Monday, 27 June 2016

Mineral Monday - Amethyst

Good Mineral Monday all!  Today I want to talk about what is in my opinion a very royal gemstone, a deep and mysterious mineral.

Amethyst is a variety of quartz and its colour can vary from very light pink to deep violet with secondary hues of red and blue.

Why does it vary so much? Because amethyst is simply quartz that has been exposed to radiation or contains iron impurities or trace elements. In fact, amethyst can be made synthetically by simply radiating quartz.

Because of its origin, the violet colour may only be on the surface and the colour may even change when the stone is heated!

Nova Scotia amethyst tends to be light in colour but, as can be seen by the photos, may be dark as well.

Amethyst gets its name from two greek words meaning "not" and "intoxicated" from the belief that it protected its owner from drunkenness. In fact, it was often used for drinking vessels.

Here are some examples of some light amethysts we found on the beach by our home. 

You may not know by now but my fave colour is green.  Next to that is amethyst.  I find it so peaceful and elegant.  You can find some examples of it in our store and in the next few months we hope to have more.  It is such a versatile yarn colour, can go with so many different colours for that "pop" where you might need it. 

I would love to hear what you guys think....what is your favorite colour or mineral?

Monday, 20 June 2016

Mineral Monday - The Bahamas

For Mineral Monday this week we are going to do something a little different.

Some of you might not know but I am a transplanted Canadian who has lived in the Bahamas for the past 13 years.  I love my adopted home and am very fortunate to enjoy the beauty of life on this island every day.  I wanted to come up with a colourway that was a tribute to the beauty of the Bahamas.  

The Bahamian colours are turquoise, yellow and black.  The black color represents the strength and will power of the people, yellow the sandy beaches, and the aquamarine blue symbolizes the spectacular Caribbean Sea.   

I think I have come up with a beautiful representation of these and am going to do something a bit different with these colourways. Since they are a special group and not part of our permanent lineup (at least not yet!) I am going to do this via pre order.

The three colours are as follows,

Bahamaland, a gorgeous turquoise melding into a deep gold with black speckles

Bahamian Islands, turquoise and gold with some beautiful greens as well

And lastly we have Bahamas as One, a beautiful amalgamation of all the Bahamian colours, very reminiscent of our beautiful waters here.

All three colours will be available on a variety of bases so there should be something for everyone.  They would make amazing bright winter accessories and on the fingering bases some kick butt socks!

Check them out at our our shop and act fast as they will only be available to pre order until next Monday.

In other news it looks like there is going to be a postal strike next month.   If you are thinking of picking up some of our yarn is would recommend ordering asap so we can get it out to you before there are any issues.  We have looked into other means of shipping and will be able to use FedEx but it will be a greater expense and might not be cost effective if you are looking and purchasing a skein or two.  We will keep you updated here and in our shop announcements!

As always we love to hear what you think so feel free to post a comment and let us know how we are doing!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Mineral Monday - Obsidian

Picture yourself watching a volcanic eruption. A blob of liquid lava flies out of the volcano and lands in the frigid water just in front of you. After it cools, you pick it up and to your amazement, you find yourself holding a piece of black glass! You’re actually holding obsidian.

Obsidian is formed when lava cools so fast that the atoms don’t have time to arrange themselves into a crystal structure. While obsidian is most often black, it can be brown, tan or even colourless since the colour comes from flaky impurities frozen at different angles in the rock. It’s pretty amazing since the chemical composition is often identical to the pink granite that forms from the same flow.

Obsidian is found all over the world, wherever there has been volcanic activity but if you have a piece, enjoy it now because it is unstable and in a couple of million years it will probably become very mottled!

When obsidian fractures, it can form extremely sharp edges and because of that, it was one of the first things man actually “mined” to use as cutting blades and spear heads.  Obsidian can actually be thinner and sharper than surgical steel and is still preferred today for scalpel blades used in delicate procedures.

Capturing obsidian’s beautiful black colour is tricky because, since it is actually a glass, there is a  translucence that lets light through and creates a beautiful, shimmering effect. This is what I have tried to do with our Obsidian colourway.  If you have seen our yarn in person you will see we are not aiming for a single colour, I want to see the different tones in my yarn.  To me the depth you get the way we dye our yarn really pops when it is knit up!  Let us know what you think!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Mineral Monday - Bay of Fundy Agate

Bay of Fundy Agate

Through a geological quirk, The Bay of Fundy area of Nova Scotia has become world famous for its agate. In fact, there are varieties of agate found here that simply don’t exist elsewhere!

The whole north mountain range that runs right behind our Artist’s Mark Shop is a basalt massif that runs all along the Fundy Shore from Blomidon to the tip of Brier Island. Originally, it was molten and when it cooled, cracks formed. (Interestingly, if the basalt cooled quickly enough, gas bubbles got trapped before they could get to the surface and became “frozen” in the hardened rock. There are some beautiful examples of this in the shop).

Since nature abhors a vacuum, these cracks and bubbles eventually were filled by material carried by and precipitated from hot, pressurized, silicate solutions as they cooled. So agate is a silicate. The beautiful colors and patterns are caused by the different impurities carried in the solution, which change over time. Since there is a lot of iron in this area, you find beautiful banding ranging from black to red/ orange/ brown and even yellow!

Agate is so hard and beautiful that it can be polished and made into awesome jewelry and if you stop by our shop or visit the blog you can see some gorgeous examples.

Matching yarn color to this was a priority for us as we felt it was important to showcase the beauty that can only be found here.  Nature is amazing and we can only try to imitate it, never getting it perfect, but I think we came close!

Bay of Fundy Agate

Golden Flame Agate Trio

What do you think?  Did we nail it?

Check these beauties out and other awesome yarns in our shop at  and if you can, please pop into our store The Artist's Mark on Digby Neck.  You won't be disappointed!

Yarn and stone display at The Artist's Mark