Northwoods Conifers – August 2022 Tiger Club

A favorite vacation destination in my life has been the Northwoods. My grandparents would take me camping and fishing at Leech Lake in Minnesota. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed many adventures in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with my husband’s family. While we do have conifers in Iowa, it’s a different balance between conifer and deciduous up there, and the air just seems fresher. For our Northwoods Conifers, I mixed up a deep blue-pine green, a medium green, and a fresh blue sky, all to layer over a natural color of wool.

Northwoods Conifers Grey SW Merino Nylon 80 20 - Aug 2022 Tiger Club

The combed top for August is a wonderful blend of many colors of white, grey, and black superwash Merino wool and nylon, in a the perfect 80/20 ratio for making a yarn that can take some wear, such as for socks or mitts. The fiber was not blended all the way, leaving streaks of light and dark that lend a beautiful dappled look to our colors. I dyed this folded in half, so you may divide it more easily to make 2 matching skeins. Spin as is and chain ply the whole thing, then knit from both ends? Divide in half, then divide each half into 2 or 3 long strips for a conventional 2 or 3 ply? Or maybe something else entirely! It’s your wool, make the colors sing the way you want! This wool will be perfectly happy with pretty much any spinning technique you want to use.

Northwoods Conifers Tiger Tweed Aug 2022 Tiger Club

To bring in some of that conifer texture, I chose Tiger Tweed for the yarn. It’s a nice soft superwash merino, flecked with brown, black, grey, and white bits of donegal. I dyed this in a down and back, with the yarn randomly squooshed in the pan (that’s highly technical) which softens the color changes. While I really love the look of this yarn, I’ll admit this isn’t my favorite for socks. Because the nylon content is concentrated in the tweed bits, the merino is left on its own, and is just going to wear faster. I advise a tight gauge if you are going for socks or mitts, and/or knit in reinforcement where you need it. However, it would be lovely in a number of other projects, so I swatched with that in mind.

Northwoods Conifers Tiger Tweed Swatch

It’s always helpful to see examples of hand dyed skeins and their swatches to get an idea of how to ‘read’ a skein. This particular down and back pattern did some very interesting things depending on the gauge used. This tube is 64 stitches throughout, and I loosened the tension on my knitting machine from a sock gauge of about 9 stitches per inch all the way to the largest it could go, about 6 stitches per inch (for this particular yarn).

Northwoods Conifers Tiger Tweed Marked Swatch

I’ve marked on the swatch roughly where I changed tensions, and I find it very interesting, because these are really small tension differences. The bottom is the tightest tension, the one I would prefer for socks, and you can see the colors make a lazy loosely organized stripe that spirals around. As I loosened the tension, the striping got a little wider as more yarn was used per round, until suddenly the colors were stacking, the light green with the natural grey, the blue with the medium green, and the pine color with itself. I loosened the tension again, and puddling reversed directions. You can’t quite see the top due to the roll of the loose end, but at the loosest tension, the yarn went back to striping. So if you don’t like puddles, be sure to try subtly changing things….add or subtract a stitch or two, try a pattern, or change your tension/needle size. There are also a number of patterns than contain modular bits that would make these colors stack up, which might also be interesting to you. Try some things! I’d love to see what you discover this yarn can do, so please share here, on Rav, or FB or Insta.

I do have an extra of the fiber, if you are in Club and would like it, drop me a line. Otherwise it’ll be in the shop in 4 months (if I don’t spin it myself). Tiger Club is full at this time, you may send a message to be on the wait list for any spots that come up. Thank you!

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Thunderbolt – July 2022 Tiger Club

It’s severe storm season, and we can’t go a hot second in Iowa without talking about the weather (wait 5 minutes….it’ll change!). This inspiration picture struck me as the right balance between bold and summery, yet could be a nice fall into winter feel. I pulled out some different colors than suggested, focusing on the purple into grey and black….with a shazam of light.

Thunderbolt Icelandic Wool Combed Top - July 2022 Tiger Club

The fiber is Icelandic combed top. It’s a 34-36 micron wool, lightweight and good for felting. The fibers are long, suitable for lace spinning, or make the traditional Lopi low twist thick singles yarn, held together and relaxed into the twist by some light felting in the finishing. This wool is probably be spun worsted, but it could be fun trying to add some loft to it. The colors and micron are somewhat close to last year’s Southwest Sunset on Southdown (except Southdown is much more reluctant to felt). Think carefully, but they could be interesting used together….maybe differential shrinking in a woven project?

