More on Custom Dyeing

I have been doing some more custom dyeing for New Era Fiber Mill this week. This week’s order was a good example of a few ways the customer communicates their color request to me. It seemed like an interesting idea for sharing here. I have been dyeing animal fibers professionally for about 16 years now. I am self taught and began my education by reading everything I could find on color theory. I found that color mixing principles for artists like painters and such were useful to a point. Working with pigments is similar, but the medium of watercolors is a closer match than say for oils or pastels. This is because dyes are translucent rather than opaque. They allow the fiber color to show through and effect the final color. Like mixing watercolors, you use less dye rather than adding white, to create light colors on the fiber.

After studying color mixing I wanted to learn more about different fibers and how they react to dyes. In my search for information I came across a book or two on spinning which also helped me further understand the way a yarn is spun and how that effects the dyeing too. It was slim pickings finding materials.

So next I began researching dyes and picked Sabraset dyes because of their unique qualities. They are highly rated for light fastness and color fastness. They also have very nice range of mixing primaries, both warm and cool, plus a few other colors that are handy for mixing vibrant colors like violet, turquoise, and a wonderful true black. Then I was ready to start hands on exploration.

I knew I wanted to know how to accurately reproduce colors so I learned how to use formulas and create colors that I wanted. I invented spreadsheets in excel to keep records and do the math for me when I was ready to work on mixing batches of colors. I have found hex color tools handy for exploring proportions of hues and depths of shade and saturation. These are really helpful for pale muted colors to give a starting point for mixing. Then you can tweak it to get what you are going for.

Anyway, so here’s what I mean. Sometimes I am given a swatch of yarn, fabric, paint chip, etc. and I find this the most helpful. It’s easier to discern from a physical object what color they are aiming for. Digital images and even prints can be off. I was given a yarn sample for this one.

See the little clip of yarn on the work order?

For this batch of fiber the customer just requested “sea foam green” without a color sample included. That means it’s up to dyer interpretation. So here’s what I think sea foam green looks like. :-)

The actual color is a bit greener than this picture; that’s what I mean about digital images.

This is a batch of hand painted yarn that I was given a printed out digital image of the colors they wanted. So not only do I have to interpret from a printout, as you can see the yarn in the picture has been re-skeined which rearranges the colors. Sometimes it can be hard to discern what is actually in there. I saw mainly a dark peacock type blue, a brighter turquoise blue, and some medium jade/tealish greens as the main colors. So here is what I did and I hope they will like it.

I guess I’ve gone on long enough about that for now. I have a knitting update too. I may have cast on something new despite my pledge for project monogamy to my afghan. I have made some more pieces for it but to be fair there are extenuating circumstances for the new project. I will elaborate a bit.

More years ago than I can remember I knit a scarf in a lovely dark green hand dyed skein of Manos Del’ Uraguay in the above stitch pattern. I ended up giving it to my oldest son one winter night when he was leaving my house to drive his motorcycle home. It was pretty cold and I insisted that wool was definitely needed. ;-) Well, recently his girlfriend messaged me very upset that it had inadvertently been clobbered in the wash. She felt terrible and asked if I could make a new one. What can a knitter/mother do in such a situation? Stash diving commenced immediately and I found the PERFECT yarn marinating in there and waiting for such a special knit as this. The yarn is some hand spun created by my second daughter and gifted to me, from some hand dyed fiber I bought for her at a festival I was vending at probably back in 2007 or so. I believe it’s a wool/alpaca/silk blend. I am quite charmed by it. :-)

Close up of the texture

New Pattern Shapely Mitts

Hey there, πŸ‘‹

I know it’s been a little quiet on the blog lately. I am still plugging along on the afghan and making slow progress. I completed another color and have five more to go. That’s 30 hexagons for those of you keeping score.

Here’s the color I am working on currently.

I had a birthday πŸŽ‚ last week. Jerry took me out to our favorite place for pizza and local craft beer. I made one of my favorite desserts too, instead of cake, lemon meringue pie. Here’s my go to recipe for it. Works perfectly every time. You can thank me later.

You may recall last year that I was knitting a pair of fingerless mitts in my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn. I had a few requests for the pattern and I have finally gotten to writing and publishing it. I have it on Ravelry and on my website.

I am extending the special introductory offer that I ran last week from my social media. Beginning today and running through February 8, 2021, you can have the pattern for free with purchase of a skein of yarn to make it. I wrote the pattern for both fingering weight and sport weight yarn. I linked the fingering weight above and here’s the Classic Merino Superwash Sport yarn.

Lavender, Damson Plum,Midnight Blue, Sapphire, Winter Sky, Peacock, Robin Egg, Atlantic
Heather, Orchid, Quartzite, Pewter, Slate, Obsidian, Graphite, Earl Grey
Glacier, Ironstone, Emerald, Lichen, Jade, Honeydew, Fern, Marigold
Tea Rose, Cerise, Crimson, Garnet, Paprika, Sea Coral, Chamomile, Sea Oat

The special free pattern offer is good only on my website. Just pick your yarn and color and then add it and the Shapely Mitts pattern to the cart. Add the code SHAPELY when you begin the check out process for $5 discount. If you have any problems or questions please contact me at Thanks for reading!

