Anthology Knitalong / Sunday Knits
As a part of the Anthology Knitalong we're sharing a bit of the story behind some of the yarns used in Carrie Bostick Hoge's newest book, Anthology 3 / Seaside. First up is Carol Sunday of Sunday Knits.
Sunday Knits is a cottage industry – quite literally. The business is situated in a small guest cottage behind our old stone house, on a country road in the woods of northern Illinois.
When I first started thinking about creating a line of yarns to complement my knitting designs, I had strong opinions about what I was looking for. I wanted a fine-quality wool, very soft against the skin, light weight, spun not too tight but not too loose either. And I had a palette of harmonious colors already in my mind.
Although I love to spin and dye wool, I don't have the facilities here to do those things on any scale. So I spent a few years contacting woolen mills, first here in the midwest, then throughout the States, then further afield. Samples were requested, received, rejected, requested, received, and rejected. It was starting to look like I would never find what I was looking for. Then I received some samples of some lovely woolen yarn that looked quite promising. It was light and soft, the wool was of a very fine quality, and the mill was able to spin whatever weight I wanted and to dye to my own color palette.
Of course, the test is in the knitting. The yarn was nice to work with and was very consistent. I liked it a lot. But it wasn't until I completed a swatch then washed and dried it, when I saw what a light, lovely cohesive piece of fabric my knitting had become, that I fell head over heels in love with the yarn. Sunday Knits had found its mill!
Lanecardate, the northern Italian mill that I have been working with for over twelve years now, is a family-owned mill in operation since the 1600's. The spinners and dyers there are true masters of their craft, with a passion for excellence that is typical of Italian makers. In addition, their commitment to environmental sustainability and humane treatment of animals matches my own. I love doing business with these people.
Their yarns are produced mainly for high-end garment makers. So after the woolen-spun yarn is spun and dyed to my specifications, it arrives from the mill on cones, as if for machine knitting. Here at the Sunday Knits studio, we skein, wash, full, reskein, twist and label the yarn to prepare it for hand knitting.
One of our first steps is to wind the yarn from cone to skein. This skein-winder was made to create a 54" skein, which is smaller than a standard (60-64") skein. This size is easier to work with, and the skein drapes comfortably over ones knees, around the arms of a chair, or held up in the hands of a friend.
When there's not enough yarn left in a cone length to complete a full 50- gram skein, that yarn may be used in a 20-gram mini skein or a wee sample skein, or for making colorcards, or it goes into my personal stash. Waste not, want not ... results in skeins with no knots.
I am a life-long knitter and more recent knitwear designer, and started Sunday Knits yarns in 2007 after I couldn't find any hand knitting yarns that suited my wishes for softness, gauge, and color. Now after over one hundred published designs and maybe a thousand swatches using only Sunday Knits yarns, I'm still madly in love with this very special yarn. - Carol Sunday