We're chaning things up a bit here in our Poste Yarn studio! We've been hand dyeing two and three color stripes in our own studio for three years now, and now you'll find even more color on each skein- we're dying 6-color stripes!
This is a big deal for us. Hand dyeing striped sock yarn is very labor intensive and takes a lot of hands-on time for each skein. So adding more color and detail to the mix adds more onto our plate, so to speak. For now, I've added two new Halloween-inspired color options in Camp Crystal Lake and Elm Street.
As you can tell by the pictures above, our color saturation is unreal. So vivid. Heather is our awesome dyer (does all the wet work) and Angela does much of the dry end. There's a lot of winding, tying and rewinding in each skein. Each of the 6-color stripes is $2 more expensive than the 2 and 3 color stripes for this reason.
Vickie at Bird Leg Bags already has much of a sock knit up in Camp Crystal Lake and posted a photo of it on Instagram, if you'd like to see a picture of one in progress. Or if you want to see tons of Poste Striping socks in an array of colors, check out the Ravelry projects page.
We're quite in love with these new 6-color stripes. I know you are too, as our first batch sold out in less than two days. I have a new batch up on the website right now, but if you notice that the link for the color you want shows as sold out, then just wait a few days and check again. We'll keep dyeing these two colors through October, and we have some more fun colors planned for the remainder of the year.
It's nearly that time of year! Next week, Thursday October 2nd to be exact, get your mouse finger ready for Simply Socks Yarn Company's fun Halloween Kits!
Halloween is The Time of Year for crafters. We get to think outside the box even more than usual. While we might not combine purple, black, orange and lime green on a daily basis, in early fall is seems completely normal to do so and you'll find us knitting or stitching up all sorts of daring color combos without a second thought. That's what the two kits I've designed this year are about. One, more traditional Halloween colors still with a punch, and the other a fresh, almost girly take on this ghoulish time of year.
First, the Trick or Treat sock kit.
The special edition color for this kit was dyed by Tina and the team at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. This color is called Punkin Chunkin, and it's a fresh take on traditional Halloween colors with neon peach and bittersweet. It's dyed on the popular Socks that Rock Lightweight, so perfect for socks or accessories that you want to be soft and easy care.
This is paired with a medium wedge bag from Vickie and Danny at Bird Leg Bags. The size is larger than I have ever offered in our kits or in the shop. At 10" tall by 14" wide (at top, 10" at bottom), this bag is made to hold your larger project. I can easily fit three skeins of yarn in mine. You're getting great bang for your buck with this bag, that's for sure. Hand made from top to bottom with sturdy zipper, beaded zipper pull and heavyweight interfacing for durability and stability. You'll love it so much, you'll use it year round.
Next is the Abracadabra sock kit. The colorway for this kit came from me saying to Tina "I'd like a spookier, Halloweeny version of Christmas Balls" (one of her holiday colors) and she created just what I envisioned. Dyed on the Socks that Rock Lightweight base, you could rock this on socks, a Sockhead hat, just about anything. Such a fun color.
It's paired with a medium wedge bag from Vickie and Danny at Bird Leg bags, with the same size and features as listed above. This bag has the perk of being a little less Halloween-y, so you can definitely sport this year round if you are a bit timid about carrying a bag that doesn't fit with a particular time of year.
Each bag comes with a set of these fun stickers
As well as a lotion bar (unscented for the Trick or Treat kit, Ginger Lime for the Abracadabra kit) made by local fave Old Fort Soap Company. It looks like a mini deoderant stick that fits in the palm of your hand- perfect size for keeping in your knitting bag and applying only where needed so you don't get lotion all over your project-in-progress.
And no Halloween kit would be complete without a tasty treat, so I asked Zinnia's Bakehouse to make up special snack packs for each kit. If you've shopped here in person before, it's likely you've stopped across the street at this fab bakery. Their brownies, empanadas, quiche, bread pudding... everything is divine. And I'm glad to share a bit of it with you. It's almost like you're going trick-or-treat through our neighborhood and leaving with the best treats in the area.
As usual, the hand made nature of each part of our kits means that there's a limited amount. I greatly appreciate how popular our custom creations are- it's a fun part of my job to work with others to design something unique and so well-loved. I do my best to have made as many as possible, but there's a limit to how much time each artisan can devote to my one shop. So if you do think you might like one, please know they will go up for sale in the morning (EST) on Thursday, Oct. 2. I'll post here, on Facebook and eventually send out e-newsletters when they go live. The quickest way to know is to watch this blog. Our kits tend to sell out in the same day. If you are local and you want to pick up your kit on Saturday when we are open again, place your order online and just e-mail as usual and we can arrange that. Also know that while we do our best to combine orders when we see more than one from you, kit days can be so busy that we may not check e-mails or notes in a timely manner and as as result if you place two orders they may ship separately and thus be charged twice for shipping. The best way to avoid shipping fees, at least when shipping to the US, is to order once with a total of more than $85.
