Miss Babs Hits NYC!
We’ve just received our first shipment from Miss Babs! Based in Tennessee, Miss Babs means to bring color to the world; she feels it serves as “soul candy.” We agree! Miss Babs’s range of color is indeed astounding, and she is continually developing new colors.
Miss Babs’s initial offering to The Yarn Company includes the bases Yummy, Nothumbria, and Yowza---Whatta Skein! They come in a range of her mind-boggling “monochromes,” semisolid colorways that hold their own and also compliment hand-painted yarns.
Yummy is a 2-ply, 100% superwash merino sock yarn specially milled for Miss Babs to give it a particular twist and ply, such that it does not require nylon or other reinforcement for extreme durability. It also has a lumpy-bumpy yarn face that flatters the colors, showing off the knitting’s richness with its hills and valleys, light and shadow. (7 to 8 stitches per inch on US # 1-3 needles, approximately 400 yards/3.9 ounces; machine wash and dry on gentle setting.)
Northumbria is a superwash blue-faced Leicester fingering yarn with a natural luminous quality. It takes dye beautifully and blocks nicely, making it perfect for light socks and other garments such as the small shawls that are so popular just now. (7 to 8 stitches per inch on U.S #0-2 needles, about 437 yards/100 grams; handwash, dry flat.)
Yowza---Whatta Skein! is Miss Babs’s light worsted go-to yarn, ready for anything from sweaters to scarves and shawls. A crowd favorite, Yowza is a great big ball of 100% superwash merino, soft and wearable against the skin, and although it is a versatile workhorse, it receives all the color attention of the other bases. With skeins that are always generous---at least 560 yards and close to 9 ounces---this yarn is a great value. (4 to 5 stitches per inch on US #6-8 needles; machine wash and dry on gentle setting.)
Miss Babs also sent us some samples to give us a taste of her color range and show how her yarns knit up: lots of onesies in all three bases, plus the hot Color Affection shawl in Yummy, a lovely Kira sweater in Yowza, and a smashing Hitchhiker shawl in Yowza (although the pattern calls for sockweight yarn—a reminder to us all to think outside the box!). She also sent us some 3-skein sets that are color-combination suggestions for Color Affection. Note: Many of Miss Babs’ colors are reproducible, but some are not. One-of-a-kind skeins are called Babettes, and are marked with a hot-pink sticker.
It is true, as she writes on her website, that when you call Miss Babs to see what she is up to, she says, “I’m dyeing!” And no one dyes like Miss Babs! Miss Babs started her fiber career at the age of six, sewing and knitting first for dolls, and then for herself. Over the years she did quilting, knitting, needlepoint, rug-hooking, and silkscreening. Coming home to the Appalachian Mountains in 1999 she learned weaving, taught herself to spin, and felted handbags and rugs. “Most of all,” she writes, “I began playing with dyes in 2003 and have hand-dyed and hand-painted with Kool-Aid, acid dyes, MX reactive dyes, and natural dyes.” She has been dyeing fibers full time since 2005. “Many people have been on this path before me, and many will come after,” she says. “This makes me feel connected to the past and to the future.” So many colors to look forward to!