I've never used hand-dyed yarn before. What do I need to know? The most important thing to remember is that hand-dyed yarn is like anything handmade--each skein will be a little bit different even within the same dye batch. If you are making something that takes more than one skein and you want your project to have a more homogeneous look, it's a good idea to switch skeins every few rows so the differences are very gradual.
Also, your yarn will come as a hank, which is basically a big loop. That's the best way to store it until you're ready to use it, but it needs to be turned into a ball before you start using it. There's more about how to do that (or have me do it for you) below.
What is the difference between sock-weight yarn and fingering-weight yarn? The basic answer is that there isn't any difference. Depending on where you live, that weight of yarn may be called sock-weight yarn, fingering-weight yarn, or 4-ply yarn regardless of the number of actual plies. Here in The United States, a lot of people refer to yarn with nylon as sock yarn and yarn without nylon as fingering-weight yarn.
I have opted to call all yarn of that weight sock-weight yarn regardless of whether it is good for actual socks or not. That's because it's the term most widely used around the world. If you are looking for yarn to knit actual socks, I recommend using either Sock Perfection or Splendid Sock for good, hard-wearing socks. For extra-soft socks that are a treat for your feet, I recommend using either my Cashmere Sock base or So Silky Sock. So Silky Sock does not have nylon, but silk is every bit as strong as nylon if not stronger.
All of my yarn bases will work beautifully for shawls, hats, sweaters, and more.
Tell me about your studio. My studio is smoke-free but dog-friendly. Our dog, Pfifltrigg, is not at all interested in the fiber or yarn, but it is always possible for a stray dog hair to get into the yarn or fiber.
Tell me about the wool you use. All of our wool comes from flocks where mulesing is NOT practiced. Where possible, I use organic wool. Our teeswater and kid mohair locks come from small flocks in The United States and Canada that are well cared for and well loved.
What kind of dyes do you use? I use professional-quality acid dyes. The term acid sounds a little scary, but all it means is that citric acid is used to make the dye bath a little acidic to make the dye permanent. I make sure to exhaust the dye, which means that it will be stably fixed to the yarn and won't go down the drain. I wash all my yarn and fiber using Dawn detergent after I dye it and hang it to dry.
Will my yarn bleed? The short answer is I do everything I can to ensure that it won't. I wash and rinse my yarn thoroughly, and I am not satisfied unless the water runs clear. That said, acid dyes are colorfast in cold water, but hot water could cause the yarn to bleed a bit. Also, different chemicals and pH of your water compared with mine could possibly cause a bit of bleeding. Because of that, it's always a good idea to wash dark colors separately the first time around. If your yarn does bleed, please contact me so I can help you with it.
How long will it take you to ship my yarn or fiber?
I ship all of my ready-to-ship yarn and fiber within 2 business days.
I ship art batts within 2-3 business days.
I ship dyed-to-order yarn within 2-3 weeks.
For in stock and ready to ship unless otherwise noted. I normally ship within 2 business days. I ship using USPS, though I reserve the option to ship via UPS or FedEx if it makes sense to do so. Packages that weigh less than one pound will be shipped via first-class mail unless otherwise requested, and packages weighing more than one pound will be shipped via priority mail. You will receive the tracking number by email.
Tell me about your shipping. Starting in 2021, I am offering $5 flat-fee shipping within The United States. If the package weighs less than a pound, I'll ship it via First Class Mail. If it weighs more than a pound, I'll ship it via Priority Mail at no additional cost. If you prefer, you may upgrade any order to Priority Mail when you check out.
Outside The United States, I charge the actual shipping cost.
What kind of packaging do you use? I ship your yarn and fiber in boxes made in the USA. I use recycled boxes when I can get them. Inside the box, your yarn or hand-dyed top will be wrapped in tissue paper, and your art batts will be inside a reusable organza bag that keeps it free of dust until you are ready to use it.
Do you gift wrap? Yes and no. My goal is to make each package worthy of being a gift from me to you or your loved ones. Your yarn and fiber will come carefully packaged in a box with tissue paper, but I don't offer gift wrapping per se. Each order comes with an optional lavender felt ball or rosemary sprig as my gift to you. If you are purchasing yarn as a gift and would like me to include a note from you, I would be happy to do so. Just let me know in the note to seller when you check out.
Do you ship internationally? Ordinarily the answer is yes, but due to shipping issues related to COVID, I am currently only shipping to The United States and Canada. I hope to begin shipping worldwide again soon.
I live outside The United States. If there are customs fees or tariffs associated with my package, who is responsible for paying them? Each country has its own laws in this regard. The person receiving the package (aka the customer) is responsible for paying all customs and tariffs.
What are these lavender felt balls and rosemary sprigs you mention? With each order, I will happily include either a lavender felt ball or a fresh rosemary sprig. The rosemary sprig will be cut from my organic garden, and the lavender felt ball is a 1-inch felt ball that I have infused with lavender essential oil. Both of these are natural moth deterrents. If you would like me to include one, please mention which one you would like in the note to seller when you check out. I will only include it if you ask because some people are sensitive to smells. FYI, I do not store either of these with my yarn or fiber for the same reason.
What form will the yarn be in when I receive it? Your yarn will come as a hank. A hank is basically just a big loop of yarn. You cannot knit or weave or crochet from a hank. You have to ball it first, or you will end up with a tangled mess. The most efficient way to turn a hank into a ball is with a swift and a ball winder. However, if you don't have these, that's okay. You can put two dining chairs back to back and put the loop of yarn over the two. Then find the ties and the ends, cut them, and ball the yarn.
If you plan to store the yarn for awhile before using it, it's best for the yarn to leave it in hank form.
How should I care for my yarn? Each skein of yarn comes with instructions for its care, but here is a basic rundown:
If it is made of mostly superwash wool, you can wash it in your washing machine on cold and lay it flat to dry. However, if you want it to last for years and years, I recommend washing it by hand if that is practical for you.
If it is a handspun yarn or any other yarn that is not superwash, you should wash it by hand and lay it flat to dry.
If you are washing by hand, feel free to use your favorite wool wash, but I personally just use a bit of original Dawn detergent. It's easy to get, effective, and economical. As I mentioned above, that is what I use to wash all my yarn and fiber when I dye it too.
Keep in mind that wool is naturally antimicrobial, so it won't necessarily need to be washed each time it is used.
Where do you get your inspiration? From so many places, but I get most of my inspiration from literature, art, music, and nature.
Do you wholesale? Yes, I do offer my yarn to yarn shops in The United States. If you own a yarn shop and are interested in opening a wholesale account with Purple Lamb, contact me here. Let me know a bit about your shop, and I will get back to you with more information. I'm pretty easy to work with. ;-)
I am a weaver. Which of your yarn bases are good for weaving? I'm a weaver too. As you know, pretty much anything can be used for weft. For warp, I especially recommend using Buttery Soft DK, Squoosh DK, So Silky Sock, Sock Perfection, and Splendid Sock. While I have used Sparkly Merino Sock for warp, I have had individual strands break under tension now and then.
I have another question for you. Feel free to contact me using the contact form here. You can expect a response within about a day.