All images produced by and used with permission of Lara Neel
Many of you may know Lara from her Math4Knitters podcast, or as the designer of several hundred free patterns that she published in her last job working for the Journal Gazette newspaper here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has devoted a lot of time and a million stitches to her craft over the years and I'm so pleased to share with you her new book, Sock Architecture, published by Cooperative Press (also available on Ravelry). In her book, she shares techniques for building your own great socks with 17 top-down toes, 68 top-down heels, 17 toe-up toes, and 26 toe up heels.
One could make 1156 unique socks from the top down, and 442 from the toe up using this book.
One could turn out one sock every day for eight years, and not knit the same sock twice.
I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
Uncommon Dragon sock in Simply Sock Yarn, Wasabi
Now, I'll admit, Lara and I are friends. I sat next to her every Sunday for the past several years, knitting away while drinking coffee and oversharing about our personal lives. She knows more about me than many people and hopefully will keep her mouth shut about all the bad things I said during my very uncomfortable last pregnancy. I still get the giggles about some of the things we said way too loudly in public and around children. So when I tell you that you really, really need her new book, it comes from a place of not only being oh-so proud of my dear friend, but also a place of awe that she spent so much time, effort and dedication on this all-encompassing sock knitting publication. Having a book published is something that most of us will never experience, not only because of the talent it takes to do so, but the ability to put the rest of one's life aside for the better part of a year to create something out of nothing. I couldn't do it. And I'm so thankful that writers like her can. And that publishers like Cooperative Press give them the forum to do so.
Checked Up sock in Simply Sock Yarn, gray
Enough gushing. I'd love to share a bit of Lara Neel with you, so I asked her to answer a few questions about her book and her process. And then you'll want to enter the contest at the bottom (details in the last paragraph) because Lara is giving FOUR lucky commenters a free book, and I'm giving another four commenters two skeins of Simply Sock Yarn, Solids so you can knit your own socks. Eight winners total.
Toe of the Dyad Sock shown in Simply Sock Yarn Mocha and Adobe
Allison: So, Lara, tell me how the idea of this book came up.
Lara: The book started out as just a list. A friend of mine was frustrated at trying to find a heel that would fit one of her children perfectly and was having a hard time telling exactly how deep, in rounds, a certain heel would be to knit. I said I could draw up a chart of sock heels for her and help her figure out that depth, based on the number of total stitches in the sock. I started out with the French heel, square heel, several afterthought heels and a few variations on the Common heel. I did a lot of algebra and knit a bunch of little sample heels. I said, "maybe I will do a pamphlet about this." Everyone in my knitting group said, "I think it sounds like a book!"
Allison: I remember that day! It was a few years ago, and only you could have taken that seed of an idea and used your passion and talent to turn it into a book. Awesome. So how did you start the whole research process?
Lara: I've always been interested in the history of knitting, so I went back to Richard Rutt's A History of Hand Knitting and worked backwards from there. His library is online, so I started combing through those early knitting manuals. I kept reading the entire time I worked on the book, and actually found a few more heels than I could reasonably fit into one book. I'm starting notes for a second book right now.
In Weldon’s Practical Stocking Knitter from 1885, I found the Balbriggan heel, which is now one of my absolute favorites. It's very fast and easy to work, and fits very well if you don't have an extremely high arch. I also looked up Ethnic Socks & Stockings, by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, to make sure I was getting the full benefit of a heel I remembered reading about years before that can only really be worked from the toe up (I tried it top-down, but it was far too difficult to be practical), the Joined Heel Flap.
Along the way, I finished some ideas I had been reaching for in my own heels. I developed a short-row heel that has no wraps and doesn't gap at the turns. I love it because I can even work it in black yarn, in not-great light, and be confident that it will work out.
I also took the heels I created for my Tootsie socks in Knitty and the Touch of Silver AWE Socks I wrote for Crafty Living, which are different from each other but, I see in hindsight, are kind of working toward the same idea. I love the notion of taking a sock and working it in the way that is most convenient and fun at that moment. In those socks, and the two Procrastinatrix Socks patterns in Sock Architecture, you make the entire sock, including the gusset, before making the heel. You are free, then, to knit the sock either toe up or top down, and make the heel either toe up or top down. Since the heel is completely separate from the rest of the sock, if you ever want to pull it out and re-knit it, you can.
