November news

Hi folks!  It’s been a long time since I introduced myself; I’m Marit, the dyer behind gobsmacked yarn.  The daughter of a librarian and an engineer, I’m something of a hypothesis muppet: I’m always asking “What if…?” 

Marit, a white woman with very short hair, stands in front of a whiteboard that says "Hypothesis Muppet." She's grinning hugely and proudly holding a skein of gradient yarn.
This is me at Dye Camp almost a decade ago, brain fizzing with ideas; I’m holding the first-ever prototype gobsmacked gradient. (Photo: Kim McBrien Evans)

I learned to dye yarn in 2012, at indigodragonfly‘s Dye Camp, and I’ve been experimenting and playing in the dye pots ever since. I’ve developed some unusual dyeing techniques that result in one-of-a-kind dappled gradients, full of lively colours that shift with every stitch.

Two gobsmacked yarn cakes sit on a black background. One is teal green to yellow; the other is cobalt blue to bright magenta.
Each gobsmacked gradient results from its own unique blend of skilled technique and serendipity in the dye pots.

After more than 15 years in Ontario, I’ve recently relocated to Sackville, New Brunswick, where my wife lives.  Sackville is in Mi’kma’ki (the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq people), right on the Bay of Fundy, with its famously high tides and sweeping salt marshes.  I’ve been finding the colours of the landscape really inspiring, and am learning to embrace some of the murkier colours.  Don’t worry– I still love bright, jewel-toned gradients and rich oil-slick colours!  But I’ll also be introducing some new small-batch tonals in the new year, inspired by the complicated cusp colours of the mud, the tides, the marshes, and the blueberry fields.

Low tide exposes the wet mud of the banks of the Tantramar River, which slope down to a narrow channel of muddy water. The blue of the sky is reflected in the mud, creating a complicated mix of brown, lavender, and blue.
I’m fascinated by the strange colours of the wet mud and muddy water of the Tantramar River. The proportions of browns, blues, and purples shifts constantly depending on the time of day, the clouds, and the tide. (Photo: Marit Munson)

There’s a lot happening in the coming days; here are a few highlights:

Digits & Threads holiday gift guide

I’m pleased to say that gobsmacked is included in Digits & Threads’ new holiday gift guide.  Digits & Threads is an online magazine focused on Canadian fibre and textile arts; this week, they’re releasing a gift guide to help folks in Canada find local (or local-ish) fibre-related businesses to support.  If you’re in the US or elsewhere in the world, you might still want to take a look– there are a lot of great fibre and textile folks in the guide, plus Digits & Threads’ articles cover important issues like accessibility and highlight artists you’ll want to know.

Heart & Pocket Revue

I’m so pleased to have an in-person show on my calendar!  The Heart & Pocket Revue is a lovely curated art and craft market in Sackville, NB, on Saturday, 20 November.  It’s at the Legion Hall (15 Lorne St.), from 10am to 4pm.  Covid protocols will be in place (currently, proof of vaccination & masks required).  Accessibility: The Legion Hall has a level entryway, with a flight of stairs (handrails on both sides) to the show location on the second floor; a wheelchair-accessible elevator is available by asking an event volunteer.  Washrooms include women’s, men’s, and a gender neutral, wheelchair accessible one-person bathroom.

Online update

The next online update will be on Friday, 3 December at 4pm Atlantic Standard Time (= 3pm Eastern/ Toronto/ New York).  This update will feature laceweight gradients, mostly in BFL/ silk lace and a super-luxurious camel/ silk lace.  I’ll also have a bunch of merino fingering doubles (a single gradient dyed over two 100g cakes of 2-ply fingering-weight merino), plus more gradients in Four Quarter and in silky yak DK.  Details of all of these bases are available here; an overview of the update process is here.

Jasmine cowl pattern release

Check out the Jasmine cowl from Aklori Designs! Lori’s new pattern uses a gobsmacked DK gradient striped against a contrast colour; add in the gorgeous stitch texture of Tunisian crochet and I’m smitten!  If you’ve never tried Tunisian crochet, be sure to check out Lori’s tutorials for beginners.

A crocheted cowl lies on a wooden floor; the cowl has grey stripes on a blue gradient, with a highly textured surface.
Jasmine Cowl, by Aklori Designs (photo courtesy Aklori Designs).

