Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Treats...and All Good Things: Part I

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to be a shameless bid for yet more gifts. Just my way of saying thanks for all the kindness that surrounds me at times.

This is the best coffee mug I have ever owned. It is perfectly smooth on the outside and on the inside and all around the rim. It is the perfect size and shape, big enough for a decent cup of coffee, and just right for cradling in two hands.'s the perfect colour. Check that out: it matches my coffee so well, you almost can't tell where the coffee ends and the mug begins.

The mug came to me in a brown paper package all tied up with strings...these are a few of my favorite things. It came to me as a gift, all gift-wrapped and with a funky card and everything. It came accompanied by coffee, and beautiful glass rain drops to hang in my window and be colorful while I work on dyeing yarn. And, get this, the gift came to me from a lovely woman who buys my yarn. She pays me a lot of her hard-earned money for yarn, and then she sends me a gift. (!!!). I've been drinking my coffee out of this mug and feeling grateful for about a week now.

This was unexpected too. I arranged a swap with a friend. Yarn for me to dye and sell, in exchange for yarn that I am to dye and send back to her. Now don't y'all jump on the bandwagon. This was pretty special yarn we're talking about. So the yarn arrives, and along with it, a batch of KnitPicks Gloss in Pumpkin. A big thanks to two troublemakers who know exactly who they are: Culprit-A, who destashed to Culprit-B, who sent it on to me. Thanks ladies!

Way back, oh what is it now -- Two? Three? months ago when I first started dyeing, I was in the process of selling off some of my stash. When I was packing a box to ship off to one stash-buyer, I chucked in a skein of one of my early hand-dyes as a wee surprise-y for her. A few weeks later, I received a beautiful hand-made thank you card, along with some more amazing hand-made cards for me to use, and this sweet bracelet. All made with loving care by the recipient of my yarn. The bracelet fits perfectly, and I love to wear it.

There have been other things: notes of encouragement, and emails, comments here, and messages through etsy. There are times when I feel bathed in kindness. Thanks to all of you!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Help! I'm Drowning in Sales

I guess this is not a bad problem to have...

I really did intend to post a new blog entry here, oh a few days ago, yesterday, today, but business has been booming all weekend.

So I've been responding to emails, labeling, packaging, addressing, napping, responding to emails, dyeing, labeling, packaging, listing, unlisting, responding to emails, napping, going to church, napping, responding to emails, packaging, labeling...

Hopefully all my American pals will go back to work tomorrow, and I'll have a day of P and Q.

Not that I'm complaining. Sure, come and buy me out.

I figured that I had been a good girl in getting my work done and making a bunch of sales, so I ordered a custom silver ring to be made. The seller is such a nice woman. I might have to get a pendant too...

See the ring HERE. I think it is sooo beautiful. And the pendant I want is THIS ONE. Read her description of what she is thinking about when making the pendant. Perfect, eh?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Playground Nicknames and Rabbitchy Goodness

I'm calling this colorway: FISHY WISHY IN A DISHY

Believe it or not, that was my nickname at school from Kindergarten to Grade-3. I'm not sure anyone knew my real name. My family nickname, practically from birth, was Minnow. The members of my family are not consistent on the theories of that name's origin, so I guess it remains a mystery why I ended up with a name that my mother sometimes still uses. Thanks to my older sisters and their friends, at school I was called Fishy Wishy in a Dishy.

Now that I am all grown up and well recovered from the trauma of having such a ridiculous nickname, I can get my own back by making money from the name. It reminds of how in the book A Prayer For Owen Meany (John Irving), John's cousin Hester -- Hester the Molester -- finally gets revenge on her nickname by naming her very succesful punk rock band with it.

Oh, and what happened to the silly Fishy-Wishy? Well, in May of Grade-3, my family moved from Regina to North Vancouver. The first day I went to school, my alcoholic teacher introduced me to the class as: We have a new student here today. Her name is Jayne. At that moment, the class clown, a large boy named Scott, leapt to his feet, pounded his chest, and let out a blood-curdling Tarzan yell. Until I changed schools again in Grade-8, my school nickname was...Tarzan.

Yesterday I got to meet Rabbitch!!

We met for coffee, and you can imagine two knitter/dyer women talking at high speed for about an hour and a half, trying to squeeze in as much life, family, kids, husbands, health, knitting, dyeing, and silly yarn tales as can reasonably be done. Oh yeah, and we'd never met before. She's not very nice. I'm supposed to keep her secret identity as a nice person secret. She's really a total Rab-bitch!

