Shamu Makes

I’m a bit of a yarn hoarder. I cannot lie. Particularly the good stuff. Posh yarn, hand-dyed by small scale work-at-home producers is a vice of mine. But it’s so SO lovely I have a tendancy to keep it and not use it. I just get it all out once in a while to look at and stroke … like a total yarny loon pot!

My new year’s resolution was to force myself to use more of my posh yarn. And I’m doing ok! I’ve made a few things to sell and it’s always such a joy to crochet with such great quality yarn. Having a really lush colourway with different tones and shades makes it more interesting to work with too.

One of those dyers is Karen at Shamu Makes. We spoke a while ago about working together on a blog post. Ages ago, before Christmas in fact. But we were both busy and things got in the way and it was put on the back burner.

Then a few weeks ago, Karen announced on her Facebook page that she was looking for knitters and hookers to test some yarn that she’d been experimenting on with a new dyeing technique. I saw photos of some of her early attempts and practically chewed her fist off to volunteer!


The colours are just stunning. Karen calls it a ‘dappled faux gradient’. A traditional gradient is usually made using a ‘blank’ of pre-woven yarn that can then be dyed to form a gradual colour change. Karen’s faux gradient is different. She created it by caking the yarn and inserting dye into the centre of the cake with a syringe to form the denser block of colour. The rest of the yarn is spotted with tiny flashes of colour for a dappled effect. It’s really very beautiful. Here it is set against a traditional gradient (also dyed by Karen) for comparison:


I couldn’t wait to re-cake it and get going. It’s a blend of Araucania Ranco merino and nylon. Surprisingly soft for a sock yarn. The central colour block is a deep, rich burgundy. This fades out and becomes mixed with bluish purple splashes. It’s a really pretty effect.


It can be tricky finding things to make with one skein of yarn. I chose the Elise shawl pattern. It’s delicate and not too heavy for springtime but intricate enough to show off the yarn. I knew I wanted the darker block of colour to be at the centre of the shawl so that the gradient faded outwards as the pattern grew, with the paler more dappled effect at the outer edge. So far, so good…


It’s quite addictive to work with. I stayed up far too late last night working on it because I wanted to get past the darkest bit, then I wanted to get past the semi-dark bit. I kept doing “one more row”, just so I could get to the dappled bit! This is why hand-dyed yarn is such a joy to use. There’s always a splodge of colour, or a change of tone, or something else to keep my interest going. It never gets boring!


The finished shawl almost doubled in size after being blocked. And here it is:


Absolutely stunning yarn to work with. The pattern shows off the gradient perfectly. Head over to Shamu Makes for more information about dappled faux gradients. Tell Karen I sent you!

Meanwhile, I’ll be GIVING THIS SHAWL AWAY! Yep, that’s right. This stunning ‘Elise’ shawl could be yours. A beautiful, delicate accessory for wedding season or a perfect cover-up for spring/summer. Head over to The Pie Patch Shop on Facebook to enter.



I was not paid for this post. I was sent a free skein of tester yarn in return for some honest feedback.

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One thought on “Shamu Makes

  1. Maggie March 27, 2015 at 14:25 Reply

    I think the shawl looks gorgeous and I know what you mean about the joy of working with certain yarns. I like knitting with stripes because you go faster to get to the next stripe and Grandma feels the same about cable knitting! I’ve worked with random sock yarn and that is exciting too seeing the changing patterns.

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