Summer is always a great time to grab a refreshing beverage, and the yarn and fiber I chose for June were the perfect ones to pull of something delicate. I’ve had this citrus slice on my Pinterest for some time, and decided now is the time. However, I was feeling this was maybe a little too delicate……
Ah, this picture has the ‘punch’ I was after (ha), but maybe a little too bold…..so, from these two images I took inspiration to create my own house mix of pinks, salmon, peach, and pale yellow to create Grapefruit Sangria. I hope you find it delicious and refreshing.
Our fiber is a real treat, superfine 19.5 micron Merino, grown in the USA. I’m generally not a big fan of merino as a dyer (especially the superwash stuff), but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well this behaved. Homegrown for the win! I used my favorite blended gradient technique on this, so each color wavers into its neighbor for a nice blending effect. Fine merino is a lot of fiber at once, so if you have issues drafting you may like to strip this down or use some other technique like spinning from the fold, to make it more manageable.
Our yarn is Titanium Tiger Twist, a nice blend of Superwash Merino and Nylon, in a 2 ply format with plenty of hosiery twist. It’s great for socks, or for something else. 2 ply is handy for holding the holes open on lacework, this would be a nice one to make a shawl from, or a scarf. Planned pooling can line up those colors if you’d prefer them not mixed up (and you can do the same using this as warp or weft on your loom).
Thanks for joining us for this peek at Tiger Club. I did have a request for more fiber, so there’s an additional 8 oz if another club member is interested. I used up all the yarn I had on hand, though. If you are interested in Club itself, I do have a couple fiber club spots open, which I’m happy to combine into a Double Club upon request (provided there’s 2 singles available).
I was always that kid with a pocket of pebbles, and rock drawer in my desk…..I still pick up interesting specimens! The natural brown-grey of the fiber and yarn for May lent itself well to this scene of Pebbles, I simply added a wash over with the shades of maroon, pink, blue, green, and tan. I applied the colors randomly to replicate this jumble of granite.
Our yarn is Tiger Tweed, a 2 ply superwash Merino with bits of Donegal tweed blended in to lend tufts of neutral colors that don’t take the dye. This one isn’t my favorite for socks (knit tightly if you do), but it makes a very nice effect in large projects such as shawls and cowls and such.
Our fiber is New England Fine Grey Combed Sliver. Definitely something completely different to the combed top prep most of us are used to. This wool pool fiber is indeed from smaller New England farms, and has simply been scoured (washed of dirt and lanolin), then sent through the first bit or two of carding to make sliver. If continuing the process to combed top, several of these are drawn into the combs together, and then a thick combed top ready for mechanical spinners is the result. As you can see from the 4 oz sample above, this sliver is not as thick, and thus longer. It does make it much easier to handle, and you don’t need to worry about ripping it down thinner to make it more manageable. This has also not been carbonized, a chemical process that burns off the vegetable matter and dust. I washed a lot of the dust off for you through the dyeing process, but there is still a good amount on there, and plenty of hay….so you may prefer spinning outside, or with a dropcloth. I find the effort is worth it, it’s a very fun and easy spin, and most of the hay just falls out on its own. This is a good fiber to try your hand at long draw if you haven’t ventured there yet. Let go of making a perfectly even yarn with this one, and just have fun with it. We’ll be returning to our usually combed top in June.
Thanks for being a part of Tiger Club for June! My apologies for a late reveal, it has been a busy couple of weeks and this was pushed to the back burner. I don’t currently have any openings in Tiger Club, but to jet me an email if you are interested, you can be at the top of the waitlist!
I’m always looking for quirky sources for seasonal colors, and I loved this stack of vintage bowls, with their robin’s egg blues and new-shoots chartreuse greens. Throw in a little storm cloud grey, and we have a winning spring colorway.
This month I dyed some fabulous Rambouillet combed top. Rambouillet sheep are descended from the best of a small flock of Merino sheep from Spain in 1786 and the breed takes it’s name from the town of the national sheepfold where it was developed. The breed came to the USA in 1840, and this offering of wool is indeed from United States sheep. You can learn more and see pictures of the sheep here.