I'm interested in toes, too, and I tried to get a lot of variety in there. I tend to always make the same toes for myself and my wife, since we both have pretty wide feet. I designed sets of one shape of toe in the book - you can make them either short, medium or long depending on how your foot is shaped. When I first started making socks for Dee, a lot of times the toe was too narrow and that was very frustrating, so I wanted to give people options. My favorite heel/toe combination is always whatever one I'm working on at the moment. If I don't have a completely firm grasp on that particular heel and toe, I make a little note to myself with the numbers I need in my knitting bag.
Allison: Are the techniques in your book applied to your current sock-in-progress?
Lara: Right now, I'm working on a sock out of self-striping yarn that uses the afterthought Thumb-Joint Hat Top heel and toe. That's a mouthful, but it's a really simple concept. The heel/toe made it into the book, but I didn't have room or time to make a pattern for it.
The advantage of that particular heel in a self-striping sock yarn is that, with a very small amount of stripe management, you can have a perfectly uniform set of stripes all of the way down the front of the sock. The heel is automatically custom-fit to the wearer and it's much deeper than most afterthought heels, so it fits more like a standard flap-and-gusset sock. I really encourage anyone who hasn't loved afterthought heels in the past to try that one and fall in love with it. One of my proudest moments in the last year has been when I convinced one of my friends to try it. Now, she's an evangelist for that heel! I'm partnering with Simply Socks Yarn Company to release that pattern, so I don't have the details yet, but I'll share it on my blog (math4knitters.blogspot.com) when I do.
Allison: Did you have an idea of what you thought the whole writing/publishing process would be like beforehand? And if so, how did the actual process differ from what you were imagining?
Lara: This is my first book, and it was a great process, but very involved. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started, but my advice to anyone considering it is this - be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort! I knew I wanted a lot of sizes for the book, but if I had it to do over again, I would have asked
my tech editor for sizing guidelines before I wrote a single word. As it was, I had to do a lot of the work over again, from scratch, because her (much easier) method for sizing was almost completely different from mine. I also knew I wanted to include plug-in-your-numbers sizing to make the patterns completely
customizable. At first, I wrote those as entirely separate patterns. My editor said we just had to find a way to make it shorter. So, I ended up adding the adjustable instructions to each pattern as if it were just another size. I'm really happy with how that turned out, and I wouldn't have thought of it if she hadn't challenged me to find a way to be less long-winded.
I don't know how everyone does it, but with my editorial team, it worked like this:
1) I write the initial patterns/manuscript.
2) The tech editor takes a look and sends me notes.
3) I answer her notes/revise.
Repeat steps two and three a few times, until we both feel we have it worked out.
4) I send my updated patterns/manuscript to the editor for layout.
5) She sends a laid-out version to the tech editor.
Repeat steps two and three a few more times.
Repeat step 4.
6) We all review a final draft.
Allison: Sounds like a lot of hard work for everyone! How many patterns have you written, outside of this book, and where can they be found?
Lara: Right now I have 185 patterns available on Ravelry. (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/lara-neel)
Most of them are free, and I should warn everyone that the ones I wrote for Crafty Living were definitely a part of my learning experience. They're not bad, exactly, but not all of them feel like a complete thought and none of them have multiple sizes.
Allison: Who benefits the most from your finished knitting?
Lara: I knit, mostly, for my wife, Dee. But, now that we've moved to Minnesota, I've started knitting socks for myself, too. I also knit a lot of holiday presents for family members and baby stuff for friends and charity.
Allison: And what do you knit the most?
Lara: For the last year and a half - socks, socks, and more socks. I love knitting sweaters, but I've become kind of addicted to turning out a pair of socks every 10 - 14 days. Sweaters take me at least a month. I have an afghan on the needles that has languished for about a year. It may be time to pull it out
and work on it.
Allison: I don't think I ever asked you this question, and it seems odd not to know... How'd you learn to knit?
Lara: I originally learned to knit when I was 6 at my after-school daycare. I didn't learn how to cast off or cast on, though, so I had to stop when I moved on from that particular place. I took it up again in college when I wanted something concrete to do to help me relax from working on my Physics degree. I
read every book on knitting I could find, and even used interlibrary loan to read just about all of the knitting books in Massachusetts. This was around 1999, so it was way before the knitting publication explosion that we're experiencing now. There were very few online resources, but the now-gone Woolworks: the online knitting compendium was one, and the very kind knitters there helped me when I got stuck.
