Where has all the merino gone?

You have noticed, surely, that merino has been disappearing from the Shop. Slowly. Color by color. Until now, when there is none left. A sad story indeed.

A while ago, more than a little while ago, I learned the mill that spun our lovely and beloved merino had been bought by their competitor, who immediately shut down the merino production. Alas, even yarn mills in small, idyllic villages in the Italian Alps are subject to corporate take-overs and the nastiness that can ensue. The new owners immediately tried to convince me they could make a merino that was “exactly the same, if not better.” They sent samples and I swatched, and swatched, and then swatched some more, if only to give them the benefit of the doubt. It wasn’t better, it wasn’t the same, it didn’t even come close to the merino on my shelves. It disappointed on all counts and left me preferring to have no merino rather than theirs.

Thus began the search, a very long search. There was enough swatching to support half a dozen seasonal collections of designs. There was an equivalent complement of disappointments that followed close upon each oh-so-encouraging outset. All the while, the inventory on my shelves dwindled. My sense of being at wit’s end could not have been more visceral. Nor could the idea that a yarn collection might have to do without its merino have been less acceptable. But that was the conclusion at which I had arrived when a bit of uncommon luck whispered in my ear. So it began again, just as before. A conversation, a meeting, a request to make a yarn with very specific characteristics. The samples arrived and the swatching began. This time there was no disappointment, no dismay, just the glorious feeling that I never wanted to stop knitting with this yarn.

As they say, stay tuned ….