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Knit Me: Shepherd’s Lamb

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 Shepherd’s Lamb Organic Wool 2-ply DK yarn. Shepherd’s Lamb is produced on a ranch out of New Mexico that raises organic sheep that free graze in the mountains and valley.  They do raise sheep for meat, but also raise many for wool and they dye the yarn they produce using all natural dyes.

One of the yarns that Shepherd’s Lamb was offering for review was its 2-ply DK weight base, a 100% Rambouillet that comes in 180 yard skeins. When I had the opportunity to try out this yarn, Shepherd’s Lamb offered me my choice of colors.  While they do have set natural colors that they dye, each dye bath varies and each skein is unique.  I opted to try Indigo.

Once the yarn arrived, I decided that it should be a cabled hat. The yarn itself was soft and almost felt like cotton. It was super squishy and wooly feeling; it would probably be great in colorwork because it was quite sticky. I was pretty sure that it would have really great stitch definition, and I wasn’t wrong. I chose to knit Sea Beanie by the late Elena Nodel.

The only complaint I had about this yarn, and it was really more the dyeing than the yarn itself, was the indigo crocking.  Indigo is a natural dye that isn’t water soluble, so it never quite binds to the fiber in the dyeing process.  This means that when you knit with the yarn, particularly when your hands are warm, the dye adheres to your skin.  This isn’t the same as bleeding – when I washed the hat in water and wool soak the water ran completely clear, so it isn’t that the dye wasn’t set properly.  In the future I might try other colors since they are less likely to leave color on my hands.

Shepherd’s Lamb also has a newsletter which you can sign up for here.

A special thank you to Shepherd’s Lamb who sent me the yarn (retail: $16.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Mountain Meadow Wool Alpine

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 Mountain Meadow Wool. Mountain Meadow is a spinning mill set below the Big Horn Mountains on the Western Plains of Wyoming. It is a family operated mill, owned by Karen Hostetler, and dedicated to supporting local ranchers and raising awareness about ranching culture in the American West. Mountain Meadow is committed to revitalizing the American wool industry through eco-friendly operations and fair prices for ranchers.

One of the yarns that Mountain Meadow Wool was offering for review was its Alpine base.  Alpine is a DK weight 3-ply worsted spun yarn that is 100% Targhee merino and comes in 260 yard/100g skeins. When I had the opportunity to try out this yarn, Mountain Meadow Wool generously offered 2 skeins, and I eagerly selected the Moss Colorway.

I decided before the yarn arrived that I wanted to design something with this beautiful yarn.  Around the same time Frenchie of Aroha Knits did an Initiate Knit Design challenge.  I spent lots of time swatching and planning, and ultimately I knit an eternity loop with a leaf pattern.

The yarn was really a pleasure to work with.  I expected the Alpine to be a little rustic, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was so very soft. It was wooly, but was also super soft and almost cottony in feel.  Once washed, it bloomed and developed a really nice drape.  It stood up to some swatching and ripping and never showed any wear.   I would definitely consider this yarn again; I’m thinking I could use a sweater in it!

I finished knitting my sample last week, and this week the pattern, Wood Sorrel, is being tech edited and is then off to testers. I hope to release it in mid-May. Wood Sorrel will be available on Ravelry shortly.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Mountain Meadow Wool who sent me the yarn (retail: $46.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: Manos del Uruguay

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 Alegria.  Alegria is a fingering weight yarn that is 75% superwash merino and 25% polyamide and comes in 445 yard/100g skeins. I went pattern surfing and decided I really wanted to knit a pair of socks.  Fairmount Fibers was absolutely lovely and sent me a skein in the colorway of my choice, which happened to be Turmeric.  I chose the Conwy Socks by Nancy Bush.

I was really pleased with the Alegria. It was perfect for the pattern I chose and I loved the stitch definition I got on those cables. The yarn was soft and had a really great hand. I also really enjoyed the warm color. Alegria is available in lots of great colors, and I really like their selection of semi-solid hues. I loved working with it for these socks, but I can also see myself using it for shawls or sweaters.

