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 Catskill Merino
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Clara
queen bee

USA
4406 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2010 :  7:13:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We wool folks are always on the lookout for a new "supplier," someone raising really great fiber animals. We always want to know who's doing what, who got which fleece where, and how we can get our hands on it. Which is why I was so excited to meet Eugene Wyatt at the last NY State Sheep & Wool Festival. He happens to raise one of the largest Saxon Merino flocks in the United States, based on pure bloodlines that he imported from Australia. These are the cream of the Merino crop, and it made me weak at the knees to imagine such a flock living so close to where we were standing that very day.

Eugene sent me a large box of his yarns to swatch, and after many months of stitching and sniffing and pondering, I am thrilled to finally give the yarns their due in this week's Knitter's Review. I hope you enjoy!

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher

Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4397 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2010 :  7:36:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clara, I'd barely made it through your review before I placed my order. I just had to have some Indigo worsted, and some natural 2 ply lace, too. It looks scrumptious! I'm also looking forward to getting to know the farm through Eugene Wyatt's blog. Thank you for another wonderful newsletter!

Jane

Betty needs a warm hat: Support KR
Blog: Not Plain Jane
Photos: My Flickr Album
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sprboston
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2010 :  8:22:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit sprboston's Homepage  Send sprboston a Yahoo! Message Send sprboston a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, my, OH MY...I want this yarn! I think I'm gonna get this yarn!

Sean
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love2knit
New Pal

5 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  01:27:26 AM  Show Profile Send love2knit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just a note to let anyone planning to see this yarn at the Union Street Farmers' Market. the market is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It isn't open on Sundays.
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Marie
Chatty Knitter

347 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  04:22:21 AM  Show Profile Send Marie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clara, you have done this before: answered my question-of-the-week with your newsletter. Thank you! I have been looking for a wool suitable for a sleep mask (to keep out those pesky sunrise rays) and this stuff is just the yarn for the job. Just so I wouldn't miss the hint, you wrote it is "the kind of material you'd want against your skin when you sleep" and "doughy pillows of softness"...I get it, I get it. Now I gotta get it. (BTW, I encountered the yarn at the Union Square market this winter, and the softness is unbelievable--I was forced to bury my face in some of the hanging hanks, causing my sister to walk away from me in embarassment. I didn't buy any that night as we were headed out for the evening, and lugging a couple of hanks of yarn to dinner and a sporting event would have embarassed her even more...but I think I'll make her a sleep mask, too, by way of explanation for my behavior...)
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annababi
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  04:43:48 AM  Show Profile Send annababi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Though the market is open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Eugene Wyatt is only ther on Saturdays from 8am to 6pm
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marfa
Permanent Resident

USA
2084 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  06:32:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit marfa's Homepage Send marfa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How do.

Clara, another faboo review of an exciting new yarn - thank you! It sounds wonderful.

Martha

http://marfasmewsings.blogspot.com
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cathy moore
New Pal

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  08:02:23 AM  Show Profile Send cathy moore a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What a great review! I could feel it just reading your words. Also, it gives us an important chance to support a man who is hard working and dedicated to his craft, rather than just another big company. These independent people need to have our support and our admiration for "walking the walk" of responsible living. Namaste.
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2totangle
Permanent Resident

1212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  08:54:05 AM  Show Profile Send 2totangle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Love the review, love Eugene Wyatt's blog, and I'm so intrigued by the yarn. Thanks, Clara.

Suzanne

Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2totangle/
Ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/2totangle

"If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats." Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window
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Whoopdedo
New Pal

USA
13 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  10:00:57 AM  Show Profile Send Whoopdedo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
SOLD! Count me in...wish I could visit Eugene's farm.Now I wait for a sweet gift (to myself) coming my way.
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JulyGrrl


USA
Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  10:31:56 AM  Show Profile Send JulyGrrl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I loved everything I learned from your review and from Eugene's amazing website and blog. However, I just looked up the yarn on Ravelry, and nearly everyone who purchased dyed yarn said that the dry yarn stains the hands and needles badly and that it is necessary to wash the skeins PRIOR to knitting with them, as washing the FO after knitting will cause the finished gauge to be way off. As a resident of CT, not far from the home of Farmhouse Yarns, I have read from Carol Martin's website that properly dyed yarns should not release dye, and certainly not to this degree. Her early yarns were also full of burrs and veggie matter, and she has eliminated several yarn lines and replaced them with softer, slightly less rustic yarns due to customer comments over the years. I'd be very interested in trying the Catskill merino in undyed form, and I most certainly wish I could visit the farm, as Eugene is doing a huge service in educating the public as well as in living an amazingly mindfullife. I would be very interested in a follow-up review, Clara, based on the dyed samples that you received from Eugene. If the dye indeed is not fixed well, perhaps that is customer feedback that they would value receiving?

Anyway, thanks for the most interesting review in ages. I learned so much from it!
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BlueStocking
Sustaining Member

USA
945 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  10:55:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit BlueStocking's Homepage Send BlueStocking a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, my. Want.

