Saturday, July 28, 2007

Prizes, prizes

Before I announce the prize winners, I just want to tell you all how generous and thoughtful you people are. I received A LOT of squares. I haven't counted them yet, but there are a lot. I also received some touching notes and cards that reminded me why I started this blanket drive in the first place: I wanted to help others work through their pain or memories or anxiety or feelings (good or bad) in a positive way, a way that would physically manifest into something that could comfort someone else. But most of all, I wanted, of course, to do this for Mom J and her sister Georgene. Thank you all so much. Mom J has been touched. I've been touched. Your generosity will touch the lives of others.

Here are the raffle winners:

Brittany Birch Knitting Needles, size 13 (donated by the Brittany Company; donation acquired by Mom J): Jody
Lane Borgosesia Merinos Extra Fine, 10 balls, pink (donated by Knit-a-Bit in Westfield, NJ; donation acquired by Mom J): Heather of the ADD Knitter
Too Cute!: Cotton Knits for Toddlers by Debby Ware (donated by Jody): LM Bartle
Yarn Caddy (donated by Knit-a-Bit; donation acquired by Mom J): Marylou B
Scheepjes sock yarn (donated by Leslie of the Silver Fork Saga): Jilian
Opal sock yarn (donated by the ADD Knitter): Senora Fuerte of Mommy! Look What I Made!
Knitting Journal (donated by Mom J): Michelle of All Things Crafted and her Aunt Sieka
Trekking XXL 126 (the grand prize?): Mims C

And because I was so taken by everyone's spirit of giving, I'm throwing in a couple of skeins of Woolly Boully yarn as a consolation prize.

The consolation winners are:

Jessica C.
Geri T.

Thank you everyone who participated. I promise to post pictures as soon as all the squares are sewed together. I love love all of you. Thank you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

These Little Poochies Went Very Quickly

Little Poochie

Guess what everyone? Manly drew the names of the contest winners yesterday! I'm looking around my stash for extra prizes, but I have a feeling that I'll just throw in some skeins of my Woolly Boully yarn. So, I'll have to draw those winners tomorrow. I'll also post the drawing results here tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Well, Manly's leaving on a trip tomorrow, so today is spend-the-day-with-Manly-day and no yarn dyeing or yarn winding or yarn anything today. He's still sleeping right now, so I'm sneaking this post in. By the by, this is my restriction--you know I love you if I'm putting the fiber away for you.

See the little skein of yarn above? It's name is Little Poochie. At first, I didn't want to name it, thinking that I would become too attached to it. (Animals have a way of staying around once they're named.) There were only six in the liter, and they went very quickly. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find them homes. Because they were so popular, I'm working on a secret Poochie project.

p.s. Thank you all so much for your kind and sympathetic words about my migraine. I'm feeling much better now.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Edith Piaf Knit

Edith Piaf knit. This is a photograph of her knitting in her hospital bed after having stomach surgery. If you haven't seen La Vie en Rose, go out and see it. But don't see it, say, in the early hours of a beautiful day. You will cry. (I cried when I saw the preview even.) You'll well up throughout the movie, and at the end, the very end, you won't be able to drag yourself from the dark of the theatre.

I won't spoil all the knitting episodes in the film. I will leave those delights for you to find.

I spent most of Thursday in bed. In her book, The White Album, Joan Didion has a fabulous essay called "In Bed." I was in bed for the reason Didion gave in her essay. I had what the doctors call a migraine. I refuse to believe they are migraines. Doctors will not listen to me when I try to them them that the headaches are related to my cycle. They just want to give me a prescription; I don't take my migraine medicine--it makes me feel as if an enormous pressure is being exerted on my brain and I immediately become nauseated. The medicine doesn't make the headache go away anyhow--it stays, beating dull, hibernating behind my eye.

