Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ALMERINO = Alpaca + Merino

Almerino is a soft yarn blend of baby alpaca and merino -- luscious! These five colors are closeout yarns, packaged 10 wound balls to a bag. They come in two weights: ARAN, with 533 yds per package and DK, with 615 yds/pkg. This is a one-time purchase and I was not able to secure many of them, so if you want them, check out the details on the SPECIALS page of the website, or email your question to info@wool2dye4.com.
Note made on July 25, 2007: I have taken these yarns off the website, but they are still available. The cost is $10 per bag, and the reason for the low price is that there are little knots in this yarn every 20 yards or so. It is a wonderful yarn, but the knots might put people off. I am doing a sweater in the Sugared Almond blue, and the knots are easy to hide on the wrong side. If you are interested in this soft, yet slightly flawed yarn, email me.
The colors are Grape, Custard, Strawberry Cream, Gooseberry, and Sugared Almond. They are spun in England.
So! give yourself a little rest and knit up something very nice in these comforting colors.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Further reading on the Merino shortages

To read further about the shortage, follow this link:

More on Australian Merino availability

In an earlier post, I wrote about an Australian fiber artist who publishes a magazine (called Yarn Magazine) and writes extensively about yarn from the ground up, so to speak. We exchanged emails about my questions on the shortage of Australian merino, and she posted my letter on her blog.
There were many comments in reply to that entry, and most concerned two issues: the droughts, which have affected the feed available for the flocks, and the fact that Australians are not marketed to as a viable merino customer base. Here is the link to that blog for a broader view of the merino situation:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Interweave's State-by-State Directory

Every once in a while, a customer writes to me asking if I know of a knit shop near their home. This week, someone was moving, so I forwarded a link to Interweave's Traveling SourceBook. Here is the link for your own use:

Testing new Merino

Lately I have been widening my search for the perfect sock yarn, and am testing three new superwash merino yarns. Some of my regular customers have volunteered to serve on this Yarn Review Board, and have sent excellent comments to help me make the decision.
The reviewers' comments are fascinating, and it turns out that the way we each define the perfect sock yarn is slightly different, yet has some basic similarities such as weight, roundness of yarn, and whether it splits when knit.
Look for a summer announcement of a new line of superwash merino. Once the votes are in, my business will import enough for all of us. One of the qualities of the perfect sock yarn for me is availability year round!
Comments are always welcome.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sheila's Basic Sock Pattern

A Word about Socks

My favorite sock needle is the 12" Addi Turbo circular in size 2. I cast on and rib, back and forth, for about an inch, then join the ends by switching the first and last stitches. Then it's round and round, in any pattern. Staying with the same circular needle at the gusset, I increase one stitch at both side markers, every other row until I like the depth of the heel. To turn the heel, I just move directly to the center back, and begin the short rows. Neat and easy! When it's time to decrease for the toe, I switch to two 24" circulars, positioning the stitches so that the decreases fall in the center and not at the edges. To end, reposition the stitches one more time on the 2 circulars, and turn the sock inside-out for a three-needle bind off. A sock is a small engineering project!

Back to shipping by USPS

Ok, I tried UPS and learned lots, but am returning to the good old Postal System for shipping most orders by Priority Mail. The difference in price and delivery time is the deciding factor, and when some of my good steady customers began to complain of delayed delivery, I was pushed to make a decision.

One thing I did learn is that shipping to Canada is so very much easier with UPS than with the US Postal System. In the future, I'll ship all orders to Canadian customers by UPS Standard service.

For US customers, I am back to Priority Mail. It's a good service, but I had been avoiding the bad mood of my pickup man and was loading and unloading each day's orders. The business has grown so much in the past year that shipping had begun to take up most of the day, and that loading and unloading became a chore.

Begining tomorrow, I will steel myself for any bad moods with my local pickup man, and return to shipping by USPS Priority Mail.

PS on May 11, 2007
A few Canadian customers have emailed me and one responded below (see comments) that UPS is not a good option for them because of the duty they must pay. I have always felt a flush of guilt roll over me when I have to charge Canadian clients the postage. It is outrageous! Your emails and comments help so much as I try to serve this customer base efficiently. This is how we learn. Thank you for letting me know.

I was looking for a way to avoid a trip to the Post Office to stand in line. I have just signed up for Carrier PickUp and will ask if I can just hand over Canadian packages in the future.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Interweave KNITS Features Socks, summer 07

The latest issue of Interweave's KNITS magazine arrived this week. Happily, there are three -- count them! -- articles on sock knitting, all by Ann Budd. She is a designer whom I would love to meet. So creative, Ann Budd writes in a clear and conversational style, practical designs.

There is also a review of six sock knitting books by Clara Parkes, also a wonderful writer and entrepreneur/founder of Knitter's Review.

I am still fascinated by the question of which hand-dyers were interviewed for the fall issue of Knit Simple. This is a Vogue publication. It is wonderful to see the big time money folks at Vogue giving the nod of recognition to independent hand-dyers. If anyone has any inside info on the artists' work featured in this issue, please tell all!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

YOU-TUBE Video features Yarn!

This link to a You-Tube video was sent to me by Ann McCauley, author and teacher of knitting nationwide. It is delightful!