Now Available: Iris Electra

Our first quarter pattern, Iris Electra, is finally available for purchase separate from the knit-along kits.

This project is knit flat using 250 grams of a fingering weight yarn. Though the pattern calls for 10 – 25g skeins that come as part of my Spectrum Gradient kits, this convertible scarf could also be knit using 2 regular gradient kits in either the same or contrasting colors. If you’d really like to mix it up and use yarn leftovers from your stash, you’ll need approximately 100 yards each of 10 colors.

You will also need 9 – 3/8″ buttons, a US 3 circular needle, a very small crochet hook (.85mm to 1.0mm), and 600 – 6/0 beads to complete the project as it is written.

Enjoy!

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Can’t Knit? Blasphemy!

First, a nice cheery photo of the booth just before opening at Vogue Seattle 2014:

We had a great show, as the gradients were as popular as I thought they’d be. We brought all forty-two colors to the show and only took home about a quarter of that. I’ve been slowing working on dyeing and restocking the shop, but life has proven to have other plans for me.

My children are both healthy once again, but my turn rolled around to get sick as they started to heal. I dutifully rested and waited out my fever, watching lots of shows, drinking tea and barely knitting a stitch. As soon as I could stand up without being too dizzy I got back to work testing new colors for a couple local shops and getting gradient orders out the door. With lots of hand washing in between, of course. The saddest part was that I still didn’t feel like knitting even though my fever seemed abated. A couple of days ago, though, the fever came back with a smashing case of vertigo. I’m so disgusted, but I think I have an inkling why.

Getting ready for fiber shows is a lot of work. There’s nothing bad about getting ready to hang out with lots of knitters and see what wonderful things they intend to do with your yarn. A drawback to juggling family and a fiber business is that sleep comes in a distant third. Add to that the show itself and sleeping in a hotel, coming home to sick kiddos, spending three nights in the hospital, more sick kiddos after the hospital, then living through another two weeks of dormis interuptus due to your partner’s snoring and your own bodily frailty, and you have a recipe for a sub-par immune system.

I’m writing this from bed, trying to ignore the fact that groceries need shopped for, yarn needs dyed and reskeined and the dog needs walkies. I can barely stand because the dizziness is worse today than ever. But at least after bed rest yesterday I had a great night’s sleep. I’m not one to take much for granted, especially my health but also good customer service. This has been a month’s worth of very poor circumstances.

I still don’t feel much like knitting, but I’m hoping to soon because the Goloring KAL has started and I’m really excited to get going on mine in Shire. Kits are still available from my shop for pre-order.

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Time on the Fly

If you visited my shop from March 19th to 22nd, you saw another “on vacation” notice rather than the sale I had intended. My apologies if you missed something you really wanted!

After my return from VKL, I switched hats from dyer to mom lightening quick because both my boys were coming down with something. The doc diagnosed both of them on Monday with Hand, Foot and Mouth – and apparently a new strain so it affected my older son quite a lot more than the younger. By Wednesday, my older son’s eye had swelled shut and was painful, so we went back to the doctor. From the doctor, we had the dubious pleasure of checking directly into the hospital where we spent several days getting cozy with IV anitbiotics.

Everyone is home again and getting much healthier, but in my sleep deprived state (between the show and hospital sleeping arrangements, there’s no rest for the wicked and weary) I didn’t achieve the organizational state I had hoped after VKL. Today, I hope to be addressing the last of my return emails and getting Goloring Preorders dyed up. I dyed a few kits before the show, including Vapor, so as soon as the patterns are in stock again from the printer those will go out. Feel free to choose whatever color you wish, though.

As a side note, we’ve spent several uncomfortable but grateful visits at our preferred hospital over the years, and I’ve always been relieved when we were insured. Having been through one painful emergency room admittance without the benefit of insurance, I can honestly say that I would never want a repeat performance with my child in the hospital bed. Being the mom means you don’t care two figs what the out-of-pocket is as long as your baby gets better. I wouldn’t want anyone to worry more about the cost of a scan than the overall health of their family. I think the ACA* has great potential and I’m a bit disgusted with young people who don’t get the cooperative cost structure that already existed pre-ACA in the insurance corporate community. The well have always paid for the sick, just as currently working folks are the ones paying Social Security to retirees. I’m extremely disgusted with corporations that have chosen to pay the penalty rather than insure their employees, but we’re already choosy where we shop and how we spend our portion of the pie. But my disgust with corporate anything predates the ACA, so I have to admit bias.

Sorry for the digression from fiber. I should have a VKL wrap-up with photos in the next week, as well as an introduction for my Goloring work-in-progress around the 1st of April.

Cheers!

