Light as a cloud

ASL is one of my favourite bases for a spring/ summer shawl.  It’s a combo of 50% alpaca, 25% silk, and 25% linen.  Now, I’ll be honest and say that ASL does not seem all that promising in the cake; it looks a bit hairy and doesn’t feel particularly soft.  In fact, when I first ordered this base, I wondered if I’d made a big mistake.

Lida1

The yarn looks a bit hairy in the cake, but that disappears with blocking. 

I really shouldn’t have been concerned– this is one of those yarns, like all yarn that contains linen, that really comes to life once it’s blocked.  The hairiness disappears, the crunchy linen relaxes, and the silk comes into its own.  The result is a feather-light shawl with a light halo and incredible drape.

Lida2

Lida shawl, by Bristol Ivy, knit in a single cake of gobsmacked ASL.

This is my favourite piece for spring and summer wear; the combo of alpaca, linen, and silk means that it’s surprisingly warm, yet somehow never too hot.  And so soft!

Lida3.jpg

The ASL in my Lida has taken years of constant wear and is still going strong!

Why not give it a try?

Project details: Lida Shawl, by Bristol Ivy.  My version can be found here, on Ravelry.

May update

Thanks for another great update!  I’ve sent all invoices and will get packages in the mail first thing Monday morning.  Everything except for one DK double has sold.  Please see the sidebar menu for the next update and upcoming shows.

I’ve been wearing my Around the Bend for months now, and it’s still my favourite-ever FO, hands-down.  I love those stripes!  And I recently laid my hands on Nim Teasdale’s samples for Pteryx and Boomerangle and knew that I’d need to cast on a couple of projects with DK doubles soon….  So, that’s May’s update: DK doubles (dyed & sold as a pair) and a variety of fingering weights.  With stripes in mind, I couldn’t resist playing match-maker with the Four Quarter and the merino fingering gobsmackers (lining them up next to cakes that are good complements), but of course you’re welcome to buy and use them as single cakes if that’s what’s calling to you.

To claim a gobsmacker, send me an email (gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com) letting me know the name of the cake and the base.  The first person to claim a cake gets it.  Things can be pretty fast and furious at the beginning, but I promise I’ll email you back to let you know whether you got what you wanted.  Once the dust starts to settle a little, I’ll follow up with a PayPal invoice; if you haven’t ordered from me before, please include your mailing address (and phone number, if outside Canada).

Remember that colours vary across different devices; please ask if you have any questions.

4Q_May

Four Quarter: Top left: To Draw Water With a Sieve; Top right: The Poetical Type of Verdure; Bottom left: Jingle Jangle; Bottom right: When April Blows Her Horn

4Q_May2

Four Quarter:
Top left:
The Third Wave Is Highest; Top right: To Catch a Weasel Asleep; Bottom left: Making Breefs End-Ways; Bottom right: Done in the Squeezing of a Lemon

mf_May2

merino fingering:
Top left:
Plate It, Molly!; Top right: Glub, Glub; Bottom left: To Go On the Randan; Bottom right: April Clings to Winter

To Tip the Grape & A Raspberry Evening_ms.jpg

merino/ silk fingering:
Left:
To Tip the Grape; Right: A Raspberry Evening

MCN giants_May

MCN giants (150g):
Left:
Murmur; Right: Square the Circle

MCN giant_May2.jpg

MCN giants (150g):
Left:
Chortle; Right: To Extract Sunbeams From Cucumbers

Party Time & Cirrus_mDK

merino DK doubles (one long gradient, across two 100g cakes): Top: Party Time! (highly variegated, especially in the magenta and white end); Bottom: Cirrus

Return to the Sargasso Sea & Sunset Clause_mDK

merino DK doubles (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
Top:
Return to the Sargasso Sea; Bottom: Sunset Clause

Skybound & Morning Takes Flight

merino/ silk DK doubles (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
Top: Skybound; Bottom: Morning Takes Flight

More Rainbow_msDK

merino/ silk DK double (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
More Rainbow!

Smooth_silkyyak

Silky yak DK:
Smooth

 

Show time!

It’s show season here at gobsmacked, which means lots and lots of yarn dyeing– soon to be followed by lots and lots of yarn caking!

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A batch of new gobsmackers, fresh out of the rinse bucket and ready to be skeined for drying.

