My next shipment of yarn from the Sundara Seasons Club (Autumn) showed up the other day. One hank of silk lace in “Mahogany over Marmalade,” 1000 yards, 100 grams, a gorgeous, shiny blend of rich copper, russet, and golden hues.

I took this picture indoors and it came out too dark.

The ones outside came out better, but a little too light.


I’ll have to keep trying.

Now, I posted before about the feeding frenzies inspired whenever Sundara’s yarns are posted for sale. I just got an email from her about how they’re going to try to remedy this: by going subscription-only, and making it impossible to buy just a single skein.


“Below you will find as much information as we currently have on the first three yarn Collections Sundara Yarn will be offering in the next few months. There are LOTS of details here, so you may want to read through this carefully.

Please note:

  • The price of these Collections reflects an increase to the cost of sock yarn, now $25/skein and aran silky merino, now $32/skein.
  • These are just the first of many new Collections. If these are not quite right for you, we suggest waiting to subscribe, as new Collections will be opened monthly.
  • All of this information, plus photos, will be on the Sundara Yarn website shortly.
  • We are doing our best to meet the demand of several thousand of you, with only a few of us. With this in mind, we are requesting that you hold off asking us questions until we post this information on the website, as we’ve got a lot to get done in the next few days.

Best,
Sundara, Avery, Carol and Mikaela

Sundara Yarn Sock Collection
This Collection is for sock yarn only and all selections will be shown on the website so subscribers know exactly what they will receive. There will be five color groupings from which to choose. Some colors are new, we will post these photos to the Sundara Yarn website before sign ups open.

Sign ups open on September 15.
12 skeins of sock yarn in 4 mailings over 12 month subscription.
$28/month, slightly more for shipping to Canada and internationally.
Mailings are in early December, early March, early June, and early September.

Color Groupings:
Lights
Mailing One: Orchid, Granite Falls, Celestial Skies
Mailing Two: Daffodil, Robin’s Egg, Candied Chrome
Mailing Three: Blossom, Sky, Lemon Chiffon
Mailing Four: Tickled Pink, Pale Sky over Sugared Violet, Crème de Menthe

Darks
Mailing One: Black over Violet, Charcoal over Blue Lagoon, Evergreen over Lime
Mailing Two: Graphite, Ivy, Caribbean
Mailing Three: Black, Ruby Port, Eggplant
Mailing Four: Arabian Nights, Midnight Meadows, Green Olive Tapenade

Warms
Mailing One: Brown Sugar over Buttermilk, Wine, Bronzed Forest
Mailing Two: Autumn Rose, Prickly Pear, Plum
Mailing Three: Bronzed Sienna, Basil over Buttercup, Ember over Flame
Mailing Four: Spiced, Mahogany over Marmalade, Green Tea

Cools
Mailing one: Winter Skies, Grape over Grey-Violet, Marina over Icicles
Mailing Two: Viola, Sour Apple, Crushed Cherries
Mailing Three: Raspberry, Blooming Fuchsia, Mint Julep
Mailing Four: Lilac, Delphiniums, Glacier

Mixed Palette
Mailing One: Pine over Gold, Cobalt over Mediterranean, Grass
Mailing Two: Thriller, Crimson, Tuscan Rose over Lemon
Mailing Three: Sunshine, Guava, Jungle Boogie
Mailing four: Honeyed Hibiscus, Blush, Toasted Orange over Pistachio

Each color grouping will be mailed at different times, so shipping cannot be combined for different color groupings, only for multiple subscriptions of the same color collection. For example, if you want to subscribe to the Warm grouping and want additional skeins, you can choose to receive 2 skeins of each Warm color for a total of 6 skeins each mailing and any other color groupings would be mailed separately. There will be an option to double or triple your subscription in any one color grouping selection but no more than 3 subscriptions will fit in one box so we are limiting subscriptions to 3 in any one color grouping.

Artist’s Choice Sock Yarn Collection
This Collection is sock yarn only and all colorways will be unplanned and done in limited runs of 10 skeins a batch. Subscribers will choose from three color groupings. Colors within those color families will be developed by Sundara and in the spirit of creativity, surprise and spontaneity, subscribers will not chose specific colors.

