I've been working on an infinity scarf design, and thought one of their yarns would work particularly well for it. After a few friendly emails back and forth, we settled on their Hearthside Fibers DK Weight yarn, a tonal yarn offering subtle shifts in color, kettle dyed, made from 85% Polwarth Wool (yum!) and 15% silk (yum again!).
I've spun Polwarth fiber before and it's delightful. Silk isn't too shabby either! And this wool is from their own sheep in Wisconsin--how cool is that?! [UPDATE, June 20: Turns out the Polwarth is not from their own sheep. In my excitement, I just assumed it was, and now I feel quite sheepish. Yeah, I bet you saw that pun coming a mile away!]
So, they sent me this luscious skein of over 700 yards. I tried not to drool on it. It is hand washable, so it can handle water, but drool is contra-indicated.
The color way is called Anishinaabe, and you may want to click on that and learn more about what that word means.
Luckily, before I started to wind it into a ball, I realized, "Hey, that's never going to work on my little domestic ball winder, is it?"
I wanted to keep it all in one great big beautifully wound ball. So I was going to use my industrial strength ball winder: my hands. Center-pull? No problem. I just leave a long tail hanging out.
And then I remembered, I have a nostepinne. Could it handle a ball of this magnitude? Doubtful. Do I remember how to use the nostepinne? No. But do I like to say "nostepinne"? Yes. It's a really fun word.
Off to YouTube to remind myself how to use it. Thus fortified with knowledge, I put the beautiful skein onto my new swift. It looked fine. As in, well-tied, with all the strands going in the direction they were supposed to go.
I have wound hundreds of skeins of yarn. Most of them go smoothly. The most challenging exceptions have been from Colinette. Love their yarn, have often had cause to hate winding it.
Alas, this particular skein rivaled Colinette in its stubbornness. Was it because it's such delightfully springy yarn? Was it tangling itself even as I wound it? Who knows? Whatever the reason, there were countless tangles and tugs and swift stoppages, requiring constant gentle untangling and reorganizing.
The skein could've been tangled somehow before I began. Perhaps it was tied into a perfectly respectable-looking skein without the original skein-winder realizing there were tangles.
But it very well could have been me, and my lack of experience with my brand new, fancy-schmancy swift, which seems not to work very smoothly at all, and I'm not yet sure why not.
For now, I'm going to assume this problem had more to do with me and my new swift than with the yarn.
[FURTHER UPDATE: I am indeed still having trouble with that dang swift. The yarn is very springy, but it was not originally tangled. The nice folks at Hearthside Fibers have told me they will be making smaller skeins, too, as 700 yards is too big for the domestic ball winder. So should you decide to treat yourself to some of this yummy yarn, more than likely you will be able to wind it with no trouble at all.]
But meanwhile, I could see that, as a newbie nostepinner, this was going to take hours and hours of hand winding, especially with tugs and tangles.
So, after some determined noste-practice, I gave up and wound what I could onto my domestic ball winder, until the poor thing was completely overloaded.
I dealt with further yarn tangling, which was a nightmare, and even gave up and wound some with just my two bare hands which is probably what I shoulda done in the first place.
BUT, I ended up with an alluring stack of yarn balls. Worth every un-tangle!
Anyway, at last I began to crochet, and went straight to heaven.
This yarn is smooth and soft, bouncy and cushy and lightweight, but satisfyingly thick for a DK weight. It is so much fun to work with! It isn't splitty at all, and it is not itchy.
I think the finished product is going to be stunning! The big reveal will come soon; I am about halfway through the crocheting, and I'm still futzing around with the wording in the pattern, hoping to make it clear. Stay tuned!