Tag Archives: yarn

Crayon Color Connection

The Woolery's Crayon Color Connection

Color matching yarn over the internet can be difficult. Everyone’s screen is color balanced differently and has different backlighting settings. Not to mention the fact that, even if we were sitting next to each other in the same room, what I describe as “maroon” might be different than what you consider to be “maroon”. Remember the dress that broke the internet?

The dress

Some people saw it as blue with black lace and some people saw it as white with gold lace. Scientists and people of the internet determined that your brain makes certain assumptions about color based off the type of lighting you assume is present. This drawing illustrates this nicely:


What does all of this have to do with yarn? Like I said, color matching yarn over the internet can be extremely difficult. It’s hard to know the exact color of a yarn you’re buying without seeing it in person. We do our best to keep our photos color accurate but with screens, perception, etc, there is still room for confusion!

Bluegrass Mills Color Card

The absolute best way to avoid this is to purchase the color card of a yarn you are buying. That way you have a little sample of the actual yarn that you can carry around with you and look at in different lighting scenarios to make sure it’s the color you want! You can also color compare it with other yarns you have to make sure different colors are going to go well together in a project.

Color cards don’t always work though because maybe the yarn line you need doesn’t have a color card, or maybe you need the yarn faster than ordering a color card and then picking the right color and ordering the yarn separately. You could even just need one cone/skein of a particular yarn, so you don’t want to pay for a whole color card.

Pantone swatch book

Our next best suggestion is to use a Pantone swatch book and call one of our customer service representatives to help you match a yarn to the Pantone color you’ve picked out. Pantone makes sure their colors are printed consistently so this is a pretty surefire way to know we are talking about this same color!

We love Pantone and find it extremely useful around the shop, but we understand that if you’re just trying to color match one yarn or don’t think you’d have a use for the books that they might be cost prohibitive to you. If this is the case, we still have a solution for you to have accurately color matched yarns… crayons!

Crayola crayon yarn matching

Crayons are not cost prohibitive, they’re easily found at most major retailers, and have a wide variety of colors. We have a 152 pack of Crayola crayons in the shop. You can pick up a box of Crayola crayons (it is important that you use Crayola brand so we match!), pick out the color that you are aiming to find yarn to match, and give us a call. We’ll pick out a yarn to match the crayon color you chose and we’ll all be on the same page about exactly what hue you’re going for. This solves concern about having different ideas about “maroon”, screen color balancing, and back lighting. So grab some crayons, give us a call and get the perfect color yarn you’ve been searching for!


Announcing our very first Woolery Weave-off!

Woolery Weave-Off

The Woolery is excited to announce our very first Woolery Weave-Off!

We’re having a Weave-Off to celebrate how well our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn has been received. Weave a dish towel with Bluegrass Mills to compete for prizes in four separate categories.  Here’s the thing though, you don’t get your towel back, because we’re donating them all to the local women’s shelter (Simon House, here in Frankfort Kentucky), because women in crisis need the special energy that handwoven textiles provide, too!

Grand Prize Winners in each category will get Spectrum Packs of our BGM 6/2 — that’s 20, one-pound cones of yarn in a whole array of colors!
Second and Third Place Winners in each category will get $50 Woolery gift cards


Woolery Weave-Off Prizes


Now through January 31st all Bluegrass Mills Yarn* is

25% Off!

You need to use our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 Cotton Yarn to weave your entry, so we’re offering 25% off the price of this yarn from January 3rd – January 31st! 

*Please note offer excludes already discounted clearance colors.

Here’s the fine print – we ask that you read completely before deciding to enter:

The four divisions will be:
1) Beginners; those who have been weaving less than one year. Please use the honor system when determining your beginner status!
2) Rigid heddle weavers (remember, 6/2 is great in plain weave at 15 or 16 EPI; you can do that on a rigid heddle loom!)
3) Color: here’s the chance to be outrageous; remember, you’ll never need to wear it.  Be bold and inventive, and knock our socks off!
4) Pattern: stretch yourself.  Do you have 4 extra shafts on your loom that have just been looking at you funny?  Use them, be brave and inventive; learn something and get out of your comfort zone!
Entries must be mailed to: 
The Woolery
c/o Katherine
859 East Main Street, Suite 1A
Frankfort, KY 40601


