Few people are able to take the experience garnered from helping their children with a craft project and turn it into a full-fledged business venture. Black Bunny Fiber’s Carol Sulcoski, however, did exactly that. After experimenting with Kool Aid, Ms. Sulcoski switched to professional dyes and took her friends’ suggestion by posting her hand dyed yarn on Etsy. From there, she moved to her own website where she—with some assistance from bunny Charcoal, after which her business is named—continues to dye and sell yarn and spinning fiber, including wool from endangered breeds which she sometimes finds at fiber shows.
Ms. Sulcoski’s approach to dyeing produces a wide array of colorways ranging from the more subtly shaded Algae and Grape Goulash to the bold variegation of How Now and Paper Parasol, so even those who prefer a the calmest color scheme will likely find something to love. In either case, the colors are a richly saturated visual treat. How Now caught my attention and, over the holidays, someone was kind enough to give me a skein of Black Bunny Fibers BFL Sock yarn in that very colorway.
I've never actually giggled while winding yarn because it was so soft it tickled my fingers. Blue-Faced Leicester certainly falls into that category. BFL, according to the Blue-Faced Leicester Union website, is classified as a longwool breed. This means that, typically, the wool has a longer staple length—between three and six inches per strand—and micron count of about 26. In layman’s terms, the lower the micron count, the finer the wool, and the finer the wool, the softer the end product is likely to be, which is exactly why the yarn tickled my fingers when I wound it up. And that’s also why the finished yarn is such a delight to knit with.
That the yarn is soft has already been established. While not as tightly spun as some sock yarns, it’s still spun tightly enough to have a slightly bouncy texture and—joy!—lack of splittiness when confronted by sharp, pointy DPNs. There’s a subtle sheen that shows up in low light and is probably impossible to photograph, but it only adds to the experience by enhancing the visual appeal. Even finding a pattern to suit the wild unusual color combination was less of a challenge because, perhaps not by coincidence, Ms. Sulcoski also happens to have provided a solution in the form of the book Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, to which she and a number of well known sock knitters contributed patterns. My hank of How Now is slowly turning into a pair of Whirlpool Socks, and I’m very pleased with the results.
Black Bunny Fiber's BFL sock yarn: soft, shimmery, splashed with saturated colors. It’s hard not to develop a soft spot for it.