Product Updates: Dye Skeins for Cedar Creek | Over blended Jamaica
So here we go again….
We have received our newest order of Jamaica merino/tussah and it has been over blended. It is now available at a discount. As you can see from the photo below, this over blended Jamaica overdyes beautifully! We are working to process a new batch of Jamaica merino/tussah.
In our last shipment of Cedar Creek Yarn (Superwash BFL) we found a few cones that had one or two small spots of blue dye on the bottom of the cone. From lemons to lemonade, these cones have been put into 4 oz (115 gm) 330yds skeins. We have approximately 20 lbs of these skeins. These are perfect skeins for dye trials and knit testing. Not every skein has a spot on it. Once we skeined the yarn, it was difficult to go back and find the skeins that have the spots on them. We are offering these skeins at a discount for this limited batch. These are not listed on the website, if interested in purchasing please call or make a ‘comment’ on your order.
Have you ever looked for the answer to a fiber or yarn question only to find you don’t understand the answer? The fiber industry might not have as much jargon as other industries, but there are some terms and processes you should know. Ashland Bay is trying to help make sense of this crazy fiber world with answers to a few questions we receive on the regular!
What does ecru mean?
One way to describe the term ecru is the natural color of the fiber as it comes off the animal. In our world, ecru means undyed not white. Therefore, both our Blue Face Leicester Wool Top and Black Blue Face are ecru, but both are not white. We borrow the word ecru from the French, where it translates to ‘raw’ or ‘unbleached.’
What does unconditioned yarn mean? And how does this affect the yarn?
Unconditioned yarn is yarn that has not been washed or steamed since it has been plied. Most Ashland Bay yarns arrive in this state. Tension is used when spinning fibers into yarn which can leave the yarn looking flat and limp. Some fibers also require added spinning oil to control the static when spinning.
How do I condition my yarn?
Washing (also referred to as scouring) the yarn before knitting removes the spinning oil and relaxes the fibers. Conditioning changes the look of your yarn by evening the twist and increasing the diameter of the yarn. We suggest letting your yarn soak in warm, (gentle) soapy water for about 20 minutes. Rinse, squeeze out excess water and let completely dry. As you can see from the photo, conditioning greatly affects the yarn. If you are dyeing the yarn, it will be conditioned during the dyeing process.
Pictured: the skein on the left is unconditioned and the right skein has been washed and dried.
If you have two skeins of the exact same yarn from different orders, and one looks drastically smaller and flatter, try conditioning the skeins. Wool is like a sponge. In its natural state 18.25% of wool’s weight is water and it can absorb a lot more moisture. Our yarns from Peru are spun at high altitude with very little humidity and then press packed for shipping. If you receive a yarn that has just arrived to our warehouse, it will be noticeably thin and flat. Once the yarn is released from the press pack in our warehouse the wool will start to absorb the moisture from the air and start to relax and fill out. Washing and drying the skeins will give both yarns to the same look.
New Shetland Product!
We are pleased to announce a new introduction to our line; Medium Grey Shetland Wool. This is a companion to our Shetland Moorit wool. We just received a new shipment of Shetland Moorit, and it’s by far the best we’ve offered! Both wools are Shetland Wools, grown on the Shetland Islands. As you can see from the picture below, both can be beautifully overdyed.
Don’t miss our introductory sale on 22lb bumps of Grey Shetland and Shetland Moorit! Sale prices available until April 30th!
Product Review: Carbon Fiber Knitting Needles
I have a particular weakness for handcrafted spinning and knitting tools. I have recently come across Newhouse carbon fiber knitting needles that are an absolute joy to knit with! The fine pointed tip initially drew me to them. After knitting a few rows, I was hooked. There is more to these carbon needles than a super tip. The yarn glides smoothly along the needle and the stitches show themselves very clearly against the black needles.
Pictured above: Ashland Bay’s Cedar Creek on Carbon Fiber needles.
The advantages of Carbon Fiber needles:
1. Strength. They will not break like wood and they do not bend like metal, especially in the small sizes.
3.Perfect combination of slip and grip. They are not cold and slippery like metal needles and not as grabby as wood or bamboo needles.
The advantages of Newhouse Carbon Fiber Needles are long taper for smoother knitting. Each point is hand ground and polished. They make them with a fine point that doesn’t dull like wood points can. The fine hand polished tips keep the yarn moving smoothly, and the slightly grabbier shaft keeps your stitches from sliding off the needles. But best of all is their ability to make custom lengths from 3” up to 48”, and will even dull the tips if one prefers. The carbon fiber used in these needles is made in the USA.
They have size US size 0, 1, 3, 5, 7 available now in double points and straights. 00, 000, 0000 will be available by mid April. The straight needles have Fresh water pearls set with Swarovski crystals…oh so pretty on the black needles! Click here to find Newhouse carbon fiber needles!
Bast Bamboo vs Viscose type Bamboo
While both products are 100% bamboo, bast and viscose have a dramatically different look and feel.
To borrow from one of our previous blog posts about dyeing bamboo, the viscose type bamboo, or regenerated cellulose bamboo fiber, is the bamboo most people are familiar with. The production process is similar to paper production. The bamboo is ground into a pulp and then extruded through a spinneret. The spinneret forms the pulp into long strands which harden into the fibers. We have definitely given you the simplified version here. If you are interested in learning more, this is an excellent blog post about the manufacturing process of viscose rayon, which is almost identical to viscose bamboo. Viscose bamboo has a very soft lustrous look much like tencel and silk.
