Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

I decided to take part in the second annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. That means that along with lots of other members of the knitting and crochet community, I'm committing to posting every day for a week about a predetermined topic related to fiber arts. It's going to be fun to see what everyone has to say.

Today's Topicc: Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

This is a tough topic for me. I can count on one hand the number of yarns I've worked with in the last eight years that aren't Lorna's Laces. I'm not sure whether that makes me biased or just uninformed about what's out in the world. Probably a little of both. So I've decided to talk about two yarns from a dyeing perspective rather than a knitting perspective.

The first yarn(s) I'll talk about is our Shepherd line. There are four yarns here and I could pick just one, but from a dyeing POV, they are just different weights of the same yarn so I'll lump them all together.

The Shepherds are superwash merino and are a dream to dye. First of all, wool likes dye. They are fast friends and like to hang out together. Next, making a yarn superwash lowers its pH. That lower pH lets the yarn drink up the dye. The combination of the two is like ladies night at the local VFW...every goes home happy.

On the other end of the spectrum in the land of Lorna's Laces is Pearl. Pearl is a silk/bamboo blend and truly a luxurious yarn. But, it's not as friendly as the Shepherd yarns. For one thing, since bamboo comes from a plant (cellulose) rather than an animal (protein), we have to treat this yarn differently than all the other yarns here at Lorna's Laces. It marches to a different drummer and insists upon "me" time.

In addition to the differences in processing, Pearl doesn't like to accept dye the same way. While I wouldn't necessarily say she's a teetotaler, she drinks dye slowly and doesn't absorb it as readily. Her temperance provides some differences. The colors are more subtle, less vibrant. There's also a little sheen to the yarn which is nice.

So two yarns that are very different. I'd say I like them both, but for different reasons and different applications. The Shepherd yarns are soft as can be and easy care. They are appropriate for a really wide range of applications. Pearl is denser and is going to make a weightier garment. I think of small projects, some open work or maybe something with negative ease.

The quick snap above shows Pearl at the top and Shepherd Worsted at the bottom. They are both dyed in 310 Catalpa.


JelliDonut said...

If you have perfection at your fingertips, why would you look for anything else? Great yarns!

Robin said...

This really helped me learn about the yarns I use and why the colors look so different even if they are the same. Thanks from a loyal LL user.

Sunrise Knitter said...

Very Interesting. Thanks for the education.