Hope is the Thing with Feathers – December 2021 Tiger Club

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

BY EMILY DICKINSON

I have been ‘sitting’ on this inspiration picture for a few years now, wanting to make it, but not quite sure how I wanted to do it. My community choir starting singing a song set to this poem in Spring 2020. The times made the message of the poem even sweeter, and we were finally able to perform it in November 2021. Just like the song, it was finally time to create this picture in yarn and fiber. While I do like color palette pulled out of the picture, I also wanted to pull in more of the wood and bark colors, get in some shimmer like the falling snow, and play with a deeper red. I decided to repeat the basic 5 colors 3 times….but with shade tweaks each time, for a total of 15 colors.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers Dec 2021 Shetland Tussah

The wool I used for Fiber Club is a beautiful blend of Shetland and Tussah Silk. I dyed it in a semi-fractal…dividing the length into 3 pieces, each about twice the length of the one before it, then dyeing the 5 colors for that section fairly equally. Depending on the batch, there was more or less water and thus movement and blending of the colors. You should be able to divide this down the middle and spin a nice 2 ply for a shawl, or chain ply each half for a pair of socks or mitts. Or sometime completely different….remember, you are the boss of your fiber! That tussah is more of a ribbon…it can just sparkle up every so often, or if you want it more blended in you could make rolags with your hand carders to keep the colors in order, but fluff and blend a little more. I’m currently doing this with a merino silk blend and really like the results and easy spinning.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers Dec 2021 Bronze Glitter Sock

I have to say, I’m really proud of how the yarn came out. For a while now, I’ve known I needed to discontinue making shawl gradients for Tiger Sock Club….invariably someone complains about it (it’s not for socks!) even though the list clearly states that dyed-for-a-shawl is a possibility. Add in that I generally choose a more expensive yarn for this….and costs continuing up….well, it was either drop shawl gradients from club or raise prices. It’s ok, this frees me up to bring them to the shop.

So, if we’re going out, it’s with a bang! This shawl gradient is a graduated gradient, each ever larger color segment meant to result in somewhat even stripes when knit into a center/top down shawl, whether semi-circular or triangular. There was some math. Then winding…..and not having it come out right, and re-measuring and re-winding. Finally, it came out just right.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers Dec 2021 Bronze Glitter Sock collage

The yarn is Bronze Sparkle, a blend of sw merino, nylon, and generous sprinkling of bronze stellina. It’s a 2 ply, so it will nicely hold the holes of lace open. I love how the colors came out as a kettle wash in each segment, similar to the dreamy feel of the inspiration picture. I can’t wait to see projects made with this. (And if you are set on socks, go for it…they’ll have different width stripes and be fraternal twins. I’d suggest using the long (red) end for toes and heels while knitting from the short (tan) end.) I do have an extra or two of the yarn, it’s exclusive for club members right now, but if there are no takers it’ll be in the shop in May. (And if you need coordinates to make this into a larger project, do contact me!)

Once January rolled around, I had a lot of fun ordering for the next few months of club. If you check my Instagram, you’ll see the 3 huge boxes I got this week, and a bit of a teaser! If you aren’t in Tiger Club, jump on in, the wool is fine!!

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Lampwork – November 2021 Tiger Club

Lampwork bead by DivineSparkDesigns on Etsy.

November’s yarn and fiber are both in the category of ‘great for bright clear colors’, so I ran with it and took inspiration from this beautiful lampwork bead (she’s since sold this one, but she has many other lovely offerings, so be sure to check out her shop at the link in the caption). I pulled out the brightest green, then went both directions with it, on one side to the bright teal/turquoise, on the other into periwinkle, purple, and then a rich red/pink fuchsia.

Lampwork Targhee Sock Nov 2021

Our yarn is Targhee Sock, grown and made all in the USA. I love this one because it blooms up so fat after dyeing, and then again into your stitches after you knit it up. I dyed this in a there-and-back x 2 method for shorter color bursts that will overlap when knitting and should make a nice mini stripe depending on the pattern and stitch count….be sure to experiment until you find a combination you like. A fun part of the dye process was using the yarn itself as a resist….the dyes in the mixed colors bind to the wool at different rates, creating some subtle new shades, and some areas of pastels. Each skein is a bit different, even within the same batch.

