Sunday, July 23, 2006

Louet Gems Pearl in Stock!

I am carrying a new yarn, the Louet Gems Pearl. What a soft yarn this is. It is 100% SuperFine merino in superwash. My first concern is landing a great sock yarn, since I am trying to put together the best line of undyed sock yarns out there. This yarn is perfect for socks, and I'll probably use a size 2 in the 12" circular Addi Turbos which I favor. I can also see this as a perfect weight for shawls. Baby clothes and fine sweaters will be nice in it too.

My first shipment is in skeins only of 8 oz and 1 pound. Actually, they each weigh in at over 8 oz and 16 oz since they were wound off of a kilo measurement, but for argument's sake I'll stick with the ounces rather than grams measurements. This is consistent with the measurements of my other yarns on the website.

Yardage: 8 oz skeins have at least 795 yards, and the pound has at least 1,590 yards.

Before I decided on taking on the Louet Gems I browsed several blogs on the Internet and found nothing but compliments for it. Some people came out and said it was their favorite yarn to dye, others their favorite sock yarn. So, I am feeling confident that this will be a good addition to my sock yarns and fingering weight yarns.

Over the summer I am trying to locate and buy stock of some good new sock yarns for Wool2Dye4. At the same time, the website is being updated so the Louet Gems is not yet posted in the permanent lineup. It is, however, found on the SPECIALS page of the website. Also, it's mentioned in the crawl across the HOME page.

I expect to introduce two other sock yarns within the next month, also. I am having fun finding these yarns, meeting new people -- reps, spinners, etc. -- and finding space for the new shipments in the studio!

Sample? Send me an email and I'll get out a good sized sample to you.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

... And the Winner is .....

... BFL Ultra. This was submitted by my husband, and he is not interested in a pound of yarn! SO ... the runner up is Susan Grogan. Susan? If you read this, please contact me and I will send you a pound of BFL yarn.

Actually, I'll send you a pound of the current BFL Special Purchase (which, if you've read previous posts, was supposed to be my big new exclusive, but which was not quite the yarn I am looking for) ... and when the actual sock yarn comes in, I will send you a pound of the real thing.

Thank you for the 65+ name suggestions sent in by readers, some to my personal email address. I loved Susan's suggestion: her group calls BFL by the name of 'Biffle' and it has a nice ring to it. I decided on BFL Ultra for marketing reasons. Currently my best selling sock yarns are Wool2Dye4 SuperSock and Kona Fingering. The new yarn, once it is approved and spun, will go in this lineup, and I wanted something to set it apart which was suggestive of my other exclusive yarn. I think that BFL Ultra will be a good companion to Wool2Dye4 SuperSock.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

BFL Special Purchase Pix ...........

Please click on the image to see more detail of the yarns.

I am happy that the unique luster of Blue Faced Leicester comes through in these photos. The white is the BFL Special Purchase as it comes. The dark Green was an experiment with overdyeing three colors with the open dyepot method. The fibers bloomed the most of the three experiments. The multi-colored skein, right side, was a combination of open dyepot and steamed package. I wound up a ball and dyed the bottom half with Mahogany as it sat on a vegetable steamer in the dyepot, then skeined it when dried, rewet it, and dribbled Colonial Blue and Fuschia over about 80% of the white space. This was oversprayed with white vinegar, wrapped, and steamed. The fibers bloomed nicely, but not as much as with the first experiment. The orange wound ball and knit sample is my Kool-Aid (mango) experiment. Again, I left some white space, and oversprayed with white vinegar
before 2 sessions of 2 minutes in a plastic covered dish.
The fibers opened very well with the Kool-Aid.

Reviewer's Comments

Below are some of the comments received from customers who reviewed the Special Purchase BFL yarn. This is the one I had hoped would be my BFL exclusive sock yarn. It has wonderful qualities -- one weaver says it is good for warp, people are knitting socks with it, scarves, shawls. It would be wonderful for a fine sweater. Many, many uses for this beautiful yarn. I wanted to share some of the reviewers' comments:

"The yarn is gorgeous, a really nice drapey hand and lovely luster, *however* (this comes from my experience knitting with my handspun) I would definitely add more twist to this, especially for socks. "

"Even though the staple is fairly long - 3-4" is what I pulled out, to make socks that won't wear out I'd have to knit these on a 000 or 0000. I think this is more a laceweight than sockweight yarn."

