What dyes do you use?
All my yarns are dyed using acid dyes, which isn't as dangerous as it sounds. It simply means that you use an acid to fix them, and a weak one at that. Sometimes I use ordinary white vinegar, mostly I use citric acid, which is best known as the chemical that makes your bath bombs fizz! See, not scary at all! All the yarn is thoroughly rinsed after dyeing, but it is possible that some colour bleeding may occur during a first wash, especially with the darker colours. Keep the water cool & use a gentle detergent.
Is all your yarn dyed by hand?
Absolutely, and the colourful nature of my utility room is testiment to that! I dye every skein that I sell, by hand, at home.
How important are batch numbers?
I dye all my yarn in small batches, up to a maximum of 8 skeins. Any more than that and I can't make sure that they have enough room to move around to ensure that all the skeins are thoroughly covered. Although I weigh all my dyes, and I keep notes of how I arrived at a particular colour, there are many factors that affect how the yarn takes the dye and even repeatable colours can vary slightly between batches. It might only be a small variation, but it can make a big difference once it's knitted or crocheted as a cardigan (for example!). In short, batch numbers are very important!
It's always advisable to alternate skeins when you're working with them, working one or two rows in one skein & one or two in the next, carrying the yarn up with you as you work. This helps to smooth out any differences between skeins. This is especially important when working with more variegated skeins as there can be slight variations, even within the same batch number.
Where does your yarn come from?
I purchase my yarn from several different wholesalers. All of them have a policy of only buying from farms which do not practice mulesing, and which meet ethical standards. Most of my yarn is imported by the wholesalers from overseas, although I do have some british sock yarn in stock and I'm looking to expand on that.
I've used these suppliers for a number of years, and I'm happy that the yarn is the best quality I can buy. I never find knots, and the yarn consistency is excellent.
How do I care for my yarn once it's worked into a garment?
Within the info on each listing, it will tell you whether a yarn is superwash or non-superwash. Superwash yarns have been treated to make them more tolerant of machine washing and you don't have to be quite so gentle with them. Non-superwash yarns are as they were when they left the animal, and they can be prone to felting if you don't handle them correctly.
Generally, superwash yarns are washable in a machine at 30degrees, on a gently wool or hand wash cycle. However, personally I don't put my knits through the washing machine. I tend to find they are want to grow a little, which is one of the downsides of superwash yarns, and my machine has a nasty habit of snagging things & trying to eat them. No way is it eating my hand knit jumpers! Items made from pure, natural fibres need washing significantly less than man made fibres. They don't hold sweat in the same way, and they are naturally antibacterial so they don't start to smell either. I generally only wash my jumpers once a season, unless I've gotten them grubby. Even then, spot cleaning is usually enough. Make sure you use an appropriate detergent. I give the yarn a dunk in a bucket of water with a squidge (technical measurement) of liquid laundry soap which keeps it nice and soft, but is unfragranced & gentle on the fibres.
Why do you not give tension & gauge information or have colour swatches?
There's a simple reason why I have neither of these pieces of information in my yarn listings.
Tension varies enormously person to person, and also depends on what needle or hook size you are using. The information given on commercial ball bands, you know the little squares with the numbers alongside, are only ever a guide. They're based on one specific needle or hook size, and one specific person working on the needle or hook. A much better way to tell whether the yarn will substitute well with the pattern you're looking at is to look at the overall meterage, or at the wpi (wraps per inch). Both of these will give you a much closer idea of whether the yarn you're looking at will substitute well. It's always a good idea to do a gauge swatch for garments, or anything that you need to be a specific size, so that you can tell whether your garment will fit once you're finished.
A similar thing is true of swatches. These can seem helpful in visualising how a variegated yarn will look when it's worked up. However, a yarn with longer colour changes will look one way when knitted as a sock, another when knitted as a sweater, and totally different when crocheted! Stitch count, and whether the item is working in the round, or worked flat, will massively affect how the colour looks. It's impossible to swatch for every eventuality, so I tend to avoid doing it!
What's your environmental policy?
I try and care for the environment as best as I can. As mentioned in the yarn dye section above, the dyes that I use are not toxic, and usually I end up using the rinse and exhausted dye water on my plants. They don't seem to mind!
All orders are sent out in as much recyclable packaging as I can manage. I use cardboard mailer envelopes for bags, heavy duty paper mailer bags for yarn or larger bag orders, and jiffy green envelopes for stitch markers. These are padded with shredded paper and are completely recyclable.
If I use plastic in my packaging. it will be reused. I do unfortunately get some supplies in plastic, and this is reused or recycled as appropriate.
Do you wholesale?
Yes, drop me an email & I'll send you some info!