Saturday, April 24, 2010

No post this week

Due to being out of town last week and then getting caught up with work, I just haven't been able to get a post together.

But if you check out my usual blog, I posted about my trip last weekend and the Sedalia Celtic Festival where we were today.

See you next week!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Week in Knit 5: Unique Sheep - Painty!

This week I am featuring one of my favorite dyers. Painty is one of the two members of the Unique Sheep

She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. I'm also showing off some of their beautiful yarns and projects I've knit with them.

Q: I absolutely loved the Lord of the (St)rings yarn club. You come up with some very unique club ideas, from the Seven Deadly Sins to the 7 wonders of the world. Where does your inspiration come from?

A: Our inspiration comes from all over the place. Because we love what we do, we are always talking about it to friends, family, pretty much anyone who will listen. And often these conversations lead to inspiration. Coming up with ideas is fun and easy- narrowing them down to just a few with the most potential and then doing the legwork to make them happen is more challenging!

Q: You and your business partner are in different cities. How do you keep up with customer orders and shipping etc?

A: Kelly and I (Laura) live about an hour or so apart and only see each other about once a month. We have “business meetings” over the phone and do most of our communication through email. This allows us to work from our homes and on our own schedules which we both love. Kelly and I each have our own colors so when an order comes in for one of Kelly’s colors she dyes it and ships it directly to the customer. Sometimes a customer will order one of Kelly’s colors and one of mine, in those cases the customer ends up getting two different packages of yarn since we each ship our parts of the order separately. It is a little bit more expensive for us to ship this way but doesn’t affect the cost for the customer since we offer flat rate shipping and most orders ship for free since we offer free shipping on domestic orders over $40.

Q: What made you decide to broadcast your dying sessions on Ustream?

A: I have been a long time watcher of the Lamb-Cam ( and thought it might be fun to do something similar but with dyeing. The idea started floating around in my mind months ago and when I discovered U-stream I decided to give it a try. I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet- I am still getting use to using the microphone/headset and sometimes put the microphone too close to my mouth resulting in “dragon breath” (thanks to my mom for that description) and I could use a better quality camera, but it’s a fun way to interact more with customers. It’s great for me since I spend most of the day in the studio by myself and customers seem to enjoy being able to see the “birth” of their yarn!

Q: Some of your gradience dying techniques are very unique. Were you afraid someone else could steal them after seeing them on the video? Will you stream more dyeing sessions? they were so fun to watch!

A: Kelly and I used to worry that another dyer would try to imitate our Gradiance dyeing technique. We have come to realize that there isn’t much of a risk of it happening because Gradiance dyeing is SO much more time consuming than regular dyeing. It easily takes four to six times as long to dye the same amount of yarn but obviously we can’t charge even double or normal prices—no one would be able to afford it! Even if another dyer experimented with Gradiance dyeing, I don’t think that they would adopt it to the degree that we have. It would be much easier for them to just come up with their own unique technique!

Q: Some people consider gadgets to all be electronic, but not always! Tell us about your waterproof paper.

A: I keep a notebook filled with all my colorway recipes. I used to just use a regular notebook until the day that I knocked over a bottle of dye and ruined the entire thing. That’s when I discovered the Rite in the Rain line of notebooks/papers. Designed for outdoors people they look and feel almost just like regular paper but as long as you use waterproof ink they don’t blur, smear or fall apart when you dump a cup full of dye on them!

Q: I went to the oldest blog post I could find to see where the Unique Sheep had its beginnings and saw it was previously the Handpainted Sheep. When did you start dyeing yarn?

A: I started dyeing yarn for myself and friends when I was in college in about 2005. As graduation neared I realized it was time to decide on a career and my degree in Anthropology & Gender Studies wasn’t terribly practical! I had this crazy idea to start a hand dyed yarn company and originally called it the Handpainted Sheep. I soon discovered that another dyer was using that name, so I switched to The Unique Sheep. At the same time as I made the name change, Kelly joined me as a business partner so it seemed very fitting that The Unique Sheep officially began with both of us on board!

