Sumptuous – Designed by a Knitter, for all Knitters
Sumptuous, our first yarn ever made and the one that challenged how we think about knitting yarns. From start to finish she’s always been different. You see, unlike other commercially produced yarns, she was designed by a knitter, for knitters, with the knitting experience in mind.
When you decide one morning, like I did, to make your own knitting yarn – you get a chance to reconsider all the “norms” and challenge the standards that have been around for a very long time. Now I didn’t strictly intend to be the disrupter, I simply intended to make a knitting yarn that was a dream to knit, fresh and modern. But here we are, with a market leading product, that has already seen changes flowing freely on in the industry.
Lets take a moment to review what makes our Sumptuous so unique and wonderful.
First thoughts in creation was the ball size. As a knitter I have always found the 50grm ball annoying; what can you make from one ball of wool? When making an adult hat, you use up one 50grm ball, and a bit of the next. This irked me. Starting a ball of wool just to finish a project, with most of the ball left over.
So it was a nice logical decision to make the ball 75grm, so one ball will comfortably make an adult hat.
Next thought was how to get the wool to go further. Not just for knitting economy, but for economy in knitting. Let me explain this thought; knitting with lovely yarn can be expensive when you need 8 balls to make something. I got to wondering how we use less balls to make something; so knitting economy. But off the back of that, how do we make the bigger projects more accessible in the time it takes to knit them; so economy in knitting. So here we have a wool that puffs, her spin technique allowing her to be knit over a range of needle sizes. Like magic, by adding bigger needles to the mix, just 4 balls of Sumptuous will make an adult poncho. Making this larger piece more affordable and more efficient to knit, and the wool drapes beautifully, the finished piece light and warm.
When you are choosing fibres to make the ultimate knitting yarns, you have some very good options – but in our humble opinion, you can’t go past the incredible fibre from our Polwarth Sheep (Our NZ bred Polwarth are very genetically similar to our famous Merino, so we can call them cousins… but the Polwarth fibre excels with shine, staple length and clarity). With the delicious Polwarth base, we took the french approach to cooking – we added more butter…. and by butter, I mean Alpaca. Alpaca is a dream really, cosy hollow fibres for the ultimate warmth in a light weight addition. It brings a luxury to the yarn with halo and softness – but the genius is in the mix; with just 20% added to our Polwarth, thus keeping the integrity and structure of the yarn. You see Alpaca has a tendency to “melt”, but with our blend you can rest assured that will not happen.
The finished result is as delicious to knit, as it is to wear and snuggle under.
With the second batch of Sumptuous we took on the feedback of every knitting forum; no one likes finding knots in their yarn. Now I must be clear here, there is no such thing as a continuous thread of yarn without a break. That would be impossible. And I ask that you consider how much waste we would have if we never joined ends. That would increase yarn pricing significantly and see a huge amount of beautiful product discarded – it’s just not feasible. That said, our dedicated mill in Christchurch have an air splicer that they use to join ends, and work to a very high standard to remove knots in the yarn. From time to time, you may find a wee ‘lump’ where the splicing has occurred. Some crafters leave these (I do) and some cut and rejoin. The choice is yours. But I can tell you, I love knitting Sumptuous for many reasons, and high on my list is the lack of knots.
The longer ball and lack of joins is a knitters dream come true.
One of the absolute reasons I got into this yarn making gig, was colour. Honestly I was bored and frustrated seeing the same old same old. To me, most wool shops looked the same as they did 20 or so years ago. The same wools, the same colours… so to my mind, our yarns should be constantly evolving like our tastes and influences are. I wanted fresh options, not just now, but ongoing. With Sumptuous I have achieved this, changing out key colours and keeping the sophisticated and harmonious base shades. I love seeing your finished items and knowing the batch of wool by the colour. I don’t necessarily subscribe to ‘fashion’ shades, but I do present a range of tones that are fresh and modern – and in line with our wardrobes and homes.
I often get asked on how I do my colour research, and to answer that honestly, I don’t. I simply make what I like.
Have you considered how scary buying yarn is? Watching the less experienced (let alone the very experienced) try to buy wools and tools, it really struck me just how complicated it all is. My number one goal when making yarn was to make it waaaaay easier; so Sumptuous has been designed to be knit as a few different “weights” so she may be used in many knitting patterns around the world.
If you love her, you can use her in your New Zealand, Australia, British, American and Continental patterns (to name drop, she knits as a DK, Double Knit, 8ply, Worsted, #3 Light Worsted, 10ply, and light Aran). You can choose to knit a range of different patterns with her, just check your meterage.
NZ Made, 100%
You’d think this would be the easiest part right? Think again, its really really challenging to keep production here in NZ, and to source and work with 100% authentic NZ fibre. But I remain committed to this. And now working with Wild Earth Yarns in Christchurch, we are able to make our yarns with LOVE and not chemical processing.
Your support is massive; we all want NZ products, but it needs on-going support (and growth) to achieve it. Please choose NZ made, choose NZ grown and choose NZ owned and operated. This business maybe a small player in the big woolly world, but we are genuine and therefore we are mighty.
With your support we will grow and take our woolly wonders all around the world. Sumptuous is an incredible yarn, and the world needs to know about it!
Well enough from me, have you knit with Sumptuous? How did you find it? I’d love to hear your feedback, just add your comments on this blog below….