norichan knits!


Butterfly Wings

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What's this??  Two posts in a row? Who is this behind the keyboard?!  ;op  Well, I just couldn't talk about one pattern release, and then ignore the other, could I?  And, as always, here's hoping that I try to keep this blog more up to date because then I could write about more than just pattern releases.  

Without further ado, here is Butterfly Wings!  This fun shawl uses two colors of a heavy fingering weight yarn (pictured here it's knit up with Seattle Sky Dyeworks Mismated), and despite it's lots of fun texture, is 90% knits and purls.  There are also small amounts of increases, a few picked up sts, and one new technique to help create that fun bi-colored texture!  The technique is actually pretty darn easy, and allows you to create this look while only knitting with one color at a time!  

Mmmm... squoooshy texture!  (the quality of photo is not as good, as I was taking this one indoors... but it helps to see the texture up close!)

The fun shape actually offers versatility in wearing the shawl, in addition to lending itself to actually curving over your shoulders and staying (like a good shawl!).  I love wearing shawls slightly askew, and the nice this about this one is that when you do that, it almost looks like a large triangular shawl.  However, if you wore it straight across, you'd get something that almost resembles a poncho instead!  

Currently, Butterfly Wings is an exclusive pattern for The Nifty Knitter.  They will be selling kits on their website, shortly.  If you would like to be on a waitlist for it, contact them directly!  I know he's trying to get them in ASAP.  :oD  

I'll be posting Butterfly Wings as a indivudual, paid Ravelry pattern download on 8/22/2017.  Stay tuned, as there may be some fun surprises to be found then.  ;o)

Rosencrantz (and Guildenstern)!

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I have been busy busy this past month, working on the finishing touches of not just one, but two secret patterns (will post a second blog post about the other not so secret anymore project shortly)!  :oD  This past "weekend" (May 17-21) marks the 12th annual LYS Tour of the North Puget Sound!  The theme of this year's event was "Stitch Two Together" and I had a lot of fun working on the pattern for The Fiber Gallery!  

Meet Rosencrantz!  Boat neck, fast knit, split hem... and all of it could be knit up within just a few days, easily!  The only techniques needed are:  knits, purls, picking up sts, and seaming.  Yes, seamed.  You could easily switch this to knitted in the round, if desired, but the seaming does allow you to play around with the depth of the underarm and neckline a lot more, in addition, the seamed sides means you can line up your stripes much easier (no jog on one side!).

Some actual details:  Rosencrantz uses three different colors of a sport weight yarn.  The suggested yarn is United (55% Wool, 45% Cotton; 251 yards / 50 grams).  I love this super fun gradient effect here, and, just like many of my other knits, this top is more complicated appearing than it actually is knit.  :oD  This top is definitely first garment worthy, for anyone feeling intimidated with knitting a top.  

Pictured here, Rosencrantz is worn with roughly 2" of negative ease across the full bust (meaning, the shirt is a smaller circumference around than my bust is by about 2").  I am recommending choosing a size of Rosencrantz that is somewhere between negative 2" (like how I'm wearing it) and positive 2" (where the shirt is a larger circumference at the bust than your fullest part of the bust).  If you are interested in seeing what that would look like, take a look at the following picture!

Cory is wearing her Guildenstern with 2" of positive ease.  You can see how that also changes how the sleeveless appearance, and creates a bit of a cap sleeve.  If you decide to knit up a Rosencrantz with positive ease, you will also get those cute cap sleeves as well!  (or check out my awesome friend's Rosencrantz done with 2" of positive ease, and a cool beachy ombre effect!!)

Cory and I had *so much fun* designing these sweet tees; our own variations on the same theme.  We were very pleased that the year we decided to do a collaboration the theme was "Stitch Two Together".  It was very appropriate and fitting (as are the names: great friends and great goofs those Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are!)... so much so that we may have hammed it up a bit for the photo shoot!  Here are some of my favorite outtakes below! 

I like to call this one "What's that?!"

I like to call this one "What's that?!"