I usually get headaches on my right side. They usually aren't too bad; I can go about my day, uncomfortable, but functional, usually squinting and distracted and feeling as if I'm underwater. This time, the headache started on my left side. I kept seeing what looked like fluttering bat's wings in the corner of left eye. Then the left side of my face went numb. So I made myself take my medicine and lie in the dark of my bedroom.

I wish I could have knit.

I cried because I was so upset that I couldn't get anything done. Didion, in her essay, says that no one will understand why you don't just take an aspirin, why you just don't shake it off. They have no idea. Believe me, I would always rather be knitting if I could.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunflowers, Texas, fields of


I got sunflowers for my birthday; Manly bought them for me.

Sunflowers 3

The sunflowers signaled the final push. For months, I had been planning a sunflower colorway.

Why sunflowers? I'm not sure. In Texas, fields and fields of them overtake the landscape. The Texas sunflowers are really a type of wildflower. Farmers would call them weeds. They've always struck me as beautiful, in perfect opposition to cotton fields and corn.

Here is a patch of Texas sunflowers, on a hill at my parents' house. It was so hot and humid when I snapped this shot--you can see how the humidity seeped into the camera.

Texas Sunflowers

I've never been drawn to sunflowers as a favorite flower, preferring instead the highly fragrant, the small buds of blooming things: lilac, lily of the valley, jasmine.

But there is something about what the sunflower invokes in me emotionally. It must be the yellow, the yellow pulling at my childself, the brown of my eyes, the green of promise and youth and pastures.

In Utah a few summers ago, while fishing, I happened upon a hillside covered with yellow flowers. I thought that perhaps they were Utah's version of wild sunflowers.

Utah Sky with Sunflowers

A few minutes after I snapped this photograph, it began to rain. The lake's waves rose and the rain pelted it fiercely. All the while, black clouds continued to swell and boom and invade the valley. I had a tremendous, dreadful sense of deja vu.

Sunflowers 2

Whatever my pull or attraction, here is my new colorway, Sunflowers, Texas, fields of. The yarn base is a 50% superwash merino and 50% tencel. This skein contains 400 yards and each section of yellow has been handpainted with a speck of brown to mirror the brown center of the sunflower.

I hadn't knit with merino/tencel previously, but started a sock a few nights ago. I love it. It's soft and shimmery and a treat to feel and look it. The tencel works like nylon--it adds strength to the softness of the merino. What is tencel? It's a natural fiber, found in cellulose (think wood pulp) that has been extracted through a manmade process. The result is a strong yet silky fiber.


Three skeins will be available in my etsy shop. I'll only be listing one at a time, but let me know if you want more than one and I'll be happy to relist.

Blanket drive contest update: I'll be drawing the names of the winners next week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I had a birthday

On Saturday, I had one hell of a treat. Manly's sister got us tickets to the Yankee's game, but not just any tickets. We had a Luxury Suite. Manly's whole family came out for the day. We had a private air-conditioned indoor room with a fridge full of cold beer and a buffet of hotdogsfriedfingerfood goodness. And, the best part--we had our own bathroom!

My, my. But, how sweet! Manly's sister got me a birthday cake!

It also happened to be Old-Timer's day at the stadium, so we were in for that extra treat. I got to see Yogi Berra, finally. I have a joke that goes like this: whatever the Yankee's trivia question may be, the answer is always Yogi Berra.

I've been obsessed with spinning lately. I spun this, into this:

This skein measures 185 yards and is BFL. I finally figured out how to draft within the "drafting triangle." If you don't spin, the drafting triangle is the area between your spinning hand and your fiber hand, or something like that. Before, I would draft all my fiber into little skinny pieces, but now, I can predraft and then draft as I spin, which is delightful, dreamy, meditative, calming. I love it. Half of this was spun with my old method, and the other half with my "ah-ha I figured it out" method.

I just want to spin all day now. I'm spinning this now. I'd like to try dyeing my own rovings, but for now, I think I need to see how different colors and color combinations and amounts of color spin up.

