Minis, in many forms

There’s a lot going on this month!  September’s update involves three different formats of yarn: mini-skein gradient sets, rainbow mini skeins, and hat-sized gradients.

1. First up, a new style of dyeing that I’ve been playing with behind the scenes this summer.  Still gradient, still with intriguing saturated colours, but a different format.


Mini-skein gradient set: One gradient, spread over five minis, in complex variegated colours.

Introducing mini-skein gradient sets!  Each set has five 20g minis, dyed using layers of colour so that each is its own uniquely variegated skein– and when you work them in sequence, they create a gradient effect that plays out across the full 100g set.

stitchesThe progression of colours is sometimes subtle, sometimes wild– but either way, they’re a blast to work with.  The colours shift from one stitch to the next and then, mini by mini, change proportions across the entire set.

The result is yarn that demands to be enjoyed.  Choose a simple knit like a garter stitch shawl and watch the colours flip by, pooling in places and then spiralling off again into delicious chaos.  Or use just the right amount of yarn from each mini to work a pair of matching mitts, a mirrored gradient cowl, or a colour-shifting sweater yoke.  (How about hinagiku, by eri, Twice Again, by Debra Gerhard, or Borobila, by linolimon?)  Or pick a pattern like Always Be Brave (by Helen Kennedy) that will show off the chaos while keeping it in check.  Or let the short-rows and the rows of dropped stitches in Joji Locatelli’s Storm Shawl help the colour of each mini shine.


This version of Storm Shawl is by estregger; Ravelry members can find her project details, including a diagram of the distribution of each mini, here.

Mini-skein gradient sets consist of five 20g minis of Four Quarter (fingering weight superwash merino) and sell for $45 Canadian.

2. Rainbow minis!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Pride recently, and queer visibility, and about the many different ways to celebrate who each of us is as a person.  Although I’ve never been a particular fan of raucous parties, I found myself wanting to join in by knitting with a good rainbow colourway.  One with some variegation, a bit of chaos, and deep saturated colours….  “Well,” thought I, “I can dye that!”

Rainbow- wallydrag2

Rainbow minis (Wallydrag edition)

So I did.  Rainbows are sets of six 20g minis, dyed so that each colour is softly variegated with some of the following colour in the rainbow.  The red carries a bit of orange, the orange some yellows, the yellow a touch of green, and so on.  This means that you can knit a full rainbow while still enjoying lively colour passing through your fingers.  Each edition is its own unique blend of rainbow colours– but unlike most gobsmacked yarn, seven just-about-identical sets come out of the same dye pots.  This means that if you want more than 120g of rainbow, you can buy two or three or more sets from the same edition (dye lot), then work them together in whatever fashion tickles your fancy!  Rainbow sets are in Four Quarter and cost $54 Canadian.

3. Last but not least, I’ll be offering some hat sets at the next update.  A lot of folks are excited about working some of Woolly Wormhead‘s stunning patterns in gradients, but there’s always the problem of getting the right yardage: too much and you miss out on part of the gradient; too little and you’re left with an incomplete hat.  I can’t promise that I’ve solved that problem entirely, but I am pleased to offer DK gobsmackers in smaller sizes (50g and 33g), each paired with a coordinating 50g Straight (a semi-solid that goes nicely with the gradient).

Prices are $45 Cdn for sets of merino DK or BFL DK and $50 Cdn for a Silky Yak DK set.  These prices are the same whether the gobsmacker is 50g or 33g; that’s because the 33g cakes are really fussy to work with and take extra time.  But the upside of the smaller cake is that you have the chance to match the gradient to the amount of yarn that you’ll need.  To help with planning, 50g of merino or silky yak DK is 105 m (115 yds); 33g is 70 m (76 yds).  The BFL DK is available only in the 50g cake, with 112 m (123 yds).

See you at Sunday’s update!

August update

That was fast!  All invoices are out; paid orders will go in the mail tomorrow (Saturday).  Please note that Monday is a holiday in Canada, so shipping may be slightly slower than usual.

The end of my summer was marked by a magical week up in the Haliburton Highlands.  My partner, Elizabeth, was taking indigodragonfly‘s amazing Dye Camp (where I learned to dye many years ago) and I had a quiet week reading, rug hooking, knitting, and swimming in the lake.  This update’s colournames are based (more or less) on Random Things We Saw at the Cottage.