"Quit monkeying around"

"Quit monkeying around"

"Deep contemplations"

"Deep contemplations"

"We could be rock stars"

"We could be rock stars"

"And that's all folks!" ;op

"And that's all folks!" ;op

Please leave a comment with your favorite caption below!  ;oD

Hair Update

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I'm not sure how many of you saw my last post about the Evolution of My Hair, but feel free to click the link and catch up before swinging back here to see the updates.  ;o)  I am still dyeing my hair all sorts of colors, and have not gotten tired of all the fun combinations there are!  To not do too much overlap, I'll start off with the color I was when I moved to Seattle.  

Remember this color?  I loved it, and it was coincidentally, the perfect color to move to Seattle with!  I didn't realize that Seattle is considered "The Emerald City," so it was very serendipitous. While fun, I think I felt that it was a bit dark for the large amount of gray that I was encountering, and so I went back to blonde to brighten things up again!  :oD  

I was super happy with the blonde, but kept wondering if I could pull off the gray hair trend I was seeing everywhere.  At first I thought it was a silly thing, I'm going to go gray anyways... why do I want to go gray now?  But the more and more I saw, the more I wanted it!  

My stylist went heavy with the lavender and gray dye so that it would last longer and fade nicely.  I think this color faded the nicest out of all the colors I've ever gone before.

Despite roots, I love the contrast between the gray and roots!  Normally, I hate seeing the roots coming in, and here, I let it go maybe even a smidge longer than I should have.  But, once again, it was time for a change.  With my hair this light, I wanted pastels.  So many pastels.  

THIS many pastels!!  Definitely one of my more fun colors, I was amazed by my hair every time I looked in the mirror!  So.In.Love.  I came close to asking for the exact same thing, when it was time to update my hair, but instead I went with an old favorite.  

Did you guess it?  PINK!  Not quite as bright as the last few times, but definitely just as fun.  :o)  Once again, I forgot the troubles with going my favorite color means that I can't wear a good portion of my wardrobe or my lip colors, also!  So, I decided to go towards contrast colors again.  

 A tealy-blue (that's actually a bit lighter than this picture seems to indicate, but pretty close)!  I'm seriously digging this color right now.  I love how many different pieces of clothing this opens back up for me, not to mention lip colors.  :o)  I think this is the perfect color for the summery season.  

I'm giving it a two thumbs up rating!  ;o)  Also, I want to buy every color of these silly miniature poang chairs from IKEA and just sit in them all the time.  I can feel extra tall then!  I'm so excited for these hair colors.  One of these days I'll have to just do it picture only form from beginning to end.  How fun would that be??  :oD

PDX Yarn Train!!

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Wow, has it really managed to be 3 weeks since the last update.  >.<  It's been a whirlwind of activity over here.  Some of which I'll finally be able to talk about soon.  But first off, I'd like to talk about one of the fun weekends I had earlier this month, when my mom visited.  :o)

There we are!  My mom is wearing one of the numerous Swirl sweaters she's made.  We are aboard Amtrak about to ride from Seattle to Portland for a yarn crawl!  This crawl is pretty big, there were 95 official registered people making the crawl!  I met some very fun people riding that train down, despite some drowsiness from having to get up before 6am to catch the train.  ;o)

We had joined a small group of people who have gone on this crawl before, and they had a gameplan going.  We started off at Twisted, where I always seem to end up drooling over the Quince and Co (especially since Seattle's nearest retailer seems to be Tolt, which isn't super close to me...) and also the Republic of Wool (pic below).  

After that we stopped for lunch, then headed over to Happy Knits.  Lunch was super yummy, and I felt that maybe I should have been a bit more adventurous with my meal, as everyone else's looked more exciting than my own.  However, it was still delish, so I shouldn't really complain.  

At Happy Knits, I was excited to see the two current issues of magazines that I have patterns in sitting out on display!  :oD  I did end up buying some things here, but that'll be in the wrap up photo at the end. 

Our next stop was Pearl Fiber Arts, which is a store near and dear to me.  For the crawl, Cindy had three trunk shows going!  She had Stacey of Thoroughly Thwacked (of whom I worked with for Paulette), Grace of Graces Cases (I love her bags and cases!  So cute, and very well made.), and Tim from Blind Coffee Roasters (yes, coffeeee!).  I actually used to go to a knit night with Cindy and Grace back when I lived out in the PDX area, and Stacey joined the group towards when I was leaving, so it was really great to see them all again!

It had been a pretty busy day, so we closed it down by getting some grub at Roxy's in downtown PDX.  