Thunderbolt on Safari Sock Yarn - July 2022 Tiger Club

The yarn is Safari, and I went with a double there-and-back variegated pattern. The yarn acts as a resist against itself where folded, so it really did a nice job of catching the moody and billowing thunderheads of the inspiration picture. Your skein will be unique in the way it took the colors, and how much the blues and golds show up on each segment.

Thunderbolt Swatch

I went a little overboard with my swatch, but I always enjoy showing how a small change can make a big difference in how variegated yarns behave. If you see near the bottom of this swatch, I was knitting with a pretty firm tension, probably about as tight I can comfortably knit this yarn on my machine. See how the bold is making a bold diagonal from bottom left then off to the right? For my taste, that’s maybe too bold and regimented, and the way it is spiraling will shift with the heel and such and maybe not quite come back the same (I guess I could do an afterthought heel to avoid that). I ticked my tension dial (like loosing your gauge, or switching to bigger needles….or adding a stitch or two), and the yarn settled into a more organically soft spiral stripe, and that’s what I’ll aim for if I do socks with it. I continued to tick the tension looser, and the stripes got a little fatter. That’s probably the loosest tension I would want for socks, I’m pretty happy with the middle bit. Do experiment with your gauge, I know swatching is a dirty word, but a bit of time at the outset will give you a better idea of what your yarn will do with your gauge and stitch number….and give you an opportunity to adjust before you’ve invested time in a fancy cast on and ribbing.

Thunderbolt and Southwest Sunset Safari



Just for fun, here is last year’s Southwest Sunset with Thunderbolt. I think these could be interesting to use as a project together, which is why chose the same yarn for this color. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Tiger Club is currently full and available from the waitlist only. You may drop me a message to be added to the list and I’ll let you know when I have a spot!

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First Light – June 2022 Tiger Club

With Wensleydale in hand, I knew I wanted to make a gradient for the fiber this month, and I must have the beach on my mind because this picture stood out. Is it sunrise or sunset? I went with First Light. 😉

Here’s that Wensleydale gradient, from bright coral through to grey then black. I used my dappled gradient method, so it isn’t crisp color stripes, there’s some back and forth between them.

First Light Wensleydale June 2022

Wensleydale likes to be spun thin and in a worsted style, smoothing the ends in while you minimize the amount of twist. This fiber is longer and has low crimp, so less twist is appropriate and keeps it from being ‘pokey’ or itchy. This will make a lovely lace yarn, or try boucle.

The yarn was a bit of a conundrum, but I settled on Targhee. It was a nice smooth and creamy canvas for the coral, grey, and black. I went really impressionistic on this one and used a hot dapple technique to create a random pattern on the yarn. This is actually much more involved than simply painting! There are at least 3 sides to the yarn….top, bottom, and inside, that need to be randomly….but systematically speckles with the liquid dye….all while up to a simmer. I’ll admit I appreciate this technique more in winter than summer, but fortunately my dye studio is in the cool basement.

First Light Targhee Sock June 2022

As you can see, even with a system, each skein comes out a bit differently. I had some odds and ends of a different yarn and made myself some…..here is how mine is turning out in a sock tube swatch….

First Light Swatch

I’m pleased that it’s coming out in a mottled pattern as I had planned. I think this would be fun in socks or shawl or whatever paired with any of the 3 colors in it. I have some coral made up for toes/heels/cuffs for mine. If you want a mini to match, let me know!

Tiger Club is not open for new subscriptions at this time. You are welcome to join the waitlist by sending me a message. Thank you!

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Macarons – May 2022 Tiger Sock Yarn and Spinning Fiber Clubs

Time for a tasty treat! I have a number of macaron pictures saved on my inspiration board, I love the fun colors. I chose this one, but added a darker blue as a 6th colors to keep the whole thing from becoming too sweet (is there such a thing?).

Macarons 19.5 Merino May 2022

On our fiber, I knew that if I did shorter color runs that the darker shades would bleed into the lighter and pretty much obliterate them. To ensure the color sections would be longer, I created a twinset of our cottony soft 19.5 Merino wool…..one have is the purples and pinks, then other half the blues. I had to show them off unbraided above…..the marbling of colors is cool! Spin them to ply together, or tear them all into color sections and combo spin…or make fun rolags. You can lighten your yarn into pastels by adding a white or pale ply, or make the yarn more dramatic with a black, navy, or deep purple ply. Remember, you are the boss of the yarn you make!

