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Dear Kay,
Things are very, very scary around here. Late last night I wound the second skein of yarn for my Thorn shawl, and I have to tell you, it was a moment of shocking revelation:
See that? The small ball is the end of Skein 1. The big ball is Skein 2. I don’t know if my 15-minute photography skills have captured the full subtlety of this yarn, but something is UP with this second skein. I discovered, upon unwinding the skein, that buried in the depths was a moment of color that can only be called chartreuse, a distinctly springlike moment of an inch or so where the dark piney woods broke into a life-affirming and glorious glade of new grass.
Or something.
People, this changes everything. And it’s why I love hand-dyed yarns above all others. The randomness of what will happen when those little chartreuse blips show up is something I can’t quite imagine. In a giant yarn factory, this skein would have gone into the bin of Also Rans. But I’m not looking for perfection; maybe I’m looking for the opposite. That’s what making stuff is all about, isn’t it?
This yarn is by Alisha Goes Around, in what I think is Alisha’s first custom blend, a mix of superwash merino, bombyx silk (O! the bombyxness!), and merino. She has SAT-vocabulary names for her yarns (Panoply of Peacocks, Tittering of Magpies), so it’s obvious why she would name this Zeal of Zebra.
I had the chance to meet Alisha in Hot Springs last month. Her grays are the most beautiful I’ve seen, but nothing was as gorgeous and compelling as the eight-month-old baby she was loving on all weekend long as she sold her crazy-named, perfectly imperfect yarns.
Time’s up!


  • It’s beautiful. I love how hand dyed yarn makes the individual garment unique. It takes a knitter, a designer, and hand dyer together in a way that creates something perfectly of a moment. A moment where three people come together to create one garment that can never, ever be replicated.

  • SO happy you and Kay are blogging again – I’ve missed y’all! Lightning-fast is fine!

  • SO happy you and Kay are blogging again – I’ve missed y’all! Lightning-fast is fine!

  • SO happy you and Kay are blogging again – I’ve missed y’all! Lightning-fast is fine!

  • This is part of what makes dyeing yarn so much fun. Have you tried any kind of dyeing? So many ways to do it, and some are unbelievably easy! It helps if you keep an open mind when you’re pulling the wool out of the kettle…like, “magic!” instead of “uh-oh!” I’ll bet you would REALLY enjoy it!

  • 1) I want to see her greys and
    2) well, I’d blog for 15 minutes, too, if I could come up with something half as lyrical as your description of the shades greens.

  • Memories of Fern, and photographing Fern on a barefoot baby in Monteagle, come flooding back with this yarn.
    A Forest of Ferns.

  • Truly enjoying hearing from you gals more often! Enjoy your bits of chartreuse – so very “early Spring”!

  • Funny, I’m noticing the same thing with some hand dyed yarn too. What fun.

  • Please keep us posted on Thorn. I’ve had my eye on it since I saw it on the Brooklyn Tweed site. Now if I can just finish projects that I’ve already promised to family members. . .

  • The chartreuse will be loverly, I am sure. I gotta think about this lightning blogging thing — I put up a few pictures this morning and spent forever futzing with the $*#$(* html on blogger. Talk about ancient technology…. Anyways, love the scarf — knit faster so we can see!!

  • go out for a few minutes to wash my hands
    here is another note or bolt have
    read superman in the past
    faster then the speed of lighting
    lovely work and yarn
    i made 5 scarves for world vision
    for sandy relief i can’t work
    with wool hopefully some on in the bronx
    is wearing one of mine

  • I love your lightning-fast blogging! I LOVE that you are blogging more!! THANK YOU 1,000X from Bangkok, Thailand, where you are first on my menu each day as I turn on the com at work!

  • Here, here, Ann!
    I am relatively new to the wonder of color “surprise” that can occur. I first remember experiencing it within a skein of Noro Silk Garden. I don’t know if Noro is hand dyed (embarrassing, but I don’t), but the surprise was a wonder just the same. Totally different colors from the main color scheme, but that was the whole mystique…

  • So happy to have you guys to read again..please know the smiles you bring!

  • i am also in awe of those who have such innate (or so it seems) colour sense. i would give half my stash for a weekend where i could plunge into colour theory, srsly, and play with the possibilities. for now, though, i am happy to knit up the skeins that others have played with, and like Diane, am just generally tickled by what comes off the needles.

  • Just in case you DON’T like the lighter shade in your finished piece? Inspired by you guys and your use of a bleach pen, I took it the other way and used an indelible marker to color in some stitches I didn’t like during a Noro knitting escapade. Worked just fine.

  • Gorgeous colour Ann. I am in a very green mood these days – maybe it is a hankering for Spring ? better than being in a blue mood for sure …… ;0)

  • Love Alisha’s yarn…She’s a sweetheart too.

  • Love. The. Wallpaper.
    Hubby won’t let me put any up. Something about ruining the walls and his dislike for visual texture. Maybe this is why I knit: can’t get enough.
    Speaking of texture and Ink — get a load of this! Friend is knitting it…

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