We did stay the night, so the next day we managed to stop in to Dublin Bay, where I managed to forget to take any pics... and then ran back to Twisted for a second purchase that we didn't want to miss out on, in the end.  All in all, it was pretty fun, then we headed back.  

Soooo, here are the total purchases!  Starting at the top:  some Madelinetosh that was on clearance at Happy Knits, Jamieson Spindrift in a bright pink that I plan on matching with a neutral at work, 4 Gumballs by Knitted Wit, Manos Alegria in this gorgeous neon variegate, Graces Cases bag, StitchJones Titanium Sock in Peacocky, Republic of Wool, Thoroughly Thwacked True, Black Trillium, Tell Tale Yarns Tidal Twinkle (DK sparkle yarn, what??), and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silky Victoria (enough to make a sweater, yay!).  Whew, it seems like even more yarn when it's laid out and broken down like that!  

This was a fun way to start my mom's visit.  Next round, I'll talk about the second mini yarn crawl we took, unofficially, the next day.  ;o)  

Yarning around in Austin

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First off, teaching at Gauge was so much fun!  My students were lovely, and some friends dropped in to say "hello," which was so wonderful.  It was also neat to see what new yarns they had picked up.  ;op I picked up a few things while here.  

Gauge has a lovely selection of not only workhorse yarns (Berroco, Malabrigo, etc), but also some unique brands.  They are the exclusive store for an Austin local indie dyer called Little Green Finch who only does one of a kind skeins, and they're all so lovely!  In addition, I'd been hearing more and more about this company called Ito, and it appears that Gauge decided to pick them up!  It was my first time checking it out in person, and that was a lot of fun.  :o)  My haul from Gauge (left to right):  gradient dye cake done in various shades of pink on a sparkly base by Little Green Finch, a BFL/silk braid by NerdGirl in neon pink and green (couldn't resist!), and a sparkly white and gold yarn by Ito (planning on using it to ply with some handspun).  

While here, I did manage to stop into all three of the main LYS around here.  Gauge was my main LYS while I lived here, as it was the closest one to me.  However, since I've moved, another store called Me & Ewe popped up about two blocks from where I used to live!  Gah!  I had to stop in to see what I was missing.  

Me & Ewe is adorable.  So far, they seem to stock a lot of unique items.  She stocks a local indie dyer called Bronotta, local organic cottons, and some other fun finds.  However, she also stocks a decent amount of fabrics!  I ended up coming home with a little bit of one because it was kinda perfect.  :op  I'd definitely say it was well worth the time to go in, and the owner is so friendly!

Last on the list is Hill Country Weavers.  Hill Country is a very hot spot for knitters out here.  It has a lot of really nice yarns and is set up inside of a house.  Each room has different things, and it's so much fun to explore.  I can't believe that I got out of there with just one thing, but I have to say, only one thing truly caught my eye.  I think you will be able to tell why:  

Neon pastel rainbow!  8 oz of wool/silk!  The only unfortunate thing is that I don't know what kind of wool, as it just says "wool" on the label.  But, honestly, I couldn't pass up that colorway.  Such amazingness cannot be turned down.  

I also managed to get in a lot of good food (that I consistently forgot to take pictures of, for the most part... oops), and saw a bunch of my old friends.  The only sad thing is that I was hoping for some warm weather, and it looks like a cold front arrived right when I got in, and is heading out when I leave.  In the meantime, it got a bit warmer in Seattle, and is cooling back off when I get back in.  Of course.  ;o)  Ah well.  Can't win them all.  

Mindless Knitting

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As I finish up some designs of my own, the need to do some "mindless" knitting increases.  I think it's because the last part of designing involves math, formatting, and waiting to hear back from testers and tech editors.  The joy of working on projects where the math has already been worked out for me and I can just go with the flow is definitely appreciated at these moments.  While designing has its own joys, it is a job, and sometimes I just need a break.  :o)

The first project here is Stippers by Ashley Knowlton.  It's a bulky weight slipper pattern made with a fun construction.  They're super fast, and I think I'll be done with a pair of these guys by the end of the week, even just knitting idly on them.  They're perfect for recharging and feeling super accomplished!  And the StitchJones yarn is making me super happy!  So bright and fun.  This particular colorway is actually from one of her 2012 Yarnageddon shipments, so I don't believe it is a repeatable colorway.  I'd been holding onto it for something perfect, and I think these are definitely the thing!  