Macarons 19.5 Merino May 2022 b

I had the itch to make some stripes….and stripes within the stripes for this yarn. I wound a skein for 3 colors sections with shop favorite Journey Sock Yarn, then variegated each section with the light and dark sections of purple, blue, and pink. The idea was to get the suggestion of stripes of cookie and filling.

Macarons Journey May 2022

I started my swatch with 72 stitches (shown at the bottom), and it made very bold stripes of the two colors with a slow spiral. I reduced the stitch count to 64 (the top half), and you can see how the spiral tightened and become thinner….more like my original vision. Each batch is going to come out a bit different as I don’t exactly measure for variegation, but it should be similar. Play with gauge, stitch number, and even stitch pattern until you find the combination that works the way you want.

I’ve put new subscriptions on hold over the summer (it helps me plan better around spontaneous summer things with the family) however DO contact me to be on the waitlist, I have spots open up from time to time, and I will fill them from the list. Thank you!

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Grand Prismatic Spring – April 2022 Tiger Club

Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone

While I had a general color theme in mind, along the lines of the vibrancy of the emerging spring, an image search solidified my choice. This is the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone, and it is stunning with the contrasts of blues and rust and green.

I decided to make this variegated pattern more dappled, so I formulated three shades of brown and rust, two shades of blue, and three shades of green from new sprouts to old pines. Then I applied these randomly within their color area on both the yarn and fiber.

Grand Prismatic Spring - Falkland - April 2022

The fiber is Falkland type, always a great wool to use for dyeing. I say ‘type’ for this one, as it isn’t wool from the Falkland Islands, but rather follows their selection process for the product. The wool is American, chosen to be a medium fineness and for whiteness. This is a great all-around wool, happy to be spun worsted or woolen, and turned into whatever you like.

Grand Prismatic Spring - Zebra Sock - April 2022

The yarn is Zebra Sock, which is a lot like Tiger Twist in construction except there are random grey and black areas in one of the plies, giving a nice barber pole effect and toning the colors in areas. Here’s a close up of the dappled colors within each section.

GPP Closeup

I finally got a chance to make a swatch (which is why this post is late….sorry!). I wanted to see how the colors and the marling held up against each other…..is it too busy?

GPP Swatch

I have to say I’m delighted with how it turned out. I tried two different stitch counts, 72 (seen at the top) and 64, both at the same tension (8-9 stitches per inch). It’s interesting the change 8 stitches can make. I’ll be swatching this more when I’m ready to knit my socks to find the ultimate balance between stitch count, tension, and pattern to encourage the yarn to behave how I like, but still fit well. Which of these two stitch counts do you like better?

I’ve done the office work and picked out a color theme for May and will start dyeing tomorrow. If you are interested in joining the fun, check out the Club page in the shop, then jet me a message using the contact form. With the Summer Crazies coming up, I’m filling the club via wait list only until fall.

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Tropical Sunrise – March 2022 Tiger Club Reveal

Cape Canaveral Sunrise

We were fortunate enough to take our first beach vacation since 2017 a few weeks ago. Here’s the sunrise on our last full day. I couldn’t help but bring the bright, fresh colors of Florida to Tiger Club. I didn’t try to capture this picture, but rather created a fantasy of a Tropical Sunrise, capturing the impressions of the brightly colored homes, and the amazing changeable colors of light and sun and ocean throughout our week.

Tropical Sunrise TTT March 2022

The yarn is Titanium Tiger Twist, a high twist 2 ply with plenty of yardage, and a good amount of nylon to make it viable for socks. It would be just as lovely in a cowl or scarf. Look up planned pooling if you want to keep the colors more distinct….this will work, but don’t fuss too much keeping each color in line, let it waver. I dyed this pretty much as shown, scrunching the bare yarn, then injecting the lines of color. Each skein is a bit different, as scrunching is less than a scientific process!

Tropical Sunrise Swatch TTT

I made up a little swatch of this to see what it would look like in a stockinette sock. This cylinder of knitting is 72 stitches around at about 9 stitches per inch. The way your particular skein pools will be different depending on the dyeing, your stitch number, and gauge. I’m going to play with options a bit more before committing this one to a project. I’m wanting some really fun socks, but this would really shine as a woven piece using the faux ikat technique.

