Back in the spring of 2010 we were getting ready to announce an exciting development: Our first yarn made entirely in the US, Savannah. Perhaps it’s the knit-a-long we’re in the midst of, but I’ve been thinking back to this exciting time in our Kelbourne history. I thought many of you might not have been around for that exciting day, and so I’ll bring you a little Throwback Thursday, blog edition. We hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane!
Savannah is one of our favorite yarns, and it’s also the most labor-intensive and stress-inducing yarn we produce, especially in light of the dwindling manufacturing resources available in the US. We’re always scrambling to source the raw materials, have the labels reprinted (in PA at Seeds Green Printing), and find a friend to help with the skeining and tagging. We use a mill in PA, about a hour from our warehouse in Conshohocken, and a dye house in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. We love having these resources so close to home, and we are proud to be a part–albeit a very small part–of the rich textile tradition of Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
Without further ado, here’s the repost of our announcement, back in June of 2010. Enjoy! –CAK
Hello, Old Friend!
June 13th, 2010
We are very happy to announce the reintroduction of a beloved Fibre Company favorite, Savannah DK. Originally introduced in January of 2007, Savannah went on a hiatus when we took over the distribution of The Fibre Company yarns. Although available for such a short time, Savannah quickly became one of The Fibre Company’s most beloved yarns. We were anxious to be able to bring it back.
We can’t believe our luck in being able to work with such great old and historic mills in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia, and the surrounding region, was once a thriving textile manufacturing center, with over 1000 textile and woolens manufacturers at the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1900s the landscape of manufacturing slowly began to shift, and by the turn of the 21st century the Philadelphia landscape had dramatically changed.
Many of the former textile mills have been left to fall into urban decay, creating a bleak landscape and turning once flourishing neighborhoods full of working families into lonely and underserved areas known for crime and unemployment. Above is the former Aramingo Mills, which is in the same neighborhood as our – amazingly still in operation! – dye house for the newly introduced Savannah. Many yarn companies, now defunct, began in Philadelphia. Most famously was Germantown, the makers of Germantown Worsted. Columbia and Fleisher yarns were also Philadelphia based yarn companies, putting out not only great yarns, but also knitting patterns, which some of you may still have in the back of the knitting closet.
When we knew we were going to work on reintroducing Savannah, we knew right away we were also were committed to making Savannah completely spun and dyed in the US, but we went one better. Savannah is now manufactured from start to finish within 100 miles of our warehouse in Philadelphia, PA. There is something truly amazing about having someone call to tell you that your yarn sample is ready and being able to get in the car and be there, talking face to face on the manufacturing floor with the spinner, dyer or winder about the product. It’s really rewarding, and so fascinating to be a part of this industry. And, added bonus, we have discovered some great places to get pierogis!
At 160 yards per 50 gram skeins this 50% wool, 20% cotton, 15% linen + 15% soya blend is unique in look and feel. We choose 11 colors from the original palette, designed by Daphne,and the 12th, Sycamore, actually stemming from a dye sample gone awry! It’s a beautiful warm pale grey, with a hint of a brownish-plum overcast. A great addition to an already stellar line-up!
Daphne says, “The inspiration for Savannah happened while I was doing a color study on several different fibers. I was intrigued with the way different fibers reacted to the same dye formulas. Terra was actually the first yarn that came out of this color study. But I liked the way linen and cotton would be stained by certain dyes and yet the same dyes would attach to protein fibers giving a saturated color. So the chemistry was intriguing but the color results were even more so. I had to combine the fiber and see how they looked together. Savannah was born!”
We will be taking Savannah with us to TNNA, The National Needle Arts convention, in Columbus this weekend. If you are in attendance please stop by our booth (952, 954, 956) to see all the colors, and knit a little bit! All of you not in attendance, all the colors of Savannah will be ready to ship to your local yarn shop by the end of the month.
And, of course, new free patterns using Savannah will be available this fall. Stay tuned…