New Year, New Plans, Yan Tan Tethera Club

Happy New Year! It’s been a while!

I took a good break after Yarndale last September, but now it’s time to warm up the dye pots again and get cracking on making 2017 woolly and colourful!

Yan Tan Tethera Club

The first plan for 2017 is to dye for Baa Baa Brighouse’s Yan Tan Tethera yarn club. Elaine selects an inspiration photo, taken by her husband Gary, then I choose a yarn and make it colourful.  This is the photo that Elaine has chosen this time, it’s called ‘Red Cloud’ and was taken in the hills above Rastrick in West Yorkshire:

Red Cloud

The yarn I’m using this time is something a bit different, a 100% British Jacob DK weight yarn, made by West Yorkshire Spinners.  Sign ups are open now, and will close on Friday 20 January. There are limited places, so be quick! Pop over to Baa Baa Brighouse’s website to see what extra goodies you might find in your subscription box and to sign up.

Whilst you’re there, have a look at the gallery of photos of things people have made with previous Yan Tan Tethera club yarns.  I’m just one of a group of Yorkshire yarnies who dye for the club in rotation.

New year, new yarn

In exciting news, my very first custom spun yarn should arrive with me next week.  This yarn is made of all British fleeces, and is wholly processed by the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall.   More news to come once I’ve got my hands on it and sent it through the dye pots.  This is what it looked like when we picked up the main component from a friend:


Just one more thing…

Prices of undyed yarn have increased recently, so I shall have to reflect that with a small rise in prices. I’ll be updating the shop over the next couple of weeks, yarns priced £7 will go up 25p and yarns priced £14, £15 or £16 will go up by 50p each (except the Shetland gradients, they’ll stay the same). So if you want to get in before the increase…here’s where to go.

Dates for the diary

I shall have a stall again at Leeds Wool Festival on 3 June at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.

And I shall be applying to Yarndale again, so fingers crossed for that.

Yarndale 2016 and Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club

Sylvan Tiger Yarn stall at Yarndale 2015

Sylvan Tiger Yarn stall at Yarndale 2015

Yarndale 2016

It must be nearly time for Yarndale 2016, I’m struggling to fit any more yarn in the boxes! All the yarn is dyed, there’s just a few skeins left to label, and new samples are drying as we speak.  I hope to see some of you next weekend (24-25 September), have a look at the Yarndale website for all the information you need to plan your visit.  We’re in our usual spot, number 56 on the plan.

I’ll have lots of lace and 4ply yarns in semi-solids and variegated colours.  There’ll be a big stock of the Shetland 4ply gradients, including pattern and yarn kits.  Gwen Wagner-Adair has designed a new pattern for the gradients, a hat and mitts set featuring squirrels, yes squirrels! Here’s a sneaky peek:

Hatt and Mitts 600















Gwen will be on the stall on Saturday afternoon 2-3pm for a ‘meet the designer’ session and will be happy to sign patterns and talk about her designs.

Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club

Stained Glass

If you can’t make it to Yarndale, there’s another chance this month to get your hands on Sylvan Tiger Yarn. I’m dyeing for Baa Baa Brighouse’s Yan Tan Tethera yarn club.  Each month a different dyer creates an exclusive colourway based on an inspiration photo that Elaine chooses.  This month it’s me and I’m creating a colourway based on the photo above of stained glass.  Sign ups are open now and will close on Sunday 25 September. Be quick though, places are limited this month as it’s so close to Yarndale! You can read more about the club and sign up via the Baa Baa Brighouse website.

Hopefully see you at Yarndale next weekend, and if not the Etsy shop will be back open by the beginning of October.

Circus of Stripes!


Circus of Stripes are you ready to join

Preparations for Yarndale (24-25 September, Skipton) are well under way, but in the meantime, a little something new:

Rainbow star x600

The Circus of Stripes is a troupe of eight colours naturally dyed on High Twist 100% BFL sock/4ply yarn. Each skein is 50g (182m / 199yds), perfect to mix and match for striped (or colour block) projects. Stripy socks anyone?!

Each colour is named after a circus act (clockwise from orange in the photo above):

Orange – Fire Eater
Yellow – Trapeze Artist
Green – Juggler
Aqua – Tightrope Walker
Blue – Stilt Walker
Purple – Ring Master
Pinky Purple – Tumbler
Pink – Unicyclist

What combination will you choose? A Stilt Walking Ring Master, a Fire Eating Juggler, a Tumbling Stilt Walker? Have fun, play with colour, make stripes!

The Circus of Stripes will be at Yarndale in September, but if you can’t wait that long then roll up! roll up! the Circus is in town at my Etsy shop now!

