s a few months ago.

A few months ago, I reached under my bed to unplug my phone charger, which was plugged into a serge protector. I do this all the time, so I wasn't even looking, and just stuck my hand under there to unplug it. I heard a loud pop, saw a spark, and smelled something burning. I was startled, but I unplugged the serge protector from the wall. I tried it in another outlet and it didn't work. I tried my phone charger in another outlet and it did work. I was really confused, but then I saw that a project I was knitting was also under the bed. I pulled it out, and saw that this had happened to one of my needles:



All I can guess is that the needle made contact with the phone charger while being unplugged, and created a mini explosion or something. You can't make this stuff up.

Anyway, for some reason I didn't order a replacement tip right away, and ended up forgetting about it. Until yesterday.

So I went to my yarn store again with the intention of buying some fixed circulars, and I'd replace the Knit Picks tip later. I decided to get a Clover needle, since it was almost $10 cheaper than the Addis and I never use fixed circulars anyway. The woman was ringing my order up and I told her what happened to my needle. She told me that while they don't carry Knit Picks needles, they carried another brand that was compatible.



Hooray! Crisis averted, and now I don't have to order a new set of size 8 tips. And these are prettier than the metal tips I had before.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Kollage Yarns Square Needles.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the inability to find a set of dpns that I needed led me to the counter at my local yarn store trying to decide what kind to buy. Out of curiosity, I ended up purchasing the Kollage Yarns square needles.


The package promised more even stitches, faster knitting, and less stress on your hands. The needles are supposed to be good for slippery yarns or tight knitters. It says that the needles are "perfect for knitters who have arthritis, carpal tunnel, or stiffness on their hands and fingers."

Side note: The idea of square knitting needles reminded me of my "invention" I made for an elementary school fair where I took a pen and covered the sides with rectangles of foam so that the pen wouldn't roll around when set down. Remember that, Mom?

Now, I am probably not the best person to be reviewing these needles. I am not a tight knitter; in fact, I tend to be a loose knitter if anything. I also do not have arthritis, carpal tunnel, or any other problems with my hands (knock on wood). Regardless, after knitting two full sleeves of a cardigan with them, I feel like I have the ability to talk a bit about them.

I had wondered if it would feel odd knitting with square needles, but I really didn't feel the edges while working with them and I didn't find that I had to "get used to them." Even though I wasn't working with a terribly slippery yarn (cotton), I did notice that my stitches slipped around less than I expected them to on the metal needles.

As far as evenness of stitches goes, I saw no difference. I feel like I got a pretty good comparison too, since the sleeves of my cardigan were done with the squares and the body was done with my regular circulars. That might be because I'm not a tight knitter, but I don't know.


I can't say whether or not I knitted faster with these. If I did, it wasn't a huge difference. I suspect the reason one might knit faster with them is that the needles kind of "settle" in your hands because of the edges, so they don't really spin or slide around. I'd bet that's probably why the package says they are good for people with joint or muscle problems in their hands, but because I don't experience pain when I knit, I couldn't notice a difference in that department.

So my verdict as to whether or not these are worth it: Maybe. I like the idea of them and they look fun (And I appreciate the fact that they've been sitting on my desk a couple days now and haven't rolled around at all. The eight-year-old me was definitely onto something with that pen idea.). Am I going to go run out and replace all my needles with them like the woman at the yarn store said another customer did? No, not now anyway. Maybe down the road if I start having problems with my hands, I'll try using these some more and see if they help.

I'd love to hear thoughts from anyone else who has used these, especially if you have any hand pains or are a tight knitter. What do you think of these?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My First Shawl and a Kind of Finished Project.

I started my first shawl a few days ago. In the almost 7 years I've been knitting, I never had the interest to, but something possessed me to make one and I'm loving it. I'll post more details about it later, but here's a teaser:



I also finished knitting the Featherweight Cardigan finally. It's blocking right now, so by this weekend there will probably be photos.



I couldn't get the color to look right inside, so you'll have to wait to see it after the official photoshoot.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FO: Fullmetal Fingerless Mitts.



I finished these fingerless mitts several days ago, but didn't get photos until yesterday.




These are dyed using my Gynx Yarns sock/fingering weight yarn in the colorway Fullmetal (which I'm all out of in fingering weight now).



Specs:
Pattern: Short n Sweet Fingerless Mitts by Anne Sahakain (available is a free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Gynx Sock in Fullmetal
Needles: US 2 dpns
Thoughts on Pattern: Easy to follow, very simple, yet unique design. These were a very quick knit and would have been done in a few days if I hadn't been working on several other things.


Perfect for picking up cats.

Monday, February 20, 2012

FO: Gray-dient Beanie.



Jose recently asked for a beanie. Simple enough. Then he oh so politely hinted that he would like it before it got too warm, so I cast on last Thursday and finished this yesterday.



