“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.
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.
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.
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!!