I dyed the wool in a graduated gradient…..cream, light green, light blue….grey, dark green, dark blue. The wool itself formed a nice resist and broke the grey, leading to a bit of pink, and other areas of dark and light. Spun into a straight 2 ply, this would make a great shawl, or mix it up by making a fractal, or combining it with other top (Spin Off had a nice article in their spring issue about this). Or tear it up and do a combo spin. Rambo is a nice soft fiber like the Merino it descended from, but I feel it has more bounce. Perfect for next-to-the-skin projects. It is happy to be spun worsted or woolen.
I enjoy throwing a striping yarn into the Club mix from time to time, and I took inspiration from the bowl rims, and the alternating of cream and green with blue. I made a stripe of lighter blue and green in the middle of the darker stripes, it came out a little more subtle than I anticipated, but I still like the effect. For the cream, I decided to throw in the grey as the stripe. It turned out nicely, and will be great colors for spring and summer. Start about a foot in from the green end for the beginning of the pattern if you care about matching socks. Shown is a 64 stitch tube, at 8 1/2 stitches per inch, 10 1/2 rows per inch. I could go a bit tighter, but this would work fine for socks, too. The wool in this yarn is Targhee, which is a breed developed especially for the western United States. The development of the breed is a little complicated, so I’ll let you read about it here. The yarn is nice and soft like Merino, but more durable, and it quite bouncy with more memory than Merino. I really like it in this sock yarn.
Interested in joining us? I have a few sock and fiber spots open for May’s Tiger Club. If you’d like a combo (double fiber or double sock, or sock and fiber), drop me a line and I’ll rearrange the button inventory for you.
The warm breezes of spring have arrived. My crocus have come and gone, and the daffodils are thinking about it. Soon the bright hyacinths will be out, too. I love the wide array of colors they have, and my goal was to capture a few in this month’s yarn and fiber.
Romney was a great choice for this group of colors, as a medium wool it takes color more deeply, and dyes nicely evenly, giving a good intensity to these spring hues. My suggestion is to spin this in a worsted-ish method, with a little bit lower twist that you would use for a finer wool. This will keep the number of pokey ends in line with the yarn and to a minimum if you are planning to make a garment/accessory from this. Of course, this would also be a great fiber to weave with, in which case….still worsted, but plenty of twist. You can also plan to line your item, depending on how sensitive the recipient is. Or go for a different kind of project….how about a table runner or hot pad?
Titanium Tiger Twist is the sock yarn for this month. I love the textured look of 2 ply yarns, and how well they hold the holes in lace projects. Titanium also contains enough nylon to hold up to being socks. I dyed this yarn in a there and back (and there and back again) pattern, with the aim to getting the colors to stack up and make mini-stripes. It was quite the operation as I made myself a template to handpaint the skeins.
Here’s how my skein measures up. While I tried to paint them as similar as possible, the colors wick as they are applied, which makes each skein unique. When I was planning this colorway, I spent some time with the Planned Pooling generator (here is is with these colors in place.) Here was my original estimate on how it would turn out:
While I knew the round was a little too long for the colors to overlap very much, I knew I could get the illusion of stripes by grouping the lighter and darker colors together.
Entering the actual stitch numbers from my swatch, the Planned Pooling generator gave me this:
Maybe I didn’t count quite correctly (half stitches, etc), but it’s close. Here’s my swatch, I started with 72 stitches at the bottom, and reduced to 68 at the top, then played with the tension a bit, which didn’t seem to make much difference in the pooling. I’m pretty pleased with the 68 at a little less tension (higher gauge) for my foot and knitting machine, so I’ll be using that for my sock (unless I decide to weave with it instead). (I ended up with about 8.5 stitches per inch.)
So, play with the number of stitches and gauge, and if you want to further break it up, there are some wonderful patterns that use slip or tuck stitches. If you want to puddle the colors, patterns with short row sections, or alternate strip construction are handy, you can find some of these on Knitty. Crochet of course puddles up colors nicely, and you can try planned pooling on a larger project (my scarf is here), or you could use the yarn as warp for a faux ikat project to keep the colors together (which is an option I am considering).
I have a few fiber spots open for April available here. We’d love to have you!!