*it isn’t Obamacare, folks, the President isn’t going to show up at your front door with a stethoscope

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Vogue Knitting Live Seattle 2014*

Here are the hours and location for this weekend’s Vogue Knitting Live:

Meydenbauer Center
11100 NE 6th St,
Bellevue, WA 98004

I’ll be in booth #221 again this year. Here are the marketplace hours:

Friday, March 14th – 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Saturday, March 15th – 10:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday, March 16th – 10:00am to 4:00pm

All the gradient kits in Pebble Sock and Lilt Sock are going, but be warned that some of the colors are down to 1 or 2 sets. Friday will be a madhouse, but I hope we’ll be able to help everyone find what they really want. I’m also taking quite a bit of Lilt Sock in my regular multis as well as all the shades of Whimsical Solids. Some complementary Pebble Sock and Sublime will also be making an appearance as well as patterns from the likes of Star Athena, Stick Chick Knits, Irish Girlie Knits, Laura Aylor, Brooklyn Tweed, to name just a few.

I will be accepting credit card payments as well as cash, but no personal checks. Don’t forget, King County has a mandatory 9.5% sales tax.

I hope to see lots of you there! I’ll be trying to tweet occasionally with the hashtag #vklive, if you care to see pictures, etc.

*Okay, if you’re from Seattle (like me) you know that Meydenbauer Center is NOT in Seattle. But Vogue Knitting Live Bellevue just isn’t as catchy, right? It sounds like an event at a Gotham-esque mental institution. My two cents.

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BMC and Sunstruck

With just enough time to get the thing blocked and tagged for my booth at Vogue Knitting Live (#221, come see me!), my Betty Mouat Cowl is finished! In case you have a yen to do the same, here are the details of what I knit:

Once I got the hang of purling 15 stitches together at once, the knitting went gloriously fast.  Kitchenering the two finished pieces together was an entirely new skill for me as well, but was also surprisingly easy.  I would give one caveat to the finishing: do your grafting when there aren’t any distractions or noise, because paying attention is essential.

Sunstruck is also finished and ready to go to VKL. I used 1 skein each of Surf 1, 2, 3 from the Whimsical Solids series as well as 1 skein of Hedwig for the border, all in Lilt Sock. I haven’t weighed what was left, but I have at least half a skein of Hedwig left as well as a good chunk of Surf 3. I went up a needle size, which may have been a mistake. The shawl is lovely and large, but my short row pickup is totally visible in each section. I would happily knit this pattern again, though, and just about anything else Laura Aylor publishes. I feel a strong affection for designers that put a lot of work into clarity and description, and Laura’s patterns very well-explained. I’ll have quite a few copies of the Sunstruck pattern with me along with the yarn this weekend.

Just FYI, I’m going to shut down my Etsy shop tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I have a moment. If there’s something you really want, get it now because it may not come back home again from the show. I should be ready to open back up again mid-next-week.

Happy knitting!

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RCYC 2014 Roundup

RCYC was manic this year, on both a personal and professional level. Getting ready for these things is always a bit crazy, trying to cover all your bases without knowing exactly what will end up happening. I took a huge amount of yarn over to The Knitting Bee on the day before the crawl started, and when I went back to pick it up on the following Tuesday it seems knitters didn’t plan to let me take anything home.

I saw many Rosaria and Rosaline. I finally met both designers in person on Saturday, and have interesting plans in the works with each of them for future Black Trillium Fibres projects. Our little neighborhood is chock full’o talented yarnies, IMO, and I love that I can look locally for so many willing designers!

I made a point of wearing my handknit skirts this weekend. I wasn’t the only one! Also in the shot is Castanets by Stick Chick Knits, in case you’re in need of another beautiful shawl pattern.

I think Swirl Skirt will have to be my next one, maybe in the Noro Silk Garden I have in my stash. I wonder what I should use for a contrast color?

Now that RCYC 2014 is wrapped up, it is time to start thinking about VKL for real. I’ll be in booth 221 again this year, and I’m planning to bring the whole complement of Gradient Kit colors in Pebble Sock, as well as quite a few in Lilt Sock. There will be loads of 100g skeins of various colors as well, so if there’s a particular color and/or weight you want, drop me a line at blacktrillium [at] popculturezoo [dot] com.

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Spring KAL: Goloring

For our second exclusive knit-along of 2014, we’ll be working with another gradient kit to make a graceful cabled scarf called Goloring by M K Nance. If you’d like to hear more about the source of the pattern title, check out this brief Wikipedia page.

The pattern includes written and charted instructions. You’ll need to pre-order the kit, which includes one gradient in Pebble Sock as well as a paper copy of the pattern. You’ll also need to have a long US 4 (3.5mm) needle, stitch markers, a cable needle and a darning needle. The sample shown in the photo is the Vapor Gradient Kit. Don’t forget to join us and show off your kits and finished scarves on my Ravlery group, in our special Q2 KAL thread.

Here are the color selections I’ve put up. Please feel free to choose “other” from the drop-down menu and pick another gradient color from my Pinterest page in the checkout notes.

When ordering the kit for this KAL, please keep in mind that I will be in Seattle/Bellevue for Vogue Knitting Live and will be taking down my Etsy sight for a small amount of time before and after the event. I plan to ship pre-orders the week after I arrive back from VKL.

A note about ordering and shipping: as with all KAL pre-orders, this kit will ship separately from all else and will not be eligible for free shipping. Thanks for understanding!

