The Yarn Collective

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I have tried knitting with a lot of different yarns, as you can imagine – many of them have found their way in to my stash.  While I like a lot of them there aren’t many I love.

Felted Tweed by Rowan is probably my all time favourite although the current palette is a bit dull for my tastes; Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK, but I have to declare an interest in this yarn because I worked on the brand from its inception; Berger  de France Goomy – a fantastic sock yarn in really tasteful colours.  Spindrift by Jamieson’s of Shetland which has the best range of colours for my beloved Fair Isle.

Now I can add a new yarn to this select band,  The Yarn Collective Bloomsbury DK curated by Carol Feller.  Developed by Love Knitting/Love Crochet I have to admit to being a bit sceptical when I heard about it.  Their first own brand yarn, Paintbox, was not particularly good.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to a value yarn but I found the acrylic too crisp and the cotton too floppy.

However The Bloomsbury DK is a lovely merino yarn with plenty of bounce and drape, and the semi solid shades give a lovely depth to your knitting. Spun in a family run mill in Peru from ethically reared sheep, the yarn is kettle dyed, which is how they achieve their distinctive colour blends.  Apparently the mill also contributes some of their profits to a school in the Highlands of Peru.  Ticking lots of boxes for me there.

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Each yarn from The Yarn Collective is curated by a different designer who chooses the palette and creates some special designs for their yarn.  Carol has put her colours together in to 3 groups for the Bloomsbury DK, Surfer Blues, Fall and Fuchsia, but I think all the shades work together across the range.

I loved playing with this yarn so much that I have designed a hat to celebrate its yumminess. The blue I used is called Surf and is almost iridescent in its colour saturation. Just beautiful! You can find the pattern here.

rococo1I haven’t yet tried the worsted or lace but if the DK is anything to go by I should be in for a treat.  The only downside is that, being on a yarn diet, I can’t buy any of the yarn until next year. Rats!

Cashmere Delights

Cashmere is the most amazing fibre but I rarely get a chance to knit with it.  I start so many projects that I never finish, frogging the yarn and leaving it to languish in my stash.  To do that to a precious hank of cashmere would be sacrilege.

I have come across 2 new yarns this season that I feel sure I would not want to put down until I had finished a project, in fact, I have already finished one!

Debbie Bliss has created a wonderfully soft yarn called Lhasa, a blend of Cashmere and Yak. It is has a chainette construction and is technically a chunky.  Size 6mm needles are the recommended size and I did start off with that, but my Fair Isle was just too compact so I went up to a 7mm.  The yarn is so beautifully squishy and is perfect for this little cowl that I rustled up.  I used a two colour cast on and a two row, two colour cast off which you can find in Cap Sease’s book, Cast On, Bind Off.

Yarntelier is Louisa Harding’s new venture, a new cashmere yarn spun by one of the finest spinners in Yorkshire, in lace and DK weights.  Due to its provenance this yarn is not cheap at £25 a ball, but for accessories it really is the most luxurious cashmere I have ever knitted with.  I did buy one ball for a Christmas gift at The Knitting and Stitching Show, where it was launched so I have only knitted a little swatch for you to see here.  You might think the yarn feels a little thin when you knit it but the bloom when you steam it is so satisfying.

Now all I have to wait for is some cold weather so I can snuggle in to my new cowl!

The Big Sock Yarn Review

groupI have been knitting socks, lots of them.

Ever since the maths of socks suddenly made sense to me I have become slightly obsessed with their anatomy, the different heels and toes, the way patterning moves across the structure and all the amazing yarns out there.

I put a call out a while ago to review some of the sock yarns because I wanted to know if there was much difference between the different products on offer. I didn’t want to knit too many pairs so I scaled down a basic sock with a heel flap and tried each yarn by knitting a mini sock to give me a feel for the yarns.  I have had way too much fun putting this review together as you can see.

I tried Regia 4 ply, Bergere De France Goomy 50, Artesano Definition Sock Yarn, Coop Knits Sock YeahKnittinginFrance Sparkles, John Arbon Alpaca Sock and Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock.

sock lengthAs you can see from this picture each yarn knitted up slightly differently.  I used the same 24st pattern for each on 2.25mm needles, but some yarns give a ‘longer’ result so I would suggest a tension square is a definite must if you aren’t using the yarn specified in your pattern.

Regia 4 ply 100gm ball – 75% Wool, 25% Polyamide

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This is a nice even yarn with a bit of bounce .  I would categorise it as a good quailty staple yarn for your everyday sock.  Given the excellent stitch definition I think it would do well with cable designs.

 

Bergere De France Goomy 50 – 75% Wool, 25% Polyamide

This was the only variegated yarn I tried and I loved the colours and how they knitted up.  When you knit with Goomy it has a nice bit of life in it making it a pleasure to work with.  In fact I enjoyed knitting with this yarn so much I am making socks for myself out of this one.

Artesano Definition Sock Yarn – 75% Wool, 25% Polyamide

While the colour palette for this yarn isn’t huge it is very well balanced so there is something for every knitter. It has a very nice and even stitch texture and the yarn itself is satisfyingly full. It would be ideal for Fair Isle socks.

Coop Knits Sock Yeah yarn – 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon

This yarn is a little thinner and finer spun than the others that I tried so I would consider socks with 2mm needles to give a denser fabric or socks that feature lace to bring out it’s real beauty.  It does have a lovely drape to it so might be worth trying in shawls as well.

KnittinginFrance Sparkles – 75% Superwash Merino, 2o% Nylon, 5% Silver Stellina

This was my absolute favourite yarn of all the samples I knitted.  The stitch definition was superb and the semi solid colour looks fantastic.  I can’t wait to choose a pattern for it.  The Silver Stellina gives a subtle sparkle which I really like

John Arbon Alpaca Sock – 60% Alpaca, 20% Exmoor Blueface, 20% Nylon

Because of the high proportion of Alpaca blended with the delicious Exmoor Blueface fleece, this yarn it is quite hairy as you can see so I’m not sure whether you would lose detail on cable and lace.  But for Fair Isle and rugged walking socks I think it would be ideal.

Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock – 75% Wool, 25% Polyamide

I loved the colours in Debbie’s new yarn – she is such a master at putting shades together.  My only concern, because this is more of a roving yarn, is that it might pill, but you can always use a different yarn for heels and toes so that you can indulge yourself in the lovely hues.

I have learned so much from trying all of these yarns so a huge thanks to everyone who sent me samples.

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