Wednesday 28 June 2017

The Wool Whisperer

Have you ever started knitting a project with a yarn that you love only to find out that, well, it's just not quite right? It may be colourful and squishy in skein form but when allocated to a chosen pattern it doesn't seem to work.

Hourglass sweater image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe
Expert knitters I'm sure could explain precisely why this is - too much haze or not enough stitch definition maybe? - but for me it's a feeling, almost like a sixth sense, that can happen when I'm not using the exact yarn a pattern has specified.

Take three beautiful, hand-dyed 4ply skeins bought a few years ago from Eden Cottage Yarns because I adored their pink hue. My first thought was to knit the company's Hut 8 cardigan with it but on the needles it wasn't thrilling me and I decided to knit my garment in a Blacker Yarns special edition yarn instead.

Next, I allocated my three skeins to knit the Hourglass sweater from Baa Ram Ewe's Titus Vintage Collection. I've knitted a jumper, a hat and a cowl using Titus 4ply before: it's a warm, workhouse yarn that comes in covetable shades, but I do find that it's too itchy to wear against the skin. Conversely my Eden Cottage Yarn is soft and silky. However, yet again, when on the needles there was something not quite right about what was emerging. The yarn didn't hold the stitch definition well and after multiple tries to get the sizing right I gave up, meaning to try the pattern again with a different yarn - I may well try Titus if there's nothing else suitable in my stash.

And now? I've long-liked Tin Can Knit's Raindrops jumper pattern.

Raindrops jumper image courtesy of Tin Can Knits
So far the needles seem to be liking my Eden Cottage Yarns 4ply just fine. It suits the pattern in a way that a less silky and more woolly yarn may not. I've been itching to carry on with it and am looking forward to wearing the summery jumper of an evening with smart jeans.

My stash is slowly coming down, following my resolution not to buy any more yarn until I've used up or sold what I already have. I made one exception for a good cause, supporting Baa Baa Brighouse's crowdfunding venture to create a bricks and mortar wool shop. I'll be receiving three hanks of specially-dyed DK yarn through the post. Congratulations to Elaine Jinks-Turner of Baa Baa Brighouse for achieving her goal, but the question of what I'll knit with my three hanks remains to be answered!
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