This second WIP is something that has been on hold since August 2014.  I said that I was going to get a move on with my UFOs, and this guy is the first of many.  :o)  Sadly, the pattern is not available.  It has an unusual construction, in that it begins with a provisional CO at the ankle, then you knit the foot, kitchener the toe, then undo the CO, and work the leg upwards.  I am not sure how I feel about it, but I am now done with one of the socks, and have CO for the second!  Can't wait till I can call this UFO, now WIP, a FO!!  

2015 in Patterns

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This year was a big one for me.  This was the year I really decided to buckle down and get serious about designing patterns.  So, despite working full time and then later two part time jobs, I still found the time to design on the side.  Sometimes I was definitely overwhelmed with deadlines, responsibilities, and whatnot, but I can honestly say that I can't see it any other way now.  I love designing, and plan on continuing.  :o)

My last pattern had been Consummate V's, which is a free pattern I put out for my birthday in October 2013.  My New Year's resolution of 2014 was that I was going to put out at least 1 pattern a season (4 patterns total) over the course of 2014.  I figured it was a very minimal goal, with lots of room for growth.  When it hit around October 2014, and I hadn't put out a single pattern, I really sat down to think.  That's when I decided that I would get serious and have the same goal of at least 4 patterns, but hoping more for about 6 patterns to come out in 2015.  

While January came and went, February started me off with a bang!  That Fall when I was pondering how I'd let so much time slip by, I stumbled upon an all call from Quince and Co for their Scarves, Etc collection.  I was SO SURPRISED when they loved my Aviary pattern.  It was such an honor to be able to design with their yarns as my first pattern of 2015.  :oD

My next pattern was Rivoletto Mitts in March.  The idea for them came from years previous, when I had entered and won a mitts design contest with A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I never managed to write up that exact pattern, but I made a few minor changes to the basic pattern idea, and came up with Rivoletto.  I am actually even more pleased with Rivoletto than I was with the original mitts.  I suppose it was good to wait those additional years of experience!

In April came Candide, my simple hat pattern that maybe seems a bit more complex than it really is.  Knit out of one of my favorite yarns, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and Cascade Heritage, Candide was a lot of fun to work up.  What was more rewarding was when one of my testers told me that her teenage daughter had commandeered her hat and requested more.  I think that is one of the best compliments I'd ever gotten!  

A surprise pattern came out in June with my Gehry Wrap, a pattern I did for Unique Sheep's yarn club.  While the 100% lace weight silk creates a gorgeous drape and a very elegant shawl, I can also see it in other fibers as well.  The rights have been given back to me, and now Gehry Shawl is now available for download in my pattern store on Ravelry.  :o)

In July came a pattern that is near and dear to my heart.  Paulette came out as a collaboration with Thoroughly Thwacked.  Her Vixen yarn was a dream to work with, and the final shawl came out even better than my initial sketches.  :oD  It was a fun experiment to work hand in hand with an indie dyer, and I can say for certain that there will be more designs with Thoroughly Thwacked yarns, as well as other indie dyers in the future!

Viola and Cesario came out in September as a set of hats that will become a part of my Twelfth Knits collection.  Over the next year I will be adding more patterns to the Twelfth Knits collection, I hope you enjoy seeing it grow.  As I tend to sometimes be a bit corny, I will say that I'm planning on having these pieces be mostly cabled work as I feel the cables symbolize the twisted roads that some of the characters' paths took them.  Yikes, maybe that was too corny, even for me!  ;o)  

My favorite month is October for many reasons:  birthday month, typically some of the best weather during the year, and this year was even more exciting with the publication of Around the Block Legwarmers in the darling collection Charmed:  Whimsical Knitted Accessories.  After seeing the full collection, I couldn't believe that I was included in this collection!  So many cute patterns in the booklet, and I still am waiting for some free time to knit up a few of them.  :o)

I talked with DragynKnyts about using some of her yarns to design with, as I have been loving her semi-solids.  Her variegates are also lovely, but there's something very special with the way her semi-solids come out.  I proposed the idea of Cunegonde, and she jumped on board with it.  This cowl is interesting because it comes in two sizes, and done in either PendragynDK or Wyvern worsted.  Due to the double sized skeins, even the longer cowl lengths can be done with a single skein.  This cowl is the second piece to my Candide Collection that, similar to the characters of Candide, will be comprised of patterns that look more complex than they truly are.

