Friday, August 31, 2012

Holla Knits KAL - Week 2

If you'd like to see previous posts about the knit-a-long, get caught up here:

The Holla Knits KAL is coming right along. My only real issue is that I want it done so I can wear it, but I'm sticking with the weekly assignments and nothing more. This week we worked more on the front, just to the part where we start shaping the neckline.

A cat photobomb is quickly becoming a KAL tradition with me and others in the group, so here you go. Maybe next week Othello will make an appearance.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FO: Spectra

Before we get to our regularly scheduled blog, I have some exciting news to share with you all! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might already know this, but Gynx Yarns is in its first brick and mortar store! I am very excited to say that MadTosh in Fort Worth is the first store to carry my yarn. I adore MadTosh and it's where you can find me on any given Thursday evening knitting away. If you're in the DFW area, you should definitely check it out!

Now, back to what this post is about: My Spectra is finished! I felt like it would never be finished, and I struggled to knit three of the little color wedges in a day. I really wanted it done by September 29th, since that's when I'm taking Stephen West's class (at MadTosh!), so I pushed myself to work on it a bit each day.

This past Sunday was different, though. Jose was gone most of the day, and all I felt like doing was knitting. I watched a movie (Paprika) and some random shows on Netflix, and suddenly. I had knit at least twenty color wedges, and had less than ten left. I plowed through the rest on Monday and it was finally done, over a month before I had originally hoped.

Pattern: Spectra by Stephen West
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in "Orchid", and Noro Taiyo
Needles: US 5
Ravelry Project Page: Link

Friday, August 24, 2012

Holla Knits KAL - Week 1

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on the blog before, but I am participating in the Holla Knits eight week knit-a-long (KAL) that is currently going on. We all voted on which pattern we wanted to knit from the spring/summer collection, and the Holla Back Tank by Emma Welford is what won (which is the one I was voting for).

If "Holla Back Girl" by Gwen Stefani popped into your head when you read that, you're not alone. The song keeps popping into my head while I work on this.

The front and back of the tank are knit separately, and this first week we got to work on the front, which is basically just stockinette. We were supposed to get through the first nine inches, which I now have completed:

Check out that Augustus paw trying to help me hold down the curling stockinette.

As of yesterday afternoon, this project has been living in my new Ravelry project bag I just got in the mail:

The graphic is printed on an Eco Bag, which are 100% organic, fair trade cotton. Pretty sweet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

FO: Prototype Socks.

Yes, it's raining. In Texas in August. Black magic, I tell you.

They're done! I put aside my other projects this weekend and worked constantly on these bad boys. For research, of course. I can safely say that in the somewhat near future, you will start seeing some self-striping yarns in the shop. If you have some colorway/character ideas you'd like to see on self-striping yarn (or regular yarn), leave your suggestions over in the Ravelry group.

Yarn: Gynx Sock in Naruto (color not available yet)
Pattern: AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman (free Ravelry download)
Needles: US 1
Project Page: Link

I have to admit, while working on the dye process of these, I wasn't sure I was going to go with dyeing any for the shop. After knitting these up though, I realized the appeal of self-striping, and decided it was worth the effort.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fun With Spinning Wheels.

I don't own a spinning wheel yet (just a couple of drop spindles), but I am planning on acquiring one sometime in the near future. Having never spun on one before and not really knowing what I wanted in a wheel, some of my knitting group friends offered to let me test drive theirs.

I can't remember the first wheel I tried. I've asked my friend probably five times now what the wheel was, but I keep on forgetting. Regardless, this was Corriedale that she let me play with, and is the very first yarn I have spun on a wheel. It's so tiny and adorable that I'll probably display this wee skein somewhere in my studio.

Another friend let me use her Ladybug, and gave me a braid of BFL that she had dyed but wasn't in love with. I don't think BFL is my favorite fiber to spin; it was pretty sticky. I'm in love with my results though, and my friend was surprised at how the colors ended up looking once spun up. Once plied, I ended up with 180 yards and probably about a worsted weight on average. I'm not sure what to do with it. My default is cowl, but I'm kind of thinking a hat. Any suggestions?

Friday, August 17, 2012

You Are The Prototype.

I know I said that today's post would be about the yarn that I spun, but I'm too excited about the self-striping yarn I talked about yesterday that the spinning is going to be pushed back a bit.

I've been scared to try dyeing self-striping yarns for a while. I always thought the dyers that had self-striping yarns were wizards, and it just seemed like way too much work. Lately though, I've found myself wanting to give it a try. I found a warping board (to wind really long skeins) on eBay and bought it, and it arrived a couple of days ago. I took a skein of my base sock yarn to do a prototype with. I decided to title these socks "You Are The Prototype," because the song "Prototype" by Outkast has been in my head while working on these.

Yesterday I posted a photo of my first self-striping yarn experiment drying. It actually dried up really quickly, so I was able to wind it into a ball and take it to my Thursday knitting group to work on.

I tried to wind it into a ball like a lot of other self-striping dyers do, and this will probably be the last time you see one like this from me. It's a pain and not worth it for me. When the self-striping yarns hit my shop, you'll see them in skeins. Sorry.

