There's a debate inching into the yarn conversation about speckled yarn vs. non-speckled yarn. Who knew this was a thing?! Speckled yarn is very hot right now and has been for a while. At The Artful Yarn we find the conversation trending more toward "what do I do with it?" rather than an outright boycott. Recently we've been reading about yarn company closures and ran across a thread where knitters were vehemently opposing the whole speckled yarn trend as sloppy and ugly. These arguments caught us totally by surprise! Speckled yarns occur in the hand-dyed yarn world and the indie dye world has exploded with a ton of super-talented people creating awesome yarn expressions that some knitters and crocheters pursue with a passion. Some knitters are speculating that the rise of indie dyers is driving traditional yarn companies out of business. Innovation can have this effect when businesses don't move along with their market. Innovation broadens markets and we believe the current speckled yarn expression has brought more people to the knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning tent.
As in any creative process (and the yarn world is a creative place) new and exciting expressions will most definitely appear. Some ideas will not catch on and some will capture our imaginations, hold our excitement and bring us joy. This whole thing about speckled yarn doesn't reflect our shop's "no judgement zone" vibe. If you like it, great! Go for it!
In a recent blog post of her own, Felicia Lo, creative founder of Sweet Georgia Yarn, explained why her company does not dye speckled yarn. She tells her readers that it is difficult to obtain a consistent color and speckle distribution time and again. As consistency is a core value for her company this is one reason they are not dyeing speckled yarn. We respect that. She further explains that dye powder is extremely fine and hand-dyers should use respirators to protect themselves from this fine dust. She explains that the speckled dye process scatters dry dye powder on wet yarn (rather than dissolved in a solution) placing the dyer in contact with more dye dust.
Felicia's concern is the affect of dye powder exposure for all workers in the dye house if they don't use proper safeguards. This gave us serious pause. Since our beginning, The Artful Yarn has been asking yarn vendors about fair-wage incomes for yarn workers, proper treatment of animals and ethical disposal of dyes. Now we will start asking about working conditions for employees and how those handling dye are protected from dye powder released into their work environment.
And then there are those who talk about how to use speckled yarns in their projects. Tin Can Knits shared a great blog post last year about the use of speckled yarn. They contend that there is a place for speckled yarn however you want to use them. We agree with them! Tin Can Knits suggest the full-on use of speckled yarn in anything you want to make. For those of us feeling less adventurous, they suggest including speckled yarns in stripes bounded by solids or semi-solid yarns. As cuffs, hems or pops of color anywhere in a garment or accessory. However you want to use speckled yarn, our staff can offer suggestions and explore ways that you might want to use these fun, new yarn expressions.
In the end, we believe the yarn tent is big enough for everything yarn! The next time you come in, we'll show you what we have in stock right now and rest assured, there's more coming this Fall - along with other non-speckled yarn too!
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