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Greydient Series Pre-Order & More News

Hello friends!

It is cooling off here in far northern NY (and I am not sad about it!). Autumn is on the way and we are ready to kick into high gear. We have been working on so many things for the past 3 months, and I’m happy to bring some progress news about a bunch of them today.

1. The website got a bit of a refresh: it’s easier to read, more organized, offers more guidance on the ordering process and there is now a separate pre-order tab in the shop. If you are brand new to Vivid Fiber Arts and would like a quick orientation, this post will give you all the information. If you are a returning customer, here’s a quick overview of what has changed.

2. The Greydient series pre-order is open through next Sunday night 8/18 at 11pm EST. We have expanded the series adding two new colorways: Rose Quartz and Smokey Topaz. We have also doubled our product line to include the laceweight base yarns. Additionally, Advent and 8 Crazy Nights are available for pre-order for some who want to start early holiday projects. And I also added Pure Purple because … actually purple doesn’t need a reason. 😀 The colorways included in this pre-order are:

Rose Quartz, Smokey Topaz, Moraine, Upstate Grey, Geode, Aventurine, Casco Bay, Blue Steel, Advent, 8 Crazy Nights, Pure Purple. To go to the shop, click here.

3. VFA Maker Team: A few months ago we started informally having samples made up as we dyed colorways. I feel it’s really important not to just see how yarn looks in a product photo, but also how it works up. I design the yarns we make to look great in *projects*, not just in the cake or just to be a pretty skein that sits in your stash. We have two samples made in every colorway- one knit and one crochet. It’s been going really well. We have decided to keep that going and have a pool of VFA customers who can make sample projects when they have time. Big thanks to everyone who has participated so far! If you’re interested in learning more about the VFA Maker Team, see this page here.

4. Giveaways! So we don’t sell our “seconds”. Honestly, at this point, we don’t have a lot of seconds because we are just that damn good very lucky 😀 . But sometimes I’ll have some skeins that are fine, but maybe one too many joins, have a fuzz or a speck of something on it. Stuff that I wouldn’t in good conscience sell because I’m super picky, but stuff that anybody would be happy to have. So I’ve decided to just start giving them away. I’m never going to have time to do anything with them and I hate for them just to sit in a box. So I will be randomly sneaking them into orders as we pack them up. I’m giving away 5 gradients this month and they will be scattered amongst the pre-orders placed this week. So when you get your package, you might have a surprise in there!

5. Rhinebeck: To confirm; we will be at Indie Untangled again this year on Friday October 18th in Saugerties, NY (yes, it’s sold out). I will be teaching gradient dyeing on that Sunday at the festival itself (yes, my class is also sold out). But do not fret! We will be in town all weekend (and Monday bc we are not driving ever again on that Sunday- lesson learned). If you will be at Indie Untangled or the festival stay tuned bc we have some fun things planned for you (that will *not* be sold out) 😀

6. Are you interested in wool? We are. Many of you have been asking for wool for years. The original gradients we tested were all wool. I’ve wanted to do wool for a long time, but ran into big challenges sourcing ethically-produced base yarns in animal fibers. It’s very difficult to trace a supply chain and know that both the animals and the people that help make the base yarns are treated well. Sustainability and human rights are two of the many issues that are important to us as a company. After many many dead ends, we have found a US mill that is using American merino that is ethically-sourced from the western part of the country. We will be trialing their base yarns extensively over the next 4 months. However, we will never compromise our first love which is plant-based yarn, particularly Tencel. We will be sending out a questionnaire and seeking some feedback from you on this in a separate newsletter. So if you are interested, keep your ears and your emails open.

I am really happy to say right now the shop has the most yarn we’ve ever had in stock. We’ve been working really hard over the past year to increase our output, expand the laceweight product range – all without decreasing our quality. Tiny improvements over time have added up quite a bit! I’m enjoying having more things available for people and not instantly being sold out and stressing. We’ve also invested quite a bit in shipping and inventory management, so we’ve been able to keep up with an increasing number of orders.

Huge thanks to all of our wonderful customers who are, as always, so encouraging and supportive. And a warm welcome to all our new friends who are just joining us now. We look forward to a very fun autumn (and spring for our many Southern Hemisphere friends!).

Hope you’re having a great day wherever you are-


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News Update

Hi there!

I thought it might be helpful to keep a running update on what we’re working on so we can keep you in the loop.
This will give you an idea of what’s available for waitlist, open for pre-orders, and what we will be dyeing next.
To contact us about a specific order question, please use the Contact Us form on the website.