Love Saxon Merino, and I've only ever had the opportunity to feel it once, when I was lucky enough to score a fleece from Australia. Too long ago. Seriously might need to buy some yarn (curses) because, once again, I obviously do not have enough and my stash is lacking.

And thanks for the link to his blog, too. I look forward to reading it.


Jennifer

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

Yarns and Rare Spinning Fibers from Spirit Trail Fiberworks: http://www.spirit-trail.net
Blog: http://TheSpiritTrail.blogspot.com
"SpiritTrail" on Flickr and Ravelry

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Chayah
Permanent Resident

1927 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  11:52:32 AM  Show Profile Send Chayah a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is very exciting - they are only about an hour from here - can't wait to visit to see the beautiful sheep and yarn. Thank you for this information, Chayah in NY

"Each breath really is a new beginning of the rest of our lives." Jon Kabat-Zinn
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Whoopdedo
New Pal

USA
13 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  1:41:41 PM  Show Profile Send Whoopdedo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just had to come back and thank you Clara,for discovering,and sharing this fabulous website. How enjoyable it was to read,makes me wish the farm were abit closer to WA.state.Now I look forward to that beautiful wool coming my way.
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sba13221
New Pal

7 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  2:53:55 PM  Show Profile Send sba13221 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just read a lot of his blog, and I think I'm in love. HA! He seems like a really amazing guy. I wish I could get some of that lamb bacon. yummy. Oh, yeah, and the yarn sounds wonderful, too.
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Laurie K
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
448 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  4:41:36 PM  Show Profile Send Laurie K a Private Message  Reply with Quote
wow. loved this review. Any chance one can visit the farm and buy direct. I live up that way and can't get to the market and would love to see this in person. Thanks Clara.

http://the-yarn-princess.blogspot.com/

"If men could knit, there would be no wars"
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KnittingKittens
Chatty Knitter

USA
174 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  03:51:13 AM  Show Profile Send KnittingKittens a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last year on a NYC yarncrawl with NutmegOwl, Pam B and Nanci (with an i) I bought a few skeins of the single ply from the stand at Union Square market. The color is a gorgeous heathery kind of greyed out sage. The "tone" of the color went well with my Maine Matching mitts made out of an Elsepeth Lavold sage green. Very soft and lovely EXCEPT that the dye rubs off on my hands and makes them an indigo blue. Sooooo, the benefit is that I can see in vivid glorious color how I hold my yarn. Helpful as I practice Contuinental style knitting but . . I have put it aside for now. Wonder if a vinegar bath would set the color?
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ConnieHere
New Pal

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  03:56:05 AM  Show Profile Send ConnieHere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great read, Clara. Thanks as always. I would be interested, too, in what you think of his lace weight when you have a chance to test it.
I might send a note to our dear niece in the city and ask her if she frequents the market and could pick up some for her Auntie. She might get a surprise pressie out of it.

cg
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theknitress
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  07:18:01 AM  Show Profile Send theknitress a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"I could see tiny neps had made their way into the yarn."

Question: What are "neps"?

I looked it up on www.dictionary.com where it is defined as: New Economic Policy. Quite certain this is not the definition I was seeking.
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2367 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  08:05:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Vinegar does not set the color on indigo dyeing. Indigo almost always rubs off yarn some while knitting or ballwinding, but if it is excessive it means that the indigo pot was not at the right temperature, or the ph was off. There isn't really anything that can be done after the dyeing takes place. Indigo is not a dye that penetrates the fiber, rather it coats the fiber. If done at the right temp, with the right chemical balance and ph, it mostly stays on the fibers, and wears off very gradually (think denim jeans type of gradual fading). If the chemical balance or temperature is off, the fibers will coat but will not really stick, especially if the color is medium to dark, which is the result of successive layers of indigo being applied with time in between.

HTH! (I love indigo dyeing, and have had experience with bad dyepots, especially in class situations where the number of variables increases)

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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MeezieGirl
Seriously Hooked

USA
623 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  09:38:44 AM  Show Profile Send MeezieGirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Clara, is the yarn woolen spun? It has that look...

Thanks, Shelia. You just beat me to the punch on indigo.

Almost all indigo-dyed stuff has the color rub off to some degree. It's called "crocking". Just think of a well-broken in pair of blue jeans. They use indigo for the warp of that denim. Where there is rubbing - tops of thighs - there is crocking.

Vinegar might work (has for me) for acid dyes, used on animal fibers. For plant fibers, different categories of dyes is used - direct dyes & fiber-reactive dyes. Salt usually works for the direct dyes.

I'm glad to hear of the dye issues. I bought my crazy lace-knitting daughter a pound of the washed fleece. She's just taking up spinning in her "spare time". [while she's in grad school, finishing a PhD in theoretical physics at UPenn. And knitting lace.] I almost bought myself some indigo-dyed worsted weight, too. Glad I didn't. I'll wait til he gets the dye studio a little more together.

Dee

You can take the girl out of New York, but you can't take New York out of the girl.

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