FAQ and Helpful Hints

We've collected our most frequently asked questions as well as helpful hints for working with hand-dyed yarns on this page. If we can't answer your question here, please get in touch! You can call us at (423) 727-0670 Monday thru Friday, 9am-5pm Eastern time, or email us at info@missbabs.com.

We've also made a collection of videos to help explain our favorite techniques for winding yarn, joining skeins, alternating skeins, pre-washing  yarn, blocking, and other useful tips.

Ordering from Miss Babs online

I’m making a sweater. Can you match my skeins?

Yes! We always do our best to choose matching skeins for your project. If we don’t have a sufficient number of matching skeins, we’ll contact you and dye a fresh batch (or in the case of non-repeatable “Wild Iris” colorways, ask what you’d like to do).

What are Babettes and Wild Irises?

We use these two words to categorize our different types of colorways. A "Babette" is a (variegated) colorway that we know how to repeat, but will be slightly different from batch to batch. A "Wild Iris" is a unique colorway that cannot be repeated. Want to dig deeper? There's a blog post for that.

I’m ordering a Babette or Wild Iris yarn and I’m hoping for something specific, what should I ask for?   

Add a comment to your order and let us know if you’d prefer the yarn to be darker, lighter, have less red or more blue, or so on. Saying “I like the skein on the left” doesn’t really let us know what you like about it and we also don’t have access to the photos when we’re pulling your order. 

The yarn I want is out of stock, help!

Use the search box at the top of the website to find the yarn and colorway you want. Click on the thumbnail and if the color is repeatable you’ll see a button that says “notify me when this product is back in stock” on the product page. Fill out the form with your email and the quantity you’re looking for and we’ll automatically email you when we dye more!

The yarn I want is on pre-order, now what?

We do our best to avoid pre-orders but sometimes they’re inevitable. We try to give a reasonable date when your pre-ordered yarn will ship. Orders that include both pre-order and in-stock items will ship all together when the pre-order item is ready. If you’d like other items sooner, please place a separate order.

Can you combine orders?

Yes, and we’ll refund any shipping differences as appropriate.


I'm out of state. Why are you charging sales tax?

As a result of the 2018 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., we are now required to collect and remit sales tax in certain states.

You offer sets for specific projects. Will they have enough yardage for that pattern?

Yes, but only if you get the same gauge as given in the pattern. We’ve worked together with designers and they were able to complete the project with the given yarn. Differences in gauge will result in a different-sized garment and also the use of a different amount of yarn. We cannot be responsible for your gauge, so please check it! 

"It's only a shawl, I don't need to check my gauge!"
Famous last words! Knitters on the Miss Babs team made swatches with the same yarn and needles and - as you might imagine - got vastly different results. But how different? Read our blog post to find out more.


I weighed my skein and it's different to what it says on the tag. What's wrong?

Probably nothing. We wind off our skeins and measure them by yardage, not by weight. The actual weight of each skein can vary slightly depending on factors such as humidity and tolerances at the mill. If the weight on your skein is drastically different, please get in touch so we can help you.


I'm in the area, can I come visit?

Sorry, but our dye studio in Mountain City is a workspace only. We do not have a brick and mortar store and cannot accommodate visitors. We'd love to see you at a show!



How do you ship?

We ship Monday through Friday using USPS. You’ll receive an email with a tracking number when your package ships. Delivery estimates are just that, estimates. Orders of $120 and up shipped inside the United States will receive free delivery. Signature Confirmation is available for an additional fee. As of August 2019, all domestic orders over $500 will automatically have Signature Confirmation added - this protects both us and you.


What about shipping for international destinations?

We use USPS First Class and Priority International to ship outside of the United States. It can take anywhere from a week to more than a month for a First Class package to arrive. There is often minimal tracking once a First Class package leaves the US, and there is no insurance on these packages. We strongly suggest Priority International--it costs more, but there is detailed tracking and insurance, and the order reaches you more quickly. Orders over $125 are automatically sent via Priority International for these reasons… if you would prefer that we ship an large order via First Class International please contact us to work out details.


What about customs?

Any customs fees are the responsibility of the recipient. Your package will be marked as merchandise and include an invoice. It is illegal for us to mark your purchase as a “gift” - please do not ask!