And looky what I got! Uber-funky Rabbitchy yarn, and a Rabbitchy wash-cloth. Actual knitting, oh my! After coffee she came over and fondled yarn for a while before going home for much-needed sleep. I think a skein of my yarn followed her home like an eager puppy.

Rabbitch has just opened up an online yarn shop based from her blog. We want her to be able to quit her day job (that is actually an all-night job), so go and buy her beautiful yarn HERE.

Is it just me, or do these stitch markers look like Marvin the Martian?

You broke my cosmic space detonator.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Feels Like Monday

And that's how I feel about that.

I know it's Tuesday, but it was a long weekend, and yesterday was a holiday. Today feels like Monday, and I woke up to two very distressing local news stories on the radio. The kind that make you want to stay in bed, pull the covers up over your head, and pretend there isn't a world out there. That, and my every-three-weeks-period showed up right on schedule. Welcome to middle age.

Ever since the etsy meet on Saturday, I've wanted to introduce you to a wonderful artist over at etsy, and a Vancouver chick, like me. Her shop name is cindyg's quirks of art. Cindy's art is beautiful, and so is she, a beautiful, friendly woman who is a delight to meet. Cindy makes art collages that evoke strong feelings when you look at them. I had to buy this piece because it spoke directly to my soul.

It's called: She Loved Even Harder. When I saw this piece in Cindy's shop, I had to have it. That face and those eyes make me feel like I am looking at the face of the eleven-year-old that is still very much alive inside me. Not to sound too weird about this, but SHE had to have it.

You can't guess from looking at this piece that it is only 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches in size. Cindy packs a lot of talent into her small pieces called ACEO's (Artist Cards Editions and Originals). They are very reasonably priced and a great way to collect original art. A lot of artists at etsy sell miniatures, and it is amazing what they can express in such a small form.

Cindy's bigger pieces are amazing too. I have my eye on this piece. I love it! Please go and admire the rest of Cindy's work at her shop HERE.

Finally, I really enjoyed all the responses and discussion that went on with yesterday's post. A big hello to all the people who have come out of hiding recently to comment. It's great to have so many voices in the conversation. Every one of you has something to add to the experience here, and quite often y'all make my day.

Now if I can just get it into my head that it's Tuesday, I can pretend that this week skipped Monday altogether. Whee!

PS. I'm editing this post to add something quick and cool. I just arranged a trade with another yarn dyer at etsy. I am getting THIS. She is getting THIS. We are both excited about a cool trade.

The woman I traded with has just posted a three month/three skein sock club membership. I think it's a great deal for three skeins of sock yarn, shipping and surprise goodies. Her yarn looks terrific, so ya might want to check it out. You can see the sock club offering HERE.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Etsy Shenanigans

I get to meet some etsians today!! Yippee!!!

There are a bunch of etsy sellers in the Vancouver area, and we've arranged to meet for coffee and, well to MEET. This afternoon. I'm so excited. I've chatted with several of these women (yeah, women only) in the forums, and there are some real personalities in the bunch, so this should be fun. As for me, I'll be my usual bland self.

I keep forgetting to mention -- but there is a tradition at etsy that is called SNS: Saturday Night Special. It starts at 6:00pm/etsy/NY time (3:00 my time) and ends at 6:00am on Sunday/etsy/NY time.

How do you find out what is on sale? the forums, near the bottom of the page is a section called Promotions/Critiques. One of the threads, and you might have to hunt a bit, will have a list of all the sellers who are offering deals on Saturday night. There are some great deals to be had, and it is fun too.

I've offered Saturday Night Specials the last two weeks, and it has been fun and good for business. The first week, I sent hand-made earrings and necklaces along with each order. Last week, I had a sale of all my "Good,Bad,Ugly" yarn that wasn't quite up to snuff. It all went.

This week, I am sending along goodie-loot bags with each order. Small loot bags for orders under 50.00, and bigger goodie bags for orders of 50.00 or over (before shipping charges). The bigger goodie bags are going to contain little loot plus a free ball of Noro Kureyon.

Little loot will be things like yarn samples, stitch markers, small jewelry items, other little goodies. It's all fun.

Just thought I'd letcha know!

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Frankenstein on the Rampage!

I can't stop laughing. I had the idea for this hat/yarn/marketing project weeks ago. It came to me while I was having a Shiatsu massage. Seems I get my best ideas either while in the shower, or while having a Shiatsu. Must be something about feeling relaxed and letting my mind wander.

