New Chunky Yarn + Mini Skein News

TFA Grey Label Merino/Alpaca Chunky in Chartreuse, Saffron, Pumpkin and Garnet.

TFA Grey Label Merino/Alpaca Chunky in Chartreuse, Saffron, Pumpkin and Garnet.

Good morning! Today I'd like to take a moment to bring you all up to speed on what's going on and what's in the works here at TFA. There is a tonne happening, so this might be a little bit all over the place, but bare with me because it's all exciting!

First off, TFA has a new yarn base!!! I have been searching for the perfect chunky yarn to add to the collection for years. I wanted something that knit up at a really large gauge, many of the chunky yarns on the market are just kinda a "heavy worsted/aran" weight rather than really big and juicy! TFA Grey label Merino/Alpaca Chunky knits up at a gauge of 3 stitches per inch on 8 mm needles. I also wanted something that was incredibly soft. For me, the thicker the yarn, the more pillowy soft it has to be. I want to feel like I'm wrapped in a cloud. I wasn't finding the yarn that I was looking for, so I did something I've never done before and designed my own yarn! I worked with one of my manufacturers to come up with a chunky yarn that has a really interesting construction: the yarn has 12 plies, first they are spun together in groups of 2 and then those 6 strands of 2-ply are spun together to create a lush and bouncy 12-ply yarn. Cool right? Next up I added 20% alpaca fiber to the superwash merino I'm used to dyeing. I've been wanting to add alpaca content to my range of bases and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Alpaca and cloud-like softness go hand in hand right? The alpaca takes the dye differently than the superwash merino does, adding a soft halo to the yarn that I love. 

I featured this new base in the September instalment of the TFA Year In Colour Club and will be adding it to our permanent collection in due time. Dyeing, photographing, editing and listing new bases in all 51 of our permanent collection colourways takes time, so to speed up the process of making this yarn available to you I'll be doing a Chunky Etsy Update next Tuesday morning. I've selected a few of my favourite colourways (and a few experiments) to feature this time. We'll be dyeing more chunky again next week and will have another update the following week when we've got more in stock. I'm going the Etsy route this time because I think it's a bit easier for you all to see the exact quantities available, and the checkout process can be quicker since you don't have to enter your shipping address or payment info if you're already logged in. 

TFA Grey Label in Iris

TFA Grey Label in Iris

In other news, let's talk about the crazy mayhem that was last week's Mini Sock Yarn Skein update shall we? Honestly, it was an emotional roller coaster for me. As I've mentioned before, making the sets of mini skeins involves an epic amount of labour and time. There is a tonne of demand for them, which is terrific, so I hired a friend and together we've spent the last few weeks making as many mini skeins as we could. I advertised the time and place of the update ahead of time thinking that it was the fairest way to do it, but it turns out it created this mad rush right at noon and by 12:03 we were sold out. I immediately felt this pang in my gut because I knew that many of you would not have been able to get one and would be upset. I spent the afternoon responding to emails from customers who were very disappointed in having missed out. It was not fun. My initial reaction was to just veto the whole mini skein thing all together. It's just not possible to make enough of them to supply the demand. But that's a real bummer. I love the mini skeins sets and so do you. They are beautiful and inspiring. I love knitting and designing with loads of colour and I feel strongly that it's something that I want to continue to be able to do. 

So... new game plan. When I started making the mini skein sets last December I set out with a very specific plan that I designed in order to not let myself get carried away or bogged down with mini skeins. I was going to make sets from yarn that I had in stock. Not promise specific colourways but rather go with the flow. I'd list a new batch every week or two and would post about it on social media when they were ready. That lasted a little while, and then I released my Lifesavers Sweater pattern and felt that it was only fair to offer mini skeins in the colourways represented in the pattern. That ended up being incredibly overwhelming and because of how unrealistic that approach ended up being I didn't offer mini skeins again for months! Then, wouldn't you know, I went ahead and did the same thing just last week with my Christmas In July pattern release followed by the mini skein update. 

I have officially learnt my lesson, I'm going back to the original plan and will make mini skein sets available in whatever awesome rainbow palette I have in stock, in limited quantities, as often as possible. At this point I'm aiming to list new sets every week or two. I think that in the long run it makes more sense for everyone. I won't be announcing it ahead of time, so you won't have to sit at your desk and refresh the page every few seconds, sweating bullets hoping to get one because if you miss out you won't have another chance for months. This approach should be more relaxing for all of us. It will give me the opportunity to explore more varied palettes. I'm dyeing to make up a neutral palette, look for it soon! 

Ok, so that just about covers the Mini Skein news... I'm long winded, I know. I just really want to make sure that you all understand where I'm coming from. My goal here is to have more smiley-face emojis and less frowny-face emojis in my life.

I feel as though we got off track earlier this year. I had such good intentions! I'm forgiving myself for it because having babies will do that to you. I'll remember 2015 as the year that Micah was born and not the year that I stressed out over our supply/demand issues! I do feel a shift in the air. I'm not entirely sure what direction we're shifting towards, but I'm trying really hard to be open to whatever possibilities present themselves. I don't mean a shift away from TFA, heck no, never! I just mean a shift in the way we operate day to day, less wheel spinning and more forward momentum. Is that vague enough for you? 

Thanks for your support friends. In personal news, I'm really looking forward to Fringe Associations Slow Fashion October. In a nutshell, my plan is to sew myself at least one garment and to spin myself yarn for one sweater. I'll keep you posted!