Category Archives: knitme

KnitMe: KPC Yarns, Yarn Tasting

A few months ago I was contacted by the nice people over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in receiving a yarn tasting kit from KPC Yarns. KPC (knit purl crochet) Yarns is a Hong Kong based company.  They have been in business in various forms for over 50 years and source their wool from a specific farm, in Gostwyck, New South Wales, Australia which has been raising sheep since the 1800s.

KPC has 4 main yarn lines: Novomerino, Glencoul, Cashmere and Gossyp.  These yarns are available in a variety of weights including laceweight, 4-ply, DK and chunky in anywhere from 40 to 60 colorways.  The tasting box included a variety of samples of the above mentioned yarns in many of the different weights.

When the box arrived it was a delight to open.

Inside were approximately 10 or so knit samples of the yarns mentioned above. All the swatches were knit in garter stitch, and included the tags of from the yarns specifying the name of the yarn, the weight of the yarn and the colorway.  Also included in the box were a bakers’ dozen of 10g balls of yarn so I could knit my own samples.  Each sample ball of yarn had a tag which was fastened with a lovely ribbon.  When perusing the KPC Yarns site, they noted that the ribbon and tag could double as a gift tag, providing information about the yarn to the recipient.

In general I was very impressed with the quality of the yarn.  I haven’t knit with any of the samples yet, though I plan to shortly (I almost hate to break into the samples though because the box is so pretty as it is.)  I really like the hand of the Novomerino, however, and you can bet I’ll be checking out which stockists I might purchase some from.

I couldn’t find this exact box available on the KPC Yarns site, however I did notice that they offer other special “box sets” with various yarns included for between $38 and $45 .

 

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at KPC Yarns  who sent me the yarn (retail: $40.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

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Knit Me: Briggs & Little Durasport

A few months ago I was contacted by the nice people over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Briggs & Little yarns.  Briggs & Little is Canada’s oldest mill.  This year it is celebrating the centennial of ownership by the Briggs & Little families and the mill has actually been in production for over 150 years.  Briggs & Little produces premium grade 100% domestic wool that is milled, carded, dyed and spun at their factory in York Mills, New Brunswick, Canada.  I looked at some of their lighter weight yarns for summer and chose to try their Durasport, in the Denim colorway.

Durasport is a sport weight single that is 80% wool and 20% nylon and comes in 430yd/4oz skeins.  Briggs & Little generously sent me two skeins, one of which I gave away on the podcast just last week. The yarn was lovely and tweedy and just slightly rustic, so I set out to find a simple pattern that would let the yarn shine. I ended up selecting a very little known pattern called Xale Anita by Carmen Gama. It is a garter stitch crescent shawl with a simple lace edging.

I had to make a few modifications to the pattern so that I didn’t run out of yarn, but overall I thought the pattern and yarn were well matched.

I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. It was sturdy and a bit rustic, like I said, but it really knit up into a lovely drapey shawl. The yarn softened just a bit when washed in wool wash, and blocked out beautifully. I think this would be a wonderful shawl on a cool night, or for extra warmth on a winter day. If you have sensitive skin you might want to wear it over other clothing, but I think many people will find it wearable as is.

I look forward to trying other Briggs & Little yarns; perhaps a colorwork sweater is in my future?

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at  Briggs & Little  who sent me the yarn (retail: $13.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Manos del Uraguay Marina in Arboretum

A few months ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something out of Manos del Uruguay Marina.  Marina is a superwash merino laceweight single that comes in 874 yard/100g skeins. I went pattern surfing and couldn’t find a shawl I was dying to knit, but had a harebrained idea for a lightweight summer cardigan.  Fairmount Fibers was absolutely lovely and sent me two skeins in the colorway of my choice, which happened to be Arboretum.  I chose the Frost at Midnight pattern by Kate Davies.

The yarn arrived and was gorgeous!  The color was an amazing mix of greens, from mint to olive to a dark forest green.  I swatched and got gauge and cast on.

Frost at Midnight is a yoked cardigan. It is knit from the bottom up and the yoke features delicate beading in the pattern of trees. I chose to use Dyna-Mite Matsuno 8/0 seed beads in the Pastel White colorway. I thought the pearl-like beads worked well with the greens. I wasn’t sure if the yarn would be too variegated for a sweater, but it knit up beautifully. I think the variegation adds texture and interest without distracting from the beadwork and the delicate picot edging.

