Did you see the headline this morning about lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) getting loose from a zoo in Germany? It seems all parties are safe now, but it certainly gave me a chuckle this morning. (edit: nope, the bear didn’t make it..:( )
I have shop update for you today, I had a couple of pounds of luscious Mixed BFL Silk, Wensleydale, and Gotland to dye, so I went into efficiency mode and made up two of our best sellers, Jeweled and Sunrise. They are so pretty. I also made Blended Rainbow on Wensleydale and Gotland….these two were dyed together, so you could ply them together, or use them together on a project….the light and dark sides of the rainbow!
No quite ‘new’, but flying under the radar has been Grand Old Flag on Journey. The SW Merino makes this yarn suitable for even the tenderest foot….or even baby items. I finally had a chance to knit up a swatch, so now it can be advertised properly!
Stop by the shop to see these, and there are a few other things I uploaded but didn’t advertise last week. http://ThePaintedTiger.com
After this endless winter, I was ready for some bright spring colors, but I didn’t want just simple rainbow colors, I wanted complex and interesting colors….just a shade off of what you might expect. My inspiration was this lovely shot of a daffodil (also called Jonquils) against a purplish sky.
I mixed up violet with a shot of yellow, blues with the purple, greens with some pink, and a yellow that had both enough pink to lean it golden, and bit of blue to keep it from being brassy. I had a lot of fun playing with application techniques.
For the fiber, I went with 50/50 Merino / Tencel. It is a fun fiber to dye, as the tencel acts to get the merino wet and carry dye to the wool, but isn’t dyed itself, leading to a pretty and shiny look with threads of white throughout. I dyed a true gradient on this, using 9 colors. Each batch came out differently, which is a big reason why I love to dye….you get something not available from a machine. I suggest spinning this one from the fold or make fauxlags, that will help the tencel and merino stay together. This would be lovely as a straight gradient spin, or try a fractal!
Our yarn is Bengal Tiger Twist….a similar construction to my old favorite plump 2 ply, but made with sturdier Blue Faced Leicester wool, a longwool that in itself lends a bit of shine to the finished yarn. I went with dyed-across gradient, using 5 colors, and allowing the golden yellow to dominate. It’ll make a nice swirling variegated pattern, or this is a great chance to try Planned Pooling, or weave it up on your loom for a great plaid effect, or faux ikat. So many possibilities!
You may have noticed that I went old school on the shipping labels, using paper and tape. PayPal has decided that I cannot print my subscription labels through them unless I input the addresses manually and individually each month. Oh. My. Head. So, I did a search for an alternative shipping provider, and found Pirate Ship. I’m tickled with their fun theme, and although it is a very simplistic website, it uploaded my spreadsheets and made labels slick as grog. Plus it automatically looks at the tracking and tells me when packages are delivered, which is why I can post Tiger Club reveal today….a little parrot told me that everyone has their club!! The drawback is that they do not support my thermal label printer, so I’m in the process of researching alternatives. I wouldn’t mind so much, except I just bought a year’s worth of labels for the old printer….I won’t use them up that fast if I can’t print club on them. Ah, well….I’m sure I’ll figure something out!
Are you looking for a Sock Yarn or Spinning Fiber Club of the Month? I invite you to try my Tiger Club, which is now open for new subscriptions. It is small, so you get personalized service, and my crazy experiments each month. There’s no huge commitment, join for one month and then decide if you want to continue, stay as long as you like. The subscription is serviced through PayPal, so you have complete control (however, a PayPal account is not required, contact me for options). I’ve been running this club since April 2010, and have enjoyed every month of new colors, fibers, and yarns. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure!
I picked up a great blend to try on December’s Tiger Club, and I ordered more so I can share with everyone. It’s a lovely blend….80% USA grown and processed Targhee wool, with shiny ribbons of 10% Bamboo and 10% Mulberry Silk. It is gorgeous….the pictures don’t really do it justice. Here are the first three gradients, I’ll be dyeing more of this blend as I have time. If you’d like to request a particular colorway, I’m all ears!
Hibiscus gradient of USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
Sunrise gradient on USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
Twenty Below on USA Targhee, Bamboo, and Mulberry Silk
A few weeks ago, I had a customer request to bring back Serenity, and here it is, plus its sisters, Rose Quartz, and The Long Winter. The Long Winter started this whole series as it was a commission for PLY Magazine. (The grey and white shawl and hat). All of these are on Falkland combed top, which is great for about anything you want to make with it.
Serenity on Falkland Wool Combed Top
Rose Quartz on Falkland Wool combed top
The Long Winter on Falkland combed top
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend. I’ll be singing Haydn’s “Creation” with my choir, combined with another community choir and their local symphony orchestra. We’ll be repeating the experience in two weeks, except here with our local symphony orchestra. I’m looking forward to the bus trips with friends, and making some new friends.