Allison: The knitting community is so generous and has definitely made a difference in my life too. You, alone, have introduced me to some of my best friends and you even connected me with my shop-manager Heather. You're definitely missed in Fort Wayne. Tell me about the "day job" that got you to Dee to move to Minnesota.
Lara: I work as a social media manager at a book publisher, Quarto Publishing Group. One of our imprints is Voyageur Press, a name some knitters who pay attention to logos on the back of books may recognize. It's fascinating work and I'm learning a lot about the nuts and bolts of the publishing business. Basically, most of my job is to talk about books on the internet all day. I love it.
Allison: I'm really happy for you and Dee. Your book is fab, you have a great new job and house- what an exciting year! So let me pose a quandry. Picture this: Zombie Appocalypse. You and Dee are stuck in your house for a year with access to just three pattern books to do all your knitting. Which do you choose. I force you to choose your book as one of those.
Lara: For pattern books I would choose: Sock Architecture, Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker, and Knitter's Alamanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman. For non-pattern books, I would choose: The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, Anna Zilboorg's Fancy Feet (color inspiration galore!) and Knitting with Two Colors by Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen.
Allison: You're thinking outside the box. But I know it's what you do best. Who in the fiber industry keeps you inspired and thinking outside those walls?
Lara: I love Annie Modesitt. Her designs are as free-thinking and as fun as her personality. I feel real gratitude that she is my friend. Lucy Neatby and Cat Bordhi both also bring a sense of fun and excitement to everything they touch.
I have what I consider to be my nine muses of traditional knitting (in no particular order): Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Anna Zilboorg, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, June Hemmons Hiatt, Nancy Bush, Elizabeth
Zimmermann, Beth Brown-Reinsel and Mary Thomas. In their own ways, they have all illuminated and expanded the galaxy that is knitting. A knitter could really spend their entire knitting lives walking in these the footsteps of these women and continually learn new things.
Allison: Many thanks for creating this book for us. Really, it's beautiful, informative and a must-have resource. I'm honored that you exclusively used my shop's yarn for all the patterns, and I just can't wait to share it with everyone. And I do hope we can work together on something else in the future.
* * * * *
If you want a chance at winning a signed copy of this great book, go here and look through the 17 patterns. Tell me in the comments below the one you'd choose to knit first. Then if you also want a chance at winning two skeins of Simply Sock Yarn Solids to knit your socks, tell me (in the same comment) which color you'd choose from the 60-some we offer. Leave your comment by this Friday, Sept 26 at noon EST. I'll randomly choose the winners and announce them here the following week. I'll also send out e-mails to the winners.
I have the newest collection from Opal, plus restocks of all colors of the Hundertwasser collection!
Opal has released their Sweet & Spicy 2 collection. The first collection sold quickly last year, and I'm so pleased that Opal has done another version of this collection. The colors are all plays on sweet things (like watermelon and cake balls) or spicy things (like pepper and apparently red cabbage...). Each one of these is totally knit worthy.
As you may have realized when our new website design came live last month, I'm able to offer a special price on 4-ply Opal collections. Each ball regularly retails at $18, but you'll find the price at Simply Socks Yarn Company to be just $15.
Opal is a sock yarn that you could easily gift to someone who appreciates hand knit socks, but may not neccessarily be up to hand washing or flat drying their gift on a regular basis. Opal, Trekking XXL, Berroco, Regia... all these I could knit for anyone in my family and not worry about them felting or shrinking or being ruined by less-than-perfect care. This is definitely the time of year to stock up on those types of sock yarns, since many of us are getting gift knits done for the holidays.
A Mystery KAL, that is.
We have a fab new yarn to share with you that's a unique fiber blend, and Blue Moon Fiber Arts is hosting a Mystery Knitalong to go with it. One clue released each week and when the KAL is over, you'll have a great accessory. The pattern uses the new Yaksi that just arrived at our doorstep yesterday. A fingering weight blend of merino wool, yak and silk. Yes, YAK! How cool is that?
I have a slew of gorgeous colors for you. The natural color of this fiber is on the shimmery gray side, so all the colors you love from Blue Moon Fiber Arts take on a more muted and shadowy color. It's a fabulous effect.
For the pattern, you'll need two contrasting colors of Yaksi, and here are ones that I think look FABULOUS together.
Pond Scum and Boysenberry
A Room Without a Roof and Smoke on the Water
Neptune and Doodle Doo
Mossley Manly and Boysenberry
Antiquated System and Spawn of Scum
I could go on and on.
This yarn is really gorgeous. There's something about the way it catches the light you'll really appreciate when it's in your hands. And the feel? Unlike anything else I've squished in my fingers.