Look for my RCYC 2014 wrap-up tomorrow, but tonight maybe I’ll see you at the Yarn Harlot signing?

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New Pattern: Ombre Baby Blanket

Having a new yarn and whole new series of colors pretty much required I design something to show them both off. I’ll try my hand at sweater design down the road, but to start us out I’ve put together a baby blanket that I think will be a great way to make use of the full sized gradient kits as well as the semi-solids.

Ombre Baby Blanket

To knit this blanket, you’ll need a mid-length 4.0mm circular needle and six skeins of my Black Trillium Fibres Sublime in six different shades of the Whimsical Solids. You’ll need to be familiar with following a written pattern using abbreviations outlined in the notes. This is a relatively easy knit, great for an experienced beginner.

The blanket in the above pictures is worked up in two Whimsy colors, Buckthorne and Snapdragon. One skein of each of 3 shades was used. I have a ton of ideas for great color combinations besides the one I used in the sample. I’ll try to put together a few different combos here so you can get the idea.

Wisteria and Truffle

Sprout and Rosewater

Surf and Flint

Or, one shade each of six colors. True Rainbow – Cardinal 3, Buckthorne 3, Pineapple 3, Sprout 3, Pacific 3 and Wisteria 3.

With 36 different colors in the Whimsical Solids to choose from, I’m sure we can all come up with some really spectacular ideas. You can put together your own choices by selecting from the dyed to order listings on Etsy. If you’d rather try with a regular Gradient kit, send me an email with your color preference and we’ll get a custom order in the queue. I think a full-sized gradient kit would look great with an undyed skein as a sixth color.

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Rose City Yarn Crawl 2014

Our local yarn crawl, known briefly as the RCYC, begins this Wednesday evening with a kick-off party at the Windows Skyroom of the downtown Red Lion. For some of us, Wednesday is still a school night so I won’t be able to trek all the way into town for The Yarn Ball, but I will be going to knit night at my local shop to accompany the rather large trunk show we’ve been putting together. You’ll find me at The Knitting Bee from about 6:30pm to 8:30pm, where you’ll also find quite a lot of Lilt Sock in my new Whimsical Solids and some accompanying multicolors. I’m also taking over a small selection of Pebble Sock in various colors and my new Sublime DK in a small selection of Whimsical Solids.

My trunk show at The Bee also includes quite a few skeins of their signature color, Waggle Dance. The whole show will be running the length of the RCYC, which ends Sunday, March 2nd. I will be in attendance again with the trunk show for most of Saturday, so I hope to see a few of you locals then.

Here’s a list of my other stores taking part in the RCYC and their Black Trillium yarns:

For Yarn’s Sake has Lilt Sock.

Happy Knits has Merilon Sock and Pebble Worsted.

Black Sheep Orenco has Pebble Sock, Merilon Sock and what is left of my Pebble Silk Sock.

Wool’n'Wares has Lilt Sock as well as Merilon Sock.

I’m excited to see how many folks are wearing their Mystery Gear during the crawl! Quite a few knitters chose to use Lilt Sock for Michele Bernstein’s shawl pattern, and I’ve been trying to keep track of some of the finished ones in a special thread in my Ravlery group. The thread only has a fraction of the shawls I’ve seen in person, so if you know someone with a finished one in Black Trillium Yarns send them my way!

Hopefully I can put together a post-event round-up with photos an such before I go head-long into Vogue Knitting Live prep. TTFN!

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The Way The Whimsy Works

Okay, now that I’ve introduced you to the Whimsical Solids I think I need to give more details about how these colors are going to work.

Right now, there are 12 different colors in the Whimsical Solid series. For each color, there are three shades:

In this case, Wisteria light, medium and dark. Also known as Wisteria 1, Wisteria 2, and Wisteria 3. In a rather obvious breakdown: Wisteria is the color name and the numbers denote which shade.

As an expansion of my gradient kits, these watercolor-like semi-solids allow you to put together your own color combinations in the shades and yardage you need for your project. Let’s use an adult sized cardigan as an example. Say I wanted to knit a top-down, short-sleeved cardi in Truffle and I wanted there to be three equally-sized blocks of color starting with the lightest shade at the cast-on. But say I want the button band, knit on after the body of the project is finished, to be all the darkest shade. I would need different yardage per shade, depending on which base yarn I’m using.

Here’s another idea that the Whimsical Solids are perfect for: what if you want to knit a project in two different weights of yarn, but you want them to be the same color? Aside from different content (some silk versus all merino), dyeing the different weights together for a project of one shade and color would yield much closers results than choosing different dye batches in the same shade but different base yarns.

I thought I’d be putting up the Whimsical Solids after I got through Vogue Knitting Live, playing by ear according to what does well at my upcoming shows. Silly me! I already have numerous requests for both the new base yarn (Sublime, DK weight) and the new Whimsy colors. I’m working on making all of it available right now through my Etsy shop, dyed-to-order so you can get exactly what you need in the yarn you want.

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