CeltChick & Sabrina
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When I stumbled across Trisha's Etsy shop Alcidina, I knew I had to get her featured on my blog! She has one of the neatest yarn dyeing... how can I put this... visions, I think I have ever seen. Her colorways reflect things found in the cosmos. How cool is that?! And, not only is it cool, but her colors are spectacular. She explains all of it so much better than I could, so I'll let her tell you all about her yarn:
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m retired and enjoying every minute of it! I find myself doing many things I really love; so much so that I have a hard time stopping at night for sleep! I knit and crochet, dye yarn, play around with knitting machines, play bridge, read, hunt for geocaches; whatever suits me at the time. It’s a great life!
2. Your hand dyed yarns are beautiful and unique! Can you talk a little bit about what inspires you? And, your tag line?
Thank you! My shop is a tribute to space exploration. When the Space Shuttle was retired, I kept thinking how so few people know how awesome space is. We have these exceptionally stunning images from Hubble of nebulae, galaxies, dark matter… Hey, what if I dyed some yarn to match them? And what if I included some astronomy info on each colorway? Would anyone be inspired by that? Could I share my sense of wonder at these astonishing vistas through yarn?
My company tag is “Exploring the cosmos one yarn at a time.” Every colorway tells the story of an amazing thing. Galaxies colliding with neighbor galaxies. Stellar regions where new stars are being born. Neutron stars as tiny as twelve miles across bright enough to light up the inside of an 11 light-year wide nebula.
It’s all amazing, it’s vaster than we can imagine, and it’s all so breathtakingly beautiful. Every time I dye something, it’s like taking an interstellar vacation. There’s just not enough yarn to explore all there is to see in our cosmos.
3. Do you have a favorite colorway or yarn that you offer?
What a tough question! I love all the yarns! Still, I’m partial to silk blends, so I’ll say my favorite yarns are the Interstellar Sock for fingering weight and the Fusion! for laceweight. I love how silk makes the fiber gleam, while the wool makes it warm and soft and easy to knit or crochet with.
As for a favorite colorway, I’d have to go with “Heaven’s Glory.” It’s a pale peach with subtle yellow highlight. I really like how “Heaven’s Glory” has tons of shades and tonal variations and it’s an unusual color combo you won’t find in anyone else’s yarn line.
4. For budding new yarnies out there, what’s the one piece of advice you have?
Ignore everything you read about temperatures. Most of the advice given about temperature is too generic to be of any use at all. For instance, as a new yarnie I carefully followed a well-known author’s advice to use boiling water to mix dye powder into dye solutions. Not only is it time consuming and tedious to keep heating up water for dye solutions, it can sometimes ruin the dye! I haven’t found a dye powder yet that doesn’t mix up just fine in room temperature water.
And there are whole crowds of people who swear you must dye yarn at near-boiling temperatures. It’s simply not true. Not only is it dangerous to handle the yarn at those temperatures, there are plenty of dyes that don’t set well at high temps. I dye most of my yarn between 100F and 120F. When I am done layering color on, I’ll place the yarn in a steamer and steam it. Problem solved.
5. What will be next for you? Do you have yarns or colorways in the works that you can share with us?
Recently, I added the Intensity 150 line – strong, vibrant semi-solids on fat, 150g skeins of fingering weight. And this month, I revamped my Interstellar Sock line. I added five new colorways to it, each with a special focus on high- and low-lights. They are “Droplets”, “Lantern”, “Ready, Set, Ignite”, “Bedrock” and “Dark Matter”.
Currently, my shop features wools, silks, and cashmeres. I’ve been testing some alpaca blends and mohair blends to see how I like them. I expect to release one or more of these lines by the end of summer. And there’s always new astronomy to talk about and new galaxies to explore!
6. I always like to ask, why do you knit?
Knitting is relaxing and stimulating at the same time. I am a fidgeter – I couldn’t sit still if you paid me, so knitting started as a way to occupy myself during night classes in graduate school. Then it became an obsession. I knit to be creative, to try new things, to learn how something is put together. I’m not actually very successful at knitting things that I will actually wear, but I love making all the things anyway.
7. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
I learned in the early 2000’s. I bought a video CD and learned to knit from that. I learned crochet off the internet. Gone are the days when you had to learn fiber crafts from your elders. So many talented people have created YouTube videos that show everything from crocodile stitch to knitting backwards!
