On January 1, 2013, I embarked on a grand yarn adventure. There’s still time for you to come with me.
In New York state, there’s a man named Eugene Wyatt who raises an amazing flock of purebred Saxon Merino sheep. We met years ago and have progressed from colleagues to friends. His fibers are, in a word, extraordinary. People fondle them every week at the Union Square Greenmarket, and a major U.S. fashion label has been begging him to sell.
Earlier last spring, Eugene wrote me with a proposition. He had a 676-pound bale of fiber he didn’t currently need. Perhaps I’d like it?
I couldn’t yell “Sold!” fast enough.
Here’s what we’re doing: For six months, you and I are going to take a virtual journey across America and make yarn from our bale. We’ll keep making yarn and discussing the results – experimenting with different preps, blends, twists, and ply combinations – until the bale is gone.
- Take road trips to Texas and California and many places in between.
- Visit Eugene and talk to his sheep and thank them personally for their fibers.
- See the inside of one of the last scouring plants still operating in this country.
- Watch our fibers get carded and blended and spun and dyed, again and again.
- Don the rubber gloves and dip our hands into the dyepots.
At every step, we’re meeting the people for whom this is their life – we’re meeting them, and we’re hearing their stories. I have no idea where this journey will take us, what specific hurdles will be overcome and lessons learned, because I’ve never done this before. It’s refreshingly terrifying, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Our narrative yarn journey will take place in a members-only, password-protected area of this site. Every two weeks, I’m writing you updates from the field. We began on January 1 and end June 30, 2013. You can join at any time. You’ll continue to have access to all content in the password-protected area of this site until December 31, 2013.
Cancellations: As of February 4, 2013, new registrations can cancel within 48 hours of placing your order and receive a full refund.
(Previously, until January 10, 2013, we offered to refund your order minus a $30 processing fee. After that, our adventure has officially begun and we no longer offered refunds for those memberships.)
Sharing: You are granted a limited, non-transferable license to read, download, enjoy, and fully participate in the discussion online. The Great White Bale content may not be shared, copied, transmitted, or otherwise distributed. If we discover that you are sharing passwords or content with non-members, we reserve the right to cancel your membership immediately without a refund. By all means, we’d love you to discuss the Bale on Facebook, Twitter, Knitter’s Review Forums, or Ravelry—we just ask that you not lift and share physical content from this Website.
Join me on this once-in-a-lifetime yarn adventure and discover what it takes to make yarn in America. Want to come along? Here’s how:
Be an Armchair Traveler
- Follow the story online as it unfolds. Meet new people, share your own story, peek at pictures, ask questions and answer other people’s questions, and watch videos, all within a password-protected area of this site. It’s the slow-chat movement, no flashing ads, no rubberneckers, just us.
- In addition to the digital-only content and community, you’ll also get first dibs on any extra yarn from each of the four mill runs.
The fee for a digital-only Armchair Traveler is $39.
After your payment is complete, you’ll be redirected here to set up your username and password. If anything interrupts that redirect, simply contact us and we’ll get you squared away.
Be an Explorer SOLD OUT
- Follow the story online as it unfolds. Meet new people, peek at pictures, watch behind-the-scenes videos, and talk with your fellow bale adventurers, all within a private, password-protected area of this site. No rubberneckers, no advertisers, just us.
- Fondle a sample of our initial scoured fibers.
- Tuck them away in a charming tote bag.
- But here’s the real kicker: You’ll get yarn. Lots and lots of yarn, each skein utterly unique and created just for us, showcasing the fibers from our Great White Bale. Because this is a work in progress, I can’t give you specific details about gauge and yarn construction just yet. But I can promise that by June 30th you will receive a minimum of four shipments of spun yarn totaling at least 800 grams. That’s 1.7 pounds of glorious, one-of-a-kind yarn made just for us. To put this in perspective, your average skein of sock yarn is 100 grams.
- It’s not all white yarn. Three of our yarns will go one step further with color, bringing you into the studios of prominent hand-dyers and an exciting new dyehouse in Biddeford, Maine. What will the colors be? Well that’s part of the adventure, now isn’t it?
The fee for a U.S.-based Explorer is $320; Canada $340; other countries, $360.
Sorry, the Explorer option is sold out.
We are happy to offer gift memberships, and we think you’re a lovely and generous person for considering one.
Here’s how it works: After you complete your payment, PayPal will automatically redirect you back here with instructions on how to let us know where this membership is going and what you’d like your gift note to say.
If something interrupts the redirect and you encounter a dead end after paying, simply contact us and we’ll get it squared away for you.
Gift an Armchair Traveler ($39)