Wonderful Wensleydale

Wensleydale Sheep

The Wensleydale sheep breed began with a cross of a Dishley Leichester ram and a Teeswater ewe in 1838. The result is a large sheep with ‘blue’ head and these wonderful long locks.

The staple length is quite long in this combed top, about 6 inches, so it is best to keep the hands far apart when spinning….otherwise you’ll be pulling on both ends of the fiber and it won’t budge! Wensleydale likes to be spun into a lace weight, and doesn’t need a lot of twist….too much will make the yarn wiry. I had a lot of fun putting colors on this wool, the longwool luster really shines through.

All of these are available in the shop: Hand Dyed Wensleydale , snap them up before they are gone!

Salted Caramel Mochaccino Wensleydale
Autumn Blaze Maple Wensleydale
Burning Bright Wensleydale
Hibiscus Wensleydale
Out of the Deep Wensleydale
Peacock Wensleydale
Jeweled - June 2015 Tiger Club - Wensleydale wool

Thanks for stopping by!

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Blushing Dahlia – March 2016 Tiger Club

IMG_2530 copy-Dahlia

It is being a long spring of on-again-off-again temperatures, hail, and even a tornado! However, spring is also time we think of soft baby things, and so this month’s colors reflected that. I’m going to be honest, I developed the colors before finding an inspiration color OR name for this blend of pinks and pale yellows. When hubby asked what I was going to call it….I said (*cough*), marshmallow “Peeps in a Blender”. I was vetoed, so a bit of a Flickr image search turned up this great picture of a Dahlia. You’re welcome.

Blushing Dahlia Tiger Club March 2016 on Silky Sock

Our yarn is a luxury one, a blend of Superwash Merino and Silk. It straddles the balance of being bouncy enough for a sock yarn, yet drapey enough for shawl use. I used a slightly randomish pattern in small color sections to encourage a mottled pattern, although it will depend on your pattern/stitch count/gauge/which way the wind is blowing/etc.

Blushing Dahlia Tiger Club March 2016 on SW Merino/Merino/Silk

New up is a new fiber I wanted to try. It’s a blend of superwash merino, untreated merino, and tussah silk. It isn’t blended fully, leaving streaks of each fiber, with the idea that each will take the color differently. The effect is subtle with these pale colors, but still beautiful. Baby soft! I suggest spinning from the fold to keep the longer silk in with the wool, so you can tear this into color bits and do some rearranging if you like.

Interested in Tiger Club? Each month we have a new fiber, a nice rotation of sock yarns, and various dyeing styles. For the first time in about 6 months, I have openings in all options!

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Sea Urchins – February 2016 Tiger Club

Inspiration for February’s Club came from this photo print of sea urchins.  (You may click here to purchase this print on Etsy).  I loved the many colors of green against the weathered wood.

Masham Wool has the perfect brown/grey for this background, and I added four shades of green, plus a bit of extra brownish grey in spots.  I love how it turned out.  Masham (or Massam) is a longwool cross, and is a very durable fiber often used in carpet or upholstery.  You could make some very hard wearing socks with this (I suggest from the fold, lower spin twist, higher ply twist to keep it from being wiry), or spin it like Wensleydale (worsted, fine, low twist) for a shawl.

Sea Urchin - Masham Wool Combed Top February Tiger Club 2016

We haven’t had Safari for awhile, and I usually like to make a striping yarn with it.  I decided on a back and forth striping pattern with the four shades of green….sometimes the difference is pretty subtle, but overall it is quite pleasing.

Sea Urchin - Safari Sock Yarn February Tiger Club 2016
I promised a swatch in the note in your club package, and I actually did one better, I knit a whole pair of socks.  I’ll give you the preview now, I’ll make another post with knitting details later.  These are size 9 women’s, 64 stitches at about 7-8 stitches per inch, and they are a taller mid-calf length.  I have 1.3 oz of yarn leftover.

Sea Urchin Socks
We do have a few sock yarn spots open in Tiger Club, and you are welcome to drop me a line to be on the waiting list for any of the fiber or combination clubs.  We’d love to have you!

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January Tiger Club Reveal – Sea Breeze

For January’s Tiger Club, we took a bit of a journey to a warmer clime.  Imagine grasses and palm trees overlooking the ocean, and you have the idea.
Sea Breeze January Tiger Club Falkland Wool Combed Top

To capture the pale blues and greens, I went with Falkland for our fiber.  It’s a location, rather than a specific breed, and the wool pool on the Falkland Islands is chosen for whiteness and fineness.

Sea Breeze January Tiger Club Panda Sock Yarn

Panda is our yarn, a blend of superwash merino, rayonized bamboo, and nylon.  I don’t care for it so much in socks, so I decided to dye it for a shawl, as the yarn drapes beautifully.  The picture below shows the color order….lime to deeper green alternating with pale blue skies deepening to clear blue ocean.  Each color segment is roughly the same length, but honestly, this was eyeballed.
Sea Breeze January Tiger Club

The method used (for the sock yarn AND the fiber) is ‘blended gradient’, which means I let neighboring colors touch, mingle, and make new transition colors.  So when knitted, this will be semi-solid at times, and variegated at others.

Sea Breeze January Tiger ClubI’m looking forward to playing with a few skeins of this myself, I’m thinking of weaving a long vest kind of thing, maybe with a sand color as weft.

