Friday, May 29, 2009

What's In A Name?

Stephanie wrote:

Dyeing yarn is a process with several steps along the way.  Just when we think we're finished, we come to what may be the hardest part - naming the colorway.

We have a new colorway that we want to release to the world.  It's all set to go except for one minor detail - it needs a name. It's like going through pregnancy, labor and delivery.  You can't introduce your new baby to family and friends without a name. Well, I did that with one of my kids.  It was well over a week before she had a name.  So far she hasn't shown any ill effects from her days of namelessness.

But it's different with yarn - we really do need a name.  We have to label and identify it.  Some yarn companies take the easy route and assign numbers.  Mona and I discussed this in the beginning and decided to take the time to name all of our colorways.

I love playing with words, looking up various meanings and derivations, bouncing possible options off family members.  Mona and I solicit ideas and suggestions from anyone and everyone.  We've even been known to ask relative strangers for input.

Naming colors takes a certain creativity and investment of time.  We want to observe the yarn in different lighting situations. Trust me when I tell you the lighting conditions in the Baltimore Convention Center are not conducive to accurate name selection.  Indoors, outdoors.  Where's the Ott-Lite?

Some names are clever and creative.  Some names are descriptive and utilitarian.  Some names are whimsical and magical. And some names are just plain lame.  I admit that at one time we had a colorway named blue.  I blame sleep deprivation for that one.

Given our sometimes less-than-accurate name choices, it's reassuring when there's evidence to support spot-on name selection.

The flower iris.  Again, courtesy of my neighbor's yard.  I think it's a match.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kind Of Blue

Stephanie wrote:

Kind Of Blue . . . the title of one of my favorite Miles Davis' albums.  The phrase sprang to mind when I recently surveyed the efforts from a day of dyeing.

Not that I'm in a blue, down-in-the-dumps kind of mood.  I do find it interesting that from a long list of colors that had to be dyed, I chose most of the blue tone colors on the same day.

The yarn shown is Comfy Sox - Azure above and Peacock below.  These are two examples of blues I dyed in one day - the other two blues didn't make the photo shoot.

In a slight shift from blue . . . I finished this the other day.

This is my second Hoarfronst by Anne Hanson.  The first one I made as a booth sample.  I liked the pattern so much I had to have one for myself and cast on right away.

The yarn is Luster Sox Grape.  I love this yarn - durable, great stitch definition.  And it dyes up with lovely, subtle color variation.  The temps have been cool this week.  If this weather pattern continues, I may need to use this neck warmer sooner rather than later.

I found this bit of color inspiration in my yard.  Lately I've been thinking we need some pink in our color line-up.  Think I can match this? 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Season Sampler

Stephanie wrote:

Long range planning is not one of my strong points.  There are so many variables in life, so many schedules to consider, so many unexpected twists and turns.  I find it hard to commit to anything too far down the road.  

Yes, I do keep a calendar and religiously make notes in it.  And the kids make notes in it too, because I can't be expected to remember everything for everybody.  The calendar helps me create order out of chaos.

But most days I'm trying to live in the moment and get through another day.  Because something unexpected always comes up - something not on the calendar.

Life with Dye Dreams is a bit different.  Mona and I have to make decisions and plans months in advance.  Our spring, summer and fall schedules are booked and on the calendar.  We are making decisions for the winter months.  Winter.  Let me remind you that it's still spring in New England.

In keeping with that long range mind set we've played with some new colors for fall.

This is the fun part of long range planning.  It looks like a harvest basket of yarn.  The yarn is Luster Sox, colors unnamed. One of these undoubtedly will make the final cut for the fall installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club.  

Flipping back to the current season I leave you with this. 

Walden Pond on a warm spring day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time On My Mind

Stephanie wrote:

Lately my thoughts have been occupied with the concept of time - there's never enough, how to get more, how to manage it more efficiently.  Between the house, my family, the odd jobs I piece together and Dye Dreams some days all I do is chase my tail.  I stay up late to work only to turn around and get up early the next morning to do more of the same.

Not too long ago Martie from Taos Sunflower wrote about time.  Her advice is to use your time wisely. Simply your life and take time for the things most important to you.  Things like gardening, spending time with a friend, reading.  And yes, knitting, spinning, weaving or any of the fiber arts that interest you.

My frustration is that my time is not my own.  I wake up and have a plan for the day only to have it shattered into a million pieces.  Kids' schedules change at a moment's notice.  We have to make a trip to the emergency room. There isn't any food in the house, everyone is starving and I have to spend half the day going to the grocery store and stocking up.  Someone has a yarn emergency and I have to dash to the post office.

The only way to keep my sanity in the midst of all of this is to go with the flow.  Often it requires a lot of deep breathing.  I remind myself that time is fluid, and our schedule is not set in stone.

What does this have to do with knitting?  In thinking about time I realized that knitting gives me time to myself.  Of course it has many other benefits, but some days the most important thing I gain from knitting is time that I can call my own.  It may not last for more than a few rows, but it's enough to give me a break from the chaos around me.  Knitting a few rows can keep me centered and sane.

