Friday, February 24, 2012

My New Favorite Yarn

"Dryad" on Aria Gold sock yarn from Fiddle Knits Fibers

Am I allowed to pick one of my own yarns as my new favorite yarn? I hope so!
Recently I added sparkle sock yarns to my Etsy shop. I dubbed the new yarn line "Aria." The construction is very similar to my Polka yarn, both being a springy 2-ply fingering weight. The fiber content is a bit different, though. Polka is a 100% superwash merino. Pure and simple. It's a great all around yarn and I love the way it blocks for shawls. Aria is 75% superwash merino / 20% nylon / 5% stellina. Because of the difference in fiber content the Aria skeins have a little more yardage (they're 438 yards per 100 grams). The yarn is superwash, which is a plus to me, it's soft, they'res enough yardage for a shawlette. All these things make me love it, but of course there's a lot of sock yarns that boast these same things. The really fun thing about Aria is the stellina that makes it sparkle! I offer Aria with gold or silver sparkle (known as Aria Gold & Aria Silver). When I first ordered the base yarn I figured I'd gravitate more toward the silver sparkle since I tend toward cool colors and don't like yellow gold in most any form. After dying several skeins of the gold and silver I noticed that the silver tends to take on some of the dye turning it into a more subtle tone on tone sparkle. A green colorway dyed on Aria Silver comes out with some flecks of silver sparkle and some flecks of greenish sparkle. The same colorway dyed on the Aria Gold yarn comes out with radiant gold sparkle jumping out off the colored background. It's more in your face. If a subtle shimmer is what you crave than Aria Silver will be more to your taste. I've had a hard time putting up any of the Aria Gold colorways. Some favorites have been Raven's Gold (jet black), Starry Night (blues), and Dragon King (greens). My all time, hands down, new favorite is Dryad (photo at top of post). This one is teal and dark brown combined. It reminds me of watery depths. Dyed on Aria Gold yarn this colorway becomes positively magical. I couldn't resist. I kept a skein for myself. I haven't had a chance to knit anything using Dryad, but I know that eventually it wants to grow up to be a shawlette. For now I'm keeping it within view and it's making me very happy.

"Starry Night"
For the most part all the colors I dye on Aria yarns can be replicated. Of course, since I dye in small batches there will be slight variations from one time to another, but the overall feel will remain. If you're interested in a colorway that's already sold please feel free to contact me (Erica@FiddleKnits.com). For projects that require more than one skein please email and I'll dye skeins together for you if I have the base yarn in stock.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yarn Distraction

As some of you may have noticed, I've been dying a lot of yarn recently. Sometimes it's really hard to put the skeins up for sale. I want to play with them all! After each skein is dyed I rinse them and then hang them to dry on a rack in my laundry room. When the drying rack is full of colorful skeins it's like a giant yarn tree. It can be hard to walk away. Very occasionally I give in a keep a skein for myself. I want to design something beautiful in all the colors. I know that's not possible, not in one lifetime anyway, but a girl can dream, right?

Opie knit in Beat yarn
So far the only designs I've published in my yarns have been the Opie hat and the Harvest Shawlette (from the Mythos Collection). There will be more. A lot more. That is something I can promise without fear of failing to deliver.

Opie is knit from my "Beat" yarn line. Beat is a 100% superwash merino worsted weight. Skeins are 100 grams and 218 yards each. It's a pretty good amount that is easily enough for an adult size at (Opie takes one skein).

Harvest is knit from my "Harmonic" yarn line. This is another 100% superwash yarn, but this time it's fingering weight. A 100 gram skein contains approximately 490 yards. Definitely enough for a shawlette. This yarn base takes dye very well which means rich vibrant colors.

The next design I'll be releasing in Fiddle Knits yarn is the Merriment shawl, the second design in the Mythos collection. No photos of that one yet, or a discussion of the yarn because it needs to be a surprise for the Mythos Club members. It's in a different yarn than Harvest. That's all I'm gonna say.

On that note, I'm going to knit on a new shawl design (in Etude), watch a movie, and perhaps eat some ice cream.

Harvest knit in Harmonic Yarn

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mythos

"Harvest" Shawl 1 from the Mythos Collection

The Mythos Yarn & Shawl club is just about a month in now. Club members have been discussing their progress over in the Ravelry group. I'm anxious to see some progress photos and finished shawls turning up! The first month's design is "Harvest" named in honor of Demeter/Ceres, the Goddess of fertility, harvest, & grain. Each month I'm dying two colorsways for this club. One is cool tones (with Greek Mythology inspired names) and the other is warm (Roman inspired). In order to be fair and highlight cool and warm colors in the pattern photos I decided to knit up 3 shawls in warm tones and 3 in cool. For this first month I opted to use warm colors since it was the first colorway I'd created for Mythos. Oranges and yellows are usually not my cup of tea, but I think these came out pretty darn nice.

So you can see "Ceres," the Roman/warm color for month 1 in the photo above. The Greek/cool color is a range of greens. Silly me didn't think to take any photo of the green skeins ("Demeter") before I mailed them all out. I'm not sure a photograph would have done full justice anyway. The skeins are very rich and for some reason greens give me problems in photos. I haven't quite figured that out yet. Hopefully some club members will get shots of their green shawls. Fingers crossed!

Registration for the yarn & pattern club combo closed in January, but you can still subscribe for the patterns. If you're on Ravelry you can purchase Mythos from the collection page. Non-Ravelry members can join by purchasing the Mythos listing in the Fiddle Knits Fibers Etsy shop.

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines!

February is a month of deadlines for me this year. There were exactly 8 designs due this month. Some are to be self published and some not. Mostly not, which means you won't see them online until next Fall. One more design has to be done before Friday and then it'll be on to the next thing. No resting! In The Mode and Done In A Day must be completed! Both of those collections will be wrapped up and making appearances before the end of March, at least I hope so!

In The Mode is a collection of hats. 7 designs named after the 7 musical modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, & Locrian. Most of them are unisex, but a couple will be distinctly feminine. Although I plan on finishing this collection sometime in March I may not release the collection until next September when hats become more relavent. Wool hats being released in te Spring.....? Doesn't make sense, does it? What do you think? Release the designs right away? Or save the for the Fall? Hats do make good quick projects for the Summer months. I'd love to hear some opinions!

Done In A Day is very close to being fully completed. Just two designs and we'll be good to go, although I might get excited and add a few extra to go beyond my original 10-design idea. Only time will tell.

From here on out all my collections will be released as PDFs and ePub files. The PDFs will be available first, mostly just because I'm more familiar with the layout so I can put them together faster. EPubs and iBooks are a whole new adventure!