I’m a big fan of stripy socks; my main aim in creating this troupe of colours was to provide a bold, bright palette from which to select exciting colour combinations for socks. For my first pair I choose Stilt Walker and Unicyclist to make a simple four-row striped stocking stitch sock.

Stripy sock in progress

I chose two colours, but you could choose three for a pattern such as Geek, a pattern originaly written for self striping yarn, but could be adapted for separate skeins.

4ply shawls are really popular at the moment, Veera Välimäki has some wonderful designs utilising stripes including the Color Affection shawl. Martina Behm, (Strickmich and designer of the Hitchhiker shawl), is another designer who makes great use of colour and stripes in her designs, mostly recently in the Shore Hap in Kate Davies’ Book of Haps.

For a rectangular scarf the recently published Paint the Town makes effective use of three different colours in stripes and blocks knitted on the bias.

Those are just a few suggestions of how to use the Circus of Stripes yarn, have a browse of the patterns on Ravelry. A pattern search of the tag ‘stripes‘ brings up 209 pages of patterns!

Leeds Wool Festival 4 June

One week to go until Leeds Wool Festival at Armley Mills Industrial Museum next Saturday 4 June.  We had a great time at Wharfe Wool Fair a few weeks ago, here’s what the stall looked like before the hoards descended!

Wharfe Wool Fair 2016

Now preparations turn to Leeds. Leeds Wool Festival takes places in the wonderful Armley Mills Industrial Museum.  The mill was very badly hit by the Boxing Day floods and has only recently been able to open to the public again.  There is still a lot of restoration work to do, mainly to the steam and traction engines, but they are keen to encourage people back and to support their work.

As well as the 20 or so traders (names on the website) there will be:
Living history re-enactors in the mill workers cottages (Luddites!)
Spinning demonstrations
A natural dyeing exhibition
The mill’s spinning mule and steam engines will be working (restoration after the recent floods permitting)
Spring lambs to pet in the gardens
Alpacas to make friends with in the garden
Two showings of the full length version of the award winning documentary ‘Addicted to Sheep’
Dr Caroline Radcliffe giving a talk on mill workers dancing/clogging followed by a dancing workshop
Opera singer and one half of the knitting podcast duo the SavvyGirls, Melanie Gall (aka Savvy Girl Melanie) performing some of her historic knitting songs
A folk musician performing in a couple of locations
Morris dancers performing in the gardens
A pop-up not for profit café run by the Women’s Institute
A talk from an independent yarn producer and farmer – Alice Elsworth of Whistlebare Yarns – in the mill’s boardroom

A great day out I’m sure you’ll agree! There’s full information on how to get there etc on the Leeds Wool Festival webpage.

What will I have there with me?  The usual selection on British wool, all hand dyed by me with natural dyes.  I’ll have sock, 4ply and lace yarns (though if there’s any DK or Aran you particular wanted to see from the Etsy shop do let me know and I’ll try and pack it in somewhere!).

I’ll also be launching three patterns to support my Shetland Gradient packs.

Gradient six together






I’ve been working again with local designer Gwen Wagner-Adair of Petitchoufleur Knits to create three patterns to make the best use of the packs.  If you were at Wharfe Wool Fair you’ll have seen two of the three samples, printers and postal service permitting we’ll have the printed patterns for all three items on the 4 June.

First up we have Seafoam Gradient Cowl. Designed by Gwen this cushy slipped stitch pattern makes the most of one full gradient pack, but is a nice easy knit, only using one colour per row at a time. The sample here is shown in the Baltic colourway.

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale















Next up is Baltic Gradient Shawl and Mitts, designed by me.  The cosy garter stitch shawl is another nice easy knit, with interest provided by the decreases and changing colour sections. Perfect TV or travel knitting!

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale















And finally, there’s Twinings Gradient Shawl, again designed by Gwen. A lacy pattern of living leaves grows from a simple garter stitch crescent, made without any short rows!

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale

Photo copyright Joelle Trousdale















Printers and postal service permitting(!) we’ll have the printed patterns for all three items at Leeds Wool Festival on 4 June. The patterns will then be available as pdf downloads from 5 June on Ravelry.

Wharfe Wool Fair

It’s nearly time for Wharfe Wool Fair.  The last of the dyeing is drying (fingers crossed!). Everything else is labelled and with a bit of luck I’ll finish knitting a sample shawl in time.