  • The minimum size for each towel is 15” x 24”, washed and hemmed.
  • One entry per person – entries must also contain the name, phone number, email address, and address of the entrant.
  • Contest entries MUST be postmarked by April 1st, 2018, to be considered. Entries postmarked after that time will not be entered in the contest, and will not be returned.
  • Entrants acknowledge they will not get their submissions back. In the event that we receive too many towels to donate to one place, sister residential shelters/organizations in nearby Lexington and Louisville will receive the ‘spillover’ .
  • Winner agrees to have her/his towel and name used in photos and on social media platforms.
  • You MUST use Bluegrass Mills cotton to weave your towel – All non-clearance colors will be 25% off through the end of January!
  • Odds of winning change with number of entries received.
  • Winners will be notified on or around April 15, 2018. Winner has 14 days to claim her/his prize.
  • Lists of winners and runners-up in each category will be available by request in writing after May 15th, 2018.
  • Contest is open to entrants aged 18 years and over.
  • Woolery employees and immediate family members are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Woolery suppliers are welcome to participate, but they are not eligible to win.
  • Entrant assumes the cost of shipping the towel.
  • Winner of prize assumes responsibility for all and any taxes/tariffs/duty fees incurred.
  • No ghost weavers! Towels must be woven by the person entering the contest.

Please direct any questions about the Woolery Weave-Off to katherine@woolery.com

Ask Nancy is Back!

Ask NancyWe haven’t heard from our resident expert, Nancy Reid in a bit. We’re happy to report that Ask Nancy is back!

Got weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Nancy will answer all of your burning questions with her expert advice. In this edition, we look at how we label our yarn weights; to ask your own question, email weavernancy@woolery.com 





I’m a knitter and a crocheter and I feel like I’m in foreign territory because I’ve never done wraps per inch, and I don’t understand 10/2 etc. Is there a chart that explains the equivalents to say lace yarn, sock yarn, sport weight yarn, etc?


In this case, I truly think it will be easier for you to learn the way we do it, rather than me translating; and I will explain why.


Going back to the Guild system in Middle-Ages Britain, each of the spinning guilds (flax, wool, silk) developed their own unique measuring system for the grist of their yarns, and those measures have persisted to this day.  So 10/2 cotton (for crochet, for example) does not equate in size to 10/2 wool (for fine knitting) or to 10/2 silk (a yarn usually used for weaving), or to 10/2 linen.  In all these yarns, the 10 is the gauge of the singles (for that fiber) and the /2 refers to the number of plies at that gauge.  These sizes run like wire sizes, in that the smaller the number, the bigger the wire; #10 is dryer wire and #22 is telephone wire, and #10 yarn is skinnier than #5 yarn.


So, each of these sizes is very precise; 8/2 cotton is 3360 yards per pound, period.  8/2 wool is 2240 yards/pound, period.  And because wool yarn is fluffier than cotton yarn, the diameters don’t match. either.  BUT: things are precise.  Worsted yarn, the way that the knitters talk about it, is a range of 900-1200 yards per pound; that’s a huge range, and lacks a lot of precision.  And since only the wool (and wool-ish, like wool blends and acrylic) yarns can be compared in the lace-fingering-sport-worsted-bulky system, the yards per pound system is the way that industry talks about them, and that system enables us to talk about all the yarns, made of all the fibers, in a common language.


Wraps per inch is a tool that some spinners, knitters, and weavers use to compare yarns; but it too lacks precision, and is just used for rough comparisons and is a starting place for sampling.
The standard knitting sizes are defined in the ranges of their yards per pound, and there is pretty good agreement there, though of course cotton, silk, and linen can’t be looked at with this yardstick.  Luckily, these fibers are not often knitted with, either!


Bulky is 600-800 yards per pound
Worsted is 900-1200 yds/#
Sport is 1200-1800 yds/#
Fingering (sock weight) is 1900-2400 yds/#
Lace is 2600+ yds/#


These equivalents should enable you to use the weights that we give on our wool (and alpaca) yarns to choose what you want to try to knit with.  For crochet purposes, when using cotton, #10 crochet cotton is 10/2; #5 crochet cotton is 5/2, #3 crochet cotton is 3/2.


Artisan Spotlight: Going Green with Brown Sheep

harlan-factory-2The American textile industry has a long history of boom and bust cycles since the first mills were set up along the waterways of the east coast in the early years of the industrial revolution.While most yarn, textile and clothing production has moved offshore, a small number of stubborn visionaries have dedicated themselves to ensuring a future for American-made yarn. One of the pioneers in this movement is the Brown Sheep Company in Mitchell, Nebraska, spinning wool yarns for weavers, knitters and crocheters since 1980.

The Brown Sheep mill was started by Harlan Brown, father of the current mill owner Peggy Jo Wells, on land in the north Platte River valley that had been farmed by his grandfather and father for over 100 years. Changing economic conditions in the 1970s led Harlan Brown to shift the focus of the family business from animal husbandry to the production of wool and yarn. By 1980, he had purchased used wool-processing and spinning equipment and set up the original Brown Sheep Company mill.  

