Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holiday and New Year!

The new years is next week and that means new products! My most important resolution for the new year, like ever year for the past 4 years, is to grow my business. I realized recently that a great way to do that is to branch out into different areas in my niche market. I have yarn, yes, but what else can I do for my fellow geeky knitters? I have a few ideas but I'd love to hear from you too! Here are a few things I have come up with:


Lotion Bars!
Knitters get dry hands, especially the knitters I know that have to live through these harsh Wisconsin winters. Even when it's a nice 40 degrees out, like it is currently (which is unseasonably warm for this time of year, last year it was -20 degrees out and my car wouldn't start), if folks are like me their hands start to dry out to the point of cracking and bleeding at the knuckles. Just BECAUSE. Some winters it looks like I get in fist fights each night, and that level of dry skin makes knitting almost painful. So I plan to make some awesome moisturizing lotion bars in many different geeky forms (Doctor Who, Firefly, and D&D themed to start) for my dry skinned folks out there. It's geeky and it helps make knitting more comfortable. 


Stitch Markers! (Not My Image)
Not sure if I want to do beaded stitch markers, or make my own with sculpting clay (maybe experiment with both?) but I do want to venture into the stitch marker world by making a few fun sets.

Patterns!
I plan on dedicating myself to designing, writing, editing, and publishing more knitting patterns this year. I have half a dozen half-written patterns, and even more loosely constructed ideas jotted down in the back of date books or as a random note to myself in an email. "Knit hat that looks like a Dalek" one short message to myself from years ago reads, and yet I have not published a single pattern this year. My "Doomsday" fingerless gloves pattern that I designed last year has been doing really well, so I need to keep it up! (The sock above was one I designed, knit up, then set aside because I need to finish editing the pattern and making it digital. I need a real kick in the pants some times!)


Kits!
This top picture is from a customer that bought my "Doomsday Yarn and Pattern Kit." I would love to couple my hand-dyed yarn with patterns that go with more often. I think it just makes a lot of sense! The bottom picture is of one of my "Mood Sock Yarn Kits" that have been a pretty big hit, especially when folks get to choose the characters that each mini-skein is inspired by (which I did for a Firefly themed kit and it turned out beautifully). 



Videos!
And lastly, I need to keep making videos for my Lady Purl YouTube account. I just bought a house and it has been a whirlwind up in the Purl residence, so I have felt like I haven't had the time, but I am going to MAKE THE TIME this coming year. I have so much to share and I really want to inspire newcomers to join this lovely craft called knitting (or spinning, or dyeing, or whatever ^__^ ).

So those are my ideas and goals for the New Year. What would you like to see from Lady Purl? Please comment, or comment on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LadyPurlDesigns  and tell me what you would like to see from Lady Purl Designs!

Thank you so much for being a part of my wonderful year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wool & Cotton Co.

I got the incredible opportunity to wholesale at an adorable new yarn shop in Greendale, WI, Wool & Cotton Co. (From my new house it's only a 10 minute drive!) I took this picture after I was finished labeling everything.


I'm packaging my Mood Sock Yarn Kits in these handy dandy little plastic buttoned bags now, which makes them much easier to sell in the store, and I gave the owner 2 each of Firefly, Doctor Who, and a new kit that's Disney Princess themed and sparkly! 




Now that I have a little more time on my hands I'm going to try to finish my next episode of "Electric Sheep" tomorrow. I'm going to ply my sparkly gold Rumpelstiltskin yarn, and show how to set the skein. And now I'm going to pass out because I stayed up until 1 AM finishing all this yarn, and then woke up early to get all the labels made, printed, and put on. PHEW, IT IS DONE!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A New House and the RRRAGS Event!

I just bought and moved into a house of my very own! And you know what that means? A DEDICATED YARN ROOM. YEP. Dedicated to making yarn, spinning, winding, dyeing, and everything else yarn related I can fit into that 12x12 foot space! I just finished moving and will be unpacking all my stuff for a while now, but it's looking good so far. Pictures coming soon, when it doesn't look so much like a storage unit ^__^. Until then, you should mark your calendars for this awesome arts and craft fair:


Visit http://www.rrrags.com to see what other vendors will be there. My friend Erin of Milwaukee Mitten Co (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MilwaukeeMittenCo) and I are sharing a table for this awesome event that helps support the arts in Milwaukee Schools. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/366316283545201 for this event and get updates on all the super creative folks that are taking part!