Sign ups open on September 15.
3 month subscription for 3 different skeins of sock yarn in 1 mailing sent out in early December.
$28/month, slightly more shipping international and to Canada.
3 color groupings: warm, cool and mixed palette.
Warm colors: red, orange, yellow, green, brown
Cool colors: green, blue, purple, blacks, pinks
Mixed palette: all colors possible

There will be an option to add 1 skein of each color to your subscription for combined shipping within each color grouping. For example, if you subscribe to the cool colors and want 2 skeins of each color, you can subscribe to receive 2 skeins of each color for a total of 6 skeins. Each color grouping will be mailed at different times, so shipping cannot be combined for different color groupings. This 2 skein limitation is due to the high variability of colors within each batch of this yarn.

Sweater Collection

Opens on October 15 for subscriptions.
9 month subscription.
Aran Silky Merino (ASM) will be mailed in January.
DK Silky Cashmere (DKSC) will be mailed in March.
Fingering Silky Merino (FSM) will be mailed in June.

$50/month for X-Small: 4 ASM, 5 DKSC, 2 FSM
$69/month for Small: 5 ASM, 7 DKSC, 3 FSM
$78/month for Medium: 6 ASM, 9 DKSC, 3 FSM
$95/month for Large: 7 ASM, 10 DKSC, 4 FSM
$103/month for X-Large: 8 ASM, 11 DKSC, 4 FSM

Prices for Canadian and International mailing will be approximately $3-7 more a month.

Color Groupings
1) Daffodil ASM, Prickly Pear DKSC, Orchid FSM.
2) Marina over Icicles ASM, Mint Julep DKSC, Viola FSM.
3) Green Tea ASM, Plum DKSC, Ember over Flame FSM.
4) Black over Violet ASM, Graphite DKSC, Wine FSM.

Our apologies, but multiple subscriptions will not be combined for reduced shipping.
DK Silky Cashmere is a new yarn base. Each skein is 160 yards and 55 grams 4-ply 55% silk and 45% Mongolian Cashmere. It knits at 4.75-6 stitches per inch on US 3-5/3.25-3.75mm needles. Hand wash, tepid water. $40/skein.”


I’m surprised by this decision, and a little dismayed. This yarn was never cheap, but it’s really quite a lot to expect anyone who wants to get their hands on some Sundara to commit to a $90 purchase at minimum. I suppose it’s better for them than trying to deal with the frustration of countless users clicking “buy” and crashing their website, then posting angry, disappointed diatribes about how they would never be able to get their hands on Sundara yarn and how unfair it was that other people owned more than one skein and hadn’t left any yarn for everyone else. But it shuts out a lot of potential buyers.

Also, I think there’s kind of an embarrassment of choice in the color groupings. I’m sure I’m not the only person whose eyes started to glaze over trying to picture the different combinations of color + base yarn in each group; and ultimately, I think the huge selection of choices may be detrimental.

I read this book recently, The Paradox of Choice, that talked about the pitfalls of providing too many choices (and Rahul blogged about the same topic here). People will just shut down if you give them too many choices. Faced with trying to maximize the value of their decision, they’ll end up agonizing over their choices for so long that they wind up completely paralyzed and buy nothing.

There have been studies done that show this. At a gourmet taste test, people given twenty-four different jams to sample were far less likely to actually buy a jar of jam than people given only six choices. This seems counterintuitive–with twenty-four to choose from, wouldn’t you be more likely to find something that suits your palate perfectly? But it’s too many. People don’t like to make those decisions.

Even one choice too many can have serious consequences. In another study, physicians were given a case study and asked if they would, in this case, prescribe a certain medication or refer the patient to a specialist. Almost 75 percent said they would prescribe the medication. When asked to make a choice between two medications and a specialist, the percentage of physicians who prescribed either medication went down to less than 50 percent. The decision got pushed off onto someone else.

The book also draws a distinction between “maximizers” and “satisficers”–people who try to extract the maximum possible value from every decision, and people who go with the first thing that meets their basic criteria and stop thinking about the decision afterwards. Guess which group winds up better off empirically? But guess which group is happier? The more choices you lay out, the more second-guessing your customers may wind up doing, and the less satisfied they’re likely to be with their choice in the end. I certainly agonized a lot about which Season to choose (though I’m very happy with my choice of Autumn so far.)

Who knows, maybe all the rules are off with hand-dyed yarns in high demand. Maybe they’re in a tulip-like bubble and nobody cares so long as they can buy them.  We’ll see how this whole subscription thing goes–I’m in a couple of Sundara groups on Ravelry and have been reading the reactions with great interest.