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Friday, 24 October 2014

Tutorial: Spinning Gradient Yarns... Part 10

Today, in our spinning gradient yarns series I am going to start looking at different ways to use our gradient yarns and create different look knits.

So far we have discussed gradients, different types, how to use them, pattern ideas and ways to spin for them... what if a gradient could become a different form of colour technique, like a stripe?

Well that's what today's post is all about... Stripes!

For this you don't need to use a hand dyed gradient specifically, you can of course create your own faux stripe from separate stash colours, but for the purpose of this series let's stick to looking at hand dyed gradients... in this specific case a progressive gradient for clear definition of colours.

Here we have two stripe swatches, one that has large stripe repeats and the other has quick changing mini repeats of colour.

How do we create these from one single braid of gradient fibre?

I'm starting with my colour Heatwave.
Let's look at the larger stripe repeats firstly...

Here I split my braid length ways into three roughly equal parts (of course it's good to note that they will never be truly accurate splitting this way as you can see in the swatch). I then spun them end to end and Navajo plied the yarn. Knitting up it gives me a stripe effect.

For the mini stripes I tore the braids into piles of the two colours and then lay them out next to each other. I started spinning the red, then the yellow and then red again and so on. Again this isn't an accurate spin as you can see in the swatch, but it does give a rustic stripe effect when Navajo plied.

It is important to remember scale in your stripe spinning... for these swatches I used 100g, so 50g per swatch. 50g of colour has given me a very small scale of stripe to my yarn and so if I knitted say a cowl, the colours may 'pool' (merge together in waves of the same colour from row to row) or create a 'space dye' effect instead of the stripe I desired. So for a cowl I would be better to create my yarn from a larger amount of fibre to start with, say 100-150g, maybe even 200g (based on a Navajo ply). This would give me a better scale of stripe effect for my chosen project.

Scale is also important to remember if we wanted to go larger still and knit say a sweater. Here we might consider gradient spinning each of our 100g braids individually and then adding them end to end with the next yarn as we knit. This will create a stripe across the body of our garment... remember to watch your sleeves though, as the smaller width will elongate the stripe effect and it will look significantly different to the main body. In this case it might be better to consider just striping the body and using just one colour on the sleeves... unless of course different widths of stripe is your design choice.

One last and important thing to think about is construction... if you are knitting in the round or an item (like a hat) that tapers off to a smaller scale or finish point then stripes will start doing different things, like pooling. So if stripes are what you are after then consider 'piece' construction, for example knitting the front and back of your sweater separately. This should help keep those stripes even. If you have a wider neckline, or are definite on a yoke top down sweater then you may consider the top yoke in one colour and then moving to stripes as you get to the body. Lots to think about!

Having said all of this stripes are a wonderful thing to work with and if you don't feel comfortable using the gradient you bought as a gradient, then why not consider a different type of spin?

Why don't you have a go and post your versions in the Ravelry thread... it would be great to see what you come up with.

Also just to mention that I have plenty of gradients and colour sets in stock for you to buy at

Part 11 is all about using gradient fibres to create a further variation!

Please share with your friends... Sara x

Thursday, 23 October 2014

SHOP UPDATE: Hand dyed and Kiwi Super Flyer.

I now stock the Kiwi Super Flyer, billed to hold up to 500g of fibre on one bobbin!
The Kiwi Super Flyer comes as a kit and is and super easy to install on any Kiwi. The kit includes everything from the maiden bar up, so you only need to undo one bolt when you want to swap.
The Kiwi Super Flyer has a huge 27mm (1⅛in) orifice and has awesome new free-flow yarn guides on a sliding hook flyer. (Note – in the video I say 25mm (1in) this is incorrect, it should have been 27mm).
The kit includes 3 super-size bobbins which have a 500gm capacity, so less time changing bobbins and more yarn on the bobbin. Also included is a lazy kate and a new drive belt.
The new Kiwi Super Flyer will fit all Kiwi 2 and Kiwi spinning wheels.
You can find this from me at

Over on Etsy I am hosting yet more of my hand dyed catalogue...

Any questions and you know where to find me.
Have a wonderful day... Sara x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Top Indie Picks

Autumn Cozy curated by Crafts of Texture on Etsy

Here are some of the autumnal handmade items that are inspiring me lately.

Please go check out the boards over on Etsy where you can buy directly from the makers!

Have a wonderful day... Sara x

P.S. If you have been featured please link back to the blog using this photo;

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

CRAFT BUSINESS: Craft Stalls...Confidence on the Stand.

I you are like me... shyness and a lack of confidence can make running a stall at a craft event a very daunting thing.
I've talked at small talking events, showed at lots of craft events, stood up in front of buyers to sell my ranges into their stores (when I worked in fashion) and taught at national craft events... each and every time I suffer with panic attacks... Now don't get me wrong I'm not expecting you to do the same (and I hope you never do)... my personal journey through this very personal struggle is quite a different thing... but I don't want you to feel that you are alone in worrying about your first craft stall experience... you are not alone... we all worry and we all understand how you feel.
What is really important when you are on your stall is to not show your nerves... the last thing you want is to put someone off of approaching you, because you look like you are going to be really quite sick!
Here are some steps I think you can take to help give you a little confidence on the stand and make you look more approachable.
  1. Dress confidently and comfortably... if you feel well dressed, then you will naturally exude a level of confidence.
  2. Position yourself so that you can be seen and approached easily... no hiding! This gives customers an immediate point of contact... if they can't see you, then they may just walk by. This will also force you to be more personable.
  3. Have Conversation Starters... try to have something on the stand that people can ask about. This can be something you are working on, or something you have made, or an idea of how to wear a garment/accessory you are selling. Having customers approach you with questions will stop you from wondering how to make that first connection.
  4. Look up, get eye contact and SMILE! Say Hello... the warmer you seem, the more likely someone will allow your stall 5 more seconds of looking before they walk on... that 5 seconds could be enough to secure a sale. NEVER, NEVER sit there like you are sucking a lemon... regardless of how badly you are doing (and we all have days like that)... no-one will approach you if you don't smile.
Next time we will talk about remembering to eat healthy on the stall and why that is important... you can find this under the Craft Business category.

What are your experiences? What is your advice on craft stalls?... Sara x

P.S. Don't forget to enter our craft business giveaway!

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