This month has been crazy busy with gift knitting and trying to get a ton of designs all together ready for testing.  Despite that, I couldn't get Hipstamatic out of my head.  I absolutely had to get this free pattern together and so I put everything on hold in order to get the samples together and the pattern written up.  In the end, I couldn't stop knitting them, and I have knit up four so far, and every time I see more chunky/bulky weight yarn I just want to knit up another.  My next one is definitely going to have a pompom!  :oD

My goal was 4-6 patterns, and I managed to get seven self published patterns and three more publications with Quince & Co, Unique Sheep, and Knit Picks!  I have some more big plans for 2016, and I will give a little hint:  2016 is going to be the year that I start dabbling into garments.  ;o)  Stay tuned for some test knits to happen soon...

Pastel Galaxy Hair!

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So, first off, I'll apologize for the selfie only post.  But it was the only way of tracking this journey on my own.  :op  I wasn't certain until the night before, but I decided that I was going to jump on the galaxy hair trend, but wasn't loving the darker colors.  I wanted something brighter and cheerier!  I wondered how I would look and how the hair would look with pastel colors.

 Anyways, let's start with the before: 

This is what my periwinkle-grey hair faded to.  People were still complimenting me on it, but I was tired of the roots and the color was definitely getting old looking.  Not to mention the ends needing some refreshment, as well.  

Oh, but hey!  There's my Handspun Hipstamatic that I cranked out over this past weekend.  :o)  The modifications for the bulkier yarn are on the project page.  

Here goes nothing!  Bleach bleach... I had already told my stylist what I wanted, and she came up with a couple pictures that I thought would be amazing, if it turned out right.  :o)

All worries were appeased once I saw the dye on the hair.  I was soooo psyched already!  It looks amazing, even here.  :oD  

Post rinsing, cut, and dry.  LOVE IT!  I am not positive, but this might be my favorite hair color I've ever done!  Hard to say, but for the time being, I'm sticking with it.  If you missed it, here are some of the other colors I've ever been.  I'll have to do an update on this post one of these days to add in the periwinkle-grey and this one, as well.  :o)  

Styling Brights

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A while back, I posted a mini-interview with StitchJones and the amazing Neon Collaboration that Cory from Indie.Knits, Ariel of Stariel Knits, and I are doing.  All three of us were kids in the 90s, when neon was seen everywhere.  Anyone who was a kid in the 90s remembers Lisa Frank and all the bright dayglo clothing, accessories, and toys.  Well, neon has come back, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  :oD  

However, how does one wear neon without going overboard?  Is there an overboard?  From what we've discussed, we definitely have different ideas about this.  Here are a few of my thoughts.

Some people would probably say this outfit has too much brightness going on.  I think that this outfit works because the intensity of the two bright items differ, and the fact that they are contrasting colors allows this to work.  I actually love this combo so much, and bought these two items for the purpose of wearing together.  ;op

In this case, I felt that these bright red pants were so "in your face," that I decided I couldn't wear another bright on top, as well.  However, a statement top in neutral colors goes well, as it gives extra visual interest to go with the brights.  Another option, if you wanted to have less attention on the pants, would be to wear an oversized black, tan, or navy sweater.

This is the first outfit I'm showing that most people would likely feel more inclined to wear, if they were a bit more timid about wearing bright colors.  The outfit screamed 90s to me when I first saw these pieces in stores this year.  I couldn't not get them for nostalgia sake, and I love it.  However, the bright is toned down a ton with the jean skirt neutral, and the sweater (which is similar in color to the brighter tank, but definitely darker hued).  

A last great option, especially if you wanted to go as bright as visually possible, is to throw it on as an accessory!  A fun accessory is small enough to not overpower anything, but definitely adds visual interest and so, so cheerful!  

BTW, that hat is going live on this blog tomorrow.  Check back in, as it will be a free pattern that knits up super quick, so if you needed a few last minute gifts, you're in luck.  I started on this final sample (this is actually my third attempt to get it just right...) on Monday, and I have three samples done, already!  This sample was done with less than one skein of Madelinetosh Home in the colorway Fluoro Rose.  Two skeins were able to make one slouchy version, one beanie style, and one color blocked beanie style hat.  

