Waste Reduction at Yarnia: Cone Ends

  •   Posted on: 2022-08-22
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***Originally Published November 20th, 2015***

There is something truly satisfying about turning would-be waste into a brand new product to enjoy — whether it’s cooking with leftovers to come up with an entirely new meal, bringing a shirt you’ve outgrown to a clothing swap and walking out with your new favorite jacket, or figuring out how to turn the byproducts of running a yarn shop like ours into brand new items that have just as much value as the product they were originally supporting the production of.

There are a multitude of ways that I see this play out in the day-to-day running of our shop, and I’ll be going into more detail about all of these in the coming weeks.  One of the most obvious examples of this, however, is our cone ends.

See, when we first receive a new order of yarn from a supplier, it comes on a huge cone like this:

That’s what you mostly see lining our ingredient shelves — large cones like this, of varying sizes as we use them up in customer blends.  But eventually, we’ll wind off enough that the cone looks paltry, like these.

We don’t want to use these to start winding into your custom yarn, because we’d only get a few yards in before we’d have to switch in a new cone, and then you’d have a knot very close to the end of your yarn.  (And in some cases, we’re working from limited edition ingredients, and this may truly be the last we have of a given yarn. There’s not much point in keeping that on the shelf!)  Each on their own, these cones can’t offer much.

But, wind 6 of these together until the first one runs out, and a brand new yarn is created.  Do this 10 or 20 times, and we have a handful of brand new, entirely unique yarns.

Granted, each of these cones has only as many yards as the “shortest” cone of ingredient yarn that we wound off from, so you won’t want to use these in a large project like a sweater or a shawl, unless you’re going for the myriad scrap yarn look.  However, these short-run yarns (usually between 1 and 3 ounces per cone) are perfect for sampling, practicing, and projects where you need a wide variety of small amounts.

In fact, because we sell our regular house blends in 8-ounce cones (equivalent to about 4.5 regular commercial skeins — quite a bit of yarn!), and because we have a 2-ounce minimum for creating your own yarn, these cone ends are your best bet if you’re really just looking for a small amount to play around with, and also the best way to sample our yarns without spending a lot of money.

To me, there is nothing more satisfying than winding off the last 50 yards of one of our ingredients by using it in a cone end, finishing with a bare cone in one hand, and a brand new cone of yarn coming off the machine that was created entirely with ingredients which would otherwise have gone to waste.

We sell these cone ends in the shop a la carte, or online in our Cone Ends Grab Bags.  Just tell us the dollar amount you want to spend, and we’ll put together a variety of cone ends for you that matches that total.


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