March update

Thanks for a great update! I’ve sent all the invoices and will be shipping Monday afternoon/ Tuesday morning.

Welcome to the March update!  If you see some yarn you’d like to claim, email me at gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com.  An update can get pretty wild on my end, but I promise I’ll respond to your email to let you know if you got your choices.  I’ll send out PayPal invoices once things start to quiet down a bit (usually, about an hour after the update starts).

Reminders: Colours vary from device to device; I always include a written description of how I see the colour, but please do ask if you’re uncertain about a particular cake or set.  I’ll mail packages on Monday afternoon/ Tuesday morning. Please note that many mail services are still experiencing delays due to the pandemic; I can’t make any promises about delivery times.

Four Quarter: Top left: In the Gloaming Hour; Top right: Quiet Time; Bottom left: Taking a Breather; Bottom right: Restful
Four Quarter: Top left: Marsh Life; Top right: What I Know Is True; Bottom left: Plums for Tarts; Bottom right: What is Real
Four Quarter: Top: My Way to Tell You; Bottom left: The Gift of Grace; Bottom right: Walk This World Forever
Four Quarter: Top left: Working Through It; Top right: To the Deeper Sea; Bottom left: Not Done Yet!; Bottom right: Whyever Not?
Four Quarter: Top left: To Wait and Wonder; Top right: Living It Up; Bottom left: Arise, Spring!; Bottom right: Bestest Blurple
Four Quarter: Top left: Carried on to Meaning; Top right: The Perfect Pansy; Bottom left: Dried Flowers Forever; Bottom right: Teal Confetti
Four Quarter: Top left: Burn Down and Build Up; Top right: The Following Storm; Bottom left: Dreamscape; Bottom right: The Cat’s Tiger Lily
Four Quarter: Top left: All the Goodly Greens; Top right: Sweet Tulip Mine; Bottom left: Dreaming of Roses; Bottom right: Listening to Life
BFL Giant: Left: When the Tantramar Feels the Spring; Centre: Barn Party; Right: Blimey!
Cabra giant: Left: Lift Up the Sky; Centre: Breaking Out; Right: Oh, Blossom!
Silky Yak DK doubles (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): Top: Going Out to Sea; Bottom: Up a Favorite Tree
Silky Yak DK doubles (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): What I Remember
Merino/ silk DK doubles (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): Top: Mud and Stone; Bottom: Twigs and Mosses (one knot that does not interrupt the gradient, which I consider a minor flaw; $96 Canadian)
Merino/ silk DK doubles (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): Top: The Brilliance of Berries; Bottom: Emerald Evening

Flexture

Have you seen Flexture?  It’s a gorgeous new(ish) design by Kim McBrien Evans, from the book Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter.  The book is written by the unbeatable duo of Kate Atherley— the math nerd and technique maven– and Kim McBrien Evans, who loves to creatively break all the rules.  As with so many of Kim’s designs, Flexture is an unusual but very wearable shape that provides plenty of room to play with colour. 

A white woman with grey hair sits draped in Flexture, a shawl knit sideways in an orange-to-blue gobsmacked gradient, striped with angled and stair-stepped lines of dark blue, pale blue, yellow, and red in Murky Depths yarn.
Flexture shawl, by Kim McBrien Evans. Photo c. Abrams.

Flexture uses a gobsmacked merino/ silk DK double, which is a long gradient that plays out over two 100g cakes of yarn, plus Triton MCN DK from Murky Depths Dyeworks for the contrast colours. 

This weekend, I’ll have about a half dozen doubles of merino/ silk DK and Silky Yak DK in an online update. I’d love for you to find the perfect gobsmacked double for Flexture, and to pick out just the right colours from Murky Depths to go with it.  If that’s not in the cards, though, Kate and Kim also talk about why they chose gobsmacked and Murky Depths for this particular shawl, plus what to consider if you want to substitute a different yarn. In fact, this thoughtful discussion of yarn characteristics is part of all of the patterns in their book, making it possible to plan your own unique version of every shawl.

Two yarn cakes rest on the title page of the Flexture pattern, which includes pattern information on Yarn, Needles, Notions, Gauge, and Why This Yarn?
A Silky Yak DK double from gobsmacked would work beautifully for Flexture– and Kate and Kim’s detailed yarn discussion give you the information that you need to understand why. (More notes on yarn substitution are hiding in this picture under the yarn itself.)

When I daydream of colour combos, I think about the folds of the earth, the ribbons of water that braid their way to the sea, the strands of algae that float in the currents, the bands of clouds that spread across the sunrise sky…  Or, maybe you find beauty in the colours that spread across an oil slick, or the streaks from tail-lights that skitter across damp pavement at night.  Whatever your muse, I hope that you find inspiration and knitterly joy in Flexture!

Four cakes of yarn rest on the book Custom Shawls, open to a a page showing a model wearing Flexture.  The yarn is two gradients: teal to acid greens and slate grey to reddish tan.
Some colourful DK doubles, ready to spark inspiration for Flexture!

Online update: Saturday 13 March at 3pm Eastern Standard Time (Toronto/ New York).  New to my online updates?  Get an overview of the process here.

Do you need a copy of Custom Shawls of your own?  Order from indigodragonfly (here) or your local bookstore (indiebound)!

The cover of the book Custom Shawls, by Kate Atherley and Kim McBrien Evans

November update

Thanks for a great update! I’ll start sending out invoices Saturday evening and will have packages out on Monday.

Welcome to the November update!  If you see some yarn you’d like to claim, email me at gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com.  An update can get pretty wild on my end, but I promise I’ll respond to your email to let you know if you got your choices.  I’ll send out PayPal invoices about an hour after the update starts, once things start to quiet down a bit; please note that invoices are due upon receipt (with a little leeway for different time zones and schedules).

