JF's Notebook
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Notebook

Penned by Jared Flood

Hello and welcome! I'm a knitter, photographer, designer and the creative director at Brooklyn Tweed. I use this notebook as a space to record inspiration and write about my creative work both inside and outside of BT. Thanks for reading, and don't be a stranger—I love hearing from you!

Welcoming Quarry

7 Comments September 17, 2015

It’s been such an exciting week here at BT—we’ve introduced our Fall ’15 collection as well as the newest member of our American-sourced and spun yarn family: Quarry. This yarn has been in the works for quite some time; yesterday I checked back over my notes to see just how long we’ve been kicking the idea around behind the scenes: my  first discussions with the mill in Harrisville about developing a chunky weight date all the way back to late 2013!

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I’ve always loved working with “unspun” yarns (the most well-known unspun yarn in the industry is probably Plötulopi in Iceland) for their unique lightness and spongy hand. When I first started working with the Wyoming-grown Targhee-Columbia wool that we use in our Shelter and Loft lines, I loved the character of the fleece and thought that it would be fun experimenting with an unspun version that would allow the intrinsic qualities of the wool to shine. Since the staple length of Targhee is on the shorter side (especially when compared with longer, coarser wools that are traditionally used for unspun yarn construction), I knew we’d probably need to come up with something more creative to give the look and feel of a roving yarn without sacrificing structural integrity.

NTBK_diptych

In the end, we landed on what’s called a “mock twist” in the spinning industry—a type of yarn construction that creates a faux single-ply look by way of combining separate plies of sliver (a single ply of unspun wool fiber with no twist whatsoever) together with a gentle ply twist. When I learned about this type of spinning, it really got my gears turning (no pun intended).

After some trial and error with ply count, twist strength, and so on, we ended up putting together a chunky mock-twist yarn composed of three individual (unspun) plies. The result is a yarn that looks like a roving-style “singles” but maintains some desirable qualities from a 3-ply yarn construction: a round structure (great for stitch definition—Quarry really loves cables and brioche) as well as more tensile strength than a single-ply roving yarn. It’s still quite softly spun of course, but has a built-in structure that makes it behave more interestingly on the needles than other non-plied prototypes we tested.

And what about the name? Quarry?

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When the first tests of the final prototype were happening at the mill last summer, I happened to be on a trip to Arizona visiting the Grand Canyon (oh the beauty of that place!—that’s a subject for another post entirely) and was experiencing color inspiration overload (I’ve included a few of my photos from that trip here). One of the unexpected surprises in developing Quarry was the way that the the mock-twist construction affected the appearance of the blended colors. The heathering that comes from mixing pre-dyed wool before spinning appears differently in Quarry than it does in Shelter and Loft. Rather than creating traditional tweedy flecks, the colors mix in a more painterly, striated fashion (see the first photo in this post for a good example). This beautiful texture really reminded me of the tonal colors and layered patterns that abound in the canyon—and the concept for a palette inspired by geology was born.

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I’m excited to finally be able to share this new yarn with you, and introduce it to you with some of my current knitting projects. This week I’m starting in on a Cowichan-inspired colorwork “camping vest” for my first rainy season back here in the PNW using three colors of Quarry. If you’re curious to see how the yarn knits up, I’ll be sharing my progress here on the blog and on my shiny new Instagram feed (@jared_flood) as well.

I hope you enjoy this new yarn we’ve created—I look forward to seeing what you’re knitting with Quarry, too!

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7 responses to “Welcoming Quarry”

  1. Thanks for sharing the process. Great to see your yarn line grow. I am excited to get my hand on some in the coming weeks. Congratulations

  2. I have been a fan of your yarns, patterns and blog for many years. You just keep growing and getting better and better! You provide the best quality and inspiration! I look forward to trying out the newest yarn. Thanks Jared! BTW, hope you came to Sedona on that trip, we have great inspiration here too!

  3. I am so excited about this yarn! As a lover of unspun wool, it is amazing to see this innovation in creating a tougher yarn without sacrificing the appeal of unspun wool.

    xx
    jessie

  4. I am so excited about this addition to your line: so aesthetically appealing and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Pattern suggestions greatly appreciated.

    eve

  5. This can’t be right…i just purchased Quarry and started on thr Copse pattern. I noticed. what appeared to be a lot of “worming” in each of the hanks i purchased. i wound them anyway, curious but not overly concerned. then i started knitting with it…plz check my Copse project on Ravelry…im newfhugz. ive uploaded pictures of the yarn “kinking” up just hanging from my needles. the behavior worsens as i knit forcing me to stop and “drop” the yarn every few stitches. it unravels easily but is seriously breaking my rhythm and making it an un pleasant project after my initial excitement. is this normal behavior? (ive written the shop as well to see if i got a “bad batch”). ive knit with shelter and loft with extreme pleasure, and this is so very different. help??

  6. Hello Scottie, Thank you for trying Quarry! When you purchased your yarn, were you given a copy of our Quarry tip card? In essence, since the three plies of Quarry are unspun, there is nothing to counter the energy of the twist that binds them. Thus, you’ll find that Quarry wants to twirl between the ball and your needles as you work. Try running your fingers gently along the working yarn toward the ball if the twizzles begin to interfere with your knitting. Keeping the ball further away from your working end so that there’s more length to take the untwist may help. Despite the coiling, the finished fabric will be well balanced without bias. Please email me at info@brooklyntweed.com if you have any additional questions or concerns. All the best, Jen | BT Customer Service

  7. I love your explanations of how the yarn that mimics single-ply but retains qualities of three-ply was created. How ingenious! I can almost feel the yarn by looking at your photographs.
    I also love the inclusion of the photos of the Grand Canyon. Breathtaking! (I was there in person back in 1982 and hiked all the way down, and up the same day. Yes, I am THAT old).

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