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Sunrays Creations Logo

A lot of people have asked me about the logo and the name of the company.

The name is basically a translation of my DH’s name : RaviKanth. Ravi means Sun and Kanth is light or rays.
Why Sunrays though? It was basically a joke. We were talking about investment (if i remember right), and DH commented that I will invest in your company if you make the name as Sunrays. I remember changing the name right away ๐Ÿ˜‚. Also I kept the name changed since its actually quite lucky for me (financially speaking, in terms of revenue generated). But that’s a personal opinion. ๐Ÿ˜

The logo for Sunrays Creations was designed by DH.
The Sun is mostly obvious ๐Ÿ˜. The flower though is a Lotus, and represents Nalini which is DD’s name. Nalini means Lotus in Sanskrit and is also a name of Gayathri Devi, the Goddess of Knowledge.
They are the 2 most obviously important people in my life, and are represented in this logo. So while i originally thought of yarn and yarn balls for the logo, this is finally IT!

Do you have a similar experience? Please share in the comments โค

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Welcome to the new Sunrays Creations!

Hi everyone, and welcome! (Long post alert! )

A NEW BEGINNING
How often we wish for another chance
to have a fresh beginning.
A chance to blot out our mistakes
and change failure into winning.
It does not take a new year
to make a brand new start.
It only takes the deep desire
to try with all your heart.
To live a little better
and  always be forgiving, to add a little sunshine
to the world in which we are living.
So, never give up in despair
and think that you are through,
For thereโ€™s always a tomorrow
and a chance to start anew.
 - Helen Steiner Rice

When I read the above poem by chance a long time ago, I honestly didn’t believe.
I’d quit a reasonably well-paying job to become a housewife (a role i was singularly unsuited for). Books, and finally crafting pulled me out of a deep depression that threatened to engulf me entirely. The fact that I was unable to conceive was just icing on the cake.

Finally i tried to find ways in which i could “find myself” again. I did not go for retreats or anything. I stayed where i was and introspected. It also helped that i had (have) and amazing group of friends aka cheerleaders, who’ve supported me all along!

And then my DD was born, and its like a switch got turned on! I was able to focus my mind towards creativity, rather, just making things. Since then I’ve just been moving forward at a break-neck speed, and juggling more balls that I’m not sure i can manage :).

Design Store:
This came up with an opportunity to design for ilikeknitting.com. I had submitted a proposal for a gradient scarf, not understanding that i was supposed to get the yarn, not they send to me. So i was left struggling since we did not get gradients in India at the time.
Getting a set of single skeins dyed was too expensive. So i finally hit on a solution: dye it myself!
i was reasonably confident, since i had dyed cotton in the past, and was sure I could pull it off. Well, I did pull it off.
The pattern, Daybreak Scarf is available in my ravelry store and in the patterns section of the website.

DayBreak Scarf

What i hadn’t expected was my DH to be impressed enough with it to comment that maybe i should look at getting my own name for dyeing there (the pattern linked the yarn seller’s name, not mine).
Little did I know how prophetic his comment would be.

Yarn Store
The store was an odd story. Remember the friends i mentioned in the beginning? well, we used to chat/whastapp/video call on a regular basis. One slow crafting day, we decided to look for new yarn options through various online resources including wholesale.

So while hunting for yarn, I decided to look for silk yarn options inside India. We did have a silk yarn retailer within Bangalore, but i was curious. Imagine my surprise, when i found quite a few! i never even thought of exploring this option. On a whim, i asked a few of the wholesalers to send me samples and their T&C.
i decided to dye the samples to check if this was something I could manage. Imagine my thrilled face when i saw my results!

Then came selling to possibility to my family. The main concern was that it should not affect the baby, which i promised that I would ensure safety measures. It was an easy thing to promise, since the baby’s safety was everything!
They have been at the forefront of every step and decision I take, and am always thankful for their support, including taking this next step.

I finally started off in 2018 and have mainly run the store on WhatsApp, with a brief sojourn on Etsy.

VilasaDK spun silk

The other important part of the store: my customers. I was blessed to have an amazing group of customers to came back for me, and encouraged me at each step.

