Yarn

RIP: Gynx Yarns

Gynx Yarns

I hate talking about independent dyers who are no longer dyeing.  It makes me so, so sad.  These dyers poured so much love into their businesses and had to close for a variety of reasons, one of which is sometimes just getting burned out.  I’m going to tell you about a few of them from time to time because many of us still have their yarns in our stashes.  And one of these is Gynx Yarns. Gynx Yarns was a mainstay at DFW Fiber Fest for many years.  This yarn is one of the reasons I fell in love with sock yarn: it was so vibrant and colorful.  This wonderful yarn was dyed by Laura, in Dallas, Texas, who found inspiration from video games, pop culture, and animé.   Bases Gynx Yarns was dyed on a number of popular bases, including… BFL Sock (Fingering – 100% Wool) Single Merino (Fingering – 100% Merino) Gynx Sock (Fingering – 100% Merino) Power Sock (Fingering – 75/25) Strong Sock (Fingering – 80/20) Glitz Sock (Fingering – 75/20/5) Merino DK (100% Merino) Strong Sport (80/20) Yarn Dyeing Gynx offered lovely variegated and self-striping skeins of yarn.  Truly, the booth at DFW Fiber Fest was always so beautifully colorful!  I bought two skeins over the years and both of those times, I wasn’t even knitting socks yet!  But I loved the colors and knew I would use the yarn, someday.   Laura was a great asset to the knitting community.  She offered many dyeing videos and tutorials online.  Indeed, many indie dyers today learned how to dye from her videos.   Conclusion Some skeins of Gynx Yarns can be found on Ravelry through people willing to trade or sell their stashed Gynx.  If you have some in your stash, I definitely recommend knitting with it.  The colors are so delightful! I’ll show you some socks I finally knit with my Gynx Yarn later this week!  

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Spincycle Yarns

Spincycle Yarns

One of the most popular – and hard to get –  yarns in the last few years has been Spincycle Yarns.  This yarn jumped onto the knitting scene when Andrea Mowry used their Dyed in the Wool base for a few projects.  Suddenly, everyone wanted this yarn.      It is very unique and it actually took me a while to like it.  Now that I do, I really enjoy seeing what color combinations people choose to knit using this yarn. Spincycle is dyed in Washington state and is owned by Kate Burge and Rachel Price. They began a partnership in 2004 and, by 2017, owned a mill together.  Thus, Spincycle was born.   Bases Every base from Spincycle is unique and different.  Dyed in the Wool is the most popular, followed by Dream State.  But there’s something to love about each and every one.  Here are a few of them… Metamorphic (DK – 50% recycled Wool/50% Merino) Versus (DK – 100% Wool) Wilder (Sport – 100% Wool) Dyed in the Wool (Sport – 100% SW Wool) Dream State (Aran – 100% SW Wool) Knit Fast, Die Young (Jumbo – 100% Wool) Availability Spincycle has an online shop and this offers the best chance to get the colorways you want.  But you can also find this yarn in many local yarn stores.  I was amazed to find it in my LYS.   Ease of Shopping The website is super easy to use and browse.  The only frustrating part is seeing how much is sold out. Shipping Costs When you order from the Spincycle website, shipping is a bit expensive.  Combined with the expense of the yarn itself – quite high compared to others – it may be best to find this yarn at you LYS or a fiber festival. Conclusion Spincycle is an extremely unique yarn and it may not appeal to everyone.  Since it’s more expensive, you really have to love it to buy it.  I received a skein from a FibreShare partner; I had not thought seriously about buying it.  However, I do love Andrea Mowry’s Nightshift, which uses Dyed in the Wool, so I may have to buy the few more skeins required for that pattern.   It’s best to see this yarn in person to truly appreciate the colors.   So lovely!