Thank you again Painty for the interview!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Week in Knit 4: More iPhone/touch/pad Apps!

With the iPad's release earlier this week, I thought it might be a good time to review some more knitting related applications available on the ITunes store.

This week I will focus on several free apps.

First off, is "Needles" I like the icon! It's the one with the skull and needles :)

It's basically a way to catalog all your needles. You can enter circulars, straights, and DPN's. Then choose the material, size, and length. I can see how this would be handy if you're out at a yarn shop, and you want to buy all your materials for a project, you can see if you already have suitable needles.

There's also a store locator, but all that really does is open a google map and search for "knitting"

The map doesn't seem to be very accurate ;)

The next one I'll mention is "Row Counter"

It looks pretty neat, just like a real row counter sitting on your needle. To "turn it" you click the little button that red arrow is pointing to. Unfortunately.. I haven't figured out how to make it reset to zero. Also, if you look back at the iPhone screen you can see it shows the number of rows there... which I find annoying.

I like Knit Counter Lite better

It doesn't look quite as neat, but you can hold down the frog button to turn the counter backwards if you need to. Also, I think the paid version lets you have multiple counters.

The Info tab lets you input information about the project
So that part is kind of like the information you would put on your project info page on Ravelry.

Finally, I have Knit Minder lite

This is also similar to the project, stash, and que functions of Ravelry.

I think that aside from the row counters, these applications would be better for people with the iTouch vs. the iPhone. With my phone I can make a shortcut to Ravelry and just get access to my needle, yarn, and project information there on the go.

Please let me know if you have anything you would like me to cover, or would like to be featured in an upcoming issue of TWIK.

Also, I want to give a "shout out" to Knit one Smock Two, a wonderful LYS in Winston Salem North Carolina!! My mom and I were there last week and they were very helpful and nice. I recommend stopping in if you like knitting or sewing, as they have everything you'd need for both.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The week in knit 3. BAGS!

I love bags. Bags bags bags! All kinds of bags!
So, when my friend Jennifer signed up as a My Thirtyone consultant I knew I was in trouble ;)

Since this month's customer special is to get free shipping to your own house, I figured it was the perfect time to share some of their awesome bags with all my online friends!

First up:
I have a sweater-in-progress and all the yarn needed in this bag.
It has a side pocket perfect for the pattern and any other tools you need.
The All-in-one Organizer sells for $19.50 and comes in 6 different patterns.

In this pretty totebag, I've got a huge blanket project. There's also an inside zippered pocket and a cell phone pocket.

The bag has drawstrings with cinchers on each side!
The Boardwalk Bag sells for $39.50, and comes in 3 different patterns.

The Mini Zipper pouch makes a great little notions bag, is only $10 and comes in 8 different colors/patterns so you can coordinate!

This is one of my favorites. I used it last weekend. The Fold and Go organizer is just $20. As you can see, it has 3 panels. One has a big roomy pouch, one has 2 elastic securing bands, and one is a big pocket. I've got yarn in the pouch, my pattern in the middle, and my entire set of DPN's and a ruler in the pocket.

It ties up all pretty with a bow, and can easily fit in my purse!

Speaking of purses... I LOVE MY PURSE.

As you can see, it's quite roomy (that's the hard case wallet inside) and has a inside zippered pocket and cell phone pocket too. But the best part, is the versatility.

Pretty bright springy pink purse!
But sometimes, maybe I want something a little more subdued?

I undo the snaps along the top, and the pink part (skirt) comes off!

I can switch to a different look without taking everything out of the purse. The Skirt Purse sells for $42 either black or brown, and comes with one skirt. Each additional skirt is $15 and there's 9 of them!

On top of the beautiful patterns everything comes in, most items can be embroidered with your name, initials or whatever you want so you can personalize things to be just for you!

So, please check out Jennifer's website, and if you see anything you like you can place an order. I'm Jessi the first online party on her list :)

Shipping is free for orders over $50.