"Originally, I started knitting a swatch with #2's, but the fiber didn't seem dense enough - I'm going to make anklets out of the yarn and didn't feel as though they'd be sturdy enough - so I switched to #1's. They seem perfectly suited to this yarn and it's final intended purpose. I'm getting right at eight stitches per inch. I'm convinced that this yarn would lend itself well to a variety of stick sizes depending on the look and final outcome desired.Only semi non positive thing I can say about it, is that it splits a bit while it's being knit - but c'mon, it's a three ply, very fine yarn that's essentially being knit with toothpicks! It's feels so nice to knit with, that I'm completely willing to overlook the splitting, and just be more careful - this probably wouldn't be a problem if I were using larger needles for an open lace pattern."

"I started my socks on #2 needles also and was not pleased, but am VERY happy with them on #1 needles. I really like the yarn it is so soft and beautiful, feels wonderful. ... I'm loving this yarn the more I knit the more I'm loving it."

"After dyeing, I washed in wool wash and then soaked in a rinse bath with a teeny bit of hair conditioner mixed in to give the yarn a little more softness. It came out feeling almost as soft as the merino superwash from Henry's Attic, but not quite. That coupled with the (in my opinion) slightly too-loose ply would make me think twice about using it instead of the merino, and the price difference would definitely be the clincher."

"I was a little concerned initially because of the looseness of the twist. Once it was soaked for a few hours in warm water and vinegar, it began to bloom a bit. As I was dyeing it, using acid wash dyes, it was apparent that it was going to take and hold the color really well. I wanted to try doing a variegation of a color, working with my Mayan Sunshine colorway. It goes from an almost tinted white to a deep golden yellow. The colors held without too much wicking or traveling of colors.
Once it was dyed and the colors were set, it took a couple of days to dry in this Boston rain and humidity. Once it was dry? This is one of the softest yarns! It has such a nice soft hand, and it drapes nicely in the skein. ... When it came time to knit a swatch, I found it best FOR ME to use a US #3 needle. (I broke a pair of US #0 while casting on… man-hands I guess.) It knitted up nicely, and very uniformly. I still felt that the twist could be a little tighter. I ran into a bit of separating of the plies while working with it. I really had to pay attention to what I was doing."

" initial critique of the BFL yarn still stands -- takes the colors very well and retains them well, but the loose ply is a real downfall. I knitted a little swatch and it does knit up well, but when touch-knitting the needles tend to split the yarn a little. I have to keep one eye on it or I end up with lots of split stitches. I will say that I'm a beginner at touch-knitting so we should take that into consideration. ... I do think it has a nice hand and it's fairly stretchy once it is knitted up. It will make nice, comfy socks, so all in all I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10, it would rate about 7 or 8, so I think it's a pretty good sock yarn."

"...and I'm going to alert my yarn-dyeing addicted-to-knitting-socks friend that she should get her checkbook ready. Splitting shouldn't be a problem for her, particularly if she knows that it's an issue. Wouldn't be an issue for me either. I use sockweight for lace shawls all the time, but I don't dye (yet). I may have to start though!"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Contest ends for Name-That-Yarn!

The date for submissions to the Name-That-Yarn has come and gone, and I thank everyone for their suggestions. I have not settled on a name, but want to get a little news out there. The winner and runner-up will each receive cones of the newly named yarn, as described earlier. BUT the yarn I have is not quite the one I want to promote and sell as my exclusive BFL superwash sock yarn. Here's what I've decided to do:

I will send a cone of this lovely current yarn to the winner and to the runner-up, and when I have accepted the newly manufactured BFL superwash sock yarn, I will send them each a cone of that yarn. That yarn will bear the name chosen.

This current shipment is going to be sold off at discount:
$35 for one-pound cone
$18 for 8-ounce skein

Email me if you want this special yarn. This is a one-time shipment and I only have 120 pounds of it. The skeins should be ready in two weeks, but if you want skeins, let me know now.

I always envisioned using the blog to tell customers about new products and events that affect Wool2Dye4. Now, let's hope this will get the word out about this Special Purchase.

Special Purchase - BFL sock weight

I have decided to sell off the first shipment of the Blue Faced Leicester sock weight at a sale price. It is a nice yarn, it is lovely wonderful BFL, it is the right weight for a sock yarn ... but I want a little more twist in the new sock yarn. So ... this first shipment will go on sale at the following prices:

1-lb cone .......... $35.
8-oz skein ...............$ 18.
It is important to have the first BFL sock yarn manufactured just right -- the right number of plies, a firm but not tight twist to the yarn, and, of course, to be superwash. This yarn has all the right stuff except that the twist is just a little too loose. It does, however, plump up very nice and round when it is dyed and washed.
This is the yarn I had hoped would be the newest in my BFL yarns, and I have an exclusive on the yarn in the United States. The next batch is being manufactured to my new specifications, and I hope it will be the one that gets a name.
So, bear with me, and take advantage of this sale price early. I have only 120 pounds of it (60 lbs in cones, 60 lbs in skeins). E-mail me to order it.