Most recent news update 8/13/19

8/13:   Check out this blog post for more information on the Greydients Pre-Order, the VFA Maker Team, Rhinebeck, Giveaways and Wool Gradients

PRE-ORDERS CURRENTLY OPEN 8/13-8/18/19:  All Greydients: Aventurine, Blue Steel, Casco Bay, Geode, Moraine, Rose Quartz, Smokey Topaz, Upstate Grey.  We also added 8 Crazy Nights, Advent for early holiday projects, and Pure Purple just because purple.

**Please note: if your order is a mixture of “in stock” and “pre-order” items, they will all ship together when pre-orders ship in 4-6 weeks. If you would like your “in stock” items to ship sooner separately, please put them on a separate order.**

Waitlists: Please join the waiting list for any products (colorway + base yarn) you would like to purchase in the future. This will enable you to get automatic notifications when something is available for order. Under “My Account”, you will now see all your waitlisted items in one place. Please log in, review and update your preferences (including which base yarn you prefer). We have suspended availability of the Tencel base due to mill issues.  We may bring it back when supply is more consistent. It is recommended that you waitlist for the High Twist Tencel base if you want fingering weight Lux.

If you need technical assistance with the waiting list function, please contact us so that we can help you.

Upcoming Restocks: The entire Fade to Black series will be returning later this year (*dance dance dance*). We will also be restocking Pure Blue, 80s Night, Red Hat Lady, Emerald Isle, and Quasar .

If anyone needs a status update on an order, please contact us directly via the contact form. We do not monitor Ravelry messages, Instagram DMs or Facebook messages continuously- particularly when we are head down working on pre-orders. All customer service issues need to go through email so they are routed appropriately. We aim to get back to people within 24 hours, usually sooner. I check my spam folder every day, but if you haven’t gotten a response from me, it’s likely an email issue so check your spam folder too.

RETURNS/EXCHANGES: We have a 30 day return/exchange policy.  Please check out your order right away when you get it.  We’ll either get you something else more to your liking or arrange for a return/refund. Due to the extremely generous nature of this policy, we adhere strictly to 30 days from delivery date. After that point, please feel free to take advantage of the VFA Ravelry group “ISO/Destash” thread.

Any questions at all, please contact me directly.


Amy & Team VFA

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Quick Tip: How do I waitlist something?

WHY would I want to join the waitlist for something? < Check out this blog post here for more details on the “why”

HOW do I join the waitlist for something I would like?

To join the waitlist for a product, you just have to do three things. The screenshot below might help you:

1. Log in: In the top right hand corner, it should say “Log Out” indicating that you’re already logged in (in green box). If it says “Log In” there, it means you’re not yet logged in. So you would click “Log In” at that point and complete your log in.

2. If you *are* logged in, then you would go to your desired product (in this case Lux Birdsong 150g) pull down the menu to whichever base yarn you are interested in (indicated in the yellow box)

3. For things that are not in stock at the moment and are available for waitlist, it will bring up a grey “Join Waitlist” button (indicated in the red box).

4. If it says “Leave Waitlist” That means you are already on the waitlist for that item  (You can click that thought to leave it if you no longer are interested in that colorway.)

If that doesn’t help out, just send an email through the contact form on the front page of the website, and we will help you out!



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What Makes a Gradient Look “Smooth”?

People are always asking “Why do your gradients look so smooth while others have more obvious stripes?”

There actually is no one magic ingredient. There are a lot of things that go into making a smooth-looking gradient (If that is indeed a goal, and it doesn’t have to be).

A couple of things contribute to the smoothness of a gradient in which the yarn is dyed (as opposed to where the color is “dyed in the wool” and then spun- a totally different process -think Noro or handspun):

How many different colors (hues) does the gradient contains: A “color change” involves going around the color wheel clockwise or counterclockwise from one color family to another color family e.g. (red to red-orange). The more color changes there are in a fixed length of gradient yarn, the fewer yards that are available for each color to play out and blend. The colors have a limited amount of “room” to blend into each other. That is why you will see the smoothest gradients are usually ombres (no actual color “change” per se, just dilutions of same color/hue), or one-way gradients that have 2-3 main colors depending on the yardage. The longer the yardage, the more room there is for each color to run its course. The idea is that your brain will mix the colors your eyes see over a certain area.

