Well, here’s something we’re excited about.
It’s a yarn, not an imaginary spirit of the air, though it’s airy enough to take flight without much nudging.
Sylph is a yarn we ran into unexpectedly—the way you’re at the bakery, and you look down, and some genius has figured out how to make a cornmeal scone.
At the same time? My two favorite things, in one thing? Could anything be better than this?
For Kay and me, our monumental discovery occurred when we were visiting with the good folks of Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres, Jane Saffir and Ken Scheck. Jane handed me a skein of yarn and said something along the lines of “This is a good yarn.” Or maybe she said, “This is a lot like a cornmeal scone.” I don’t actually remember much except the TNNA convention hall went bright white and I nearly choked on my Wintergreen Altoid.
A yarn with linen and cashmere? Is that even possible?
At one point, Kay was swaddled in multiple Sylph samples, and her nose was all we could see.
We are on record as stalwart supporters of linen yarn and cashmere yarn. What we haven’t experienced is a yarn containing both linen and cashmere.
I asked Jane about this combo. “We feel that cashmere and linen are a perfect match: the cashmere provides softness, and the linen provides structure. Both yarns continue to soften with washing and wearing over time. Some knitters prefer the yarn at its crispest stage, but others prefer it after washing, to make the finished garment really soft.”
We prefer it at every stage. This is a light fingering weight yarn, 300 yards per skein.
Rain Shadow, Loam, Puddle, Rustle, Eddy, Hush
I asked Jane about sourcing for her yarn.
“We source Sylph at one of the oldest cashmere spinning mills in Scotland, which has been spinning cashmere for more than a hundred years. Ken and I visited the mill and were very impressed with the combination of tradition and technology. Quite a few of the people working at the mill had been there for many years.
Fiddlehead, Maidenhair, Loam, Puddle, Swirl, Grackle, Rain Shadow
“We buy the Sylph on cones, and have it washed and put into skeins at a mill in Maine. We started off with only commercially dyed colors, but Sylph was so popular that we decided to also offer it in some hand-dyed colorways.”
Shades of Brown, Extinction, Triberrytops, Skinny Jeans, Tanis Grays
I asked why there are two strands of differing colors.
“The white threads (or in some of the colorways, a color other than white) are the linen. The cashmere and linen fibers are not blended, but plied together in the yarn, creating the marl. So dyed cashmere is plied with dyed linen, and the two colors are not the same. Even the white linen is dyed—natural linen is not stark white!”
This is one of the characteristics of Sylph that I like the most. You can see the subtle color play at work over at our Shop listing for Sylph, where each of our 16 colorways has an up-close view of the plies.
The simple triangles made of yarnovers will open up when blocked. This classic pattern combines a bit of easy lace and breather sections of garter stitch for when your episode of Shetland gets juicy.
From left: Triberrytops, Skinny Jeans, Tanis Grays, Extinction (at right)
We are chuffed to the max about this yarn. From Jane’s mad archive of hundreds of colors, we picked 16 shades that allow for a subtle palette with a bit of color if you’re in the mood.
We’ll be showing you more ideas for wraps, shawls, and scarves for Sylph. And we welcome your ideas for that perfect match of yarn and pattern. We know that many of you are fans of these fibers—we hope you’ll join us in our exploration.
Sylph is special and rare—as Jane said, this is a good yarn.
It’s the cornmeal scone of yarns, really.