What type of mood are you in this evening? A cool, blue mood? If so, you might relate to this combo of Tosh Sock in Whiskey Barrel, Dr. Zhivago's Sky, Jasper and Astrid Grey may be for you.
Or perhaps you, like me, would like to sit down with a hot and spicy chai and a simple knit. If so, you could be inspired by Whiskey Barrel, Robin Red Breast, Citrus and Badlands.
Are you energized by jewel tones? Then what about Tosh Sock in Flashdance, Laurel, Grasshopper and Citrus?
Whatever your knitting mood may be, it's likely that you'll find a combination that inspires you with the vast selection of Tosh Sock I have for you right now. Over 60 colors of hand dyed beauty.
As always, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like me or Heather or Rachael to be your color-helpers. Sometimes it's hard to make sure colors work together when you can't see them in person, and we're happy to take a close look at the skeins you're considering before you place your order to ensure they compliment each other for your project.
Oh, the Madelinetosh. If I was poetic, the prose I would create about thee. For those of your who have been patiently waiting on our newest batch of Madelinetosh, I now have 72 colors in Merino Light (all shown below), 50 colors of Tosh DK, 20 colors of Pashmina (with more on the way), and 50 colors Tosh Sock (with more on the way).
If you're a fan of the Color Affection shawl like we are, take a look at the color combinations below that Rachael and I like for her new Happy Street pattern. All are in Merino Light.
Vishnu, Rain Water, Betty Draper Blues (chosen by Rachael)
Whiskey Barrel, Sand Dune, Butter (chosen by Rachael)
Dr. Zhivsgo's Sky, Astrid Grey, Celadon (chosen by me, Allison)
Onyx, Tart, Victorian Gothic, (chosen by me)
Whose color choices can you see yourself wearing? Are you more a Rachael? Or an Allison?
If you're looking for other pattern ideas for the awesome Tosh, we also are inspired by Darling Emma (for Merino Light or Tosh Sock) and Merging Ripples (in Pashmina). YUM.
And for those that missed out on several colors of the Biscotte & Cie that sold out super quickly, I have more for you in single striping skeins and kits! Melon d'eau (watermelon), Coccinelle (ladybug), and the popular Stitchsurfer Kit #1 (red/white/blue) are all back. Woo hoo!
I have restocks in the shop now of two of your favorite M's, and a third M coming soon.
Manos Alegria and Malabrigo Sock are both available in nearly every color. Manos has had a slow time with some mill reworking. But they've finally shipped out more (hello supply, meet demand) and I have all 12 colors in stock right now. Shown below is the Pindo color that I showed in Angela's shawl last week. Beautiful.
You may have also been waiting on Malabrigo Sock. This continues to be very popular. The combination of low price with awesomely hand dyed artistry make this hard to keep in stock. I try and buy large amounts so that it lasts before I can get more, but still I end up without colors a lot of the time. But if you've been waiting for something in particular, it's likely in stock now. Shown below is Fresco e Seco.
And lest you think I forgot, I did not- Madelinetosh will soon be on the website. I know, I said that last week. But with the Biscotte & Cie, Rowan and Fiddle Knits... I got distracted. I do hope to have all the new colors of Madelinetosh on the website on Friday. Or, come into the shop on Saturday to see us and take a look at all the pretties. We have sweater quantities in stock right now, so if you were thinking of knitting something awesome for your wardrobe, now's the time to snag the perfect colors.
I'll admit it. When we open boxes of yarn that come from our dyers, I gasp and flap my hands like a child nearly every time. I often say "Oooooo" while doing a quick bouncing-up-and-down dance. I have the same reaction as those who walk through our doors for the first time- the newbies often reveal themselves with a sharp intake of breath and a somewhat confused look with furrowed brows. Then eyes widen and smiles creep in. After nearly eight years of opening boxes of yarn, I get the same thrill. Perhaps the thrill is even greater because after dyeing our own line for a year I know what it takes to get things just right.
Erica is the dyer behind Fiddle Knits, and I have two bases for you- Aria Sock, which is this gorgeously dyed merino/nylon/sparkle shown throughout this post, and Dye-a-Tonic, merino/nylon with a nice twist that will hold up to wear.
Bobbi, one of my Canadian test knitters, knit the below sock in the Nightfall colorway, and I'll have her favorable review for you shortly. Today, I'm sharing with you a bit of question-and-answer from Erica. I always like learning more about a dyer and her methods. Just scroll below the photos to get to know Erica a bit more.
Allison: Tell us a bit about how you learned to knit and share with us what keeps you perpetually interested in fiber.