Tiger Club is currently full, but you are welcome to drop me a line if you’d like to be on the waiting list.

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Frosty Morning – December 2015 Tiger Club

Frosty Morning, December 2015 Tiger Club

About a week before I needed to decide on a club color, this was the view from our deck. The blazing yellow, orange and pink, topped off by hazy purple and gray just begged to be interpreted in wool.

Frosty Morning, December 2015 Tiger Club

The fiber is a blend of Mixed BFL and Silk. The natural dark fibers in the BFL gave the cloudy misty sense of haze and possibilities of this spectacular sunrise, and the longwool qualities plus silk give it just the right amount of shimmer. It’s a back and forth dye, so split it up if you want the colors to progress in order instead, or even spin them together across the bits of top held together if you want a single long gradient….you are the boss of your fiber!

The yarn is a variation of a staple sock yarn around here….Bengal Journey. Same construction, great yardage, and twist as the Merino Journey, but made with Blue Faced Leicester Wool, which lends extra strength, and that lovely BFL luster.

Frosty Morning, December 2015 Tiger Club

Frosty Morning, December 2015 Tiger Club

I’ll show you how my skein knits up once I get past the immediate end of year stuff….inventory and sales tax!  I used a mirrored dyeing pattern this time, which will be different from November’s in-the-round pattern.  Fun with variegation!

In the meantime, there are some sock club spots open for January….I’m going to expand it by 4 skeins, so if you’ve been waiting be sure to jump in, as they tend to go fast. The Fiber Clubs (and sock and fiber combos) have a waiting list, so do contact me if you are interested. Thanks, and may you have a bright and sunny 2016!

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Shop Update

I have a shop update for you….Falkland, Targhee, Mawata Silk Hankies, and a brand new striping sock yarn.

First up, The Long Winter on Falkland.  If you are subscribed to Ply, watch for your issue…..you may just spy this in there!!
The Long Winter Falkland

If grey doesn’t do it for you, I also made similar gradients in the 2016 Pantone colors…. Serenity and Rose Quartz.  (Plus I have a number of other gradients!)

Serenity Falkland
Rose Quartz Falkland

I also replenished some favorite Targhee colors….Forest and Autumn Splendor, and added a new one, Autumn Blaze Maple.
Forest Targhee
Autumn Splendor Targhee
Autumn Blaze Maple Targhee

Next up are some Hankie sets. Meet Thankful, Saturniidae Moth Caterpillar, Loch Ness, Pink!!!, and Scarlet!!!

Thankful Silk Hankies
Saturniidae Caterpillar Silk Hankies
Loch Ness Silk Hankies
Pink Hankies
Scarlet Hankies

And last, but not least…..I’ve dyed up a seasonal striping sock yarn….here is Candy Cane Stripe.
Candy Cane Stripe Journey

All of these are available in the shop! 

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Thankful – November 2015 Tiger Club

Turkey with spinning wheel

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving.  It is a time to reconnect with family, to consider blessings, and …  eat!!  I’ve wrapped up some Thanksgiving meal favorites into this month’s fiber and yarn…..golden brown roast turkey, creamy mashed potatoes with a drizzle of gravy, rich green beans, jeweled red cranberry sauce, and of course, some dessert….rich pumpkin pie, plus some chocolate mousse (or black coffee!). Thankful Tiger Club November 2015 Targhee Wool

The fiber is Targhee, which is a sheep breed developed here in America….and this wool was grown and processed in the USA.  Targhee is great for lots of projects.  It has the softness of merino, but a bit more length and crimp.  It spins beautifully both in worsted and woolen styles.  Spin as is for long color runs, or strip it down to make the colors shorter and mix it up.  (Mom, my food is touching!!!)

Thankful Tiger Club November 2015 Tiger Twist Sock YarnOur yarn is also an American product.  I’ve been so glad to watch over the past 10 years as the wool industry is slowly coming back to the United States.  This version of Tiger Twist is made from Merino that was grown in the US, and superwash processed here, too!  (Did you know all wool had to be shipped overseas for superwashing until just a few years ago?)

I used a short repeat on this yarn, hand painting each skein (whew!).  Just for kicks and giggles, I did a little bit of swatching of the yarn to show you why I don’t usually make swatches of variegated yarn to show you!!

Thankful Tiger Club November 2015

At the bottom, I started with 72 stitches and a loose tension, and the yarn makes a stripey spiral.  Then I tightened the tension, and the yarn suddenly made larger pools…..or puddles.  In the middle of the pooling section, I reduced the stitches to 64, but put the tension back to the original.  The puddling continued….but changed direction!  I again tightened the tension, and the yarn went back to making striping spirals….but in the other direction from the original.  This was all done on my knitting machine, so you can imagine the further variation that can be added by small human changes in tension from row to row or session to session. Thankful Tiger Club November 2015

So, that is why I don’t post pictures of swatches for variegated yarn. What will happen on your project is dependent on stitch count, needle size, and your tension. These are all things you can control if you don’t care for the way the colors are pooling.

Thankful Tiger Club November 2015

That’s it for November Club. I’m looking ahead to December now. I have one sock club opening at this time (I’m dyeing early so I can enjoy Christmas with my family), but you can look for more openings for yarn (and possibly fiber) in the New Year.

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