This is the third Wharfe Wool Fair, and this year it takes place in a new venue; the Clarke Foley Centre in Ilkley on 7 May 10am-4pm. It’s a bigger space so there’s room for 24 exhibitors, it’s right next to the big car park in the centre of Ilkley and not far from the bus and train station.  There’s a cafe in the centre for refreshments and plenty of cafes and bars in Ilkley itself, including the wonderful Betty’s. Just round the corner from the centre, there’s Morton’s hardware store a wonderful aladdin’s cave of, well, everything!

This is the start of the wool fair season for me so there’s a few new things to introduce. The first show outing for the Shetland gradient packs; four natural shades of Shetland 4ply over-dyed to create the gradient.

Gradient six together






There’s some new colourways on the popular Yan Sock base. 100% British BFL High Twist sock yarn:

































Skyscape #2

Skyscape #2
















A new colour on Tyan Lace, 80% BFL and 20% Silk, Galaxy is blue/black with little flashes of colour.

















I’ve just finished knitting a shawl to show off Galaxy, this is Cameo Flower, a free pattern available on Knitty. Not the finest of photos, but the Bank Holiday weather scuppered any chances of outdoor photography, I think the shawl might have ended up in Norway if we’d tried to go outside!

Cameo Flower Shawl

Cameo Flower Shawl















That concludes the round up of new colours and yarn, I’ll have plenty of Yan Sock 100% BFL HT sock,  Tyan Lace 80% BFL 20% Silk, Tethera 4ply 100% BFL 4ply, Methera 55% BFL 45% Silk and Lethera Shetland Gradients. I won’t have Pip DK and Sethera Aran with me, but if there’s something you’ve seen in the shop you’d like to see then let me know and I’ll bring it along.

I’ll also have some beautiful shawl pins, hand made by Tattysquawk in Cornwall.  They are made from aluminium so they are really light and won’t weight down your shawl or scarf.

Hope to see you there! Now, back to the last minute knitting…

Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club, Wharfe Wool Fair and #nonylonsockKAL

The Folly by Shutterspot Photography

The Folly by Shutterspot Photography

Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club

There’s less than a week left to sign up to May’s Yan Tan Tethera yarn club.  The club is run by Elaine at Baa Baa Brighouse and features a rotating group of Yorkshire independent hand dyers each month.  It’s my turn and I’ll be creating a colourway from the beautiful photo above. In case you haven’t guessed already, purple is my favourite colour and I can already picture how I’d like the yarn to turn out.  I’m looking forward to testing my plan this weekend.

The photo is called ‘The Folly’, taken by Gary Turner of Shutterspot Photography and it features Victoria Tower on Castle Hill at a nature reserve over in Kirklees.

The club costs £21 and sign ups are open now, closing on 15 April giving me plenty of time to get everything dyed up and over to Elaine to post out for the 1 May.  I’ll be using my 100% British BFL HT sock yarn, which has 365m/400yd to each 100g skein. Which ties in nicely with…


Joeli Creates is running a KAL (Knit along) based around sock yarns that don’t contain nylon.  There’s a perception out there that sock yarn must contain nylon in order to stand up to the wear our hand knit socks get in our shoes.  From now until 10 June Joeli plans to knit socks using nylon-free yarns, then for the second part of the project, she’ll wear only those nylon-free socks to test how they feel, wear and wash.

I’ll be joining in, both my 4ply yarn bases are nylon-free; Yan Sock is a 100% British BFL High Twist yarn made up of 2 plies, the High Twist making it particularly suitable to socks.  When the yarn has a high twist there’s less opportunity for the yarn to rub against itself and cause wear. My Tethera 4ply is also 100% British BFL and this one is a true 4ply in that the yarn is made up of 4 plies.  Tethera is a regular ply, not high twist. Perhaps I should knit a pair of each and then compare how the two different bases wear for the second part of the project. Here’s a pair I’m working on at the moment, using Yan Sock using 2 50g skeins to create 4-row stripes (more on stripyness at a later date!).

Stripy sock in progress

I previously did a wear test on a pair of socks knitted in Yan Sock, so I’ll come back later, having taken some photos, and show you the results of that.

You can sign up for Joeli’s KAL at her website, and if you’re on Ravelry you can follow everyone’s contributions in a thread in Joeli’s group here. You can also post pictures on twitter and instagram, just tag them with #nonylonsockKAL then other people taking part can see them.

Wharfe Wool Fair – 7 May 2016

It’s full steam ahead now to the first wool fair of the year and the dye pots are keeping very busy. This is the third Wharfe Wool Fair and there’s a new venue for 2016.  The show has moved to Ilkley and will be held at the Clarke Foley Centre from 10am to 4pm.  Have a look a the website for full details and list of exhibitors.  There’s plenty of parking in Ilkley as well as excellent public transport links by bus and train, hopefully see you there.  This will be the first show outing for the Shetland Gradients if you missed them last month.