What began as an effort to make a living from the family land has been modernized to a state of the art eco-conscious yarn production facility. The used mechanical equipment has given way to automated digital spinners and winders, even as the fundamental process of introducing twist into wool to create yarn has remained unchanged for millennia. Robert Wells, Peggy Jo’s husband, brought his academic research acumen to Brown Sheep Company when they decided to join the company. Not only has the spinning equipment been upgraded, Robert has helped design a water reclamation system that allows the mill to capture and reuse up to 90% of the water used in the dyeing process. It’s an environmentally responsible approach to the land on which Brown Sheep Company sits, keeping the mill’s operations sustainable in the semi-arid climate of western Nebraska. What little wastewater is left goes into lined lagoons where sunlight, evaporation and microbial action breaks down the remaining dye molecules. The mill also harnesses the heat energy in the water generated by the production process, further reducing their carbon footprint. Robert believes that the mill is on a sustainable footing for years to come, and looks forward to advances in technology that will enhance that sustainability.


Robert & Peggy Wells

The wool in Brown Sheep Company’s yarns is sourced primarily from sheep ranches in Wyoming and Colorado and comes primarily from Corriedale, Rambouillet and Columbia breeds. Their 100% wool yarns range from the fingering weight Nature Spun to the super-bulky Burly Spun, and all their wool yarns are treated with Ecolan CEA, a non-insectide chemical added in the dyebaths to make the wool unattractive to wool moth larvae. Brown Sheep Company’s mill employs a worsted-spun process, meaning that all carding, drafting and spinning processes aim to bring the fibers into parallel alignment, creating smooth and strong yarns for weavers and knitters alike.


Skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted Yarn

Brown Sheep Company’s palette of colorways is breathtaking. Their flagship yarn Nature Spun, which the Woolery carries in fingering and sport weights, is dyed in every colorway across every yarn weight for endless creative possibilities. Lanaloft is the newest member of the Brown Sheep family.  Available in sport and worsted weights, it is 100% American grown and made. Another popular yarn is Lamb’s Pride, Brown Sheep’s blend of 85% wool and 15% mohair. The fiber blend absorbs dye richly and the mohair content gives just a touch of shimmer and halo. Last but not least, Wildfoote Luxury Sock yarn adds 25% nylon to the wool content for sturdy footwear that can stand up to repeated washing and wearing. The Woolery stocks Lanaloft worsted and sport and Nature Spun sport and fingering on cones to meet the needs of weavers.  Lamb’s Pride Worsted, Nature Spun Sport and Wildfoote Luxury Sock come in skeins for handknitters and crocheters (though these yarns can also be used for weaving projects if you so choose!). 

Brown Sheep Nature Spun Yarn on Cones

Brown Sheep Nature Spun Yarn on Cones

It’s important to us to bring our customers fiber products that represent our values as makers.  The yarns of Brown Sheep Company meet our desire to offer you primarily natural fibers produced using environmentally sustainable methods from American raw materials, and the wide range of colors, texture and the yarns’ quality delight us as crafters as well!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri and the entire Woolery Team


Sheepy Resolutions for the New Year

IMG_5224The start of a new year is always an exciting time! It’s also a great opportunity to evaluate the year before and set new goals for the time ahead. Since 2015 is the Year of the Sheep (according to the Chinese zodiac calendar), we’d like to share some of our own sheepy resolutions for knitting, spinning, weaving, and rug hooking. We hope they inspire you to expand your crafting horizons in 2015!

  • Knitting: Now more than ever, knitters are able to find a variety of breed-specific yarns to explore the wonderful world of sheep. Even if you aren’t a spinner, the range of options has increased exponentially in recent years to move beyond generic “wool” which used to a common sight on a yarn label. Challenge yourself to seek out yarns with new fiber content in 2015: Masham, Blue-Faced Leicester, Targhee, Tunis, Corriedale, and more! To get you started, there are some fantastic resources for sourcing breed-specific yarns on Beth Brown-Reinsel’s informative website here.
  • bookoffleeceSpinning: The world of breed-specific fleece and fiber is well-covered territory here on the Woolery blog, and we know that many of our customers have been using such excellent books as The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook  and The Spinner’s Book of Fleece as their guide. Now is a great time to take stock of your past spinning projects and make a list of goals you’d like to accomplish in 2015. Perhaps you’d like to explore spinning with more unusual sheep breeds such karakul or dorper; click here and here for more sheepy suggestions from our blog archive. Another goal might be to try your hand at combining a variety of fibers to create unique batts or art yarns; click here for more art yarn inspiration from the Woolery blog archives. If you have a lot of natural colored fiber, playing around with DIY dye techniques might be in your future: click here for a tutorial from our blog archive featuring traditional dyeing techniques; click here for a guest post from our blog archive featuring natural dyeing techniques; and click here  for more specific instructions regarding the dyeing of fleece and prepared spinning fiber using kool-aid dyes from the Knitty archives.
  • Image ©Hello Hydrangea blog

    Image ©Hello Hydrangea blog

    Weaving: Many of our customers delight in weaving projects made with their handspun yarns, many of which are spun with breed-specific fleece or roving. What’s a non-weaving spinner to do? We spied this clever tutorial demonstrating how to incorporate roving and uncarded fleece into a tapestry piece to achieve a stunning effect.