Lampwork Falkland Nov 2021

Our fiber is Falkland, this one is American (so technically Falkland type) and is predominantly Corriedale blended with other fine wools, all chosen for being naturally very white which makes the dyed colors just pop. I’ve dyed this in a blended gradient, which allows some fun blending, but gives you the best opportunity to do what you’d like with the colors. It also allowed the dye to break in areas (where the mixed color breaks apart making new shades). Falkland is just a bit finer than medium, so perfect for socks, mittens, scarves, cowls, vests, and other things that will see some wear, be near the skin, but maybe on a less sensitive area. Suitable for spinning worsted or woolen.

I find myself with a few spots open for December, so if you’d like to hop on board the Tiger Club train, stop by the shop and subscribe. It’s monthly, so try it for a month or two and see if you like it, we’d love to have you!

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Abundant – October 2021 Tiger Club

It’s be a few hot minutes since I’ve dyed a rainbow, and October was a good month to do it, with the warm rich colors of autumn and thoughts of Thanksgiving emerging. I mixed up a bright berry pink-red, rich pumpkin orange, golden squash, rich greens, evening twilight/blueberry, and burgundy-purple grape.

Abundant Andean Stricken Oct 2021

Our fiber this month is Andean Stricken Combed Top. A special edition, this nice toothy medium wool from the Andes is a blend of white and darker brown fibers. It lends a bit of depth to the colors without being overbearing like stripy/tweedy tops can be. Tiger Fiber Club is all about trying new things, so I decided to dye the color separately so that you can truly be the boss of the fiber. Blend the shades together to make your own gradients or blends, make stripy rolags, or simply chunk it all up and do a random combo spin to make a totally fun marl yarn. I hope you’ll share your process and yarny creation on social, I’m excited to see what you will make!

Abundant Journey Oct 2021

Our yarn is reliable and soft Journey, a perfect go-to for socks (that actually fit in your shoes), or really any thing you might like to make. Instead of keeping the rainbow in order, I interleaved them, allowing for some new colors at the junctions. The dyeing method is cold pour, and the yarn itself made resists on some skeins. Each skein turned out a bit different, and all are amazing. My skein is the one shown open….I chose that one to keep because it was the most ‘boring’! 😉

I finally had a chance to knit up a swatch, and I love how it has turned out. Interleaving the colors made a much nicer blend and less striping than keeping the rainbow in order.

Abundant Swatch Oct 2021

This is a 72 stitch tube at a good tight stitches per inch, I’d say 8-9. How yours will pattern will depend on the skein itself (to fit in the pan, the yarn was artfully squished, so each batch has a bit of a different ratio of colors), your stitch count, your tension, and your pattern. Experiment with various things until you get something you are satisfied with.

I do have a few spots open in the Tiger Fiber Club, and one Sock spot. We’d love to have you for November’s Club!

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Iowa Gold – September 2021 Tiger Club

soybeans

This is usually what the soybean fields look like in early September. This year they turned fast, and most were harvested by the end of the month since it has been so hot and dry. Tiger Club was inspired this month by Soybeans when I found this fun Merino Soybean combed top to try. I mixed up a cheery gold, and paired it with an autumn golden orange, then developed three greens from nearly lime to a leafy green, to a deeper hunter green. For both fiber and yarn, I dappled all the colors with wet speckles of brown, the three shades of blue I used, yellow, and red.

Iowa Gold Merino Soybean Top Sept 2021 TC

This top is 70% Merino and 30% Soybean top, which you can see is not blended in too much, but runs in ribbons throughout. This fiber was originally developed by Henry Ford, you may have heard of Soy Silk. It was doing quite well as clothing and car upholstery, but was a victim of WWII and was replaced by cheaper Nylon. The fiber was re-developed in the early 2000’s as interest increased in moving away from petrochemicals. The fiber is derived from soy waste from making oil, milk, and tofu. Source.

Interesting fact about Soy Silk is that it dyes like a protein fiber, a fact I actually forgot until I got into dyeing it…..I was expecting it to be lighter and the soy bits to shine, but instead it took the color like a champ, and while it does have some sheen, it isn’t as much as Tencel. If you want to keep these two fibers blended more in your spinning, I suggest spinning from the fold, or keep moving across the top being careful to not spend too much time in one spot.

Iowa Gold Merino Tencel Nylon Sock Sept 2021 TC

The sock yarn is a variation on the Merino/Tencel I usually get….this one has Nylon also. The blend is also trended more toward socks, and is much bouncier. I like this one and will likely use it again for our ‘plant fiber’ yarn in the future. The colors took great, and there’s still that bit of sheen from the tencel. While I did twist the skeins to attempt to get the speckles evenly distributed, this is a very organic yarn dyeing process, and I can’t promise your socks will match. The overall color pattern should make mini-stripes on plain stockinette socks, and you could have fun with pooling in a large project, modular patterns like entrelac, or crochet.

