I recently purchased a crazy amount of yarn from Art Equals Happy - as if I didn't have enough yarn already - and Kim asked me if I'd mind reviewing my purchases.
It's partly Kim's fault that I've turned into a bit of a yarn and fibre snob. A couple of years ago I wouldn't have thought twice about using 100% acrylic yarns for my projects, lured in by the price and the wide availability. But as my skill level has progressed, the maxim "life is too short to knit with cheap yarn" has become all the more relevant to me, however, even now, colour, over almost anything else, is what attracts me most when purchasing yarn. I avoid overly bright, neon colours, preferring the more natural shades, mustard yellows and greys - the colourways in the Art Equals Happy Hand-Dyed range are right up my street.
I bought several skeins of yellow - dyed with Buckthorn, and two shades of chunky/bulky weight yarn dyed with Indigo, amongst others. The chunky yarn is lovely to handle - I've incorporated my indigo shades into an oversized cowl and it's added a lovely texture to the project.
Working with the yarn is pleasant, it's sold in attractive skeins that are easy to wind into balls. Only one of my ten skeins (yep, I went a little crazy!) had yarn breaks that I noticed whilst winding it, but that doesn't particularly bother me, I wound it into several smaller balls and put it aside to make socks with at a later date.
The dyeing is a high quality of all over colour, reassuringly there's no colour residue to come off on your hands whilst you're knitting and there's no pulling apart the chunky yarn with your bare hands, it's been plied well and you'll need scissors! They're all attractively labeled with the wool used (Blue Faced Leicester) and the dyeing extract used. The only thing missing are washing / care instructions - but as any seasoned knitter knows, hand wash only for 100% wool yarn, and you can find Kim's recommendations for which size needles to use for which weight, on her shop site.
As far as purchasing goes, if you're buying online, you'll be treated to high quality photographs - the colours of which are very true to life. I also received a 10% coupon code for my next order - which is always nice - Kim's yarns are of an extraordinary value when you consider each stage of the process they go through, from white fleece - coloured skeins, all by her own hands. If you're a fibre fan or general creative type and want to find out more about her processes, you can find out more about them on her blog.
Unless you have a generous budget, hand spun yarn isn't really practical for larger projects like jumpers - and even if blessed with a full wallet, it's hard to get large quantities of the same shade or dye lot if it's been hand dyed. However, it's perfect for smaller projects like socks or scarves, depending on the weight you choose - or mixing with other yarns from your stash, adding trims or decorative ribbing to projects.
If you're a fibre enthusiast, or a fan of natural dyeing, I'd totally recommend Art Equals Happy yarns. I can't wait to get to cracking on some more of the projects on my 'To Knit' list.