There’s no denying that hand-crafted yarn is something special — a celebration of all the potential each strand of wool, lock of mohair, or tuft of alpaca holds. These yarns often feature esoteric wools bred through centuries of selection. Many of the wools are unavailable with the exceptions of small batches from local farms. The rovings they are created from feature the skilled dye work of independent fiber artists, ounce by ounce created in workshops and studios around the country and world.
Knitting with handspun yarn is an equally unique experience. The stitches reveal themselves through each pass of the needle, popping up in unexpected colors and bits of texture. Finding the perfect pattern — a blend of simple stitches and interesting features — is a favorite task of many knitters. Will the yarn’s color changes show up best in a fair isle? Are the sheen and drape best suited to delicate lace stoles or shawls? Will the cozily plied coils lend strength and warmth to a pair of socks? Could you pair the subtle, speckled stripes with a favorite solid for matching cuffs, toes, or heels?
But along with their possibilities, handspun yarns also present a few problems. They are often boutique yarns, expensive due to the amount of time and personal effort they take to produce. It’s hard to find more than one skein in a single colorway for a larger project, and very rarely can your store simply order more.
Kate and Rachel, the ladies behind Spincycle, had long offered handspun yarns for online purchase. Their company, a cottage industry business out of Bellingham, WA, is named for the combination of spinning and cycling — they use bike trailers to get their goods around the city. They put their gears to work and came up with a new type of yarn to offer. Dyed in the Wool, their result, would be a combination of the handspun qualities they loved with the producibility of commercially made yarns.
They wanted to retain the handmade feel of the wool, so solicited the help of a locally owned and operated micro mill. They chose Blue Faced Leicester wool as the base for Dyed in the Wool. This heritage wool is easily sourced, but widely versatile in knitted goods. Knit at a large gauge, their sport-weight yarn would drape beautifully with a slight halo. Worked on smaller needles, this yarn produces slightly fuzzy, glowing fabrics. Dye takes to BFL beautifully and made it an excellent candidate for richly-colored, barber-pole effects.
The colorways express the playfulness of Spincycle’s business. With names like ‘Pick Your Poison,’ ‘Payback’, ‘Devilish Grin’, and ‘Salty Dog’, these yarns are as fun to pick out as they are to knit with. Choose your favorites and watch simple stockinette change into a riot of color, transitioning from one mottled stripe to the next. Finished objects feel like a map of the knitter’s journey — unexpected pairings of color sit side by side when observed closely, but the finished object carries an overall tone.
Since it is produced on a smaller scale than most commercial yarns, each skein has small variations, making it a fun challenge to ‘match up’ a collection for a project. There is subtle thick and thin quality to the strand that creates slightly uneven stitches, lending a sense of rustica to the final fabric. It is almost addictive, watching each stitch appear with unique character, colors, and texture.
We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Spincycle’s newest creation, Dyed in the Wool. This 100% wool yarn is sure to revive your knitterly imagination — now, to start the search for a perfect pattern!