From time to time, a really unique yarn comes along and, here at Graywood Designs, we like to play with those yarns. Concentric is one of those yarns.
The first thing that caught our attention was the price — $47.95 per cake. Really?
Then there is that word “cake” — a word that seems to be taking yarn sellers by storm. Stroll down the aisle of any big box retailer, like a Joanne’s or a Michael’s, and you will find yarn put up in flat bottomed “cakes,” a shape that a modest ball winding device has been able to produce for years.
Concentric’s four thin strands of 2-ply caught our attention, too. The strands lie next to each other in a ribbon-like arrangement. None of this twist and shout for this yarn. Our sample knitter, Pat, says that in some ways it feels more like knitting with embroidery floss.
Pat said in a text, “It holds together well and is easy to use overall. I like the yarn and would buy it. I haven’t had any breaks, knots, or tangles. It’s a beautiful yarn. Just different.”
Pat found that the cake became elongated as she used it. She removed the band and pulled the yarn from the outside so that the first color could be the deep color.
Concentric is made in Peru and is 100% baby alpaca. So the fact that it is an imported yarn AND is a baby fiber helps us understand the steep price per cake of this yarn. Fibers that are labelled “baby” or “kid” are from the first or second clip of young animals. Those animals will continue to produce fiber, but it will not be as soft as the first clippings are. Hence, the scarcity and the price.
So, where do we go with Concentric so that knitters can enjoy this luscious, unusual yarn?
First, we changed the price from the recommended $47.95 . Now a scarf or a cowl or a lightweight warm poncho will cost $38.95 — a “gee-I-might-like-to-try-this-yarn price.
Then, we vetted the yarn by using it. One of the Graywood Studio knitters took a skein of the color “Pastel Pop” and knitted it up using the Ravelry pattern Lotus Poncho, by Canadian Designer Lynette Meek of Le Tissier Designs. It’s a great garment. Lightweight. Soft. The garment as shown on Le Tissier’s Ravelry page looks like this.
Pat’s sample, knit for Graywood Studio and on display in our shop area for you to see when you stop by on a Tuesday, is more than equal to Lynette’s first version of Lotus Poncho. Here’s a quick cellphone image that gives you a first look . Be sure to ask to try on Lotus Poncho so you can feel how soft and yet warm this lace garment is.
Typical knitter that I am, I had to get my hands into a cake of Concentric, too. So I started a Sensibility Shawl, one of the FREE pattern downloads on our website. I’ll be writing more about that project in another post about Knitting with Concentric. In the meantime, click on over to our website and order a cake or two of this newest yarn, Concentric, that Graywood has to offer. There are more pattern suggestions there and you get to see the selection of colors, too.
P.S. Some of you know that I used to own and operate a quilt shop in Pigeon, Pigeon River Mercantile & Wool Co. From selling quilting cottons for over ten years, I came to understand that printed fabrics are very limited editions. It was often difficult to get repeat prints and colors. Sometimes it was impossible simply because only so many yards are printed.
In a way, yarn is like that, too. So if and when you see colors or fibers or blends that you like, don’t hestitate. Only so much of this stuff is available.
Remember, too, that fibers are an agricultural product and one of the problems for the yarn producers is consistency. Weather, availability of herd animals, global fluctuations in currency — all of these factors come into play with the yarns that we love to use.