Hand-Dyed Yarns From Fibreworks
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Although hand-dyed yarns tend to be more expensive than their factory-manufactured counterparts, they don't necessarily need to break the bank. Take Fibreworks Hand-Dyed Yarns as a case in point.
Based in Victoria, Australia, the company provides mohair, merino, and alpaca yarns in 14 color combinations. While some are bolder than others, the colors tend toward the blues, greens, oranges, and purples.
I tested several Fibreworks yarns and they all washed up beautifully. None of the colors bled, even the brightest ones and even when subjected to very warm water. They dried into perfect shape with minimal blocking and with no fading of the colors.
You can buy Fibreworks yarns online at Ozeyarn.com.
A Tale of Two Mohairs
Fibreworks provides two different types of mohair, one that is brushed and the other that is spun in a bouclé (unofficially referred to as the "loop-dee-loop" yarn). Both the boucle and brushed knit up at 4 1/2 stitches per inch on US 9 (5.5mm) needles.
Unlike most comparable mainstream mohair, the Fibreworks mohair yarns have no nylon binder -- they are 100% pure mohair. This results in a much softer, loftier, and shinier fabric that feels wonderful against the skin. There's very little brassiness to either yarn.
A Whole Lotta Yarn
Fibreworks is extremely generous with its yardages. Both the kid mohair brushed and kid mohair bouclé yarns are packaged in hefty 654-yard hanks for approximately US$33.85 apiece (this number varies depending on the exchange rate of the Australian dollar).
Two hanks will provide you with more than enough for a medium-sized women's pullover.
The 100% alpaca immediately caught my eye because of its unusual spin. Three strands of yarn (each of which already consists of two plies) are plied together into one superstrong many-plied yarn that has a rippled (or cable-like) appearance.
Alpaca is already a strong fiber, but this multiple-ply spinning technique makes it even stronger and more durable.
Fibreworks recommends you knit this yarn at 5 1/2 stitches per inch on US 6 (4mm) needles. I found it easy to work with, although my needles did snag the yarn a few times. I noticed short fibers -- some longer and brassier than others -- protruding from the surface of my knitted swatches.
Each hank holds a generous 437 yards. Depending on the project, you'll need between three and four hanks for a medium-sized women's sweater.
This translates into between US$79 and US$105 (again, this varies depending on the exchange rate). Given that alpaca is a premium fiber and the yarn has been hand-dyed, this is a fair price.
Also from Fibreworks
Fibreworks also provides a hand-dyed merino in 480-yard hanks for approximately $20.90 apiece. The yarn is 100% merino and knits up at 5 1/2 stitches per inch on US 6 (4mm) needles.
Where to Buy Online
Read about other hand-dyed yarns
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