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.