The Jan.-March round of the Mad Geek Tour has finished , and all packages have either arrived at their destinations, or should be there shortly. (If you haven’t gotten your package and want to be surprised, look away and come back when you have it!) We visited two themes this round — Doctor Who? and Steampunk.
For the Doctor Who round, I had more ideas than months to work with, but for Steampunk, things were a bit tougher. My color aesthetic is a bit bolder than what folks typically expect from Steampunk, and I wanted to honor that but also balance it with the colors that I think many folks come to me for. For January, I created Verdigris, inspired by beautiful aged copper,
and for February I took a more mythical inspiration and created Beware the Kraken, which I just love, and I hope was a bit fun and unexpected in a good way.
For the Whovians, I started the round off with Medusa Cascade.
I find it so hard to choose between Doctors and companions — I love them all! — and so I chose to work with the beauty of space itself. This particular bit oI could not resist, however, putting the spotlight on Rory — MY Rory, as he is known in my household — for the February shipment. Oh, if ever a girl could have a perfect Valentine, wouldn’t Rory be it? I give you, The Last Centurion.
I had the colorways for both clubs for March planned for many months. I knew I wanted them to be special, and sought out the perfect base yarn and fiber (I had to have the companion fiber!). I dyed them, re-dyed some of the Steam colors as I just wasn’t very satisfied, and put them to dry and ran off to work a five day show. When I returned to label and prepare the yarns/fibers for delivery I very nearly hyperventilated when I discovered that my sooper speshul yarns and fibers had been rendered rather flat and un-speshul. The problem? I was using a blend with a sparkling metallic fiber — an aluminum coated poly fiber — that I had chosen to give the colorways their shining quality. The shine was GONE. The metallic coating had been stripped from the poly fiber, leaving a faint twinkle (such as from Angelina) behind, but not the stunning shine I had been yearning for. Why did this happen? Well, there is a reason dyers don’t use aluminum pans. Citric acid eats away at aluminum. Apparently, my normal process of soaking the yarns I an acid solution and leaving them to cool to be rinsed the next day was too much exposure for the aluminum coating, and it simply disolved away. I hurriedly re-dyed new batches of yarn for the entire club, minimizing the acid exposure, and was rewarded with yarns that retained their lovely sparkle (although it is nearly impossible to show in photos). I give you Petrichor
I hope you all loved them!
As a consequence, there will be a fair amount of Petrichor and Clockwork in it’s more subtle form in the Extra!Extra! section of the shop for member purchase at a reduced price, as well as some over-dyed colors, also reduced, in the main shop in the coming days. It is still a lovely yarn and fiber — 63% superwash merino/20%silk/10%nylon/2%sparkling poly fiber — but just was not what I had wanted it to be.
Also shipped this month were the amazing bags created for you by Jessalu –
The Doctor Who print is exclusive to us, as it reads Mad Geek Tour in Gallifreyan! (!!!) and was a first run design by the amazing fabric designer. I also love love love the Steampunk bags — another first to Jess, but I hope not the last time she will use it. I think it is a perfect pairing of fabric to bag. I don’t even want to use mine! I want to keep it in its perfectly pristine condition forever.
The new round of the Mad Geek Tour – another round of the Doctor – is presently open for sign-ups, and will be open until April 14. Come along!
I love infinity loop scarves and, while I don’t like anything tight around my neck, I do adore something thick and soft and squishy to snuggle into. I also have a tendency to wear scoop-neck and v-neck shirts, which leave my front a bit chilly in our New England winters. I worked up this scarf loosely using some of the ideas from the Whirlwind cowl, but at a looser gauge and omitting the cables. I love the bias the constant use of the k2tog gives the fabric in the previous pattern, and so used that as my main stitch.
Doesn’t it look cozy? The first is a gift for my baby sister (colorway Crush), and the second, in Looking Up, is for me. Mine, all mine! (Until Rachel runs off with it anyway.)
To make one of your own, you need 2 skeins of Big Shot (I used all but 1.5 yards of both 97 yard, 115 gram bulky weight skeins), and size 13 36-inch circular needles. Gauge is not hugely critical, but may affect yarn usage, so do be mindful. Approx. 8 stitches and 18 rows over 4 inches in pattern stitch.