Erica: First it was crochet. I learned as part of my homeschool program when I was about 10 (5th grade). I stuck with it for a little while, refusing to following patterns and just doing my own thing (lots of squarish shaped things). Then it got put down only to be thought about when it was cold out and I wanted a new scarf. After I graduated high school I took some time off to try and figure out what I wanted to do about college. (After 2 years I decided to get my BS online in cultural anthropology and performance.) I was already involved in the arts world full time teaching dance, violin, and performing music professionally with my family band, The Homegrown String Band. I decided that I quite enjoyed this craft filled place I was in and I wanted to get even more involved and do everything hand made that I possibly could. Mostly I was thinking about my wardrobe, which seemed extremely important at 19 years old. I didn’t want crocheted garments because I thought of them as “old” (keep in mind all I was familiar with about crochet at this time was granny squares and single crochet rectangles), so I headed to the library. I got 2 books on knitting (The Big Book of Knitting and Hip to Knit) and then hit Michael’s (the only place I knew to get yarn) and bought some black faux mohair. My first project was a seed stitch scarf. I wanted to poke my eyes out. I gave up half way through. Looking back I’m impressed I didn’t quite then. My second project was a pullover hooded sweater, also in black, with a Celtic knot done in intarsia on one sleeve. It came out great and I think I actually completed the finishing on that better than any other garment I’ve made to date. The only problem was I didn’t realize what gauge was and hadn’t yet learned I knit very loose. I could have fit 3 of me in the sweater. It got shoved in a closet. My next attempt was socks and they came out great! I just did a simple stockinette ankle sock in a self striping yarn by Lion Brand. I still have the socks and wear them pretty often. They’re now 8 years old, but the superwash merino and nylon blend has held up well against the test of time.
A lot of my learning to knit was done in the backseat of the family minivan on the way to gigs. I somehow discovered podcasts and through them discovered the online knitting world and that there were places to buy yarn besides box stores. If we passed remotely close to a yarn shop on our way to a gig I’d make my family stop. That’s how I discovered hand dyed sock yarns. I decided I would by [at least] a skein of sock yarn from every shop we passed on the road, and I did. And even though I now dye yarn I’d still buy sock yarn.
Allison: Many of the dyers my shop supports have day jobs outside the realm of fiber, and dye in their kitchens or studios at night. Is this the case for you?
Erica: Knit design and dyeing yarn is pretty much all I do. My family band still performs, but to a lesser extent than we did a few years ago. It used to be that I played gigs and taught music full time and just dabbled in the knitwear design, but in the past 2 years a lot has changed. Now the yarn world is where I live full time and music is something I do on the side.
When I started dyeing I did do it in the kitchen. I cleared a section of the counter and covered it in plastic to try and keep the white counters from getting too messy. That worked for a while, but I could only do one skein at a time and I also was getting tired of seeing my dye supplies all over the kitchen and dining room, so I had to find another spot. I ended up converting the garage into my shop. Half of it has a my photo studio set up and the other side has tables and pots and powders and everything I need for dyeing. It works a lot better like this.
Allison: What compelled you to take the leap from dyeing for your own personal use to a full fledged dyeing operation?
Erica: The whole dyeing process is only about 2 years old for me. First I was dyeing only to go along with my designs. I started doing yarn and pattern clubs and would dye a limited number of each color for the club members. Colorways started getting requested more and more frequently and I had folks on all my various social networks encouraging me to dye more so they could get the yarns I was using in my patterns. Then I got contacted by a few yarn shops. I hadn’t really thought of doing wholesale until I was asked about it a year ago. With the aid of some helpful LYS owners I worked out how I could make it happen. I’m still in the process of growing my business now. There’s a lot of steps to take and hurdles to leap!
Allison: What method do you use to apply color to your skeins? Do you use a different method for different colorways?
Erica: I use a few different dye methods. The top three are kettle dyeing, painting, and dip dyeing. Since I never had any training in color or dyeing I have my own names for how I do everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if the instructions I write for myself mean nothing to another dyer.
Solid colors like Forest Dweller, Chocolatier, and Passion are all kettle dyed. I mix the dye powders to get the color I want and add everything to a huge kettle. (I never use dyes just straight as they’re bought because I want unique colors and not something anyone could get.)
A colors that appear to be a blend of two colors (in reality they’re many more) like Dryad, Nightfall, or Blood Orange are dyed using a method I call overlaid colors. I start with one color and keep adding on top of it and blend them together. It’s sounds similar to overdyeing, but it’s not actually the same process.
Allison: If you were to choose your dream job, what would it look like?
Erica: I’m doing it! I’d probably ask for a bigger dye studio and an adjacent room that was comfortable were I could sit and work on my knitting designs between steps in the dye process. Other than that I can’t really ask for another dream job because I already love what I do.