Yardage and weight of the yarn: As an extension of the concept above, you will see a lot of gradients on finer weight yarns- fingering & lace bc there’s lots of yardage in the standard 100g to let the color changes blend and play out; there’s lots of “room to run”. This is also why it is very rare to see a smooth gradient on 100g of bulky weight yarn or on small circumference items like socks- there just isn’t a lot of room to run. It takes a lot of skill to get a smooth gradient on these types of projects.

The contrast of the values of the colors (or lack of): Value = how light or dark something is. When you look at a picture of colors and then make it black & white, it is easy to see what colors are lighter in value than others (e.g. yellow is going to be lighter in value than purple). If you have a large difference in value between adjacent colors, your eye will be drawn there. Big jumps in value contribute to perceived “stripeyness”.

How many different shades of dye are mixed and applied in succession, and how well they are blended once applied to the yarn/fiber:

Let’s say you have 700 yards of yarn and want to dye a rainbow. You decide, OK …
100y red, 100y orange, 100y yellow, 100y green, 100y blue, 100y indigo, 100y purple. BOOM done!
You will have awesome rainbowey yarn, but will be pretty stripey- your colors changes will be very distinct and there will be large jumps between segments.
It looks like this:


This may be what you want and it might look great. Stop there- start your project and enjoy. Done 🙂

However, if you were looking to work towards something smoother looking- you could go up to 14 segments of 50y i.e. 50y red, 50y red-orange, 50y orange, 50y orange-yellow, 50y yellow and so on, and also blend at the junctions a bit more.
It will look like this with 14 hues x 50y each:


The more steps you have, they more they will meld together into a fluid color shift.

Take in mind, it might look smoother, but it’s a lot more work- twice as many colors to mix and twice as many colors to apply and blend.

Take it further- this is 28 colors x 25y each:


This is even smoother bc there are more hues for your eye to mix.

I typically mix anywhere from 24-48 dyes to apply to one skein then apply and blend them in a pattern to make inbetween shades. The more colors I’m trying to “accomplish” in one skein, the more dyes I have to mix i.e. If I’m trying to dye a cobalt ombre I might only need 24 dyes to accomplish a smooth result, a smooth rainbow might take 48 or more. This conceptually would result in at least 47-95 different hues (and then they blend on the yarn to make even more) to get my definition of “smooth enough”. That may be completely impractical/overkill for some, that might not be smooth enough for others. The smoother the gradient, the more time it takes to make. At some point, a dyer has to make a decision of how smooth is “smooth enough”. The human eye is exceptionally sensitive to differences in color and value; you need to decide what is “stripey” for yourself- everyone has different thresholds at which something goes from being smooth to “too stripey”.

The difference between:


and this

is a huge difference in time and expense.

Dyers who dye their yarns in the form of a “blank”, a pre-knitted piece of knit fabric, they can get some of those in between colors by letting the knitted fabric soak up the dye and letting the dye blend in and mix where it meets on the actual yarn. You can smoosh the dye around and make it mingle even more. It’s very fun to see the colors meet up and party! I initially started dyeing gradients in blanks, and it was great. However, there are a few drawbacks to this type of dyeing production-wise and it wasn’t my very favorite end product aesthetically, and that’s why I didn’t choose that method for myself. But there are plenty of gradient dyers who use this method exclusively and are very popular.

But then what’s an Ombre? Isn’t that the same thing?

Not, not exactly. “Ombres” are a subset of gradients. All ombres are gradients, not all gradients are ombres. Ombre is from the French verb “ombrer”, to shade or from Latin umbrare ; from umbra, shade. Without getting too crazy about color theory- ombre is basically the same color but on a progressively lightening (or darkening) scale= dark pink to light pink, but still the very same pink base hue throughout. Most paint chip cards you see at the home improvement store are ombre gradients because they are just increasing concentrations of the color i.e. increasing amounts (grams) of the same pigment will be put into a gallon of white base paint.

Magenta Ombre

Looks like this:

This is pure magenta on the left 100%, followed by 93%, 86%, 78%, 71%, 64%, 57%, 50%, 42%, 35%, 28%, 21%, 14%, 7% dilutions. On your monitor, the balance of the % is white (lack of color). On fiber, with dye which is transparent, the balance is water (lack of color).

Hopefully, this will give you a little insight into the types of things that your eye notices, but you probably didn’t consciously pay attention to.