Mailing list

If you’d like occasional news about gobsmacked, including announcements of the dates and times of my online updates, please join my mailing list. I usually send a single email in a month, so you don’t have to worry about filling up your inbox. Just send me a quick email (gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com) indicating that you’d like to be on my mailing list; that helps ensure that I’m adhering to Canadian anti-spam laws. Thanks!

October update

Thanks for a great update! I’ve sent all of the invoices as of Friday evening and will get packages in the mail on Monday. If you missed the scheduled time, never fear– there’s still some great yarn left. Just shoot me an email; I’ll be checking in throughout the weekend.

Welcome to the October update, featuring DK doubles perfect for Flexture, or other two-skein DK-weight shawls. Of course, there’s plenty of fingering weight yarn as well.

If you see some yarn you’d like to claim, email me with your request (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, with packages to the US occasionally taking a month or more to arrive; I can’t make any promises about delivery times.

merino/ silk DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Mint & Berries
merino/ silk DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): The Brightness of Clouds
merino/ silk DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): One Cool Jupiter
merino/ silk DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Top: O, Joyful Chaos!; Bottom: It’s So Easy Being Green (bright mossy green to acid green to acidy yellow)
silky yak DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Top: Tardigradient; Bottom: Why Not Water?
silky yak DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Top: Keep On Moving; Bottom: Coming Through to Morning
silky yak DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Wandering the Fundy Shore
silky yak DK double (one long gradient, suitable for the Flexture shawl, dyed over two 100g cakes of yarn): Thriving
silky yak DK (individual 100g cakes; not enough yardage for Flexture): Left: Revisiting the Home Place; Center: Sunset Vibe; Right: Right On!
silky yak DK (individual 100g cakes; not enough yardage for Flexture): Left: Clear Horizon; Center: Above the Volcanos; Right: Getting Closer
Cabra giant: Left: The Woods Are Waking; Center: Asking for the Wild; Right: Proud as a Peahen
Cabra giant: Left: To Put to Patience; Right: To Leap the Pale
BFL giant: Left: Working at Great Orme; Center: Talking Nineteen to the Dozen; Right: Back to Bisbee
Four Quarter fingering: Top left: Stealth Plum; Top right: Night Blossoms; Bottom: Dried Petals
Four Quarter fingering: Top left: Just Out the Front Door; Top right: Time For Hay; Bottom left: Spinning in the Storm; Bottom right: On the High Seas
Four Quarter fingering: Top left: Gardening in Emerald City; Top right: My Dear Petunia (magenta to dappled charcoal grey and pale pink to light grey, with dark dapples throughout); Bottom left: Fiery; Bottom right: Getting Stuck In
Four Quarter fingering: Top: Looking Like a Million; Bottom left: Happiness & Others; Bottom right: Wherefor?
Four Quarter fingering: Top: All Around the World; Bottom left: Calm Seas; Bottom right: Compliment
merino/ silk fingering double (one long gradient, dyed over two 100g cakes; not the yarn specified for Flexture, though the pattern could be adapted for fingering weight): To Hover at Height
merino/ silk fingering (two separate 100g cakes available; dyed at the same time, so they match as much as possible, given the quirks of the dyepots): Caught By the Light

Colourplay

Have you fallen in love with Kim McBrien Evans’ shawl Flexture? It’s a pretty special piece that brings Kim’s creative brain and keen colour sense together with gobsmacked gradients and contrast colours from Murky Depths Dyeworks.

A woman modeling Flexture, a shawl with colorful stripes on an orange-to-blue gradient. The model has long grey hair and is perched on the edge of a table holding a mug.
Flexture, by Kim McBrien Evans. Photo c. Abrams.

The gradient that Kim used for the shawl is a gobsmacked DK double, or two skeins of DK-weight yarn dyed to create one long gradient. I love the result of dyeing doubles, but it’s really labour-intensive so I don’t do it often. Happily, I have a whole batch of DK doubles ready to go for the next gobsmacked update, on Friday 15 October.

How to choose colours for Flexture? It’s best to start with your gradient, then choose contrast colours from there. I thought I’d walk you through an example, using this lovely steely blue to grey gradient on Silky Yak DK:

A close-up of gradient yarn, from deep navy through soft turquoise and aqua to warm grey.
Silky Yak DK double, in delicious blues.

This gradient goes from a deep greyed navy to light turquoise with aqua dapples to a light warm grey, which is the natural undyed colour of the base yarn. The contrast colours for Flexture are used as stripes across the entire shawl, so I want to choose colours that complement the full gradient, from the darkest blue end to the lighter grey.

