I got a call last night from an alpaca pal who needed 3 skeins of her yarn dyed a certain shade of pink to make something for a super secret event that you will hear about later. But trust me, this has to be good. But I've become the dyeing expert in these parts, and I knew just what colours to mix to get exactly what she was looking for. So here's how that process went - I'll tell you right now, the dyeing was the easy part...
First we start with the raw product - a heavy worsted weight ivory that's 85% alpaca and 15% merino. Full disclosure: This was NOT produced at our mill. The mill involved is known for a super fast turn around time and so my pal thought she'd try it out. They also do a lovely Lopi yarn - and we don't do lopi style here. Anyway, here's how it started:
Then after I added the yarn to the dyebath (I also have some beige yarn in there - to help keep the colour from getting too dark)
After the dye has processed and the yarn is cool it goes into a rinse bath. This is the cotton candy pink my pal was looking for.
The colour is right - but that's about it. Skeins are tied (at our mill and most others I know of) using a looping knot that won't slip or give way during the skein winding, or dyeing process. It's how we tie every skein of yarn. I made the mistake of not pulling on the skein ties to make sure they were secure. So when I puled the skeins out of the pot - I had 3 skeins of pink spaghetti that I now get to untangle. But that isn't the worst of it. Looking carefully I can see repetitive slub like irregularities in the yarn.Instead of being smooth, the yarn has a ropey feel. I brought it across to the mill and had Sheryl and Tara take a look and it has a number of issues - improperly spun - too much twist, and improperly plied with too much tension. In addition the fibre quality should not have been put into this particular weight of yarn. It's a reminder of why it's important to understand the potential of different grades of fibre - this would have made a very nice 2 ply chunky or bulky weight yarn (minus the horrible tension and twist issues) but trying to stretch it into a 3 ply worsted is fighting the fibre every step of the way. Yes you can do it - but the results won't make you happy. I feel bad. I have to tell my pal that this is sub-standard yarn - and I checked other skeins she has from the same place - it's a widespread issue. I just put this yarn on the shelves at the market and now I'll have to pull it. This can not be sold as first grade yarn beside our other product. While there are projects where this kind of "novelty texture" isn't a problem - the average customer won't be pleased with this yarn - and may not ever buy from us again. SO now I have 3 200 yd skeins of pink spaghetti to untangle.
I decided the only think to do was head out and clean up the barn and spend some quality alpaca time.
Archer understands my pain.
Add to the day drafting the new by-laws for our not for profit corporation (10 pages of legalese) because the now dismissed former treasurer didn't bother to do so (and is now claiming we can't remove her because we have no bylaws...) and getting ready for income tax preparation, and you have my day in a nutshell. Talk about your March madness...