Help, I think my package is missing! What do I do?

Please check with your local post office, as they were the last people to handle your package. If they can’t help, please get in touch with us and we’ll see what we can do.


Yarn Management

How do I wind my skeins?

You’ll need to wind your skeins into balls before working with them. Once you take the label out, the yarn should separate fairly easily into a large loop with one self tie (and one additional tie, if it is a skein of Katahdin). Make sure the yarn is all going in the same direction and that no strands cross the tie. Drape the yarn over the back of two chairs or put it on a swift so that it will not tangle while you wind it. Cut both ties, carefully pull the ends where the self tie crosses through the skein in a figure-eight to the outside so that the yarn comes away from the skein effortlessly, and start winding.

No really, I have a GIANT skein of Katahdin, what do I do?

You have several options for dealing with this mountainous yardage. 1: add the yarn winding to your order and for $3 we’ll take care of it for you! 2. Begin winding a ball on your ball winder and finish winding the ball by hand. 3. Wind it all into a ball by hand. 4. Wind two balls on your ball winder.

What do you mean, “we strongly recommend alternating skeins”?

While we try our best to select matching skeins for multi-skein orders, hand-dyed yarns do have inherent variability so we still recommend you alternate working from multiple skeins to even out any possible differences in the yarns and avoiding pooling or abrupt transitions in color. For a project knit in flat pieces, work two rows from one ball, then two rows from another, carrying the yarn loosely up the side. For a project knit in the round, you can knit one round from one ball and one from another, again carrying the yarns gently up the back of the work.


Help, I found a knot in my yarn! What's your policy on knots?

We would love to be able to send only perfect skeins, but that just isn't possible. Our company standard is no more than one knot per skein. We know knots are no fun, but they are an unavoidable fact of knitting life.

If we were to pull any skein with a knot we would have to significantly increase the price of the knotless skeins to make up the difference, and we believe our customers would prefer to deal with the occasional knot so that we can keep our prices reasonable. If you receive non-destash yarn that has multiple knots, please contact us and we'll help make it right.

Caring for your Miss Babs yarns

Machine wash gentle, lay flat to dry: what do I do?

We suggest you machine wash superwash projects in a garment bag, on the most gentle cycle your machine has, in cool water with a mild soap. Avoid hot water, lots of agitation, or harsh detergents (including Oxyclean and Woolite). Spin your project out or roll it up and press between towels to get most of the water out, then reshape and lay flat to dry completely.

Hand wash, lay flat to dry: what do I do?

For projects that aren’t superwash treated or if you prefer to hand wash, we recommend washing them in lukewarm or cool water with a mild soap. Drain out the water and roll it up and press between towels to get most of the water out, then reshape and lay flat to dry completely. Again, avoid hot water and agitation.

Help! My superwash project stretched and I didn’t want it to! How do I fix it?

Superwash wools have less inherent elasticity than non-superwash wools. It is possible for projects created in superwash yarns to stretch out of shape when wet, particularly if they were worked at a loose gauge. To help your project return to its intended shape, be careful to support the full weight of the garment while it’s wet, press out as much water as possible using towels, and then reshape and pat the garment into its original measurements while laying it flat to dry. We don’t generally recommend tumble drying but if your garment still isn’t quite back to its original size and bounciness you can toss it in the dryer on low heat ONLY when it is 99.9% dry.

I’m planning a project with multiple colors. How should I care for it?

If you are planning a project with very high contrast color combinations, particularly Naked (undyed) yarn with saturated reds, black, or teals, we suggest that you pre-wash your darker colored skeins before you begin working with the yarn. Our yarns are fully processed and washed, but differences in water pH between our studio and your home may result in extra dye release. See pre-washing, below. In general, with multi-colored projects, we recommend a short wetting before blocking instead of a long soak to avoid any potential dye migration.

How do I pre-wash my yarn?

We ship your skein with a single skein tie. You’ll need to add additional skein ties to keep your yarn from tangling while it’s being washed. First, remove the label and untwist your skein. Tie a short piece of contrasting yarn in a figure-eight in three additional places around the yarn. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild soap and carefully add the yarn. Let it soak for a few minutes - adding vinegar or anything else is unnecessary. Pick up your skein out of the water, gently squeeze out any excess, and let it hang to dry.