Note that many of the gobsmackers are paired together; these are suggested pairings that would work well for Nim Teasdale’s Earthstar (or other two-colour shawls suited to gradients).  If a single cake better suits your plans, it’s fine to just request one part of a pairing.

As always, please email to claim the cake(s) that you’d like.  Things usually get pretty fast, but I promise I will reply to your email to let you know if you got the yarn that you wanted.  Remember that everything is one of a kind and cannot be repeated.  If you’d like clarification of colours or have other questions, please ask!

Sinking & Floating - Agatha & Gertrude

Four Quarter Pairings: Top: Sinking in Seas (top left) & Floating at Dawn (top right); Bottom: Agatha’s Agate (bottom left) & Gertrude’s Stein (bottom right)

Water & Stoking - Coals & Moon

Four Quarter Pairings: Top: Water At the Ready (top left) & Stoking the Fire Pit (top right); Bottom: Letting the Coals Die Down (bottom left) & Seeking the Moon Through the Trees (bottom right)

Eggbeater & Fern - Corn Roast & Diving Woman

Four Quarter Pairings: Top: A Bit of an Eggbeater, Really… (top left) & And a Fern For Good Measure (top right); Bottom: Second Annual Corn Roast and Regatta (bottom left) & The Diving Woman (bottom right)

Scissors & Rust - Woodshed & Washboard

Four Quarter Pairings: Top: String Up the Scissors (top left) & Rattling the Rust (top right); Bottom: Woodshed Revival (bottom left) & Washboard Reverie (bottom right)

Bathing Beauty & WaterWeeds

Four Quarter Pairing: Bathing Beauty (left) & Water Weeds (right)

Wind a Wind Chime & Weed by Another Name

Four Quarter: Can You Wind a Wind Chime? (left); A Weed By Any Other Name: Flowers (right)

Exposed Wiring

Four Quarter: Caution, Exposed Wiring


Four Quarter: Impeccable

Twilight Blossoms & Refreshed

merino/ silk fingering (note that these cakes look lovely together, but that merino/ silk will have less stitch definition that typically wanted for cables): Left: Twilight Blossoms; Right: Refreshed


Friends, a bit of fibre alchemy has happened once again: I sent some gobsmacked cakes off to the fabulous Australian designer Nim Teasdale and she made magic happen.

This is Earthstar:

Earthstar, by Nim Teasdale, knit in two cakes of Four Quarter (100% merino, fingering weight).  Photo courtesy Nim Teasdale.

Isn’t it glorious?  Earthstar combines cables that form a satisfying star shape, outlined with mosaic knitting and finished with striped lace.  I’m blown away by what Nim has done with my yarn; honestly, I keep coming back just to gaze at her pictures.  Look at the stitch definition that the Four Quarter gives to those cables!

Detail view of the cables at the top of Earthstar; the rounded 4-ply construction of Four Quarter provides great stitch definition.  Photo courtesy of Nim Teasdale.

Part of what makes Nim’s shawl so successful is the colour combo, with that beautiful orange-on-blue contrast at the beginning transitioning to a darker, quieter blue-and-brown at the lace edge.

Detail of Earthstar, with the quieter colour combo in the striped lace edging.  Photo courtesy of Nim Teasdale.

I’ve been thinking a lot about colour combos that would work similarly well for this shawl– something with a strong contrast in hue for the cables up top, with darker or more muted contrast at the finished edge. Green and purple, gold and blue, red and turquoise, blue and brown…?

With Nim’s shawl in mind, I put the new gobsmackers out on my work bench yesterday and started playing match-maker.  What fun!  When the update appears later today (at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time), I’ll present the Four Quarter in pairings that I think would work well for Earthstar.  (Of course, you’re welcome to buy cakes individually as well, if you have other plans in mind.)  See you soon!

The pattern for Earthstar is available for purchase on Ravelry (no account required).

gobsmacked is back!

It’s true– I’m back from my summer break, refreshed in mind and spirit (if somewhat tired in body) after a summer of travel and home renovations.  The house is shaping up nicely and is habitable, which frees me up to return to the dye pots!  I have lots of creative ideas bubbling, so expect to see some interesting new gradients in the days to come.