Each year, I do take a look at the Pantone Colors and try to do at least one Club offering that is ‘on trend’. This year, the Colors of the Year are ‘Ultimate Gray’ and ‘Illuminating’. What better mascot of these colors than our Iowa state bird, the Goldfinch. In recent years, I’ve been delighted by these birds descending upon our hill of purple coneflower to enjoy the seeds. Then I would see a few in the spring, and not again until fall. I assumed they were just migrating through our city area on their way to a more suitable habitat.
And then I tried a different kind of bird feeder. Our urban, yet wooded, environment is perfect for raccoons, and I battle them every year. I’ve pretty much given up on the regular type of bird feeder, but have had ok luck with suet (which may or may not have added pepper/hot sauce!), and even enjoyed a variety of woodpeckers this year. Wanting to expand our feeding options to see more of the chickadees and other smaller birds, I picked up a Finch Sock on a whim. It went over really great, all kinds of birds came out of the woodwork. The sock developed a hole, so I picked up a more permanent option….
Unfortunately, I’ve not had any luck getting a decent photo of actual Goldfinches on this feeder. Literally, we will have 10 or so on here, and as soon as I make any type of movement around the window, they are gone in a flash. It’s a mission to photograph them, now.
Anyway, I brought this color inspiration to the club this month. I try to vary the dyeing methods, and we hadn’t had a random style in a while. I also try to vary the colors, and I know that a lot of yellow can be overwhelming, so this was a good opportunity to minimalize and go with a speckle. I chose Panda 2 as the base, it’s a nice blend of SW Merino and rayon of Bamboo. The bamboo doesn’t take the dye, and lends a very nice sheen to the yarn, reminding me of the sparkle of snow. I got a welcome sauna treatment of heat and steam (it was below zero all that week!) as I sprinkled dyestock and acid over the yarn as it was up to temperature, ensuring a quick strike to keep the areas of color smaller. The yarn was repositioned 3 times and re-sprinkled to keep the colors random and to reach all areas of the skein. However, there may be variation in the amount of sprinkles from one end to the other, and definitely between skeins, so alternating skeins (or even both ends of the same skein) can help ensure things stay more random.
Our fiber of the month is Merino Tencel, 50/50. Tencel is a fiber derived from wood, and like the Bamboo rayon of our yarn, it is not dyed by acid dyes. This particular blend had fewer passes through the mill, and has ribbons of the tencel throughout, as you can see glinting in the picture. I actually didn’t anticipate this, as I’ve purchased this blend before, and it had always been well blended in the past. However, it worked out well, since despite not being dyeable by the acid dyed, the tencel did act as a wick and pulled the dye along the fiber, creating streaks. I decided to make a gradient with the fiber, starting with few speckles of yellow and black (which I knew would break to grey), and adding more as I went. I knew yellow + black = green, and in fact was counting on it, as I thought it lent a great depth to the braid. Blends like this that have ribbons of different fibers can be difficult to spin evenly, I do suggest spinning from the fold to keep your proportions more even, or be careful to keep moving if you are spinning across the top.
I’m thankful all the club packages have arrived, I was tremendously dismayed when I saw all of them stuck at the first stop after our local post office. Fortunately, the delay was resolved and everyone has their club.
Tiger Club is currently full for March. If you wish to be on the waitlist, please feel free to contact me through the website.
Our red weathered barn was a big part of my childhood. There were chickens to feed, eggs to gather, new lambs and calves to bottle-feed, the cow to milk, and tiny kittens to find. The hayloft afforded building blocks for forts, and a refuge in most seasons from any kind of weather. I’ve brought you the colors of memory, rich reddish browns, barn red, weathered grey, and the surrounding greens and blues of a summer day.
The yarn is a favorite, Journey. A blend of SW Merino and Nylon, its tight and smooth 4 ply construction makes sturdy socks with good stitch definition. I dyed this in a there-and-back style, but played with color placement to keep the brown/red/grey opposite the greens and blues, which should result in a mini spiral stripe on socks, depending on your stitch count, gauge, and pattern. Try a few different ones if you don’t like what it is doing on your first choice.
