Monday, May 26, 2008


I hope you are all having a great Memorial Day weekend. Anyone traveling? Having cookouts? That sure sounds fun. Instead of doing any of that, I am moving. And because my studio is in my home that means I have to move my entire studio, too! So this weekend I packed up as much as I could into my car and hit the road. Here is a picture of the car full of equipment. I forgot to take pictures of the car full of yarn-- it looked like it was going to explode with white fluff. Two car loads later I found myself staring at an apartment bathroom and bedroom and wondering how to turn it into a dyeing studio.

Let me backtrack for a minute. A year ago my fiance started medical school at the University of Chapel Hill, in Chapel Hill, NC. Previously we had both been living in Winston-Salem where we had gone to undergraduate school at Wake Forest and where I had started The Unique Sheep. I had a beautiful, large, messy studio in Winston that was perfect for all of my dyeing needs except that it was an hour and a half away from my fiance. I stayed in Winston for a year as I finished up some graduate school classes in business and entrepreneurship, but that year ended a few weeks ago. I missed seeing my boy more than a few times a month, plus soon we will be married, so the move is a good thing. But who likes moving? I mean the actual process. Yuck! And leaving my studio where everything was just the way I liked it was tough. But our apartment in Chapel Hill is a 2bed/2bath, meaning that we have an 'extra' bedroom and bathroom to set the studio up in.

Some of my stuff is still in Winston waiting to be moved, but its mainly just big storage boxes full of yarn. Here is what I have in the new studio so far:

In the bathroom I have my steam trays (where I do all the handpainting and initial heatsetting) set up on the counter, the dyes on an above-the-toilet shelf, the microwave on the toilet seat and all my soaking buckets in the bathtub. Ignore the shampoo bottles and bath towels-the bathtub will definitely not be used for bathing anymore! I haven't tried dyeing in here yet but I think it should work out ok. I covered everything in waterproof fabric so hopefully I wont stain the floor or counters. Now I just need to figure out where to put my speakers so I can listen to podcasts while I dye...

In the bedroom I have all the storage, packing supplies and equipment for winding. There is a lot of winding involved in hand dyeing yarn. The yarn arrives on big cones, so we have to preskein it into skeins in order to dye it. Then after its dyed it often looks kind of messy from being squished around, draped over a rope to dry and handled so much, so it has to be reskeined. All this winding takes longer than the actual dyeing, so I'll be spending a lot of time in this room. Once I get everything organized there should be plenty of room, right now its just a mess because I'm still trying to find places for everything. The best part about this room is its WALK IN CLOSET where I can store all of the undyed yarn. Just look at that. Is that a beautiful sight or what?

Now I just need to get the rest of my storage bins, desk and organizational "stuff", and my favorite rolly chair to sit in while I wind, and I'll be in business!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Introducing...The Spring Leaves Stole

After we introduce the Autumn Gold Shawl we got a lot of requests from people who loved the stitch pattern but just weren't triangular shawl type of people. They preferred rectangular stoles. Well here at The Unique Sheep we work magic and all you have to do is ask and, ta-da, there is your pattern. The Spring Leaves stole uses the same stitch patterns at the Autumn Gold Shawl but in rectangular shape. Like Autumn Gold it can be knit in Tinsel Toes but we also experimented with Leili when we tested this pattern. It looks great! It is a bit more "snuggly" whereas Tinsel Toes gives a more elegant, fancy look. Both are great, it just depends on the look that you prefer or the occasions where you will be wearing it.

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dyeing with the Reynolds Highschool Knitting Club

Last week I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon Kool-Aid dyeing with a group of young knitters at Reynolds High School. Reynolds is an arts magnet school, so the school really values creative pursuits such as knitting. They recognize that knitting isn't only a way to express oneself creatively, but has loads of other benefits for high school students (or anyone) including an increased ability to focus, patience, skills and confidence to work through challenges, commitment to finishing a project, etc. As an end of the semester treat, the Knitting Club leader--a math teacher and close friend of mine, Allicat236 on Ravelry--reserved space in the Home Ec room and invited me over for the afternoon. We mixed up stinky jars of vinegar and Kool Aid, donned personalized aprons and got to work. I supplied skeins of undyed Back to Basics and the girls did the rest. The girls all seemed to have so much fun and created beautiful yarn, even with the limited pallet provided by Kool-Aid!

I can't wait to see what they knit out of their custom dyed yarn and I hope that I'm invited back again next spring!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Introducing...The Gradiance Collection!

I am SO excited to finally introduce to the public the Gradiance Collection. We have been working on this for months, so I hope you like it. The Gradiance Collection includes the full spectrum of colors. It is sold in sets of four 25oz skeins (100g total) of four adjacent colors on the color wheel. For example, you could get 4 skeins in shades of blue, of 4 skeins that span from green to teal to blue. Or you could buy a couple of kits and do a shawl in delicate shades of pink, or a wrap that spans the entire rainbow. The options are truly endless. Each skein is specially dyed to blend with the colors to either side of it in the colorwheel. Kits are also available for patterns designed specifically for the Gradiance Collection, such as this unique lace scarf. Buy any one kit using one of our sock yarns as a base and you can knit the Twilled Rib socks -- instructions are included in the pattern for use with the Gradiance colors. You can find more pictures of the Gradiance Collection yarns and projects knit with them as well as instructions on how to order here! We will be adding more patterns, kits and color options soon!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Soy Silk

Lately we have been dyeing soy silk in LOTS of colors. Soy Silk is a really unique fiber. Its super soft and silky and the colors glow, but like a princess it can be a bit hard to handle. Because its so silky, you have to be delicate with it or it will fall apart. And the colors can be a bit unpredictable. But even though the colors don't always turn out exactly as we expected, they always turn out beautiful. Thats the magic of soy silk.

If you'd like to see pictures of some of the Soy Silk we've been busy dyeing, they are posted on the website. We will be adding more photos in the next couple of days.

P.S. Yes, my dog is eating the soysilk in that photo. It got stuck to her tongue and she couldn't get it off! Usually I love my studio dog, but sometimes....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Email Newsletter

Lately we have been adding so many new patterns, colorways and kits thats its hard to keep up with them all. We try to post announcements here on the blog, but we don't want you to miss out. So we have decided to create an email newsletter. We promise not to send them out too often-- probably about once a month or whenever we have something exciting to announce-- and of course we will never share your contact information with anyone. We will also be including special offers and coupons available ONLY through the newsletter. If you would like to sign up, simply enter your email address below or email us at! If you change your mind, there will be a link at the bottom of each email to easily unsubscribe.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Free Yarn!!

Buying yarn online is great, but nothing quite compares to squeezing and cuddling with yarn in person. Only in person can you see the true colors and experience how the different fibers will feel against your skin. And you can cast on immediatelly-- no waiting for yarn to ship! So if you have a favorite LYS, its time for them to start carrying The Unique Sheep. This is where you come in. Tell your LYS owner about the Unique Sheep and ask them to contact us at kelly@theuniquesheep. We'd be happy to send them a packet of wholesale information and samples. And if they end up placing an order, we will send YOU a free skein of yarn-- your choice of color and base yarn!! After you tell your LYS to contact us, make sure to leave us a comment or send us an email so we know who to reward when they place their first order!