Reminders: Colours vary from device to device; I always include a written description of how I see the colour, but please do ask if you’re uncertain about a particular cake or set.  Also note that package delivery is likely to be slow due to the pandemic. Unfortunately I can’t guarantee delivery times.

Four Quarter: Top: 935 Bulbs; Bottom left: Earthship; Bottom right: Bagtown
Four Quarter: Left: Sing It Out; Right: Friendly Buttons
Four Quarter: Top: Build It Up Better; Bottom left: Chaos Tidying; Bottom right: Underwater
Four Quarter: Left: Sempervivum; Right: Staycation
Four Quarter: Top: The Last Blush of Blueberry Bush; Bottom left: Citation Style; Bottom right: Which Pond?
Four Quarter: Top left: Sidewalk Solidarity; Top right: Nova’s Yard; Bottom left: Bridge to Nowhere; Bottom right: Parrot Party
Four Quarter: Top: Aliens in the Quarry; Bottom left: Seasonal Tarts; Bottom right: Two Cat Cuddle (cake has a 12″ long section of damaged ply that I consider a flaw; price $40)
Four Quarter: Top: Mount Chesterfield, Elevation 2m; Bottom left: Looping Around; Bottom right: Sunday Drive
Four Quarter: Top: Five Golden Doors; Bottom left: Impending Snugs; Bottom right: Ephemera
Gobsmidgeon (50g of Four Quarter, $22): The Big Idea
merino/ silk fingering: Been Waitin’
merino/ silk fingering double (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): Go Plant Your Flowers
merino/ silk fingering double (one long gradient, dyed across two 100g cakes): Opalescent
Cabra giant: Walk in Walker Woods
Cabra giant: Top: Sofa-Yarn Stash; Bottom left: Dog in Duvet; Bottom Right: Three Good Ideas
Snarkle (two matching 50g gradients of sparkle sock, wound in opposite directions to better show colours, $45): That Inner Voice

picnic, lightning

It’s been a rough several months, hasn’t it?

There’s a poem called Picnic, Lightning that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s a classic Billy Collins poem (i.e., dark yet oddly charming) that was inspired by a line by Nabokov, in which the narrator explains his mother’s death with just two words: picnic, lightning.

I reckon that my last eight months are best summarized in similar fashion: pandemic, migraine. Both experiences are new to me, both have sucked up my time and creative energies, and both have, unfortunately, become my new normal.

The good news is that I’m adapting and figuring out new ways forward. I’m getting back in the dye pots, catching up on my dye queue, and have scheduled the next online update: Saturday 14 November at 3pm Eastern Standard Time. I’ll post more details about what will be included in that update as the time draws near; in the meantime, I hope that you’re finding some creative joy, whether through yarn and colour or in some other way.

Working in the dyepots! (Yes, I wear an indoor hat; I get cold easily.)

An open letter to Ravelry

Dear Ravelry folks,
I’m writing with a deep sense of sadness and dismay. I’m one of the people who was adversely affected by the rollout of the new Ravelry: I developed nausea and a headache within the first 15 minutes that I spent on the new site.

I don’t have a history of any visual or neurological disabilities or migraines, so I had a hard time accepting that what was happening to me was real. I tried again the next day, with similar effects. Since then, I’ve been sensitive to screen time, unable to watch video or to scroll on a website without feeling queasy or getting a headache. I assume that this is a long-lasting or recurring migraine, based on my partner’s description of her own migraines. (Ironically, she can use new Ravelry without problem, despite her migraine history.)

It’s been 13 days now. Will you stop and imagine that for a minute? A few days of trying to use your new site, dutifully reporting bugs and providing feedback and then, in the face of continued nausea and headaches, realising that I have no choice except to avoid screens as much as possible and hope that I’ll begin to feel better. As you can imagine, that’s pretty life-changing; it’s made it difficult for me to do my day job (now entirely remote, given the pandemic) and disrupted my daily routines and sense of connection with people beyond my own four walls.

Still, I was confident that I’d feel better with time, that you’d address the problem, and that I would be able to return to Ravelry.

Your most recent front-page post really knocked me for a loop, though. Instead of reassuring me that you’ll find the problem and fix it, I’m hearing “we think most people are fine with new Rav.” I’m hearing “our tools say it’s fine, so that’s what we choose to listen to.” I’m hearing “your experience doesn’t matter to us.”

I’m hearing “you don’t matter.”

It’s surprising how hard it is to write that about Ravelry.

You’ve built a community that has been my online home. I’ve logged in almost every single morning for years. I’ve stretched myself as a knitter. I’ve felt a sense of connection with people around the globe and have met some incredible friends. It’s no exaggeration to say that Ravelry has changed my life: through connections I made online, I learned how to dye yarn, got a job with a yarn dyer, and eventually started my own yarn dyeing business part time. I met my love, the woman who will become my wife. We openly celebrated our queer love in a visible way, and were met with joy and celebration from our fellow Ravellers.

The changes in Ravelry can’t destroy what I’ve already gained. My yarn business will thrive through my existing customers and word of mouth, my partner can moderate my Ravelry group, and most importantly, my love is still here at my side.

But, oh, my heart aches. It aches for the community, the conversations, the new patterns and knitterly tips and support and sense of connection. It hurts to feel excluded, to have my experience discounted, to be facing a future where I can’t use Ravelry and where I might have difficulty doing anything online. That sounds melodramatic, even to me, but in light of your failure to act, it’s also sounding increasingly likely.

Ravelry was unique, a place that felt personal and quirky and welcoming.

It isn’t any more. I mourn that loss.

Marit

Marit Munson, gobsmacked yarn