The Details:

Where: The Falcon Bowl
801 E. Clarke Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212


When: 12PM- 5PM Dec. 14th, 2014
$3 admission also buys 3 raffle ticket - you can donate as much as you like. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Electric Sheep, Episode 0

I'm starting a new video podcast and I hope you join me over on my YouTube channel:  Lady Purl to get tutorials, classes, updates, and share in my fiber journey. Please comment (here or on YouTube) to give me ideas of what you want to see from me and my shop!





Friday, August 29, 2014

Spin spin spin!

I raised enough money for my spinning wheel and proceeded to spin an entire skein up in a 24 hour period. I was so excited I couldn't help myself.


Here's a picture of the transition from bare roving, to dyed roving, to all spun up and plied.


I've also been doing some super fun mood sock yarn kits by request. The customer gives me the character or just a show in general to be inspired by and I give them 4 mini skeins to knit 1 pair of socks with, knitting their mood as they go.


Firefly themed, she gave me her 4 favorite characters, I gave her these babies!


Gilmore Girls. This was made by request of a huge GG fan. I have to admit I've never seen the show, but I did a lot of research to make these 4 mini skeins happen! :D

Also happening in my store right now that is blowing me away is that my "Grab Bag Sale" listing is flying off the metaphoric shelves! I guess knitters like the idea of being surprised by they yarn they get. I don't know that I could ever be that trusting, hehe, but a lot of people have really enjoyed it so far, so I hope it keeps coming!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

YAYSPIN! (And Crazy Cat Lady Shenanigans)

Hey there my lovely yarnies!

I'm trying to raise funds to buy a real spinning wheel (which will hopefully cut my spinning yarn time down by like 75%!). The PVC wonder that my boyfriend made me has finally spun it's last yard. One of the sides actually broke off and flew across the room at a great speed (a little scary, as we have 3 fish tanks in my living room >.> )

ANYWAY, I'm doing this promotional code (YAYSPIN) because I have a wheel lined up to buy, just need $200 to get it and ship it from Colorado. My Etsy store, as you may already know, is LadyPurl.Etsy.com - all yarn is geeky inspired and I do custom colorway orders all the time. Christmas is just like... 20 Saturdays away right? So even if you don't knit, maybe a friend or loved one of yours does? ^_____^



Also, for anyone interested in how the constellation shawl turned out, IT IS SO GORGEOUS. And it's new mommy has it and loves it dearly. I laid it out to take a nice picture of it, and of course, Rory immediately jumped on it and was all, "MINE," to it. Cats, amiright?



Picture of the border, which seriously took longer than the whole body of the shawl.
>.<


And here's my kitten, Badger, for good measure, sitting in my yarn cooking pot. Because, cats. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

IT IS DONE!

The epic shawl that shall not be named is FINISHED!

Once I got to the last few stitches I almost couldn't contain myself. I had chores to do today and all I could think was, "I'M SO CLOSE, JUST NEED TO GET THIS DONE!"


I finally graphed the first row of the edging with the final row and I was almost done. Due to the manner in which I had initially dyed the yarn, there were a few light areas that I wasn't fond of so I redyed the entire shawl when I was done knitting. I dipped it into a pot of darker blue and a little violet and dash of black. It deepened the blue and got rid of the lighter areas, and I really like the new shade of sapphire!


This is how much yarn I had left of my 2 skeins after binding off. I was super lucky! I worried about the remaining yarn before I even started the edging, and had I done even 1 more row while knitting the 576 stitches in the round, I bet I would have run out. PHEW!


I'll be sure to take and post more pictures as it dries, and even more when I give it to it's new owner ^_^

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Never Ending Celestarium

After seeing this post about the Celestarium shawl, I fell in love. Then I quickly put it in the back of my brain so I wouldn't have to drool over it anymore and went about my day.

Later, multiple friends saw the Reddit post that made the shawl famous, posted it on Facebook, and some even sent the link specifically to me, telling me I should make it. I was tempted yet again. My Goddess was I tempted, but my problem with shawls, as much as I love knitting them, is that I never -- yep never -- wear them. I wish I did. I wish I was the type to, but I just don't. I'm more of a geeky t-shirt and cardigan if I'm cold wear-er, not the fancy shawl type. So investing this much of my time and money into a shawl as complex as this one (it's actually not complex at all, I just assumed because… beads) didn't seem in my starts (hehe, see what I did there?)

