Frequently asked questions about Chester Wool, our yarns, the ordering process & environmental considerations.
Who are we?
We are wholesalers of undyed natural yarns, these can either be knitted as they are, or dyed up. We specialise particularly in supplying yarns to hand dyers, the yarns come ready to dye and are packaged with this in mind. We are a team of 6; Andy Robinson - Owner and Director, Jeni Hewlett - Director, Chris & Doug oversee the day to day emails, and Phil Packs all your orders :)
What is our minimum order?
Our minimum order is 5 kilos, but this can be made up of 5 different types of 1 kilo each. All yarn comes packs of 10 hanks.
4/16nm : can you please explain what this means and why it is quoted under each yarn type?
The number 4 denotes the number of ends, and the number 16 denotes the number of meters per gram. If you divide the second number by the first, you arrive at the number of meters per 100gm. So for this yarn the answer is 400m per 100g.
Is our merino from Australia?
No, we only use south American Merino in order to avoid the muesling issues.
Is our Bluefaced Leicester British?
Yes, all the Bluefaced Leicester wool is grown in the United Kingdom and bought at auction from the British Wool Marketing Board.
Do we offer sample hanks?
Sample hanks can be ordered any time with a bulk order at standard wholesale prices.
Can we recommend a place to buy dyes?
What preparation is needed before dyeing the yarn?
The yarn simply needs soaking. The yarn is made specifically for dyeing so no scouring is needed, sometimes with the pure silk yarns we recommend soaking for a minimum of 3 hours in warm water and preferably over night for best results.
Can I come visit/collect yarn?
Yes, by appointment, we are happy to accept visitors to fondle our yarns as long as we know you are coming.
How do I place an order?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order, we will then get back to you with an invoice for approval and payment within 24 hours.
What are our payment methods?
Our preference is for bank transfer, however we also accept credit/debit cards and Paypal.
What are our terms?
We require payment against invoice with the yarn being dispatched the next working day.
Our trading terms are ex works, Deeside UK. The customer pays all courier charges.
How long does delivery take?
In the UK we use Parcelforce 24 hour service, for France, Germany, Ireland and Belgium we use parcel force euro priority which takes 3 working days. For all other European countries we use GLS with transit time being typically 5 working days. For deliveries outside Europe we use Fedex and will be happy to quote transit time.
Do you stock support your yarns?
Yes we carry a fully stock supported service whilst on occasion we maybe out of stock of an odd yarn, 99.9% of our yarns are available throughout the year.
When we say the yarn is Baby Alpaca or Baby Camel, what does this mean?
Calling something 'Baby' refers to the first shearing of the animal, this is always the finest and softest fibre an animal will produce in its lifetime, subsequent shearings are always courser.
What does Superwash mean?
Superwash is a treatment applied to wool fibres which makes more resistant to shrinking. In the 80's superwash treatment got a bad rap because in some countries the effluent was not recycled. This has however has changed dramatically as the EU enforced very strict laws and any by-products must be removed from the water before it is discharged into the water systems. This now means that the water discharged actually is better than the drinking water you get from the tap. Not all countries have the same regulations and we only use superwash wool which is from highly regulated treatment plants in the UK and in South America (which also have very strict standards). We are very particular about where our wool is superwash treated. Jeni has personally been to visit our Superwash treatment plant in the UK and this was a really interesting visit, the owner has PhD in this area and employs the most up-to-date superwash techniques and is always trailing new ideas.
So... what does the process involve? Firstly the wool is treated in chlorine to dull the edges of the scales of the wool, this reduces the ability of the scales to stick to each-other and therefore reduces felting. Secondly a super thin coating of resin is applied to the fibres permanently bonding to the wool, this smooths the scales, improving the handle and also prevents felting. This resin biodegrades along with the wool when it goes to landfill.
I'm worried about micro fibres, can you tell me how wool fits into this?
Micro fibres come from synthetics, the main causes of the problems are synthetic fleece Jackets and blankets. The problem with these are that they take a long time to break down or biodegrade. Wool on the other hand can biodegrade as quickly as 6 months in landfill, compared to polyester which can take up to 40 years. This quick breakdown is because wool has a high nitrogen content. If you are worried about the environmental impact of your yarns, then wool and natural fibres are the way to go, thankfully that's what we do best!