Tropical Sunrise Rambouillet March 2022

The fiber is my favorite of the merino types, Rambouillet. The white color shows off these neon colors beautifully, and the shorter staple will keep them from bleeding into each other as much when spinning. You can strip this down closer to your finished yarn weight to also minimize blending between colors. Or let it go and enjoy the new colors that form at each transition. Ply with a white or navy yarn to make this calmer or to pop the colors respectively, and to stretch this to a longer project…..or try a 2 ply technique to match or barberpole, or 3 ply. Or rip it up and reprocess into the colors you want….so many possibilies!

The gorgeous neon dyes used are not as washfast as my usual Lanaset dyes (ironic, since the brand is Washfast!), however if you use a bit of care and wash these using cool/cold water and a bit of vinegar in your wash and rinse water (and be brief about it….don’t let the water have too much of a chance to bind with the dye) it will look bright for many washes.

I do have spots in Tiger Club for April, but I didn’t turn the buttons on this month as I’ve been a little busier than normal. However, you may join by using that envelope contact form in the header of the main shop site, and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for joining me for March’s Tiger Club reveal!

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Tea and Madeleines – February 2022 Tiger Club

I’ve been sitting on this picture for several months, trying to decide how to do it, and in what fibers. February seems a good month to curl up with some warming herbal tea and beautiful cranberry-orange madeleines. I brightened the blues a bit to the rich sky colors of winter, and formulated a rich gold, cozy brown, and deep burgundy.

Tea and Madelaines Romney TC Feb 2022

The wool is Romney, which I chose as it takes strong colors beautifully. It’s a nice medium wool, great for sturdier items like boot toppers, but can also be used for any number of next-to-skin items if the project is lined. Romney likes to be spun worsted, and you can go thin or thick….it’s a longer staple, so less twist will still hold together well and will keep the poky ends in line with the yarn itself making the overall yarn smoother. It also felts/fulls well. I like this wool for beginning spinner, the fibers have just the right amount of grip between them to help get the hang of drafting. If you’ve been wanting to try a modified long-draw, you can try with this….even as a worsted prep. Pinch the twist off with your forward hand, and gently pull the fiber back with your other hand, dancing the twist into the fiber as you go.

Tea and Madelaines Safari TC Feb 2022

I knew I wanted to do stripes with the yarn, as I wanted the colors to be crisp. I had a bit of fun with it and made a very long and not symmetrical pattern (so beware-if you knit from both ends of the skein you’ll have opposite socks). If you see the middle section of blue and gold, that’s a full repeat. I kept the blues together as the teacup sections, and the brown table littered with cranberries and madeleines.

Tiger Club is closed for March (but do contact me for the wait list, depending I might be able to slip you in).

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Chocolate Cherry – January 2022 Tiger Club

January is a paradox for the indie dyer….it’s a challenging time on the business side; inventory needs to be taken (ok, it’s fun to sort through all the bins) and taxes dealt with….and a really fun time, because I typically order for at least the opening quarter of the year. With shipping being a bit chaotic, I ordered from a supplier that is closest to me. I’m not afraid of color, and when I saw this merino….I had to have it…..and its rich color just called out Chocolate Cherry!

Chocolate Cherry - Comeback Merino - Tiger Club January 2022

This is Comeback Merino. What does that mean? Merino was bred to other sheep (Shetland maybe?) to bring in the rich brown color, and then once the color was established, it was bred back to Merino to get some of the softness back. This fiber clocks in at about 26 microns, comparable to other medium wools. It has a delightful springy hand to it, and just wanted to overflow the dyepots! I dyed this in a there-and-back method, so you can split in 2 for 2 matching plies, or spin straight, make a ball, and ply from both ends, or split in 2 and each half in half for matching mitts or socks.

Chocolate Cherry - Targhee Sock - Tiger Club January 2022

After the pouf of the fiber, I could only choose one sock yarn from my line-up: Targhee. I used two techniques on this, painting on the red and pink portions, heat setting that, and then using a hot dip method with an overdye progression of 3 different tones of brown to get the chocolate mousse portions and tone the red/pink down into nice rather than garish. So squishy. Mmmmm.

Want to join the fun? I have a few spots in both the Fiber and Sock Yarn Tiger Clubs for February.

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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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