Saturday, June 20, 2009

silky mal misgivings

i am having some silky mal misgivings. i am referring to the silky merino yarn from malabrigo. i've written about it several times - both this specific yarn and malabrigo wools in general. i extolled their virtues, marvelled over the colorways and softness. i still feel strongly that their yarns are about the softest i've ever laid fingers on and their colorways are among the most beautiful i've ever seen. but i am having misgivings.

it seems to me the good people of malabrigo may have decided that since they make some of the most beautiful, deliciously soft yarn, they can afford to be a little 'sloppy' elesewhere. specifically, i have two pseudo-complaints.

tangles. i bought six skeins of the silky mal on my last jaunt and have spent just over six hours detangling yarn. more than an hour a skein does not a happy girl make. not all were unwindable, but of the two that were - they were a real mess. one took over four hours to get wound. not okay.

variances in colorways. okay, let me repeat, i looooove this 'indiecita' colorway. i love it in all it's varied representations. unbeknownst to me, i managed to buy three very distinctively different versions of the indiecita colorway. all contain gorgeous shades of greens, golds, purples and blues. all contain various hues of these colors. but of the six skeins i bought, two are distinctly more purple, two are disctinctly more blue, one is ultra green and one is mostly green. this is after we made sure all six were from the same dye lot and then also did a visual check for uniformity. not okay.

now of course i didn't note these hugmongous color variations until well, well into the second skein of my clappie. somewhere close to 80% into this skein, i stopped to look at photos i'd taken just after adding it. imagine my surprise to see this:

riiiiiiiiiiiight, my clappie went from bright primarily green to bluish purple. yeah, super. but i was about 80% into the bluish purple skein and hadn't yet wound the others (cause did i mention the tangles?!?!?!? after the two hour untangling debacle i'd decided to only wind two at a time, to preserve my sanity). i looked at them and it seemed the rest were more bluish. so i had options, frog the entire thing (um, did i mention this is the third clappie i've cast on in two weeks - no way!) or decide that i fully intended one brighter, greener end, with darkening, bluing happening as i went.

so yeah, let's try that.

however, when i went to wind another skein today, guess what? yep - that's when i discovered my third color combo. i decided it would be wise to wind em all and see what i got and try to do some planning. after 4 hours - yes i timed it - untangling yet another skein, i realized the three distinct color variances i acquired from one bloody dye lot. i tried to photograph one of each, but with another overcast day, this was
the best i could do:
alt text

counter-clockwise from the bottom, we have: kinda green, primarily blue and primarily purple. these are far more distinct IRL. the photo is the suck, but is as close as i could get to capturing the differences. and none of these is really even vaguely the same as the super happy ultra greenish-blue i started with and was so pleased by:

since i already have greenish then bluish, my plan is to go forward with the two purplish, then go out with blue and then green on the end. we’ll see.

i’m kind of bummed about this, but am moving forward nonetheless and hoping for the best.

in any case, lesson learned. we did make sure all skeins were from the same dye lot and double checked for colorway uniformity, but apparently that is not suffucient. not by a long shot. i will never again use this yarn without winding all skeins beforehand and triple checking.

naturally, i will have to devote an entire day to this because of the endless detangling.

after which i will likely not even want to knit whatever bloody thing i bought the yarn for in the first place.

so, ummmm....yeah, silky mal misgivings.


  1. i would be on the phone or on the computer and talking to them about the problems. most GOOD companies will work with you...if for no other reason, losing a customer and 2, they don't want comments like this posted.

    o, looking at your slide show, go see what i won!!!

  2. i love the pictures in your slide show!!!