Updates for the next several months are as follows:

Friday, 30 August
Sunday, 22 September
Sunday, 27 October
Friday, 15 November
Sunday, 8 December
All updates are at 3pm Eastern (Toronto/ NY time).
If you’re new to the ordering process (or just want a reminder of how it works), check out this page.  And if you want some inspiring eye candy, take a look at the projects in the Work of Art make-along in the Gorgeous Gradients group on Ravelry– there’s some truly stunning work going on there, in my gradients and others’.

On break

Gobsmacked is on break until mid-August.

I have a lot on my plate this summer, what with work travel and personal travel and a whole ton of work on a charming old house that my partner and I are buying.  So, I’m putting gobsmacked on hold for the summer.  I will be on Ravelry a bit, so do feel free to keep posting WIPs and FOs and requests for pattern suggestions.  I won’t be monitoring emails or selling any yarn, though; if you have special requests or questions, I’ll be back in time for the Highlands Fibre Fling at the indigodragonfly studio (near Haliburton, Ontario) on Saturday 17 August.

So toss your stash, find some of those classic gobsmackers that’ve been hiding away, and cast on something fun!  I’ll see you in August!


April update

Welcome, and good luck!  This update is small-ish, as it’s mostly yarn remaining from Saturday’s Knitters’ Frolic in Toronto.  Never fear, though– there are some really fun colours left for those of you who weren’t able to make it to the big show!

To claim a gobsmacker, send me an email ( 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).

Note that orders paid by about 9 am Tuesday morning (Eastern time) will ship on Tuesday; any orders that are still outstanding will ship in mid-May.

Leaping Leapfrogs et al

Four Quarter: Top left: Leaping Leapfrogs!; Top right: Flyaway; Bottom left: Not-so-quiet Coral; Bottom right: Anxious Arugula

Of Good Cheer & Rarified

Four Quarter: Left: Of Good Cheer; Right: Rarified

Sensitive & Coming Up Coral

Four Quarter: Left: Sensitive; Right: Coming Up Coral

A Vespa For a Violet

Four Quarter: A Vespa For a Violet

The Shrimp All Nibble At Their Knees et al

ASL (alpaca/ silk/ linen): Top: The Shrimp All Nibble At Their Knees; Bottom left: Spinning & Ginning; Bottom right: All the Worms Come Up to Breathe

The Bottomless One & A Bit Red In the Face

BFL-DK demis (150g of DK, joined with a single knot, dyed in one long gradient, $60 per 150g): Left: The Bottomless One; Right: A Bit Red in the Face (true scarlet red to dappled reds, mahogany, and charcoal to dappled lavender and cadet blue)

Sargasso Spring

Merino DK: Sargasso Spring (teal and turquoise dapples to turquoise with aqua dapples to acid green/ yellow)

Time To Tend the Iris

Silky Yak DK: Time to Tend the Iris

The Eternal Blue

BFL/ silk lace: The Eternal Blue

A Leafwood update

Thanks, all!  Everything has now been sold.  I’ve sent out most of the invoices and will be shipping tomorrow morning (Monday).  If you missed out on this round, remember that I’ll be posting another update on a day (to be announced!) shortly after the Toronto Knitters’ Frolic (which takes place on Saturday, 27 April).

This update was designed with a particular purpose: to showcase thoughtfully paired sets of gobsmacked gradients and tonal Straights that would work beautifully for Nim Teasdale’s soon-to-be-released shawl design, Leafwood.  These special gradients and coordinating skeins are sold only as sets; please don’t ask for me to break them up or swap out colours.  Of course, you’re welcome to use them for any pattern that you like, whether that be Leafwood or Gallivanter or Mechanical Mermaid or something else entirely!

To claim a gobsmacker, send me an email ( letting me know the name of the cake and the base.  The first person to claim a set 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).

Please remember that colours may vary across different devices; if you have any questions or would like additional description of colours, just ask.

Tranquil & Quiet.jpg

Four Quarter ($70): Tranquil & Quiet

Tried & Tulip

Four Quarter ($70): Tried & Tulip

Spring & Sprung

Four Quarter ($70): Spring & Sprung

Tree & Bark

Four Quarter ($70): Tree & Bark

Deep & Lucid.jpg

Four Quarter ($70): Deep & Lucid

Alert & Watchful

Four Quarter ($70): Alert & Watchful

A Gift & a Grapefruit

Four Quarter ($70): A Gift & a Grapefruit

Fire & Water2

Silky Yak DK (double + Straight, $132): Fire & Water

Sky & Mist.jpg

Silky Yak DK (double + Straight, $132): Sky & Mist