So next time anyone is wondering “Why are smooth gradients so expensive?” Now you have an idea of what goes into making it smooth. They truly are highly technical works of art. When you take into account the time and skill involved, and then the quality/fiber of base yarn (e.g. superwash wool, vs cashmere/silk), you can make the judgment about whether you are getting fair value for money when you are comparing or evaluating different yarns. Truly, a large number of gradient dyers are underpricing themselves, while a few are labeling yarns and braids “gradient” when their products aren’t gradients at all.

This usually holds true: if it’s something that’s easy to do, a lot of people will do it and the price will be lower because there’s more competition.
And as in all things: generally, you get what you pay for.




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Shipping Hints For the Holiday Season

The holidays are a fun time of year. Something that is not so fun is losing an eagerly awaited package to damage or theft. When it is yarn- true heartbreak.

All our domestic packages are sent USPS Priority Mail. Overall, we have had very few problems with our USPS service; we use address verification, compliant barcoding, and track everything. However, all shipping company transit times start to run longer starting on Black Friday. Priority Mail usually takes 2-3 days from NY to most places during the year. It was running 6-7 days to the West Coast last December.  So it will usually take longer than what the USPS tracking website displays. Also when it started to get really crazy towards Dec 20th, USPS did not scan every package at every single stop. So it would go from my main Northeast depot in Springfield, MA …. then nothing for days… then magically “Delivered”. So don’t be surprised if that happens.

Package theft is rampant during the holidays. I insure all domestic packages. However, insurance does not cover anything if the package is listed as “Delivered” in the USPS system (which would be the case if it was stolen off your doorstep). If you live in an area where missing packages might be a problem, there are things you can do. This really applies to all the packages you’re receiving this season, not just mine. Hopefully this will help!

  •  Consider temporarily changing your order shipping address to your work address if you know you will be there during the day.
  •  Use a PO Box if you have one
  •  There’s an option “Adult Signature Delivery Required” which is available for an additional fee from USPS
  •  I can ship it “hold at post office” and you can pick it up there
  •  Install a lock box by your front door where your mail carrier can drop packages then put the lock on.
  •  When you go to look up your tracking number on the USPS website, there is an option “receive text messages about this package” This is great to let you know when something actually arrives so it doesn’t sit out.
  •  If we start to get close to mid December and you have had bad shipping issues in the past, I am happy to hold your order till Dec 28 when it’s a bit safer to ship.
  •  All domestic orders are insured against damage. If you receive a damaged item, keep it and keep the packaging so I can file a claim for you.
  •  Insurance claims are great for recovering costs. I will make every effort to replace an item if you want. However, if I don’t have any left, I can only offer a refund. I cannot guarantee a replacement.
  •  International Orders are sent First Class Package International- this is NOT insured and it takes up to 4 weeks to some countries. NY -> Canada was running 16 days last year. NY-> New Zealand was running 20 days. If you want your international package insured, please note that in the order notes and I can get you a shipping quote. If it’s too much, you are free to cancel your order, or you can have me hold your order till after the holiday shipping season is over and it’s safer to ship. Enjoy the happy chaos!A
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Base Yarn Descriptions

Lux is our line of fingering weight gradients (150g) on plant-based yarns. Lux XL is the extra long version (225g).

There are two fingering weight base yarns available:

1. High Twist Tencel® (regular =150g/693y, XL =225g/1040y):  Our main base yarn.  It has a smooth, soft, 2-ply construction made with 100% A100 Lenzing Tencel® . Tencel® is the trade name for lyocell. Tencel® /lyocell is a type of rayon that is made from wood pulp cellulose. It is light, soft, and has excellent stitch definition. It has shine to it and takes dye exceptionally well, with a brilliance on par with silk.  It blocks out like a champ, especially when used for lace.  It is not splitty. Like all plant based yarns, it does not have any elasticity. However, it doesn’t seem to grow in garments the same way cotton does.

Tencel is one of the most environmentally-friendly yarn options as the process uses a lot of waste wood. The trees that the original wood comes from are typically beech trees. If feedstock wood is not waste wood, it is harvested from sustainably-managed forests, usually in Northern Europe , Canada and the UK.  The chemicals that are used to break down the cellulose woodchips into cellulose fragments that are suitable for spinning is extremely caustic. However Tencel® /lyocell is made is a closed loop system which prevents pollution, reuses the chemicals and saves a lot of water.