If you just want to knit a one-skein project, I'd consider socks (though this yarn isn't machine wash), a scarf, or a shawl. Anything that you'd wear right next to the skin.
Throughout the rest of the year, you'll see me adding some fun tools to the shop. Bags, needles and accessories that will make your knitting even more enjoyable. We all spend a great deal of time, effort and money on our craft, and these select accoutrements will make your knitting even more enjoyable.
Today, I have an array of seasonal bags to share with you- a new size to us, the Small Wide Mouth Wedge bag from Vickie and Danny at Bird Leg Bags. These bags are perfect to carry your fiber goods this time of year- a bit ghoulish or creepy in design. And some would still be fun to carry all year long.
The Small Wide Mouth Wedge bag is the perfect size for sock or small accessory projects. It stands up on its own too, so if you want to have it standing at the ready on a table or the couch, it won't fall over so easily, but instead will provide a sylish and sturdy holder for your project.
I've also added to the shop even more needles. I have for you the Dreamz circular needles in 16" , 24" and 40" from Knitter's Pride. The sizes vary in color, so you can more easliy find the pair you are looking for. And the price allows you to stock up and have them on hand for when you need them.
In case you missed the great expansion of Addi needles last month, take a look here at all we now offer.
Heather, your awesome SSYC shop manager, knit another modified Ease. In FOUR DAYS. This time, using her own hand spun and hand dyed yarn. She even ripped the yarn out of a half-finished sweater that she didn't think showed off the yarn well enough. I love it.
One of you, Sally I believe, knit this adorable baby blanket out of Cascade Heritage Paints color 9801. I can't for the life of me remember what the pattern is, or what the name of the skull mitts are that she also knit using Madelinetosh DK in Dirty Panther and Antler. Sally, if you are reading this, please do comment below.
Brenda knit this Piewhacket shawl using one and a bit more of a Dream Club skein from last year. She ran out using one skein and then found a lovely person on Ravelry who gave up theirs.
Jodie knit these super cool Burberry-inspired Turtle Purl striped socks. I have more on this yarn on the way and I'll let you know as soon as it clears customs and arrives. I even have some coming with glitter.
My knitting friend Heather (not to be confused with shop-manager Heather... hey, I know a lot of super cool Heathers) knit this Bus Hat with one skein of Mossy in the Mineville Wool Company yarn we had the sale section last month. I'm totally casting on one for James.
Finally, something that I feel the need to start planning tonight... Wendy's Blender Socks. She basically used a lot of scraps to knit up these awesome socks just like the pattern tells you to. I see several Poste Yarns there, some Online from the sale months ago, some Three Irish Girls at the top, and some Lorna's Laces in Zombie BBQ. And that's just the ones I immediately recognized. Don't you want to start some too??
I've added a new dyer to the shop- the yarn of Dragonfly Fibers! I have two bases for you. First, Djinni Sock is a merino/cashmere/nylon base with great stitch definition for garments and accessories like socks, mitts and scarves. Second is Dragon Sock, a 100% superwash merino option that is perfect for socks or whatever you'd like. The colors that the Dragonfly Fiber team applies to the skeins are ah-maze-ing. Truly gorgeous. Take a look at these lovely skeins (all Dragon Sock)
Big Apple- romance on a skein, don't you think?
Gaughin's Island- Lush greens with a tiny touch of burnt orange; a perfect island getaway.
Mushroom Hunting- there couldn't be a more perfect name for this colorway. Chocolate and red-browns of changing depth, accented with just a bit of green.
Starry Night- I mean, really? REALLY? Gorgeous.
Midnight at the Oasis- I want to be at this oasis, dont you?
I'm knitting my first sweater. Yep, my first.
I had no intention of joining in on the knitalong. Afterall, my thing is socks, I tell myself. I have a short attention span and I'm wary of knitting a large project because if I knit a sweater for myself, it would be an XL size and I've convinced myself that it would take forever and I'd just get discouraged and end up with a big ol' expensive guilt trip languishing on my needles, shoved in a closet so I don't have to think about what a failure of a knitter I am. (Run on sentence much?)
So I've started a sweater.
My reasoning is this: I want to knit a sweater.
I tell myself that perhaps since the kids are older, and I've learned to carve out time for myself, that I'll make the time to do this. I tell myself that the pattern is a one-size, so even if my size changes some, I won't have wasted my time knitting it. I tell myself that even if I do get bored or even if I do change size, this experience is worth it. That the process of knitting a sweater doesn't have to have weird, arbitrary limits. That I don't have a deadline. That it's worth it just to do it for myself.
I'm a bit freaked out that I'm knitting a sweater.
