Tuesday, July 24, 2012

rollin' rollin' rollin'

That's what is going on with the yarn right now!

I'm having to make a very sudden and unexpected move so please bear with me as I move and get things settled into my new place.

You know you never realize how much yarn you have till you pack it all up. I've decided that next week I need to do a yarn purge of all the nasty acrylic I will never use, because I can hear it squeak on my needles.

How often do you do a purge of the yarn to get rid of the yarn you realized you bought before you knew what good yarn was, when you had bad taste, or when you got over $100 in gift certificated to Michaels?

PS. Drawing for the hand spun yarn will be tomorrow night!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Olympic Ready!

Recently all my customers are talking about the Ravellenics and what they are making. Caroline in South Korea is making the beautiful Haruni by Emily Ross (great free pattern), and Carrie down in southern California and I have been discussing what challenges us on the Radioactive Rabbit Ravelry forum.

Haruni By Emily Ross
Now I do love a great challenge and my knitting group can tell you I love really interesting lace patterns that keep me interested, but nothing has been too challenging lately. In my search for a project that was worthy of really challenging me I realized that knitting is not challenging, that finishing is the real hardship. I can use the excitement of a project to get me through most things, but if it wears off all I'm left with is half a project and a guilty feeling when Ben asks me what happened to last week's hat.

My Olympic size challenge is to gather up all my WIPs and finish or frog all of them. I'm going to end the Olympics with a clean slate. If it cannot be done within that 16 day window then I really just did not want it enough. I'm gathering everything up, and since Ben leaves on a trip on Thursday, I'm going to dump them all on my dining room table and line them up. At last check I had over 100 hours of knitting time in WIPs and with some work I think I can get it down to something like 60 before the games by finishing some stuff and frogging others.

Stop laughing, it can be done!

PS. Handspun winner will be announced later tonight. Carpal tunnel put a cramp in my spinning style.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running, Tour De Fleece, and Handspun yarn

What does running, Tour De Fleece, and handspun yarn all have in common?

My Giveaway!

We are right now in the middle of Tour De Fleece and I could not be more excited! I actually have a personal problem with my handspuns and that is I love spinning art yarns! I love spinning thick and thin, using beads, adding locks and being wild with colors, but I never knit with them.

In my knitting I like order, calm transitions, natural colors, and smooth yarn that makes an even fabric. I even restrain myself from buying art batts because I always remind myself I only wear scarves and hats my friends have made me, and I'm not sure if my very artsy grandmother can take another cowl made out of art yarn.

What I'm going to do is start giving it away to all you wonderful people that have donated to my Giant's Race fundraiser that is for Project Open Hand!

This will be the first yarn to go up as soon as I finish plying the second bobbin:

It's a 2 ply varying fingerling weight wool yarn that was plyed with polyester thread that has beads on it! I spent an afternoon in Gunilla's shop with my drum carder just making bats from her roving and this one was inspired by the sea.

I have lived in the Santa Cruz area for most of my life and it seems I can never leave here for long. The turquoise is for the sea, the tan for the sand and the white for sea foam. The glass beads came with me all the way from Texas and it reminds me of how the sun makes the ocean glitter on a perfectly clear day.

To win this and other yarns you can do one of the following things:

  • Donate at my fundraising page
  • Send an email with the link to the page and a bit about what I'm raising money for to 5 of your friends (cc me on the email at radbitdyer (at) gmail dot com)
  • Tweet a link to my page with a small blurb and then email me a link to it
  • Blog about what I'm doing and then email me a link to it
  • Post about it on Facebook with a link and tag Radioactive Rabbit

You can do all of the 5 ways and increase your chances to win! It does not matter how much you donate, the only way to increase your chances is by doing the 5 things above!

 Every Sunday I will post a picture of the yarn and the winner of it so start spreading the word now!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When it Rains it Pours

Now don't take me wrong, not all that has been happening has been bad and this is not a whiney post. I've just been observing things recently and really realized the scope of this term.

Everything started with my allergies acting up and making me really itchy, which led to an infection. The infection was bad an on both legs and my doctor took blood and some skin for testing and observation.  Well the antibiotics worked, but they caused every single one of their side effects. Every morning it was a roll of the dice to see if I would be dizzy, nauseous, sunburned easily, sleepy or had no appetite, and it kept me on my toes by throwing in some days were I felt fine. Then on the last day of the antibiotics I developed full body hives and was taking tons of antihistamines, when I got a call from my doctor. 

