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Hand Dyed Yarn Three Ways

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint yarn in Tunisian, freeform love knots game, and color-stacked slip stitch mobius!

Three Looks for a Unique Hand Dyed Yarn

Today I present three very different crochet textures in the SAME. EXACT. YARN. View image full size.

These projects span about seven years. The particular hand dyed yarn is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock.

The 2016 design on the right was such a different experience of this yarn that it felt like a new purchase from the yarn shop. I had crocheted a whole shawl with the same yarn, though, seven years ago.

I thought it was just me. When I showed the two projects in a Stitch Games class yesterday, others were also noticeably surprised that it’s the same yarn.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend! If you don’t see a new blog post from me tomorrow, it will only be because we lost power due to the tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It hits sometime tonight or in the early morning.

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Day 1 of 50: Crochet Conference Prep

“Day 1 of 50”?

Yes. Fifty days of updates. Fifty is 7 weeks-and-a-day, a nice round number. I need all 50 because I’ll be teaching 5 different 3-hour classes at a crochet conference while managing a booth in its market. It’s epic.

A friend is preparing to teach at the same event for the first time, and another friend is considering it in the future. They’re on my mind as I do this prep again. (It’s my 2nd time having a booth and I think the 6th time teaching lots of classes.)

I’m going to track my progress and thoughts out loud as I go. Some days it’s teaching prep, other days it’s booth merchandise/yarn company stuff, and always lots of swatching and designing. Most days it’s a jumble and I’ll blog a highlight of it. Years from now I’ll enjoy looking back over this.

Today I Cross a Big Teaching Item Off the List

The yarn used in a crochet conference class can matter immensely. Having also taken many crochet classes, I know how hard it is for students to choose which yarns to bring to class.

I asked a yarn company if they would sponsor my Stitch Games class at the crochet conference. This means they would donate enough yarn for all the students to use. Today they said yes

This makes my week. Their hand dyed yarn is my first choice for this class! (Below are swatches of this company’s yarns in soft colors. These are tests for other class topics.)

I’ve used it so much while developing the Stitch Games swatches and designs. I know its fiber, weight, bounce, and twist work for key stitch patterns, and I find the color sequences are dependably easy and fun for crochet. I want each student to have the best possible experience learning something unfamiliar. This yarn helps guarantee it!

This colorway is custom hand dyed for my local yarn shop. It’s called “Grape Jelly” and is based on the colors of the Crown Jellyfish photographed by the yarn shop owner in Fiji’s Rainbow Reef.

Bare Bones Scarf is crocheted corner to corner as a “game” in which you assign stitch groups to yarn colors! It’s one of three patterns in the Crochet to the Colors Playbook.

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Yarn Tests for a New Tunisian Crochet Filet Design

Yarn tests for stitch close up photos: color, plying, thickness, etc.
This blog post is third in a short series about the development of a new Tunisian crochet pattern pdf.

Two kinds of yarn tests.

I did two kinds of yarn tests for my new Tunisian crochet filet scarf (first blogged here).

#1. For Tutorial Close Ups

I’ve learned to take three things into account: the yarn’s plying, color, and thickness.

Yarn plies: I have the best luck with a single ply yarn. More than one ply can add a distracting texture, especially in close ups. I love the look and colors of the purple yarn in the first photo, but its plies worried me. (Each individual ply of this unusual 100% cashmere yarn is twisted, but there’s no twist holding them all together.)

The color(s): Yarn colors also matter for Tunisian crochet filet close ups. A single light color shows texture depth the best. I tend to avoid variegated yarns, with exceptions here and there.

Extreme close up of a good quality crochet thread makes it look old and hairy.
Opera crochet thread is known for its polished, silky beauty. This extreme close up is not its best look.

Subtle color shifts can be a real plus with Tunisian crochet, though! I think this might be because it helps the eye distinguish forward pass loops from return pass loops. (Four Peaks images are good examples of this. Strong contrasting color shifts would normally be distracting. This isn’t the case for Four Peaks because of the small, fine-grained Tunisian simple stitches.)

Yarn weight: If I’m taking close up photos, and the camera has a good zoom lens, why does it matter how thin or thick the yarn is? How about using a crisp crochet thread? I discovered the hard way that I have better luck with a thick yarn. With thread and skinny yarns, the individual fibers show up too much in each loop. Even slight fuzziness is magnified. It makes the yarn or thread look old, shaggy, and worn out.

#2. A Winter Yarn

I fell in love with my first Tunisian crochet filet design in wool. That would be…Warm Aeroette! (Hence the “warm” part.) Traditional filet lace has mostly been a cotton thread kind of crochet project. Maybe that’s why I didn’t think of wool at first.

Until Aeroette I’d only had Tunisian crochet filet thoughts in bamboo (Ennis), silk (Aero), and cotton (dishcloth test in my Lotus yarn). It’s thanks to Warm Aeroette that I discovered how nice Four Peaks is is in a toasty aran-weight wool.

I needed to test with classic wool yarn to know Aeroette better. Could it work in something other than Aero’s fancy silk? Unlike Four Peaks, the wool yarn I used isn’t thick; it’s a fingering/sock weight fine-micron merino wool. (Fine-micron merino has a lot in common with cashmere.)

Thin fingering weight gives the tall Tunisian filet stitches a fine-grained texture. In a thick wool like the Mochi Plus (blue photo above), the filet-style lacy eyelets could look clunky or lumpy as a scarf. Would be a lovely afghan border though!