Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trial Lace (80/20 Alpaca & Silk)

I am running a trial of a new lace blend of 80% alpaca with 20% silk. We have kilo cones of this lace available at $100 per kilo. If you would just like to give it a try without committing to a kilo -- and I can understand that because there are 8,729 yards on the kilo cone -- there is another option: skein of 1000 yards, at $12.50 each.

Lace is such an odd product for me. Most of my customers are sock yarn fanatics! The next group is the DK weight affectionado, and then there are the diaper cover knitters who like the Aran/Worsted and the bukly weights. I can relate to sock knitters as that's just about my favorite passtime. AND I've even gone a step farther and am the proud owner of a circular sock knitting machine, an antique baby that has a personality all her own. The DK is fast becoming my 'go-to' yarn. Come to think of it, I still have a vest from the spring on the needles and it was a project which combined that lovely W2D4 Merino Superwash DK with the beautiful knit tube from the sock machine, and then a neat dye job. Yes, I need to finish that project. The one area where I cannot identify with my customer base, though, is the knitted diaper covers. Somehow I cannot wrap my mind around that concept. BUT this is not to say anything negative about this practice! I love my work-at-home-moms!

Back to the lace, though. Just a couple of months ago, in late summer, I introduced two new laceweights to the lineup. They were trials, in my mind, as I have not had success with laces in the past. Modest sales, but no following developed for any previously offered laces. That is, until the introduction of Butterfly Lace (80/20 extrafine merino & silk) and the Angel Lace (70/20/10 baby alpaca/silk/cashmere). First I will tell you that I must buy in 100 pound minimum quantities, in most cases, and I was a little afraid to commit to 200 pounds of lace when it had not been a past proven winner. I did it though, and to get it into as many knitters' hands as possible, I priced it at the level of a 100 gram skein. That is still quite a bit of tiny, thin lace, isn't it?

Slowly sales began to pick up, and both of these laces are at low stock levels. I am awaiting a new shipment right now of the Angel Lace, and the Butterfly Lace will be replenished next month.

So, the lesson seemed to be that, in my ignorance of what makes a good lace, I had not carried one before! That's why I am trying out one more lace weight. This one, though, I paid a premium for the priviledge of ordering a smaller minimum quantity. So, the quantities of kilo cones and 1000-yd skeins are limited on this one. If it is received well, we may carry it on kilo cones exclusively in the future. (We are actually winding out the 1,000 yd skeins ourselves!) Here is a picture!