***If you are reading this without reading the next post entitled “So…”, you really need to read it first!***
A while back, we came out with the Polwarth Silk base. At 750 yards per 250 g skein, the Polwarth has turned out to be one of our better-selling bases and has been in great demand for larger projects such as sweaters due to the double-skein size. Lately, we have been inundated with requests for a new base with similar length and skein size, and so we went back to the Polwarth distributor for some suggestions. We got samples of several Sport/DK weights in the 250 g double-skein format, and came upon one in particular that is related to the Polwarth Silk but a bit out of our dyeing comfort zone and is, we think, really quite unique in its construction and knitting qualities.
We’ve been interested in late of working with South American wools and fibres, and we’ve decided to try a Chilean yarn known as South Polwarth. Our yarn distributor says the South Polwarth comes from the South-Central district of Chile, and the sheep are mainly bred on the Western slopes of the Andes Mountain range near the town of Chonchi. The South Polwarth is a blend of 10% Scottish Silk, 15% Linen and 75% Yailford’s Opal, a breed specific to the region that is a cross of Merino, Polwarth and South Shetland sheep, hence the name South Polwarth. The Yailford is named as such because it has a very heavy yet soft coat, and in direct light gives off an almost translucent effect, like that of an opal.
The South Polwarth has a unique quality amongst wool bases in that because of the angled clock-wise structure of the wool fibre and local methods used in spinning the yarn, it is ideal for left-handed knitters. The wool gets its unique sub-structure mostly by the sheep constantly walking up and down mountainous slopes, which causes an uneven gait in their step and adds a naturally-angled crimp in the wool. The uneven rocky ground also alternately compresses and contracts the wool, giving it a natural bouncy come-back, which acts almost like a nylon component, so the yarn is not only super-warm but extra strong.
At present, we don’t have any skeins dyed, but what we’ve decided to do for this base is that since we have only a small amount to start with (50 skeins), we’re going to start by accepting pre-orders for custom dye lots as of 10 am e.s.t. today, and if the demand warrants it, we’ll roll out the South Polwarth on a commercial level in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we do have about a dozen mini-skeins (approx. 150 yds each) dyed in both TARDIS and Captain Tightpants, so if there’s anyone out there who’d like to get one or two to try out for some small projects/swatches/examples, we’ll ship them out for free but its first come first get! Just leave us a quick word on the post comments (below) and we’ll get your shipping info separate by email or Ravelry – please don’t send any requests directly as we’re trying to keep this separate from the Orders page/email address.