Saturday 28 May 2016

West Yorkshire Spinners Relaunches Illustrious Pattern Book

Image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners
Last year saw the launch of West Yorkshire Spinners' Illustrious yarn range consisting of 13 shades of DK yarn that's a blend of 70% Falkland wool and 30% alpaca.

To support the yarn WYS released a pattern book with nine designs by Emma Wright. It was taken off the shelves after the first edition due to some pattern errors and to incorporate customer feedback. Now it's back with errors fixed and a wider range of garment sizes to knit.

WYS kindly sent me a review copy and all views are my own. 

I bought a few balls of Illustrious when it came out, tempted by its British heritage and range of colours. I'm currently knitting a baby jumper in the 'sea glass' shade, from a pattern in Simply Knitting magazine. The yarn is soft but firm, doesn't split and knits together well making a warm and durable non-itchy garment. The sea glass colour is perfect for a little girl who doesn't want to be dressed in pink. Not to say that there aren't shades of pink in the range - there are a few to choose from ranging from baby pink to fuchsia.

My first thought about the pattern book was how practical it is with a spiral bound edge. Why aren't all pattern books produced like this? It's easy to turn the pages and keep the book open at the pattern you are following, with no spine bending or origami-type folding required. Production-wise the book is a pleasure and is illustrated with sumptuous photographs. 

Patterns are always a personal choice. Illustrious has a few smaller projects, such as a hat and wristwarmers, for newbie knitters or those who want to try knitting the wool before they shell out on a bigger project (each 100g ball costs £10.95). Me, I have enough gloves and hats already, so I turned to the cardigans and jumpers. All are for women.

My favourite, and I like it so much that I'm going to cast on as soon as I've finished the baby jumper, is the 'Hermione' cardigan. 

Hermione image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners

As I'm quite small I look for boxy-shaped tops that won't swamp me. 'Hermione' ticks that box and it will be easy to leave out the bottom pattern row if I need to shorten it to fit. I adore the heather effect of the sleeve colour - it's the 'Lichen' shade - and will enjoy practicing my Fair Isle technique when knitting it.

Second to catch my eye was the mixed cable sweater 'Pandora'.

Pandora image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners
The colour is a bit too bright for my taste but I can imagine wearing it in the shades sea glass or dusky lilac.

The other patterns, though well designed, aren't garments I'd knit myself, but they are interesting to look at. There's a tank top; pair of socks; two more cardigans; a dress; a scarf that's modelled fastened under a belt; and a cape with a high neck

See all the patterns in Illustrious on Ravelry. Now I'd better get cracking finishing the baby jumper so I can cast on 'Hermione' and reduce my yarn stash!

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