A tale of two bases

I’m pleased to announce two fabulous new gobsmacked bases:

The first is a beautiful laceweight that’s– are you ready for this?– 50% camel and 50% silk.  With that combination of fibres, it’s hardly a surprise that this is a sleek, slinky lace with a lovely shine that makes me think of copper.


New camel/ silk laceweight.  Look at that shine!

It begins life with a soft camel colour, which gently mutes the dyes to create subtle hues.  Camel/ silk lace is a 2-ply, with 800m (875 yd) per 100g cake; $54 Canadian.

The second newbie is Cabra, a super-soft MCN that really brings out the best of goat (the cashmere kind, that is).


The new Cabra giant, a super-soft MCN.

It’s a 3-ply construction of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon that soaks up dye to create rich, saturated gradients with a strong dappled/ variegated effect.  Cabra comes in 150g giants and is a replacement for my previous MCN giants (now discontinued).  Cabra is on the heavy side of fingering, with 510m (558 yd) per 150g; $66 Cdn.

I’ll have a few of these new bases available in today’s update, with more appearing in the near future.  I hope you’ll have a chance to give them a try!

Open house!

When I started dyeing, I worked out of my kitchen.  That was fine for a while, until my dye business grew and took over most of the first floor of my house.  It’s hard to cook when the stove’s covered in simmering dyepots, and even harder to have anyone over for dinner when the entire dining room is occupied by swifts and ballwinders and packing supplies and undyed yarn and…  Let’s just say there was a LOT of stuff crammed in there.


Dining room chaos, pre-studio days.

Late last summer, I started eyeing a spare bedroom as a possible dye studio.  I spent a lot of time moving around full-sized cardboard templates of all of the bits and pieces needed for a fully functioning dye studio (stove, dye counter, shipping counter, storage shelves, drying rack, etc.), trying to make sure that everything would fit and be functional.  The space seemed tight but doable, so I took the plunge and, with lots of help from my dad, totally transformed the space.

It’s such a delight to have dedicated space to work in!  I’ve been in the studio for about nine months now, and can report that it is the perfect size (small but mighty!) and the layout is working beautifully.


A brand spankin’ new studio!

It’s high time that I showed it off, don’t you think?

On Saturday, 14 July, I’m hosting the first-ever gobsmacked Open House, 2-5pm at 616 Walkerfield Ave. in Peterborough, Ontario.  Pop in for a quick gander and to snap up a few gobsmackers, or bring your knitting/ crochet and settle in for a chat, a cup of tea, and some sweet snacks.  I’ll have door prizes and loads of yarn available, including some bases that are new and/or not in my regular line-up.  Hope to see you there!

Open Studio flyer_ltr

For more information, please check my Ravelry group.

June update

Thanks for a great update, everyone!  All of the gobsmackers are sold.  Invoices are all out, and packages will go in the mail Tuesday.  Please keep an eye on this space for details about my first-ever Open Studio event on 14 July, right here in Peterborough, Ontario.

It’s June, it’s just a couple of days after the solstice, and, O, is the light ever here!  I love these long light evenings, when I can sit on the porch and knit into the long twilight with the scent of flowers drifting through the air.  (Of course, there are mosquitos, but nothing in life is perfect, right?)  My current project is garter stitch stripes that mix and mingle at the top of the shawl– and then, when I get to the end, the stripes are going to really pop!  It’s been so fun watching the stripes play out that I’ve once again played match-maker for this update, lining up pairs of Four Quarter that would be great fun to use together for stripes.  Of course, you’re welcome to use any of the cakes in any way that you find appealing.  Have at ’em!

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).

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


Four Quarter: Top left: The Sun Has Come; Top right: When a Party Cake Went Wild; Bottom left: A Sherbet Sunset; Bottom right: A Bit of a Subtle Fruit


Four Quarter: Top left: Gillyweed; Top right: Mango Mash; Bottom left: Middling Marcher; Bottom right: Cyan Sensation



Four Quarter: Top left: Spring Folly; Top right: Walking Up Eel Creek; Bottom left: Blue-footed Booby; Bottom right: Sea and Sun Do Come


Four Quarter: Top left: When Peonies Prosper; Top right: Deep End; Bottom left: Eyeing the Waves; Bottom right: More or Less on Fire


merino fingering: There and Back Again


ASL fingering:
Top left:
A Flustered Fig; Top right: Midnight Forest; Bottom left: A Quiet Coo; Bottom right: When the Frog Opened Her Eyes


ASL fingering:
Top left:
What the Iris Saw; Top right: Classic Lida-Lou; Front: When the Peonies Went Skinny-Dipping


merino/ silk fingering double (1 long gradient, dyed over 2 cakes): Quiet Time

Balinesque & Made For Monumentals_MCNg

MCN giant (150g of yarn): 
Balinesque; Right: Made For Monumentals

Purple Haze_ms DK

merino/ silk DK double (1 long gradient, dyed over 2 cakes): Purple Haze


BFL/ silk lace: A Right Mulberry Evening


ASC lace:
When the Clouds Dropped Down

Simply Pretty_MCSl

MCS heavylace:
Simply Pretty


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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


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:
To Tip the Grape; Right: A Raspberry Evening

MCN giants_May

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

MCN giant_May2.jpg

MCN giants (150g):
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):
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!


Silky yak DK:


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!


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!


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:


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.


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.


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