I have been really lucky to be in a position to acquire a lot of indie-dyed yarn. I live in China, where the textile industry is robust – but yet a lot of “nice” yarn is not available, because it’s sold as export only, or is of machine-knitting thinness rather than for handknitting. Or you can get the yarn, but it’s only undyed bases. Or it’s… unreliable yarn, where it says that it is a wool/alpaca blend, and then it arrives and says it’s got possum, koala, and synthetics and smells like a chemical plant (… ask me how I know).
Subsequently, I would look at purchasing skeins of yarn to knit a sweater, or a pair of socks, and – often – find that it was cheaper to buy a skein from an indie dyer from the UK, than it would be to buy the equivalent of commercial yarn from the US and have it shipped. Fun fact: it can be cheaper to order to China from Loops in the UK, or from TitiTyy in Finland, than ordering from the US!
And so it happened, that I started getting ahold of various indie dyers: a skein here, two skeins there. My mother (in the USA) goes to what we refer to as the High Holy Days (MDSW & Rhinebeck) as well as having the small Delmarva Fiber Fest nearby, and usually nabs me a skein or three from indie dyers. Sometimes, the yarns were worth waiting for, and would send me into a downright swoon when they got into my hot little hands – and sometimes they were less amazing and more lacklustre, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. I’d see a dyer posting on Instagram or Facebook or Ravelry about their new lines or colourways, and it would be impossible to get ahold of a skein for love, money, or an organ or appendage. The updates would (or are) perfect for a US or UK knitter, but end up being at 2am or 3am my time – and often I’m the most awkward, but it’s no pleasure jaunt for a knitter in Australia or Japan, either.
Now, I have a stash – I’ve hit the SABLE* point, like a “good” knitter – and I recognise that I’m privileged, and I want to give back to the knitting community. I have a lot of dyers from the UK and the US that ‘the other side of the pond’ are curious about, and even dyers from Indonesia, Germany and the Netherlands that no one has heard about and I am head over heels in love with. This is a chance for me to share my experiences, both in purchasing the yarn as well as working with it, for others – who may not be able to get the yarn without some effort or frustration – to decide if it’s right for them.
So: this is for you, O Reader. This is for you, trying to decide if this self-striping 80/20 is worth paying international shipping for, or a sweater quantity from an indie dyer across the Pond for That Worsted Weight Sweater Haunting Your Dreams. These skeins are all designated for projects anyway (all ones with intent), so what is going to be coming across this blog will be swatches linked to projects (I’m not in a position to buy yarn just to swatch it and not knit a project!). Please let me know the kind of information you want to see; I can’t guarantee I can do it, but I can do my best.
If there’s a particular dyer you’d like to see me cover, please leave a comment here (or on one of the other posts) and let me know! No promises if it’s not in my stash, but I will see what I can do.
*SABLE: Stash Achieved Beyond Life Expectancy.