Tiger Club!

Time has just been flying by!  Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for September’s Tiger Club.  Here is a look back at the yarn and fiber club members received in August.

I follow a few fiber groups on Facebook, and this picture was posted for color inspiration.  It’s a species of Saturniidae moth, and wow, isn’t it fun and colorful?

Saturniidae Moth Caterpillar

The appeal of this picture to me is the jumble of colors. So I decided to hand paint a ‘stick figure’ caterpillar on the yarn and fiber. I used three purples, a shocking blue, bright magenta, and some gold….and allowed the natural white to show.

Saturniidae August Tiger Club - BFL Journey Sock Yarn

The yarn is a riff on a favorite sock yarn here….Journey. Except instead of Merino, it is BFL (blue faced leicester) wool. Same 4 plies, same great yardage. I can’t wait to see how it dapples and pools.

Saturniidae August 2015 Tiger Club - Polwarth Wool

I painted in a similar technique on the wool, but there are more folds so the dappling is more spread out. The wool is Polwarth, a hearty cross breed of Merino and Lincoln. The wool is a little longer and stronger, but retains that nice pouf and fine crimp of Merino.

I invite you to check out the club and try it for a month. I love dyeing for my club members, and it is fun to get a new surprise. For September, I’ll be shifting into fall mode with fibers and colors.

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Tiger Eye – July Tiger Club Reveal

Tiger eye 2The stone known as Tiger Eye inspired July’s Tiger Club. I used a beautiful shiny blend of Merino and Tencel for both the fiber and the yarn to recreate the shades of gold and tan. The fiber was dyed in a back and forth gradient: Tiger Eye - Merino Tencel - Tiger Club July 2015

And the yarn was dyed in a method I like to call ‘organized chaos’. It is always interesting to see how the different materials take the same dye recipe differently.

Tiger Eye - Merino Tencel - Tiger Club July 2015If you are interested in receiving a surprise every month, there are limited spots open in Tiger Club through tomorrow (August 15th).

In related news, we’ve added to our house tiger collection. Our beloved Nate, the original Painted Tiger, was 20 and just not happy with life anymore, so we said goodbye in early July. Our remaining kitty seemed very lonely….and, well….one of him wasn’t enough to go around, so we looked for a kitty to adopt. Well, things are never that simple….we fell in love with these girls, who are sisters. How could we take one and not the other? Tigers, oh my!

Tinder is on the left, her ‘dating profile’ said she liked to snuggle in blankets….but we haven’t seen any of that. She loves to PLAY, and is off at the slightest movement or noise….hence her name. I was lucky to get these shots of her.  She isn’t all ‘spazz’, she does come over for scritches…..but then she sees a bug in the window and must see it!

Ember, on the right, was listed as needing a quiet home, but she has adjusted the fastest. She is very friendly, loves to be petted and to snuggle, and still enjoys some playing.  She was named first, due to her charcoal and ash coat with embers of orange showing through.

Norman isn’t too sure about these two, but they are all tolerating each other well. We took it slow and introduced them through a door, then a screen for a few days before giving everyone the run of the house. We’re enjoying all three.

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Jeweled – June 2015 Tiger Club

Sometimes, you just gotta go with what you love!  Instead of taking inspiration from a picture this month, I went with my favorite jeweled tones of Emerald, Sapphire, and Amethyst….with other semi-precious shades in between….for 10 shades in total.

Our fiber is Wensleydale, which lent the required sheen to our Jeweled theme.  This long wool likes to be spun fine and with just enough twist to hold it together.

Jeweled - June 2015 Tiger Club - Wensleydale wool

The yarn is a new one, Bengal Soft, which is a BFL 2 ply.  Blue Faced Leicester is one of the most fine long wools, and lends a nice little bit of shine, while being kitten soft.  I dyed this in a new method for a gradient effect, with the color sections increasing for a triangular shawl, or it would look great in a rectangle knitted the long way. Jeweled - June 2015 Tiger Club - Bengal Soft Yarn

To try the method, I made a skein of this in Hibiscus, and here is my shawl progress so far.  You can see that it does progress, but in a back and forth pooling kind of way.  I like the effect. Hibiscus Shawl in Bengal Soft

Tiger Club is closed for July so that I could rearrange my dyeing schedule around our activities.  There has been a fair amount of interest shown however….so stay tuned, I may open it up in August.

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Driftwood Shawl

I finished! Here is my shawl, knit from the Tiger Club yarn for February.

Driftwood Shawl

Driftwood Shawl

Driftwood Shawl

I hit a few bumps along the way….like the pattern not coming out even when I got to them…..but discovered it was my own silly fault….the first half of the shawl is YO, K2T. The other half is K2T, YO. So I would forget the last YO, and it would put me off for the next pattern row. Glad I finally figured it out. I also had a period of ‘forgetting’ how to knit….I was knitting through the front loop, thus twisting my stitches. In my defense, I’m a marginal knitter at best, and I had been watching some videos on speed knitting….one of them had a very strange technique, and I believe this is where I got it from. Or, I was just not paying attention. Whatever, it kind of gives a neat effect to the stockinette portion of the shawl.

I originally did not think I would like the shape of this shawl (it’s a modified version of Light and Up) when I went to block it….it curved around much more than I expected. I don’t care for the long curly tail of my Quaker Yarn Stretcher at all…it is awkward to wear.

