Wednesday, October 03, 2007

snafu world

Remember this? Somehow, my 2 alpaca fleeces made it to the fiber mill via US mail. My note to the mill got sent back to me, and the wool fleece? Lost in transit. These were all packed in the same box. Hmmm. The fiber mill said, "We wondered why the box seemed so empty and taped up."

I'm hopeful it can be found, and this is the first real loss of any kind I've had with the post office--they are normally my heroes--so for now, I'm just having a moment of silence in support of lost fleeces everywhere and hoping my fleece is saved soon. (Feel free to mention your Little Bo Peep jokes now...)

A few other details from the last post's comments:
Yes, Sarah, I too laughed about the emu. It was the most friendly emu I've ever seen, no wonder, really, surrounded by all those stunned girl scouts. (Didn't they look up the size before hatching the egg?) Sarah also mentioned:
There was discussion of Knitpicks yarns somewhere on Ravelry wherein several people (at least) commented that they're reasonably yarns for the price, but there are many nicer.

You know, I have been baffled by these comments. I designed for Knit Picks for a little while, and got to see many of their yarns..but they cut their designer program, so I have no reason to plug these yarns except... They are fine yarns. I found them a fantastic product for the money. Many are spun in the exact same mills with the same fibers as "nicer yarns" sold in knitting shops for twice as much money. Are they perfect in every way? No, but then, neither are all the pricey yarns, either. I think this is a situation in which Knit Picks truly started a trend. Many places are now producing generic yarns (Elann, Webs, Patternworks) and there's good reason. When you cut out some of the distributors, etc., cost goes down.

Also, as spinners become more experienced, we can judge things like micron count. (more on that in a bit.) We can recognize that it is not just the spinning, dyeing, or packaging that makes a fine wool yarn. It's also the raw fleece that went into it. When I mentioned that I thought the Australian fingering weight wool was finer--it's because it's Australian Merino! It's the finest in the world! Aside from shipping? These yarns are very comparable in price, too. Price doesn't necessarily indicate level of quality.

I think we buy yarns in yarn shops because ideally, we get convenience and lovely service, great companionship from other knitters, and oodles of classes and other supportive help. That should make it worthwhile to spend the extra cash on what many times is the exact same product. However, I often find that I don't have that positive an experience in a yarn shop..and there is only ONE in my town. Next yarn shop? 70 miles away in Nashville. Makes mail order mighty appealing... and as we budget shoppers know- cost doesn't always equal better quality. Sometimes a mail order deal is worth it, especially when I'm not getting what I need socially from the local shop.

Now, back to micron count. Alison H asked about this: so I've been wondering if there's any 90's fingering weight merino yarn out there I should know about.
Kind friend Alison...first, I have no idea how low the micron count is for Cleckheaton's Merino Bambino, but it is low. This spinner's fingers say so. Also, I'm not really sure 90's Bradford Count exists in sheep's wool, but I'd love to be proven wrong. ..assuming the sheep aren't living in air conditioning and wasting a ton of energy to produce this kind of fine wool. (hey, it happens. I read about it in the news once.)

Now, a short explanation: Alison is referring to Bradford Count. That is an older way of classifying fine wools. Here's a great chart that explains things. Essentially, in the older Bradford count, an '80's Merino fleece is very very fine. That same fleece will be measured using micron count and be 18-22 microns. Still very very fine. A low micron count=a high Bradford Count. Means the same dang thing!

Whew! Now that I've cleared all that up, and I've been reassured that spinning friend Peggy will not starve to death while I'm gone, I can start getting ready for my trip to the Wool Festival at Taos and hopefully prevent any more snafus. I'm excited to go and of course, as the professor reminded me when I started to freak out about losing that fleece? No need to panic.
It's not like I don't have any wool.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

your professer is so right! but i bet it is still irritating

October 3, 2007 at 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother bought me as a gift one Christmas five pounds of merino super superfine roving, 90's Bradford count from Australia, via Woodland Woolworks. I used most of it to make a handspun afghan for a cousin who wanted one, and I still have some. It is softer than the cashmere roving in my stash. There is nothing quite like it in the world, and so, yes, 90's merino does exist. I just wish I could find it pre-spun up. My wheel and I both are a bit bashed up these days.

October 3, 2007 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I just checked their catalog and they don't have it anymore. I'm glad I do! (While it lasts. Maybe I'll try my energy at some spinning again.)

October 3, 2007 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Jillsknit said...

Check with the Yarn Harlot about the fleece. She may information about a few fleece stealing squirrels that may have moved to your area recently. :-)

October 3, 2007 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger subliminalrabbit said...

i hope you find your fleece!

(i like to shop in my LYS because i get to FEEL all the yarns - very important to me. although i order plenty online - you can really beat the price.)

October 3, 2007 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

So sorry to hear about your fleeces. I cannot understand how that is possible. Micron, snicron, I love Knit Picks. Sure stretches the yarn budget. Oh yeah, as the professer what if we woke up tomorrow the and world as we know it was no more? We need all the fiber we can get and then some.

October 3, 2007 at 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried things from the Elann, Knitpicks, and WEBS lines, and they all have their great yarns and their so-so yarns. I resent a so-so yarn less when I've only paid $3 a ball for it.

October 4, 2007 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Carol Bliss of Bliss Merinos in Loveland has 11/12 micron rams. I got a bit of their fleeces. Yum. I also have some of the 15 - 17 micron fleeces. Lovely stuff.

I have had that mysterious separation too - via US Mail. Is there someone in the shipping dept who can smell raw fleece and abscond? Odd, isn't it?

Snow forecast for Sat. Dress warmly. :-)

October 4, 2007 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A real bummer on the fleece. Any fleece you've buried your hands in is precious, no matter how many others you have. Like doggies and rosebushes and homemade loaves that way. I hope it turns up. Have a blast at Taos!

October 5, 2007 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

I've lost stuff in the mail before too. It sucks. A whole fleece tough. That's almost tragic. I hope it finds a good home with someone who loves it.

October 8, 2007 at 12:31 AM  
Blogger vanessa said...

i hope your fleece finds its way home :-)

have fun at taos!

October 8, 2007 at 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh yeah, ask the professer what if we woke up tomorrow the and world as we know it was no more? We need all the fiber we can get and then some."--Gammy aka Peggy

"If we woke up tomorrow and the world as we know it was no more, we would be even less likely to get that brown rambouillet fleece back from the post office. You win some, you lose some, and there are plenty of fleeces out there..."--The Professor

October 10, 2007 at 3:23 PM  
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