Check out what Cory has to say about wearing brights here, and Ariel's thoughts here.  

My Birthday Swag

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I went to Portland for my birthday last week.  :oD  It was a lot of food and fun.  Some of my favorite restaurants were hit up (Masu, Nicholas, Whole Bowl, Fat Straw...), I managed a fun evening at OMSI after dark, and I swung by two LYS!  

From left to right:  Shepherd's Wool Crazy DK, Cestari Traditional 2-ply in two natural colors, and two different colors by Republic of Wool!  I got the first three at Pearl Fiber Arts, and the Republic of Wool from Twisted.  Do I know what I'm doing with any of them?  Not really.  Am I super excited anyways??  YES!!  They're all amazing in their own ways.  I can't wait to try them out!  

In addition to snagging some yummy yarn, I also received a few lovely birthday gifts while in Portland.  :o)  The intriguing box at the top there is a wooden inlay puzzle box from Japan.  It was very difficult to figure out!  I was stumped for a short time there.  :op  

The dress and necklace I received from Marilyn.  She actually nabbed herself some matching stuffs, so one day we'll have to dress up as twins!  Though, her strawberry is white, so I guess we won't be perfect matches.  ;o)

Mini Interview with StitchJones: Fibery Goodness!

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Hi All!  I am so excited to be working on a collaboration in conjunction with Cory from Indie.Knits, Ariel from Stariel Knits, and Sharon who is the mastermind behind Stitchjones (taking color to eleven since 2008)!  

I have the honor of knowing Sharon for almost as long as she's been dyeing yarn.  It is always exciting to see what inspires her and what new colors she comes up with.  When Cory, Ariel, and I started talking about doing a neon inspired design challenge, I knew that Stitchjones was definitely the dyer for us.  When asked, not only was she thrilled to work with us, but she also gave us the honor of even helping to develop our own colors!  :oD  While I love all colors, pink and green are my true loves, and when it comes to neon, I think that green may just barely edge out pink (what a shock!!) just barely.  Blame highlighters, I suppose.  ;o)

my personalized color!

Each of us have come up with a themed mini interview with Sharon, and mine was anything to do with fiber.

N:  I know that different fibers take on dyes differently.  You were suggesting we use your Merino Sock or Mersey yarns because the 100% superwash merino takes on neon well.  Can you elaborate a bit about that?  What other lines do you have that you think would be good for the colors in our set?  

S:  I was concerned about being able to rise to the challenge and deliver a true neon, and have always loved the high impact of bright acid dyes on pure superwash merino.  But that's not to discount how well Titanium merino-nylon superwash base takes dye!  It showcases intense colors beautifully.  I would say I strongly suggested a pure merino because neon is all about "pop", and that was my first choice.  

N:  What is your favorite fiber (either actual fiber or yarn fiber content) to dye, and why?  

S:  After years of experimentation with many different fibers and blends, when it comes to dyeing fiber for spinning, I like to offer my customers Bluefaced Leicester and Rambouillet combed top - these breeds of wool take my colors as nicely as merino, they're soft, and I obtain them from local suppliers.  My favorite fiber content in dyeable yarn is far and away superwash merino-nylon blend.  Besides the reflection of deep color, it seems to be the easiest for me to produce predictable, repeatable results.  

picture borrowed from the internet of a Blue Faced Leicester sheep!

picture borrowed from the internet of a Blue Faced Leicester sheep!

N:  Do you have a favorite yarn from your lineup to knit with?  What types of items would you suggest knitting with this line, and what properties about the yarn/fiber content make it a good fit for the items?  

S:  My personal favorite is Pai Mei Sock for its softness and shine.  The bamboo gives it a luxurious softness and shine reminiscent of silk but less expensive.  Shawls and tops knit in this yarn will have a lovely drape, and its easy care also makes it an excellent choice for baby knits.  

picture borrowed from Stitchjones' Pai Mei shawl

N:  When you first launched Yarnageddon, I remember how excited you were to be able to offer luxury yarns at a more reasonable cost to your club members.  What have you learned through the club, now that it has been out for a few years now?  