In the present:
I have kept the yarn store and design store in 2 different online spaces: both on Ravelry and Instagram. While i will continue to maintain them separately even in the future, I decided to bring them together on my personal website.
The reason for this is that I want to integrate them under the name Sunrays Creations (as opposed to the design store which is on my own name).

I’ll talk about the name, the logo and a lot more stuff in the next blog post.

Stay tuned!

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The Story so far

A lot has happened in the last 2 years since I shifted home: the biggest being that I was blessed with a baby girl. Life has been a rollercoaster ride since then!๐Ÿ˜…

After Baby Girl completed her first birthday, I finally found my true creative zone….but more about that later

In this post, I’m going to just post about what I’ve been doing craft wise.

2016:

Knitting:

Crochet:

2017:

Knitting:

Crochet:

Thanks for being with me even though I haven’t been posting much.

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The Zen of Yarn-Winding

Its been over a year since I blogged about something worthwhile here. First off, thank you all my wonderful blog readers. Without you, I probably would have been tempted to shut this thing off.

What prompted me to write this particular one though was an experience in yarn winding that I just went through.

The yarn in question for this post comes from a major brand. The skeins I had wound till date,had absolutely no issues, but this one had twists and turns from the moment I put it on the winder.

So step 1 was to unravel about a meter and see if the rest will follow nicely. After a point, it seemed that the crisis was over and the yarn will go smoothly from here on. unfortunately, a moment later, the yarn was stuck. And stuck how! The yarn had looped back and forth on itself. Which meant that even if I cut the strand (which i was severely tempted to do), I would end up cutting every single turn for god knows how long.

The solution was to find the other end and wind by hand, while ensuring the winder doesn’tย turn.ย grrrr!!ย Then started the slow and painstaking process of unwinding, while going through every single curse and abuse in my vocabulary. The final step was to wind the yarn from the hand-wound ball into the half-done one on the winder. So eventually a work which should have been done in under 5 minutes, took close to 25.

Towards the end I found myself irritated because I found that I ran out of abuses and all the languages I knew (4 of them). And then came my epiphany: the amount of learning I got from this exercise of unwinding yarn.

  1. I don’t mind if the cheapie acrylic I get here has n number of knots and tangles. I will bear that as the cost of buying cheap yarn.
    • However, expensive yarn is NOT allowed to have the same problem.
  2. I was able to get over the first desire to snip at he yarn and found an 2nd solution ie winding the other end by hand.
  3. I was standing and working the swift and yarn by hand, which counts as exercise.
  4. I realized that I need to learn a new language, one that can be easily pronounced and learnt. (It will make the abuses easier to learn).
  5. Learnt to be thankful for the next skein which got done in under a minute, thanks to no tangles.
  6. Even more thankful when the next yarn bag had alreadyย wound skeins (thanks to the sender).
  7. I finally got around to this blog! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do hope my little blog post made you at least smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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The Dye Project .. again!

my updates on the yarn I (finally) dyed.

1) Soaked the alpaca for 2.5-3hrs in vinegar to mordant
2) after letting it semi-dry, put it into cochineal dyebath:

3) after around 3 hrs, i moved into a steel vessel and put it top heat on gas (no micro here)

4) I let it cool in the vessel itself. and once cooled, washed it with running water and hung to dry:

5) So when it dried it looked like this:

6) and finally got it ready to store, to be used for some future project

What I learnt:

* It’s great fun!!!
* It is work.. do not take shortcuts, the results will also be a shortcut.
* if you use expired/really old dye, dont expect the original color to show up. be prepared for surprises
* Learn to live with the surprise ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I’m NOT a pink person)

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The Birthday Swap

Every year, there are groups on Ravelry that organize swaps. You can participate in swaps for dishcloths, mittens, shawls, and even for your birthday! Well, I went ahead and participated in one for my birthday this year. I wanted something special, and definitely different from what I did in years’ past. So I signed up for the Birthday Swap early this year.

When the time came around, i couldn’t be more thrilled. Now came the best part after all: shopping! ๐Ÿ˜€

I needed to shop for yarn, which was the easy part actually. The rest of the package had to be a minimum cost of $30. The aim was to make the swapee (is there such a word??) feel pampered and loved, even if from far. So I totally went to town with my shopping list. Chocolate, craft kits, and personal care item. It also included a hand-made item from me: my silk-wool shawl Intriguing.