The in-person KAL is full now, but if you want to join us online, please go here and see what we'll be doing over the next month. Technically we start on Thursday, Sept. 18 and go for a month. But you're welcome to start and end whenever you want. It's just an informal way for share what we're knitting and inspire each other. Come hang out with us!
Do you feel fall coming yet? School has started, the largest undertaking of my career has now been implemented (have you seen the new website design yet?), and I feel the pace of things slowing down a bit. It's like the frantic pace of my summer is starting to dissapate and I do hope that it soon takes this murky-aired humidity with it. The front display Heather designed mimics this time of year- the bright colors of the summer have started to darked and bit, but there's still vibrancy. Urgency. Like this-is-our-last-chance-to-shine-before-winter-comes-and-neutrals-prevail.
The colors of The Cyborg's Craft Room look grand against the Ultramarine Lilt in the Blooming Shawl.
This single skein of Royal in Socks that Rock is relaxing in a stockinette stitch Bird Leg Bag.
And a basket of Jilly looks ready to burst with color.
I do hope you have a great weekend. I'll be here at the shop for our Saturday store hours and also enjoying a local fair with my family.
I really like meeting new people. I'm an extrovert by nature, and my energy increases when I can connect with people. Especially crafters. Since most of the people I "meet" in my line of work are actually via e-mail or phone, I enjoy doing these mini-interviews so that I can get to know people better. So why not share what I've learned with you? It helps me feel more connect to the people who hand make my goods- to know what inspired a colorway I love, to know what they might have been thinking about while they splashed color on a skein. I hope you get that feeling too.
So let's learn a bit more about Maegan and what inspires her in her work at The Cyborg's Craft Room. The photos I'm sharing of finished projects throughout are used with permission of Maegen and her friend Melissa. Great work, ladies!
Allison @ SSYC: Hi Maegen! It's so fab to have your yarn at the shop. When I opened the boxes of goodies, I had to stop myself from grabbing everything I wanted before my customers got the chance to choose. You really have a way with color. Tell me a bit about what brought you to dyeing yarn.
Maegan: I've been involved in creative arts for as long as I can remember and I tend to have a “hey I can do that” attitude, whether I should or not. I started dyeing soon after I learned how to knit. I would get these ideas in my head for the exact yarn I wanted for a project, and then become frustrated when I couldn't find it to my ridiculous and exact specifications. “Hey, I can do that,” I said, and bought some supplies. It turned out that not only could I, but I loved every second of it, and it was all I could think about and all that I wanted to do. When the restaurant I was cooking in closed, I decided to take a chance and sell the yarn I'd been dyeing. I haven't looked back, sat down, or had a “day job” since.
Allison: We're certainly all benefiting from your "hey I can do that" attitude! Tell me the story of the name, The Cyborg's Craft Room.
Maegan: We all have moments where we feel like a drone of the Collective. The idea came from the notion that everyone needs a place to escape the hive mind, and that's what I've always envisioned The Cyborg's Craft Room to be. I like to think that by expressing my personality through dyeing, I provide interesting tools to help other people express themselves as well. The name itself is also a loose play on the comic book shop from The Simpsons, the Androids Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop.
Allison: So then, are you a Trekkie like me? And do you have a favorite series and episode?
Maegan: I started watching The Next Generation with my older brother when I was a child, and it's been true love ever since. As far as favorite series goes, I would say TNG for sentimental reasons, but really I think DS9 is a far better series. Asking me to pick a favorite episode is like asking me to pick a favorite colorway or asking parents to pick a favorite child. There is very possibly an answer to the question, but no one wants to say it out loud.
Allison: Well, I'll say it. I have a favorite child. It's the one that's being more quiet... (ahem.)
Tell me about how you come up with the names for your colors.
Maegan: The names come from everywhere. Space and aquatic life are seemingly never ending sources of inspiration for me. I am also an avid reader and art, film, theater, and music are extremely important parts of my life. I really enjoy taking them apart and translating the idea behind them or one small part of them into color schemes. Of course there are also times when I look at a new colorway and it just tells me its name. Who am I to argue with the yarn? It is the absolute best part of my job. I worked as a makeup artist for a long time, and would tell people that my dream job was to be the person that named the lipsticks – this is about as close as it gets.
Allison: Tell me a bit about your dye process. Do you have a color in your head when you start? Or do you layer until you get something similar to what you were hoping? Do you kettle dye or paint, or does it depend on the color?
Maegan: For the most part every colorway begins with an idea and then a mockup color palette before I start dyeing, but occasionally I like to walk on the wild side and make things up as I go. The dye technique I use depends on the color, and some are a combination of several.