I loved knitting with this yarn. It is super soft and fluffy. I was originally a little worried about the wisdom of using singles in a sweater, but the yarn really held up well. I had to rip a few times and other than being a bit sticky to tink back, it looked brand new when I needed to reknit it.  Blocking made it even softer (if that is possible) and the yarn bloomed nicely. I think this is going to be the perfect fabric for the summer in the air conditioning.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Fairmount Fibers who sent me the yarn (retail: $56.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Kraemer Yarns, Belfast

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in trying a new to me yarn from Kraemer Yarns, specifically their linen blend yarn, Belfast.  Kraemer is a 100+ year old textile company that mills its own yarns.  Belfast is a DK weight blend that includes linen, cotton, acrylic and viscose and comes in a variety of soft colors.  The colorway I received was Loch.

When I first received the yarn I was surprised at how soft it was. It’s not that I expected it to be rough, but both linen and cotton can be more sturdy and neither have a lot of stretch and give, so I was pleasantly surprised that the yarn had a nice hand to it.  I went looking for patterns that would only use a single skein, which is 220 yards.  I found that most people had used Belfast for summery sweaters or cardigans, and a few had used it for scarves or cowls.  I immediately gravitated towards baby knits, theorizing that this soft yarn might make a nice summer baby garment. I decided on Milo by Georgie Nicolson.

The pattern worked up quickly, and I felt the yarn was a good match. The yarn is a 4 ply and some of the strands are a little thick and thin, making this yarn squishy and airy. After I started knitting I realized that one might not want to knit a baby knit in a light colored yarn that requires handwashing, but I do feel that the sweet Milo vest shows off the yarn to perfection and might work for a knitter or someone who has some knowledge in caring for handknit garments.

Overall, I loved knitting this project and really enjoyed working with the yarn.  I would definitely consider it for future knits; perhaps a summer shell?

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Kraemer Yarns who generously sent me this yarn (retail: $14.50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Bijou Basin Ranch, Tibetan Dreams in Fuchsia Ombre Flow

About a month ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting trying a new to me yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch.  Specifically, Bijou Basin Ranch was promoting their ModeKnit line, a batch of Bijou Basin’s base yarns that had been dyed by designer Annie Modesitt. Having never knit with yak before, I eagerly said yes.

Bijou Basin generously sent me a skein of Tibetan Dream which is their fingering weight yarn that is 85% yak down and 15% nylon in the Fuchsia Ombre Flow colorway.

The yarn was amazing! Although you could definitely use it for socks (and get great cushy warm socks at that!) I decided I wanted to wear this amazing fiber around my neck. So I searched patterns on Ravelry and decided on the Starshower Cowl by Hilary Smith Callis.

I found that using a sharp needle helped with the knitting as the yarn was just a wee bit splitty – mostly likely due to the yak down being a shorter staple.  But I loved the hand of the yarn and I felt like I got excellent stitch definition.  The pattern and the yarn worked really well together.

The cowl knit up quickly and I was able to use all but about a yard of the yarn – I didn’t want to waste any!  The only part of the experience I wasn’t 100% pleased with was the color.  As you can see in the finished photos, the yarn is two colored – on one end is a bright vibrant pink, and on the other end is a more muted lavender.  From the words “ombre” and “flow” I expected the yarn to be more of a gradient; that is I expected the colors to transition gracefully from one to the other over a longer area, much like a gradient would.  In this case I felt like the colors and the lack of a transition were a bit less sophisticated than I would have liked them to be; I find that the colors break up the knit into two ends rather than transitioning throughout the piece.

That said, I would totally order this yarn again. Bijou Basin has some of their own colorways, as well as working with other artists like Miss Babs and Lost City Knits to create other colors on Tibetan Dream and other base yarns. I look forward to trying some of the other gorgeous colorways and other luxury fibers in the future.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Bijou Basin Ranch who generously sent me this yarn (retail: $49.95) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

 

 

Knit Me: Zambra, Louet Spring 2016 Collection

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something from the Louet Spring 2016 Collection featuring their Euroflax yarn.  I browsed the collection and requested to knit either Zambra by Susanna IC or Tallahassee by Kristen TenDyke.

