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Silky Wool yarn composition

The Silky Wool yarn composition has been changed, from the original 65% wool, 35% silk, to 45% wool, 35% silk and 20% polyamide (nylon). This was decided at the spinning mill in Italy, and the reason for the change was to achieve better strength and durability. So the purpose was legitimate enough, but the problem was that neither I, nor KFI were informed about it. As a result, for quite some time, the printed labels have not correctly reflected the actual composition of the yarn. You can read more about the background in the statement KFI has sent out to their retailers (copy below)

As soon as KFI found out about the change, they immediately contacted us for a discussion about how to handle the situation. This is how I felt about it (and still do): The most unfortunate consequence of the matter is that the consumers have been misinformed. I regret this deeply, but I have no reason not to believe that the change was made to improve the quality of the yarn. However, this information should of course immediately have been relayed to us, to KFI, to the retailers, and to the end customers.

But the most important factor in my reasoning was that the other properties did not change as a result of adding the polyamide. I don't know exactly when the change occurred, but I get samples of new colors every season, and I actually haven't noticed any change to the feel or behavior of the yarn; not when knitting with it, nor in the finished garments. Silky Wool is still an excellent yarn, and one of my absolute favorites in my yarn line, and if adding the nylon could increase the strength of the yarn without any negative consequences for the other properties that I appreciate so much, that's OK with me. If the supplier had asked me about it, I would have accepted (after trying it out, naturally), but I would have demanded that the change was immediately reflected on the labels and in other information about the yarn.

KFI has changed the composition information at their website and today (July 30th 2008, sorry for the delay, but July is the holiday season in Sweden) we have as well. Even if I use predominantly natural fibers, I do accept some deviations from this "principle", if they are minor, and needed to give the yarn the properties I want. A certain amount of polyamide is a perfectly acceptable solution as far as I'm concerned - for example, there is 20% PA in my Angora yarn. This is the only oil based fiber I accept in small quantities in a yarn, because (unlike most other synthetic fibers) it will add strength without affecting the feel and look of the natural fibers it is spun together with.

So I decided that if KFI informed the retailers and they in turn informed the customers, there was no reason to withdraw the yarn from the market. As displeased as I am about the supplier not informing about the change when it occurred, I think KFI has handled the situation just as I would have myself, had I been involved in the marketing aspects of my yarn line. It's unfortunate, but as I see it not a catastrophe, neither for the yarn buyers, nor for the reputation of my yarn line, and I sincerely hope that the majority of the knitters agree with this.

Elsebeth Lavold


KFI's letter to their retailers:

Dear ,

It has just come to our attention that the Italian spinner of Silky Wool changed the composition in order to strengthen the product following testing done in their quality assurance department. Unfortunately, the manufacturer did not make KFI or Elsebeth Lavold aware of this change until now. To help you understand the situation, we have included his explanation below:

"We do not spin this item in our Mill, because it is produced with carded spinning machines which we do not have. So we buy the single yarn by a carded Spinning Mill in our area, which is specialized in the production of fine un-dyed single yarns with this production system, then we twist the yarn, dye etc.

When we started with this quality the blend was wool and silk, as requested and declared: then, after the first few production lots, quality control of the spinning mill realized that the yarn, so as it was, was not OK, mainly because the resistance / strength of the yarn was not enough (the yarn was too weak); they therefore decided to put 20% nylon instead of 20% wool, for solving that problem.

There is no "strange" reason why they did that, it was only a technical matter. It is not a question of saving money, or something similar: the nylon and the wool used for these kind of carded yarns cost about the same, and the mix of three components (wool - silk and nylon) instead of only two (wool and silk) cause additional costs during production process, so finally the blend with nylon is slightly more expensive then the one without.

The mistake has been caused by the fact that the production dept. of the Spinning Mill has not informed the sales dept. about the change, so the sale dept. has not changed its records and we have not been notified about it."

KFI is terribly sorry that this change to the blend was made without prior notice to us and to our retailers. Fortunately, we have been, as a result, receiving a superior product at no additional cost, and as you well know, Silky Wool has very high ratings and an incomparable level of consumer satisfaction.

To correct the labeling issue, we propose the following:
1) Please find enclosed enough self-stick labels to relabel any product you have left in stock by covering and replacing the old composition.
2) KFI has issued to your account a credit for 5 cents per label (based on your purchases from June 1st 2006 until May 31st 2008) to compensate for the labor involved in affixing the labels on the ball bands.
3) In appreciation of your continued endorsement of the lovely Silky Wool yarn, all Silky Wool orders placed during June 2008 will receive a 10% discount.

Should you have any further questions or concerns - please feel free to contact me (Jeff D) at our toll free number (800)-645-3457.

Again we apologize and thank you in advance for your support and understanding.

Sincerely yours,
Jeffrey J. Denecke Jr.
Manager of Operations


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Copyright © unless otherwise stated
 Elsebeth Lavold, knitwear design & drawings
Anders Rydell, text & photos