April 28, 2015

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Bugga! Bundles of Spring

With each changing season, the natural landscape brings new inspiration for color creation. Springtime on the Eastern Shore of MD is pretty magical with everything newly blooming like magnolia and cherry trees. The local farmer's market reopens with the fantastic colors of heirloom agriculture. And after every spring shower, the rain makes the budding trees appear that much more verdant. 

For the new season, we've created 5 Spring color combos and are offering them in bundles of yarn. Each bundle includes 5 skeins, in which each skein range in weight from 1-4 ounces of your favorite Bugga! - 70% superwash Merino wool/ 20% Mongolian cashmere/ 10% nylon blend. A Bugga! Bundle is approximately 1533 yards/1 pound of luscious sport weight yarn. 

Bugga! Bundles are put together in coordinating color combinations, which can be used altogether or mixed and matched for a variety of projects. Because each bundle is a pound, but the skeins will vary in weight, it's a little bit of an exciting knitting adventure. There are so many great patterns from intricate stranded color work to fun striped socks. Here are some of our favorites:

Try simple Vanilla Latte Socks or a Flowery Cowl by Wollgefuhl in a Bundle of Heirloom Carrots.

A light weight version of Grey Sparrow by Clara Falk or Jen by Josee Paquin is perfect for a Bundle of Sweet Rain. 

We'd love to see how a Bundle of Cherry Blossoms knits up in Lophelia by Laura Aylor or Colorwork Baby Pullover by Susan Mills. 

 

 Visit Hot off the Stoves to see all 5 Bundles - Happy Knitting and Happy Spring from The Verdant Gryphon.

February 28, 2015

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The Essential Form of Yarn

Since the Eidos base yarn was created eight years ago, its name and concept has thrilled knitters with a background in Greek philosophy. All five of them. 

And the rest of you have been have been saying, "What's an Eidos?" It seems you are long overdue for an explanation behind our inspiration.

Drawing from The Verdant Gryphon's love of philosophy and mythology, the Eidos brand is our tribute to Plato, and it refers to his theory of forms - the essence of things. Eidos fingering weight yarn was developed by The Verdant Gryphon with a unique fiber structure and form. At its essence, Eidos is the perfect yarn for intricate colorwork designs, but also has the versatility for everything from socks to shawls to sweaters. 

When Gryphon was dyeing in the backyard, we named colorways after Socrates' buddies. Eventually as we created more colors and moved into The Verdant Gryphon studio, we expanded to Greek mythology and then mythology in general. 

Ancient Greek art, particularly vase paintings, continues to influence the aesthetic of our designs and colors.  

Our knitwear patterns like the Theseus and the Minotaur socks above, continue the tradition of classic story telling through visual design.

Our beloved and mythical Gryphon has even adorned her body with the beauty of Greek mythology and vase painting. Below left, an illustration of the Illiad, which tells the story of the Trojan War. Someday it will be worked into a knitting pattern.

The arm band to the right, shown next to the original 5th century vase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicts fiber artists - weavers, spinners, and dyers. 

 You probably know our most popular Eidos design, the Hwaet socks, which feature the first page of text in Anglo Saxon from the 1000 AD manuscript of the Beowulf poem.

Here's another wonderful adaptation (made in Eidos) using the Hwaet sock chart, by Raveler Empatheyes:

How about some more Eidos eye-candy from Ravelry? Because quite apart from the myths and philosophers, this sturdy superwash merino yarn has been turned into some amazing projects.

Myrtle Cardigan, knit by Sylphette:

Socks Rick, knit by Pinneguri:

Dragon Hat, by GoldenApple (look, a dragon! and it's made for a kid named Griffin!)

Want to see more in person?
For the month of March, you can visit the gallery of 20 Eidos Gradient Colorways, which are exclusively on loan to The Yarn Company as part of The Verdant Gryphon Crib. The color spectrum of fiber art can be viewed or bought in person and online for the feature price of $19. Yarnistas start your collection now.

 

December 11, 2014

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Knitted Clouds

Oh, Odyssey! I'm so crazy about you. 

