Tuesday, 23 June 2015

I'm A Knit-Along Newbie

Scollay image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Although I've been happily knitting for a decade now I still haven't joined a knit-along, whether in person or online. There's something about the pressure of having to complete a project by a certain time that reminds me of school and I'm concerned it might take the fun out of knitting. When more experienced knitters with more time on their hands to knit than me post up their excellent progress online I fear that my attempt may seem rather rubbish.

Last week, however, I heard about knit-along that's seriously tempting me to lose my knit-along virginity. KnitBritish (not to be confused with the unconnected online shop KnitBritish.com) and their sponsor BritYarn, an online wool store selling only British yarns, are going to run a Scollay-along knitting the wonderful cardigan pattern designed by Scot Karie Westermann. It's designed to be knitted from the bottom up on circular needs, with lace details at the bottom rib, wrists and yoke. The knit-along will cast off on 17th July and cast off by September 25th. Hopefully, although it covers the summer holiday period of August, that will be enough time to complete the cardigan if I concentrate solely on it and not let my attention wander to the other few projects I already have on the needles.

I've signed up on the KnitBritish Ravelry forum to take part. Yet I have a problem - which yarn to use? Initially I was planning to use some Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester Balls I have in my stash but then discovered that Scollay requires DK yarn and my Debbie Bliss is aran weight.

BritYarn suggests Wensleydale Long Wool Sheep Shop DK or Blacker Lyonesse. I'm already knitting a top using Lyonesse and the former recommendation is a tad rough and scratchy for my liking. It would be fine if I only wear the cardigan over a long-sleeved top but as I plan to wear it with a short-sleeved t-shirt I'd like a yarn that's soft against my skin. Added to this I'd like a yarn that's slightly variated, not one block colour, and therefore a hand-dyed yarn would probably fit the bill, yet they are rather pricey. As for the shade, I'm not sure, but I suit warm rather than cool colours.

Do you have any recommendations? Please help me out in the comments box below. So far I'm looking at Rainbow Heirloom's fabulous hand-dyed yarns. Old Maiden Aunt sells some wonderful hand-dyed superwash Blue Faced Leicester yarns but I don't know how soft this is or what it's like to knit with, and the colours that caught my eye are out of stock. Countess Ablaze sells some lovely DK colours, but at £17 a skein for Tainted Love, my favourite from their selection is expensive. There are only two skeins left too, which isn't enough to knit Scollay.

Two cheaper, non-hand-dyed options are Blacker West Country Tweed, and West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester DK. For both of these, however, there isn't a colour that initially springs out at me.

When you are knitting which is most important, price or colour? Would you rather spend more on yarn but knit less items, or buy budget yarn and knit as many garments as your heart desires?

Meanwhile I'll keep pondering my options ...

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