Wednesday, November 10, 2010

yarn review: Quince & Co

For me, this is a truly local yarn.  I can drive to the shop that carries their yarn in a couple of hours.  This isn't such a big deal, as there are more than a handful of yarn shops within easier travel.  What is such a big deal is that this yarn is milled here in New England, and it uses yarn that is sourced in our country.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good yarn no matter it's provenance.  But I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that this yarn has a smaller carbon footprint.  Plus, the yarn itself is gorgeous.  As a refresher, here's how they ship the yarn to you:

Little Bundles o Joy!
Every batch of yarn comes discreetly wrapped in white paper, and closed with a Quince & co sticker.  They have, so far, put each colorway ordered into its own bundle to keep them together.  Opening the box is like a little shot of excitement.  The wrapping is simple, but it makes me feel like they value their product highly enough to give it special treatment;  which makes it feel more special when you do open them.

Opened, the bundles look something like this:
picture is dark, but color of yarn is spot on
Isn't it cute??  I will say this for them, every color I've tried has been luscious.  Even their brown shades, which I usually don't enjoy knitting as much, have been fabulous.  They have a number of colors, and all are dyed consistently.  I found no dye problems across any of the yarn lines I've knit.  The deeply saturated colors do bleed when you wet-block the item;  however I didn't run into any issues where my needles or hands are stained and I worked with a deep emerald green and royal purple.

A word of caution:  If you want to order from them, get a shade card.  My photos don't do the yarn justice as an amateur, but even a professional photographer can't capture the depth of some of the shades they offer.  The pictures on their site aren't bad, but they haven't been as accurate as some. 

The three lines I've tried so far are the Tern, the Chickadee, and the Lark.

Let's start with their Lark line:

This is the yarn I'm using for the Serious Scarves.  It is recommended that this be knit on a 6-8 US needle.  I'm knitting the chain-link scarf on a 6, and find it to be a comfortable size.  I tend to knit a little loosely, so it's possible that a tight knitter would find the larger side of the spectrum more comfortable to get the same results knit-wise.

If you recall, this is what the scarf looks like:
color, still off.
The color that I'm using is Frank's Plum.  I don't know who Frank is, but he has fabulous taste.  I also have their Lark in peacoat.  What I've noticed with the Lark is it feels more velvety than the other two lines.  It has a tiny bloom, even in the package.  Personally, I love it.  It's tightly twisted, and the yarn feels springy and lucious between my fingers while I knit.  I've lost a lot of time knitting this scarf due to fondling the finished fabric.  As this is the heaviest yarn that I've tested, I did find more vegetable matter in it.  I expect that in a heavier weight yarn, though, and in 6 skeins I've only found 3 pieces of VM.  This was the first batch of yarn that I found a knot in.  But I can say that in over 20 skeins one knot is really good quality control.  I will be knitting with this yarn a lot more (but not often for the blog, as it's a bit heavy for some of the patterns I'm writing).

This is a good spot to put up my comparison shot of Lark and Chickadee:
colors off, but shows the composition of the yarn well
Lark on the right, Chickadee on the left.  Which brings us to my review of their Chickadee line.

I unfortunately don't have much of a sample to show you for this line.  I knit a super sekrit present for fabulous lady Deb as a thank-you for being so encouraging and generally fabulous.  As it wasn't meant as a bump for the blog, it's not getting time here.  BUT it did give me experience with this yummy yarn.

Chickadee does not have the velvety finish that Lark does.  And it doesn't matter a whit.  I've knit roughly 15 skeins of Chickadee since the first package showed up, and it has a lovely springy feel to it.  It's soft without losing definition, strong without losing its silkiness, and all around fabulous to knit.  I loved every moment of knitting the projects I knit in it.  One of my next shawl patterns will be knit in the lovely peacock color shown in the open bundles, and I'm itching to knit it.  Any yarn that makes me wish I could knit more of it is a keeper.  This yarn is recommended for 3-5 US needles, and I knit the present shawl on size 4, which made for lovely openwork.  It comes in a 181 yard put-up, but as it's 100% wool, splicing for larger projects isn't an issue.

Boo, short little review.  I should have done a sample for photos, but oh well.  I can always link to the finished peacock shawl after it's done.

Finally, the Tern yarn line.
This is a departure from their first lines, something new they've been working on.  Tern is a 75% wool, 25% tussah silk yarn.  It has occasional slubs in it due to the nature of tussah.  They can easily be separated from the twist of the yarn if you don't like them, or left in for a more textured feel.

These beauties are Tern:
Again, dark picture but pretty spot on for the color.
This is their fingering/sock yarn, and they recommend it be knit on size 1-3 US needles.  I split the difference and knit the below on size 2 needles.

Not at ALL blocked, look at the stitch definition.
I LOVE this yarn.  Love it!  It comes in a 221 yard put-up, which is enough for a sock for most people.  It would take 2 skeins to do a pair.  Personally, I would love to see this sold in a larger put-up, but I understand that it was created to be their sock line and the yardage reflects the purpose it was made for.  There are fewer colors of this yarn, but it is a new line.  I suspect they will be making more as they guage what knitters want.

What else can I say without sounding like a gushing fool?  I started knitting Quince & Co during the 10+ knot debacle, so my love of their consistency and quality might be slightly tempered by that.  But I will say this:  of the three lines I've tried so far, all of them are drool-worthy.  There wasn't a single stinker in any of the batches of yarn I bought from them, and the yarn itself is a joy to work with.  When you add in the very reasonable price, this yarn is a solid offering at a fantastic price point.  Try some, and see if you don't love it too!

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