Monday, April 26, 2010


So I've had a couple of ideas rejected recently, and while it is disappointing to hear that those particular projects did not fit with the publisher I submitted them to, it has me wondering how designs get evaluated by editors. I would love to be a fly on the wall in someone's office during the decision process, can you imagine? I expect that every publication has different priorities and requirements, but the real fun must come down to visual appeal. (I would imagine, but I'm not an editor...)

Anyway, the "boy" has become a bit needier in recent weeks than he was at the very beginning, so my knitting and "concentrating" time has been severely curtailed. I keep thinking of things that I might submit to somewhere but then consider the possibility of being accepted and become overwhelmed because I can't actually do the knitting and working out the pattern, etc. Additionally, while waiting (for the considerably shorter length of time than most publishers take) to hear back about my submissions I considered whether I really liked the whole concept of sending my projects out into the ether with the vague hope that I would hear back someday (I have heard of certain places getting back to designers a year after receiving the submission) that I needed to get knitting on the long since forgotten project because it is due in a short period of time and the (quite small) check will be in the mail. hmmm. I guess I am still quite amateur as I think of things I want to knit, or design features I want to use, or even "architectural" shaping or  techniques I want to explore, I want to do it now, as I am working it out in my mind, while everything is fresh, and before someone else publishes something too similar! Clearly professionals send out sketches and thoughts and are able to let go until/if/when someone offers to pay them to do the project. I am going to explore more in the self publishing arena, though that too has drawbacks in that I will need to do all the work myself, and apparently, my time is now (almost entirely) occupied with feeding and keeping happy a tiny person as well his 2 older sisters. I am thinking of posting pictures of WIPs since they won't be published anywhere secretive, perhaps some feedback or suggestions on directions to go with one in particular might be interesting...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A late Easter craft...

Am posting this a bit late to be of any use to egg dyers this year, but in 2011 if you happen to realize that cheap box of egg dyes you grabbed at the store was made in China and seem particularly worrisome ("do not ingest"  & "may stain skin and clothing" & "age 8 and up"  warnings, and markedly NO sign of a "non-toxic, food safe, etc, etc..." statement) and you decide at the last moment not to risk your toddlers skin & clothes & health (as well as who knows what kind of mess to deal with in the aftermath, with a week old infant btw... oh wait, you might not have those exact variables, but I digress.) and grab your bag of food dyes that you keep handy in the kitchen for coloring playdough and wool yarn, and consider that they should probably work on eggs if you add a bit of vinegar to the hot water in ramekins just deep enough for a single egg, than have I got a fun idea for YOU!

It occurred to me that if we used red, yellow and blue dyes we would have a great opportunity to let the girls play around with color mixing. We dipped paper towels in each color for them to rub over the already dipped egg so they could see what colors appeared in each area. I have to say, I think re-dipping the egg in a secondary color would be much better, as the towel kind of rubbed off the initial layer of dye, but feel free to try whatever you method you prefer. Also, powdered food color ended up giving a not ver uniform dye, and in fact collected on the bottom of the ramekins (yellow and red were powder, blue was paste) and kind of speckled the eggs darker where it touched, which I kind of liked, but keep it in mind of you want a very smooth uniform color. 

So, after dyeing all the hard boiled eggs daddy could come up with, there was still most of a ramekin of dye of each color, and not wanting to waste it, I of course suggested that each of the girls dye there own mini hank of wool yarn with which I would knit them a hat or other small accessory. I labeled a gallon ziplock for each of them, placed wool inside with a splash of vinegar and hot water and squished it all around and left it to soak while we ate lunch. Once yarn was thoroughly soaked daddy rung it out (daddy was very involved in all crafts and games, and basically everything that the girls have been up to in the past couple of weeks because, you know, baby boys like to nurse all the time, and generally make it difficult for mommy to do much of anything with big sisters. sigh. ) and put the bags on the table for the girls to drizzle the leftover dye into, but then, of course, we decided, it would really be more precise and personal if the yarn was set in a pyrex baking dish so that they could place the dye just where they wanted, so we did. (I still think the bags would be good, but it is true that the liquid dye might mix and go all over the bag and generally give a different quality look than hand painting the flat hank of yarn...) 

After spooning or pouring every last drop of dye over the yarn, we realized that mommy may have over estimated how much coverage we would get, and that quite a bit of yarn was still pristine off white, so daddy poured a little extra water into the dishes and the girls squished the yarn in it to distribute the dye that was in the yarn already more evenly. It worked quite well! And the little bits of powdery dye "dregs" at the bottom of the ramekins gave really bright spots among the slightly washed over other areas, and everything got covered (though perhaps not as vibrantly as originally expected). 

We then covered each dish with saran wrap (so it could steam without losing too much moisture) and popped them in the microwave for several minutes. Once cooled the yarn was rinsed and allowed to dry, and has not yet ben wound or knitted with, but will, probably, someday. 

Of course, I thought the colors were very nice and the dyeing came out well, and feel somewhat sentimental about my girls first yarn dying. So when I asked Sophia what she would like me to knit for her with the yarn she dyed, she replied "a pink hat!!" and I was unable to answer for several seconds. Of course. A pink hat, I will just knit that right up for you and over dye the whole thing. }-{ (head desk)

Baby Ben!

It's been a couple of weeks, (time flies when you are having a lovely babymoon!) but I am finally getting around to syncing up my phone (photos) and computer so I can introduce the "boy" (according to Maggie!)  who will shortly be modeling many new knitted items for newborns!