In a somewhat surprised voice my doctor let me know that I'm in perfect health. I am slightly over weight, but I've beaten my family history of diabetes and since I run 3-4 times a week my weight is going down. My cholesterol is below average, and when paired with my very low blood pressure, it is a sign my heart is doing well. My thyroid is functioning normally and my doctor told me that she could not even tell I have anaemia from my blood tests. Her advice was to just keep taking Benadryl and wait it out. 

While this all going on I started to realized I needed to either find a new job, or drop my current one down to part time, when the Yarn Harlot had my bags on her blog and the business exploded. 2 weeks ago I was just selling the bags I had made, making the Dr Who bags, and had taken on a custom order that would pay the business bills. Now suddenly in 3 days I had as many orders as what I normally had in a month. I was shipping left and right, ignoring the laundry, making pizza or burritos for 4 days, doing emergency runs to the fabric store for supplies, had a crash course in my new shipping software, and trashing my office. I have no plans to sleep tonight.

Then while on my way home from work I got stuck in traffic while driving Ben's new (new to him that is) car when it overheated. I have enough  experience with cars that overheat on me due to blown head gaskets that I started looking and listening for the usual signs of a blown head gasket without thinking as I pulled over. I called Ben to tell him what happened and learned that my car was undrivable. I was driving Ben's car because my car (affectionately named Henry after Henry of Navarre) was having issues with it's driver side brake and Ben had taken everything off to find I needed a new brake pad and rotor. The traffic was so bad that I was able to almost completely cool down the car as Ben drove the van in the opposite direction to one exit down from me and then come back up the highway to where I had pulled over. We put water in the car and took a farm road to the closest town.

Good news is that the car made it home without overheating again and that by the time we checked everything the traffic was nothing till 1 mile from home, and then it was still moving.

Now tonight I'm planning on powering through the custom orders, some new bags, and the rest of the shipping.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Knitters Being Teased

On occasion I have a conversation with my customers and we talk about our lives and why we knit.

Recently one customer was telling me about how her co-workers tease her about how she's an "old lady" for knitting. I'm use to this mentality and rarely do I get riled because I point out that my great grandmother could not knit and that I, at the age of 25, can most likely knit better then their grandmother.

I hold this as my proof:

Girasole by Jared Flood

There are many brilliant knitters that have taken knitting to the next level and their skills and smarts show in their work. They are not old, not grandmothers, and sometimes not even female.

Bridgewater by Jared Flood

Snowdrop Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
(I'd like to add she knitted this without a plan and just
went with it as it grew)

Pointelle by Cookie A

These are people that have taken knitting from an "old lady's hobby" to an art form. Every time someone says that knitting is a worthless hobby I laugh and pitty them a little. They will never understand that knitted items last longer, wear better, and are warmer because they are made with love and spirit. Otherwise why would someone reknit the fingers on a pair of gloves 4 times to make sure the fit right?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back to Work

Today I'm spending the day in my office creating bags for custom orders and the clubs. I really have missed working on the business full time and I have felt such joy since stepping in here to work.

This morning I got up with Ben and by 5am was in my office with coffee and cutting fabric. I love the feeling of the iron in my hands smoothing out wrinkles, the organic cotton for a custom order is so soft I rubbed it against my face to feel the softness of it, and I cut templates for small notions bags that I had planned on making before starting full time work, but never got around to.

Currently I'm looking for a part time job, because I'm finding it hard to balance my business with full time work and I came to the conclusion that by just finding a better paying job I can easily switch to part time. I must say that it has been a while since I took such a low paying job as the aquarium, but I enjoy working there.

What I enjoy even more though is creating.

I have this itch then needs to be scratched. I want to design a new sweater (or 4), create bags, make the scrap fabric into reusable sandwich wrappers and I have my dyer's chomping at the bit to do dyeing, but I can't figure out when I'll be able to.

As of tomorrow it will have been one year since the first dye day. I remember staying up till 4 in the morning to only get up at 6am to finish preparing for the dye party. Caren and Meghan were my dyers that day and I made pizza for our lunch.

We had so much fun that day and I have learned so much since then. The first batch took forever to rinse because I did not know how much dye a bottle needed, I have learned that vinegar does really work better then citrus acid, that if I want my yarn to be really soft to get the really concentrated conditioner (and it works on my hair too), an that dye days are always fun and should be shared with the best of friends.

I still feel a warmth in my heart when I remember that first day and I got to say that I really do love my at home business and the day that I can successfully just work from home will be a day that will be as important to me as getting married, because then I'll really be married to a job I love and it and I will sink or swim together.