Paintbox Gradients on Yarn

Wow! I’ve really been a recluse for the past month, haven’t I? In my defense, I’ve been working on a new dyeing project, with which I’ve been rather consumed these past weeks – paintbox gradients.


Each paintbox gradient comes as a set of fifteen mini-skeins, each containing 30 yards of either Foot Notes (80% superwash merino/20% nylon) or Kashmir (80% superwash merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon) fingering weight yarns, for a total of 450 yards. During the first year, the paintbox gradients will be based on the colorways of our spinning gradients – Copper to Verdigris, in the case of the photo above. While we have plans to eventually offer paintbox gradients on additional yarn bases, initially the focus will be on these two yarns.

Dyeing each color in the gradient individually allows a knitter to choose how they wish to use the yarns – whether in chromatographic sequence for a gradient (shown in the shawl above) or individually in a mini-skein project such as The Beekeeper’s Quilt or the Mini Mania Scarf or multiple skeins in a fair isle project similar to the Béret généreux. The second advantage to dyeing each color separately is that it allows us to focus on the optimal dyeing conditions for that color, making the labor costs and resulting retail price very reasonable – A paintbox gradient on Foot Notes yarn retails for $36 and one on Kashmir retails for $40.

We will be introducing the first paintbox gradient colorways in limited capacity beginning March 23rd on the Fiber Optic Yarns website during the weekly store update.

When joining yarns in the paintbox gradients, we recommend using the Magic Knot technique. This join leaves no ends to weave in and the knot is similar in thickness to the yarn itself and virtually disappears within the purl stitches on the wrong side of the fabric. I was a bit skeptical of this join since for decades I had been told to avoid knots in my knitting at all costs. But I have to say that after using this join for all fifteen skeins in the shawl pictured above, I’ll likely never use a different join for superwash yarns. This shawl will be a model at the festivals so if you will be at the festivals where we will be vending come and take a closer look at the joins! They’re quite inconspicuous.

One Response to “Paintbox Gradients on Yarn”

  1. Tru says:

    FANTASTIC! Cool. Utterly wonderful. Seriously amazing. WOW! What a great idea… and even better execution. I’m stoked!