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Wool Yarn for Fly Tying (Update)

I’ve expanded my wool yarn product line a little and here are the updates. You can find all the wool yarns I now have available in the Fly Tying Materials section of my online store.

Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift

I added three more colors of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift super fine yarn. In addition to Oyster, Salmon, Heron and Ivy from my original post, I now have Burnt Umber, Leprechaun, and Purple Haze. The first two came from the wonderful recommendation from a reader. The last one I picked because it’s called for in a Tenkara kebari pattern called the “Grave Digger”. The name of the fly alone sold me on that one!

Killer Bug

I’ve been on a quest to find a suitable replacement yarn for Frank Sawyer’s infamous “Killer Bug” fly pattern, since they quit making Chadwick’s #477 back in the 1960’s. Even the black market for that one is running out.

I recently came across a thread on the Classic Fly Rod Forum of someone else’s quest on the same topic. (Apparently I’m not the only one looking!) There are several great photos that compare the different types of yarn the author tried and in the end he recommended “Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine” yarn in the color “#1214 Steel Cut Oats”. It looked really promising until I went looking for UAF-1214 and … that color has been discontinued! Ugh.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca

I did see though, that Berroco Ultra Alpaca (not the “Fine” type though) yarn was available in that color so I went ahead and ordered a skein of UA-6214. It’s a medium yarn and has a different blend of materials but perhaps its fairly close to the color of UAF-1214.

Pictured below is that Berroco Steel Cut Oats yarn on the left and what I had ordered previously, Patons Classic Natural Mix, on the right.

It’s been said that the yarn color for the Killer Bug should resemble rare meat red and the Berroco definitely has a little more of a pinkish hue to it so that one might work out better.

There are a few other substitute yarns mentioned in the thread, one of which is Jamieson’s #195 Moorland, but that one seems too dark and doesn’t have the pinkish hue. Too bad because Jamieson’s yarn is thinner and a little easier to tie with.

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Wool Yarn for Fly Tying

Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift - #290 Oyster

I have some fly patterns that call for wool yarn in the material list. However, it seems that many online fly shops carry a rather limited selection of colors or else don’t stock wool yarn at all. Craft stores have literally hundreds of colors but you are stuck with buying a ball that has 100 or 200 yards in it. Also, you have to decide what size yarn to buy from the myriad of choices and the knitting jargon they use is beyond comprehension for a fly fisherman. So what to do?

Enter Classic Fly Tying! I have opened up a new product line for wool yarn. I bought a few giant balls of yarn and repackaged them onto 5-yard cards. It’s the perfect size for your tying bench because it comes in packs similar to other carded fly tying materials such as Antron yarn, polypropylene yarn, and chenille.

Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift

As far as the type of wool yarn goes, I offer the most popular brand – Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. It’s a lightweight 100% wool yarn and comes in some really great colors. I currently have it available in Oyster, Salmon, Heron and Ivy. You can find them in the Fly Tying Materials section of my online store.

I’ll be adding a few more colors soon. Right now I’m looking at adding more colors such as Buttercup, Tangerine, Cashew and Lime. Let me know if you would like another color and I’ll take a look.

These colors look great on nymphs and scuds! I’ll be demonstrating the “Tellico Nymph” fly pattern, from my Classic Nymph Collection #1, using some of these colors at the upcoming Sowbug Roundup.

5×7 Classic Nymph Collection #1 (black)
Tellico Nymph
Tellico Nymph a southern classic from the Tellico River of TN and NC in the 1940’s

Incidentally, Jamieson’s #290 Oyster is the yarn of choice for the “Utah Killer Bug” fly pattern.

Patons Classic

Patons Classic is another brand of yarn I have come across although it’s quite a bit thicker than Jamieson’s. Patons Classic is a “4-Medium” size yarn and 3-ply where as Jamieson’s is a “1-Super Fine” size yarn and only 2-ply, although it’s fairly easy to pull out one strand. Currently I have two stock colors.

Experimenting with Dye

Some time ago, I experimented with dye on fly tying materials. I needed some Bright Yellow and Scarlet hackle that I didn’t have so I colored some pieces of white rooster hackle and hen hackle. While I was at it, I dyed some lengths of Patons Classic yarn in the color Winter White. Here are the yarns that resulted from my experiment.

The whole process went extremely well except for the bright yellow rooster hackle that slipped down the drain while I was rinsing it!

Happy tying … with wool yarn!