Louet generously sent me the Zambra pattern and my choice of Euroflax colors to knit the pattern. I selected Crabapple, Soft Coral and Champagne.

Zambra is actually two shawl patterns by Susanna IC.  The first is a crescent shawl that is knit using three colors/three skeins.  The second is a rectangular stole knit using similar pattern stitches and two skeins of one color.  I opted to knit the crescent version.

The pattern is impeccably written including written instructions and charts. The format took a bit of getting used to as the patterns of stitches needed for both the crescent and the stole are in the middle of the instructions, but once I figured it out it was clear sailing.  The crescent shawl makes use of a number of needle sizes, starting with smaller needles, and switching to larger needles as you move to the lace sections. This means that the outer edges of the shawl are nice and open and airy.

The Euroflax itself was very nice to work with.  Although it isn’t super soft, it is well spun and not too splitty.  I was most intrigued by the finishing directions: the labels instruct that once you finish your garment you should put it in the washer, and if you so desire, the dryer to soften the linen. I do know that linen gets softer with each wash and wear over time.  After running a test swatch through the washer and dryer, I went ahead and ran my shawl through the whole cycle twice and the shawl is indeed much softer and has more drape after the treatment. I finished with a spray block to open the lacework.

I couldn’t be more pleased with this item and look forward to shopping for Tallahassee for a summer knit. The only question is, with so many great colors, how will I choose which to use?

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet who sent me the pattern and accompanying yarn (retail: $85.35) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

The Corner of Knit & Tea: Episode 65, Tubey or not Tubey

Welcome to episode 65! This week I have some FO’s, some WIPs, and a new product to review!

Please come and join the Ravelry group.

You can also find me on Ravelry as Fluffyk, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope as Fluffykira, and in my shop The Stashbuckler: Adventures in Yarrrrrrrrn.

Sipping:

Wearing:

Knitting:

Spinning:

Extras:

 

Knit Me: A Good Yarn exclusive Cabbage Key

Not too long ago the folks at Stitchcraft Marketing and A Good Yarn, a yarn store in Sarasota, Florida, contacted me to see if I would be interested in a skein of one of their exclusive colorways. Of course I said yes!

A Good Yarn is owned by Susan and her husband Murray.  Murray is a diver and takes amazing photos of sea creatures which they then turn into exclusive colorways for their yarn shop.  The color they sent me, Cabbage Key is based on the following photo:

Nembrotha Cristata, Susan & Murray Post, A Good Yarn

I took this photo while diving with my son Michael in the Solomon Islands, of a Nembrotha Cristata nudibranch. Nudibranchs are shell-less snails. They all have gills on their backs and a pair of antenna. This particular nudibranch was about an inch or so long and crawling among one of its food sources, some small coral polyps. Some of its more common names are Crested Nembrotha, Cabbage Nudibranch, and Cabbage Patch Nudibranch, which is how this colorway has got its name, Cabbage Key!

Cabbage Key is dyed by Lorna’s Laces on their Shepherd Sock base exclusively for A Good Yarn.

Because the yarn was variegated, I wanted to select a pattern to minimize pooling, so I decided to knit Monkey by Cookie A. and call my socks Sea Monkey.

I was pleasantly surprised that the yarn more or less striped!

I really enjoyed knitting these socks. One of the first pairs of socks I ever knit was on the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock base, and they have held up so well (9+ years and going strong) so I’m super excited to have another durable pair in the sock drawer.  The colors are so fun and wild – just what I like about socks.  The yarn itself was a pleasure to knit – smooth and soft and just one more row until the next stripe, right?

 

My only negative is that unfortunately I found one knot in the skein, however, industry standard is up to 2 knots per skein, so while disappointing, this doesn’t indicate anything about the quality of the yarn.

I can’t wait for the weather to get cool so I can wear my new socks. And you can bet I’ll be checking out some of the other exclusive colorways at A Good Yarn!

 

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at A Good Yarn who sent me this yarn (retail: $28.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own, except where indicated.