Cast-on 108 stitches and join being careful not to twist. I used the cabled cast-on to be sure to keep the edge nice and stretchy.
Knit one row, then purl one row.
Row 1 – (Yo, k2tog) repeat to end.
Row 2 – Knit
Repeat rows 1 & 2 for approx 8 inches or 35 rows, ending with Row 1. (I managed to get 37 rows for the purple cowl, but your mileage may vary, and you need a fair amount of yarn for the bind off.)
Purl one row, then knit one row.
Bind off. I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off, which is amazingly easy and really allows the scarf to wrap easily around the neck.
And that’s it! Wear and enjoy!
My NETA Spa experience this year could so beautifully be summed up by that classically over-borrowed quote from Dickens,
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
What a fantastic weekend! I arrived ready and excited to be able to relax. There was to be no yarn drying in the hotel room or braids to be braided or labels to be wrapped this trip. Nosiree! It was all done (and thank you KellyR for your help!) and I could finally have dinner and chat with friends, take a soak in the hot tub, and look forward to the hours ahead, both of “work” and play. After a bit of a hitch at leaving part of my display set-up at home, the booth was set up on Friday in good time(again, with thanks to Diane, Kelly, Jessalu, Amy, and Karen), brisk business was had, friends were hugged, new friends made, laughs had, projects shared, and all was good. Really, really good. Come Sunday, I was so sad to say good-bye, but even breakdown was fun, if exhausting, with Amy and I inventing luggage cart derby (and yes, Amy, you did in fact kick my ass. lol). Once the racks and bags and tubs and luggage were stowed in the car, I stepped into the hotel, handed out a few more hugs, and set out for a leisurely and uneventful trip home. My kids — with the 13 year old girl leading the charge! — met me at the door with loud whoops and kisses and I was soon buried on the couch under a heap of dogs and cats. And this — all of this — is what I am holding on to.
The next morning, intent on spending a lazy day on the couch recuperating, I wandered out to the car bring in a few bags so I could select a skein of sock yarn to begin a new project, only to discover that there was. no. sock. yarn. In a panic, I emptied the vehicle of stock, opened each bag and perused each one three or four times, growing more and more frantic by the moment, realizing that 2 huge bags — at quick calculation containing roughly 200 skeins — were entirely completely 100% undoubtedly missing. My mind flew back to breakdown, and the possibility that I had left them behind on the curb when I moved the truck a bit closer to the doors. A call to the hotel yielded no hope, and so I began the cry over the Twitterverse, Facebook, e-mail, and anything else I could think of. Maybe some kind soul had grabbed it for me, but just hadn’t gotten around to e-mailing me yet. Surely, someone would have my yarn and let me know? Right? RIGHT?
No such luck. It is GONE.
I have bounced between physical illness, stress-induced pain, tears, self-loathing, resignation, calm, anger (at myself mostly), gratitude to the HUGE number of friends and concerned others re-tweeting and re-posting in hopes that the yarn will be found, and calm at knowing that no matter how bad this is, I WILL be ok, and all those I love are safe and well. And this is bad — the retail value of the yarn totals over $6k, and represents at the very least a month of work and wear and tear on a body that ain’t quite as young as it used to be, to put it mildly.
But you see, here’s the thing. As much as I want my yarn back and as sad as this makes me, it won’t get me. I know loss — REAL gut-wrenching true loss. THIS is not it. This is a bump…ok, a crater… in the road, but it is not insurmountable. I am a tenacious bitch. I don’t give up. I don’t give in. Today? Business as usual, folks. Maybe it is the British in me. Time to Keep calm and Carry on and all that.
And I’ll be damned if this ruins my faith in people and the world around me. In fact, if nothing else, it has strengthened it. For all people want to bitch, social media can be a beautiful thing, and at a time when I would easily retreat into myself and shrink from a phone call, I turn on my computer to see e-mails and tweets and comments of love and support and good wishes. I can’t thank you all enough (and some of you — you know who you are — I don’t know how I’ll ever show what you mean to me). You make me feel so privileged to be a part of this wonderful community.