BUT then came the Facebook friend that decided she needed one for herself and would pay me for my time and supplies. That was a bit more interesting. If I knew it went to a good home and I was going to be compensated accordingly, that was a different matter. Maybe this lady would treat the shawl right, wear it with fancy gowns and tossed onto shoulders that need it's warmth. This is something I could stand behind. So I started this daunting project.


These were progress shots as I began and the stitch count was still under 500 :P. You don't increase in every round like you might assume for a circular shawl, but instead you double the stitch count every 50 rows or so. What starts out as about 20 stitches each round doubles, then doubles again, and again… until your last section is almost 600 stitches per round. It's kind of intense, but it's all stockinette stitch, so pretty easy knitting. Now with almost 600 stitches to go each round, it takes me almost an hour to do 2 rows! So… yeah, it's a bit time consuming.


Look at this beast D: I mean, whoa. I dyed the yarn myself (my "TARDIS" Doctor Who themed color way) and though it's making this super cool spiral with the dark bits of variegated blues, I think I'm going to dip the whole thing in a deep blue color before I block it because the variegation is a bit distracting from the star-beads and I want them to pop more. The spiral won't go away entirely, but it'll be more muted and less intense. This is a prime example of when color-pooling is totally appropriate and awesome though (in my opinion, I know some people hate color-pooling).


So close to being done! About 20 more rows and then the border. I will assuredly be done by the end of summer but hopefully by the end of July. I reeeeally want to move onto small projects that don't weight 2 lbs. ;P

Friday, June 13, 2014

Spinning Magic!

I started spinning my own yarn a while ago after learning over 2 years ago. When I started back then, it hurt my wrist and my yarn was super uneven. I would use the drop spindle that I got from my local yarn store, a simple wooden Ashford, for hours, trying to practice. I started with a gorgeous silk roving that was way out of my league. The best thing to start spinning with is 100% wool. It's the easiest to work with by far. Silk is slippery and doesn't want to spin up nicely. It was completely frustrating, so after a few hours of trying and horrible wrist pain, I packed the spindle and roving up and didn't look at it again for years. 

After Sheep in the City this year I saw all the beautiful spinning wheels, all the gorgeous hand-spun yarn, and tons of reasonably priced hand-dyed roving, and all I wanted to do is start back up again. On the second day of SITC I brought that bag out, bought some roving from one of the local sellers, and started up a new skein. My first attempt was rough at best, but we're just going to call it "art yarn."


I called this skein "She-Hulk" as it's hulk green and power-suit purple. It's thick and thin all over and I have no idea what could be knit out of it. Less than 50 yards, so I think maybe a baby hat? No idea. I got better with the drop spindle, as can be seen in my last post. My "Brave" and "Shy Violet" yarns spun up beautifully and were almost perfect. 

And then... I got my hands on a spinning wheel. Well... sort of. ;D

video

This contraption was made by the wonderful Rob. He constructed it out of PVC piping, a vacuum drive belt, and a power drill (with a sewing machine-like start and stop pedal). It took a bit to get used to, but now it's producing quality yarn like this:



And this was just my first attempt at the wheel, so I know it's only going to get better. I'll post pictures of what this looks like knit up because I want to make this with it. I plan on dyeing my own roving and spinning that up as well. It's about 10 times as fast as the drip spindle, but not portable at all. And at this point in time, it's so loud my cats are afraid of it, so they're not all over me trying to get the yarn. That's a pro... kind of. :P Can't wait to show you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back to the blogsphere!

I've been up to a LOT. Here are a few snapshots of the new things I've been doing.

First up, I've been dying up mini-skeins for "Mood Sock Kits." The basic premise of these kits is that you knit a basic sock pattern and change skeins depending on your mood at the time of knitting. I made them geeky, of course, and I've been putting them up on my Etsy store in themed "editions." I have done Doctor Who, Firefly, and the Avengers so far, and all have been very successful. 

 "Doctor Who Edition"

I've also begun spinning my own yarn! This is super exciting for me because I (of course) need another hobby like I need a hole in the head XD. These 2 skeins were spun using a drop spindle, but I recently acquired an electric spinning wheel as well, and I'm super excited about the results I'm getting with that (it's also about 10 times faster!). Every skein I spin gets better, so I'm sure I'll be a pro in no time :)

 "Shy Violet"

 "Brave"

I've also begun dyeing roving. Some of it I plan to put in my Etsy store to sell, and some of it I plan to spin up myself. This was my first ever attempt.

 "Let It Go"

I plan to keep this blog updated more regularly as I get into different things and as my business grows! ^_^