Ordinarily I gravitate towards finer yarns, but as the weather gets chillier and I seem to have less and less knitting time, big, soft, warm yarn that works up crazy fast is pretty appealing. But what really gets me with this base is the way it takes colour. You can actually make out different tones within a single twist. Kinda crazy. 

(Image shows Bumper Cars and Log Flume, both appearing in Monday's update.)

So I've been perusing Ravelry for some scrumptious Odyssey knitting ideas, especially of smaller projects that could be whipped up quickly for gifts this time of year, and want to share some of my favourites:

Wizzo cowl. You should really go look at the pattern page on this one. It's sort of a puzzle thing that folds and buttons a bunch of different ways. Super cool.

Hemlock Shade Boot Topper. I've never worn boot toppers, but they're really cute and I might need to.

Moura Headband. Pretty headband, free pattern, what's not to love?

 

Dirghagama Baby Cardigan. I'm already trying to think whom I know who's expecting...

Owl Wrist Warmers. When I was a kid my mother collected owls and so I have always loved them. I'll knit just about anything with an owl on it.

Chouette. And an owl on a little kid's head? I could die from the cuteness.

Chickadee Cowl. Because linen stitch in variegated colours rocks. Another freebie.

Kwiki Slippers. Wait, I could have cloud-yarn slippers in two hours? What am I doing blogging?? Gotta go!

Dye-to-order Odyssey update in non-standard colours selected by popular vote, December 8th. 

 

October 21, 2014

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Autumn Leaves and Monster Mashes

The autumn leaves drift by my window,

The autumn leaves of red and gold...

Autumn is upon us in this northern hemisphere, the most joyful season of the knitter's calendar. No longer need we eye our knitting with a fear that it will be a hot heap in our laps or stick to our humid fingers. The time has come to cuddle yarn with gleeful abandon and to plan projects for cool, crisp evening walks, or to slip on for mornings over coffee on the porch.

At VG, we find ourselves looking even more longingly than usual at all the yarn we don't have time to knit (as someone on Ravelry said recently, "I want to knit ALL the projects") and imagining all the combinations and patterns in which we would work them. Not being able to do it all ourselves, we've assembled some of our favorite combos into kits and put them on the site.

Here, we're showing off the color combinations and designs we would knit if we had all the time in the world. We hope some of you will be inspired and let us live vicariously through your needles.

Combo 1

Crazy Stripes Tee + Monster Mash

So comfy and wearable. A relaxed t-shirt with a cool modern pattern and interesting construction, making this a fun knit. Make it in bright, modern colors and pair it with your favorite jeans.

  

Combo 2:

Sleeves + Ghostly Dusk

We love the idea of a shawl with sleeves for cool weather. Keep this one toned down in soft blues and greys to go with anything, business casual slacks or the evening little black dress.

 

Combo 3:

Cocktail (Jumper) + Indian Summer

Another great, slightly funky top that looks super comfortable. Bright early autumn colors seem like just the thing to highlight the youthfulness of this look.

 

Combo 4:

Monomania + I Put a Spell on You

An Ann Weaver classic, this cardigan could be worked in an infinite variety of color patterns. I vote for a light combination, one you'd want to pull out again the minute spring strolled back through the door.

 

Combo 5:

Eden Prairie + Harvest Moon

I just love this sort of deco stained glass design and it cries out to me to showcase rich, autumnal colors framed with a black border.

 

 

Combo 6:

Stay Awhile + London Fog

I think this is a super classy shawl that could be worn by anyone in elegant neutrals.

 

Combo 7:

Slain + Hobnobbin' With a Goblin

This dramatic shawl needs relatively high contrast colors to show off it's intriguing shaping. I would wear it with a long red or black dress for maximum effect.

 

Combo 8:

Otherside + Bittersweet Autumn

Another really cute t-shirt that could be worn in all sorts of weather. I'd alternate the green and mustard in the wide stripes and use the brick red for the narrow ones, and on the other side I'd reverse the two main colors, just for a little more fun.