Gradient six together

Dates for the diary

If you can’t make Wharfe Wool Fair on 7 May, there’s always Leeds Wool Festival at Armley Mills on 4 June.

New gradient yarns

New Shetland 4ply gradient packs are here!

Gradient six together

Gradient packs seem to have taken the knitting world by storm recently. I thought it would be interesting to explore the possibilities of gradients, but with a little twist.  My gradients are created by over-dyeing four natural shades of Shetland 4ply with natural dye extracts. Here’s how they start out.

Natural x600

Undyed natural shades of Shetland yarn.

The yarn

The yarn I chose to work with for my gradients is of course British. It’s a Shetland 4ply, processed by Blacker Yarns in Cornwall.   The fibre is woollen spun to give it a really light and airy handle, it really is very bouncy.  (The postman delivering the parcel lobbed it over our six foot high gate into the back garden, I’m surprised it didn’t bounce straight back at him!) . Blacker take the natural shades of the Shetland fleeces and blend them together to create a range of natural shades.

Copyright Blacker Yarns

Copyright Blacker Yarns

The fibre that makes the yarn

I asked Blacker Yarns about the Shetland fibre that is processed into their yarn and Sue replied that most of the Shetland fibre comes from one farm in Somerset, Fernhill Farm. Andrew and Jen are working hard to be self-sufficient on their farm, with the livestock being part of their holistic approach to land management. Hopefully I’ll have an interview with Jen soon, so she can tell their story more fully.

The gradient packs

So, let’s introduce the gradient packs more closely!

Chocolate Orange

Chocolate Orange

Each 100g pack contains four ~25g mini skeins with 350m/380yds per 100g.



There are currently six different colours to choose from.

Grass Green

Grass Green

The packs would make great shawls, hats, gloves or scarves.



They can be used one their own, to really show off the gradient.

Dilly Dilly

Dilly Dilly

Or, they could be used alongside a plain white, or even dark brown, background.

Raspberry Ganache

Raspberry Ganache

The possibilities are endless!  Have fun, play around.  I’m working with local knitwear designer Gwen Wagner-Adair to bring you some patterns specifically for these packs. The patterns should be ready for release early in May in time for Wharfe Wool Fair.  In the meantime, the gradient packs are available now in my Sylvan Tiger Yarn Etsy shop, go have a look!

New Year, New Yarns

Now that we’re into February, the winter dyeing break is over and it’s time to look ahead to new plans and developments for 2016.

New Yarns – Gradients and Stripes

I have two new lines in development for launch this Spring. The first is a very special gradient yarn, using Shetland yarn processed by the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall.  I’ll share more about this yarn later in the month and it’ll be launching during the first week in March. Here’s a sneak preview of one of the colourways:


Do sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear all about the yarn once it launches.  The sign up form is just over there on the right hand side bar.

The second new line I’ll be introducing is the result of a happy accident, so to speak.  When I was ordering fresh undyed yarn from the wholesaler, my usual 100g skeins of BFL HT sock yarn were out of stock, but he did have the same yarn in 50g skeins.  I decided to order the 50g skeins anyway thinking they’d be perfect to dye up in a range of nice bright colours to then mix and match together for stripy projects!

So, keep an eye out, probably in April, for bright, bold combinations just begging to be knitted up into stripy socks, stripy hats, stripy gloves, stripy…you get the idea! I already have a sample pair of stripy socks on the needles in sky blue and raspberry.

It’s show time!

It’s also coming up to show time.  In May there’s Wharfe Wool Fair, previously held in Otley the fair is moving to Ilkley this year to a bigger venue with a car park just across the road and with good public transport links. We’ll have both new yarn lines on show for the first time, as well as the usual favourites.
Wharfe Wool Fair – 7 May 2016, 10am-4pm, Clarke Foley Centre, Ilkley, LS29 9DZ

Next up is Leeds Wool Festival to be held at Armley Mills Industrial Museum.  Some parts of the Museum were quite badly affected by the Boxing Day floods, but clean up is well under the way and the Museum should be open again soon.
Leeds Wool Festival – 6 June 2016, 10am-5pm, Armley Mills Industrial Museum, Leeds, LS12 2QF

And, of course, there’s Yarndale in Skipton in September. The application has been submitted and fingers are crossed until we hear back in mid-April.


Don’t forget, sign up to the newsletter to hear as soon as the new gradients are released!

In the meantime

Until you can see us out in the wild, the Sylvan Tiger Yarn Etsy shop is stocked up with plenty of British yarn, all dyed by me, by hand, with natural dyes.

