Category Archives: Yarn Spotlight

What to do? What to do?

My lovely husband is very good at Christmas.  This year, he made me a personalized advent calendar, full of beautiful yarn and tiny bottles of booze (peppermint schnapps for my hot cocoa?  Don’t mind if I do!)

For four days, I received Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails in blue, copper, green and purple (otherwise known as Costeau, Glazed Pecan, Jade and Flashdance).  img_4510Have you ever knit with Madeline Tosh?  Their yarn bases are all lovely, but the colors are what make their yarns sing.  I mean look at these totally gorgeous, saturated semi-solid colorways- they practically glow!  I’ve got a full-sized skein of Tosh Merino Light in an intense cobalt blue that I haven’t been able to bring myself to use- it’s too beautiful.img_4518But, here’s the issue:  Unicorn tails are itty bitty.  Each skein is only about 50 yards long, which makes them a great “tester” size, but if you want to make a project with them, it’ll take a little planning.  I’ve got 4 skeins, so I’ve got 200 yards of fingering weight wool in 4 different colors.  What  can I make with this yarn?  Or, do I need to go buy more (oh darn)?

Obviously it’ll be something striped, or at least something with blocks of color.  Maybe some mittens?  A headband? Maybe a hat, if I’m careful?

What would you do with these little guys?

Yarn spotlight: Lindy Chain

Aah, nothing like curling up on a cold Februrary morning with a big basket of chunky wool and a pair of needles, ready to make that oversized, insanely cozy sweater.

So, that’s why I’m currently thinking about fingering-weight linen, and light, gauzy garments.  What can I say, I’m fickle.

I want to introduce you to Lindy Chain!  (Fair warning, KnitPicks gave me a bunch of this yarn for free when I did some design work for them, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I swear I’m telling the truth!)

5420254[1]Lindy Chain is an interesting yarn, perfect for summery, drape-y things like tank tops and light sweaters.  I could even see making a sun dress or skirt out of it!

This yarn isn’t just spun, like a regular yarn, it’s actually a teeny tiny thread crocheted (or possibly knit) into  a chain, like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis open, loose structure give the fabric you knit with Lindy Chain a beautiful, summery drape.  It’s gorgeous!

Interestingly, though, when you wash and dry this fabric, it shrinks up like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  (And I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to hand-wash a tank top.  Sorry, but I’m not made that way.)  So, be sure to wash and dry your swatches if you plan on washing and drying your finished product.

So, there it is!  Lindy Chain!  (And later this week, I’ll have a free pattern for this pretty-cool yarn!)

Yarn Spotlight: Island Fibers

So last week, when I told you about Lopez Island, I kind of buried the lead.  Sure, there were seals, and beautiful scenery and all that.  But what about the yarn?

Lopez is home to flocks and flocks of lovely island sheep.

And where there are lovely island sheep, there is lovely island yarn.

Island Fibers, to be precise.

We stopped at a farmer’s market and I picked up a huge (I’m talking gigantic) skein of gorgeous hand-dyed single-ply wool in subtle shades of blue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spent a couple hours winding it into a ball this weekend (it’s that big).  So now, I’ve got a fantastic nearly-head-sized ball of yarn that’s itching to be used.

I’m thinking it might have to end up being a cropped cardigan to be worn over my favorite summer dresses.  (When you live in Seattle, you get used to wearing cute sun dresses with thick tights, rain boots and winter coats.  Otherwise, you never get to wear them.)

I made up a swatch, and it is just the prettiest!   Look at those colors!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd at 4-ish stitches to the inch, I bet the sweater will just fly off the needles!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen’s the last time you bought a skein of yarn on the spur of the moment?

Yarn Spotlight: Preciosa

On my trip to California, I decided I needed a simple project.  One I could throw in my purse and work on in the car or at the beach.  Something that I didn’t have to worry about counting stitches, changing colors, grafting, or otherwise fiddling with.

So, Hitchhiker Scarf it is.

And, as luck would have it, a few days before we left on our trip, I received a surprise package in the mail from the lovely folks at KnitPicks (I love that this is part of my job now!).  And what was to tumble out, but a lovely, squishy skein of their newest yarn, Preciosa in Bonsai, a  glorious forest-green.