  

Combo 9:

Color Affection + Superstition

This shawl has become a classic by now and someday I'm going to knit one. When I do, I want it to be in a subtle gradient with a variegated colorway for accent, like Superstition.

 

Combo 10:

Antler + Bewitching

I've saved my favorite for last. My vision of this sweater features black for the hem and cuffs, violet for the stockinette, and burgundy for the garter sections to render it bewitchingly subtle with a touch of the vampire.

 

Whew, that's a lot! Now you see why we need to enjoy all these projects vicariously through you? If we've lured you into temptation with any of these, please share pictures in the VG Ravelry group so we can all enjoy them!

flaming maple leaves and piles of gourds,

Gryphon & the Elves

 

September 15, 2014

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Sharing the Gradient Love

We've been obsessed with gradients over here at VG for a while now, and by the enthusiastic responses to gradient pictures we've shown and the requests for help assembling gradients, we know some of you are. So we thought we'd put together a couple gradient kits with current colorways for Today's update!

But how do I use them?? ask you. Anticipating uncertainty, Gryphon has written up a little instructional recipe on how to turn patterns into gradient knits, which will be included as a special gift with the kits.

We're also assembling more cool gradient combinations, some of them with non-repeatable Experimental Love Child colorways, which will be available only in our booth at upcoming shows. Find them at

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival (Sept 27-28, Berryville, VA)

Stitches East (Oct 9-12, Hartford, CT - booth 515)

To whet your appetite, here are some beautiful gradient project pictures found on Ravelry:

Gradient Romy, made by KBelle in our Traveller

Handspun Bay Sun, made by Gizmometer

Icicles in a Snowstorm, made by Saraphknits

Damson Mitts, made by Klippity

and Gradient Tempest, made by Gryphon in our Bugga!

September 02, 2014

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The VG Crib at the Yarn Company in NYC

It's official we're kickin' off September with a celebration.

On September 13 th from 1-5 pm, we'll be at The Yarn Company for a huge trunk show---and ribbon cutting ceremony (our 'Pad Party')---to launch our fabulous new nonvirtual venue, the crib, right in the heart of the Big Apple.

What is this crib? Imagine, having a VG booth right in Manhattan for you to visit and party with our yarn. The Verdant Gryphon Crib will offer a rotating selection of  our yarns and colorways in The Yarn Company's romantic back room, with a new color palette each month, exclusively available through their store.  And when that month is over, that color palette will be gone, poof! Each season will have a fun theme, on which the elves will base their selections and creations. Starting-September through November, the Crib's debut theme is Graffiti! Each monthly selection this fall will be inspired by a specific piece of street art. Join us for an exclusive gallery art show of the yarn and graffiti on September 13th!


Also, if you haven't seen our Yarn Company exclusives Good Girl, Bad Girl, and Psychedelic Peacock---they can't be missed at the Pad Party!  Plus a new creation to celebrate the graffiti launch of the crib!  Hear about more surprises (hint: think contest, think chance to direct the palette!) and grab the best goodies at this unprecedented Verdant Gryphon Trunk show with amazing yarn to choose from.

Save your spot and RSVP here or by emailing info@theyarnco.com for this free event. Space is limited, so sign up now.

 

August 13, 2014

7 Comments


Diary of a Travelling Skein

Tuesday morning: The truck is here!! Oh, beautiful, enormous, yellow truck! Look how high up it is! When I ride on the dashboard I'll be able to see for MILES. Was ever a skein so blessed and deserving?

Tuesday afternoon: I cannot believe this is happening. I have been stuffed into a bin like some common, ordinary skein, crammed in with a hundred others like I was nobody. Are they blind?? Can they not see that I am infinitely more magnificent than all those others and should never be thus humiliated? I can't breathe, I can't see, how can they do this to me?! My life is over.

Wednesday: Blackness. Misery. If this truck doesn't stop bumping I'm going to throw up.

Thursday morning: Freedom! I thought I was going to die in there. But at last I am set free and find myself in yarn heaven! It's so glorious here I can almost forgive them for the humiliating way I was transported. Now they have built a beautiful temple to me where all the other skeins surround me as my servants and I have a spotlight all to myself. At last I feel understood.

