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.
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.
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.
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).
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!