As our minds turn from September to October….Halloween looms near. A beloved childhood memory is making sure we watched
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” when it was broadcast every year. I took inspiration from the pumpkin oranges and greens, and the dark purple of the night sky to create “Great Pumpkin”.
The fiber this month is a wool I often think of as a ‘fall fiber’ (I dunno why, I just do). Shetland is a great all around wool, great for learning to spin; and fabulous for socks, mittens, scarves, cowls, hats. I made a blended gradient of this, with 5 colors to make it a little more smooth. As always, please bend the wool to your will!
Our sock yarn adds another dimension to our animated tale…the bits of donegal in Tiger Tweed puts the stars in the sky and lends to the overall fall vibe. I dip dyed these in the round, overlapping the colors. The longer color runs will overlap in the spiral and make some nice pooling and/or mini-stripes.
Just listed, several new colors of blended gradients on Sparkle sock yarn (92% SW Merino, 8% Lurex….very sparkly!). What is a blended gradient? I specially wind the yarn (NOT a knit blank, so no annoying kinks), then hand paint it, blending the colors at the transitions. When knit, the transitions are not sharp, but rather blur between, making a painterly look. I’ve included a pic of one of my shawls as an example of the effect.
I also have a self striping Christmas yarn on the same base.
Crisp fall is almost upon us (currently, we are experiencing Soggy Fall!), and it’s a great time to enjoy a campfire and a favorite sugar overload, S’mores. I like my chocolate a little more melty, and peanut butter adds a nice salty counterpoint to the sweet, so I took club inspiration from this ooooey, goooey Grilled Peanut Butter S’mores recipe.
For the sock yarn, I spent some time with colored pencils and measuring tapes, estimating the length of a round of sock knitting, and figuring how I can get the chocolate and peanut butter and marshmallows to stack nicely in the variegated portion between the golden graham crackers of this self striping sock yarn. If you are curious, you can see the online calculator I used to get an idea of how it might look. Here is an example of how it turned out:
This is a 64 stitch tube, about 7-8 stitches per inch. I started at a tighter gauge the closed bottom of the sample, then loosened up a smidge as I went up….you can see it goes from barely pooling at all, to medium pooling, to very strong puddling. There will be larger differences with a different number of stitches (plus these were dyed in batches, and each batch will vary somewhat). So….your socks will come out uniquely, and if you don’t like the variegation you are getting, change something….a size larger or smaller needle, or add/subtract a stitch or two. Adding a pattern to the stockinette will also change how it turns out. The yarn itself is Safari, great for sturdy, long wearing socks.
Our wool this month is Superwash Corriedale. I don’t generally enjoy dyeing superwash, but I have to say that this one behaved marvelously, and I’m sad that it was a limited special….I’ll have to see if I can find a similar fiber elsewhere when I run out of my current bump. Corrie is a great all-around fiber….fine enough for most next-to-the-skin use, yet sturdy for most applications, also….perfect for long wearing socks, mittens, cowls, etc.
Inspiration for July’s sock and fiber clubs came from this picture of a mountain desert. I loved the interplay of the dark and light purples with the grey, and the contrast of the gold and red, plus the possibilities of blending between the colors.
And that is how things played out on our Polwarth wool combed top. I decided to keep the colors more distinct and in ‘order’, but allowing them to blend with each other in the transitions. The dye method led to dark and light shades within each, much like the picture. I love how the red and gold lend their warmth to the grey and purples which are traditionally cool colors. The gradient style is very flexible….spin straight, split for plies, fractal, separate the colors and do your own thing…..it’s all here for you to decide how you want to use the colors of the palette.
