hand dyed yarn: semisolid vs tonal

by brenda on July 21, 2014

midas hand dyed yarn by phydeaux designs

Do you get a little confused about hand dyed yarn terminology?  I know I used to – and sometimes still do.

To a certain extent, maybe everybody does, because finding a rock solid definition for anything related to hand dyed yarn can sometimes be tricky.

For instance, what’s the difference between “semisolid” and “tonal” colourways?

Oh, wait, let’s back up one step: what’s a colourway, you ask?  That just means the color of the yarn or fiber.  The range or combination of colours in which a style or design is available.

I think “semisolid” is a little more clear than “tonal.”  A semisolid colourway is not quite … a solid.  You could call Phydeaux’s Midas colourway (shown above) a semisolid, with so many shades and tones of gold, but a true semisolid would be ONE gold color in varying intensities.  A semisolid can involve multiple layers of color, or maybe just one color bath, allowing the yarn to take up the dye to varying degrees, resulting in a blotchy – in a pretty way – color.

Any of Phydeaux’s non-variegated yarns could be called “semisolid.”  And many of them are, but many of them also contain subtle – or not so subtle – shifts and flecks of color.  Midas, for instance, is a lot of beautiful golds, with flecks of red and rust and pumpkin throughout.  So what do you call that?

You could call it a “tonal” colourway.  Tonals tend to involve more layers and glazes of color, resulting in pops and shifts of different colors.

alchemy hand dyed yarn from phydeaux designs

For instance, “Alchemy” by Phydeaux is a deep, dark, mysterious semisolid, which all sorts of shifting colors, from berry to deep gold to hints of green and blue and grape and red and brown.  Alchemy’s dyeing process takes at least four different dye baths of completely different colors, which creates all that shifting color, along with a lot of depth and dimension.

If you google “semisolid vs. tonal yarn,” your gazillion (or 79,500) results will all differ.  I personally love dyeing, and knitting, semisolids full of life, depth and dimension, with subtle shifts and breathes of differing colors throughout.  So I suppose I love dyeing and knitting tonals.  Or semisolids.  Or semisolid tonals.

Which do you prefer knitting:  semisolids or tonals?


phydeaux has a … fido!

by brenda on July 16, 2014

kody the bernese mountain dog

A big welcome to our new family member, Kody!  After years of being a cat only household, a dog is a big challenge.  But a good one.

Kody is an older rescue, a Bernese Mountain Dog mix, from our local animal shelter.  It’s only been a few days, but there’s a lot of love going on.  And a lot of mad reading about dog behavior and training.  :)

How are the cats adjusting?  Molly’s traumatized, the other two could care less.  Everyone’s being kept apart  while training continue (and Kody will remain on a leash during continued training).

Kody’s great company while reskeining yarn in the shop up the hill (our property is on a steady grade – it’s a hike to skein yarn!).  I think he’s pretty happy to be here – what a nice change from his concrete and steel cage, right?

Do you have a dog/dogs?  What’s your best piece of training advice?


big phydeaux change: ready to ship yarn!

by brenda on July 9, 2014

sunglow laceweight hand dyed by phydeaux

After months of weighing the pros and cons, I’m implementing a big change for Phydeaux:  moving from offering dyed on order skeins to offering ready to ship yarn.

In fact, I have a nice stack of new yarn in the shop now – and will continue to update with new yarns each week.

Ready to ship yarn will ship in two days from time of order (usually within 24 hours!).

There will still be monthly pre-0rders and limited edition colourways, along with mini skein collections and clubs.

golden pear beurre dk hand dyed by phydeaux

But as I dye yarn shop and other orders, I’ll be dyeing extra skeins for shop updates.  Along with experiments, sweater quantities as I have time, and lots of one of a kind colourways.

Want to know when a new update goes live?  You can join the free mailing list for shop updates – just a quick email letting you know that an update has just gone live.  You can also follow Phydeaux on Facebook and Instagram to be in the know.

Dyed on order skeins will still be available for the next week or so, but ready to ship yarn is available right this second, in the “new” section in the shop!


phydeaux moves … again!

by brenda on June 29, 2014

the new homestead

In the midst of a crazy busy year, Dad and I went and got a little busier and crazier.

Dad fell in love with an acre or so in the mountains and a few months later, we moved in.

phydeaux HQ

There are many incredible things to share about our new home, but just above is one of the things I fell in love with at first sight:  a beautifully outfitted shop for Phydeaux.  This is the skeining and yarn storage room!

the view

During the summer, I’ll be dyeing outside:  you can see my view above!  Just past this stove is a forest of pines and old oaks.

This is a very small community we’re living in:  no cell service and no stores. But we do have delivery and mail services, internet (albeit slooooow) and satellite TV.

As well as the most amazing views, clear skies, and a whole lot of peace and quiet.

phydeaux yarn

Inside the house, I have an office for shipping orders, including one wall filled with ready to ship yarn (above).  It’s still a bit of a disaster area, but I was able to ship a LOT of yarn today.  Success!

This is my third move in two years. And my last for a long time, I hope. Can’t wait to share more with you.