FAQs

General

Do you have an in-person store?

No, at this time we are an online-only business! But we do occasionally vend at in-person events and pop-ups, so subscribe to our newsletter (on our home page) for those updates, as well as subscriber-only offers!

What is your shipping policy?

You can find our shipping policy here. At this time, we only ship to the US and Canada.

How do I return an item?

You can find our return policy and procedures here; we also thank you for remembering that most of our items are handmade or hand-grown, either by us or by other small businesses and farms. Your purchase helps sustain their creative and community work, and allows us to continue introducing you to more great farms and artists like them!

Yarn and Wool

A while back, I bought some amazing wool or yarn from ___ Farm on your site, but I don't see it here now. Why not/when will it be back?

We work with small-batch yarn from smaller farms, which are typically available in small quantities for a limited time: in other words, if you love it, get it while you can! It takes many months for a farm to turn its fleeces into yarn, and even longer during a pandemic, when spinning mills experienced shut downs or limited operations. This caused a backlog of wool waiting to be spun into yarn, and we are still seeing the effects of that; farms have been waiting longer than usual for their yarns to be ready, and they don't always have exact timeframes from their mills that they can share with us. 

We believe small-batch yarn from great farms is the best fiber there is, and we are committed to sourcing truly exceptional yarn for you to make into heirlooms to last a lifetime. All good things are worth the wait; if you don't see the farm you're looking for, chances are good you'll find another to fall in love with in the meantime! 

My yarn skein(s) arrived with small bits of dried grass or hay in them. What do I do with this?

This is called vegetable matter or "VM,"and it is remnants of hay or dried grass from the field where the sheep grazed. While rarely seen in commercial yarn, it's often spotted in small-batch wool, which is not treated with the harsh chemicals used to strip VM from commercial skeins. Instead, small farms "skirt" or clean their fleeces by hand before sending them to the mill for spinning; it's a time-intensive, laborious process, and even the best hand-skirting can never remove every bit of dried grass. Here at Needle + Purl, we celebrate vegetable matter for all it represents: our connection to the shepherd and all she did - the labor, cost and sacrifice - to convert her sheep's fleeces into yarn.

Most vegetable matter will be flung out by a yarn swift when winding your yarn (if you go fast enough)! The rest will come out with a proper wash and block of your finished piece. So there's no need to pick it out as you knit (although we know a few knitters who find this extremely satisfying)!

I ordered a naturally dyed skein of yarn; when I wound it on my yarn swift, it released a fine colored powder. Is this normal? Is the naturally dyed skein going to be colorfast?

In almost every skein of naturally dyed yarn we have knit with at Needle + Purl, regardless of the farm or color or dyer, we see this too! To answer this question, we first have to give a little background on how natural dyes work.

Natural dyeing - the use of plants and other materials found in nature to dye wool and fabrics - doesn't use artificial chemicals to help colors adhere to the wool, so dyers rely on a process called mordanting; the skeins are soaked in a mordant, like alum, before their dye bath. The mordant ensures colorfastness, inasmuch as the material the dyer is using can be colorfast (an expert natural dyer understands the alchemy of working with marigolds and madder, avocado skins and indigo). When the wool is done soaking in the dye, the dyer then exhausts the skeins, or rinses out the dye that is more than the wool can hold (this is done with chemical dyes, as well).

The powder you see when winding a skein on a swift is a bit more of this excess natural dye that could not be absorbed by the yarn; it is shed harmlessly while you spin up the skein. You might see a bit of this on your hands as you knit, which is normal; you should not see a lot of color transfer on your hands or the needles (this would be a sign of insufficient mordanting or colorfastness from an inexperienced dyer, or something that went very wrong in their process; this can happen with chemical dyes too). But the powder itself isn't a sign of a problem, just the yarn shedding the last of that excess dye!

If I order a pattern or knit kit, how do I receive a copy of the pattern?

When you purchase a pattern, or knit kit that includes a Needle + Purl pattern, you'll receive a link to download the pattern on the checkout confirmation page, once you have completed payment. You can save and/or print this pattern for your own use. 

I noticed you don't sell knitting needles on the site or with any of the knitting kits - why?

In the spirit of transparency, the long story short is: knitting needles are hard for small businesses like ours to stock because there are so many of them, and most distributors of knitting needles require shops to stock at least one of each size option, which can result in hundreds!

We are excited to stock needles once we are a bit bigger and have the capacity to store enough options to give our customers a good range of choices, but unfortunately it isn't possible for us right now. In the meantime, we are happy to recommend a good all-purpose brand to beginner knitters that is readily available from many online sources: Knitter's Pride Gingers, an affordable wood needle with faster, smoother motion than most, but less slipperiness than metal needles. Their cables are comfortable on the hands, and we enjoy them a lot, but recognize every knitter has their own preference!

Embroidery

Which of your embroidery samplers and kits come with thread?

Both the Poplush and Hook, Line & Tinker embroidery kits come with all the threads you need for the project, as well as an embroidery hoop, needle, instructions, and pre-printed cloth. The Dropcloth embroidery sampler comes with just the pre-printed cloth and instructions.

What embroidery threads should I use for my Dropcloth embroidery sampler?

Either a 2- or 3-strand embroidery thread (traditional thread, or perle cotton) will work great for Dropcloth samplers. We stock two options: Weeks 6-strand thread (you can separate this into either 2- or 3-strands, depending on how thick you want your stitches to be), or Weeks 2-strand, which is already separated and ready for you to use!

What size hoop should I use for my Dropcloth embroidery sampler?

It's really a matter of personal preference, but a 6" hoop is a comfortable size to hold and reach the center of your work easily; you can move it around a larger piece of work as you go. We offer a 6" bamboo hoop, and slightly fancier 7" and 10" hardwood hoops; the larger hoop can be used to frame a sampler, or work on a larger piece like the ABC Max Sampler.

Watch Boxes

Why do you sell watch boxes anyway?

We - mostly Phil - have been vintage watch collectors for a long time (it's true, we have multiple hobbies!). When we couldn't find display and storage boxes we liked, Phil designed them for us. We really loved them. Others did too. The rest is history. We sold them alongside knit stuff at our first craft fair event. Our early shop slogan was "Wool and wood and everything good." Maybe at some point we'll have a separate website just for watch box stuff, but for now, they're as much a part of Needle + Purl's history as the wool!

Do you make custom watch boxes?

Yes. If Phil is currently taking custom watch box requests, you'll find the listing for them here. You'll be able to select from a range of sizes and layouts, as well as lining options. We understand that you may have additional questions about how these boxes will work best with your collection; please contact us at info@needleandpurl.com, and Phil will be happy to answer those for you!

Are the pillows I see in the photos included with my watch box?

Yes, pillows are included with all our watch boxes, both ready-to-buy and custom made (with the exception of the watch strap box). 

Can I purchase the watch pillows separately?

Unfortunately no, they are only available as a watch box accessory.

Knits

Do you sell any finished knitwear (knit hats, sweaters, commissioned pieces)?

Our goal is to empower everyone to make and create! So, we don't usually sell finished knitwear, but we occasionally have a sample sale of pieces we have knit for design planning, display, etc. that we no longer need. These are unique pieces with very limited availability. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we run a sample sale!