Friday, February 22, 2008

W2D4 Line grows ...

Monday we'll be adding five new yarns to our exclusive line of W2D4 yarns. They are merino yarns which will round out our base yarn category except for one spot (worsted superwash), but that will be filled in late spring. The new additions are Lace Weight, Sport, Superwash DK, Worsted, and Bulky.

They are put up on skeins for retail customers and on kilo cones for wholesale customers. We have actually pre-sold more than half of the Lace Weight kilo cones, and quite a few of the Superwash DK, so I had to reorder them even before this first batch arrived. Exciting times! It will take a while until I understand the demand of the new yarns, and I will try to keep good stock on hand while they get introduced around.

For the past couple of weeks we have had several new inquiries from customers on the Ravelry discussion boards. Seems like there my have been a few nice words said about Wool2Dye4, and people began to check out the website. I do appreciate it when customers spread the word.

Help me spread the word now about these new base yarns. They are very nice, good merino with bounce and spring to the fiber, and well priced.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dyed from Sock Machine Tube

Here is the beginning of a chevron stripe, knit from the dyed tube of my new W2D4 Merino SW DK. You can see, on the right, several folds of the knitted and dyed tube. In my enthusiasm to see how it knit up, I really should have washed the skeins, but I just wound off a ball and started knitting. As with every handdye I ever knit with, my needles are flying and I anticipate what the next color change will look like.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weights of Yarn

I have had several customers lately refer to 'Sock Weight' as though it were an actual name of a yarn weight. The words 'Sock Weight' are used by sellers as a general descriptor of a yarn's weight. It is not an actual weight of yarn.
True descriptors are Lace / Fingering / Sport / DK / Worsted / Bulky.
Within these weight classifications there is room for argument. For instance, some writers state that DK is the British yarnie's equivalent of the American's Sport. Others say that Aran is the British version of the American's Worsted.
Speaking of worsted, people often get confused with this term because it refers to a weight classification as well as a production style. In weight, it's the sweater weight and can be light worsted or just plain worsted, and it's usually a round fairly solid yarn. In production, it is a combing process which makes fibers lie parallel to each other before spinning, and the result is a stronger knitting yarn. People who prepare their own yarn from hand-carded wool, for instance, are not creating a worsted yarn, which is usually something done in a mill with larger machines. Of course, the hand-cranked carding machine will produce beautiful roving batt which is a true worsted product.
BUT ... back to actual classifications. You can find charts with classifications written out in the backs of many knitting magazines, or online. Some will give a suggested gauge, recommended needle size, and wraps per inch. I never trust those numbers, though, and always knit a swatch myself. That way I can choose what I want the fabric to look like, based on my own experiences. Here is a chart of generally accepted numbers for weight classifications. There is always room for personal interpretation, and some yarns will lend themselves to a weight because of how they bloom, yet not actually reach a weight classification. You'll notice that 'Sock Weight' does not appear, and that's as it should be!
  • Lace Weight ......... 2300 yards per pound and higher
  • Fingering Weight.. 1650 to 2300
  • Sport .......... 1150 to 1600
  • DK....... 1000 to 1200
  • Worsted ........... 850 to 1100
  • Bulky ... 500 to 900

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Circular Sock Machine - Dyeing Project

Circular Sock Machine Dye Project
This project is actually a test of my circular sock machine and one of the new yarns coming in next week.
First, I will confess that I have yet to make a sock with the CSM! I am like an amazed child every single time I sit and crank out a tube of knitted yarn. Mostly I have used up some of the yarns which have been sitting around for years, and then I finished off edges to make long skinny scarves. Some have fluted lacy edges, others are straight. Some 'kitchenered' together, others ribbed then bound off, and all provided some good clean fun!
While mindlessly cranking out the tubes, I did have a few cogent thoughts, one being that it would be neat to dye a tube and then unravel it and knit something out of the yarn. My thinking was that it might be a way to create larger stripes or repeating patterns, a la Fair Isle, but that no matter the dye pattern, dying a tube would give a measure of control. More control than the experiment with a 40 foot long skein. How I wish I hadn't given away those socks, because I will surely never dye a 40' skein again.
But, to today's experiment ... The tube was knit with a mock rib ... 4 needles and one blank, all around the cylinder. I marked out a pattern repeat of 6 in and 4 in along my dye table, then dyed the 6" sections with Seabreeze Blue (from ProChem). My plan was to come back and paint one edge, along one of the mock ribs, with yellow so I would have green where the blue met yellow, and yellow across the swath of white.
That was the plan, but I picked up the wrong blue when I refilled my squirt bottle, so I wound up with two different blues. Actually, it all turned out to be fun because I had to change the plan. Instead of painting one 18 foot long yellow stripe, I decided to apply the yellow to the edges of blue. You can see where the blue had already bled slightly into the white space, and there is a yellow line along that area.
The steamed knitted tube is now out of the dyepot and coming back to room temperature. I will post a picture of the finished yarn, and a knitted sample.

Friday, February 08, 2008

April Retreat for Knitters & Spinners in No. Virginia

I must tell you about an absolutely beautiful corner of Virginia, Orkney Springs, and the weekend retreat planned for the first weekend in April 2008. Actually, I'll copy the link here to DyePot and let you read it for yourself.

Here is the link. I hope to see some of my customers there!
The area is fantastically beautiful, and the resort property, ShrineMont, is lovely and here is a link to the property...

I will be there Friday evening and all day Saturday with a little booth set up. Hope to meet some of my customers there!