8. If you were to knit and live anywhere in the world, where would you knit and live?
I am pretty content with Texas, where I live, although I will admit it’s not the right climate for sweater knitting. I think Ireland would be the ideal place to knit and live. The right climate and plenty of sheep!
9. What’s been your worst knitting disaster?
Sadly, I make a lot of unwearable knitwear. But I’ll tell you about this one time I bought some clearance mohair yarn from an overseas dyer. Blue and pink pastel. It said it was laceweight, but you should always think twice about a “lace” yarn that calls for size 8 needles! I made the lace cape pattern from Victorian Lace Today. Beautiful feather and fan pattern. At least it would have been, had it been in a semi-solid lace wool. But it was not so pretty in a fuzzy worsted-weight mohair with lots of variegation. The pink kept pooling. I looked like a fuzzy blue dust cloud with liver spots when I put it on. And I was never able to rid the yarn of the smell of wet goat!
10. And last but not least, if you were enjoying a favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
I recently bought a Keurig which makes the most heavenly coffee. I’d pick a rich, aromatic roast and enjoy both it and your blog!
There are TWO prizes this time! One winner will receive a set of two stunning laceweight skeins, and one winner will get two beautiful skeins of fingering weight.
The laceweight prize showcases Starfield Lace in the “Streamers in Stellar Winds” colorway and Cassiopeia Lace in the “Landscape” colorway. Cassiopeia is a silk/wool blend that knits up soft and elegant. Starfield lace is an exceptionally space-age blend, with the softness of merino, the glow of silk, plus it has a strand of sparkly fiber, so it twinkles as well as glows. Very elegant; not flashy, just a subtle hint of sparkle as the fiber catches the light.
Dyed on Cassiopeia Lace
Inspired by a series of observations made of the Carina Nebula. Set amid a backdrop of soft, glowing blue light are wispy tendrils of gas as well as dark trunks of dust that are light-years in height. This landscape image shows the edge of the giant gaseous cavity within the star-forming region called NGC 3324. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, NGC 3324 is at the northwest corner of the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), home of the Keyhole Nebula and the active, outbursting star Eta Carinae. The entire Carina Nebula complex is located at a distance of roughly 7,200 light-years, and lies in the constellation Carina.
"Streamers in Stellar Winds":
Dyed on Starfield Lace
Inspired by a series of observations of the Carina Nebula. The image, taken in visible light, shows the tip of the 3-light-year-long pillar, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure.
The sockweight prize offers two merino/nylon blends, both soft and strong for socks, shawls, or mitts. The Momentum is a 75/25 soft twist yarn, and the prize skein is in the “Moon Shadows” colorway, a popular pastel mélange. The Skyward is a 80/20 merino/nylon with a tight twist that makes the colors pop. And the neon colors in the “Stingray” SPLASH colorway definitely POP!
Dyed on Momentum
Inspired by a NASA photo of three of the moons of Jupiter. On Earth, we witness a solar eclipse when our Moon’s shadow sweeps across our planet’s face as it passes in front of our Sun. Jupiter, however, has four moons roughly the same size as Earth’s Moon. This image shows a rare alignment of three of Jupiter’s largest moons – Io, Ganymede, and Callisto – across the planet’s face. Seeing three shadows on Jupiter happens only about once or twice a decade. Jupiter appears in pastel colors in this photo because the observation was taken in near-infrared light.
Dyed on Skyward
Inspired by a Hubble Space Telescope image of a distant nebula, nicknamed “Stingray”. The image captures the infancy of the Stingray nebula (Hen-1357), the youngest known planetary nebula. In this image, the bright central star is in the middle of the green ring of gas. Its companion star is diagonally above it at 10 o’clock. A spur of gas (green) is forming a faint bridge to the companion star due to gravitational attraction. The nebula is as large as 130 solar systems. The Stingray is located at its distance of 18,000 light-years away in the direction of the southern constellation Ara (the Altar).
I told you, spectacular, right?! I'm in love with this "Great Clouds" skein! What a lovely pair of socks this would make.
I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 5/5/13. Which one of Alcidina's colorways is your favorite?
I'll randomly pick the winners in 2 weeks and post the results along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.