Thursday evening: The knitters are here! They come, they admire me, they touch me! But what is this, they're buying OTHER SKEINS?! What is the world coming to??

Thursday night: It is dark and I must suffer the brainless, excited chatter of all these other skeins and know that I was seen and not bought. I want to die.

Friday: Oh frabjuous day, calooh, calay! Now it has all become clear. I had to wait for the one who would see through all the seeming, who would see only me amidst all the others and recognize my true worth! Is she not beautiful? Can you not see the discernment and wisdom shining in her eyes? We were meant for each other! And she - oh, she knew me by my name - Kiss Me! Martha Smith, I love you!

So long all you other skeins, I am destined for greatness! What do you think she'll make out of me? One of these??

August 01, 2014

5 Comments


Stitches Midwest, A Skein's-Eye View

Hi!! I'm a skein of yarn - nice to meet you! I was born a few weeks ago in the VG studio dye pots and man, am I gorgeous! So soft, so luscious, so... well... just totally awesome. You should see the ladies trip over themselves when they catch a glimpse of my radiant glow, my loft, my firm... twist. Ahem. I digress.

Anyway, I just heard the most amazing news!! I have been selected by the lovely VG elves to accompany more than a thousand of my brothers and sisters on a great journey! But of course they picked me. I'm the hottest one. The others... well, I just hope they don't get too jealous, having to hang out on the outskirts of my limelight. Where was I? Ah yes, a trip! Guess where? Chicago! That's right - the one called Gryphon is going to bring a truck and take me and all the others on a great journey all the way to Chicago, where we will be showcased in VG's elegant booth for one and all to admire, take home, and - oh happy thought! - made into some beautiful project. I feel quite sure that the lady who selects me will feel inspired to make a very intimate garment so she can have me close to her skin. Ooh-la-la!

I know how excited you all must be about my journey, so I've decided to keep a diary of my travels, start to finish - look for it right here after the show!

To add a little extra excitement into the mix, I'd like to propose a game: I won't reveal my base or colorway name until the show is over. Instead, the luck lady who picks me out in the booth and loves me purely for who I am will get to take me home free! How's that for awesome?

 

Editor's note:

We hope you'll join Gryphon and the yarn at Stitches Midwest August 7-10, at booth 507. And yes, as our friend says, the person (not just lady, despite that fellow's fantasies) who picks the blogging skein and brings him to the register to purchase will get to take him home free of charge. Happy hunting!

July 25, 2014

41 Comments


Variegated Yarn, Part 2 - What the Bleep Should I Make?

In the previous post, we showed you how to predict the behavior of your variegated yarn. Now let's look at how you can knit it for the best effect.

If your yarn falls into the first of the three categories we looked at in part one, you don't really need to plan much. These sorts of colorways generally knit up into a beautiful fabric with a unique balance & blend of color, which the eye will perceive as a single color until you get closer.

The exception is when you have skein with a dynamic and complex rainbow of shades-contrasts of different colors or of lights and dark in the skein. In such a case you might want to shy away from complex stitch patterns which are likely to be obscured by the contrast. Make something simple and let the colors speak for themselves. For instance:

(Corset Pullover, design by Robin Melanson, knit here in Codex, 'Sewer Gators')

When using one of our action-packed colorways like the prototype of Madagascan Sunset Moth shown below, the aim is to balance it with pure, simple designs. In general, if you're going to use a variegated colorway by itself, the rule of thumb is, the more contrasting or obviously pooling the color, the simpler the pattern. This sweater is a perfect example -Wild Action Verdant Gryphon Colorway + Pullover Sweater Pattern with ribbed edges = Versatile Garment with Completely Unique & Striking Colored Fabric.

What if you want to combine your variegated colorway with something else? Here we recommend sticking with a solid or semi-solid, which contrasts nicely to all the shades in your variegated skein or else picks up one distinct shade. For instance this lovely shawl Pamuya, as knit by JAAMDKnits:

The highly variegated sections have been effectively striped with semi-solids to reduce the amount of visual action. Also, see the wavy open stitch bits? That's just one of many great stitch patterns to work with pooling yarns, showing off the colors without excessive busyness. Stripes with semi-solids are a great way to handle busy colorways, with or without more complex stitch patterning.