However, I couldn’t manage to make get the package together before Lynne’s (my swap partner) Birthday. I had to send it out before the month was over, and that’s what I eventually did! However, Lynne was a darling and sent mine so that it got to meย before my birthday.

Then came D-day: my birthday, and more importantly: package opening day! And boy, was I pampered! Here are the pics of what I received:

The entire package
The entire package. The bag was the handmade that Lynne sent

Lovely lovely yarn! <3
Lovely lovely yarn! <3

Postcards from Yorkshire
Postcards from Yorkshire

Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey
Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey

Books! Lovely collection
Books! Lovely collection

 

What I sent included:

Manasa Gift 2014 001.JPG

 

Manasa Gift 2014 003.JPG

Manasa Gift 2014 004.JPG

Shawl modelled by Lynne
Shawl modelled by Lynne

I guess the pics taken by Lynne are definitely more detailed than mine! But then I wanted to showcase the sheer amount of stuff she sent across! This was a fun experience, and I will certainly look forward to nest year. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 

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When I Dyed….

A few days back a dear Ravelry friend piqued my interest in a post when writing about dyeing acrylic yarn. The reason why I was interested is that till date, I’ve been told that you cant dye acrylic: the color doesn’t hold. So how was this going to work?!

Acrylic mainly needs acid dye in commercial quantities to be viable, and to hold the color the way it does. However, HodgePodge Crochet mentions the use of acrylic colors. Seemed interesting and do-able. So the moment I was alone at home, I got to work!

The first hitch came at acrylic paint. The blog doesn’t really say wall paint, but if you read carefully, you’ll understand that that’s what she meant. Now the problem here is that I get a massive headache with the smell of paint. The only paint I was willing to work with was the children’s acrylic paint bottles. The difference: the paint is more diluted and therefore has not significant amount of smell. One more: I don’t need to burn by hands with turpentine if it does manage to get on me; soap works just fine!!!

I did figure I probably need a lot more color than the “squirt” the blogger mentions, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

The reason I was comfortable to go ahead was a stash of “natural” color yarn lying in my stash, and I had no clue how to get rid of it. Ta-Da! Solution found! So out came the hanks (which I hadn’t bothered to wind, Thank God!)

The starting point
The starting point

Step 1: Wash the yarn in hot water. Since its summer, the Solar Heater in my bathroom works just fine. So the moment I turned on the tap, nice hot hot water came rushing out. The yarn got soaked in this.

Step 2: I had a spare steel vessel I had used last time for dyeing. In this I added Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow and a dash of Burnt Sienna, all being in 15 ml bottles. I was dyeing 3 hanks (approx 150 gms) of acrylic.

The pic here isn’t great. I was conducting the process in my bathroom, which had no access to natural light ( a fact I realized only after dunking the yarn). So please don’t mind the neon shade of green! ๐Ÿ˜€

Dripping away...
Dripping away…

Step 3: I put on a pair of gloves and got to work ensuring the color reached every bit. Then I let it sit in the color for about 15 minutes, and then hung it over the tap to drip into the vessel. This was finally hung in the balcony to dry out for the rest of the day.

Later that evening
Later that evening

Step 4: I washed the acrylic to check for color fastness. Unfortunately it was not color fast. I remembered to put in salt to hold the color. And surprisingly it did hold. The yarn went back into the balcony for drying out.

The final effect is an ombre-like gradient in green. But without the flow of color. It simply became patchy where the darker color settled at the base…

After the wash, the colors lightened up
After the wash, the colors lightened up

I wanted to try once more to check for the amount of color required. So I dyed a single skein in Magenta. The experiment wasn’t really a resounding success. Apparently you need the amount of color concentration for it to hold onto the yarn. ๐Ÿ™ The pink almost seems faded…

Drying out in Pink
Drying out in Pink

 

The skeins together
The skeins together

By this time the original skeins had dried out, and so I wound one up to see how it worked for a project. I made a doily and a knit swatch to display the colors.

