I think perhaps the hardest thing I do is try and figure out whether to add a new yarn to the line or not. Over the last two days we've received a plethora of yarn samples. There must have been at least 30 of them.
Eliminating some yarns is easy. The dye process we use only works for protein fibers. For the most part protein=animal. Wool, mohair, angora, silk and the like. Soy also fits into that category and for some reason we can do a certain amount with bamboo but it takes the dye a little differently. The other big category is cellulose fibers. Those are the plant based fibers like cotton and linen. So for us, if it's not a protein fiber, we take a pass.
The next thing I take into consideration is whether or not it's too much like something we already have. I'm probably not going to bring in another superwash worsted when our Shepherd Worsted is one of our bestsellers.
Then I look to see if I think it's a "good fit". Lorna's Laces has historically been about classic yarns in fabulous colors. We've never dyed novelty yarns or "fancies". Even if they were the height of fashion right now, I don't think that's the direction I'd go. So anything sparkly is out.
Then there's the "do we like it?" test. Would we want to knit with it, wear it, give it as a gift? Does it feel good? Is the price point reasonable? Is it interesting?
Practicality is another factor. Does it shed? Will it pill? Will it dye nicely?
So now we have a yarn we like. Next we have to decide if what weight we want it in. Will it be best as a worsted or DK? Do we need a nice bulky? What about lace weight?
Of the bunch, there are two or three that look kind of interesting. One is a mulberry silk/angora blend. It is soft as can be. We like soft.
There was also a merino/bamboo blend that might make a nice sock yarn. Good tight twist and I liked the way it took the dye. It dyed a little differently than our regular yarns, but nice. A little heathery. I worry that there are already a zillion sock yarns out there. Does the world need another one from Lorna's Laces?
The last thing that caught my eye was a silk/bamboo blend. It had a fantastic sheen. It seemed like it might want to be lace weight.
Then to add a wrench to the works, I got a note about a half hour ago from another mill that has some organic samples that he sending. I like that idea too!
So, what's a girl to do? I'd look in my crystal ball, but it's all full of wool and I can't see a thing!