Saturday, December 5, 2009

Search for Custom Spinners

I love dyeing my own yarn for knitting projects, but there are limits to the colorways I can achieve. I would love to dye wool and spin it into yarn, but realistically it would take me far too long to learn to be able to make such a project from start to finish. (Hours on the hand spindle resulted in maybe 2 yards of super chunky wool.) Although I am still considering lessons on a spinning wheel, I'm now researching places that will custom spin yarn for you.

Most of the wool processors I've found are for people who want to process their raw wool from sheep. I want someone who will take roving that I've dyed myself and turn it into yarn (see this knitty article). Why not just buy handspun yarn from esty? I want to have a role in the colorway, and design the yarn I want for a (yet unknown) project.

Preliminary research indicated that I want handspinning, not a mill. I want character with color, I don't care about the handspun feel, but there are problems with mills. 1) Many require more pounds, 25-50 lbs, of wool than I would ever want for a single project. 2) One mill with low weight requirements indicated that when they put the wool through their carding machines (which they always do), the handpainted effects will be lost.
  • Joy of Handspinning - Maximum 5 lbs fiber, 2 ply is 2.45/ ounce. They accept many fiber types (including dog!) This may be my best bet.
  • Big Sky Quality Wool - $22/pound for spinning from roving, add $2 (per pound?) for lots under 5 lbs. Other mills I've contacted will machine card the wool you send them, so handpainting roving would not really work. It is worth contacting them to inquire if they accept handpainted rovings.
  • Bel Tine Farm (formerly Blue Moon Farm) - No minimum. They only do spinning, no other fiber processing. Around $20/lb.
  • Carother's Country Farm - Around 22/lb. no minimum. They will also do custom hand spinning.
  • VIP Fibers - Turn dog or cat fur into yarn... I think that would be difficult for people with allergies!
  • Alpaca Nation - $3-5 per ounce for custom handspinning. they take roving.
  • Esty Alchemy - I could post my own ad for spinners! It would not be difficult to see examples of other people's work. Upside - ratings from dealings with other people. Downside - since it is likely not an established company, there is less trust. Upside 2 - I could name my price and see if it is reasonable.
This is not technically a pattern search, but I figure that there are other knitters out there with the same inquiries as myself. And now I have something else to save up for...

Do you have any advice? I'd appreciate it!