Allison: What is your project of choice?
Erica: Shawls. Fancy shawls, plain shawls, up shawls, down shawls, side-to-side shawls. I love them all. The shawl obsession started at the same time I started dyeing sock yarn. Back when I first started knitting I went through a sock knitting phase (since it was my first successful project), but after that I wasn’t very interested in sock knitting. I’m really picky with what I’ll wear on my feet. If I knit socks they need to be tight fitting ankle socks in plain stockinette, and there’s only just so much plain sock knitting I could stand. I love sock yarn though, so discovering fingering weight shawls was amazing. Now shawls are my go-to project. It’s very rare that I don’t have one on my needles.
A big thanks to Erica for sharing your words and fiber with us! I look forward to seeing many more of your colors over the years.
I can hardly believe I've been doing the job I love everyday for nearly 8 years. I have fun things planned for the month of June, and it kicks off with a Stitch n Pitch at the baseball stadium on June 2, SSYC's anniversary. Want details? Email email@example.com or ask when you are in the shop.
On June 8, we're partying at the shop from 10-4, and we'll be spreading the yarn love online too. I've put together a celebratory kit, we will have contests, and of course cake. Mmmmmm cake.
Save some time for us on the 8th! We would love to have you celebrate with us!
If you are like me, you have been waiting for years to get your hands on this. The wait is over. I now have nearly a quarter ton of the new Rowan Fine Art sock yarn for you! Well, I have a lot less now, because many of you took part in the preorder of the entire collection (which starts shipping tomorrow), but I still have a lot available to those of you who would like one or two skeins to start.
I'm quite excited about this and can't wait to cast on myself. Don't know what pattern yet, but I really want to cast on tonight, so I'd better decide, eh? This is the color I'm going with. It's outside my normal crayon box of color, which would typically be green or blue. What do you think you'd knit first out of this collection? Tell me what color and if that's a typical color for you, or something that is making you stitch outside your box. I'll randomly choose one person from the comments below to win your color of choice. Simply leave me one comment (here on the blog comments below, not on Facebook) before midnight on Monday, May 20 and you could win!
Recovering from a super busy weekend, full of family and fiber, so just a few tidbits today.
On Saturday, Angela (she's the yarn fairie who does the dry side of the Poste Yarn) brought in her shawl in Manos in Pindo (a color that's currently unavailable til Manos gets supply/demand under control).
Shop manager Heather dyed her hair a feisty shade of aqua last week, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was a dead on match for this. Super awesome, eh?
If you have been waiting for a few colors of Poste Yarn to arrive again, take a look. Many of you have been asking for Buckeye, and it's back again with a few others.
We have shop-open hours tomorrow, Tuesday, so if you didn't make it to the shop on Saturday to see all the Madelinetosh, Unique Sheep and other yummies, come on by! I'm working hard to get all the Tosh colors ready for the SSYC website and I'll get those up asap.
On the shop's Facebook page this week, I post the above picture. It's a vision that made me happy in the early morning- we have so much natural light in the store that we rarely turn on lights, unless it's a shop-open day, and I think that's simply b/c people intuitively expect lights to be turned on when a shop is open. The eight light fixtures in the shop don't really do a whole lot- it's the natural light flooding through the 17 windows of the storefront (there are even more in the back dye shop) that illuminate the shop so well.
This week marks two years since our 1940's post office restoration started. When the restoration commenced, the exterior of these windows were covered in a dark tint, and the inside windows were covered with office walls. We had no idea what our finished product would look like, as these windows hadn't been uncovered in decades.
But, oh, when it was complete five weeks later (I know, crazy fast), it was everything you could want in a yarn store. Huge windows, high up so that no direct light hits the yarn, but loads of indirect light to show every little bit of love that a dyer has put into a skein.
I didn't realize what a big difference it makes to create a project in the yarn store that is illuminated with natural light versus one that uses fluroscent light. Every yarn store I'd shopped in, until opening this new space, wouldn't have had enough lighting to see the yarn with out using electircity and either incandescent or fluorescent light. Most shops have one ore two windows at the front or back, but since my shop is a stand-alone building, there is light on every side.
If you take a look below, you can see the difference light can make when choosing for a projects. The skein you see is Madelinetosh Merino Light in Spectrum. A fitting choice for this example not only because of the name, but because there are so many colors in just a few inches of fiber. This first image is taken in a room that is lighted only with fluorescent light, no flash.
This second image is the exact same skein with the same camera also with no flash, taken in the shop, with only natural light. A truer representation of the skein, with the exception that the image looks a bit brighter than if you were looking at the skein and not an image on a monitor.
