Mailing List

I’m transitioning my email newsletter from private email to MailChimp. If you’d like to sign up, please click here. Up in the top, left-hand corner is a “subscribe” button. I expect my next mailer to go out this coming Monday.

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Gradient Restock Run-down

The gradient yarns sort of ran out all at once about a month and a half ago, and though I didn’t see it coming I’m certainly not going to complain. Many of you have been asking when things will be coming back, especially the Pebble Sock Gradients. Today, I feel confident in saying that over the next three or four weeks the biggest project we’ll be tending to in the Black Trillium studio will be the dyeing and winding of Pebble Sock Gradient Yarns. (Well, dyeing, winding, twisting, bagging & tagging, but who’s counting steps.) 7 boxes [gigantic] of Pebble Sock were delivered today after running the gamut through international shipping and clearing customs.

Right now, you can get quite a few Lilt Gradient Yarns. I know they’re a little different than the Pebble Sock Gradient Yarns, but only in ways that are for the better. The added silk and additional plies in Lilt Sock make a really smooth, drapey handknit. Also, Lilt has more yardage than Pebble, so you get more mileage out of a single package of gradient yarn.

If, down the road, you have a question about particular colors and when they’ll be restocked, keep these things in mind:

  • My main shop announcement page will have current information about what colors are dyed and when they will become available.  You have to click “read more” right there at the top of my Etsy shop, under my logo.
  • All of my gradient colors are repeatable.  I craft them to be so, and I test the formulas before dyeing a gradient so we won’t have to worry about lots of extra photography when it’s time to restock the colors.  If you’d care to browse all the colors at once, check out my Pinterest Gradient Yarn page.

Coming July 18 or 19: Lilt Sock Gradient Yarn in Trifle, Kir, Bubblegum and Vapor.

Coming July 21: Pebble Sock Gradient Yarn in Grasshopper, and getting started on the turquoise/teal colors (Tidewater, Xenon, Naiad, Ice).

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Black Sheep Gathering 2014

I’m popping in for a quick post about the show I’ll be at this weekend:

Black Sheep Gathering
Lane County Fairgrounds
Eugene, Oregon

Marketplace hours:
Friday, June 21, 9AM to 6PM
Sat, June 22, 9AM to 5:30PM
Sunday, June 23, 9AM to 4PM

I’m bringing Spectrum Gradients in Pebble Sock, regular Gradients in Lilt Sock (and a few in Pebble Sock, very limited color selection), as well as my regular line-up of yarn bases in a select quantity of colors. I’ll be in the first barn, booth #9, if you want to come by and say hi!

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Goloring Progress

I’ve been using Instagram, experimenting with filters and such, to document my Goloring progress:

Here’s today’s progress shot, without any filters:

I have a feeling I’m going to have to wear this “sample” all over the place when it’s finished. I did a few mods, and because the pattern is so clearly written the mods were very simple. First, I cast on two fewer repeats’ worth of stitches. (Love the two-color cast on, totally fabulous for casting on a million stitches.) Second, I changed the way the decreases were distributed in order to accommodate the extra yardage I created by casting on fewer stitches. I’m planning to knit right to the end of all five colors, so my shawl will have much longer braids on the inside.

Yarn: Shire Gradient Yarn
Pattern: Goloring by MK Nance
Discussion thread: On Ravelry

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Summer KAL: Anserini Hat & Cowl

Summer is here, and so it is time to get thinking about our next exclusive knit-a-long!

The illustrious Alex Tinsley, designer behind Dull Roar, is a long-time friend and so I’m very excited to have one of her designs as our third quarter knitting project. We’ll get to use my newest yarn substrate, Sublime, in three colors to do some great striping and happy colorwork. If you’re ready for a break from shawls and socks, I’d say you better jump on board with us and knit a hat and cowl!

Sublime is a very soft 3-ply 100% Superwash Merino yarn that knits up as a lighter DK weight, making it the perfect texture for hats and cowls without having a high-stitch-per-inch gauge of sock weights or the bulkiness of a worsted. Alex took her colorwork inspiration from a quilting motif called Flying Geese. We collaborated on the color choices, preferring the Whimsical Solids to offer a more solid palette. The original design is knit in Flint 1 & 3, with Pacific 2 as the highlight. Two more combinations are available with the kit: Surf & Buckthorne; Truffle & Sprout.

This exclusive will be available as a kit via my shop. The kits are pre-orders, which means I will dye the yarn after you order your kit. I will start shipping kits in order for them to arrive before the KAL starts on July 1st. Please select a color combination from the drop-down menu. We are not offering custom color combos for this KAL.

From the Etsy listing:
Third Quarter 2014 Exclusive Knit-a-long. KAL runs July 1 to September 30.

Kit includes:
- 1 paper pattern, Anserini Hat & Cowl by Alex Tinsley of Dull Roar, sample shown in Flint 1, 3 & Pacific 2
- 1 skein of the Main Color
- 1 skein of the Contrast Color 1
- 1/2 skein of the Contrast Color 2

Pattern Details:
- includes both written and charted instructions for both the hat and cowl
- Skills used: Knitting in the round, colorwork, decreasing, provisional cast on, kitchener stitch.

