Our Milburn 4ply (and soon DK!) yarn blend is spun exclusively for us, and I always knew I wanted this to be the case - it would have been easy to just source a pure wool yarn of some sort and use that, but I wanted something to claim as my own. It does mean we’re beholden to the minimum order for a spin, which is around 350-500kg, but I felt it was worth the risk.
To be honest, choosing it was pretty easy - I wanted super wash Bluefaced Leicester because it’s a stunning fibre, especially if you get the best of it (which we do - again, risky but worthwhile). It’s British, which helps, and I just love how it takes colour, how it knits, and how it wears. I have garments that I’ve made in DK weight superwash bluefaced Leicester and despite years of wear they look just as good now as when I first made them. So this for me was a no-brainer. However… a pure superwash BFL yarn is very easy to come by, so I wanted to add something else to give it a little twist in the tale. All sorts of other fibres were mentioned, but I decided to go for silk, because of the extra strength, shine, and touch of luxury that that would add. Again - pretty easy to decide. The hardest part was deciding how much silk to add. If I went for a high silk content it would really hike up the price of the yarn, but if it was too low you wouldn’t be able to tell it was even there, which is a bit pointless. So basically, I got quotes for pricing on a few different percentage levels of silk, and went for the highest that I felt would be appropriate for selling the yarn. That’s also bearing in mind that wool prices were on the increase and probably still would be for the forseeable future (which turned out to be correct).
In the end I landed on 85% BFL and 15% silk, and that’s what we still have today.
We did have teething problems with the yarn in the first instance, as it got spun up with the silk not combed in as much as I’d hoped, which meant that what I got was a more tweedy yarn than I’d planned. It was lovely, but once we sold out of all of that initial batch, I had the spinning changed to what it is today - the silk is beautifully combed in which means the yarn is dramatically less liable to pill, and it’s lovely and hard wearing - this means it’s perfect for both socks as well as garments and beautiful luxury accessories. I love a yarn that has multiple attributes like this, and that’s exactly what I’ve got. It’s been quite a long journey to get to this point but I am really happy with Milburn 4ply as it is now, and so I had every confidence in having Milburn DK produced. That’s taken about 12 months in total, but now what I have is a beautiful DK yarn that’s both hard wearing as well as luxurious and beautifully shiny. The shine from the silk actually shows through more in the DK! When you knit with it it does feel fairly crisp - don’t be alarmed - it softens, blooms, and relaxes once washed and blocked. It should provide you with a garment or accessory that you can wear for years.