You can see what a difference natural light can make when choosing colors for a project. When I photo the yarn for the website, I also use only natural light and no flash. That way, you get the best idea of what the yarn will look like in your hands.
There's just something about striping neon colors that makes me happy. I can tell they make you happy too b/c they sell quickly when we dye 'em. Tropicana and Gold Coast are the newest from the Highlighter Series of Poste Yarn, and if there are other neon colors you'd like dyed, just let me know. These are fun!
What would you like to see us dye next in our little restored post office dye studio? I've had a few request for monochromatic colors, like three different purples, three different greens, that type of thing. Would that be something that more of you would be interested in too? How would you like to see us spend our summer in our dye shop?
I'm looking foward to a fun and busy week or two here in the store. I'm expecting uber-big deliveries from Cascade, Madelinetosh and Rowan, and a few others awesome new small dyers too. If you were going to come to the shop in the near future, this would be a great Saturday for that. A lot of awesome fiber to show off to you. And you can bet that my week will be busy getting everything up on the store's website as fast as possible!
Another cool first this week? Tomorrow we ship out the first Poste Yarn sock yarn club. If you signed up for this special Paris Poste Card Club, then be sture to check your Inbox on Tuesday for shipment information and pattern ideas. I'm really excited to get your feedback on SSYC's 10th sock yarn club (first one to feature all Poste Yarn), so when you get your shipment at the end of the week, please e-mail me and tell me what you think!
There was a long list of things I wanted to accomplish this week. But do you know what changes your best laid plans? Sick kids. It's been that type of week for me. I had hopes of getting so much done, and then the kids get sick. First, Henry with a nose running like a water faucet, and then James sent home from preschool. Ugh.
James rarely gets sick, so I'm letting him have a lazy kind of afternoon, just sitting on the couch watching toons while trying to keep liquids in him. I really, really hope the baby doesn't get this one....
I hope your week is going better than mine! Help me out and tell me all about the awesome things you're knitting this week!
I know there are so many of you who have been waiting for years, like I have, for Rowan to release something like this- a special Rowan sock yarn. It sounds like the wait is so worth it. Rowan not only milled a new base yarn that includes silk and mohair along with wool and nylon, but they are using time honored techniques in hand painting each skein while also empowering the individuals who create the yarn. It seems like they have waited quite a long time to find the perfect conditions to further their mission in a wonderful way. I'm so proud that Simply Socks Yarn Company will soon be a part of this, and offer the new Fine Art sock yarn line.
The yarn will arrive here mid-May (maybe earlier) and if you are a lover of all things Rowan, or want to be, I have available a special offer for you. You can preorder the collection-of-eight of the Rowan Fine Art collection (one skein each) now, and you will be among the first to have this in your hands and on your needles. You'll also receive a special gift from me to commemorate this occasion- a $25 store credit applied to your account for each collection you purchase (this will be applied after your order ships and then you'll see it apply to your next order at SSYC). And yes, you can purchase more than one collection (and receive more than one credit on your account) if you'd like to gift one or split it among friends. I've only offered preorder collections a few times in the past eight years (like Opal Harry Potter or Van Gogh), and I don't believe I've ever offered a store credit with purchase before. But there's something about the way Rowan chose to go about this new collection, with the empowerment of women, that strikes me as celebration-worthy. From Rowan, and you can read more here:
The ladies we have working with us come from some of the poorest and still marginalised communities in the area. One of our goals from the very beginning was to introduce and develop the ideas of personal responsibility and integrity and to create an opportunity for genuine improvement in the living standards and experience of the people who work with us.
Like the wonderful yarns from Malabrigo, Manos and more, I expect Rowan's Fine Art sock yarn's demand to be much greater than supply. If you read the details Rowan provides here, you can see how the yarn is created and have a better understanding of how special it is.
The skeins will retail for $29.95, which is a fair price considering the fiber content and artistry. Manos Alegria retails for $24.25, and is a wool/nylon blend- no silk or mohair- and I can't even keep it in stock it sells so fast.
If you'd like to read Clara Parke's review of Fine Art sock yarn, just take a look at Knitter's Review. Definitely a good read.
If you would like to purchase single skeins, those will be available for purchase as soon as the yarn arrives, just not for preorder. If you know this is something you'd like to collect, I highly recommend preordering the whole collection. While I ordered an obscene amount of this yarn, I also thought I ordered a lot of Manos, and it's been months since I've been able to get some of those colors.
We will also have a really nice Rowan pattern booklet featuring this sock yarn, and it's a great value for the money. More details on that as they come, but the pictures above are from this pattern booklet.