It's just yarn right? What's so special about that?
Basically - everything! And I’m not saying this because I think the world of myself. I’m saying this because there is a lot of fantastic yarn from which to choose. But THIS yarn is buttery soft, grippy enough to hold its structure, and beyond fluffy. Why? Because it’s 100% Merino/Rambouillet (soft), non-superwash (grippy because all the scales are intact), and RWS* certified (fluffy). This one takes longer to explain, the sheep can’t be under stress, and the ranches are inspected and audited yearly. The micron count puts this fiber between 20-21. That’s extremely low, meaning the fiber's scales and surface area protrude minimally, leaving a light, soft touch against your skin—the opposite of scratchy.
Color: The warm ochre yellow (mustard) comes from fustic wood, the heartwood of Maclura tinctoria, a medium to large tree of the mulberry family initially found in the forests of Brazil and the West Indies. This particular batch of wood shavings is from a grove in the Dominican Republic. My local dyer supplier told me. She’s been there. I have one of her last bags in my possession.
The dark gray, which I call Fossil, comes from a walnut tree in NE Portland. A former co-worker, and woodworker extraordinaire, couldn’t wait to get these wood shavings off his hands. I gladly repurposed them!
Mordants, yes, there were some mordants used as well. Although both trees contain enough tannins not to require a mordant, but you know me, I’m going for DEPTH OF COLOR. Without the copper after bath on the fustic wood, the hue would be a medium, yellow-orange. An infantismal percentage of copper turns it into a bluer, darker shade! And that gray yarn is only gray because it’s the third bath in the black walnut dye batch. All the previous baths were a dark, purply brown. But once the brown is absorbed, all that remains is gray, with the help of some iron.
I suppose it’s odd to tell you HOW I made this yarn. You would think it’s a highly guarded secret. But you can honestly find this information in any natural dye book. My water and studio setup is different than any other natural dyer, so my results will vary from theirs. Too, I just love sharing the process. Learning is the key to happiness - right? Natural dyeing used to be a common craft that was re-taught for generations. It’s not a secret. We should celebrate the process so that others can enjoy it too!
So that - that is why this yarn is so special.
Here are some pictures of the Tickets to Berlin Top pattern and yarn collection launch. A link to Andeea Rae's pattern can be found on Ravelry.
*(RWS) The Responsible Wool Standard: Rigorous annual 3rd party auditing process developed by Textile Exchange
Knitwear Designer: Andeea Rae, IG: @AndeeaRae
Knitwear Writer: Pearl Jaramillo, IG: @PearlKnitPurl
Outdoor & Studio Photography: ©Erin Riddle, IG: @KLiKConcepts, @klik_pdx