Back to it

I am back to the afghan this month after finishing my sweater before Christmas. I am trying to stay on it and resist the temptation to start something new.

I was working on it by doing a new color every time I started a new piece until I had a whole row of each color. I had four of every color and planned at that point that I would need at least ten of each to make a good size lap blanket.

So now I have switched to just knitting all six I still need, one color at a time. When I have ten I move on to the next color. So the sum total of my knitting since my last post is six hexagons in the blue. Maybe I’ll have a lot more to show you in my next post.

In other news, we have a bunch of new Sock Keepers on the website. We already had some Cherry, Walnut and Oak but we have added back Mahogany plus a small stock of Maple for the first time ever. These are all available to order for $20 each. I love using mine whenever I am working with double point needles. It works for socks of course but also for mittens, gloves, sleeves, etc.


Over the last week I finished knitting my Curio sweater.

I finished it on Monday night and blocked it yesterday.

I am very pleased with the fit. I love this yarn too. It’s so silky and has a little drape. It is the perfect weight for me right now to wear around the house if there’s a bit of chill in the air. I overheat easy these days and this is just right for light warmth without being too much.

I already have been wearing it even though I haven’t got any buttons for it yet. I think I will be living in this sweater alot this winter and even into the spring. :-)

I’m Obsessed

Okay so this sweater is addictive apparently. I can’t seem to tear myself away from it to get back to my other knitting project.

I started working on the yoke decreases with good intentions to just, you know, do a few rows to get it going.

As you can see above, I got my row counter app set up to manage all the stuff I need to keep track of, and that is helping alot. The problem is that I keep finding reasons to just keep going. I set little goals and when I reach them, can’t resist setting the next one….and so here we are. As those rows get shorter and shorter it’s tempting to stay on it, if you know what I mean. I blame inertia. :-)

How are you all doing in your Christmas preparations? I am not a huge fan of the holidays to be honest but I am making my baking list, buying some gifts for the children and avoiding putting up a tree. I am considering just stringing lights on the picture window and call it good. I will mention if you are so inclined to consider a little something for the knitter in your life, even if that’s yourself, that there is still time to order for Christmas from the website. We have a variety of hand made wood tools and of course hand dyed yarn is a gift every knitter appreciates. ;-)

Curio Progress

So, the Curio sweater is coming along quite nicely. I finished the section where I was working on the body stitches only. I now have the sleeves and body stitches all on the needles and it’s time to begin working the top part of the sweater, the yoke. It has raglan decreases but this one is different than most I have made. The decreases are made where the sleeves are joined, but they aren’t always made at the same time. Typically you make the 8 decreases every right side row. With Curio though, you are not only keeping up with which row to work from each of the two stitch patterns and working out how to do the decreases, when they are made, while maintaining the lace as much as possible; there is the additional FUN of different rates of decreases for the sleeve and body parts and different sizes. GAH! Not exactly easy for Netflix knitting at this point.

Sooooo, my thinking is that I may chip away at it a few rows here and there when I have some quiet time and go back to the afghan pieces for Netflix knitting in the evening. I’ll have to wrap my brain around how to set up my knitting progress app for the different stuff that needs to be kept track of for the sweater. Wish me luck! LOL

Pizza Day

More baking today. Is pizza πŸ• technically baking? I mean you cook it in the oven right, so that’s close enough for me.

Love my trusty Kitchenaid mixer!

Well anyway it’s one of my favorite things and I have been craving it for awhile. I had to take a break from cheese, as I have to do periodically. But I decided it would be okay to indulge so I went for it.

Dough is fully proofed and ready for rolling out. I just love that my oven has a bread proofing setting. I don’t always use it but it’s especially handy on cooler days.

All ready for the oven. I have a pizza stone preheating and it’s almost time for baking.

πŸ˜‹ Yummy! Don’t forget the beer πŸ˜‰ . I’m having and Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA today. 🍻 Cheers!

Saturday Baking and Knitting

I made good on my promise. I knit 8 more hexagons for the afghan after I finished the first full lace pattern repeat on Curio, which I will show you in a minute.

So now I have four of each color combination and there are 8 contrast colors; the main color in all is navy. I had been thinking that 8 rows would be about right but now that I am halfway to that goal, I think I may need at least 10 rows to make it the right size.

Here’s the current state of Curio and I will probably start back on it for a bit tonight before make more hexagons.

I’ve also been baking today. I have a batch of bread and cinnamon rolls in the oven right now and it smells wonderful in my house. :-)

Quick Sweater Update

It’s a bit hectic this week so I’ll be brief. I have still been neglecting the blanket hexagons and giving all my attention to Curio. I swear I will just get in one full repeat of the lace pattern for the body and then knit a set of hexagons.

It’s coming along nicely. I am much more at home with lace than garter I think. ;-)

Two Sleeves

Well I am apparently still knitting on the Curio sweater and ignoring the afghan. As you can see I have knit the second sleeve and begun the body.