Special Yarn Preview:
While most designers make do with what yarn companies give them or publishers assign them, Carol Sunday wasn't satisfied. An artist, she wanted to create her own ideal tools. So she went to Italy and had her dream yarns milled to her exact specifications. Not one yarn, but four—each of which has slightly different fiber compositions but knits up at the same gauge for easy interoperability.
This yarn doesn't come in a few standard colors, but in a ripe garden of 42 hues that flow in such an inviting and organic manner that you feel you are being pulled through spring, summer, autumn, and winter in one breathtaking moment.
The Sunday Knits Concept
Just four yarns make up the Sunday Knits offering. All are milled in Italy, and together they provide a palette of 42 colors that knit up at a fine gauge of 24 to 26 stitches per 4 inches on US 4 to 5 needles. Such a fine gauge and incredible color range make these yarns ideal for colorwork. As you'll see, Carol gave a slightly different fiber composition to each of the four yarns, which gives subtle differences to your finished fabric.
All the yarns have an extra fine Merino base to them. It has a soft if somewhat dry, cottony hand that's similar to other ultra-processed Merinos—not a hint of barnyard here.
All yarns are available in three-ply form, and some are also available in a plumper, sturdier five-ply version as well.
Put-up is in 50 gram skeins holding approximately 246 yards or 225 meters; as well as 20 gram skeins with approximately 98 yards or 90 meters. Prices vary slightly.
Meet the Yarns
We begin with Eden, which I consider to be the foundation yarn of the Sunday Knits line. It is made of 100% extra fine Merino wool and priced at $7.50 and $3.95 per 50g and 20g skein, respectively. The yarn has a plump, dry hand and a hint of tamed restraint that is usually caused by residual oils from the spinning process. I can only imagine how the fibers will bloom with washing and wearing.
To give a little more subtlety to the same Merino, Sunday added a tweed version called Brigadoon. Tweed is usually spun woolen from heartier fibers that were dyed first and then carded and spun together. But this tweed is created from worsted-spun yarn fibers in which tiny slubs were allowed to slip into the twist. A few of the colors are composed from plies of different colors, which gives more of a marled effect. Brigadoon is priced at $7.75 and $4.25 per 50g and 20g skein, respectively. It also has the same dry, plump hand as Eden.
Next comes the aptly named Nirvana, a blend of 92% extra fine Merino and 8% premium cashmere. The usual rule of thumb is that you need at least 25 to 30 percent of a fiber in a mix before you'll really start to feel it. Cashmere is such a fine fiber that you still get a good amount of fibers in that 8%, although I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between this yarn and Eden in a blind test. This yarn is priced at $8.95 and $4.75 per 50g and 20g skein, respectively.
Finally, the yarn that makes my heart go pitter-pat, the also aptly named Angelic. Made of 75% extra fine Merino and 25% angora, it has enough angora to represent itself in a delicate halo that just gets better and better after you wash the finished garment. Knit a little more tightly, this yarn would be a suitable contemporary yarn for Bohus projects, although the traditional yarn used by the Bohus Stickning knit up at 8.5 to 9 stitches per inch and had 50% angora in it.
The View from 3,000 Feet
All of these yarns are very soft, itch-free, and entirely suited for next-to-skin wear. They provide a beautiful palette of colors and beg to be used for Fair Isle or perhaps a warm pair of traditional Latvian mittens.
These are primarily yarns that you'll buy for your own chosen projects—pattern support is very limited. Carol offers kits for five of her own patterns, with more promised. Because this yarn is only available directly from Carol, you'll also miss out on any pattern or technical support you may usually get from your LYS.
The only drawback is that you aren't going to be able to see and touch your yarns before you buy. Sunday Knits yarns are currently available only through Sunday Knits, and Carol has no immediate plans to offer her yarns wholesale. Her prices are low, and I'm guessing that she's selling her yarns without the markup that your LYS would need to add if they'd purchased these yarns wholesale.
I imagine the wholesale issue may come up one day, because a business can only grow so much when its sales are limited to one outlet. It's also possible that these yarns may become so successful that Carol is unable to keep up with demand without scaling up her business to a degree she never intended.
But it's also possible that Carol will be content to play in her own studio with her own beautiful yarns, sharing them only with people who come directly to her. She'll preserve her own creative freedom and integrity and maybe even serve as a model for other designers and LYS owners, showing what can happen if you bottle your own.
Reviewed September 4, 2008