All rolled up!
All rolled up!

a quick doily
a quick doily

 

A knit swatch
A knit swatch

 

Finally I would say that, if you can manage, go ahead with wall paint. Else acrylic colors aren’t bad at all! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Sock Me! ;)

When one of my Ravelry groups suggested a sock-along, I jumped at the opportunity. I already had made 3 pairs and I was sure its just a matter of sitting for a few hours n getting it done! Delusional, anyone?

Which essentially was stupid. I already had 3 sweaters (out of which 2 were for me… Small. Not), and a shawl. Not to mention I knew I would be busy with the in-laws here and stuff on the personal front. And did I choose a free pattern?! No, I went ahead and signed up for something that said “complete within 2 months or pay up”. So, ya, sock me!!

Anyway, today happens to be the deadline for the socks, and I’ve just managed to finish it.

The yarn is an entire different matter to crib about. It looked good on skein, and that’s the only reason I can come up with for buying it!! The color changes are normally small i.e 12″ in most Indian acrylic yarns. However, this took short to a whole new level: approximately 6″. The design is mostly invisible. ๐Ÿ™

Anyway, here’s my pic!

Arrow Lace socks
Arrow Lace socks

 

PS: I don’t think I’ve ever written a “rant” blog ever before!ย sigh

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Hooking Away

As a couple of friends pointed out here, I’m just too used to “needles”. And I finally found the need to change my terminology to “hooks”! ๐Ÿ™‚ Crocheting has recently become my go-to option when I’m tired of knitting. While knitting usually involves wearables of some sort, they take a lot of time to complete. On the other hand, I crochet only to take a break from garments. So these are small projects, doilies to be precise.

Here are a couple that I’ve completed recently:

  • Floor Show: Every bit of this rug/mat is a gift. The yarn was a gift from Rinku, and the pattern came from a crochet magazine gifted by Swapna… And I just couldn’t resist putting it all together!

 

Floor Show!
Floor Show!

  • Mallika: My very first test pattern. Designed by Srividhya, and tested on the Crafty Dozen forum on Ravelry.. and helped through the process by Jaishree and Swapna on WatsApp! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Mallika
Mallika

  • Dove Doily: I wanted to challenge myself… and challenge I did! It definiltly challenged my patience to stick to it till it got done. As it is i skipped the last few rows. ๐Ÿ˜›

 

Dove Doily
Dove Doily

  • Clematis: this was pretty motif that I found in a book… and decided to make a couple. Not sureย what I’ll do with them though….

???????????????????????????????

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Pine for Me! :)

This one is freshly completed, though it actually slid off my needles a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately, I’ve just not had the time to wash and block the garment, not to mentioned finish off the weaving in of threads n sewing on of buttons. But here is the finally product, and am really really thrilled with my lovely Pine Cardigan!

The design itself is a test knit run on Ravelry from the very talented designer/s Tincanknits. Its been fun, though the sleeves were boring… I mean how fun can 20 inches of stockinette be?! But the end result more than made up for it! ๐Ÿ˜€ <3

Here’s my lovely Pine!

The un-blocked version
The un-blocked version

 

the buttons :)
the buttons ๐Ÿ™‚

 

And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3
And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3

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A Good Start…

At the start of the year Rinku n I decided that we should focus on crochet. Its a different story that we decided the very same thing last year… and then spent most of the year ignoring it. We spent a few minutes remembering this, and decided to make this year different.

Having decided that, we pulled out our needles and yarn and sat down to figure out this year’s Crochet Block Of The Month. This is a group on Ravelry which gets together to work an afghan block. They also give the corresponding fillers for the block. The idea is to crochet all the blocks and/or fillers and get an afghan (or lapghan depending on how many you made) at the end of the year. Its fun, and the projects are really cool!

I haven’t really decided what to do with the ones I’ve made, but here they are:

1) January

Lemony Lime Square
Lemony Lime Square

2) February

Center Heart Square
Center Heart Square

3) March

Spring Fling Square
Spring Fling Square

 

Well, I haven’t done April, because I went ahead and made yet another project in crochet. I wanted to put the table cloth on my center table for a wash, but didn’t have anything to replace it. Now I wasn’t on keen on going back to x-stitch in a hurry, so I needed something fast, and likely to use up some of my stash.

I decided to use up the Laura Knitting cotton stash I had. So I pulled out the blues. And this is what came off my needle! <3

Centerpiece
Centerpiece