Beware of Mill Ends

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Ramblings

“Mill ends” is the term for end-of-run yarn production, usually when the mill doesn’t have enough left for a standard-weight skein or cone.  They make the remainders into tiny skeins.  I don’t know how a store sets itself up to purchase and resell mill ends; it probably varies from yarn manufacturer to yarn manufacturer.

I’ve been wanting to knit with Louet’s Euroflax linen yarn for a while, and when I saw that Paradise Fibers had it in mill ends, it seemed like a great idea to invest in some (since they are cheap compared to the real thing).  You notify them of color preferences and they do their best to fill it.  I did suspect my bag would end up with some unwanted colors, but figured the good would outweigh the bad.

And it did.  Other than two full skeins of yellow, everything in the bag was a color I’d use.  In fact, I already had red, cream, black and pewter in my stash, and there was a lot of those colors in the pack.  This was kind of exciting.

I dragged out the new knitting machine today and cast on 60 stitches with the red mill end skein.  40 rows were done before that mini-skein ran out.  It was surprising, how loopy the fabric was.  I’d expected it to be firmer, based on my experiments with the stash stuff.  But, no big deal; I’d assumed it would firm up a little in the laundry.  I changed to one of the retail skeins from my stash and started knitting…and it was ridiculously tense!  After about 20 rows the knitting fell right off the machine.  I can only guess that the mill ends were spun finer; perhaps that’s why they were mill ends.  Factory seconds.  So I’m saving the red mill end for edging or seaming.  It was a small skein; this is not a problem.

So you’d think…you’d think that if I started with the retail skein, all would be well.  No deal.  I started over and did 20 rows and the carriage jammed.  I don’t know what the problem is here and have asked in the machine knitting group on Ravelry.   I may end up hand-knitting this particular item.

I just needed to vent about this.  Sorry.

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