In my mind, I could picture this acid green yarn with deep blue/purple contrasts. I could see it knitted up into a hat, and of course I would call it Frankenstein. Next thing, I saw these skull beads for sale at etsy, and today it all came together. The yarn, the hat (finished about an hour ago), the beads, the description. I have to share it here because, for some reason, I can't stop laughing. It just strikes me funny.

You can check out the full listing at etsy, if you want to see all the pix etc. But here is a snippet of the description:

Frankenstein has lost his favorite knitted hat. You know, the one that went perfectly with his acid green complexion and Johnny-Cash-Black Hair. He's pretty grumpy and I heard he was on the rampage looking for it. If he comes beating down my door for it, I'll be ready. Will you?

Oh, and by the way, Frankenstein's hat is the first totally finished item I've knitted in aeons.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I've Become a Bead Stalker

There's this great little shop at etsy called rufusandroxy. The artist makes the most beautiful lampwork glass beads, and her shop is very popular. Every day she lists new beads, and they get snapped up but quick. It's a bit like elann on a Monday morning. I am usually late to the party, but I still manage to snag amazing beads. I have gotten into the habit of checking out that shop every day. I have to see what's new and what has sold. I've ordered beads several times, so I think I may be a bit addicted to this shop and those glorious beads.

Besides the high level of craftsmanship and professional and friendly customer service, I think what attracts me to the shop and the beads is that so many of them are in the colours that I love to dye on yarn. If you ever buy yarn from me, and you want to find just the right beads to go with, head on over to RufusandRoxy (named for the owner's two cats). Oh...and check out the little beauties I snatched up super quick, before anyone else could get their mitts on 'em: HERE.

I bought my first yarn from etsy yesterday. Well, technically it was my second yarn purchase since I bought some undyed yarn for my business last week. But I think that yarn doesn't count. As nice as it is, it is business supply. Yesterday, I bought my first yarn for my own knitting pleasure. It's a gorgeous skein of hand-spun/hand-dyed with teeny little heart beads just sprinkled all through it. I wish I had it in my hot little hands already, but here's a pic so you can see why I was in such a hurry to grab it the day it was listed: YUMMO!

Oh, and Amy QOY, if you're reading this post, just pretend you didn't see no beads or no stinkin' yarn, cuz I'm sure you WON'T be interested. LOL!

I've made terrific progress on the Sunray, and I will post photos and report on that other blog tomorrow. If I can get over my intimidation. I mean, shit! Every time I pop in there for a glance, I see like TEN THOUSAND new finished shawls all boasting all over the place.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll have a hat to post tomorrow. An actual finished item.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Mailbox is my Friend

Bleahhhhhhhgghhh...Mother's Day...Bleahhhhhggghhhhh!!!

It's over, and look who showed up in the mail today to help me celebrate that fact: It's my MONSTER Hat Kit. Yippeee!!!

Jacey, over at spins up these amazing skeins of hand-painted yarn. she hand-felts the little monster patches and kits it up with a funky label and instructions for two versions of the hat. She has a whole lotta the little suckers that have sold in the past. Every monster face is a mini work of art.

I got my hat kit in a trade. Jacey got two skeins of handpainted sock yarn from me, and I got this funky kit. There are definite perks to this job.

These hand-made pewter beads showed up in the mail too. I ordered them from MamacitaBeads at etsy. I love all of them, but especially the tiny church pendant.

Thanks for all the great suggestions for sock patterns for my sock-pal's socks. I decided to go with this book by Charlotte Schurch. I've heard so many good things about it, and I had a look at the pix online and was sold right away. I haven't decided on a pattern yet, but there are several that are in the running.

A great deal of mail goes out and comes in around here. I buy up a lot of yarn for dyeing, and it shows up in box after box after box. It goes out again in smaller boxes and bubble mailers. Every now and then, I throw something for myself into the order. Like this Sea Wool by Fleece Artist. The colorway is Rainforest, and it is a delight for the senses.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Introducing...Austin Peacock!

Yeah, Baby!!

Treasures In The Mail

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

Pretty little package done up in fancy tissue and ribbon:

Oh, yay! It's the notion bags I ordered from Ity-Bity Bags over at Etsy.

The little bags are so cute, and she has so many to choose from. I think these will be perfect for all kinds of things, but I plan to use mine as knitting notions bags. And as gifts. If I can part with any of them.

The bags are well made. Each one is lined in a different fabric than the outside fabric. The appliques are super cute. Not only did she package them up really nicely, but she included a bunch of bonus-gifties in my order. Hayley immediately claimed the stickers and the pretty beaded necklace.