S:  Great question!  I've learned so much since launching my yarn club, and have made quite a few adjustments as I discover what customers are looking for in an ideal yarn club package.  What it taught me as a dyer, is that while I love the true "luxury" fibers such as silk, cashmere, alpaca et cetera, they tend to mute my colors and make production dyeing with accuracy more challenging.  While I still strive to give my club members the best value and highest quality for their investment, the experience has taught me that I can create the most beauty as a dyer with the more workhorse type of fine yarns. 

An aside from me:  Stitchjones' Yarnageddon is truly an amazing yarn club, and her luxury fibers, as well as her standard fibers are fabulous.  :o)  

Thank you, Sharon, for your insightful answers.  :o)  I am in love with my neon green in Merino Sock, and can't wait to get started on my design!!  

Read about color inspiration on Cory's blog here!

Read about dyeing and being a part of the knitting community on Ariel's blog here!  

Erin.Lane Bag Swap!

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So, last month I signed up to join a swap for my favorite project bag maker:  Erin.Lane.  I like a lot of project bag indie makers, but I've found that I go back to my Erin.Lane ones over and over again.  They're sturdy, lined, easy to cinch, come in cute fabrics, yet aren't too fussy, and a good price point.  :o)  I figured I couldn't go wrong with joining a swap, and then I'd get to collect goodies for someone else, too!!  

My partner hit it on the nose here!!  I love all the things she collected.  :oD  First, of course there's the bright and cheery Erin.Lane bag!  Then, of course, the hot pink Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn... which feels amazing!  I've never used this yarn before, though I've wanted to... I'm dying to try it now!!  The Enchanted Forest postcards are soooo cute, I will definitely be busting out my coloring pencils and pens for those!  And, the suns!  OMG, polka dot heart suns are totally the most amazing!!  Squeeeee!!!  As for the rest:  green felted ball (that my cat has already claimed as hers and is currently chasing around the house), green highlighter tape, little scissors, st markers in a cute little mini jar, and a knerd decal!  Even her note on the card is super adorable.  I <3 every bit!  

I hope my partner likes her stuff as well as I liked mine.  I forgot to take a pic of it, so hopefully I can pull a picture from her when she gets it!  Mine went out in the mail today...  :o)

Lip Color

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I'm pretty sure we've all been able to see that I love color.  I've always loved color, bright color, pastel colors, and colors of all sorts.  I'm more drawn to pinks and reds (as you possibly saw by the first colors I wanted to put in my hair and the pic below), but greens, blues, purples all are great, also!  I'm a little less likely to go for yellows or oranges, but they have their time and place, as well.  I think that comes more from my skin coloration, and the ability of a lot of yellows (and yellowy oranges and greens) to make my skin look more jaundiced than attractive.  ;op  But even then, I do like some shades of each.  

When going to LYSs or fiber festivals, my friends will find the brightest pinks (especially pinks and greens together; similar to my Paulette, as seen below) and say "this is a Noriko yarn."  It's interesting because as far back as I can remember, I have loved wearing colors, painting my nails, etc.  However, it's only very recently (past few years) that I've grown to like lip color.  I have always been an avid chap stick (though, maybe not chapstick brand) user, and in college I loved to go make up shopping and get neutral lip glosses with friends.  One of my best friends will still send me lip gloss because she remembers how obsessed I was with it in undergrad.  

In the past, lipstick has been a thing I've avoided.  It was thick and drying... not to mention it reminded me of my aunts kissing me on the cheek and then having to rub the lipstick off.  Haha.  We've all had that experience, right?  It's not fun having someone lick their finger and then rub your cheek furiously to get the color off.  ;o)  In addition, when I was a bit younger, I also feared that I looked too clown-like with my larger lips painted red.   Nevertheless, the red lipstick "trend" or "classic look" is definitely a thing with Taylor Swift and other iconic ladies wearing various shades not just during red carpet events, but also out to lunch or coffee.  

I think cosmetic companies must've heard the complaints of those of us who wanted that look, but didn't want the feel, because I've found a number of nice feeling/smelling/textured/non-drying formulations that also come out very highly pigmented.  I haven't found a smudge-proof one, but I have found some that are fairly long lasting.  Not only that, but I've conquered my fear of thinking I look clown-ish.  Anyways, here is me not being scared of red lipstick:

These pics were quickly shot before heading out to a casual dinner.  I actually love the second pic because I still don't exactly know what I was doing.  Haha.  :op  Any hypothesis out there?  