The bast bamboo process is very similar to the retting process used for flax production. The Handspinner’s Handbook by Bette Hochberg tells us that “bast fibers are taken from the center stalk of the plant. They are long fibrous strands found between the outer bark and inner core of the stem.” Bast bamboo has a similar feel to flax and linen and can be used in many of the same applications. Bast bamboo feels courser than viscose but softens with each wash and wear. Bast bamboo is ideal for creating light weight garments, and many choose to use bast for weaving because of its strength. One last great thing about bast bamboo is that it is less expensive to produce than synthetics and a renewable resource. For more information about bast bamboo please visit: http://bastfibersllc.com/home.html.
Pictured below: Viscose bamboo on the right, bast on the left.
100% Product of USA
We searched far and wide to find you the next Ashland Bay yarn! And where did we end up? Practically in our own backyard! Our new Targhee yarns are 100% domestically raised and spun; 100% products of USA.These products qualify under NAFTA which allows them to be shipped to Canada duty free.
We are very excited to be able to offer you these two new exceptionally wonderful yarns. Not only is the yarn domestically raised and spun, but the breed itself was developed in the US at the Experimental Sheep Station in Dubois, Idaho in the mid 1900’s.
Introducing Dakota and Montana
These yarns have the soft springy hand that Targhee wool is so well known for. They accept the dyes quickly and effortlessly with captivating results.
Dakota: This 3 ply worsted yarn is 1120 yds/lb and available in 250 gm skeins.
Montana: This robust 4 ply bulky weight yarn is 840 yds/lb and available in 250 gm skeins
The picture below shows how beautifully the Dakota takes dye!
WIN FREE YARN!!
As we gear up for another round of yarn introductions, we want to give everyone a chance to win FREE YARN! Ashland Bay looks all over the world to bring you the best products available. Head over to Ashland Bay’s Facebook page and tell us where you think our new yarns are sourced from. The new yarns will be introduced and winners will be selected at random on Thursday, March 7th. Winners will receive a 250 gram skein!
Felting with Silk Hankies
Today we are going to help solve that problem of what to do with Silk Hankies. Silk hankies and merino wool felted together make a gossamer scarf that weights almost nothing and yet provides wonderful warmth and a great spark of color!
In addition to your hankies and merino you will need:
- 6 feet of bubble wrap that is approximately 1 foot wide
- 5 nylon ties each about 1 foot long
- dish soap
- 1 foam pool noodle (you can cut your noodle to around 14 inches to make it easier to work with)
- 1 old bed sheet or piece of fabric ripped to the size of your bubble wrap
I started out with less than 0.5 oz of silk hankies and less than 0.75 oz of wool. The finished weight of the scarf is just shy of 1 oz. The shrinkage on this project was minimal. I lost about half an inch in width and about 1 inch in length.
First, lay out your bubble wrap on a sturdy surface. Next, carefully peel the silk hankie bundle into cobweb thin squares and lay them on the bubble wrap.
Since I wanted a scalloped edge to this scarf, I laid the sheer silk hankies at a diagonal to each other. If you want a straight edge to your scarf, lay the squares right next to each other. Now you are ready to add some more color!
In my project I wanted two colors of merino to contrast with my silk hankies. You, of course, can choose as many color combinations as you want! Lay a thin layer of each of the colors of merino wool over your silk hankies. Finally top with another layer of stretched silk hankies. Top your silk and wool with a piece of fabric. Sprinkle your scarf-to-be with some warm soapy water. You want all of the wool to be damp but no puddles.
Now comes the real work. Take the foam noddle and place it at one end. Start rolling your scarf around the foam until all the bubble wrap is around the noodle. Take your nylon ties and secure the scarf and wrap.
Roll up your sleeves and start applying pressure! This step works best if you are standing. Roll the scarf wrapped foam along the table by applying pressure from your forearms. This can take some time! Completely unroll your scarf and check your progress. You can remove the piece of fabric at this time. Take the noodle and rewrap from the other end of the scarf. This insures even felting. When the fiber has felted to a point where it does not move around or pull away from the scarf you can start tossing the scarf on the table to finish it off! Rinse and dry. To make that silk really shine, iron your dried scarf on the silk setting. Wear and enjoy!!
New Yarns and Fibers to fuel your imagination!
Introducing Cedar Creek: a Superwash Blue Face Leicester wool yarn. This 3 ply yarn has been spun to the same specs as the La Grande, one of our longest running yarn bases. The gauge on this fingering weight yarn is 6-7 sts/in knit on US needle size 0-2. The luster of this yarn is intensified in the dye pot creating unsurpassed color. This yarn is available on approximately 3.4 lb cones.
Introducing Umpqua Yarn: 75% Superwash merino / 15%nylon / 10% tencel sock yarn. We have had this yarn for about a month, but we don’t feel that it received a proper introduction! This 4 ply yarn has been spun to the same specs as our Clackamas yarn. Umpqua has a nice twist for strength and durability and shows great stitch definition for cables and bobbles. The nylon adds additional elasticity for a great fit on foot and calf. This yarn is available on approximately 3.4 lb cones.
Just a side note: Although the Umpqua is a beautiful river in Oregon, we think of it fondly as the Rice Hill exit on I-5 with the 64 flavors of Umpqua Ice cream. Those who travel on I-5 know what we are talking about!
We want to remind you about our newest fiber special
Yak/cultivated silk (50/50)- This top is beautifully prepared for easy spinning.
The blend on the left is the yak/silk and the blend on the right is the cashmere/silk. Think of the possibilities in dyeing and combing these 2 blends into one fabulous yarn or garment.
So I know we said our next post would be about felting silk hankies…but who can resist a GIVE AWAY?!
I know we have said this a lot lately, but we really are excited about our new yarns! This Thursday we will be introducing 2 new sock yarns. To be entered into a drawing for a free 4oz skein of one of our new yarns, head over to Ashland Bay’s Facebook page and tell us, how many socks have you knit?!