Yarn yarn yarn! I still think it is MAGIC that you can turn what is basically some fancy string* into the most amazing garments and accessories by using a couple of sticks. And the yarn you use can be anything you want: beautiful, textured, smooth, scratchy, vivid, neutral, warm, woolly, bamboo, cotton, silk, alpaca, chunky, delicate, grabby, slippy, slubby, dainty, hard-wearing, and on and on and on. The more I knit the happier it makes me to try out something new or exotic. And thanks to the various events I’ve been to lately which feature indie yarn-sellers and dyers, my yarn stash is getting more varied and exciting. These are a few recent additions where I’m still searching for the perfect pattern.
This is the yarn gracing the top of this post (or the left, depending on how you’re reading this). The sheen on it is killer.
However traditionally we’ve always stayed at a cautious distance, linen and me. I’ve never really got on board with the feel of it in the skein, all rough and tough and wiry. But, I’ve heard all the tales about how it really softens up with handling and washing, and how it’s incredibly hard-wearing, and how it holds lace patterns beautifully, and how you can even throw your handknit linen in the washing machine. So I reached the point where I thought: OK. Maybe it’s time. Then, at Fibre East this year, I found myself drawn to a display on the Midwinter Yarns stall (I keep mis-typing this as Widminter Yarns) of gorgeously-hued linen skeins.
Estelle patiently watched me come back several times to touch the sample lace shawl on the stand (which, yes, was infinitely softer that the unworked yarn) and kindly answered various questions before establishing with me that yes, three skeins of the yarn should be plenty to make a lace cardigan. And that is what this beautiful teal linen is going to become: my perfect summer cover-up, something light and swingy and lacy and pretty which will work with jeans or over a summer dress. I haven’t found the pattern yet but I’m on the case (any recommendations much appreciated). That said, now that it’s autumn-verging-on-winter I’m a bit less inclined to be working with a cool fibre, so this one might wait until spring.
O. M. G.
Baby camel! And silk! This yarn is crazy-soft and super-luxurious. Travelknitter was another Fibre East stall that caught my eye – Larissa’s hand-dyed yarns show off deeply-saturated jewelled colours with a hint of the exotic about them. They are stunning. And, as they’re dyed in Walthamstow, I’m practically supporting a local dyer (assuming you are prepared to accept anyone based within any of the London travel zones as ‘local’…). In the end I limited myself to just this single (gateway) skein. Orange isn’t my usual colour but I couldn’t resist this one: it’s all fiery punchy gorgeousness. I have no idea what it’s going to become, mind. And, now I think about it, I still have this red-purple-orange seasilk in my stash. Not quite the same fibre make-up but they both contain silk (sort of…). I wonder if they’d work together in the right design?
Hmm. Watch this space
This photo is not my best work but it shows off the colour almost perfectly
I have a huge weakness for buying pretty laceweight yarn with no project in mind. I figure that there are always beautiful shawl patterns available so I’ll always find the right pattern when I’m ready. This particular peacock-green merino-silk lace is an almost accidental purchase from my LYS. I’d only gone in for a chat and a bit of social knitting, and I happened to see a pile of this in the corner, and I really wasn’t there to buy anything, and then inexplicably a couple of balls found their way home with me that afternoon (not like that! I paid for them!). As mentioned, no particular pattern planned but I have stacks of lace shawls in my rav queue so something will definitely fit. Two balls equates to nearly 1,600 yards so I can make something BIG if I want to.
There’s a whole pile of turquoise surprise in the middle of this
Bilum only came onto my radar at this year’s Unravel, where, it turned out, pretty much everyone from my knit group came away with one or more skeins. The balls are all a bit higgledy-piggledy and are wound at varying degrees of tightness, and the ballbands are totally retro-80s (look!), but the yarn’s gorgeous and everything is a gradient. I ummed and ahhed for a while before eventually plumping for this single exceedingly soft skein (more camel and silk), mostly thanks to a cute little scooped shawl pinned up on the stand which used the exact same yarn in the same pink-to-turquoise colourway and which won my heart. This very pattern, Oasis Hideaway, in fact. Possibly this year’s Christmas project.
OK, enough for now: I could keep photographing away but I’m not quite prepared to admit the extent of my stash right now. (Plus those WIPs won’t knit themselves.) Would love to hear about your best and latest stash aquisition, lovely readers.
* Forgive me.