I can’t believe summer is nearly over, but people will start knitting up their winter warmers soon enough. Fortunately, this week’s Blog Reader Special collection of new Twinsets will work very well for quick-knit shawls and scarves, caps and cowls. And socks, too, of course. Next week I will have a different yarn base.
We were supposed to have gotten some lovely cold-front type weather this week, but it stalled out just west from here. We will still be in the low 90s here in Houston for a while yet, although it seems to be less humid so at least there’s that.
Yesterday I was able to dye a complete 24-skein batch of Blog Reader Specials all in one day like I used to — my strength and stamina is returning. I did have to see the doctor about a possible developing complication from the surgery, and I’ll need an ultrasound this week to see if I need another surgery to correct it. Meanwhile, I’m plugging away and doing all I can for my health. So… YAYYY for Ray, right?
All of yesterday’s dyes were done as Twinsets, so that larger-than-socks projects can be done, but there’s no obligation to take both skeins of a Twinset if you only need one skein.
When I started dyeing, I tried having a catalog of repeatable colorways that could be dyed on demand. That’s what I saw other indie dyers doing, similar to the named colorways of big yarn suppliers and ‘famous-name’ companies. I believed that was what I was supposed to be doing. It only took a few years to discover that I am not like other indie dyers, and definitely not like the big name yarn companies. And even when I followed the recipes I had created for my catalog, I was rarely satisfied that subsequent efforts measured up to what I expected from my original colorways that I was trying to duplicate.
I ended up with a lot of ‘bad dye jobs’ along with other playtime experimental colorways. And I was running out of names for new colorways. Those became the start of the Blog Reader Specials — I would post those on the Blog and offer them up “as-is”. About 6 or 8 years ago, it was clear that my little niche in the world was creating one-of-a-kind skeins (or two-of-a-kind Twinsets). I do have a few artist clients who will request larger batches of particular colorways, and I can do those as a batch using the same dyes at the same time under the same conditions; but heaven forbid they should need a couple more a few weeks later, though, since I couldn’t guarantee an exact match!
I think what sets me apart from other dyers is that each skein or each Twinset is a one-of-a-kind work of art. I’m an artist creating unique pieces, not a machine cranking out duplicates of what I’ve done dozens of times before, copying pictures from my catalog that someone requests.
And, when it comes to custom work for that special shawl or sock or other project, if you ask the big companies for a yarn to match the blue of Grandpa’s eyes (which I’ve done), or the special coloring of a beloved pet now gone (which I have also done, several times), the big companies can’t do that. Each year they decide the colorways for next year, and create thousands of the same color. They can’t produce two or four or six of a truly unique color if you send them a picture. I can (usually) take your picture and come pretty close to what you want, and I don’t need to send it to committee and get it lined up for next year’s collection. I can do it in a week or two, usually. (Just don’t send a picture of the forest and request a yarn to match the flower at the base of the third tree from the left — just send a picture of the flower.)
The result of my work is that knitters and crocheters can take my art and create truly unique garments that literally nobody else will have. So if anyone asks, “What’s makes Ray’s work different?” you can tell them I do one-of-a-kind dyeing, and can do custom work as needed, and what you see this week may not be available again so if you see something that catches your fancy, you need to get it while you can. Each week I pull out 10 or 12 different dyes and I literally play “what if…” with them, making new combinations or different techniques. I rarely start a dye session with a plan in mind. Each Blog Reader Special skein is individually numbered so that what you see is what you get, not a copy.
The biggest proportion of my yarns are Phydlbitz Sock (75/25 Superwash Corriedale/Nylon, 430 yards each), although I do also have access to other yarn bases and will occasionally produce a BRS Collection on sport, DK, or worsted weight yarns.
About ten years ago, due to an unfortunate incident with a previous yarn supplier, I almost had to call it quits. Thanks to some other dyers I was able to find a better supplier with an even better sock yarn than what I had used previously. It was literally a life-saver for me, and I named this new-to-me sock yarn base Phydlbitz – Positively Helping Your Dyer Land Back In The Zone. It’s pronounced “Fiddle-Bits”. It was a hit and I was back in business! This yarn is great for socks, of course, but it is affordable enough for everyday lacework so you can make lovely shawls that block well as needed, but because it is a superwash sock yarn it can be put into the gentle wash as well. This makes it more affordable for fancy work, shawls, scarves, etc.
So, having said that, I give you this week’s Blog Reader Specials — all Phydlbitz Sock. Because of doctor appointments this coming week, I am hoping to get these ready to ship on Tuesday, but it might be Thursday. They will all be reskeined, labelled, and individually photographed for the BRS page on or before Thursday. I show them drying on the racks so you can see the various colors as they appear, and I’ve rotated the skeins so you can see all the colors of both skeins of a Twinset.
To claim yours just send me an email with your numbered selections. All Phydlbitz Sock yarns are $27.00 each, and up to three skeins can ship at USPS First Class rates:
Rates updated with January 2020 USPS changes:
1 skein = $4.50
2 skeins = $5.25
3 skeins = $6.00
More than 4 skeins have to ship USPS Priority Rate and I will calculate charges for your location, so be sure to tell me your zip code when making your request. More than 6 skeins will have to ship in a Priority Flat Rate box, which depends on your location but it’s usually $13 – $15.00.
eta: All of the unclaimed yarns have now been photographed and posted to the Blog Reader Specials page; click through to see which one remain available at the time of your visit.