Today's the first in a blog series I've been excited to prepare and now to share–the Yarn Crawl! As editor of Knitcircus, I'm always on the lookout for gorgeous yarns for our designers and readers and have decided to do an ongoing investigation with you into some of the best independent yarns available.
The Yarn Crawl will let me share an in-depth review with you, including a Clara-Parkes-inspired sample knit and stories of the yarns and their inspirations from the creators themselves. Jessie of Phat Fiber Sample Box hooked me up with Dale from Light Brown Hare, our first independent dyer. She sent a mouthwatering skein of her Three Hares yarn in the Beetle colorway (the colors in Dale's pics are truer than mine here).
Dale tells us about the yarn and her store:
I am very excited by the yarn I use for my Three Hares line. The
mill where I purchase my yarn recently added this base to their lineup and it's
unlike anything else they have. It's very smooth and has almost a matte
appearance from a distance due to the many fine plies making up the
construction. Seen up close and personal, however, the sheen of the merino
becomes apparent and the yarn takes on an incredible subdued glow. Add this to
how saturated the color can appear, and the durability of the many fine plies
and I can't praise this yarn enough. It can be slightly splitty because of the
fine plies, especially worked at very tight sock gauge, but I can't think of
anything better for gloves worked up on a US#1 or 2.
In addition to the Three Hares, Dale offers other yarns and weights: "The Jackrabbit line is my "go to" yarn. It is
an incredibly bouncy fingering weight 2-ply superwash merino." You can also find Artic Hare, Mountain Hare and spinning fiber in her store currently.
Her dye process:
I'm an immersion
dyer; I very rarely if ever hand paint the dye onto the yarn. My colorways are
achieved by sending the skeins through more than one pass of color. I do this
as many as nine times for each skein of yarn, in lots of 1-3 skeins per pot. It
is time consuming and each new colorway is a bit of an adventure. But the extra
time and effort is so very worth it when I pull out a skein that may appear
semi-solid but has incredible tone on tone depth, or a vividly variegated skein
that has an uncountable range of hues. I call it fingerpainting on fiber
because it is not very precise, but painting in watercolors might be a more
accurate analogy. I am also very pleased that all my yarn is locally spun
yarn. I plan to expand into locally produced spinning fiber in the near
Why Light Brown Hare?
The name of my
shop is an obscure reference to my common username (djinnj on Ravelry and my
original etsy shop name) and an old Looney Tunes cartoon, where Bugs Bunny
rhapsodizes about Jeannie, the light brown hare. It made sense to use the theme
of hares throughout the shop although I do have some people wonder if my yarn
actually has angora in it, which none at this time does.
Sample Sent–and Knit!
The generously-sized sample skein she sent is in the Taiga colorway, which Dale describes as ," A deep green, shading to almost black shot through
with lighter flashes in peach and yellow and brighter green."
I have to admit that green, especially such a deep zucchini-skin shade, wouldn't be my first choice of colors, but as I worked with this swatch I found myself mesmerized by the rich tones revealing pops of color; my DH, sitting next to me on the couch, was drawn in, too, and commented that he'd like to see more yarn in this colorway. He even hinted that he would wear it himself. Just working this swatch had me re-thinking what started to appear an unfair bias against this appealing hue.
The swatch I worked includes garter, cables and lace; started on a US size four needle; it changes to a five, then six. The yarn held its stitch definition at every size and could easily go small for a sock pattern or up to a seven to nine or ten for more open lace. The simple garter and stockinette really showed off the color variations; the cables aren't as visible form a distance, but when viewed close up (as when knitting), I found them very satisfying, As Dale says, the merino holds a nice round shape when worked that allows knit/purl and cable patterns to shine, and makes the yarnovers in lace very open and visible.I didn't notice any striping or color pooling in my sample.
One of our designers has already snapped up the Beetle skein for a design in our Fall issue, and I can't wait to see it.
Thanks so much to Dale for creating such mouthwatering yarn, for letting me swatch it like crazy and for making the first Yarn Crawl happen.
Have a great weekend, everyone! We're planning on enjoying some sunshine and getting our pansies and lettuce planted. Also making cinnamon bread.