I visited the Ity-Bity Bags shop today to thank the seller for such a lovely product. Then I beetled over to her shop to snag three more pouches. Have a look for yourself. The shop is ItyBityBags.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

God's Gift to Peahens

Thank you very much for your kind comments on my last post.

Do any of you remember playing Trivial Pursuit? My friends and I used to play quite a lot of it in the mid-80's when it had just come out and was so popular. I can be a bit of a dolt, and one time playing the game, I got the question:

What does a Peacock mate with?

I don't know. I was a bit stunned at the question. "You mean...what parts??" I asked. My friends have NEVER let me forget it. I'm pretty sure it came up at my wedding too.

A potential Etsy client emailed me a beautiful photograph of a close-up shot of a peacock's tail feather. She asked if I could do something with the teals, greens, blues and super deep blue-purple colour of that dark circle in the feather. I think I've come pretty close here.

The yarn is still damp in these photos, and it hasn't been re-skeined yet. The yarn is my fab Trekking sock yarn from the UK. Very nice to dye and to work with. I can already understand why that yarn is so popular.

I've also done up some skeins in this colorway in the luxury merino/alpaca/silk DK. They are rinsing now, and look great.

I need some name suggestions. I've been enjoying unusual, funky or tongue-in-cheek yarn names. I could call it:

Strut Your Stuff
Peahen's Delight

or....??? Suggestions are always welcome.

Warning: Personal Content

I was washing up the dishes just now and reflecting on a few things. Suddenly I had the urge to write, so here I am.

I was thinking about how I go to see my therapist on Friday and what we might talk about.

1. How unbelievably angry I felt a few days ago at being treated rudely by the stylist who was supposed to cut my hair that day. Not my usual stylist, so I left and came back on another day when my favorite woman was in.

2. How unbelievably angry I felt this week that a well-meaning person's ignorance cost me 20.00 that I can't get back. I know it's not the money that makes me mad; there's something else at the heart of it. Having to pay the consequence for someone else's action? Now there's a theme in my life.

3. How panicky and upset I felt last week in church. Our pastor spoke on anger, and at the beginning of his sermon, he played a sound clip of Alec Baldwin abusing his eleven-year-old daughter Ireland over her cell phone. I understand this item has been a major news-cycle hit for the last few weeks. When I heard his voice and his words, I was instantly transported back into my three-year-old, five-year-old, fifteen-year-old (you get the picture) self. Me standing helpless and terrified while my dad screamed such things into my face, often with threatening gestures, and even with terrifying physical roughness.

4. And, I reflected at the kitchen sink, it is That time of year. What time of year? The time of year when my body knows that something terrible is going to happen soon, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Every year for the past five years, since I started working on all the crap in my head, I have this awful recurring body memory that starts about three weeks before Mother's Day. Somewhere in the April 20's my body feels tight, tense, and packed with fear about the thing that will go wrong. The thing went wrong 28 years ago, but try telling my body that. My body remembers, and every year it reminds me that I was the last person to see my 18-year-old sister alive, about two or three weeks before Mother's Day, and that on May 14 -- Mother's Day -- she hung herself.

I was standing at the sink, thinking about these things, thinking about how much more I know about myself now than I did five years ago. How I know what these feelings mean. I know that they won't kill me, and they don't have to send me into a dark depression for the next three weeks. I just need to notice them, acknowledge and feel them, and experience them for what they are.

It still feels like crap, and I am NOT an every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining kind of person. Life is sometimes shitty. And it can be full of joy. Both things are true, and I try hard not to forget that. Life is full of mystery.

At the sink, I was aware of how gloriously sunny and beautiful it is outside today. A good day for a walk, and I want to get my chores done, so that I can go out in total freedom. I thought about how great it is that I get to work as an artist. How great that I am this far along on my journey of discovery, and I'm not trapped in the old terror and panic attacks. How nice it was to have lunch yesterday with a long-time dear friend.

I want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mmm...Eye Candy

Meet: Strawberry Pocky (you know biscuits 'n strawberry frosting?). Yummo!

Rusty Nail: soft enough to step on.

Sorry to be cryptic, but not going to comment on this. Those of you in the know, know where to look for all the details.

And...(much jumping up and down with glee), my package from the UK came today. Uber-quickly, since I expected it to take WEEKS, and it took DAYS. Guess what was in the package??? Nope! Not toilet paper. Fifteen skeins of beautiful undyed Trekking Sock Yarn. Yup!! Can't wait to play around with some of that.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sockapalooza 4: Getting the Lead Out

I first realized that the Sockapalooza-4 database must be up and running when a friendly knitter showed up at my Etsy store to buy a skein of yarn for her sock pal. And what a sweetheart she was. She chose such a lovely skein. Lucky sock pal.