For the yarn, I’m introducing a ‘new’ yarn…Titanium Tiger Twist. I’ve had a version of Tiger Twist from my early days of dyeing, and while I love the string-of-pearls look of the 2 ply yarn, I’ve never been pleased with the yardage or the wear of it. This new Titanium version takes care of those problems….each skein is about 460 yards, which should give you plenty for most sizes of adult socks. The blend is 75% Superwash Merino, and 25% nylon, so while it is nice and soft, that nylon content means your hard work won’t wear through so quickly. For the dyeing, I took a ‘controlled chaos’ approach to hand painting. As expected, the superwash nature of the yarn made the colors bolder and more distinct, despite the dye being exactly the same as what was used on the fiber above. Each skein was dyed approximately the same, however how the dye settled and blended is different in every single batch. They are a cross between a variegated yarn and a more random speckle method….so if you see pooling, hang in there, it’ll change soon enough!
Every summer I like to create a color suitable for lace spinning and/or knitting. June came about somewhat serendipitously. When dyeing Annestown Beach (March Club), I really liked the idea of bright green against a dark background, and wanted to explore that. I also did a thorough clean out of my supply closet to sell on things that I didn’t want to dye, and found a lovely ball of the softest dark Alpaca, blended in streaks with silk. Was there enough of it for club? Yes!! I then did a little bit of image searching to narrow down a palette. I love this picture (Hostas?), so the gradient inspiration was established.
Next came out the colored pencils. The colors aren’t accurate, this is the idea. In the past, I’ve brute force mathed out the lengths of yarn needed, but this time I tried a spreadsheet a fellow dyer had made. I wound the yarn and the amounts came out pretty accurately, so yay!
Here’s the finished yarn. I went with Sumatran Tiger, which is 100% soft Superwash Merino yarn, 490 yards per 100 grams. I can’t wait to see it knit up!
And here is that dark Alpaca with silk all dyed up. It’s a luxury blend, so the portions are 2 oz this month. Both of these fine micron fibers go far as a lace (or cobweb…or froghair) weight, but you could easily extend it with something else as your second ply if you like.
Introducing Yakkity Yak, a luxurious blend of 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Yak Down, and 10% Nylon. It’s kitten soft (ok, Yak soft…but I don’t pet many yak), yet with the nylon you can expect your knit or crochet project to last a while. I had a lot of fun dyeing these in a random speckle dye style.
Here’s the full collection for this week:
And the ‘hero shots’…..
Dove on Yakkity Yak
It’s Not Easy to Turn Green on Yakkity Yak Sock yarn
CMY Party on Yakkity Yak
Black Tulip on Yakkity Yak Luxury Sock Yarn
Out of the Deep Hand Dyed on Yakkity Yak Sock Yarn
What a change a month makes…we were just shoveling snow, and now we are dealing with the streets heaving from the heat! A nice transition from spring to summer colors is this pretty Gerbera Daisy. Golden yellow, two shades of peach, some coral (or salmon if you prefer), and scarlet red.
For the fiber, I wanted to experiment with speckling, and wanted the fun contrast of crisp bright colors on the fiber which would soften and blend when spun. I chose Superwash Targhee, which I love for being grown and processed here in the USA. Superwash eats color for breakfast and asks for more, so I enjoyed layering on the speckles and just letting it do its thing.
For yarn, I wanted a softer look, so I went back to an old dye method I used a lot when I did OOAK’s….I like to call it the ‘starfish method’. This let me put gentle suggestions of the colors as a base layer, then add sprinkles of the full strength bold colors on top. Each skein is different, and it will be a lot of fun to see what club members make with it. If any of you want a semi-solid (or set of minis) of any of the colors to go with, let me know!
Did you see the headline this morning about lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) getting loose from a zoo in Germany? It seems all parties are safe now, but it certainly gave me a chuckle this morning. (edit: nope, the bear didn’t make it..:( )
I have shop update for you today, I had a couple of pounds of luscious Mixed BFL Silk, Wensleydale, and Gotland to dye, so I went into efficiency mode and made up two of our best sellers, Jeweled and Sunrise. They are so pretty. I also made Blended Rainbow on Wensleydale and Gotland….these two were dyed together, so you could ply them together, or use them together on a project….the light and dark sides of the rainbow!
No quite ‘new’, but flying under the radar has been Grand Old Flag on Journey. The SW Merino makes this yarn suitable for even the tenderest foot….or even baby items. I finally had a chance to knit up a swatch, so now it can be advertised properly!