Items needed but not included in the kit: US 6 (4 mm) 16″ circular needle, US 6 DPNs, US 7 (4.5 mm) 16″ circular needle, stitch marker, darning needle, extra circular needle for working kitchener join

Yarn Details:
- Sublime DK, 100% Superwash Merino 3-ply DK weight
- kit includes 2.5 skeins (or 250 grams) total
- 6 sts per inch on US 5-6
- yarn is 260 yards per 100 grams, kit includes 260 yds each of 2 colors, and 130 yards of third color.

Color choices:
- Flint 1 & 3, full skeins each; Pacific 2, 1/2 skein
- Surf 1 & 3, full skeins each; Buckthorne 2, 1/2 skein
- Truffle 1 & 3, full skeins each; Sprout 2, 1/2 skein

Photos of knitted samples courtesy Alex Tinsley.

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Where Did the Gradient Yarns Go?

If you’ve had a moment to pop by my shop lately, you’ll notice that most of the gradient yarn colors are not listed. The TTL Mystery Shawl 2014 is knit with a gradient in Fern, and has garnered a fair amount of traffic in the last two weeks.

For perspective: two weeks ago, I had all but one of my 46 gradient yarn colors in stock, most in quantities of 3 to 6. As of today, I have only 15 colors left(not counting the few I have in Lilt). Along the way, I redyed and stocked 13 of the most popular colors.

It has been a busy couple of weeks, needless to say. Here’s a schedule of what to expect over the next couple months:

Lilt Sock is coming back! The mill order should be here within the next two weeks. I will start dyeing as soon as it gets here, but my first aim will be to get ready for Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR from June 20 through 22.

Coming back from BSG, I plan to start with stocking the most popular gradient yarn colors in Lilt first: Tidewater, Smoke, Vapor, Amethyst, Naiad, Orchid, Fern, Ice, and so on until I get at least 20 colors listed.

Pebble Sock comes back mid-July, which is when I’ll be able to start dyeing more of the regular gradient kits in the 100% Merino base that most everyone has. All the colors will eventually get stocked back out, but it will take some time.

As far as special orders, update times, holds, and preorders are concerned: none of these phenomena are things I am comfortable with. They leave too much open to software bungling or individual forgetfulness. I want everyone to get the colors they really want, and that may take patience. Only in the case of ordering exclusive KAL kits or full-sized gradient yarn kits (each color is 100g, and can be any of my yarn substrates) do I ask for preorders.

I hope that covers all the questions you might have for the moment. Emailing me with more complex questions is welcome. Blacktrillium @ Popculturezoo . com is my customer service and work email. Thank you!

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Gradient Yarn Kits: They Look Fun, But What Do I Knit?

When I started dyeing gradient yarn kits in early 2013, I was trying to preserve the value of a project I’d put an enormous amount of work into only to have it cut off as the yarn line had begun to get popular. I learned a pretty hard lesson about the magical balance of collaboration, but I was left with something that had a lot of potential. Gradient Yarn Kits were developed from a creative impetus that was already moving forward at a fast clip, all I needed was to add a little math to get what I wanted out of the ever-darkening shades.

Today, we’re in a place where designers are taking a focused look at gradients, and what is possible when using them. Kirsten Kapur‘s new Mystery Shawl KAL is the most recent design to use a Pebble Sock Gradient Yarn Kit. The design is still under wraps, but I have a feeling the use of color changes in the gradient kit will be put to good use.

Getting the gradients out there has meant working with designers to do a few exclusive KAL’s of my own as well. Goloring met with all sorts of positive attention at Vogue Knitting Live this last March, and has sold out twice in my own Etsy shop. I’ve been posting progress pictures of mine on Instagram and Twitter. You can see how others’ have knit up in our Ravelry chat thread. Here’s one of mine in Shire:

Some other very fun patterns for Gradient Yarns can be found on Ravelry. If you’re wondering what to do with a kit you recently ordered, try Spectral or Traliccio by Debbi Stone, Fiar by Irish Girlie Knits, Migee by AMBAH. I’ve made a list in Ravelry of patterns I think work or would be easily converted, seen here. My list is just the barest start, so feel free to add your ideas to our thread.

Of course, keeping all the gradient colors in stock is my ultimate goal. The busier times, like VKL and Black Sheep Gathering, will mean fewer colors in stock at once. Feel free to drop me a line via email or Etsy convo if you’re looking for a specific color and I can give you an ETA. This week, I’ll be bringing back a small quantity each of Ice, Tidewater, Fern, Vapor, Crater, Lavender, Jam, Trifle, Naiad, Garnet, Bitter, Orchid and Flutter. Coral and Denim will be sold out for a while, unfortunately. As the yarn supply runs, I’ve had a busy few months and so has the mill, so I’m expecting Lilt Sock to come back mid-June and Pebble Sock to come back mid-July.

Cheers!

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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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