If you had an inkling to hope on board the Mad Geek Tour and take a trip through time and space with the Doctor and his companions, or investigate the wildly interesting world of Steampunk inspired design, books, and shows, now is the time to click that link and get your “ticket”. Sign-ups for these two clubs will close the end of the day Sunday, Jan. 6th. Jessalu has even had a Doctor Who fabric specially designed for Mad Geek Tour only. I am so stinking excited for this! And I love the theme we have chosen for the Steampunk bags –I think you will all love it!
I have had a few people ask if the yarns and bags will be repeated over different rounds, and the answer is a definite “No.” Jan-March colors for Doctor Who will not be repeated in April-June, nor will anything from this past round of “Into the Black” be repeated when that ‘verse is revisited in July-Sept. The bags will also always be something new to club, and to Jess. (I may offer these colorways up for general sale in the future, but not for at least a year from the time it was featured in the club. There is no guarantee, however, that a colorway will ever be available again.)
In other exciting news, I now will carry, from time to time, self-striping yarn. Figuring a workable way to do this for production, using the equipment I have available to me, has been my nemesis, but I have finally made it work and couldn’t be happier. It is somewhat labor intensive, but I love stripes. This last month of club shipments (Geek-Fairytale, Geek-Into the Black, and Posse) were all self-striping. Wanna see?
Fairytale Club – “Into the Woods”
Into the Black – “Washburne”
Mad Color Posse – “Over the Rainbow”
I’ve been working with a Wizard of Oz theme with the Mad Color Posse, and I will be continuing that for a few more months. Land of Oz was my favorite movie from my childhood, and holds some of my favorite and happiest memories of the time I spent with my grandparents, so I am really looking forward to doing the theme justice, and with the new Oz movie coming out in March, I think it will be a lot of fun to become reacquainted with Oz. I hope you come along!
Get 15% off your entire order when you enter the code cybermad at check out. Treat your favorite yarn-worker to something special this holiday season, especially if that yarnie is you!
I’ll be hanging at The Yarn and Fiber Company in Derry, NH on Superbowl Sunday from 10am to 5pm spinning, knitting, and hanging with all my wares and samples. The Yarn and Fiber folks will also be running an all day dyeing workshop, so come down and dye your very own custom skein! I’ll have the new delicious bulky Big Shot with me as well, and tons and tons of fiber. Hope to see you all there! (Linky for more info).
Got an avid sci-fi geek in your household? We have many (including myself). For Christmas, I designed this Clone Trooper chart for a special 8 year old boy and it was inspired by my son’s deep and abiding love for everything Star Wars and especially the Clone Troopers he has been introduced to through the animated show Star Wars The Clone Wars. This chart is now also my gift to you! I used it in conjunction with Sarah Bradberry’s “Star Wars” logo chart, and designed it to work as a replacement for her R2D2 or Storm Trooper charts. What you do with it from here is up to you, and may the force be with you!
And a picture of the hat I made for that special little boy, using Sarah Bradbury’s “Star Wars logo” chart as well —
So very excited! Amy Herzog has released a new pattern, Petrea, using Mad Color Sweet! Current stock of Sweet is now available in the Mad Color shop as well as pre-order kits in 9 semi-solid colorways. (You are getting the pattern for free with the kit!) Check out the kit, which comes in three sizes, in the Mad Color store under Patterns.
(Pattern photos by Caro Benna Sheridan.)
This weekend, I had the very exciting opportunity (yes, this is my kind of excitement) to teach my cousin and her daughter — I call her my niece, and no one will tell me otherwise — to knit. They truly were naturals! Now, however, I am home, and Nikki is an hour away and running into the occasional issue. The error that had her up half the night was a dropped stitch. Oh yes, she got the perfectionist gene. It runs strong in our family. So, I put together a video to help her pick up her stitches from the purl side, as that is the side on which she was working, as well as a video on putting in a life line. Hopefully, it will help out some other folks as well.
On a side note, watching the video I have realized that I desperately need to moisturize my hands. Yikes!
This was my first time making any type of a tutorial or video, so be gentle!