Kitchen Sink Dyeworks, the now-defunct brainchild of Alabama knitter, crocheter and dyer Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, produced a line of hand-dyed yarns and spinning fibers, most of which were merino wool or contain some merino fiber (along with cashmere, silk, Seacell and other fibers).
The yarn -- I tried out Luxe Merino Fine -- was produced with what Mercedes calls a "special dyeing technique" that ensured the colors never pool or stripe, making this a great choice for people who like the organic look of multicolored yarns but might shy away because of fear of color mishaps. (She retired from yarn-dyeing in 2011 to pursue knitwear design full-time, but I keep this up as a record of the lovely yarn that was!)
- Content: 80 percent superwash merino, 10 percent cashmere, 10 percent nylon
- Yarn weight: super-fine
- Gauge: ball band does not specify; I got 28 stitches and 40 rows per 4 inches (7 stitches and 10 rows per inch) on size 2 US (2.75 mm) knitting needles
- Yardage: 390 yards per 4.25 ounce hank
- Color used in swatch: Barefoot
- Care instructions: hand wash or machine wash on gentle, lay flat to dry
My first reaction to Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Luxe Merino fine is that the yarn is luscious. I could easily see knitting a pair of really special socks with this soft and lovely merino and cashmere blend. It's also pretty; my sample hank came in lovely earth tones with a blush of pink.
When knitting with this yarn, I initially had some problems with splitting, probably in part because it had been so long since I had worked on needles so small when I started playing with the yarn (I used a pair of bamboo double-pointed needles, though I worked the swatch flat). After a few rows I was able to knit with a little less attention.
That's not necessarily a good thing when it comes to this yarn -- you'll want to take the time to savor the smooth softness running through your fingers and the pretty play of colors as you work.
But even though you can knit without paying much attention, that doesn't mean you'll be able to knit quickly, thanks to the fine gauge of the yarn.
I also felt like my dry skin was a little grabby on the fibers, so make sure you moisturize well before working with this or other similar fine yarns.
This yarn produces very even stitches and a fabric with a very smooth, flat texture that has a lot of curl in Stockinette Stitch, though most of it came out with blocking.
Uses for Luxe Merino Fine
The first thing I think of when I touch or knit with Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Luxe Merino Fine -- particularly with a colorway called "Barefoot" -- is socks, but of course this yarn could be used for any very fine knitting project, such as a light shawl.
The excellent book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns wisely advises that there are lots of different projects that can be knit with a yarn such as this (what it would call a "muted multi"), but "you'll want to stay away from the most complicated patterns; extremely intricate lace of cables, for example, may get lost of minimized by the difference in color and hue. But you can play around with interesting colors and textures." Good advice all.
Kitchen Sink Dyeworks makes lovely yarn, and Luxe Merino Fine is no exception. As the name implies, it is a bit of a luxury when it comes to price, but you can knit a really wonderful pair of socks with a single skein that you will enjoy knitting and wearing, or giving as a gift to someone really worthy of this kind of luxury.