We’re always excited about a new yarn launch with one of our favorite dyers, and Alpha B’s new yarn, Kiwi B, is no exception! I chatted with Anne Morrow about this new addition to her lineup, what projects will be perfect, and what sets it apart from the other yarns on our shelves.
Tell us about your newest yarn, Kiwi B. How does it fit into your existing line?
Kiwi B is 100% New Zealand Polwarth in a DK weight. I was looking for an additional DK weight yarn but wanted to offer something a little different than the standard merino but still a yarn with the soft hand. I added the BFL DK last year and the people I work with in the UK sent me a sample of Polwarth when it became available. After dyeing it, knitting with it and having friends knit with it I knew I had found a winner. The yarn dyes beautifully producing a deep and rich color I like. It’s a smooth yarn as it is spun worsted and has a bit of luster due to the Lincoln sheep used in the development of the breed.
How did you source the Polwarth for this yarn?
I receive the yarn from the supplier I work with in the UK. They source the fiber and send Polwarth top sliver to be spun in Italy to their specifications. The Kiwi B is spun worsted, offering a denser yarn than a woolen spun one. It’s necessary that I offer a consistent, quality yarn, and I’m pleased with what I’ve been able to get from this supplier.
Polwarth is a great wool, but one that our readers might not be familiar with. What do you love about this breed and what makes it different from other wools you’ve used?
Polwarth sheep were developed in Australia as a dual-purpose sheep, able to thrive in diverse climates, such as high rainfall areas (not always suitable for Merinos). Originally, Saxon Merino rams would breed to Lincoln ewes. Through selective breeding the Polwarth was born. Saxon Merinos are a small sheep known for producing what many consider the finest wool of the four strains found in Australia. The introduction of the long wool Lincoln to the Saxon gave Polwarth a slight luster and durability. Polwarth is now considered 75% Saxon Merino and 25% Lincoln. It’s a large sheep and the micron count is around 22–25. The Polwarth was introduced to NZ during the 1930s and these sheep are now found in North America, Australia and South America too. In South America the breed is named “Ideal.”
What are some projects you think this yarn would be perfect for?
Kiwi B is suitable for accessories, sweaters and any project where you would use a merino yarn.