Oh, and also, my hair is fading out to a silver slowly, but surely!  Loving it!!  :oD

Rainbow Crosswalks: Capitol Hill

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This year, a bunch of crosswalks in Capitol Hill got a special paint treatment, coinciding with the Pride Parade!  I had to go take a peek, so last weekend I stopped by.  They are amazing! 

I love it!  I wish all crosswalks were like this!  So much fun.  :o)

Evolution of My Hair

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For those of you who only know me from reading... you may not know that I love having someone turn my jet black hair into fun and exciting other colors.  I know I'm already hearing objections to this because jet black hair is gorgeous, and bleaching your hair is so bad for it... but my stylist makes sure that my hair stays healthy, and I have had jet black hair all my life.  It's been fun to break away from that, even for a little bit.  :o)  Anyways, here's a rundown:

This picture is from high school.  All of the other pictures are from the past two-ish years, but this one is for reference.  Super long, black hair.  The waves are because I braided them while wet, and then took them out.  I actually have extremely straight hair.

So, a little bit of explanation.  From high school to now, I have donated my hair three times.  This final time, I said, you know what?  I really want to have some fun hair that I can't do when I'm trying to donate my hair (they don't accept chemically treated hair).  So, I went blonde!  Even though it's a bit more brassy than I was hoping for, my stylist, Meesh, did a FANTASTIC job!  I loved it from the get-go!  (Aug 2013)

We ended up going lighter and lighter each visit, and I maintained it by using a purple shampoo that helps keep the blonde color about once a week.  I actually quite liked it this way.  This was kinda what I was hoping for when I went in the first time.  But it's hard to lighten that much without damaging the hair all at once.  

I ended up loving the blonde, but wanted to shake it up some.  I went with some pastel pink tips that made me so happy.  I'd always loved the pastel colors in hair, but could never get them because my hair was so dark.  (Nov 2013)

I wasn't quite ready yet for changing up the color... so I went with a fun and short asymmetric cut!  :o)  The only trouble I had was that I had to actually style this cut, which isn't a common thing for me in the morning.  ;op (March 2014)

And here's the first iteration of bright that I went with!  While fun, I wasn't a huge fan of tomato red.  I ended up changing it the very next time I went in.  (June 2014)

Went with bright pink, and was so much happier!  As you can see, my hair is definitely still asymmetrical, but it's growing out.  Loved this one!  (July 2014)

Thought I'd try to tone it down a bit the next round.  Even longer hair, but a darker, almost natural color.  Not my natural color, by any means... but I think this color was actually in the natural hair color book.  Though, she may have added a tiny bit of plum in there to give me some extra fun.  ;o)  (Sept 2014)

Well, I just couldn't last.  The "natural" color bored me after a bit, and I had it overdyed with a magenta pink.  This is how it turned out, and I think it was great!  Also got the hair cleaned up... I'm almost back to a symmetrical cut, but not quite yet.  ;op   (Nov 2014)

Went completely purple to be able to cosplay.  I liked this one, but I was surprised by how much more the dye bled on things than any of the other colors I had tried before!  This time, my stylist cut my hair in a blunt bob, so I'm finally back to completely symmetric hair.  My character also has bangs, so I decided to go with full on bangs, instead of the wispy, side bangs.  (Jan 2015)

Some of you may recognize that cowl from here, but this time let's focus on one of my absolute favorite hair colors.  I needed to do the roots again, and wanted to go pink again, but realized that it wouldn't overdye the purple very well.  I asked if she could make it ombre, and she did it!  I think it looks great!  Here's another view of it.   (Feb 2015)

Which finally brings us to this last one!  Shock!  I didn't go pink again!  Kinda crazy, but one of my best friends sent a picture of this color, and I kinda fell in love.  Not only do I love it, but I'm thrilled that I can wear non-basic colors again!  If you couldn't tell, I love pinks, and so a vast majority of my wardrobe is pink.  I found I couldn't wear pinks or reds... or many purples very often with the pink hair or else it might clash.  This way, I'll be able to contrast instead!  (March 2015)

Wow, this ended up being a much longer post than I expected!  I hope it didn't drag on too much for you guys.  :o)  I am actually pretty surprised that I have had so many changes in my hair in 2.5 years!  Do you have a favorite?