Driftwood Shawl Back

However, once on, the shawl fits my shoulders and the curlie bits wind around and make a waterfall. I feel like it will stay in place more like a sweater, which is something I haven’t enjoyed about shawls….having to fuss with them.

Driftwood Shawl Front

I like this one so much, that I have cast on for another of the same shape. For now, I’m just doing stockinette, although I may dig around for a stitch pattern for the green part.

Hibiscus Gradient Shawl Yarn

For those in club….this is your teaser….this is the yarn you will receive….same idea, different colors.  (I wish I could wind them all into cakes like this for you….but time does not allow.)

Hibiscus Gradient Shawl Yarn

For those of you not in club, I hope to bring similar gradients to you soon!

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Fiber Friday – Targhee!!

Yes, it’s true….at long last I have more luscious cottony-soft Targhee!! Can’t wait to get your hands on them? Click here.

First up, we have some of my favorites from my striping sock yarns. These are dyed in a graduated progression….each color longer than the last, perfect for a triangular shawl. Remember my Forest Fractal Yarn? Yeah, these can do that!
Raspberry Mocha Targhee
Frozen Targhee
Forest Targhee

I have several gradients….

Burning Bright Targhee
Out of the Deep Targhee
Periwinkle to Petunia Targhee

And progression gradient rainbows…
Rainbow Targhee
Pastel Rainbow Targhee
Tropical Rainbow Targhee

And my favorite Autumn Splendor that doesn’t quite fit in any of these categories….
Autumn Splendor Targhee

And some variegated colors….
Black Tulip Targhee
Mississippi Mud Targhee
Northern Lights Targhee


Whew!  As you can see, it was a fun week at the dyepots.  I love my job, and hope you love what I’ve made for you!

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Mount Saint Helens – Tiger Club Reveal May 2015

The end of May is a perfect time for outdoor activities.  One of the few areas of the United States I haven’t explored (yet) is the Northwest.  I chose Mt. St. Helens as a landmark to portray in wool.

Clear blue skies, check. Rich greens and browns of plant life and earth. Check. All the subtle greys and texture? Hrm. But a solution was found!

Our wool is merino, but a blend of white, brown, and gray. I love how it turned out!
Mount Saint Helens - May Tiger Club - Mixed Merino Wool Top

And for the sock yarn, I turned to a favorite of mine that is Club exclusive….Tiger Tweed. Yum.
Mount Saint Helens - May Tiger Club - Tiger Tweed Sock Yarn

I’m gearing up for June Club, which will revisit a wool we haven’t had for a couple of years, and a brand new yarn….dyed for a shawl. Jump on in, Tiger Club is easy to try!

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How I Remove a Batt from a Drum Carder

There was some discussion on a Facebook fiber group yesterday about how to get a batt off the drum carder cleanly. I mentioned my method, but pictures are worth a thousand words, so I took some. (And I’ll probably still write a lot of words!)

This is actually an amalgam of two batts, as the first one came off perfectly cleanly, so I couldn’t show how to get the wispies up. Which leads to the best pointer……

How you put the batt on will determine how easy it is to get off again. You want that first layer to be a continuous and smooth one….this is not the time to feed small random bits to your carder….you want to be feeding it all the way across, and enough to cover the entire circumference. After that layer, you can go to town with add-ins. If you can’t get an even layer right now, just continue to work on it. You can always lift the odds and ends as you take the batt off, but I think it saves a lot of time to get that base layer on.

Here’s my nice smooth batt…. (this is my Fancy Kitty Big Tom drum carder)
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Looks great, eh? For demonstration purposes, I purposely put in some uneveness on the bottom layer.

Removing a batt from a drum carder

Ok, so now we have ourselves a batt. Let’s take it off. I have a doffing hook, but you can use anything strong and pointy. Just don’t take too big of a bite, that fiber is collectively strong and will bend knitting needles. Continue all the way across, gathering the loose fibers in your free hand, and being sure all the ends come up.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Now, I like to roll the batt off. This method keeps the tension close and even, so you are pulling on the fibers, not drafting them, and they will be able to pull out of the carding cloth more cleanly. I’ve used a couple of dowels or knitting needles before, but I prefer this….

Removing a batt from a drum carder

That’s a roll from the middle of plastic wrap. It’s a sturdy tube, and just enough wider than my swift to give my hands a place to be. The other thing is a random large plastic bag. I usually have a long strip of brown paper, but this was handy. You could also use a strip of cloth, such as denim. You just want it wider than your drum, and a little longer than the circumference. Tuck the bag and tube under the loose end of fiber.  (In case it isn’t clear, I’m standing at the back of my carder.)

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

And start rolling, lifting the swift up when needed.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

As you can see in that last one, there’s a nep or two left, I didn’t worry about those, I don’t want them in my batt.

But this…..I want in my batt, and if I kept rolling, more and more would be left on the drum instead of in my batt.

Removing a batt from a drum carder

So I stop, and grab something that will fit down in the teeth, and put these back on my roll.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Here’s another option, this is a cleaning brush. I can use it to snag up the end of the fiber. Any tool that is handy!

Removing a batt from a drum carder

Once you get all the way around, then you can unroll it, and voila!

Removing a batt from a drum carder

I hope that helps you with your drum carding! Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

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