I have one remaining Sock spot, and a number of Fiber spots open for October, I’d love for you to join us!

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Southwest Sunset – August 2021 Tiger Club

August has been a stretch for me….just a lot going on, some good some bad, and some not-so-great turning into pretty good!

So why not stretch my colors a bit, too? I tend to stay away from much orange since many don’t like them, but these terra cotta colors called to me. A bit of tweaking to the colors in this palette, and we have Southwest Sunset, with shades of terra cotta from peach to reddish, a rich purpley maroon, and a deep navy. It says ‘autumn’ to me without being in-your-face.

Southwest Sunset Southdown August TC 2021


Our fiber is a new one, Southdown. This breed has the distinction of being the oldest of the ‘down’ sheep, development of the breed started in the late 1700s, and was also imported to the USA in the early 1800s. The breed is listed as ‘recovering’ with the Livestock Conservancy, which means I was able to get this great combed top for you. Southdown is primarily a meat breed, but the fleece is a nice poufy medium wool, coming in at about 28 micron. I’ve dyed this in my classic blended gradient, allowing the colors to play with their neighbors. Be sure to bend this to your will, though….you are the boss of the fiber and the color order.

Southwest Sunset Safari Sock August TC 2021


Our yarn is Safari, my fav sock yarn of 75% Corriedale wool and 25% nylon. I’ve dyed this in a self-striping pattern, with a stripe for each of the colors, then an additional stripe that is a variegated blend of muted shades of the colors, which look a bit ‘painted desert’ to me…and one each batch this variegated segment is different. I had hoped to have a sample knit up for you…..but those August curveballs are running into September, so this ‘raw’ photo will have to do for now. The yarn should stripe about 4 rows per color on socks, and the colors will stay in order.


I have new spots open in both the yarn and fiber clubs for September, do join us!

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Purple Highlights – July 2021 Tiger Club

I love color (I guess that’s a good thing for a dyer!!), the ironic thing is that I don’t tend to go very bold for my clothing, and definitely not my hair! Someday, though….the white hair is going to outnumber the brown, and I think I’m going to at least try this once. In the meantime, I had a lot of fun with these shades and some Zebra yarn and fiber.

Purple Highlights Zebra Sock  - Tiger Club July 2021

The yarn is the super-hot-right-now Zebra Sock Yarn, a nice blend of Merino and Nylon in a tight twist two ply. It has random bits of black and great in the plies, which make random stripes and puddles when knitting up, the effect will depend on what you are making. I dyed this using my favorite stock purple, and the purple leaned both to the periwinkle blue side, and the magenta pink side. I used a low immersion cold pour method, let the yarn soak up the colors for a bit, then added acid and waited a bit longer, then heat set the whole thing. They turned out pretty and each is unique (so if you get a double helping of sock yarn, do alternate if using them together).

Purple Highlights Zebra Merino - Tiger Club July 2021

I certainly couldn’t let sock club have all the fun, and I was lucky enough to find this Merino blend of white, cream, greys, and black. It took the same three shades of violet like a champ, and I applied them randomly, so don’t look for a repeat! Merino does great spun worsted from the end, or semi-woolen from the fold or fauxlags, or you can even use your hand cards or blending board.

I’m keeping August Club closed this month, as things are busy with final summer activities and back to school. If you are interested in a spot, do use the contact form to be on the waitlist. Thank you!

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Grapefruit Sangria – June 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Grapefruit Sangria 19.5 m Merino Wool Combed Top - June 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Grapefruit Sangria Titanium Tiger Twist Sock Yarn - June 2021 Tiger Club

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).

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Pebbles – May 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Pebbles Tiger Tweed - May 2021 Tiger Sock Yarn Club

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.

Pebbles NE Grey Wool Roving - Tiger Fiber Club May 2021

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!

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Glazed Bowls – April 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Glazed Bowls Rambouillet Wool Combed Top - Tiger Club April 2021

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.

Glazed Bowls Targhee Sock Yarn - Tiger Club April 2021

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.

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Hyacinth – March 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Hyacinth Romney Wool Combed Top - March 2021 Tiger Fiber Club

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?

Hyacinth Titanium Tiger Twist Sock Yarn - March 2021 Tiger Club

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.

Hyacinth TTT Sock Yarn

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:

Hyacinth original plan

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:

Hyacinth my skein

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.)

Hyacinth TTT Sock Yarn

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!!

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