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Hand Maiden Fine Yarn

Hand Maiden Fine Yarn

Last fall (which feels like a lifetime ago), on our cruise to Canada, we had two stops in Nova Scotia.  I was ecstatic to get to a few yarn shops on our days in port.  And while in one of those, I picked up some yarn from a wonderful Candaian dyer, Hand Maiden Fine Yarn.  I’d heard of this dyer before but this was the first time I got to see it in person.  And it did not disappoint! Let me tell you more about it… Bases Hand Maiden is dyed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  This yarn came about when Jana Dempsey spun it off from Fleece Artist (the two companies are still related and operate out of the same place).  Jana grew up around yarn as the family business was Fleece Artist.  Hand Maiden focuses on silky fibers while Fleece Artist is more about the wooly yarn.  There are many, many  bases to choose from that are very unique blends of fiber.  Here are a few… Cashmere and Silk (Fingering – 65% Cashmere/35% silk) Sea Silk (Fingering – 70% Silk/30% Sea Cell) Silk Twist (Fingering – 65% Wool/35% Silk) Halo (DK – Merino/Mohair) Lady Godiva (DK – 50% Wool/50% Silk) Alpaca Merino (Sport – 70% Merino/30% alpaca) Casbah (Sport – 80% Merino/10% Nylon/10% Cashmere) Swiss Mountain Woolie (Worsted – 70% Merino/30% Silk) Swiss Mountain Bamboo (Worsted – 51% Silk/49% Rayon from Bamboo) Marrakesh (Lace – 70% Silk/30% camel) Availability You can find Hand Maiden yarn in a variety of stores worldwide.  It is most popular in Canada, of course, but there are many physical and online stores that offer this yarn in the United States, Australia, and the UK. Ease of Shopping The Hand Maiden website does not offer a huge selection of yarn to buy.  It’s best to go through an online retailer. Shipping Costs It’s obviously best to find a retailer in your country of residence, since international shipping is so expensive.  And shipping delays may be more prevalent if you order international now, due to COVID-19.   Conclusion However you can find this yarn, it’s worth the price.  The different fibers make each skein so luxurious.  I promise this yarn will not disappoint! 

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La Bien Aimée

La Bien Aimée

A few years ago, as I became more serious about my knitting, I started hearing about an independent dyer from France called La Bien Aimée.  When I went to look at this yarn, I was blown away.  Maybe it was because it was French and seemed more exotic….  But the colorways were stunning.   La Bien Aimée is dyed by Aimée in Paris, France and is sold online and in an adorable yellow storefront in Paris.  I cannot tell you how much I want to visit this physical store.    Bases Aimée dyes her yarn on many bases.  Here are some… Merino Singles (Fingering – 100% Merino) Super Sock (Fingering – 75/25) Merino Twist Sock (Fingering – 75/25) Merino Yak (Fingering – 70% Merino/20% Yak/10% Nylon) Cashmerino (Fingering – 75% Merino/15% Cashmere/10% Nylon) Allure (Fingering – 70% Alpaca/20% Silk/10% Cashmere) BFL Tough Sock (75% Bluefaced Leicester/25% Nylon) Helix (Lace – Wool) Kumo (Lace – 75% Alpaca/25% Silk) Mohair Silk (Lace – 70% Mohair/30% Silk) Merino DK (DK – 100% Merino) Merino Sport (Sport – 100% Merino) Merino Aran (Aran – 100% Merino) Big Merino (Super Bulky – 100% Merino) Availability La Bien Aimée is available online and the Paris shop is open Thursday through Saturday.  The great thing about Aimée is that her online shop offers so many kits and fades.  And they are gorgeous!!   More and more local yarn stores in the United States – and around the world – are stocking La Bien Aimée.  I found my skein at a LYS booth at DFW Fiber Fest a few years ago.   Ease of Shopping The website is super easy to use.  I guarantee that you will find more than you want to find!  There is so much lovely yarn to choose from! Shipping Costs Shipping from France is, obviously, expensive and slow. But it’s worth it. Conclusion Since I’m not getting to France anytime soon (thank you, COVID), I’ll have to be happy just browsing the La Bien Aimée website.  Aimée also posts frequently on social media, so be sure to follow her there.  

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Tot le Matin Yarns

Tot le Matin

As the name suggests, my featured yarn today comes to you all the way from France.  I happened upon Tot le Matin at The Sated Sheep, in Dripping Springs, Texas.  (Did I mention just how fabulous that LYS is??!)  The minute I saw this yarn, I knew I needed a skein and actually knew what I needed it for: the Mischa Baby Dress.  And it was perfect! This yarn is dyed by someone with a lovely eye for color: Lauriane.  Let me tell you more! Bases Tot le Matin is dyed on a variety of bases, including (but not limited to)… Sock 100% (Fingering – 100% Merino) Single Sock (Fingering – 100% Merino) Sock 75% (Fingering – 75/25) MCN (Fingering – 80% Merino/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon) Cotton (Fingering – 50% Cotton/50% Merino) Twist Sock (Fingering – 100% Merino) DK 115 (100% Merino) Sport (100% Merino) Kidsilk (72% Mohair/28% Silk) Availability Pre-COVID, Tot le Matin was doing dyed-to-order on a regular basis.  Shipping inconveniences have changed that for the time being.  But this yarn can still be found at many local yarn stores.  And one of my favorites, The Sated Sheep, is offering shipping discounts right now. Ease of Shopping Due to the Tot le Matin website being primarily in French, it’s not the easiest way to shop for this yarn.  Instead, try finding a retailer in your country. Shipping Costs I have not ordered directly from this dyer but shipping costs are probably going to be high if you live in the U.S.  Again, I’d look for it in a LYS in the U.S. Conclusion This yarn was delightful to knit with when I used it for the baby dress.  The cotton/wool blend was so lovely and perfect for babies or summer garments.  Lauriane’s colors are so soft and pleasant….very calming, which is something much-needed at this time.  I hope you can find this yarn; everyone should see it in person! 

