What type of yarn do I want?
We’re often asked that, and the answer is: it depends what you want to make! Do you want a fine yarn for weaving or lace knitting, or a thick yarn that will knit up quickly into jumpers or scarves? We’re always very happy to discuss what might be the best yarn for your fleece – there's an "I don't know" option for the yarn choice on the Order Form, which means that we'll give you a call once your fleece has arrived at the mill to run through the options with you.
As a general rule of thumb, the finer the fleece, the finer the yarn you can spin from it, but of course really fine yarn means really small needles, zillions of stitches, and hours and hours of knitting (or weeks or months) to finish a garment (or in Juliet’s case, to be brutally honest, probably not to finish it at all!). So there’s no reason not to make a supersoft chunky yarn from fine fleece. We just wouldn’t recommend going the other way and trying to make a fine laceweight yarn from a coarser fleece. Remember also that yarn made from very fine fleece (less than 20 microns) won’t be as hard-wearing as that from slightly less fine fibre.
But there are no hard and fast rules about what a particular yarn should look like – you can have any yarn weight with any number of plies (within reason!) – so if there’s a particular specification that you would like, please let us have the details or send us a sample and we'll let you know if we can match it.
We should mention here that, whilst we're generally very proud of the yarn we make, and agonise over anything that doesn’t come out as well as we we'd like, the downside of having equipment small enough to process an individual fleece is that we don’t make ‘perfect’ yarn – there may be some variation in thickness or colour, the occasional slub or knot, and some bits of vegetable matter. (We do, however, make beautifully soft yarns with great character and impeccable provenance.)
The average yarn weights that we specify are indicative only – every fleece is different and there will be variation in the yarn weight between batches (for instance, darker colours usually spin out heavier than white fleeces) and even within a batch. We’re getting pretty good at judging the right weight for different yarns and aim to be within 10% of the average, but we can’t guarantee to achieve a specific weight.