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ArtYarns

Artyarns five yarn offerings

To sell at wholesale successfully, you need a cost-effective process and large production capacity. Unfortunately for knitters, these two elements don't always lend themselves to the hand-dyeing process.

Although we see an abundance of amazing hand-dyed yarns at festivals and events around the country, we see far fewer on the shelves of our local yarn store. Among them, we often see the names Koigu, Colinette, Lorna's Laces, Interlacements, and Alchemy Yarns.

Allow me to introduce a new member to the list: ArtYarns. Based in White Plains, New York, this rapidly growing hand-dyed yarn company was founded in 2002 and is already carried in more than 200 stores nationwide.

The ArtYarns Offering
ArtYarns currently offers five yarns, with an emphasis on wool and silk fibers. All yarns are offered in multiple colorways that range from nearly solid to wildly contrasting.

Smaller hand-dyers often obtain their undyed yarns from the same source, which means the yarns themselves can often look identical. Once they grow to a certain volume, they can go straight to the mill and negotiate special yarns.

I suspect ArtYarns is still in this smaller category, as the yarns themselves all looked rather familiar to me. This isn't necessarily a bad thing—they've chosen yarns I know to be trustworthy and reliable.

Pattern support is still nascent, with 16 patterns currently listed. Most are modular-style scarves, shawls, or hats. ArtYarns also features prominently in the book Exquisite Little Knits, cowritten by ArtYarns designer Iris Schreier.

The real story here is how ArtYarns balances its materials, colors, pricing, design support, and distribution. If they manage to get all five elements in harmony, we'll have a winner.

Keep your eyes peeled for more ArtYarns at a store near you. Until then, here's a quick first look at what you can expect.

Ultramerino 8

Ultramerino 8
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A dream come true for any fan of plush multiple-ply merino, Ultramerino 8 is nearly identical in look and feel to Karabella Aurora 8—only it's hand-dyed.

Although I haven't yet put this yarn through its paces, I can see that Ultramerino 8 would make a gorgeous yet well-wearing sweater, or even a simple hat (with ribbing to emphasize the yarn's innate elasticity) or scarf.

Put up is a generous 188 yards per 100 gram skein, and the yarn knits up at 4 1/2 stitches per inch on US 7 needles. You pay for the generous yardage, with each skein retailing for $21.95.




Supermerino

Supermerino
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It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... no, not that kind of supermerino. It's a superwash merino, meaning it can be tossed in the washing machine without worry.

This, and the fact that it's a soft scratchless merino, makes Supermerino particularly well-suited for baby garb and thick socks.

The yarn comes in 104-yard skeins, each weighing 50 grams apiece. Retail pricing ranges from $8.50 to $9 depending on the store. In an ideal world, I'd like to see the skein yardage increased just a little. Because the yarn is handpainted, each skein is unique—and each dyelot is truly unique.

Although larger skeins cost more, they give you more reassurance that you won't run out of yarn for a project. You can always use any leftover yarn to make a matching hat or mittens.

The yarn knits up at 4 1/2 stitches per inch on US 7 needles.




Silk Ribbon

Silk Ribbon
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A superfine strand of silk has been knit into a tube that sits flat like a strand of fresh pasta. The silk dyes beautifully, making the colors pop far more than they do in the wool yarns. Best of all, it's soft, slinky, and provides a great accent for scarves.

Be sure to put on moisturizer before you work with Silk Ribbon, however, because the fine silk fiber will stick to any roughness on your hands—and each snag mars the yarn's crisp, detailed surface. (Another trick for dealing with this is to squeeze a lemon onto your hands before you work with silk.)

Recommended needle size varies greatly from US 5 to US 10, depending on what you plan to do with the yarn. Each skein weighs 25 grams and contains 128 yards. Retail price to come.




Royal Silk

Royal Silk
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Another great choice for brilliant sheen and color, Royal Silk is made of a thin single ply of silk that is heavenly soft against the skin.

Whereas Silk Ribbon had a crisp surface definition, Royal Silk has more of a blurred and shimmery snowlike effect. It also doesn't snag on rough skin nearly as much as Silk Ribbon.

This warm and lightweight yarn knits up at five stitches to the inch on US 7 needles. Skeins hold a generous 163 yards and weigh 50 grams. Retail price to come.




Silk Fur

Silk Fur
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Calling all scarf knitters: This yarn is for you! Silk Fur has the color and cuddle of Great Adirondack Fluff but with the brilliant shimmer and softness of silk (it is 90% silk, 10% nylon).

It knits up at a speedy two stitches per inch on US 15 needles, which means your project will be done in no time. Now, the bad news: each 25 gram skein only has 48 yards. Unless you use it sparingly as trim in another project, you'll need several skeins of Silk Fur for any substantial project. And although I don't yet know the retail price for this yarn, instinct tells me it will be pricey.


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