There is something going on here in Madison and it involves yarn, dyeing and a friend of mine. Many people already know about it but you may not. I want to make sure everyone knows about the new line of Knitcircus Yarns. Above is one of the Knitcircus gradient worsted weight skeins. It's glorious and vibrant.
My friend in knitting, Jaala Spiro, began the Knitcircus magazine many years ago. The online magazine has gone through a few changes in recent years. It has morphed into a wonderful, informational weekly newsletter packed with tips, reviews, techniques and patterns. You can subscribe right here. I love getting this newsletter in my inbox.
Awhile back Jaala took a dyeing class from the fabulous Liz Avery (she taught me how to spin and is the best teacher around town!) at the Sow's Ear, our widely known and revered local yarn and coffee shop in Verona, Wisconsin. Right at that moment a lightbulb went on in Jaala's head. She found her new destiny in dyeing and creating beautiful yarns. Jaala's love for color and dyeing yarn is inspiring and genuine. I am so happy for her.
Last Friday, I invited Jaala over to my house for coffee, pastries and knitting. I had no idea she would arrive bearing gifts. She came with a big bag of unique and beautiful fiber for me (I'll share that later) and yarns from her new Etsy shop and Sparkle Yarn Club. It was like I was dreaming and a magical yarn and fiber fairy visited my home.
I can personally attest to the high quality of her dyeing skills, color knowledge and yarns. Everything is top-notch and so well done. She sincerely cares about her products and I can heartily recommend Knitcircus Yarn to everyone interested.
Jaala has variegated, mini-skeins, worsted, dk and fingering, gradients, sparkle yarn, sock yarn, sweater quantities and more! There is a wide range to choose from. It is hard to resist hitting that purchase button when you are visiting her shop. The thing I like most is that her engineer husband keeps helping her come up with new ways of working and dyeing in her home studio, which she calls the evil lair. Jaala is really funny and witty which makes her even more fun. She was telling me how she had figured out how to make gradual gradients where one color sprinkles into the next. I can't wait to try that one.
Right now there are still spots in her Gradient Yarn Club, which is open for sign ups through March 15th. Each shipment comes with gorgeous yarn and the perfect pattern by Jaala. Jaala is an excellent designer - she has been published in Knitty along with her many designs in Knitcircus, and her own Ravelry pattern shop, with her patterns often making the top Hot Right Now patterns on Ravelry. There is also some sort of extra present included in each club package as well. It is sweetly presented and such a treat to receive.
Here is the description for the Gradient Yarn Club on her Etsy Shop:
Six months, three packages of yarn, original patterns and treats! An exclusive selection of self-striping, hand-dyed gradient yarns and patterns specially created to bring out their best features, with additional info about gradient-dyed yarns and how to use them. Take part in KAL's just for clubbies in the Gradient Club Ravelry group. Treats include exclusive collaborations with other indy businesses. Patterns by designer Jaala Spiro, 2 fingering and one mystery weight yarn, all Merino and other luxury fibers and sourced in the USA. US and Canadian shipping is included. Runs April-August of 2013.
The colors Jaala selects are deep, interesting and rich and there is a wide range of color options from bright to subdued. The yarn above is 420 yards of 100% merino wool in the Sock du Soleil base. Isn't it beautiful? I am thinking shawl with this one.
The sparkle sock yarn above reminds me of a fresh spring breeze. The light blue is called, Robin's Egg and the darker shade is called, Cottage Shutters. It's so sweet and pretty. The smaller skein is for the contrasting cuff, heel and toe of the Scilla Lace Socks which is part of the Sparkle Yarn Club.
Above is one of the packages for the yarn club. You get a personal note, the sparkle yarn, a set of original tags to put on your handknit gifts (these are wonderfully done), a mini-skein, and the pattern for the Scilla Lace Socks. I am definitely making these socks with the yarn. The back of the sock along the cuff is a rib pattern so the lace doesn't go all the way around.
I love how this club gives you a pattern to use with the yarn. The patterns are all test knit and edited.
Jaala gave me one of her gradient yarns called Ruby Gradient, which goes along with the Miss Lindy pattern. I cast this on last Friday. It is a little lace beauty and I can't put it down. There is a large lace chart that shows the big picture and then it is broken down into five small lace charts for ease and clarity. By breaking the big chart into small bites of simple lace, the pattern becomes so quick, fun and easy. I love a project like this.
(photo from Knitcircus)
You can purchase this pattern on Ravelry. Click right here to see more about Miss Lindy.
Also, Jaala does an entertaining, funny and informative podcast with the one and only Amy Detjen, another Madison knitting treasure and nationally known teacher, author and Craftsy instructor. The Knitcircus Podcast is one that I never miss. I am so happy when I see a new episode is up. The podcast is available on iTunes or you can find out more about it on the Knitcircus website. Don't miss this podcast it is worth every minute spent listening.
I do have to say one more thing about Jaala Spiro. You would all just love to know her for so many reasons. She is kind-hearted and down-to-earth and fun to be around. In addition to these great qualities, she is an extraordinarily generous person and I don't mean about everyday kinds of things. I am astounded by the things she has humbly done in her life to help and enrich the lives of those around her. I am talking about big, major, life-changing generosity and sacrifices for her family and friends, the kind you rarely hear about. Her life-story is very touching. To me this only makes her many talents in the fiber industry all the more interesting.