To give you an idea of how I’d approach colourplay for Flexture, I’ve pulled out some assorted mini skeins to play with– they’re fingering weight and not enough yardage to use for the actual shawl, but I have a lot of them, so they’re great for auditioning colours.

Four mini-skeins lying on the dark blue to grey gradient. The minis are pale aqua and green, dark magenta-purple, deep red, and soft heathery pink.
Colourplay for Flexture: The first palette.

I happen to love red as a contrast to blue, so I thought I’d start there. I really liked the weathered barn feel of the dark red (second from right) with the blues and greys of the gradient. And once I chose that first contrast, I started thinking about related hues in the red-to-purple range. I decided on a reddish purple that I love, plus a muted pink that will give a bit of variation in value (light/ dark) too. For the last colour, I wanted to pull something quite different, to keep the end result from feeling flat. Colour theory (and some vintage tea towels that I have) suggested the classic pairing of red/ pink combined with green. I auditioned several different greens before deciding on a variegated pale leaf green and aqua that gives a nice pop without being too shocking. The end result has a quiet garden feel to me.

Four mini-skeins lying on the dark blue to grey gradient. The minis are reddish purple, spring green, acid green, and golden yellow.
More colourplay for Flexture: The second palette.

Here’s another possibility– brighter and more lively than the first, this combo is built around the contrast of a deep golden yellow against the blue gradient. Using that yellow meant that my favourite acid green and a bright spring green fit right in, with all three making a strong statement against the main colour. For the fourth accent colour, I chose a medium magenta purple that really pops compared to the other contrast colours, while being a bit closer to most of the gradient in hue and value.

Of course, there’s an unlimited palette of potential colour combos! What to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain where to start when choosing your own colours? You can use colour theory if you want– the discussion in Custom Shawls is a great place to begin– or just start tossing your stash to see how colours look when they’re laid out together. Just remember that there’s no right or wrong answer. Colourplay is play, after all, of the most creative kind. Have fun!

Pattern: Flexture, by Kim McBrien Evans, published in Custom Shawls for the Curious and Creative Knitter, by Kate Atherley and Kim McBrien Evans (Abrams, 2020).

Yarn: gobsmacked yarn DK double, with 4 DK-weight contrast colours. The shawl uses one double, which is a single long gradient dyed over 200g (=2 skeins) of DK-weight yarn. Recommended fibres are Silky Yak DK (20% silk, 15% yak, 65% merino) or merino/ silk DK (50% merino, 50% silk).

Update: Friday, 15 October at 3pm Eastern/ 4pm Atlantic. Information about the update process is available here.

July update

Thanks for a great update! There is still yarn available, so do take a look. If anything catches your eye, send an email to claim it. I’ll get back to you shortly.

Welcome to the July 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 experiencing delays; packages to the US sometimes take a month or more to arrive. I can’t make any promises about delivery times.

Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Left: Maelstrom; Right: Haying Time
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Left: Sleepless; Centre: Turn It Over; Right: Between the Lines
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Left: Take a Chance; Centre: Alligator Tears; Right: That Sense of Calm
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Top left: Glory Days; Top right: I Beseech You;
Bottom left: Land Mollusc; Bottom right: Waves Breaking in the Sargasso Sea
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Top left: Ditch Lilies Dancing ; Top right: Come and See; Bottom left: Blue Mood, Brightly; Bottom right: Boomtime
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Top left: Sing It Loud and Long; Top right: More & More; Bottom left: Window Seat; Bottom right: Humming Along
Four Quarter (sw merino fingering, $45 Cdn): Top left: Eel Weir; Top right: Prized Possession; Bottom left: Sing Before You Speak; Bottom right: Confetti Blues Band
Four Quarter doubles (one long gradient over two 100g cakes; $90 Cdn per double):
Top: Where We Belong; Bottom: The Actual Goal
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Vintage edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Cheery edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Inner Glow edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Faded Laundry edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Brand New Crayons edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Carefree Summer edition
Rainbow minis (12 x 20g mini-skeins, sw merino, $108 Cdn per set):
Strike It Rich edition (strong, dark primary colors)
Rainbow micros (12 x 10g micro-minis, sw merino, $54 Cdn per set):
Small But Mighty edition
Note: micros are 10g each; total 120 g per set
Rainbow micros (12 x 10g micro-minis, sw merino, $54 Cdn per set):
The Quiet Speak Loudly edition
Note: micros are 10g each; total 120 g per set
Rainbow micros (12 x 10g micro-minis, sw merino, $54 Cdn per set):
When We Were Young edition
Note: micros are 10g each; total 120 g per set
Variegated gradient mini skeins (5 x 20g sw merino minis, dyed in a highly variegated gradient shift across the set.  $45 Cdn per set):
Where Sea Meets Sand
Variegated gradient mini skeins (5 x 20g sw merino minis, dyed in a highly variegated gradient shift across the set.  $45 Cdn per set): The Magic of Macaws
Variegated gradient mini skeins (5 x 20g sw merino minis, dyed in a highly variegated gradient shift across the set.  $45 Cdn per set): When Lupines Bloom in June
Variegated gradient mini skeins (5 x 20g sw merino minis, dyed in a highly variegated gradient shift across the set.  $45 Cdn per set): Gardener’s Glory
BFL giant (150g of BFL fingering, $62 Cdn): Left: The Beauty of Spent Blooms; Right: So Strong, the Sea
merino/ silk double (one long gradient, dyed over two 100g cakes; $100 Cdn per double):
Seeking Comfort
merino/ silk double (one long gradient, dyed over two 100g cakes; $100 Cdn per double):
Got the Icebox Blues
merino/ silk giant (one gradient, dyed over one 100g cake + one 50g cake; $75 Cdn):
Plant Out the Beds
Kerfluffle (silk/ mohair/ nylon fingering, $55 Cdn): Top left: Nebulous; Top right: Eating Icecubes; Bottom: Gladhearted
Kerfluffle (silk/ mohair/ nylon fingering, $55 Cdn): Left: Black Tulips; Right: Ne’er Been Gone Long
Kerfluffle (silk/ mohair/ nylon fingering, $55 Cdn):
Top left: Shimmer & Glide; Top right: A Glimpse of Light; Bottom: Show ‘Em What You’ve Got

New yarn, and news!

It’s been quite the year. I mean, that’s one of the biggest understatements I can imagine at this point, but I suspect that many of you understand the feeling. Between the pandemic, a series of health problems triggered by the Ravelry redesign, and an unexpectedly long stay in New Brunswick, I feel like I’ve been in suspended animation. A whole lot has happened– yet I’ve barely been outside my small town in more a year and a half.

This time-outside-of-time has given me the chance to make a lot of decisions about what I want to do in my life. The most exciting news for gobsmacked fans? I’m moving to Sackville, New Brunswick permanently, where I’ll be devoting considerably more of my time to gobsmacked. Over the next six months or so, I’ll be reintroducing monthly yarn updates, launching a new and improved email newsletter, and creating a new website. All of this means that there will be more yarn available than ever before, with a more typical online shopping experience and a more streamlined process for special requests.

It will take a while to roll out all of these changes– I have to deal with a lot of loose ends in Ontario first, including closing down that studio and bringing that equipment here to New Brunswick.

The plan is to have an update this coming week (Saturday, 17 July at 3pm EDT), then I’ll be away for the month of August to pack up and move. I’ll be back in September with regular monthly updates and a new system for my email list. The website will follow later in the year. I’ll keep you updated here and through my email list– do stay tuned!

Oh, and that new yarn? It’s pretty special!

Two cakes of gradient yarn, one blue to teal and the other murky green to acid yellow
Kerfluffle: 69% silk, 22% kid mohair, 9% nylon (349 m./ 382 yds. per 100g skein)

Introducing Kerfluffle, a super-soft, luxurious fingering-weight yarn made of silk, kid mohair, and nylon. It’s made with one thick strand plyed against a thin nearly invisible thread, a construction gives you the look of a singles yarn, with greater stability and less tangling mess. The combination of silk and this particular plying structure give it a beautiful, lustrous quality that lets the colors really glow. It’s a premium yarn– $55 Canadian for 100g– that’s worth every penny just to see it flow through your fingers and off your needles. I’ll have the first batch of Kerfluffle available in Saturday’s update. See you then!

Two white women sit on wooden steps. Elizabeth, a fat woman in a green dress, holds a green cake of yarn; Marit, with very short hair and a teal plaid shirt, holds a teal to blue cake of yarn.
Elizabeth (my wife) and me on our front porch in Sackville, admiring our test cakes of Kerfluffle. We’re pretty predictable in our color choices, eh?