Apple Oak Fibre Works 2 swatches

Yarn Review Apple Oak Fibre Works

Lindsay LewchukAnnouncements, Eco Elements, eco world, Fiber Focus, Puddles, Q&A, Yarn, Yarn Review Leave a Comment

LinCot in Skein form
Apple Oak Fibre Works balled up

In contrast to last week’s 25/75 linen/cotton blend, today’s fiber is a 30/70 linen/cotton blend. The two couldn’t be more different! In today’s LinCot review, coarse strands of strong linen engulf puffy thick/ thin roving of cotton. The resulting texture is incredible with bristles and softness at the same time. If you’ve ever thrummed with virgin wool and roving, I suspect the feel is similar.

Apple Oak Fibre Works brings Irish naturalism to hand dyed yarn! Wife and hubby team, Jennifer and Tristan, apply botanical dyes to a variety of fibers (animal-based and plant-based) in both roving and yarn (and a few other specialty items).

  • Apple Oak Fibre Works logo
  • Apple Oak Fibre Works color info

Excerpts from the Etsy website:

Naturally dyed in Ireland, Lincot is the perfect Summer yarn… spun unevenly in Germany.
Color: Mayfly
Dye: Reseda (aka Dyer’s Weld), an herbaceous biennial plant, and Indigo, an herbaceous
Mordant: Alum and Tara powder
Weight: 2 ply DK
meter: 100gr/220m/240.59yards
Unit weight:100 grams/3.5oz
Needle size:4 -5mm/US 6/UK 8
Fibers: 70% Cotton & 30% Linen

Apple Oak Fibre Works gauge side by side
Apple Oak Fibre Works swatches
Apple Oak Fibre Works  stitch close up
Apple Oak Fibre Works miles of swatches
Apple Oak Fibre Works close ups
Apple Oak Fibre Works 2 swatches

Available in 12 plant dyed colors! (Note: two of the dyes used in some colors, Lac and Cochineal, are of animal origin.) With a couple of last call colors available on Etsy too

Gauge Summary:
Swatched from US 9/ 5.5mm all the way down to US 5/ 3.75mm, each swatch created a beautiful drape. The gauge change between off the needles and washed/ air dried/ blocked occurred unevenly between row and stitches. As I expected from past experiences with linen, there was 0 to minimal change on the row gauge. However, I anticipated this being true for the stitch gauge as well. In my testing, though, the results showed up to a 12% stitch gauge change. Most surprisingly, the US 6 swatch had a perfect comparison between off the needles and washed/ air dried/ blocked, with 0 change! Just like crisp, freshly ironed, linens, that size was.
When it comes to designing, each size created a unique fabric of a different drape. My notes were “open weave” US 9, “fav washed for spring / mix of open yet thick on US 8.” “Fav washed for winter density, nice ‘n thick” for US 7. US 6 clocks in at “stiffish, but still some give.” US 5 got a “very stiff.” Yes, so scientific, aren’t I ?

Being new to both Apple Oak Fibre Works and LinCot, my primary desire was to swatch as many sizes as I felt had design potential. With the leftover yarn, I managed a textured swatch on US 7’s. Lace, oh my, beautiful!!! Cables had an interesting texture with the pop of the thick/thin yarn seen in unexpected places.

I personally didn’t love the Seed, but if you are new to knitting and want texture, the combo of thick / thin with the seed stitch delivers, and then some. The rib created a nice accent, but I wouldn’t want too much as the uneven spin makes it look inconsistent. Another confession, I was ambivalent about the Garter too – just the not best pairing for a perfectionist like me who likes her stitches to look even.

– A new experience for the fingers – the mix of coarse and soft made each stitch feel unique
– Incredible plant dyed colors… seriously, color depth and tonal variation like I’ve only ever seen from one other plant dyer.
– LinCot is local-ish: spun in Germany with the fibers coming from a few different sources within western Europe. The conditions are fair, but the fiber isn’t organic.
– Rockin’ eco principles! More on this in Eco Value below
– Four paws up for customer service too!

– Great eco principles, but missing the organic.
– Requires swatching… with a higher end of stitch change (12%) I would definitely recommend a large swatch before a fitted item in this yarn. Then use your blocked gauge and ignore what the measurements say on the needles. Think of it this way – my US 8 unwashed st gauge was 4.75. So if knitting a size 38” bust with 0 ease (my gauge change was 11% here), and you cast on 180 sts, knit a sweater and wash it, the final blocked sweater would have a bust of 42”! Again you may be able to force block it smaller, but why take the risk. Knit a swatch, wash and block it and know to cast on 161 sts instead ?.

Eco Value
Jennifer and Tristan rock the eco principles! Not only do they engage great principles currently, they have plans to expand for even more earth-friendly practices going forward. Here’s what I discovered after chatting with Jennifer:

At the moment, we reuse dye water for the beds when possible. Water being the one of the big issues when it comes to dyeing yarn. I had a failed indigo vat the other day and the amount of water I needed to rinse out the yarn was simply insane! We are about to buy some land, just over 2 acres, to set up the business properly and a place of our own. Because water use is huge, we are aiming for the installation of a rainwater collection system (rain is something we have a lot of here in Ireland) so this will be our main water source. The dye water will be filtered through a reed bed system ensuring clean water going back into the stream which is on the property. (Tested first of course) our aim is to be able to give back what we have taken, cleaner if possible. We will be growing some of our dye plants organically like woad and Japanese indigo. We have been playing with the idea of a wind turbine for electricity, but we are in quite a sheltered place and will have to consider solar panels or something similar instead. With the workshop and general shop set up we will run workshops and give tours etc. We are both gardeners and garden designers so the garden and aesthetics is something I can’t wait to get my hands on as well as healthy food production which will be part of the small holding I suppose is the term used for this kind of set up. They are in the process of this, so I’m keeping an eye out for a Go Fund me, be sure to email her if you’d like to know too!

On top of all of this are our basic principles of 100% natural products, fair trade, close to home production lines or at least within Europe if possible. All our packaging is compostable. Apart from the packaging of the dyes, we are still working on that one. But all our plastic bags are made from vegetable fibre and can be put into the compost. All paper is recycled and produced in Ireland and Germany.

Apple Oak Fibre Works
Puddles sez: I like this yarn!

Overall Rating:
9.5 out of 10! You all know where I stand on organic so that’s the ½ point off ( ½ point given for their fair conditions and other eco principles)