A skein of Smooshy
Smooshy knitted up and washed
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Yarn Profile: Dream in Color Smooshy Sock Yarn

First Impressions
Dream in Color is an object lesson in simplicity. The company (run by friends Veronica and Nancy) only offers four yarns. Each is spun in the U.S. from of the same fine grade of machine-washable Australian Merino. Pretty simple so far, right?

The magic begins when the yarns are hand-dyed using a process Veronica calls "veil dyeing." As with most hand-dyers, Veronica guards her dye secrets very closely. But the end result is a semisolid yarn whose extreme subtlety in variegation makes it equally enjoyable in both plain stockinette and colorwork (including the now-famous Tulips Cardigan). You get the utility of a solid while still enjoying a hand-dyed nuance.

Each yarn in the Dream in Color line has its own rather whimsical name: Classy, Smooshy, Softy, and Baby. These base yarns are good, the yardage in each skein is generous, the price is reasonable, and the colors work together astonishingly well. The end result of Veronica and Nancy's simplicity? Yarns that shops simply cannot keep in stock.

Knitting Up
Some yarns have been flogged so much during the manufacturing process that they feel tense or lifeless by the time they reach you. But Dream in Color yarns—Smooshy and the others—are happy yarns. They want to be picked up and squeezed and petted. If you listen closely enough to your skein, you might even hear a purr.

The yarn knits up easily and without protest—it did not snag or come untwisted, and I found no knots in my skein. It has great elasticity to it.

A common issue with hand-dyed yarns is the way in which colors can stack on top of each other from row to row. Sometimes they can do this in a way that creates strange amoeba-like globs of color "pools" along the fabric surface. But the variegation in Dream in Color yarns moves so swiftly from hue to hue that the colors flicker more than they pool.

Blocking / Washing
My swatch instantly surrendered to its warm soapy bath, absorbing the water, relaxing, and allowing me to squeeze and dunk to my heart's content. No hint of color appeared in the wash.

Stretching is a common concern with machine-washable wool yarns. This can occur because the scales on the wool fibers have been eliminated—and yarn relies on those scales to help hold all the fibers in place. But in this case my swatch blocked to the exact same size, no stretching or shrinking, no bias, and no change in gauge.

Wearing

Despite all that relaxation, the fibers did not bloom significantly in the wash. This is most likely because the yarn has been spun worsted, which means the fibers were combed and aligned closely prior to spinning. With fewer loose ends sticking out, you end up with a yarn that can stand much more abrasion before showing any signs of pilling.

But Merino is a finewool fiber that can be vulnerable when subject to excess abrasion. This yarn has no nylon reinforcement. But you can improve your durability chances significantly by simply knitting any high-abrasion items (such as socks) on much smaller needles than you would other projects—I'd stick with US 1 if possible.

Conclusion
Dream in Color began as an experiment. Having opened their own yarn store, Veronica and Nancy were on the lookout for a really nice, subtle hand-dyed machine-washable Merino yarn that customers could use for blankets and baby clothes. Nothing pleased them, so on a whim they decided to try dyeing yarn themselves. The results were so successful that they eventually closed their store and relaunched as Dream in Color.

Their experiment is such a success that most yarn stores have a hard time keeping the yarn in stock. It's especially tempting when shown as a color family—the colors become much more lively and vibrant when used together in projects.

Bottom line: Dream in Color provides a limited line of really good superwash wool yarns that are hand-dyed in rich and fruity, subtly variegated colors that don't cost a mint and will make knitters happy.

 
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