I used two different recycled yarns I had in my stash. The darker gray is some yarn that won't go away no matter how much I use it. I've already done a scarf for Jose out of it. It's a wool/nylon blend. The lighter gray is some other blend. I can't remember exactly, but I think it might be wool/angora/nylon. I didn't have enough of the lighter gray to do the entire hat, so I phased it out as I knit along and used 2 strands of the darker gray.



The pattern calls for lots of thin stripes that end up looking like squares because of how the decreases are placed, but I decided not to do that. It still has the squares, just thick ones instead of several thin ones.



Jose seems to really like it, so that makes me happy with it.

Specs:
Pattern: Turn A Square by Jared Flood (free Ravelry download!)
Yarn: 2 recyled wool blends held together.
Needles: US 6 and 7 dpns
Pattern thoughts: Very nice pattern, because, duh, it's by Jared Flood.



Coming tomorrow: My finished fingerless mitts!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yarn Store Trip!

As I said yesterday, I needed some size US 6 dpns and couldn't find any in my needle stash. Whether I lost my set or never had a set is still a mystery. Regardless, yesterday I set out to acquire a new set.

I went to Joann's since it was close and I could use a 50% off coupon on my phone. I headed back to the needle section, and after waiting for what seemed like forever for the woman standing in my way to finally move, I searched for the set I needed.

I normally just buy the Clover bamboo needles, because that's normally all the craft stores have. Well, that, or the really cheap aluminum ones, but bleh. I looked and looked, and found every size from 3-13 except size 6. Determined, I decided to ask an employee if they could check the back to see if they had any more. I was told that Joann's does not keep any back stock of knitting needles, but if it's something they normally carry, they could order some for me and I'd be called when they came in.

Wait for needles? No thank you. I decided that I would suck it up and head over to my LYS, Jennings Street Yarns, and pay a bit more for needles so I could have them now.



I went up to the counter and asked the woman what my options were for what I needed. She pulled down two sets: a bamboo set and a set of square dpns by Kollage Yarns. I had heard of square knitting needles before but I'd never used them, and even though they were more than I really wanted to spend ($15.30), I chose them so that at the very least I could review them for the blog.



According to the packaging, the needles are "designed to be ergonomically suited to your hands, decreasing stress and strain for those who love to knit." I don't know about all of that quite yet as I've only used them for a couple of hours, but I do think they're pretty cool! I think I'll be able to give a decent review once I finish these two sleeves with them.



Oh, and you didn't think I made it out of the yarn store without buying yarn, did you? I got this pretty skein :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One Finished Mitt.

Today has been very weird. First, it started with me waking up at 3 a.m. with allergy problems, which had stopped happening lately until today. That was annoying enough, but I just went into my office, listened to some podcasts and worked on some knitting.



I finished my first mitt that I started a few days ago. I love how it turned out, and I'm sad I don't have a pair yet.

After I finished that, I decided I wanted to get back to working on my Featherweight Cardigan, of which I just have the sleeves left. I needed to use size 6 dpns for this, so I went through my needles and couldn't find any! Not only that, but other than my set of sock dpns (0-3), I could only find a set of size 7s and 8s. I know I have more sizes than that, but I have no idea where they would be. I know a day or two after I go out and buy some more, I'll find them.

Then, around maybe 8:30 a.m. or so, I got overwhelmed with sleepiness. Normally, no matter how early I wake up, my body powers through without feeling sleepy until around 8 or 9 p.m. Regardless, I laid down "just for a bit" and I just woke up about 20 minutes ago, or about 12 p.m.

I feel so disoriented now and like I lost a day. I think if I make myself get up and go run an errand or something, it will snap me out of this funk I'm in now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine.



Happy Valentine's Day! I know some people hate this holiday, but we all love yarn, right?

<3

Monday, February 13, 2012

My New Office!

As you probably know, I recently moved in to an apartment with Jose, and we got a two-bedroom so I could have my own office/studio space. I have a couple of people who wanted to see what my new space looks like, and even though it's not really "done," I figured I'd go ahead and show where I've been making the magic happen for the past few weeks.

This is what the office looked like right after we moved in before I started setting it up:



Game: Find the cat in this photo.

After:




It still needs to be a bit more colorful, and I need lots more on the walls, but it's functioning like I need it to. Ideally, I'd have a studio with tile floor, but since I don't, the big tarp prevents any sad carpet stains. In case you didn't see it on Twitter when I posted it, here's what Augustus has decided is the best thing ever to do on the tarp:

Friday, February 10, 2012

WIP: Fingerless Gloves.