That’s because the Toronto Knitters’ Frolic is just under a week away, and I’m aiming to bring a whole lot of fresh new gobsmackers to feed the fans.  The Knitters’ Frolic is always a lot of fun, in a huge yarny whirlwind kind of way.  It’s this Saturday, 28 April, at the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Court, Toronto) from 9 am to 4:30 pm.  I’ll be in the indigodragonfly booth in our usual location (booth 29, to the left just inside the main doors).  I hope to see you there!

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My ballwinder has been working overtime, and there’s still a big pile left to be caked.  They’ll be ready come April 28th!

PS: If you’re not able to make it, please check out the shows and online updates that I have scheduled for this summer (in the menu bar on the left margin).  The next online update takes place right here on 12 May at 3pm Eastern (Toronto/ New York) time.

A little bit of genius

I love dyeing yarn and playing in the dye pots– but my very favourite part of creating gobsmackers and setting them loose in the world?  It’s seeing what you do with them.  I’m constantly surprised and delighted at how my yarn + a designer’s great pattern + your match-making and crafting skills end up creating something amazing.  It’s like a collaboration distributed across several people, each bringing a little bit of genius that ends up… well, it ends up like this:

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This is Boomerangle, a new pattern by the talented and prolific designer Nim Teasdale.  As a dyer, I love the way that Nim thinks; she takes my work and, as in all the best collaborations, transforms it into something even better.  And, as an exhausted knitter-by-night, I enjoy relaxing with her clever textured patterns that provide just enough interest but not too much challenge for my work-tired brain.

Boomerangle2.JPG

Boomerangle combines two gobsmackers, in this case Silky Yak DK, to create simple colour-play with a fun plaid feel.  Nim’s sample is a russety red to coral-orange cake, striped with another in a pale aqua-green to a deep teal.  The result is an asymmetric triangle that unites a lot of colours into a single wear-with-everything shawl.  Perfect.

Perhaps your own version of perfect is less stripey, though, and a little quieter?  Check out Nim’s other new release, Darwinian.  It’s a lovely triangular shawl, knit sideways, with a bit of lace and a bit of cable, with a relaxing garter body.  It’s a great canvas for dappled gradients like gobsmackers– it has texture and interest, while still being streamlined enough to showcase your yarn.

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Intrigued?  Check out the Ravelry project pages (Darwinian and Boomerangle) for a special pattern discount, available through April 1st!

March update

This was another quick one!  Everything has been snapped up.  I’ve sent all invoices and will be shipping on Weds. night/ Thursday morning.  For an announcement of the next update, plus several upcoming shows in Ontario, check back here in a few days’ time.

Welcome to almost-spring, everyone!  It’s not here yet, but the red-winged blackbirds’ calls and the brave (or foolish!) snowdrops peeking out of the brown earth have me hopeful.  In the giddy spirit of spring to come, I’ve chosen colournames for this batch that are either onomatopoeias or are just really fun to say out loud.  Give it a try!

First, though, email me if you see something that you’d like to claim: gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com.  Remember that colours may vary across different devices, so please ask if you’d like more description of a particular gobsmacker.  Prices for doubles (one long gradient over two 100g skeins) are the equivalent of two regular skeins.

Please note that shipping for this batch may be slowed somewhat by the Easter holiday, as Canada Post is closed on 30 March and 2 April.  I’ll ship all orders paid by 6pm Weds. on Thurs. morning; anything after that won’t go out until the following Tuesday.

4Q March

Four Quarter:
Back left: Trickle; Back right: All Aflutter; Front left: Babble; Front right: Zoom

4Q March_2

Four Quarter:
Back left:
Creak; Back right: Whip-poor-will; Front centre: Tarnished Rainbow

Stealth Plum

 

Four Quarter double (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes): 
Stealth Plum

MS March

merino/ silk fingering:
Back left:
Plunk; Back right: Beep, Beep!; Front left: A Satisfying Splatter; Front right: Gibbering Gerberas

ASL March

ASL fingering:
Back left:
Giggle Monster; Back right: Flutterby; Front centre: First Sign of Spring, A Rainbow

mDK2_2

merino DK doubles (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
Back:
Flip & Flop ; Front: Hiccup & Honk 

mDK2_3

merino DK doubles (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
Back:
Squelch & Squish; Front: Chirp!

mDK2_1

merino DK double (one long gradient, over two 100g cakes):
Crackle & Snap

 

 

Feb. update

Wow, that update went fast.  Everything is now sold.  I’ll get the next few updates scheduled soon and will try to keep increasing the amount of yarn available for each update.