  • Rug Hooking: Though rug hooking is traditionally done with strips of wool fabric or yarn, we have seen some very interesting tutorials and projects featuring spinning fibers recently. Click here for a photo tutorial on the Spruce Ridge Studios blog demonstrating how to use both fleece and roving to add texture to a hooked rug project. Our friends over at Strauch have shared a photo tutorial here on Flickr showing a locker-hooked rug project from start to finish which uses carded fleece. We also have more rug hooking inspiration on this post from our blog archive!
Image © Strauch

Image © Strauch

We look forward to making 2015 the sheepiest, most fibery year yet. Thanks for joining us!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

Rug Hooking Materials: Form & Function

Earlier this year, we blogged about the various types of backing materials for rug hooking projects; on today’s post, we will be talking about the wonderful world of materials which can be used to create your next masterpiece!

sheeppillowWe’ll begin with the basics: wool yarn and wool strips are the traditional materials that were used to hook rugs, and they are still the best choice for hooking an actual rug. Even in a low-traffic area, a rug placed on the floor will need to be sturdy in order to last. With that in mind, we recommend using a tightly spun yarn that won’t pill; another good option is medium to heavy weight wool strips which have been fulled.

Fulling is the practice of washing woolen cloth in hot water to shrink it slightly. This practice tightens up the weave of the cloth and makes for a sturdier end product.  It will also help keep down fraying when you cut your strips!


Just because you want to stick to sturdy materials when making a rug doesn’t mean you are limited in your design choices! Wool fabric and wool yarn come in a rainbow of colors and patterns: use houndstooth, herringbone, plaids, and stripes to create texture in your design as you hook. You can also get hand dyed fabrics which have natural variations in how the dye was applied to the fabric to create depth and interest in your final project.

Tweedy, variegated, and striped yarns will do the same thing if you choose to use yarn instead of wool strips for your rug. You can also explore dyeing your own fabric and yarn to create the specific shading or textured effect that you desire.


For creating a wall hanging or other piece, you will want to look at how sturdy you need the finished object to be. A bag, pillow, or seat cover will definitely need to be sturdy to hold up, so you’d want to select your materials in the same way you would when making a rug as outlined above. The last thing you want to have happen is to have all of your beautiful work fall apart due to the stress of everyday use!

santaA wall hanging or other decorative object is a completely different story, however. Making an item for display rather than everyday use affords quite  bit of freedom – the sky is the limit! Do you want to hook a puffy cloud? Get some locks of wool or wool roving and hook that into the shape of your cloud. Do you want to re-create the shine of light on water?  Cut some strips of silk or use a shiny yarn like silk or bamboo to create a glimmering effect.  Do you want to make an animal which looks like it has fur? Use a bulky, fuzzy yarn to hook it; you can even hold an additional strand of eyelash yarn with it to create an even fluffier look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment by using thick and thin yarns, fabric strips, ribbons, paper, or other materials  within your piece. Play with color, texture, and fiber components to see where your imagination takes you!

2014 Fiber Toys of Christmas


Our annual holiday promotion, the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas, is in full swing! Each Friday, we feature a favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool). Weekly specials and giveaways will be posted on our Facebook pageTwitter feed, and it will also be included in our newsletter.

These are weekly specials which expire every Friday (when the new one starts), so be sure to check the links above so you don’t miss out!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team


Measuring Yarn: We’ll Show You How!

yarnbalanceNEWHave you ever come across a skein of yarn in your stash that is missing its label, a partially-used cone of yarn, or just wanted to know how much yarn you had left after finishing a project? One of our brand-new arrivals at the shop will help you solve your yarn mysteries!

Our new Yarn Balance was designed to replace the McMorran Yarn Balance, which is no longer in production. It’s just as easy to use as the original, and it’s an invaluable tool for calculating your yardage!

There are four easy steps to solving your yarn mysteries:

1. Place your Yarn Balance on a level surface that allows plenty of room for your yarn to hang as pictured. The edge of a sturdy table will do quite nicely! Set the pins of the small balancing arm into the small notches on the top of the box, then lay a length of yarn in the notch of the balance, allowing the yarn to hang:


2. With a pair of scissors, trim the length of yarn, cutting a little at a time, until the balancing arm is level.


3. When the arm is level, remove the length of yarn from the balance.


4. Measure the length of your yarn with a ruler. Multiply the measurement x 100 – this measurement gives you the number are yards per pound of yarn (ypp).


Note: If you are measuring bumpy, slubby or a handspun yarn, the measurement may not be accurate due to inconsistencies in the yarn, but it will give you an approximate estimate.
All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team