I cast on my Featherweight Cardigan back in September. Granted, I was trying to get through my final semester and there was holiday knitting/crafting in there, but that's still a long time to be as far along as I am in it. While I adore the pattern and the cardigan will probably become a staple in my wardrobe, I needed a break, because the miles of stockinette stitch were driving me insane.



So, I cast on these bad boys using leftover yarn from the Fullmetal socks. The pattern is the Short n Sweet Fingerless Mitts by Anne Sahakain. I haven't worked on them a whole lot, but I've been picking them up when I can't stand to think about working on the cardigan. It's been a nice break, and I've actually been working on the cardigan more now. Hopefully I'll have a couple finished pieces soon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I got a present!

The postman delivered a package today addressed to Jose, so I set it aside for when he came home for lunch. When I told him about it, he told me to open it because it was for me!



He surprised me with this pretty yarn bowl he found on Etsy! I was very surprised, because even though I've been wanting a yarn bowl, I hadn't mentioned anything about it to him. I love no-reason-presents :)









The bowl came from the Etsy shop pottersong.



Othello seemed to be jealous about the yarn bowl getting all of the attention.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sand Dollar.

Remember the photo I posted on Friday? Well, After skeining up the fiber, washing it, waiting very impatiently for it to slowly dry, and winding it into a cake, I'm finally ready to post some pictures.

Augustus would not leave me alone at all today(he's in my lap as I type this), including when I was taking these pictures. Please forgive any paws or tails that made it in here.



I bought this fiber all the way back in August from SpunRightRound. I really had no time for things like spinning during that last semester of school, so it's just now finished.



I am so in love with this yarn,but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to make with this! My default choice is normally a cowl, but I'm not sure if that's what this should be. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.


Specs:
Seller: SpunRightRound
Colorway: Sand Dollar
Fiber Content: Merino, Colonial Wools, Silk, Cotton, Glitz
Weight: 3 oz
Ply: 2 ply


Now, what do I make??

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recycled Gynx Yarns on Clearance!




I currently offer two different kinds of hand dyed yarn in my shop: new organic merino wool and wool recycled from sweaters. I have lots of exiting plans for Gynx Yarns in 2012, and while I like the idea of recycled yarn, it just doesn't fit into my plan. I will instead be focusing completely on organic wool.



What does this mean for you? It means you get to help clear out my stock of recycled yarn for a really discounted price! If you head over to my Etsy you'll see a new section called "clearance recycled yarn". All of this yarn has been marked down 40%!



I hope you're all as excited as I am to see the new things I have in store, but until then, happy shopping!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Organizing My Handspuns.

I was inspired by a recent episode of the Electric Sheep podcast to completely organize my stash. Organizing things and keeping them that way is not something I'm particularly good at, so I've been working on it a little each day when I'm tired of trying to put my new office/studio together.



Today I found myself trying to make sense of random handspun skeins that either I had made or someone else had made, and I found some things that I had completely forgotten about. I got my ball winder and swift out and put them to work.



I have no idea what I'm going to do with any of these. I have a much harder time deciding on projects for handspun yarn for some reason.

First, I'll show off the yarn that was spun by me:




I don't know the fiber content of this, and honestly, I don't even remember spinning it. I do remember that I bought the fiber from Butterfly Girl Designs at last year's DFW Fiber Fest and the colorway was called something like "Golden Harvest." 2 ply.



This was another purchase from Fiber Fest last year, this time from Stone and String Studio. This one is 100% Polwarth, and it's another 2 ply.



I bought this fiber at White Rock Weaving Center in Dallas. If I remember correctly, the tag just said 100% wool. I don't remember spinning this one either, but it must have been earlier in my spinning career as it doesn't look too beautiful. Single ply.

Funny story about this fiber though: I had this skeined up laying out somewhere for the longest time. One day Jose used a heat gun for something, and for whatever reason set the gun down on my fiber when he was done with it. Well, it was still quite hot, and a few moments later we both smelled burning hair. He burnt my handspun yarn in several places, and it had to be spliced together at maybe 10 different points. He's lucky I still married him after that.

Now, on to the yarn spun by other people (and therefore much better quality yarn):




I won this yarn from a blog giveaway. The yarn is from CompassioKnit (whose Etsy shop is not working for me today for whatever reason...) in the colorway "Fairy Godmother." The contents are wool, bamboo, cotton, and angelina. This is not normally my color, but I like it for some reason.




My friend Hope spun this yarn from one of my favorite fiber stores, SpunRightRound. She gave it to me in a recent fiber swap because she said she didn't know what to do with it. I am absolutely in love with it.



Finally, this is my most recent handspun to acquire. My friend Lindsay gave this merino to me at my wedding, which she spun for me. I carried it around and pet it at my wedding for a little while because I didn't want to put it down! It's gorgeous, right? Well wait, let's get a different view on this...



Bam! Color gradients! My weakness. Love love love.