27 Feb '12
I really love dyeing new things. There's a very adventurous process when adding a new yarn line that starts with a lot of squishing and admiring of the first skein. Throwing a whole pile of yarn into the bin and adding water tells me a lot about the fiber, a lot about its character. I'd be curious what a scientific perspective could tell us about the correlations between water absorption and a fiber's long-term outlook. Of course, a skein's relationship to getting wet is nothing compared to what happens to color when you throw the skein into a hot pot of water, dye & vinegar. How fast the skein absorbs dye is key to the way I do things, which is why you don't see me working with a lot of non-superwash wools. I've dealt with some wool-silk combos that took absolutely forever to take color, and even still it was muted and unfun. This new yarn, which I'm calling Bison Sock, is extraordinary! It's put up in 100g skeins and runs about 400 yards per skein, but what really called to me when I first saw it last September is the plying structure. A lot of us are (fatally) familiar with Wollmeise's super-smooth itty-bitty plies and almost cottony-felling yarn. It is such a distinct contrast from yarns like my Pebble Sock or Louet's Gems, Koigu's KPPPM or Pagewood's Chugiak. When I first began dyeing my Merilon Sock, part of the attraction was the sleek profile and lack of overtwisted bump. Well, Bison Sock is like a merge of Merilon Sock & Wollmeise Twin. More plies than Merilon (six) but not too many, overtwisted just the right amount, a slight halo, and clearly no bumpiness. I love it, and having seen it knit up I'm willing to say that it will make gorgeous socks, shawls, cowls, hats, baby garments and anything else you can imagine. The other thing that sent me right over on this new yarn was the opportunity to buy a yarn that was domestically produced. This, my dear yarn addicts, is a tough thing to achieve. After much searching, I have found no domestic mills producing superwash wool of any kind, and very little in the way of commercial flocks producing anything other than Merino. (Don't mistake me, I like Merino, but I luh-ove Blue Faced Leicester...but I shan't digress to that subject yet again.) But then I saw my first sample skein of Bison Sock and I was hooked on the idea of domestic bison down (which runs about the same price as really good cashmere) blended with Superwash Merino. Thanks to everyone who commented on Wednesday's blog post. Our lovely winner chose at random, is Gillian. Congrats, Gillian, and check your email inbox!