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Three Irish Girls Yarn

Three Irish Girls Yarn

I saw this yarn at my LYS quite a while ago but didn’t buy any until I saw the kit for the Allie Shawl.  And I’m so glad I bought that kit!!  This is a fabulous indie yarn dyer and I can’t wait to tell you more about them! Three Irish Girls has been dying yarn since 2010 in Wisconsin. Bases This lovely yarn is offered on a large variety of bases…. Adorn Luxe – Fingering (85/15) Ennis – Fingering (80% Merino/ 10% white cashmere/ 10% nylon) Bamboo Cotton Fingering (50/50) Cavan Fingering (100% Superwash Merino) Finley Fingering (100% Superwash Merino) Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock (80% Merino/ 10% cashmere/ 10% nylon) Springvale Sock  (100% Superwash Merino) Kinsale Merino Tencel – Fingering (50% Merino/ 50% tencel) Dubliner DK (45% Merino/ 45% Baby Alpaca/ 10% Cultivated Silk) Springvale DK  (100% Superwash Merino) Adorn Sport (80/20) Cotton Rayon Sport (60% Cotton/40% Rayon) Bamboo Cotton Worsted (50/50) Cavan Worsted  (100% Superwash Merino) Springvale Worsted  (100% Superwash Merino) Springvale Bulky  (100% Superwash Merino) Cavan Lace  (100% Superwash Merino) McClellan Lace (Wool/Bamboo/Nylon) Meara Kid Mohair (86% Kid Mohair/ 14% Nylon) Shannon Silk Mohair Stellina (63% Silk/ 23% Kid Mohair/ 14% Nylon/Stellina)  Availability There is always yarn on the Three Irish Girls website.  This yarn is also popping up in more and more local yarn stores.  Their popularity is definitely increasing!   Ease of Shopping Shopping on the website is super easy.  There are still Allie Shawl kits, in a variety of colors, in case you want to make your own.  There are kits for other patterns – and patterns for sale. Shipping Costs When ordering from the Three Irish Girls website, the shipping rates are very reasonable.  I received my order very quickly, but some dyed-to-order items will obviously take longer.  Conclusion I love looking at the colorways dyed by Three Irish Girls – and can’t wait to see what they dye up next.  Follow them on Instagram to get the latest news about shop updates and new colorways.  

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Junkyarn

Junkyard

One of the many independent yarn dyers’ websites that I love to check regularly is Junkyarn’s.  This yarn has always captivated me with bright colors and lovely speckles.  And you know I’m a sucker for speckles!   Junkyarn is dyed by Kemper who is inspired by women from all around the world.  Her colorway names, such as Faionista Barbie, are as imaginative as the colors themselves. Bases Kemper has many bases on which she dyes her gorgeous colors, including… Smooth Sock (75/25) Boss Sock (80/20) Starlet 2-ply (5% Stellina) Plush MCN Fingering (80% Merino /10% Nylon /10% Cashmere) Merino DK (100% Merino) Merino Worsted (100% Merino) Burlesque Bulky (100% Merino) Bloom (90% Merino /10% Mohair) Lavish Lace (70% Mohair /30% Silk) Availability There is always something lovely for sale on the Junkyarn website.  Kemper often offers kits for popular patterns, as well.  Right now, there’s a Self-Care kit available on the site, to help you relax during this COVID crisis.   Ease of Shopping The Junkyarn website is super easy to use and the picture quality of the yarns is always very good….which is one of the many reasons I love checking the website habitually! Shipping Costs When ordering from Junkyarn, the shipping costs are very reasonable.   Conclusion I always love to see what Kemper has dyed up.  Her colors are stunning!  Be sure to follow her on social media to see what colors she dyes up and what projects she’s working on.   This is a dyer that I’ll continue to watch! 

