‘Noola pola selai’ goes the Tamil proverb, literally translating to ‘The saree is as good as the yarn’. When the yarn looks beautiful & feels right in your hands, your project becomes gorgeous. You get the value for the precious time you spent!
Craft yarns Vs Industrial yarns:
Yarns for hand crafts like hand weaving, hand knitting, crochet, hand embroidery and the like need not follow the same standards which are set for industrial use. Simply because of the fact that we don’t subject the yarns to such a high stress like an industrial machine which runs at high speeds!
The primary need for industrial yarn is strength and then the whole set of parameters to go with efficient operation of the machines- the yarn should be able to withstand the pulls & pushes of the various machinery. But when it comes to hand crafts, the focus on quality parameters can be quite different. For example softness, drape & nice handle.
The commercial industry deploys a range of fabric finishes and vigorous washing methods to achieve the desired handle and drape of the garments. But this can be majorly achieved without much of hassle in hand weaving, knitting & crochet by just choosing the right yarns.
We don’t need super high strength yarns which look like ‘wires’ for hand crochet and hand embroidery. Let’s leave them for the high speed machines. We can rather work with soft & supple cotton yarns & wool yarns, even delicate yarns like cashmere and hand spun yarns! We don’t need the super high strength yarns for hand weaving either, but we need yarns with good elasticity, abrasion resistance and softness with just the necessary strength suitable for hand weaving. Result? We can make much more beautiful fabrics with great drape and softness than the industrially made ones!
We at Shuttles & Needles make yarns which are well balanced for working with hands.
When we started Shuttles & Needles a few years ago, one of the major feedbacks from the clients was that they found it difficult to get good quality yarns and varieties in India for the craft and hobby weaving market. That set us thinking. India being a country strong in spinning cotton & silks, we wanted to develop lovely premium quality world class yarns for craft & hobby market in India in collaboration with Indian spinning and dyeing mills.
We started off with 2 varieties a few years ago and now it has grown to more than 15 varieties
While all our yarns are suitable for hand weaving, some of the yarns are very good for crochet, hand knitting and hand embroidery as well.
Our yarns are appreciated by not only the Indian customers, but in many parts of the world by weavers and craftspeople. In addition to our brand of yarns, we also carry select imported varieties of yarns like wools and luxurious Cashmere yarns from leading suppliers.
Our fibre section for spinning & felting has Wools, Silks, Cotton, Linen, Alpaca, Silk/merino blends, Tencel and metallic fibres.
More varieties in the pipeline.
India being a tropical country, cotton & silks are the preferred materials, but the trouble with these yarns is they are not as voluminous as wool and they get heavier especially with coarser counts. To overcome this, we focus on developing engineered light weight yarns by carefully choosing yarn structures and twist levels.
Once the yarn is manufactured to stringent quality parameters, it is processed in the best of factories following environmental guidelines strictly. These dyeing factories are ‘zero liquid discharge’ certified - meaning, not a drop of water or chemicals are discharged into the environment and everything gets re-cycled. The chemicals used for dyeing adhere to international OEKO standards which tests for presence of a wide range of harmful substances including pesticides, carcinogenic colourants and heavy metals. So you can be sure of the quality, skin safety and environmental impact of your projects.
While some yarns are taken directly to dyeing and finishing, some go through the process of gassing which removes the protruding fibres from the yarns and then mercerising, a treatment to improve absorbency. Together, gassing & mercerising bring a nice sheen and make the yarn soft and absorbent. The yarns are tested for strength, elasticity, washing fastness, abrasion fastness and such other critical parameters.
Before bulk production we make sample lots of yarns. We weave & knit them by hand to assess the performance and check the look, feel and drape of the fabric. We then tweak the yarn parameters if required & go through the whole process again till we achieve the desired results. Once the yarns are produced, they are wound into small cones and conveniently packed in 100g & 200g mini-cones so you can purchase just the quantity required for your project and not big cones of yarns.
Many of our yarns are machine washable while some are hand washable. Our yarn labels carry relevant wash care instructions. They don’t bleed or stain the other fabric-except the natural dyed ones which are not colour-fast.
YARN COLOUR SCHEME
“Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn.” – John Ruskin
Our earlier yarn colour schemes were inspired by floral themes and spices.
Recently, we embarked upon bringing a new colour palette that will cover a wide spectrum of shades & hues for our yarns. After many a research & trials, we zeroed in on a set of 25 colours based on Munsell colour order system.
What is Munsell colour order system? Professor Albert Munsell, an artist and instructor brought clarity to colour communication by establishing a system for accurately identifying every colour. He created a 3-dimensional colour space model that specifies colours using three attributes: hue (colour), value (lightness or darkness) & chroma (brilliance). Munsell established numerical scales with visually uniform steps for each of these 3 attributes, thus creating a logical relationship between all colours.
We adopted the new colour scheme for the recently launched DK weight cotton yarns. We have also added select shades from the new colour scheme to our sport weight cotton yarn collection & 10/2 thick & thin cotton yarns. We will make a gradual shift to this colour scheme for all our yarn collections in due course.