Even so, I was buried up to my eyeballs in yarn dyeing, mailing, and the regular sludge of life, and it was days before I checked the database for information on my pal. Turns out my pal has feet almost the same size as mine (that will help), and has left all the details totally up to me.

Here's the yarn I've chosen for my pal:

Yesterday I dyed up two skeins of the super-yummy Blue Face Leicester 2-ply Sport in this colorway called Twilight. One for my sock pal, and one for my shop. I like this choice for my sock pal because it is colorful without being loud, and the yarn should show off the stitches of the sock nicely too. The bonus for me is that I get to knit the super-yummy BFL sock yarn. Why should everyone else have all the fun??

Now I need your help. Yes, that's right: Your Help. I have knitted quite a few socks now, using everything from chunky to super fine sock yarn. I have always knitted them totally plain, and I like it that way. But I want something different for my sock pal. No lace. I don't want anything frilly and froofy. I like to knit socks from the cuff down, with heel flaps, and regular toe shaping. I'm looking for pattern ideas for nice stitchwork that will be fun for me to knit -- and to show off the yarn I've chosen. I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on this.

This morning I went out to the chiropractor. He hurt me, but he made me feel better too. Divine pain. When I got home, it was like Christmas. Packages on my doorstep. Packages in my mail box. Look at 'em all!!

I had a blast opening them all up. Several fun things I ordered from Etsy shops, and a box of undyed lace-weight yarn I scored by trading some of my hand-dyed. And a box of Misti Alpaca laceweight, also for dyeing. My favorite of the Etsy items is the black leather bound journal. The book was made entirely by hand by a gifted artist in Nova Scotia. She tears her own creamy smooth paper, hand stitches it into a strong binding, and finishes it all off with a beautiful leather cover. You can view her journals and other hand-bound books at her etsy shop Here. I love journals, and I do write my little heart out in them. When this one gets close to full, I'm going back for another one.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

OK, One Hint...Just One!

But that's all you're getting until she gets home to Lisa. Lisa knitted Kiri with some Kool-Aid dyed yarn, and found she was unhappy with the colour. The original colour is shown in pinky/flesh colour in what Lisa called the "Little Ball Of Fugly." It wasn't that bad, as you can see in the before photos in my last post.

Lisa found she couldn't quite finish the edge of Kiri, so she mailed the shawl to Auntie Grace for knitting therapy. Grace finished Kiri and sent her to me for a dye job.

Gotta tell you folks, that dyeing someone else's beautifully hand-knit shawl is a nail-biter. And not only that, but the pinkish Kool-aid colour she arrived in, is one of the more difficult to over-dye successfully. I experimented on the LB o'F until I felt I had the right idea of what to do.

Now Kiri is blocked and drying on my family room floor. I can't tell you how beautiful she is. Lisa's knitting is spectacular, as is Grace's edging. You can see the wonderful stitchwork in the teeny sample I've posted here. Lisa's original colour gives the whole shawl a warm undertone, and makes the over-dye dance. This photo does not really do justice to the shawl or to the final colour. I can say that the colour is soft and subtle, and oh so smoothly variegated.

Hopefully Lisa will give us a big eyeful when Kiri gets home. If not, I'll post all my pix.

Guess Who Came To Town?

Do you recognize this shawl?

How about now?

Yes that's right! It's Kiri, on her grand tour of North America. She's come for a dye job -- all the way from Alaska, by way of New Jersey.

She's a pretty one already.

The Good, The Bad, and Whazzat??

The Good:
There have been some new visitors and some really interesting comments here lately. Check out the comments on the post called: Isn't It Ironic.

Amazing Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn I bought from Joan a while back. I keep it close by so I can see its loveliness and pet it from time to time.

Amazing Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn poses next to a yarn I dyed this past week. It is Misti Alpaca Baby Alpaca Lace Weight. I bought it in off-white and must have had these colours on my mind, 'cuz look what happened!

The Bad:
My teeth are breaking, and I need a bunch (more) dental work.

Maybe the Canucks won't make it to the next round. But this headline made me think of Benne (which is good). I wonder why...

It rained and was pissy and wintery all day today. Can you see the rain? Can you see the wilted Canucks flag on our car?

The Funny:

Benne thought this was toilet paper:

Loud laughter over here when I read that comment.

And Now For Something Completely Different:
I'm not going to give any hints. This is the coolest thing ever. You'll just have to go see for yourself.