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Yarn Dyeing Techniques

yarn

When talking about yarn, a lot of terms are used interchangeably which may cause some confusion for new knitters and crocheters.  I’m sure I’m guilty of this.  So to dispel any questions regarding how to describe yarn and the colors therein, I’m going to talk about some yarn dyeing techniques (and terms) today.  Before we start, please be forewarned that I am not a dyer or an expert in yarn.  I merely love yarn – and playing with it. Semi-Solid This is the closest thing you can come to a solid color (which is self-explanatory).  There are slight variances in color, which creates a nice depth to your finished knitted fabric, as it were.  I think of this as adding lowlights to hair color – you’re giving the color some depth. Tonal Tonals have a bit more color than semi-solid.  These bring in a slighter bigger variance of color – think high and lowlights in your hair.  A blond may have some brown and red mixed in there, but in a subtle way. Variegated Now we’re getting into some of my favorites!!  Here we have many colors mixed together on a solid base.  There is a lot of variation in these colors, hence the name, and they are often randomly dyed.     Variegated is Hedgehog Fibers, that now hugely popular Irish dyer.   Speckled Speckles!  I love speckled yarn but it’s not for everyone.  This yarn has a variety of colors in it – pops of color! – that make it vibrant and fun.   This yarn seriously makes me happy!   Self-Striping Oh my goodness!  A dye technique that has stolen my heart!  Self-striping yarn is a joy to work with.  You can knit a vanilla pattern and have a pair of socks that look like a work of art.   The dyers who make this yarn must have a lot of patience! In Closing I hope this helps to clarify the various yarn dyeing terms used by me, dyers, and knitters.  No matter what type of colorwork you like in your yarn, there is a lot to love and tons of options.  Everyone prefers something different and some dyers specialize in certain techniques.  And it’s all so beautiful!

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Knerd String

knerd string

On a yarn outing in Maine last year, I happened upon some gorgeous skeins of yarn from Knerd String, a new-to-me dyer.   I had to get some of this gorgeous yarn.  Since then, I’ve drooled over it every time I see it.  And I hope you will, too! This yarn is dyed by Renee, who lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.  Renee loves music and is often inspired by it, which shows in the names of her colorways.   Bases Renee offers some lovely bases to choose from, including… Merino Nylon Fingering (75/25) 4-Ply Fingering (100% Merino) 2-Ply Fingering (100% Merino) 2-Ply MCN Sock (80% Merino/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon) Sparkle Fingering (75% Merino/20% Nylon/5% Stellina) Merino DK (100% Merino) Sport (100% Merino) Worsted (100% Merino) Availability Knerd String is stocked in some very fine  yarn shops across the country.  This yarn is most prevalent in Colorado, as can be expected, but it’s popping up in other states, as well.   Ease of Shopping Renee’s website is easy to navigate.  She sells other goodies such as t-shirts and bags with cool slogans and designs.  Talk about multi-talented! Shipping Costs Shipping costs are very reasonable, especially now with the COVID crisis.  Be sure to follow Knerd String on social media to learn of any new products, sales, and news. Conclusion Knerd String is such a fun indie dyer!  I love watching what Renee dyes up – and designs.  Her colors are so beautiful and unique.    I hope you’ll check out the Knerd String website and look for this yarn in your LYS.  I can’t wait to see what they’ll dye up next!

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Plank and Stella

Plank and Stella

I’ve been a distant admirer of indie dyer Plank and Stella for some time.  And then, last fall, they started coming out with colors I simply could not resist.  And so now my stash of Plank and Stella has begun! This fabulously colorful yarn is dyed by Melissa in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She loves bright, neon colors and it shows! Her colorways always catch my eye and I bet they’ll catch yours, as well. Bases Plank and Stella is dyed on a variety of bases including… 2-ply Sock (80/20) 4-ply Sock (75/25) Sparkle Sock (5% Silver Stellina) MCN Twist (Fingering – 80% Superwash Merino/ 10% Cashmere/ 10% Nylon) Alpaca Silk Lace (74% Suri Alpaca/26% Silk) Mohair Silk Lace (72% Kid Mohair/28% Silk) Slub (90% Superwash Merino/ 10% Nylon) Sport (80/20) DK (100% Superwash Merino) Singly Ply Bulky (80/20) Colorways Melissa always has some new and brilliant colorways she’s dyeing up.  I can always find something to love on her website.   As mentioned before, there are an abundance of bright colors but also some very lovely solids and lightly variegated skeins.  The majority of her works of art – er, colorways – are variegated. Availability While there may not be a ton of skeins of one color, there is always something to love on the Plank and Stella website.  In fact, I often find too much to love! Ease of Shopping Melissa’s website is super easy to browse and purchase through.  I’ve never had any issues.    Shipping Costs Shipping costs are normal.  Every once in a while, Melissa has a sale so be sure to follow her on social media to get the inside scoop on those.    Conclusion If you love bright colors, you must see the yarn dyed by Melissa of Plank and Stella.  I’m sure you’ll find something in her shop that you can’t live without. I can’t wait to see what Melissa will dye up next; she’s always surprising me!   Be sure to stalk her website! 

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