Another wonderful way to pair a variegated with a (semi-)solid is in stranded colorwork, where it can be used to great effect, often with creating a sort of stained glass look. Here's an example using Eidos, the Palais hat by Rebecca Blair:

What if you have a colorway that you're totally in love with, but you think it's going to pool and you just hate that? Is there anything you can do about it? Of course!

There are all sorts of stitch patterns that break up the color repeats so that pooling doesn't show as much. In general, any pattern that has slipped stitches is a good candidate for pooling interruption. For example:

Linen stitch (k1, sl1 in a checker pattern)

An American in China, as knit by Cornz in Traveller

Twined knitting (knit alternating stitches from opposite ends of the ball.) You can also do this using two different variegated colorways.

PS Mitts by Melinda Hunt, shown in Eidos

Other slip-stitch patterns

There's an unlimited number of more complex and fascinating slip stitch patterns, such as this one used in Slip-Stitch Cable Socks by Charlene Schurch, knit here by Sistrickt.

There you have just the tip of the iceberg of options for things to do with variegated yarns. Leave a comment & share your ideas, and we'll send you a special gift of our newest pattern-a perfect design for variegated yarn.

flying Vs and furry toes,

the VGs

 

 

July 17, 2014

6 Comments


What the Bleep's Up with Crazy Variegated Yarn??

One of our last updates featured a highly variegated new colorway, Another Dye in the Pot, one which is likely to pool a bit. While we have a deep love for the subtle shifts of semi-solid colors, we can also get on board with the crazy, kaleidoscopic colors. Pairing these together creates an exciting palette and mix of shades you might not imagine combining. They're super fun to dye and are amazingly beautiful. You can expect to see an offering of rainbow madness in surprising color tones over the course of the summer.

But, you may be asking yourself, what the bleep am I going to knit with that? And how can I tell what it's going to look like knit up? These are common questions asked when knitters are exploring unique and dynamic colors, so we want to talk a bit about the practical aspects of variegated yarns.

Part 1: How can I predict what the skein will look like when knitted?

There are many types of color variegation. Each skein is dyed with specific techniques that produce distinct effects. Colorways are created with a particular vision of how they will look as a garment, and the particulars of how we apply dye are the determining factor. That's one of the reasons we do not reskein our yarn before sale. If the yarn has been reskeined you can't tell anything about possible color repeats or what it will look like knitted.

Here's an example of three Verdant Gryphon colorways, which exhibit different kinds of variegation:

 

The top one is Gopher Tuna. If you look along the skein you can see how all the shades gently speckle against each other, and no single color is concentrated or stripes across the skein.

Here's an example of it knit by Raveler Zed. There are no apparent color repeats; instead the colors are evenly dispersed and you see subtle speckles of each randomly in the knitting.

The middle skein is Another Dye in the Pot. See how there are obvious, stripes of color all the way across the skein? A peach streak, an aqua streak, a greyish streak, back and forth. However the concentrated sections of color are all different sizes and shapes. They don't always cover every strand in that section. This tells you that you might get flash pooling or very obvious color flecking, but are not likely to get the traditional kind of clear-cut pooling. When we write in our listing notes that a colorway 'may exhibit flash pooling,' this is what we mean.

Here's a knit-up sample by Raveller Gardenmama:

The bottom example skein is Cucumbers in Their Season. On this one there's a really obvious sectioning of the skein into separate, bands of colors (or shades of the same color, in this case). Half is light green, the other half darker, with some middle ground between. A yarn like this will pool or stripe (depending on the size of the piece you're making) in a clear way. The shades separate in a clear-cut way which is consistent throughout the work.

Here's a perfect example by Raveller LynnieBug:

 

So, now you know how to tell what you've got! Stay tuned for "Part 2: What the Bleep do I Knit With it?" coming soon on the VG Blog.

meandering stripes and leaping polka dots,

The Verdant Gryphon