In other news, this arrived in my mail last week. You may order it here or here or here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I've been knitting

Thank you so much to all of you who commented on your favorite colorways and which colorways might make a good DK weight yarn. It was surprising for me to see which colorways were a hit. The popular ones seem to be Moonflowers, Wisteria, Kelp Seahorse, Fishing With My Father, and Red Robin: Bird, Nest, & Eggs. Thank you so much, everyone. I really appreciate your thoughts.

I used an on-line random number generator, and lucky number 13 was the integer that came up. TigerLily was the 13th person to comment, so the prize goes to her. Congrats, TigerLily!

I've been knitting.

I have three pairs of socks that I haven't shown you all yet. The socks above (pictures were taken with my old camera) were made for my mother, over 60 stitches on size one dpns, using my Autumn's Tremblings yarn. My mother told me that she prefers anklets. Well, why didn't you say so earlier? Anklets? Geez. I'll knit you a whole basket of anklets, mom.

And guess what other bit of knitter's fortune befell me while I was in Texas: my little sister told me that she too prefers anklets.

These anklets, for my little sister, were made with size one dpns over 60 stitches with Opal Tiger. Her school colors are orange and black; their mascot is the panther; I thought, close enough. She's in marching band; they made it to the state competition last year; I don't know why I'm thinking of these anklets as good-luck charms. Somehow, while knitting them, I thought, if she has these, they'll go to state again.

It's very easy for me to see now why "witches" in old stories were also spinners and/or knitters.

And, I did, indeed, make some socks for me. These lovelies were made with size one dpns over 60 stitches using Trekking XXL 126. My mother saw the yarn and LOVED it, so she's getting a pair of Trekking 126 anklets very soon.

Michelle of All Things Crafted sent us six lovely squares. Four were crocheted by her Aunt Sieka (let me know, Michelle, if I spelled her name wrong) and two were knit by Michelle. These squares are for Elwin, a survivor, and in memory of Roger Jimmo. Thank you so much, Michelle!

I'll do a special blanket-drive blog post within the next two weeks, and in that post I'll announce all the winners of the special prizes. Thank you all so much for making this happen.

In the meantime, I have a lot of yarn to dye.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Real Meanie

You might have noticed that in my earlier post, I said that my Meanie Sock was 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon; previously, however, my yarn was tagged as 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon. The mistake was caused by my taking this information from a sample I had of the yarn and not clarifying the yarn content with my distributor. I only discovered this discrepancy when I tried to reorder the yarn last week. I sincerely apologize for this oversight.

I've heard great reviews from many of you about my nylon/merino yarn base--many of you have touted it as the softest sock yarn ever, something I also strongly agree with. If you are, however, unhappy with this news, please contact me at emeraldatlas [at] yahoo [dot] com, and I will be happy to work something out with you.

My distributor is working on getting a 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon yarn either late summer or early fall. I plan on sampling this yarn, and I'll let you all know which nylon base I like better. For now, I can say that I love my original yarn base; I love dyeing it, knitting with it, and wearing it.

In other news, I dyed up two prototypes of Woolly Boully BIG Boully in the Wisteria colorway. (Many thanks to all of you who made color suggestions--I'll be announcing the winner after the contest's close.) Because they are prototypes, I'll be selling them at a discount in my etsy shop. They'll be listed sometime today.

My new camera came in last week, but I must be doing something terribly wrong. My yarn isn't photographing well. Am I doing something wrong? The camera is a Canon PowerShot. Any suggestions would be welcomed. It seems as if the colors of my yarn only show up truly in the underwater mode. This seems strange to me.

Oh, and the picture above of the leaf is to show you what happens when a normal houseplant, in this case an ivy, is planted into the ground and allowed to grow as it will in a greenhouse.

Again, I feel really badly about mistaking my yarn base as an 80/20 and not as a 75/25. My sincerest apologies and gratitude go out to all of you who have been so supportive of me. I have certainly learned a lot about running a dyeing business. Dyeing yarn has been so fulfilling for me, and I've never been so happy. It's really wonderful to be able to work on something that I love so much.