Picture by Nicolas Raymond, used under Creative Commons License – Attribution 3.0 Unported. Click picture to be taken to the original for download.
March is another month where I went with the colors I wanted, and fit an ‘inspiration’ to it. This has been just a long dreary winter and I was ready for some colors of spring! I love this picture of the limestone kilns at Annestown Beach in Ireland. Blue sky, green grass, natural browns and tans.
My planning (yes, I do plan ahead) had Safari in a self-striping pattern, and Wensleydale for a fiber. I knew these would take the dye quite differently, so I decided to work opposite of my usual methods….I designed the yarn first. Eventually, I’ll show you my prototype….it was not pretty, but I will transform it with an overdye later. Anyway, I wanted strong colors, and a nice stripe…I guess it would be more an abstract modern take on Annestown Beach! I’ll get a picture soon for you, as I’m making my own pair of socks from this, but it will stripe about 4-5 rows each of the lime and the turquoise, with about 2 rows of the brown in-between them. I love Safari for a sock base, easy to knit, fluffs up great when washed, and the 75% Corriedale and 25% Nylon blend wears like iron…..I have several pairs I have had in heavy rotation for 6 years and there’s no sign of holes.
Next up is the fiber, Wensleydale wool combed top. I chose this this fiber looking ahead to summer where you may prefer to be knitting something laceweight. I didn’t want to muddy the colors, and wanted to give you the most flexibility in making the yarn fit your vision for the colors, so I dyed them separately….1.5 oz each of the green and blue, and 1 oz of the brown. The colors are the exact same dye recipe I used on the yarn….I love how it came out muted and heathered, and much more like the inspiration photo. I hope you don’t mind the ‘messy bun’ presentation…it made more sense than braids for the length of each color. Just clip the tag cord and it’ll all be ready for you. Remember, Wensleydale is a long-wool. It will do great as a laceweight, keep the twist and ply low to keep it from being harsh. Wensleydale is also a good fiber to use for Boucle.
Thanks for joining me for March’s fiber journey. I have a few limited spots in April Tiger Club if you would like to join the fun.
I’ve been experimenting again, because I really want to make these long smooth gradients without having to knit the yarn into sock blanks first….I’m not fond of the kinks, and although the tweed look is kinda cool, I want saturated colors on these….so no knitting! I’m getting close to a workable solution, in the meantime you can enjoy the fruit of my experiments!
Of course, I had to make Jeweled. I’ll dye this color on about anything that moves in my studio….it’s a gorgeous colorway with my favorite part of the spectrum…Emerald to Amethyst. Dyed on MCN Sock yarn, plenty of yardage at 490. Act quick, these have been dibbed on. I’ll make more eventually, but club is up next, and then I need to tweak my equipment again to get it right (no problem with the colors, just the winding/unwinding is tedious as is.)
Next up is Salted Cashmere Mochaccino, which I’ve wanted to bring back since I made it for club a few years ago. Not just because of the punny name, but man, these colors are nice, and go with about everything. Again, just 4 of these available, who knows when I’ll get more done.
And finally, we have the return of One Rainbow. It was originally a sock blank colorway, and while I did like it….I really want to get away from the knitting machine. These first attempts at Rainbow and Tropical rainbow are great, but the blends are a little too blendy, so I’m offering these at a discount. I’ll get it right, I promise. This is a matching set of two 50 gram mini skeins.
Some months, I just know what I want for colors, but still need to tie it together with a name and an ‘inspiration’ picture…..and this month I was stumped. I wanted to play with vivid colors of Violet, Magenta, and Scarlet, and I think it came out really bright and fun. After some image searching, this creatively lit jellyfish picture came up. Maybe jealousy is often thought of as green, but my ‘Jelly’ is passionate about it, and that calls for red! I couldn’t pass on the play on words, so there we have it!
The wool used this month is Superwash BFL. It’s a bit longer in staple, so do get your hands a bit further apart for spinning. The superwash can make it slippery, so if you are having trouble I would suggest spinning from the fold.
The yarn is Silky Sock, a blend of Superwash Merino and Tussah Silk. It is just right for socks, as remember nylon was created to be a cheap replacement for silk. It would also be great in a fun shawlette, cowl, scarf, or hat. Or combine it with some other yarn for a fade!
First off today, I have a few batches of lovely Polwarth fiber. You can see some of our fiber in the Winter Spin Off (and Interweave Blog), the article by Devin Helmen about Spindle Spun Socks! The color used was Lily Pads.
January this year was one of the coldest in recent years, and when I saw this picture of mineral crystals, I thought it a fitting theme for Tiger Club. The pale blue is positively icy, and the accents of two deep teals, plus a tan and brown keep the whole interesting.
