Coming at MD Sheep & Wool

We did it! It’s done! Everything that Mom & I promised for sheep & wool is dyed, reskeined, labeled, designed, tested, edited, printed, and packaged. Today mom drops the whole mess off at Cloverhill, and it’s off my shoulders for one lovely week. (The bad news is that I am now out of excuses for avoiding schoolwork, and I have one lovely week to write about four papers. I will remain in denial about that for at least the length of time it takes me to write this post.)

Can you believe the fest starts a week from tomorrow? If you want to come see our stuff, visit the Cloverhill booth – it’s in the main big huge barn; if you walk in from the main thoroughfare it’s usually the second big booth on the right side. Can’t miss us. We’ll be there helping out on Sunday morning if you’d like to come say hi!

This is the Big One, bigger than Christmas, bigger than birthdays – the biggest party of the year for any fiber-holic in the DC orbit. To celebrate, Mom and I have worked up a bunch of new and special stuff that will be debuting exclusively at Sheep & Wool. If you can go at all, you probably don’t need much more motivation to come, but in case your hovering on the edge, let me tempt you a little.

First, we’ll be debuting both of our new sock yarns. The base called “Jeannie” I have unceremoniously named “Merino/Nylon Sock Yarn.” The name is boring, but the colors are an adventure and a half, as the somewhat-rushed dye process resulted in a number of happy accidents. For example, when some Mumbai Blaze didn’t work out as expected, I threw the whole mess into a turmeric bath and came out with this incredible pumpkin-colored semi-solid that I’m calling “Leaf Litter.” (The best part – I know exactly what I did, and can do it again.)

Another surprise is below – I’d intended to make a batch of “Redwood,” but due to a number of factors I couldn’t get the red to turn red on one end, and the other end stayed a sort of dusty rose. When combined with some very dark shades of black walnut brown, the end result was stunning. Most skeins even have these little orange flecks in them. I’m calling this “Rosewood.”

This one is still a mystery to me. I dyed the two ends of a bunch of skeins in blue, but for reasons I cannot discover, one end turned blue while the other turned periwinkle. The skeins were dry when I put them in, so there’s a large amount of white in there as well. The combination looks so soft and delicious, so I call it “Blueberry Parfait.”

The above was supposed to become a batch of Baby Boy Peter, but the periwinkle pushed it just over the edge into feminine. But I was curious, so I took about half of them, dyed some short repeats of brown, and ended up with this unusual combination that I’m calling “Baby Girl Petra.” Sort of like a twin sister to BBP.

Also new are my interpretations of mom’s new colorways, “Indian Summer” and her fun green that we’ve renamed “Groovy Green.” (Because Mom, at least, was alive in the ’70’s.)

This is in addition to a new batch of Fallscape, and what’s left of all our previous colors in our old base.

(To you yarn pros out there – I am well aware that with all my accidents in some of the colors above, I get an “A” for creativity, but a “D” for repeatability. This is a major concern of mine, since as a professional dyer I want to be able to supply demand accurately. However, this is a small operation, it’s just me doing this sock yarn, I’m not fulfilling a specific order, and if I can’t have fun and make the most of my mistakes, why bother? So I am trying to loosen up. But if your eyebrow is raised, know that I agree with you.)

Second, the base formerly known as “Lesley” I have boringly renamed “100% Merino Fingering.” Since I imagine this thinner, all-merino yarn would be great for fingering-weight shawls and the like (though it would still be great for socks), I dyed the 20 skeins I purchased into a rainbow of semi-solids: “Pokeberry Pink,” “Pokeberry Passion,” “Leaf Litter,” “Turmeric Tawny,” “Sprout Sage,” “Groovy Green,” “Black Bean Blue,” and “Black Walnut Brown”. The green and blue are below.

Third, there’s some brand new Second Chance Lace. The Second Chance line is so incredibly labor-intensive that I’ve had to drop all but the lace for the sake of time, and if I keep doing it I’m going to have to raise the price if it’s going to be worth it. But these 15 skeins are going to be available for $20.00 each, probably for the last time. It’s such a pain to do, but when I see how unique, soft, and beautiful the final product is, I remember why I recycle. Not only is it cool and earth-friendly; the yarn it produces is completely unlike anything you could find another way. I won’t go into details about this stuff, as you really have to fondle it for yourself, and I’ll be surprised if much of it is left after the fest (it sold like hotcakes last year).

I think that’s enough for today, but that’s not all we’re up to. Mom’s Kirby Woolpaca will be seeing the light of the festival sky, and we’ve worked up a couple new patterns especially for it.

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