Olympic fever, anyone?  I love streaming the Olympics online, because I can choose all kinds of odd events and watch for a good long stretch.  Yesterday, I was amazed by women’s speed skating– 3km in just under four minutes?  Colour me impressed!

In the spirit of sport + whimsy, I’ve named some of this batch of gobsmackers after a series of quirky sports that are not part of the Olympics– some were demonstration sports that never quite caught on, others were official sports that have fallen out of favour, and a few are interesting “sports” that have never been part of the Olympics.   If there’s a year listed as part of the colourname, that’s the last time that that sport appeared at the Olympics.

As usual, email me (gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com) to claim any yarn that you love; I’ll respond by email as quickly as I can and will follow up with a PayPal invoice.  Remember that colours vary across different devices, so do ask if you would like more description of a particular gobsmacker.  Note that doubles are equivalent in price to two skeins of the same base.

Dog Sledding & Ice Stock

merino DK doubles (one long gradient, over 2 skeins):
Top:
Dog Sledding (1952) (bright turquoise to kelly greens to dark magenta); Bottom: Ice Stock (1964) (this is royal purple to light turquoise)

mDK triple

merino DK triple (one long gradient, over 3 skeins):
Opening Ceremony

synchro & speed

merino/ silk DK doubles (one long gradient, over 2 skeins):
Top: Synchronized Skating (2002); Bottom: Speed Skiing (1992)

 

mDK_Feb

merino DK: Top left: An Eye for Elegance; Top centre: January Dawns; Top right: Polar Bear Swim; Bottom left: Cannon Shooting (1900); Bottom right: Military Patrol (1948)

A Bartholomew

merino/ silk DK gobbets (two matching 50g cakes): A Bartholomew, Ostentatiously Displayed

4Q_Feb

Four Quarter:
Top left: Hot Air Ballooning (1900); Top right: Reining (2004?); Bottom left: Snow Kayaking; Bottom right: Shovel Racing (this is dark royal purple to cadet blue with some magenta speckling)

Kaatsen 1928

Four Quarter gobbets (two matching 50g cakes): Kaatsen (1928)

Alpinism 1936

merino/ silk fingering double (one long gradient, over two skeins):
Alpinism (1936)

MCS lace_Feb

merino/ cashmere/ silk heavy lace:
left: Born a Year Old/ Korean age; right: Wushu (2008) (this is royal purple to emerald green)

ASC lace_Feb

Alpaca/ silk/ cashmere lace: left: Frost Fire; right: The Women Divers of Jeju

Ski ballet 1988

BFL/ silk lace:
Ski Ballet (1988)

 

Taking flight

I’ve been dyeing lots of doubles and even some triples lately– that’s two or three skeins of yarn, dyed as one long continuous gradient.  They’re great because they give you lots of yardage for larger projects, as well as some fun options for striping a single gradient against itself.

Sometimes, though, more options means a harder time figuring out what to do with a precious gobsmacker…  So I thought I’d start a series of posts with some pattern suggestions, featuring some of the amazing gobsmacked FOs that folks are posting in my Ravelry group.

First up, Pteryx, a brand-new design from Nim Teasdale!

Pteryx, by Nim Teasdale, in Double Rainbow, a gobsmacked merino DK double.  Photo courtesy of Nim Teasdale.

It’s a stunning textured triangle, knit sideways from a DK double.  The stitch pattern works beautifully with the dappled gobsmacked gradients, simultaneously mixing and highlighting the variations in colour.  The double provides a generous 420 m (460 yds) of DK weight, so the final shawl is squishy and warm– and big enough to wear easily.  Nim used a merino DK double for hers, but the pattern would be amazing in merino/ silk or silky yak DK as well.

The textured stitch of Pteryx looks like the structure of feathers, or birds in flight.  Photo courtesy of Nim Teasdale.

Nim is just wrapping up testing of Pteryx; I’ll be back with a link to the pattern as soon as it’s published.  In the meantime, do tune in for the gobsmacked update this Sunday, 11 February at 3pm Eastern (Toronto/ New York time).  I’ll have various laceweights and some fingering, plus several beautiful sets of DK doubles, just waiting to take flight as Pteryx!