Our wool is warm and cozy Falkland. In this case, Falkland isn’t a breed, but a location…..fleeces that go into the Falkland Island wool pool are chosen for whiteness and fineness, and is generally in the range of Corriedale. It’s a very nice all around wool, and this batch is especially nice. I dyed this in a layered back and forth, with the darker colors added randomly and the center pale blue added around them and allowed to blend. It makes a very soft look. It really is random, so go with the mottled look when spinning.
Our yarn is Journey, a 4ply sock yarn of Merino and Nylon, at 460 yards per 4 oz. I chose a different path for this yarn, making the colors sharp by sprinkling, setting the colors, then over-dyeing with the pale blue. There’s a twist to the yarn, though…..it is actually subtly striped. I’ve never been thrilled with trying to randomize on a regular sized skein, the randomness just tends to stay a bit too orderly. So I wound this yarn into a two stripes, each making a stripe of 4-5 rows. I speckled one half with the dark blue and brown, and the other with the two lighter colors. I feel this accomplished a more random look, and I’m pretty happy with it. Here’s the same picture, but showing the approximate stripes. Each batch will be a bit different, but this is the general effect. The sample is a 64 stitch tube.
Want to join in the fun? Tiger Club has a few spots open for February. You can find out details and options on our Club page in the shop.
Although I’ve been pretty busy with life in general, I have been working on a couple of projects. The latest is when I took this Tiger Club fiber and took it for a spin on my Flat Iron.
I made a true 3 ply, dividing the fiber roughly into color congruent thirds, but not really minding how the colors lined up in the final product. I’m pleased. This will probably become a hat for someone.
My longer term projects has been a hoodie sweater from the book Big Knits, Big Needles by Hanna Charlotte Erhorn. Usually chunky doesn’t appeal to me much, but I liked several of the projects, and I’m a sucker for outerwear….so here we are.
My yarn for this project is Bollicine Victor in a nice neutral tan. I bought it to learn to knit and make an Einstein Coat. Pfft. Here’s the ‘skirt’ of that coat in its garter stitch glory…..no way would I want to put that unevenness sideways. So it has been marinating in the stash since 2008!
I’ve been working the bottom of the new sweater with the balls of yarn I hadn’t used yet, but I’m nearly through all that, and need to split for the fronts and back (which I’m going to do all on one circular, instead of knitting each part separately….I’m more likely to keep an evenly uneven gauge that way!!). So we have yarn fusilli….there was much satisfaction in ripping this out.
A hot bath, a dry, and a quick spin on my new TUG cake winder, and I’m back in business. It isn’t quite the gauge called for in the pattern, but there’s a schematic with measurements, so I think it will work out ok. (No, I don’t follow recipes, either.)
I am thinking at this point that I should have maybe over dyed the yarn so the uneven large stitches (some of it is me, some from overlapping the joins, as this yarn is frustratingly short with lots of knots) could hide in some variations. Ah well, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Plus perhaps an excuse to make another one in hand spun. I have more than 4 pounds of that New England Fine Grey!!
And here is my full progress, with a picture of the final sweater. Hrm, that looks a bit confusing, it’s knit from the bottom up, so that’s the bottom hem.
I hope you are enjoying a project this weekend, I’m debating if I will take the sweater, or cast on a hat with the new red handspun for the Superbowl party.
December, a time of getting together with family and friends; enjoying and making memories. I wanted to give a nod to the season without using the stereotypical colors, and I think this picture fit the bill nicely. I didn’t want the orange, as that leans the colors toward fall, so I swapped it for the warm gold of the lights. Listening to Christmas radio brought the line I used for the color name from ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, and it was perfect.
Our yarn is a new one, Silky Soft. It’s a blend of 85% 19.5 micron Merino and 15% mulberry silk. The skein comes in at a generous 490 yards, hovering between lace and sock weight, making it perfect for shawls or other lace work. It also is 2 ply, which will help your lace holes stay open. For this colorway, I created a long blended gradient. Each color was allowed to overlap and blend into the next, so you will have areas of solid and areas of variegation. It’s a cool effect, and I look forward to seeing Clubber’s projects!
Here’s a skein of the gradient laid out to show the color changes.
The combed top this month was a lucky special I managed to grab (and I’ll be looking to see if I can grab some more!!) It is a blend of 80% USA Targhee, 10% Rayon Bamboo, and 10% Mulberry Silk. The blending was not complete, leaving ribbons of silk and bamboo to shine on this top, making a lovely effect. I’d suggest spinning from the fold to keep these fibers together.
Sock Club has been filling up fast, but I do still have a couple of spots, plus some fiber spots. If you’ve been looking for a club to stretch you into colors, dye methods, and fibers that you may not normally use, please join us! Sign ups continue through January 15, or when the clubs are full.