Woolly Wormhead – Painted Woolly Toppers

Front.Cover.Final.4.Print 300

Painted Woolly Toppers – Copyright Woolly Wormhead

Back in June, Woolly Wormhead published her latest collection of hat patterns.  She kindly sent out copies for review and I’ve finally got around to writing up my thoughts.  The latest book in the Woolly Toppers series features patterns designed specifically for hand-dyed and variegated yarns.   Woolly explains the two main ideas behind the book:

firstly, to create designs for those oh-so-beautiful yet tricky-to-knit-with hand-dyed skeins that we all get seduced by; and secondly to support indie dyers. Indie dyers offer such vibrancy and uniqueness and I really wanted to let their yarns take centre stage and put together a collection with their yarns at the core.

Vortice.1.Print 300

Vortice – Copyright Woolly Wormhead

Each of the 10 designs in the book feature garter stitch elements.  It’s a stitch pattern that really seems to work well with variegated yarns and helps to showcase their multi-colours.

Lamitra.1.Print 300

Lamitra – Copyright Woolly Wormhead

Woolly’s patterns also include a range of techniques to keep things interesting; she’s isn’t called the ‘Hat Architect’ for nothing.  Any specific techniques used in the patterns are fully explained at the start of the book, with written and illustrated instructions.  I found the short row tutorial particularly helpful.

Quoin.1.Print 300

Quoin – Copyright Woolly Wormhead

I chose the Quoin pattern to knit as a sample for my new Sethera Aran (100% British BFL) for Yarndale.  I knitted three hats over two days of holiday, of which Quoin was one. So, even though there is an interesting construction to this hat, it was still a quick knit.  It used just under half of one 100g skein.

Quoin frontThe asymmetrical garter stitch brim is knitted first, back and forth, starting with just 2 stitches and increasing every few rows until you have a long wedge shape.   Stitches along the edge of the wedge are then picked up to knit the rest of the hat in the round. You can better see the asymmetrical nature of the brim in the photo below.

Quoin backThe main body of the hat is then augmented with short rows and garter stitch rows to further shape the hat.

Quoin left sideThe pattern instructions were clear, concise and well written.  Each pattern has multiple sizes.  Painted Woolly Toppers is available as an eBook for £10, as a PDF & printed option for $25 or each pattern can be purchased individually for £3.50. For full details visit Woolly Wormhead’s website.

Yarndale 2015

Sylvan Tiger Yarn stall at Yarndale 2015

Sylvan Tiger Yarn stall at Yarndale 2015

Last weekend was the third Yarndale wool festival in Skipton, and the second time I’ve had a stall.  It was a fantastic, if very busy, weekend.  I only managed to take a few quick camera phone pictures of my own stall. This year the new banner was hoisted for the first time and attracted lots of oohs and aahs from visitors.  All needle felted by hand, no fingers were harmed in the process of making the banner!

The lace weight side of the stall

The lace weight side of the stall

The beautiful Bonny by Tin Can Knits was on duty at the entrance to the stall, enticing the customers in!  Saturday was an incredibly busy day, with lots of dedicated knitters and industry people visiting.  I only got to leave the stall for quick loo breaks and a bite to eat for lunch.  It was lovely to meet so many customers in person for the first time, especially Marie.  The very lovely Karie Westermann stopped by and Amanda Collins aka OwlPrintPanda was a veritable whirlwind through the stall!

4ply, DK and aran

4ply, DK and aran

I launched two new bases at the show this year, Pip DK (100% British BFL) pictured above on the top shelf at the right hand side and Sethera Aran (100% British BFL), bottom shelf on the right. These pictures are before the yarn was ravished by the hoards of yarn fans, hungry for a squish of lovely yarns!

Fibre and the sample washing line

Fibre and the sample washing line

The washing line of samples received lots of lovely comments from customers to the stall, especially the Anisoptera shawl, on the right above, from the Dragonfly collection by Gwen Wagner-Adair.  Speaking of samples and finished items, it was lovely to stand at the entrance to the stall watching the crowds going past and spotting all the wonderful hand knitted garments being proudly worn by the visitors.

Sunday was a little quieter and I managed to get away from the stall for a little while to have a look around and make some modest purchases for myself.  Though I didn’t manage to take any photos from elsewhere around the show, have a look on Twitter for #yarndale to get a flavour of the event.

Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers for another fantastic show, looking forward to next year already!  (After a bit of rest and putting up of the feet for a while!!)  The Etsy shop is back open again now and I’ll be restocking slowly over the next few weeks.