Just because I spin yarn doesn’t mean I have stopped buying commercially spun yarn. No way! I love using all types of yarn, handspun is my favorite, but carefully sourced and spun smaller batch yarns are a close second. Some folks call these farm to needle yarn, I call them spinner-worthy.
To me a spinner-worthy yarn has a few specific things that make it a yarn worth looking at. It’s really the main things that I think about when I spin a yarn: the fiber and where it comes from, the spinning process – is it woolen or worsted spun (and I love to know about the mill), and intention in the ply to complement the other components for the widest variety of projects.
It’s also about the people. These yarns always have the best people behind them. People who put thought and care into the yarn, the sheep, and their employees. Many of these yarns can be only bought directly from the folks that make them, but not all. You might be surprised how many of the yarns in your LYS are spinner-worthy.
I’ll be highlighting spinner-worthy yarns here and on my own blog. Let me know if you know a yarn you’d like me to consider featuring.
Liverpool Yarns is Colleen Puckett, Erika Flory and a flock of Shetland sheep. Yes, that’s right Liverpool
Yarns is 100% Shetland. The fiber is sourced from their own flock and selected UK Shetland fiber. The yarn comes in three weights fingering, worsted and chunky. The women of Liverpool Yarns were kind enough to send me one skein of each weight, and I chose the worsted to swatch.
The colors of Liverpool Yarns are all natural Shetland colors, they get variation in color by mixing the different browns, creams and greys, as well as having a yarn marled in the ply. The effect is a wide variety of earthy tones that pair wonderfully with each other. The color I knit is Bramble, a mixture of a brown-grey and dark brown. The colors were blended with a light hand in the preparation and that gives it a great tweedy look.
The yarn is a 2-ply, worsted spun, and is quite squishy. There is no excess lanolin in the yarn, it wasn’t sticky at all. The ply is just enough, maybe a step to the light side. My knitting needles did find their way between the plies a couple of times. But I will take that light ply over a tighter one if it helps to give me, light springy yarn which this is. There was hay still in the yarn, which I don’t mind at all; it mostly fell out while I was knitting.
The knitted fabric is so good. Before I was done knitting, I was muttering ,”I want a sweater”. The grist is about 770 yards per pound. I would need about 9 skeins to make a plain-vanilla cardigan, which is a two-pound sweater, average weight.
The yarn bloomed a little after a blocking soak. I really like how the randomness of the color blending makes a tweedy fabric that is not uniform. I could just wear it next to my skin, but would wear it more often with a layer between sweater and skin. The swatch is sturdy but not prickly. It feels like fabric that would last. I can imagine it being one of those cardigans that goes everywhere with me. I wouldn’t have to be concerned if it fell on the ground or lived for a week or two in the messy back seat of my car. I could stuff it in my carry on and it would spring to life when I needed to wear it, and both knitters and spinners would want to touch it.
Jillian is the author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts.
She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing.
Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com