Allison: Where does this dyeing take place? A kitchen, a studio?
Maegan: I started out just dyeing on the stove top in my kitchen, and then expanded with some portable burners. Once I started tripping the kitchen breaker regularly I expanded further into my living room, which has now become the overflow dye studio, my office, and shipping and receiving. I am lucky to have hardwood floors and housemates that don't mind that I've taken over most of the main floor of our house.
Allison: Well, thank you for taking time away from dyeing to share your inspiration with us. It took less than a day for your colors to start disappearing from our website. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!
You may have noticed that my team knits some awesome sweaters using sock yarn. They want to help you knit sweaters too! So Heather and Rachael are hosting Thursday night sweater knitalongs in the shop from 6-8pm on the following dates: Sept 18, Sept 25, Oct 2, and Oct 9. Come to one, or come to all!
Please note, the in-person KAL is now full. But we'd love for you to participate online on the Ravelry thread.
Here's what you need to do to participate:
Of course, if you need to wind a skein the evening of the KAL, you're welcome to. But I recommend being prepared to start your project (ie, having the needles, yarn and pattern already purchased and printed) before you show up to start. Have questions? E-mail me!
Heather and Rachael's sweater suggestions, though you can knit any sweater you'd like:
Park Slope (uses fingering weight yarn)
Modern Wrapper (uses fingering weight yarn)
Effortless Cardigan (uses DK weight yarn)
Valine (uses fingering weight yarn)
Austin Hoodie (uses fingering weight yarn)
Mama Vertebrae (uses DK weight yarn)
Peasy (uses DK weight yarn)
Folded (uses fingering weight yarn)
Sunnyside (uses fingering weight yarn)
Westbourne (uses fingering weight yarn)
Elfe (uses fingering weight yarn)
Touch the Sky (uses fingering weight yarn)
ObLaDi (uses fingering weight yarn)
If you happened to shop for yarn this weekend, you may have noticed that the new website design has gone live! What does this mean for those of you who have shopped with us for years? First, you'll be setting up a new account- you're old . Second, you'll find many of the features you've asked for: social sharing buttons, wish lists you can share with others, gift certificates, easy shipment tracking and huge pictures. I've received some really nice e-mails from you about the new look and features, and I'd love to hear more feedback. I welcome your likes and like-to-changes to email@example.com. Anything you'd like to share, I want to hear it. Please do e-mail.
You may have noticed the free tote offer on the homepage. For the first 500 who place an order on the new site, you'll receive this tote in your package. Please note that once that link stops working, the totes are gone.
Now, onto the yarn!
I have a spankin' new dyer to share with you. Maegen of The Cyborg's Craft Room creates boldly colored skeins in her Bloomington, Minnesota studio.
I love the names of her sock bases Assockilate and Assparkilate. If you are a Star Trek fan, you can tell what inspires those names. Assockilate is a merino/nylon base, and Assparkilate has a bit of sparkle. Just enough to grab your attention, but not too much to compete with the colors.
I loved unpacking these boxes- the colors are just amazing. I hope that the larger-than-life photos of the website show them off well to you, but believe me, in your hands they are even better. I'll be sharing an interview with Maegan tomorrow.
Been waiting to hear news of the next Dream Club from Dream in Color? The wait is over! The September color is available today. Each month for six months, Dream in Color dyes up a special edition colorway and pairs it with a pattern (which we give to you for free with your purchase). You don't have to sign up or subscribe to anything. You simply visit the shop on the 1st of the month and see what the color is. If you like it, grab it quick. If you don't, just wait til the next month.
Isn't this stunning?
You're probably thinking "Wait that pattern looks like it would take more than one skein of yarn." And you would be correct. It does take more than the standard 450 yard skein of Smooshy. But this skein isn't a standard sized skein. It's 170 grams and 620 yards. HUGE.
Want to get one (or more)? Just go here.
In case you think that's all that's new, it's not. I have spankin' new colors in Noro Taiyo, Dream in Color's new Jilly base (a one-ply which won an award at this summer's needlearts tradeshow) shown above, new colors in all the Fleece Artist, a long-awaited restock in Malabrigo Sock and Arroyo and an expanded needle selection. I've restocked all the Kollage square double points and I now have a lot more Addi needles: 24" bamboo, 40" bamboo, 47" turbos, 60" turbos, and bamboo double points. We carry such a vast selection of needles now that it takes up more than a huge 30 foot wall! Check out all the needles here.
