Good quality yarns

Coolree Shoulder Flashlight

This has been another week of tidying up loose ends and finishing off miscellaneous tasks. Remember the luscious Coolree alpaca-silk-cashmere lace I turned into the Strawberry Beds shawlette  (called after an area on the left bank of the River Liffey)? Well, I had to block it while folded, because of the built-in Faroese shoulder shaping (see above, moulded around the end of the ironing board). This left a bumpy crease down either side- not a good look- so I had to bend my cardinal rule of never letting an iron anywhere near one of my knitting projects.

Puckers in Faroese Strawberry Beds

See that line of puckers? Sorry about the photo, it was much worse than it looks here, honest! so I dug out the ironing board, dusted off the iron- that’s right, I don’t iron, life’s too short- and I soaked a little towel to protect my delicate creation from the worst of the dragon’s steamy breath. Seriously, it’s so easy to spoil textures, never mind ruin weeks worth of work with an iron- I am definitely not a gambler. As you can see, simply holding a warm iron in the general vicinity of the fabric did the trick nicely, and my nerves have almost completely settled down again, thank you very much, though I still haven’t managed to capture all the glorious shades of colour in this yarn….

Strawberry Beds Shoulder shaping

..and the strawberries are standing on their heads. But they’re the right way round when worn, so that’s all right. By the way, if any of you are going to the Knitting & Stitching Show in London next month (14-17th March), keep your eyes peeled for the Coolree stand- Alex will be there with a selection of his latest goodies.

Orchid Thief Isolda Teague

I finally blocked The Orchid Thief (Isolda Teague), which I knit up using a (100g) ball of Jawoll Magic sockyarn (Lang). This is very soft to the touch, and the colour transitions are long and subtle, which I like, but I don’t think this yarn would wear well as a sock, despite its 25% synthetics. I had to rip some of it, and afterwards it looked the worse for wear, which shouldn’t happen, if this was actually meant for socks. I think it was designed for lace that would be treated very gently, and was only called sockyarn because of its weight.

If you’re thinking that it looks crooked, that’s because it is- I was away with the fairies while I was knitting the body of this (diamonds are boooooring), so the fronts ended up different shapes and I can’t have you thinking Ms Teague is the root of the problem. If it was my own design, mind, I wouldn’t let on (design feature, challenging orthodoxy, blah, thinking outside the box, blah, you know the guff..).

Orchid Thief Lang Jawoll Sockyarn

I obviously wasn’t at my best while blocking  either, was I?

But I didn’t manage to banjax the neck:

Orchid Thief shawlette neck detail

Alright, I’ll admit it, I’ve had other things on my mind- my DS is not at all well, and there’s no end in sight, so while knitting is a very therapeutic help at the moment, the finished product is definitely showing signs of fluctuating concentration.

Part of the time I’m fixing stuff: a quick boost to morale is guaranteed!

Darned glove in Woven stitch

I made a pair of fingerless gloves for my DS years ago- this one has been worn while cycling approx 10,000 miles, and this is the first time it needed darning! Now that’s good quality yarn. It’s 100% merino 4ply by Yeoman and I heartily recommend it (even though they’ve never given me any freebies). The other glove of this pair got lost, and I offered to knit an exact replica (no, I don’t spoil my DS, but he’s usually really careful with things I make him, so I couldn’t be cross). DS asked for the exact same pattern (woven st), but different colours; the chartreuse and purple are from Yeoman too, but the grey is a different brand, and within one week of wear it looked like this:

Poor quality grey wool

While knitting the grey appeared just the same as the Yeoman yarn, but after a little bit of friction it fuzzed and pilled as if it were felting wool- I was disgusted!

Wool Quality contrast

You can tell the glove on the left has been using the expensive revitalising serum, can’t you?

Japanese laceweight Mohair

In order to cheer myself up, I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books, and of course new designs have been popping into my head. I decided to start a nice’n’easy project, using 75g of pure mohair from Japan – part of my yarn-diet stash from the sale in aid of the Dublin Society for prevention of cruelty to animals. You can tell that pure mohair yarn is made from goats: it’s got a mind of its own and is willfully contrary. See how smooth, sleek and well-behaved it sits there in its ball? Well, no sooner is it on the needles than it starts to fight back, doing its best to unravel itself and kinking at every opportunity. My stocking stitch generally looks fairly neat, not in need of much blocking, but this may be the one project I’ll happily take an iron to- I haven’t produced such irregular-looking stitches since I was five!

Pensieve shawl in progress

And this tangled web is supposed to turn into a Pensieve shawl- uh oh!

Mind you, one project did eventually go right this week, though I had to rip back a good 50% first. This is called Martina, after the dear German girl in my knitting group, who not only recommended this excellent sockyarn ( Aktiv silk, from supergarne.com) but also carried bushels of it back from Germany for us to save costs (Danke, Martina!).

Martina Sockyarn Shawlette

I was playing around with a motif from an old doily, and an Estonian lace stitch (Tower pattern), and some graph paper, and here we are:

Martina Shawlette Edging

This one turned out much better than I’d dared think- let’s hope it’s a sign….

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21 thoughts on “Good quality yarns

      • I understand that! And it’s not just busy work – you’re focused on creating something so lovely that your cares and worries disappear.
        I suppose that’s why I write – it lets me drift away from all the stress, if only for that time.
        And you have to tell me – that last purple creation – did you intend for that dark patch around the neck? Cause I loved it!

      • Well, in this case I got lucky- the ball of wool started with a long stretch of dark purple first, and the shawl starts at the nape of the neck with only a few sts, then increases quickly widthways, hence the dark patch. Otherwise, I’d have wound off a small ball of unwanted colour until I got to the beginning of the dark purple, and started knitting there, saving the small ball til the very end: same result. Never let the manufacturer dictate to you, is one of my mottos!

      • And see – to me, it just speaks of your creative, artistic approach to knitting! I wish I could pick your brain about some of these stitches in these patterns I’ve been looking through. I guess this old brain just doesn’t want to learn new tricks!

      • Pick a free pattern on Ravelry that you’d like to try- we can discuss it there, you can post Qs, I can answer and so on…

      • awesome – I was thinking it was time to head to Ravelry next. I’ll check it out! Thanks Pauline.
        Time to stretch this knitter’s vocabulary.

  1. Just have to comment – your blog is so lyrical and colourful, a real joy. I use the Yeoman 100% merino yarn for hand knitting and on my machine. Its a lovely yarn using either method of knitting. Your designs and use of colour is very inspiring.

    • Thank you, I’m blushing here! I think it’s important to provide info on how well yarns last- after all, we all invest a lot of time in our projects….

  2. Your work is just gorgeous and I totally love the last one. The color is my favorite too 🙂

  3. Hi Pauline,
    I can’t believe you named that last shawl after me, it looks stunning! I’m flattered and honored!
    You’re very welcome about the yarn anyway, we can order again in April 😉
    Martina

    • Whee thank you! Now I just need to get my act together and write up the pattern properly, to earn a few bob to support my budding architect.

  4. Hey Pauline, NOT to be a pest or anything, but 1) it is Sunday and as I’ve gotten sort of used to seeing your new post now…. well? 2) I’ve signed up on Ralvery. Welcome to the 21st century, right? See ya around-
    Sue

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