The wool is Superwash 56’s, it’s a wool pool of British sheep, selected to fit that ‘medium’ wool type, so may contain corriedale, shetland, etc. The superwash treatment knocks down the scales, which makes this wool feel softer than the fiber thickness would otherwise feel. Great for things that need to be hard wearing and washable….mittens, boot toppers, maybe even a cowl or scarf, and socks.
Sometimes I try to match the picture and dyes perfectly, and sometimes…the inspiration is just a suggestion. I loved the title Blueberry Pie in the Sky, and all the blues in this pictures. I ran with it, but leant a bit of a tropical flair by using Sea Breeze as my blue base rather than the pale grayed blues shown. I also wanted to stop at that blurple of blueberries and not go all the way plum. I’m pleased with how it turned out.
Our fiber is a fun blend I’m calling Hoof and Leaf, it’s a blend of Llama, Whiteface Woodland, Ramie, and rayon of Bamboo. The two plant fibers don’t take the dye and leave a nice streaky look and a lot of shine. The llama and wool are both bright white, and were happy to show off these delicate tones of blue from barely there to deep navy with a purple undertone. I dyed this in a true gradient, painting each of the 5 color sections on and encouraging blending at the transition points. You might like to spin this from the fold to add a little loft and to keep all the fibers drafting together. You can spin this worsted also, just watch that you keep moving across the fiber and don’t let too much of one type of fiber to draft out.
The yarn this month is a new version of one I enjoyed dyeing, Silver Lynx. It’s a lux blend of Superwash Merino, Tussah Silk, and bits of sparkling silver Stellina. It’s tough enough for socks, but also great for other projects like a cowl or shawlette. I may try winding this for my loom, getting the colors to line up, yet travel down the cloth. To dye this, I pulled out a technique I loved to do in my early dyeing days….dip dyeing. Color is added to the hot dyepot, the yarn dipped and lifted out, a new layer of color is added, and the yarn is dipped again, but not quite as far. It’s a workout, but a great way to get these smoother color changes as each layer overlaps the last.
My apologies for the tardy reveal, I put these in the mail before Christmas so that I could enjoy a break with my family, and hopefully the packages would hit the sweet spot of shipping between gifts and returns. Of course, 2020, so one was stuck for quite a while, then the crew working on pulling underground wires dug up our internet, and we were without for about 5 days until they sent the tech out (it’s still a temporary fix until spring, but mostly works). It’s rolling right into 2021…I put in my SD card to edit these pictures, and my computer didn’t even register that it has a card reader! Turns out the problem was static… a shutdown, unplug, discharge, and start up fixed it. Yay, Google-fu. We’re having another ‘weather event’ today, and we’re hearing and watching cars slip and slide on the rain that has now turned to snow. This storm is going across the country, so if you are in the path, stay safe!
Tiger Club will open up for a limited number of new subscriptions in February, we’d love to have you!
This December calls for strong measures. Fresh scents of evergreen and strong coffee. I brightened the greens in this to make the overall effect a little more cheerful, and dubbed the two greens ‘Blue Spruce’ since I used some of every blue dye color I have to make them. Our ‘Java’ (or chocolate?) got some cream and sugar, and I was ready for some dyeing.
Our wool is what led me to look for a brown something inspiration. This Finn Humbug is natural white and natural tan wool that is then combed together only once or twice to leave strong streaks of each color. You can see the natural colors at one point in the variegated pattern. Finn sheep are not real large, and tend to have ‘litters’ of lambs, often 3-4 rather than the more normal singles and twins of other sheep. You can learn more about the breed from the FinnSheep Breeders Association. The wool is medium, so best for outerwear, or are great in felting projects. If you’d like to keep the marl throughout, I’d suggest pulling off sections and spinning semi-woolen from the fold. You can also spin worsted from the end, as you spin across you’ll get areas of the overdyed white and overdyed brown, which will also be interesting. And of course, if you don’t like the way I’ve put the colors on the fiber….rearrange it!
I had a lot of fun coming up with this striping pattern, and I really love how it turned out….bold areas of the two greens of the Blue Spruce, and an equally bold section of Java, cream, and sugar. The yarn is Safari, a sturdy blend of 75% Superwash Corriedale Wool and 25% Nylon. Most of my personal socks are made of this base, and I’ve yet to wear a pair out. Once knit up and washed, the yarn plumps up nicely and lends a great cush to the foot, and soft warmth. The sample above is a 64 stitch tube, at about 8 stitches per inch. The kettle dyed variations in the breen and tan sections really lend movement to the pattern, and are nice and random to keep your interest through the knitting to see how the next section will turn out.