Do you see that?! Those are stripes! And they look even to me! It was so exciting to see the yarn create the pattern.

I'm knitting some afterthought heel socks, so that's what that one line of maroon waste yarn is for. Once the sock is done, I'll take out the waste yarn and put the heel in there. Afterthought heel socks help keep the stripes even, because they get all wonky with the heel flap/gusset way of knitting socks.

Have you ever knit with self-striping yarn before? Do you like it?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yarnography: Self-Striping and Spinning Adventures.

It's time for another photography post! I've been pretty good about practicing this week, which is surprising because I've been working on my first wholesale order on top of yarn for the shop (more on that in a later post!). If you follow me on Twitter, you might have already seen these first two photos, but the last one is totally new.

This was a new colorway that I dyed up. It'll be in the shop on Tuesday.

This is another new colorway that I'm absolutely in love with. I posted this photo on Twitter yesterday afternoon and had someone already claim one of the skeins!

You might have seen on Twitter or Facebook yesterday that I got a warping board to play around with self striping and gradient/ombre colorways. Of course I had to try it out as soon as possible, and the yarn closest to the camera is my first effort. That blue, yellow, orange, and black are all part of one very long skein. The whole process was really fiddly, so I hope it was worth it. Once it's dry, I'll be casting on a pair of socks for myself to see how it turned out.

Behind the self-striping yarn is another new colorway, and then waaaay in the back by the ball winder is my first braid of fiber that I spun on a wheel! I finished it last night at my knitting group on my friend's Ladybug. I also have my first wee little skein that I spun on a different friend's wheel, but it didn't make it into the photo. I'll probably post about both of those tomorrow!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yarnography: Product Photography Then and Now.

A rookie mistake a lot of people make when they start selling their products online is poor photography, and Gynx Yarns was no exception. I was looking through my old photo folders from when I first started selling my yarn, and I was amazed by how awful the photos were! It's no wonder I wasn't really selling anything.

It was interesting (and amusing) to see how much my product photography has improved, so I thought others might be interested (in laughing at me) as well. The old photos were taken on a point-and-shoot that was a few years old, and the new photos are all with my DSLR I got at the end of last year.

Old photos on the left, new on the right.

This is Bamboo Forest. The color is so far off in the first photo!

This is Fullmetal. This is reskeined differently than the original, so that's why the color proportions look different, but the original is so dark!

This last comparison is Sakura. Same problems as the first two.

My photos could still be improved, and I've been trying to dedicate a little bit of each day to photography and learning how to use my DSLR properly. I also invested in a tripod and use the timer so that the camera is completely still when the photo is taken. If you have any product photography tips, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

FO: Second Pair of Ravellenic Socks.

I finished these this morning, and this will be the end of my Ravellenic Games. I really want to get back to all my other projects that have been on hold.

Pattern: Hummingbird by Sandi Rosner
Yarn: madelinetosh Sock in "Jade"
Needles: US 1.5
Notes: This was a very well-written pattern and I had no problems with it. The semi-solid yarn worked up beautifully. These will be a new favorite this winter.

Friday, August 10, 2012

FO: First Finished Pair of Ravellenic Socks.

I lost a good 4-5 days during the Ravellenic Games due to other obligations/no interest in knitting. Regardless, I now have one finished pair of socks. We'll see if I can get the second pair done by the end of the Olympics.

Pattern: Vanilla Socks by Jasmin Canty
Yarn: Zitron Trekking
Needles: US 1
Notes: While I like this basic sock pattern, next time I'll up the number of stitches at cast-on, because they're a bit tight. I'm also not going to decrease as much at the toe. I already modified the toe here to make it less pointy, but next time I'll make them even less.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yarnography 8.9.12

I've been reading up on photography a bit the past couple of weeks, and I think it's paying off. I still have so much to learn.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Recent Stash Enhancements.

There has been a wee amount of stash enhancement over here lately...

First, I won this batt of Bramble Lane fiber from the Phat Fiber blog, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I was so excited to grab the squishy package out of my mailbox! This is White Finn and natural colored wool, and it's called Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl. I'm not sure how much it weighs yet.

I think I might separate the white from the brown, and if they weigh about the same, spin them separately and ply them together.

MadTosh is having a sale this weekend, so since I still had a Groupon, I had to indulge a bit. Last night at the knitting group at MadTosh, a few of us sat around the bins of yarn going on sale and claimed the ones we wanted, although we had to wait until today to buy them on sale.

This is Tosh Lace in Rosewood. I see it as a very delicate lace shawlette.

This one is Tosh Merino Light in Cove. Probably another shawlette.

That's probably the only stash enhancing I'll do for a bit. I need to get through the seven works in progress I have!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Second Completed Sock of the Ravellenic Games.

I finished this one last night at my knitting group.

If you are thinking that the sock appears a bit darker than previous pictures, you're right! I took the picture next to our balcony door, and someone had to come sit and cast a big shadow:

Thanks, Augustus.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Completed Sock of the Ravellenic Games.

Operation Knit All The Socks is going well, I think. The first Hummingbird sock is done, and the first Vanilla sock is getting close to the toe.