2.  Tencel® (regular =150g/693y, XL =225g/1040y):  A very similar yarn to High Twist Tencel ®, only with a slightly looser twist. It has a bit of a halo.
As of 6/2019 production on this base yarn has been suspended.  it is not officially discontinued, but the mill has been having significant delays. We may resume using it when supply is consistent.  The 2015 version of Lux was a bit heavier at 150g/585y. This yarn is now referred to as “Heavy Tencel®” on Ravelry and is discontinued.

Lux Lace is our laceweight line of plant based gradient yarns.

There are two versions of laceweight available:

1. Lace Tencel® (100g/739y): A laceweight version of the Lux Tencel® .  This base yarn has the same general properties of Tencel®. takes dye incredibly well; colorways on this base yarn are extremely saturated and may be slightly darker than the High Twist Tencel® fingering weight base. It is very sleek and has excellent stitch definition.

2. Lace Bamboo Shimmer (85g/739y): This is a 2-ply yarn that is slightly lighter, has a bit more body to it/is slightly fluffy. One ply is twisted tighter than the other and it gives it a slightly rippled effect which makes it shimmer in the sunlight. It dyes up significant lighter than Lace Tencel®.

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How does the waitlist work?

*Please note we no longer do “shop updates” in any form. We have transitioned to a 100% waitlist batch ordering system*

Wondering what the “waitlist” is all about?

Big picture: You want something, but it’s sold out? You can click on “Join the waitlist”, and your username will be added to the waitlist for that specific product. When your desired yarn open for orders, you get the first crack at getting one.  You get an email that says “The product you wanted is back in stock” You rejoice, log in, and you will see the listing.

All of the little details:

There are several different ways indie dyers take and fulfill orders. Many work on a custom or dye to order basis all the time. Some have Etsy- style shop “updates” where it’s a feeding frenzy, you can get cartjacked, and once all stock is gone, that’s it.  Some do clubs. Some only sell “one of a kind” type yarns that aren’t repeatable. Some have standard colorways they make available at all times.

After thinking long and hard about our processes and how we like to operate, we have taken the best parts of these different arrangements and come up with a hybrid system that seems to work really well for us.   All of our colorways are precisely repeatable. We will dye some colorways more frequently than others; some series we only dye once a year (e.g. Fade To Blacks). Many times we will bring back an established colorway for a restock based on the waitlist, then do some new stuff too based on the season.

In order to create a waitlist, you need to log in or register for a VFA site account so we can keep track of who signing up for things. Each colorway and each base yarn option is a separate “product” in the store. Using the pulldown menu, you can choose which base yarn you are interested in for a certain colorway. If it is out of stock there will be a red “X” with an “out of stock message” and a button on the product page that says “Join Waitlist” that you can click. When you join the waitlist for that product, you will receive an email when it is back in stock or available for order.  Joining the waitlist is not a pre-order; you do not pre-pay for the product when you join the waitlist.  Please note that this also is not a reservation or a guarantee that the product will come back in stock.  All colorways are seasonal and may be discontinued at any time. There are no “permanent” colorways, so if you see something you like, you shouldn’t wait to purchase it.

When your requested product is open for pre-order or restocked, you will receive an email notification. We make enough to meet what we expect to be the demand from the waitlisters, and then we make additional batches. Everyone who pre-orders will get exactly what they want; some things take longer than others.  Every time we restock and notify everyone, we “clear” the waitlist and start fresh. If you are logged in and your desired product listing says “Join Waitlist” that means you are not on the waitlist.  You can also leave the waitlist at any time if you change your mind by clicking “Leave Waitlist”.

The waitlist function is for your convenience.  When you join a waitlist you are basically saying “Wow, I love this one! Whenever you dye the next batch of them, let me know so I can pick one up.” We understand that circumstances change, so being on a waitlist does not obligate you in any way to purchase the product when it becomes available. However, we ask please that you do not add yourself to the waitlist for something if you really do not plan on purchasing it when it becomes available. It is OK to add yourself to several different base yarn waitlists or product listings for the same colorway. We infer that you probably are indicating that you would be happy with a variety of base yarns, not that you are going to want one of each. We do consider the product waitlists when we make our production schedule.

The waitlist is a unique function that makes a lot of people happy.  It’s a lot of work to set up and administer, but we find it’s a great compromise between “dye to order one by one” and “product update frenzy- sold out”.  We are always looking for ways to tweak this process to improve it.

If you have any questions or problems, just send an email through the contact form and we’ll help you out!