Stop by the shop to see these, and there are a few other things I uploaded but didn’t advertise last week. http://ThePaintedTiger.com
After this endless winter, I was ready for some bright spring colors, but I didn’t want just simple rainbow colors, I wanted complex and interesting colors….just a shade off of what you might expect. My inspiration was this lovely shot of a daffodil (also called Jonquils) against a purplish sky.
I mixed up violet with a shot of yellow, blues with the purple, greens with some pink, and a yellow that had both enough pink to lean it golden, and bit of blue to keep it from being brassy. I had a lot of fun playing with application techniques.
For the fiber, I went with 50/50 Merino / Tencel. It is a fun fiber to dye, as the tencel acts to get the merino wet and carry dye to the wool, but isn’t dyed itself, leading to a pretty and shiny look with threads of white throughout. I dyed a true gradient on this, using 9 colors. Each batch came out differently, which is a big reason why I love to dye….you get something not available from a machine. I suggest spinning this one from the fold or make fauxlags, that will help the tencel and merino stay together. This would be lovely as a straight gradient spin, or try a fractal!
Our yarn is Bengal Tiger Twist….a similar construction to my old favorite plump 2 ply, but made with sturdier Blue Faced Leicester wool, a longwool that in itself lends a bit of shine to the finished yarn. I went with dyed-across gradient, using 5 colors, and allowing the golden yellow to dominate. It’ll make a nice swirling variegated pattern, or this is a great chance to try Planned Pooling, or weave it up on your loom for a great plaid effect, or faux ikat. So many possibilities!
You may have noticed that I went old school on the shipping labels, using paper and tape. PayPal has decided that I cannot print my subscription labels through them unless I input the addresses manually and individually each month. Oh. My. Head. So, I did a search for an alternative shipping provider, and found Pirate Ship. I’m tickled with their fun theme, and although it is a very simplistic website, it uploaded my spreadsheets and made labels slick as grog. Plus it automatically looks at the tracking and tells me when packages are delivered, which is why I can post Tiger Club reveal today….a little parrot told me that everyone has their club!! The drawback is that they do not support my thermal label printer, so I’m in the process of researching alternatives. I wouldn’t mind so much, except I just bought a year’s worth of labels for the old printer….I won’t use them up that fast if I can’t print club on them. Ah, well….I’m sure I’ll figure something out!
Are you looking for a Sock Yarn or Spinning Fiber Club of the Month? I invite you to try my Tiger Club, which is now open for new subscriptions. It is small, so you get personalized service, and my crazy experiments each month. There’s no huge commitment, join for one month and then decide if you want to continue, stay as long as you like. The subscription is serviced through PayPal, so you have complete control (however, a PayPal account is not required, contact me for options). I’ve been running this club since April 2010, and have enjoyed every month of new colors, fibers, and yarns. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure!
I picked up a great blend to try on December’s Tiger Club, and I ordered more so I can share with everyone. It’s a lovely blend….80% USA grown and processed Targhee wool, with shiny ribbons of 10% Bamboo and 10% Mulberry Silk. It is gorgeous….the pictures don’t really do it justice. Here are the first three gradients, I’ll be dyeing more of this blend as I have time. If you’d like to request a particular colorway, I’m all ears!
Hibiscus gradient of USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
Sunrise gradient on USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
Twenty Below on USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
A few weeks ago, I had a customer request to bring back Serenity, and here it is, plus its sisters, Rose Quartz, and The Long Winter. The Long Winter started this whole series as it was a commission for PLY Magazine. (The grey and white shawl and hat). All of these are on Falkland combed top, which is great for about anything you want to make with it.
Serenity on Falkland Wool Combed Top
Rose Quartz on Falkland Wool combed top
The Long Winter on Falkland combed top
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend. I’ll be singing Haydn’s “Creation” with my choir, combined with another community choir and their local symphony orchestra. We’ll be repeating the experience in two weeks, except here with our local symphony orchestra. I’m looking forward to the bus trips with friends, and making some new friends.