News letter at the Yarn Company

Thank you, Tobias and Antonio, for bringing us an exciting trunk show from Malabrigo! And we are so happy that you stopped by the other day to say hello. We really enjoyed meeting you and showing you around! While  we knew all along how much we  loved your yarns, we didn’t know how great the people behind them were.

The Yarn Company carries oodles of yarn from Malabrigo, a favorite of designer Stephen West. Based outside of Montevideo, Malabrigo features wool from sheep raised by award-winning breeders, who allow them to roam free-range in the hills of northern Uruguay, under the tender care of shepherds. Antonio Gonzales-Arnao, brother-in-law to owners Marcos and Tobias Feder, is the color magician of Malabrigo. Together they deliver dreamy, kettle-dyed fibers whose softness shames cashmere.

Malabrigo’s Merino Worsted is luxuriously downy, hand-dyed and handspun. Nine new colors for 2011 include wildly variegated skeins as well as dazzling solids. Each bag is a different dye lot, so colors vary bag to bag; be sure to work from two skeins at once. Worsted comes 205 yards (about 50g) to a skein. Needles: US 7–9 or 4.5–5.5 mm;18.0 stitches = 4 inches.

Looking at a skein of Malabrigo’s Sock yarn is like scuba diving; the play of colors, of light and shadow, is just fantastic. It comes in 30 colors, plus two new colors for fall 2011: the beachy Playa of blues and earth tones, and Candome, a muted rainbow of blues and purples with splashes of saffron and green. Beautiful! This Sock yarn is light fingering plied 100% superwash Merino wool and comes in 440 yards (100g) per skein. US 1–3 or 2.25–3.25mm needles, gauge 32.0 stitches = 4 inches.

Malbrigo’s amazing Rasta yarn is 100% Merino wool, and is slightly felted, with 90 yards (150 g) to a skein. Now in 14 new colors! Skeins vary bag to bag as each comes from a different dye lot, so be sure to work with two balls at once to ensure random color distribution. Rasta uses US 13–15 or 9–10mm needles, gauge 8.0 to 10.0 stitches = 4 inches.

Twist yarn is bulky-weight 100% Baby Merino wool, 150 yards (100g) per skein. The three latest colors are Piedras (think powerful sunset), Belgian Chocolate (yes, you will drool), and Manzilla Olive (bright and tasty!). Aran needles US 8–11 or 5–8mm, gauge 4.0 to 5.0 stitches = 1 inch. This 8-ply “subtly thick/thin” yarn must be handwashed and dried flat.

Malabrigo’s Lace yarn is spun from the finest Baby Merino. Light and lovely, Lace comes in seven new colors for 2011. 470 yards (430m) per skein, about 40 grams. Needles: US 2 or 2.75mm; 32.0 stitches = 4 inches. Handwash, dry flat.

Aquarella is single-ply super-bulky Corriedale wool that comes in ten “watercolored” combinations. A skein is 65 yards and weighs 100 grams. Again, as hand-dyeing makes each hank unique, be sure to use two simultaneously to ensure balance in your work. Aquarella takes size 13 needles. Gauge 9 stitches by 13 rows over 4 inches.

Malabrigo is a mulesing-free wool, and the company employs environmentally safe practices for processing it, using as little water and as few chemicals as possible. Water and waste that cannot be re-used are transported to a detoxification plant to be cleaned and treated for re-use. Similarly, dye waste is sent to a detox center as well. Bravo!

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