December’s Tiger Club will be closing early on December 10, I have one sock spot left open. I’m planning to dye and ship early so I can enjoy some days off with my family, then dive into everything in my studio to take inventory. I hope you will find creative ways to make your season as merry and bright as possible this year.
My inspiration for October was this fabulously textural Globe Thistle. The results are a little more loosely ‘inspired by’ than I usually do, but I got to use some techniques I haven’t done in a while, and the results are definitely interesting.
Our Fiber is Rambouillet, also known as French Merino. If you’d like to read more about the breed, click here. This is probably my favorite of the Merino type wools, it has a nice staple length and incredible bounce. I used an impressionistic painting method of dye application on this, concentrating the dark colors more at one end and adding more light toward the other end….putting in the purple globes as in the picture.
I actually tried including two other dark colors in the first batch, and decided it was too much. However, it made a great opportunity to send coordinating braids to (most of) the double fiber folk. Here are the two together:
The yarn this month is USA grown and processed Targhee. Read more about the Targhee breed here. Targhee is my second favorite of the Merino type breeds, it also has a very lofty bounce to it, and a great staple length. Superwash treated and blended with a bit of nylon for extra strength, and this makes a great sock yarn that is also good for other cold weather items like cowls and mittens.
I won’t do speckles with powders due to the respiratory risks, so I often like to experiment with how to get similar effects. There’s a lot of blending going on, so it isn’t sharp and tiny, but more like a Monet painting. I layered on the greens, blues, gold, coral, and purple colors multiple times…..when using this technique on superwash yarn, the yarn has 4 sides to paint!!
Here’s the skein I got to keep this month (yay for cone ends!), and I spent a little time making a swatch to give you an idea of how this might knit up. My tube is 64 stitches around, and there are two different gauges. The top half is at about 8 stitches per inch, and you can see a stronger green pooling stripe. The bottom half is about 9 stitches per inch, and the striping/pooling effect is not very strong.
Each skein is going to come out a bit different because of shifting while being painted and flipped and painted and flipped, so you might like to swatch before deciding on your sock pattern, also. Any change in stitch number, gauge, and pattern will affect the patterning. I like the look of the stronger green stripe, however I like the sturdiness of the fabric in the tighter gauge, so I will experiment further with using the tighter gauge but adding two stitches and see what happens.
Are you interesting in having a surprise each month? I have several sock spots, and finally some new fiber spots open! Come check out Tiger Club….try for a month, stay as long as you like.
I knew by the time this club arrived that the trees would start turning here, and I was right, we are getting gorgeous colors! Our neighborhood is full of sturdy oak trees, in fact these trees did great in the Derecho, while many maples did not fare as well (and on the day of shipping this club, one finally succumbed to its damage and took out our power for a few hours). I used this inspiration photo, but pulled my own color palette from it, focusing on the gold as well as the golden brown, and pulling in some of the grey to play off the gold and dark chocolate brown.
The yarn is ever favorite Journey, a beautifully smooth 4 ply sock weight with a nice amount of twist, in a Superwash Merino and Nylon blend. I hand painted the colors on this as a palindrome, so if you are interested in trying faux ikat on your loom, or knitting something that does planned pooling, this is your skein!
The wool is Shetland, a great medium wool perfect for plenty of projects that require a bit of softness, but also will take some wear. I dyed a blended gradient with this, but remember that you decide what the color will do in your yarn, so tear it up and do what you want! Shetland does great worsted or woolen, so smooth it down into worsted if you want to make something drapey, or try carding or blending board to make rolag, or even just fauxlags or spinning from the fold to get a semi-woolen yarn.
I have a few spots in the October Tiger Sock Yarn Club open if you’d like to join the fun. I will expanding the fiber club starting in November, so if you’ve been interested in that, please check back on November 1. I hope the weather is fine in your neck of the woods, we are hoping to get the kayaks out today for one final hurrah.