I have a few projects to share with you! First a cowl knit by one of you, Susan, in Trekking XXL 6 ply color 1837. Susan knit this cowl with one 150g ball of the yarn, and the Accord Cowl pattern. What a great use of this yarn, right? I'm currently knitting a pair of socks with color 1846, and now I think I just may have to cast on a cowl as well. Susan had this to say about her project, "Love this fabulous yarn and the way the colors developed lengthwise. The yarn is very soft after blocking and a joy to knit with."
Heather, SSYC's manager, finished yet another sweater! This one using two balls of the Regia 6ply HD from the sale section. This is the Condo Sweater, and I think this is a brilliant sweater to wear in the summer season and proof that one can wear wool all year 'round. Heather is on the move all day long and this sweater is great for someone who is constantly moving during the summer months, but still wants to sport awesome hand knits.
Finally, a bit of craftiness from me. Not a knit, but a stitch. I've finished with the bulk of my halloween sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and now I've started on the ghoulish lace-looking border. Before starting this project, I hadn't cross stitched for years- probably seven or more. But I saw someone stitching this on Instagram and I immediately bought the pattern and went to the attic to dig out my floss. It's been such a joy to stitch this, and I may have bought The Mysterious Halloween Town Club as well.
I received a funny list in my Inbox recently from Joanne, one of my yarn reps. It's Lily Chin's top 10 ways to hide the stash. I love number 2. But I'll be honest, I don't have a reason to hide mine at all. Joe doesn't care at all how much yarn I have and I like to rotate it on display- a bowl of yarn on the counter, shelves of it everywhere. It's colorful and it's my art investment, so I like to show it off.
1. Tape a bag of yarn to the underside of all the chairs – who’ll know???
2. Put a slipcover over a bag of yarn, stick it on the couch, call it a pillow.
3. Remove the cushions of the couch, stuff with yarn instead.
4. There are narrow books that don’t reach all the way to the back of the bookshelf. That dead space behind such books is good for several skeins.
5. Do you wear ALL your shoes at the same time? No, stick a skein of yarn in each unworn shoe (boots are great for this very reason).
6. Everyone has clothes in the closet that are never, ever worn. Sew up the bottoms of the garments, insert yarn. Do not forget to sew up bottoms of sleeves. There’s enough in each sleeve for more than a bag’s worth.
7. Never cook, only order take-out or go to restaurants. You’ve now got the whole oven!
8. Look to the china cabinet. That large soup turrine? Maybe a bag. Large teapot? A few balls. Covered dish? The same.
9. The freezer is advantageous for fuzzies such as angora or mohair. Make sure to place in plastic bag first. This is known as the high-fiber diet!
10. Get a really large box and fill it up with lots and lots of yarn. Put a tablecloth over it. Voila, instant dresser (but you can’t get your feet underneath it).
I have lots of new yarn and a new website coming soon! I can't wait to share it all with you. Months of hard work leading up to this. Til then, I'll leave you with photos of new Jilly from Dream in color which will be live soon. And a pic of us getting ready for the huge sale tomorrow in the shop.
Have a great weekend!
Been in the shop lately? If not in person, I'll still share with you what we're all working on! Afterall, don't knitters love to share what they've accomplished?? Heather (our shop manager) recently finished the Sockhead Hat above. She's been riding her bike to work lately, and wanted a bright hat for fall. Something so that she would be more easily seen by car drivers. I'd say this Fluormania hat qualifies, right?
Below, Rachael (she's your personal shopper/shipper) finished her Blooming Shawl in the new Lilt Sock from Black Trillium. She used the Ultramarine color. Fab, right?
I just stared a new pair of socks, leaving two single socks waiting. I couldn't help it. I'm a sucker for a good Opal colors (ok, I'm a sucker for umpteen good Opal colors). This one is from the new Rainforest 10 collection. It's color 8467. And I'm already eyeing several of the re-released Hundertwasser colors.
Heather walked in this morning wearing the awesomest sweater ever. Seriously, she rocks this thing, doesn't she? It's Ease, and she did do some mods (armholes, size) and she used the sale worsted we have in the sale section right now (MWP). She said she was surprised about the sizing and she had to end up knitting the XS size to fit her, which was smaller than she anticipated. She did alternate skeins on the body (since it's hand dyed) just to blend from one to another, but she didn't blend them through the whole sweater. The color is Allegiant.
Finally, this project wasn't knit by one of the team, but it was knit by one of you. The sweater pattern is Practically, and she knit it with no mods at all for one of her grand daughters. She used the MWP worsted weight yarn in the sale section in the Tempest color. Love it!
I'd love to show off some of your projects soon, and I'll be putting together a post in the near future with some of those. If you'd like to share, just e-mail photos and details to Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org .