About 4 years ago, I bought 10 balls of Rifflessi Yarn made by Filati Bertagna, at WEBS in Northampton, MA. I go to WEBS each year between Christmas and New Years when they have great sales. I always buy too much yarn and never really have a plan for it.
About 3 months ago, I decided it was time to use this Rifflessi yarn. I chose a sweater pattern that should have worked with the amount of yarn I had, but I was wrong. I was making a cardigan and got the entire body done and probably had enough yarn for one sleeve, but definitely not enough for the other sleeve.
The hunt was on. I first contacted WEBS to see if perhaps they still had a ball or two, but they haven’t carried the yarn since 2003 (the year I bought it). I wrote to Filati Bertagna in Italy to see if perhaps they might have some or know who would. It seems they stopped making the yarn in 2001. I thought my long-sleeved sweater was doomed to become a vest. They suggested that I contact the U.S. distributor (Plymouth) to see if they could tell me which yarn stores they sold the yarn to. So, I contacted Plymouth and they told me that their records don’t go back that far, so they couldn’t tell me which stores might still have some of the yarn.
On the Plymouth site, there is a list of yarn stores, some with websites, so I wrote to all of those (about 20 or so) in desperate hope that someone might still have a few balls of this yarn. The yarn comes in about 15 colors, so even if I found some yarn, I was losing hope that it would be in the right colorway that I required. What I got in return were a bunch of very nicely phrased, negative responses from yarn storeowners, and some more suggestions of how I might find the yarn.
Awhile back I had some luck finding a specific yarn on ebay. So, my hunt continued. There was one listing for Riflessi yarn, but it was in solid colors. I wrote to the seller, anyway, to see if he/she might have other colors, but she didn’t.
So, I “googled” Riflessi to see what came up. I found an expired ebay listing for a color 6056 (pinks and purples) I needed 6054 which is jeweltones. So close and yet so far. And a yarn store in Australia who was selling light blue (also not what I was looking for). When I clicked on the expired ebay listing, nothing came up, but when I clicked on the “cached” page, I could see the listing and then found the seller’s email address. I wrote to that ebay seller and to the store in Australia. No luck with Australia, but about 3 weeks later the seller of the expired ebay listing wrote back and actually had 8 balls of the yarn I was looking for! Because the yarn has so many colors in it, I wasn’t too worried about the dye lot, but as it turns out, it was even the same dye lot.
I asked the woman to put the yarn up on ebay and I bought it, the minute it was listed. I also bought the woman’s pinks and purples that hadn’t sold when she first had it listed. I do really like the yarn.
So, I guess, this qualifies as a worldwide search since I needed to contact people in Australia and Italy as well as several people in this country. But now my sweater will be getting sleeves and I’m a happy knitter.