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Your wish is our command….
Sign ups are now open for the As You Wish (Princess Bride inspired) round of the Mad Geek Tour!
Use this link to go directly to the listing page and make your selections for the coming year. The new themes have been added, and they are…
July, August, September 2014 - Marvel-ous (inspired by Marvel superheroes, comics, movies, TV, etc.)
October, November, December 2014 – Claimed! (be sure to get your Zombie Apocalypse inspired yarn before it has all been claimed. Walking Dead inspired club.)
January, February, March 2015 – Where no color has gone before… (Star Trek inspired; could include classic Trek, all spin-offs, and/or new Trek)
April, May, June – Baker Street (inspired by the BBC’s version of Sherlock)
Lastly, the shipment schedule has changed slightly. Regular (non-bag) shipments will now be mailed out by the 25th of the month, with the final shipment which includes the bag to be shipped by last day of the final month of the round. This is being done to make life a little easier for Jess, taking into consideration her shop and production schedule.
As always, please accept our gratitude for taking this ride with us. We hope you are all having as much fun as we are!
Your not-entirely-intrepid tour guides,
Heather and Jess
Lots and lots of amazing and wonderful things going on around here, far too much to put in one post. What you do need to know right now is that sign-ups are presently open (and will be until Oct. 6th or until all spaces are filled) for the “Down the Rabbit Hole” Wonderland themed round of the Mad Geek Tour, and our “Into the Black” round is wrapping up. I can’t wait to see the bags for these two! I’ve been very negligent in posting club colorways (and am really working on that!), and thought I’d share what i have from our last “Doctor Who?” round. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of the May colorway, “Church at Auvers”, but TammyG has a great pic in her stash, and jench24′s Spaced Check socks and kmckee623′s Doctor Who Skew socks are fantastic! I really loved all the colorways for this round. I have even very nearly finished a pair of socks from the final colorway, “The Fall of the Eleventh”.
And the socks (or one sock, anway)…
And finally, our April colorway was very definitely one of my favorites, and I cvannot say the name without that oh-so-wonderful accent, “Life is Short, and You Are Hot”. Sigh. I love that Billy Shipton.
I have more projects to show you in the days to come, and come fabulous colorways to reveal from the Mad color Posse, as well as a bit more info on my upcoming Sunnydale club-collab with Laura/KnottyLa from Dizzy Blonde (pre-reg here) so check back soon!
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!
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).
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!