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What is Custom Spun Yarn?

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We use the term custom spun yarn in several of out listings. What does it mean?

When we buy yarn to dye there are a couple of routes we can take. One to to buy a yarn which the mill produces for everyone. Our BFL Masham is an example of this. The mill spins it and it’s up to us if we want to buy it. We can buy as much or as little as we like, so it’s a great way to try new bases and to stock things which we don’t think will sell so quickly.

BFL Masham wool colour wheel twelve mini skeinsBFL Masham colour wheel

The other option is to have yarn custom spun. It’s lovely in that we can pick exactly what we want to go into the yarn and how it’s spun. So when we developed Britsock we knew that we wanted plenty of twist so the yarn would be hard wearing.

The downside to custom spun yarns is that they need to be ordered well in advance. The mills we work worth all have lead times of several months, so we can’t just dye the last skein in the box and order more. The other potential downside is that yarn is spun on large industrial machines which don’t cope well with small orders, so we end with close to 100 kilos of yarn. That has to be paid for and stored. It’s totally worth it for something as gorgeous as Britsock.

set of seven mini skeins in Britsock Goddess SplodgeBritsock mini skeins in Goddess Splodge

There’s a final custom option which adds more layers to the mix – sourcing our own fiber. We did this for One Farm Yarn, and it let us have a truly local yarn created. It’s a great way to appreciate how much you lose at each step along the way – what started as 300 kg of fleece ended up as just over 100kg of yarn.

set of five mini skeins in Grellow Colourway
One Farm Yarn mini skeins in Grellow

Each custom spun yarn lets us offer you something special. Whether it’s the perfect all round yarn that is Britsock or the truly local yarn that is One Farm Yarn these bases are unique.

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