Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yarnies, know thy yarn!

Feel it, touch it, fondle it all you want. Even take it to bed with you if you must. But most of all, use it. Knit (or crochet) with it, feel the texture, amount of give, best gauge, etc. Then, wear it. Wash it. Again and again. Live with it. Only then will you get to know the yarn. Not by reading reviews on Ravelry and other places, not by scoping out "the next popular yarn", not going by brand names and what other dyers are using.

Unlike painting, where the composition of the canvas is of minor importance to the art of the piece (although I do like a good oil on canvas, the textures created by brush and knife), dyeing yarn is not just adding colour to strands of white. The yarn itself, the base, is an *integral* part of the final product. To sell it, you need to know it. How many people would eat meat dishes made by a vegetarian chef who hasn't tasted it? Or modern cloth nappies from a WAHM who uses disposables full-time on her own children? Or, heaven forbid, a designer who hasn't actually knit her own pattern? And yet, nobody hesitates to buy yarn from someone who doesn't knit or crochet, or somebody who has had the yarn base for more than a year and yet hasn't knit with it.

I just don't get it. First, how can these dyers be surrounded by such tactile goods as lush yarn, and not want to attack it with needles or hooks? To get to know it, to learn about it, to familiarise herself with it's pro's and con's. Where are they getting feedback on yarn performance over time from -- their customers, members on Ravelry? Even though I myself find this feedback invaluable, it doesn't stop me from wanting to experience it myself. And I am not saying that I knit every colourway that I dye, that would be ludicrous. But I do knit an item of each type of dyeing process, and I knit garments with every one of my many many bases over the years.

That's where I form my opinions on the pro's and con's of each yarn base. They all do have con's, you know. To not have personally used the yarn itself is cheating yourself and your customers of an objective view on the yarn's not-so-good points. This is where I develop my favourites which I will continue to stock and dye, knowing that the yarn itself will perform well over time. There are "popular" yarns out there that I have tried, but decided against for whatever reason. And the yarns I like won't be the yarns everyone else likes, so I do stock yarns that I personally wouldn't seek out to use. Then, once in a while, I hit upon a yarn that even though I have kg's and kg's of and unlimited future access to, in the secret squirrel stasher part of my heart I want to keep all to myself! (But I don't, because that would be selfish!)

I might not have a garment knit and being worn in certain base yarns before selling them, but the avid knitter in me is faster than my hands -- I literally cannot wait to try a new base as a garment. So I will get there, soon. Or I don't feel qualified to judge a yarn's inner qualities as a functional and colourful product.

Now I know this has been a very controversial post, but those who know me will know that over the years I've never been hesitant to speak out about things I am passionate about. And dyeing is my passion, as well as my profession. So I will voice my opinion out loud, here on my blog (who nobody much reads anyway). Anonymous comments are possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hello there thanks for your grat post, as usual ((o:

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