A Knitting Question

Here’s a hypothetical question for any knitters who happen to be passing by this blog.

Say a sheep farmer in the Midwest fills her aunt and uncle’s car with bags of raw fleece, and they drive it back home to Montana and drop it off to be processed at a small fiber mill run by a cousin of the farmer, many times removed.

Say the farmer, who as of yet does not knit because she finds the idea of learning the secret code used by knitting patterns to be a terrifying thought, must now decide what the fiber mill should do. (Spinners are equally prone to their own language. Just last weekend I had my first encounter with a niddy noddy…. or is it knitty naughty? Good grief.)

So back to my hypothetical question. If knitters were interested in buying yarn spun from the fleeces of the non-knitting writing farmer, what would be the best overall way to go for yarn that could be made into socks, sweaters, hats, etc.?

Sport, DK or worsted? Two ply or three? Plain white yarn or dyed? If dyed, are there wildly popular colors?

Sorry I’m not knitting yet, but at least I’m giving the old spinning thing another try. I’m a little afraid, though, for I’ve seen now how spinners and knitters can be sucked into the world of fiber and color and texture…. Although I guess, as obsessions go, these are pretty harmless (although expensive!)

Thanks for the feedback.

11 thoughts on “

  1. I’d say DK or worsted, and three ply. The lighter yarns are best spun from Merino or the like, and I think your sheep (though ofcourse they are really lovable creatures) don’t have that fine haired fleece. If you would sell yarn, count me in for a sweater’s worth undyed. Even with the shipping costs to the Netherlands. 🙂

  2. I vote worsted. My experience has been that the worsted is a bit on the lighter side and would for as a DK also. I love natural fleece spun up – I am working on a sweater from my own, home grown sheep’s fleece.

  3. An undyed worsted weight (2 or 3 plies) would be great. If you’re going to do sock yarn it should be 3-ply and definitely dyed. Maybe you could team up with an indie dyer to do some great colors.

  4. You guys are brilliant—I knew you’d have the answers I needed.

    So I’ll go with three-ply DK or worsted…

    Colors? I’ll leave some white. Should I leave it all white and let knitters dye it themselves?

    And Lies, I sure wish I could hand-deliver yarn to you in the Netherlands! My book sales aren’t high enough for that…yet!

  5. I would have voted for 3-ply and worsted too. As a knitter, I haven’t really explored a lot in the ways of dyeing yet. I tend to like bold, bright colors — reds (it’s hard to find a bright red that isn’t a novelty yarn. Wool yarns tend to be more of a muted red, much to my consternation), purples, greens, occasionally blue. But, as far as colors, you’ll probably get as many responses as there are knitters. I’m excited you are going to have yarn though!

  6. Oh, and about that secret code knitters use in patterns? It’s not so hard to crack. And, reading a pattern is ALWAYS an open-book test. Thanks to the internet and Ravelry, that book is pretty big, complete with how-to videos on YouTube if you stumble across something you don’t know how to accomplish.

  7. I have to throw my hat into the ring and agree with the others on yarn weight. I think either DK or worsted would be good. Also, I wouldn’t dye it. There are those who like to dye their own.

  8. For sweaters, vests, hats and mittens, definitely worsted. But I knit with a lot of sport weight for socks, shawls and fair isle sweaters too. Do they have any different colored sheep wool spun that they could ply with yours for some natural colored ragg wool yarn?
    I was lucky as a mostly self-taught knitter, the diagrams and patterns weren’t difficult to understand, but sometimes for new knitters I’ve found that having someone read the pattern to you and having that someone also show and explain what you’ve just done helps an awful lot in understanding that unfamiliar knitting language.

  9. I agree with Dk and worsted. Who would be doing the dyeing? Would you send it out or do it yourself?
    Dyeing a lot of yarn and getting consistent colors skein after skein is a lot of work (and it takes practice).

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