5420278Preciosa is a worsted-weight, single-ply merino yarn that is crazy soft and squishy.  It’s available in 16 semi-solid colorways.  It reminds me of Malibrigo or Manos del Uruguay, but not quite as dense.   It would be perfect for any close-to-the-skin accessories, and a cozy sweater in Preciosa would be absolutely amazing for deep winter in the Great White North.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Hitchiker, which I knit on slightly larger needles (US 10s, although the yarn calls for US 7-9s), has fantastic drape and is delightfully soft.  It feels totally luxurious.   I just wish it were cold enough in Seattle to warrant wearing a scarf.  (First world problems, right?)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat would you use Preciosa for?

 

Yarn Spotlight: Hawthorne

I feel a little bit like I’m turning into a shill for KnitPicks, but, well, I’m just in love with everything I’ve done with them for the last couple months.  (Sorry!  I promise this blog won’t become an annex for KnitPicks.)

A couple weeks ago, KP sent me, out of the blue, two of the most beautiful skeins of their new Hawthorne yarns:

Lovely, deep-chocolate-colored fingering weight in Fawn Kettle-dye, and gorgeous rainforest-colored sport weight in Mt. Tabor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(I failed at taking photos today- sometimes I’m good at getting colors right, but today was not one of those days.  The yarn is actually much more beautiful in real life than in any of these pictures-all subtle variation and intense shifting colors.  Not washed-out and kind-of blueish.)

I’ve got a friend who’s expecting a baby  in a couple months, so I thought, “Hey!  Perfect timing!  I’ll make a baby sweater.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I broke out my Opinionated Knitter, and whipped up my one millionth Baby Surprise Jacket on size 5 needles.  Here’s what I found out:

1.  The new sport-weight yarn is perfect for size 5 garter stitch, and makes a super cute BSJ.  It’s subtle colors and crazy-good stitch definition make a very sleek-looking BSJ.

2.  You need 2 skeins of Hawthorne Sport to actually complete the sweater.

3.  The Hawthorne Fingering, held double, is just a little thicker than the Hawthorne Sport.  The brown parts of the sweater ended up a little stiff.

4.  Babies really don’t care about stuff like gauge, so in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sweater, while not perfect, is super cute.   I always love how variegated/hand-painted yarn looks when used on super simple patterns, especially with garter stitch.

If I was to do this project again (which I’m sure I will, because… BSJ), I’d order two skeins of the Hawthorne Sport.

What would you make with Hawthorne?

 

(Also, don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Collection Giveaway!  My Dahlia Shawl would be really pretty in Hawthorne Fingering Weight Kettle Dye in Turkish Delight.  Just saying.)

Yarn Spotlight: Rome

I don’t usually wax poetic about a specific brand of yarn.  It makes me feel like a (unpaid) corporate shill.  But in this case, this yarn is so exceptional, so weird, and so awesome that I can’t help myself.

Mom bought me a handful of  skeins of HPKY’s Rome yarn for my birthday.  And when I opened the box, I immediately put down the project I was working on to start knitting with the Rome Yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s incredibly fluffy and soft. Like kittens and clouds, and… I don’t know… ducklings.  It’s mostly baby alpaca and Merino, with a little bit of nylon.

At first glance, Rome looks like unspun pencil roving, but when you start working with it, you realize it’s incredibly strong and totally not split-y.  When you look closer, you see that it’s actually really cool space-aged yarn.  What they’ve done is take a super-fine nylon fiber and knit it into an I-cord.  Then, they filled the little knit tube with the alpaca and merino.  See? (It’s crazy hard to photograph, but this was the best I could do.  If you squint really hard, you can kind of see the I-cord stitching).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause the alpaca and merino fibers haven’t actually been spun together, your finished project ends up extra fluffy and cuddly.  I made the HPKY Bias Shawl with my Rome yarn, and it’s the warmest, most wonderful thing I’ve made in a long time.  The squishy-ness of garter stitch combined with the fluffiness of the yarn makes it unbelievably lovely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you see a skein (or two) of HPKY’s Rome, grab it up.  Even if you don’t knit with it, you can keep it around to pet like a kitten.  I wouldn’t judge.