Wednesday 23 August 2017

Battle Of The British Tweeds

Tweed looks set to be on trend this Autumn/Winter season with not one but three tweedy yarns launches this month by British yarn companies.

Rowan Valley Tweed

Image courtesy of Rowan
This well-known yarn company rarely gets a mention on this blog due to it sourcing its wool from overseas but A Woolly Yarn was  ]delighted to see that on August 15th it launched an all-British yarn, Valley Tweed.

Roden image courtesy of Rowan
Rowan says the yarn is inspired by the company's Yorkshire heritage and 'this 100% wool yarn is spun a stones throw away from the Rowan Design office. A selection of earthy, natural shades make up a colour palette inspired by and named after the surrounding valleys and Yorkshire landscape."

Valley Tweed is a 5ply/sport weight yarn and there are ten shades to choose from. Each 50g skein retails for around £8.95, depending on the stockist you choose to buy from.

I haven't yet seen a sample of the yarn to comment on its feel and knitted-up properties. Rowan, however, describes it as 'a very lofty yarn due to the special way it is spun'.

Rowan has published a supporting pattern book costing £12 and containing seven designs for women by Lisa Richardson using Valley Tweed. The patterns are for beginners and intermediate knitters, with my favourite being the sloppy-Joe Sunday sweater Roden.

West Yorkshire Spinners The Croft Shetland Tweed

The Croft image courtesy of WYS
This month also saw West Yorkshire Spinners' The Croft Shetland Tweed go on sale.

The shades in this aran-weight yarn are more delicate and pastel-like than Rowan's Valley Tweed colour palette. Again I've not had the chance to squish a skein in person, but its British credentials are solid: The Croft is spun from Shetland wool renowned for its fineness and warmth.

WYS says 'The Croft has a soft and silky handle that retains a lot of durability'.

At £8.95 for a 100g skein it's definitely a price-conscious choice.

Sarah Hatton has designed The Croft Pattern Book to support the yarn. Inside its very practical spiral binding - much easier to keep your page open when knitting than a conventionally-bound book - are 14 traditional-looking designs for men and women, including jumpers and cardigans. The book costs £12.95.

The Fibre Co Arranmore Light

I mentioned this new yarn in a previous blog post covering The Fibre Co's Fell Garth II pattern book. The Fibre Co is based in Yorkshire and Arranmore Light, launched at the beginning of August as a DK sister version of the company's Arranmore aran weight tweed yarn, hails from Ireland.

The Fibre Co kindly sent a sample and shade card for review. Although Arranmore Light is not made of British wool I'm giving it an honoury mention due to its superb, soft squish, jewel-like 18 shades and excellent stitch definition when knitted up.

A quick internet search told me that the yarn is as yet not available in many online stockists (The Fibre Co doesn't seem directly to customers), but I did find it on sale at Tangled Yarn. One 100g skein costs £22.50. This is definitely a treat purchase and yarn to potentially use for accessories rather than in large quantities for jumpers etc. I saw from my sample that Arranmore Light is definitely a quality yarn and even has a pleasing, lingering aroma of sheep.

Which aran yarn should you choose? Luckily the decision will be made for you depending on the weight of yarn required for your preferred pattern. Arranmore Light is DK, The Croft is aran weight and Valley Tweed 5-ply.

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