Hi. I’m Riin Gill, fiber artist and owner of Happy Fuzzy Yarn. I dye yarn and fiber, and spin yarn, and card art batts. Most of the millspun yarn and combed top I’ve been dyeing is imported from the UK or South America. It’s very nice, there’s nothing wrong with it, my customers rave about it...but here’s the thing. I live in Washtenaw County, Michigan, which is the highest wool producing county in the state.
And it’s nice wool. I’ve been getting a lot of wool from my friend Karen, who’s a spinner herself, so she breeds her sheep for wool quality. She’s got beautiful border leicesters, bluefaced leicesters, romneys, corriedales, and crossbreeds thereof. I’ve been using a lot of her wool in my art batts and handspun yarn.
But I’ve still been buying imported millspun yarn and combed top. And as more and more fleeces pile up in my studio, it’s starting to seem kind of silly to import wool.
So I started looking into having my own line of yarn millspun to my specifications at a nearby mill. It’s totally doable, except that I need to do a 100 lb minimum to get the best price per pound. And because there’s loss in processing, I really need to start with around 130 pounds.
I’d like to have combed top produced at the same time, which has a 25 lb minimum, but again I need to allow for loss in processing, so I need to start with around 40 pounds.
I did a survey of my customers, and the first choice for both yarn and top was a wool/alpaca blend. The second choice was a wool/silk blend. (The alpaca is from here in Michigan. The silk is from India.)
If I reach the $4260 goal, I will have 100lbs of 3-ply fingering weight yarn in a 75% wool/25% alpaca blend and 25lbs of combed top in the same blend produced. If I reach $8700, I will do that and also have the same quantity/same specs produced in a 75% wool/25% silk blend.
If I don’t reach $4260? Well, I’m hoping I’ll at least come close. I can throw in some money, but honestly, I really don’t have that kind of money lying around. If it’s close, I’ll find a way to make it work. (Mom?)
If I reach more than $4260 but less than $8700? Well, it’s going to depend which number it’s closer to. If it’s just a little over $4260, I’ll just have a bit more of the wool/alpaca blend done. If it’s closer to $8700, I’ll find a way to get both blends done.
And if I raise over $8700? I’ll get more of both blends done. And be so happy, I'll be jumping up and down for weeks!
And then once I get the yarn and fiber back from the mill, I'll dye it in my characteristic style and send it to you for perks.
I'll spin some of the combed top into yummylicious handspun yarn.
And I'll weave some of the yummylicious handspun into some totally awesome triangle shawls.
And I'll dye and spin more and put it in my shop. And there will be much rejoicing. Huzzah!
Other Ways You Can Help
Whether you can contribute or not, it will really help me out if you spread the word far and wide so as many people as possible find out about my project! Share on Facebook, Twitter, tell all your yarnie friends! Forward to your mom and say "hey, this is what I want for Christmas." Tell your knitting group. Tell your spinning guild. Tell anyone you know who's into yarn, fiber or local goods. Thank you so much!