For this blogpost I wanted to answer some questions our customers have repeatedly asked us. I ended up writing a story about where SKEINO yarns come from and how we work with them. Perhaps you have had these questions in your mind as well.
So follow me as I walk you through the process of our yarns here at SKEINO:
WHERE DO THE ANIMALS DELIVERING THE FIBERS GRAZE?
Most of our fibers come from Peru. The herds of alpacas and sheep graze in the Andes and they always have natural grass available to them. The herds are moved to higher or lower elevations, depending on the season. Mainly it is Coops who take care of the animals and sheer the wool for us.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WOOL THEN?
The fleeces are being separated into high and low quality parts. The initial washing process will take most of the dirt and grease out of the fibers. The same quality of fibers are being pressed into bails. After that they are ready to be shipped to the spinning mill.
WHERE ARE THE YARNS BEING SPUN AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THE YARN?
Most of our yarns are being spun in Italy. Before this process can start, the fibers have to be washed again and a spinning oil has to be added to create an even and perfect thread. The spinning oil these days is mainly a vegetable oil. The fibers are being spun and twisted according to SKEINO’s specifications. Each yarn has a data sheet to let the mill know what to do. After the yarn has been spun it will be ready as a natural product or it will be treated to be machine washable. The yarn comes on cones and is ready to be wound into skeins (hanks). This is essential for us at SKEINO because it is the only form we can hand paint or dye the yarn.
HOW IS THE YARN BEING HAND PAINTED OR DYED BY SKEINO?
The skeins of yarn need to be prepared for the dye process. There is still dirt and spinning oil in the yarn that needs to be removed. At the same time the yarn soaks in a vinegar based bath to be able to absorb the color pigments. The hand paint or dye process is of course our secret, but it is all done by hand, from start to finish.
WHICH DYES ARE BEING USED FOR COLORING THE YARN AND WHAT IS PROCEDURE?
All of our dye powders are chemicals. They are all certified by the manufacturer so that we know they are not hazardous. The only negative thing is that the pigments are acting with our skin, which is protein like the fibers from all animals. This is why we have to wear rubber gloves. Everyone involved loves doing this so that they can see how the white color from the yarn disappears. After the yarn is dyed a heat setting process fixes the colors permanently. A final good rinse takes all those pigments away the yarn could not absorb. We always try to dry the yarn outside in order to have the fresh air take away the leftover smell from the vinegar. Also the breeze with the fresh air is puffing our yarn up to the best possible softness.
Now the yarn is ready to be sold on www.skeino.com. Our designs are created exclusively for each individual yarn. Mostly I create the design first and then I order the matching yarn. We take photos of each colorway in the most neutral way possible and upload them to www.skeino.com. The last step is of course when you cast on the yarn and knit your personal piece with it.
So this was the journey of our SKEINO yarn. I hope I could give you a better view of what we are doing here at SKEINO. Do you have any particular wishes on what other yarns you would like to see on SKEINO? Let us know in the comments!
…And as always: HAPPY KNITTING