Think about it and use your time wisely.

News from the shop . . . our most popular pattern these days is the Portuguese Fisherwoman's Shawl.  Designed by Shelagh Smith the shawl is very clever and practical.  It knits up nicely in Dye Dreams Celestial.  Shelagh is the designer for the summer installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club so you'll be seeing more of her work in the coming months.

Because I had to rip out much of the progress I made on my vest - I can't seem to count past 10 these days - I leave you with this picture.

Lily of the valley, courtesy of my neighbor's yard.  How sweet it is!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Stephanie wrote:

I'm in a spring cleaning mode - at least when it comes to finishing up projects.  This kind of energy doesn't strike often so I need to make the most of it when it does.

This particular project came off the needles looking like this.

After a bath and a bit of blocking it now looks like this.

Forgive the shadows.  This lighting produced the truest color reproduction.  The pattern is Rivolo by Anne Hanson of Knitspot.  

The yarn is Dye Dreams Twinkle Toes, color Royal Purple.  You will have to view this colorway in Luster Sox as we don't have the Twinkle Toes one on the website yet.

I didn't document blocking this scarf, but for those interested in the nitty gritty you can find helpful information on blocking here and here.

This is my second time making this pattern.  The pattern is comprised of 8 rows - 4 pattern rows and 4 purl rows.  This makes for a fairly simple lace pattern that you can take on the go.  I added 6 more repeats than the pattern calls for to make a longer scarf.

This scarf is an overdue birthday gift and will be winging its way westward later today.  Cross another project off my list.  With all these empty needles I feel I'm entitled to start a new project.  Will see where that energy takes me.

In keeping with the times you can now find Dye Dreams on Twitter.  Check it out for musings, updates and mindless banter.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Off The Needles

Stephanie wrote:

Finished projects of all shapes and sizes give such a feeling of accomplishment.  It's so easy and exciting to start new projects. Some of us start them with reckless abandon, without regard for the practical consideration of actual knitting time.  We delude ourselves into casting on for one more project.  After all, the 2 sweaters, 3 hats, 4 scarves and 2 pair of socks are "almost done".  A finished object is cause for celebration.  

This sweater was "almost done" in time for our trip to Connecticut - all except for a few ends.  It did make the trip with us, but the day was warm and I didn't take it out of the truck.

This is Twist & Shout from Knitty.  It's knit up in Dye Dreams Celestial, color Peacock.  You'll have to view that colorway in Luster Sox as we don't have the Celestial one on the website yet.

This was a fun pattern to knit.  It required some mental concentration, but it didn't give me a headache or make me cross-eyed. The pattern has bracelet length sleeves.  I lengthened the sleeves and now they are a bit too long.  I thought I had the measurements worked out, but I probably should have left them at the specified length.  What was I thinking?  I know my arms are on the short side.

This pattern calls for reinforcing the neckline with a crochet chain.  There are good instructions for this technique here so I won't bother to repeat the process.  Let me just say this is a very handy technique to have up your sleeve so pull out your crochet hook and give it a try.

I love working with this yarn - so soft and cozy.  The color variation moves nicely throughout the sweater.  And this pattern is an easy fit so I'm sure it will get lots of wear.

This sweater is still in need of a button, and I may have one that will work.  Last fall at Stitches East I bought a button from Bonnie Maresh.  Alas, I can't seem to find a website for her.  Keep your eyes open for her work at various shops and events - she has some fun buttons.  At Stitches East she was donating part of her proceeds to ovarian cancer research, a cause near and dear to my heart.

News from the shop . . . our spring sock club installment is shipping as we speak.  It's not too late to order.  We have a beautiful pattern designed by Sivia Harding.  Delicious yarn in an enchanting colorway and more.  Don't miss out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring in Connecticut

Stephanie wrote:

Last weekend Mona and I were at Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival.  This one day event is less than a 2 hour drive for us, so it makes for an easy outing.  Well, no event is truly easy.  We had one long, exhausting day, and I think it took both of us the better part of last week to recover.

The weather was dry and clear - a bit on the warm side but there was a nice breeze.  My picture taking was sporadic, i.e. I didn't get any shots of our booth.  

It was a good day to be an outside vendor.  

This event has grown in size - more and more vendors every year.  In fact this year there was a waiting list for vendors.

And it wouldn't be a sheep and wool festival without animals.  

These alpacas were so cute - they got lots of attention.

The day was full of many fun activities - sheep dog trial, sheep shearing, ox cart ride.  Plenty to see and do.

The best part of these events is the people who visit our booth.  Last year at Connecticut we met the women from Serenity Scarves (ravelry link), and it was nice to see them again.  As always we met many new people - people with fun, creative ideas and energy.

Daffodils on the lawn - a definite sign of spring.  Time to prepare for our next event, Maine Fiber Frolic.