Read This Before Ordering Yarn

Our descriptions of yarn endeavor to provide you with the information you need to select the best yarn for your project.  The description includes several items, some of which may benefit from some explanation, as follows:

Weight, or gist, of the yarn, usually given in yards per pound, or ypp:  Either the mill or I weigh the yarn by yard to give you an approximate idea of how heavy or thick the yarn is.  For example, a 500 yard per pound (ypp) yarn would be twice as heavy and therefore about twice as think as the same fiber made up at 1000 yards per pound (ypp).  The ypp is a standard that is used by many fiber artists, but it may be unfamiliar to knitters and others who often purchase yarn for a pattern project based on a certain brand and type of yarn available commercially.  Since our yarns are handmade or custom processed at a mill, they have more variation and therefore we try to be very specific in describing the yarn.  Please email me with any quesitons, and I will be more than happy to help you match the yarn with your needs.  Note that the yarn weight is specified on a per pound basis; not the yarn price!  We price our yarn by the skein. 

Price per and skein and size per skein:  Our yarn is put up in skeins.  Often the skein sizes vary from lot to lot, depending on the yarn and the mill’s output.  I provide accurate counts of the yardage in each skein so you can plan your project.  The price is then given per skein of yarn.  (Yarn is not priced per pound; see note above on “yards per pound.”)

Comparing llama ypp to synthetic and natural sheep wool: Most hobbyists and fiber artists are far more familiar with sheep, mohair, or synthetic fibers.  Llama fiber is by and large heavier in weight for the same thickness of yarn than most other natural or synthetic fibers.  The term sportweight, for example, generally describes a yarn of about 1000 yards per pound.  A certain thickness of yarn is generally anticipated to correlate to this weight of yarn.  For llama, if you laid a yarn side by side with a typical sportweight yarn and had the same thickness in both, the llama yarn would be heavier; perhaps about 800 yards per pound.  To most people, what is called worsted weight is about 800 yards per pound, but for llama, it would be around 600 yards per pound.  Therefore, care should be taken when comparing the weights between llama yarn and other yarns that people are more familiar with.  If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me. 

 2-ply, 3-ply, single-ply:  This describes how many plies or individual strands make up each yarn.  Our 3-ply yarn is very popular with knitters as it is very similar in consistency to many commercial yarns.  Most of our heavier (500 to 800 ypp) 2-ply yarns are soft and drapey.  I generally use a 2-ply for my handspun yarns, but I can also supply them special order as single ply if requests.

Softness, hand, luster, etc:  These are descriptive terms to help you visualize what the yarn is like and how you might use it best.  Softness and hand describe how the yarn feels.  A soft 2-ply woollen yarn will be more drapey and feel softer than a 3-ply knitting yarn.  A silky yarn will feel slippery and luxurious.  These are subjective evaluations, but I try to use it consistently relative to all our of yarns.  The luster of the yarn is self explanatory.  Many of the silky llama yarns are very high luster, similar to mohair. 

Silky llama, single coat, double coat, undercoat, guard hair:  Our llamas at Yellow Wood Llamas are primarily bred as Silky Llamas.  This means that the fiber has been bred to be nearly single coated.  A typical, double-coated llama has two types of fiber: the undercoat, which is warm and fine, and the guard hair, which protects the undercoat.  The coarser guard hair can be hand-separated or the undercoat can be brushed out.  The undercoat is a very fine, useful fiber, and may be fine enough for use next to the skin.  The guard hairs are coarser and would cause itchiness if left in the yarn and the final product was worn next to the skin.  Coarser fiber is still useful for outerwear and coarser products. 

Silky llamas, or single coated llamas as they may be called, have a coat that is nearly all one consistency.  Ideally, they will have fiber so fine throughout their entire coat that there is no detectable guard hair.  In the finest fleeces, the entire fleece can be used for fine, next to the skin garments without worry about scratchiness.  We grade our fiber to determine how close to the ideal each fleece is.  The yarn is then described as to its fineness and whether it is suitable for a next-to-the skin garment.  I consistently have comments back on the softness and fineness of our yarn. 

Llama without guard hair is naturally slippery and not scratchy as a sheep fiber may be, because llama fiber is more hair-like, and contains very few of the microscopic scales found in abundance on sheep fiber.  The scales on the sheep fiber trap air, and account for its legendary warmth.  Llama fibers have partially hollow centers, which trap air, and by comparison are even warmer than sheep fiber.  Llama fiber is also very strong and abrasion resistant.  A hard-spun llama yarn is an excellent warp material.