What does “Spincycle” mean?

Well, the “spin” part is obvious; we handspin ALL of our yarn on our trusty spinning wheels. But you’re probably wondering about the “cycle.”

Spincycle Yarns is a car-free business! The spinsters do all of their local traveling by bicycle, hauling all their beautiful yarn and display racks on bike trailers.

 

Spincycle Yarns' Glossary of Abbreviations

BO - bind off
c(#)f - Cable (number of stitches) forward.  Slip half of the stitches onto the cable needle, hang in the front.  Knit the second half of the stitches, then knit the stitches off of the cable needle.
c(#)b - Cable (number of stitches) back.  Slip half of the stitches onto the cable needle, hang in back.  Knit the second half of the stitches, then knit the stitches off of the cable needle.
cbl - Cable
CC - Contrasting color
cn - Cable needle
CO - Cast on
dec - Decrease
dpns - Double pointed needles
inc - Increase
k - Knit
k2tog - Knit 2 together
kfb - Knit through the front and back of a stitch
MC - Main color
m1 - Pick up the bar between two stitches with your left needle. Knit through the back of the stitch.  One stitch increased.
p - Purl
p2tog - Purl two stitches together
pm - Place marker
psso - Pass slipped stitch over
RS - Right side
rnd(s) - Round(s)
ssk - Slip two stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loops
sl - Slip
st(s) - Stitch(s)
St st - Stockinette stitch
WS - Wrong side
yo - Yarn over

What the heck is Polwarth?

First, let's talk about merino. “Merino” is the name of a breed of sheep. Merinos are known for producing wool that is very fine and lofty, making it exceedingly soft and warm. Merinos produce the softest of the true wools, but they are not a hardy breed compared to other sheep breeds. Because of merino wool’s popularity, most of the world’s merinos are raised on huge lots, where crowded conditions lead to the need for antibiotic dips, footbaths, and injections, not to mention an inhumane practice called “mulesing” that we’d rather not go into here. And the quality has suffered... ever bought a merino sweater for $10 at your local mall and found it to be the itchiest thing EVER?!

Enter Polwarth. Merino sheep were crossbred with another breed. In this case, the other breed is Lincoln, a very healthy, hardy sheep. The result is a breed known as Polwarth, three-quarters Merino and one-quarter Lincoln. The fiber is very close in micron count to pure merino, and it's hardly distinguishable against the skin!

And our polwarth wool is CERTIFIED ORGANIC. These happy sheep are raised without the use of herbicides, pesticides, dips, footbaths or regular injections. They produce a fine, soft wool that everyone can feel good about!

Disclaimer: It's not local. It comes from pretty far away. We think you’ll agree, though, that for a fiber so environmentally conscious and sheep so very happy, it’s a compromise we can all get down with.

What the flip is BFL?

“BFL” is our way of avoiding writing out “Bluefaced Leicester” on yarn tags dozens of times every week.

Bluefaced Leicester (that’s pronounced like “lester”) is a breed of sheep from Great Britain. They are classified as a “longwool” sheep, which means pretty much what is sounds like it means… The staple length is between 3” and 6”, so it spins up into a very smooth, dense, sturdy yarn.

BFL fibers generally have a micron count (that measures the thickness of the individual hair) of 24-28µ, making the fiber just a little less soft than our organic polwarth.

One of our favorite qualities of BFL yarn is its amazing luster! Generally speaking, finer wools have low luster and coarser wools have high luster. In the case of Bluefaced Leicester, though, you can have softness plus shine plus an amazing drape.

BFL’s are happy living around the Pacific Northwest, so we try to get our hands on as many local fleeces as we can.

What should I knit with Spincycle yarns?

Our handspun yarn comes in several different weights, so chances are we have a yarn for any pattern. We also love designing knitwear that shows off the unique texture and depth of handspun yarn. Check our store for original patterns, and have fun adapting your favorite patterns to feature handspun yarns!

How much is shipping?

Our shipping rates are as follows:

A $6 flat rate is added to all domestic orders.  We ship by USPS Priority Mail. Please select "domestic shipping" at checkout.

International shipping rates vary from $13-20; we ship by USPS International Economy Mail.

If I want to knit a sweater, should I buy all my skeins at once?

While we may dye some of our favorite colorways several times, each dyelot is unique.  Therefore, it's good to purchase your yarn requirements all at once so that every skein will be from the same dyelot.

How do I care for my knitwear?

If you need to wash your item, hand wash cold, lay flat to dry and block if needed. 

Handknit items made from fine fiber have a tendency to pill when abraded.  Don't fret, this doesn't mean that your project is ruined.  All you need to do is shave it with a lint-eater or brush it with a sweater stone.  Most department stores worth their weight carry battery-powered sweater shavers in there closet organization section.  Every hand-knitter should own one.  They are oddly satisfying.

What materials are the yarns made from?

We use only natural fibers.  All of our goat and much of our sheep fiber comes from our home state of Washington. We visit many of the farms at shearing time and meet the animals and their keepers.

We do all of the dyeing in-house. Our colorways are what makes us stand out amongst other handspun yarns. All of Spincycle's handspun yarns are made by the two of us. Our new line of yarns, Dyed In The Wool, is still dyed by us and is spun by a local, woman-operated micro mill!

I really love one of the yarns in the gallery. When will you dye that one again?

We do our best to honor requests for some of our more popular colorways. However, each dyelot typically has its own personality. Within the same colorway, one dyelot may be more or less intense than the next. With each new dyelot, we post a new photo so you know what you're getting.

Are your dyes natural?

We dye in a shared indoor art space. Most of the natural dyes require heavy metals as mordants in order to produce the vibrant colors we love. Even after mordanting, many natural dyes are not lightfast. So for now, we mostly work with a non-toxic acid dye that is safe for ourselves and our studio neighbors. Our dyes require only vinegar as a mordant and the color rinses clear. 

That being said, we occasionally have naturally dyed skeins or fill special orders for handspun yarn using locally harvested plant materials as dyes.  Check our on-line store or e-mail us for info.

Do your hand-dyed yarns keep their color?

Yep.  If you knit a Ulock cozy or any other item that lives outside, it may sun fade, but what won't? 

Our yarns are kettle-dyed, which is a gentler process that uses chemicals safe for the home environment, rather than the harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals of industrial dyeing, the first time you wash or block your knitted item a little color might come out in the water.  Don't freak, this will not effect the beautiful color of your garment, but you may not want to dry it on your favorite tea towel.

Do you do custom orders?

Yes! Just contact us with your request and we'll get you the handspun yarns of your dreams!