It’s taken nearly nine months, but our 2018 mill-spinning order has at last arrived home!
Such events are annual – some years there’s a second batch, yet the excitement is scarcely any less than with our very first order. Then we really had little idea how our home-produced and self-selected raw wool would turn out. Now, we’re much more confident in what we are doing ; but even those yarns we produce every year (especially the pure Hebridean lambswool, for which our specification is especially tight) will vary slightly from year to year, depending on oh-so-many-factors both within and outwith our control. This year’s delivery has been no exception! And the excitement is all the sharper because, this year – for the first time, there’s a completely new yarn to marvel at.
Beinn Stac is a marled yarn : that is, a yarn in which the individual strands are of differing colours. For Beinn Stac there are two colours, namely black (Hebridean) and white (Cheviot). The yarn is comprised of three strands (3-ply construction – or ‘three-fold’), with two strands of Cheviot (white) and one of Hebridean (black).
Have you ever come across a 2+1 3-ply before? Why did we specify this? Well, it’s not just because we had twice as much Cheviot available as we had Hebridean (though clearly we did).
For a simple 2-ply yarn – with one strand each of the two colours, there would be only one overall tone possible – a 50% grey or mid-grey.
But 50% grey/white is darker than than we want to for this yarn. For blended yarns like Beinn Sgíathan we can specify any tonal mix we wish between 0.1% Hebridean (virtually black) to 99.9% Hebridean (virtually white). But with a marled yarn it is only possible to change the number of strands and/or the colours.
It may not obvious, but both Beinn Sgíathan and Beinn Stac are approximately one-third Hebridean, two-thirds Cheviot. In other words, the same quantities of Hebridean and Cheviot can be made into either Beinn Sgíathan or Beinn Stac.