I only had two minor complaints about the yarn.  The first is that there was a knot in the middle of my skein. I understand that industry standard is up to two knots, so I can’t really complain about this, but I was a little disappointed anyway.   The other minor complaint is that there were a few sections of the yarn (usually less than an inch in length) where the yarn wasn’t plied as tightly and was a little fuzzier than the rest.  Overall those sections don’t really show in the finished object, which is why I consider it a minor complaint.

I found the whole process of knitting these socks very enjoyable and I ended up with really happy socks to welcome spring.

 

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Fairmount Fibers who sent me the yarn (retail: $24.50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knit Me: June Cashmere, DK

About a month ago I was contacted by the nice people over at Stitchcraft Marketing with an opportunity to review a skein of June Cashmere yarn.  June Cashmere works with farmers in Kyrgyzstan to ethically source cashmere. The fiber is then spun into yarn in Scotland and then dyed in rich jewel tones in Maine.

June Cashmere offers two weights of yarn: DK and Lace.  I opted for a skein of the DK weight yarn and chose the Scarlet colorway.  The DK yarn comes in 50 gram skeins with 150 yards of 100% pure cashmere.

The yarn arrived packaged beautifully with an 8.5″ x 11″ color booklet full of photographs about how the June Cashmere yarns come to be, as well as a color card (handy for future purchasing decisions).

I knew immediately that I wanted to make a rich luscious cowl out of this yarn.  I selected the Zuzu’s Petals pattern by Carina Spencer.  I did have to make a few modifications for gauge and yardage, but I couldn’t be more pleased with how the cowl turned out.

This yarn was pure joy to knit with.  It was so luscious and soft and the color is very intense.  I had a little trouble photographing the true color because it is so rich and saturated, and looks slightly different in different lights.  It had a lovely hand and I really enjoyed seeing the cowl take shape. After a simple blocking to open up the lace edging, the cowl is so amazingly soft and warm. I plan to give it as a holiday gift, but I’m sorely tempted to keep it for myself.

I will definitely be looking to June Cashmere for future cashmere purchases!

As a bonus for my blog readers, June Cashmere is conducting a drawing for three lucky winners. If you win, you have your choice of the DK or Lace weight in any color.  You can enter by signing up here with your email address.  The contest will be open until midnight on December 19, with winners drawn by June Cashmere on December 20. Good luck!

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at June Cashmere  who sent me the yarn (retail: $44.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

KnitMe: Filament No. 1, Fall 2016

Recently my friend Anne contacted me to let me know about a new venture she was launching, Knit Filament.  Knit Filament is a new publication that is the brainchild of Anne Podlesak and Kathleen Dames, designers and friends that celebrate their friendship and their love of designing lovely garments.  Anne asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a copy of their premiere issue, Filament No. 1 – Fall 2016.  Of course I said yes!

The issue arrived last week and I was immediately impressed by the printing quality. The booklet is 8.5 x 11″ with a sturdy cardstock cover, and lovely colorful pages.  My favorite thing about this first issue is its styling; the whole issue has a lovely vintage feel.

Filament No. 1 includes eight patterns for women including:

  • Four sweaters: 2 cardigans and 2 pullovers
  • A hat and gloves set
  • A shawl
  • A pair of socks
  • A cowl and fingerless mitts set

I should start by saying that I love all the patterns in the issue, but I wanted to share photos (with permission) of my two favorite items in the collection.

The first is a cabled sweater by Kathleen Dames called Beaton.  Beaton is the cover sweater and I absolutely love the cables (which I’m sure is no surprise to you) and the shawl collar. It also makes me want to knit a sweater in a neutral color. It looks so cozy for fall and winter.

Beaton by Kathleen Dames, pattern featured in Filament Issue No. 1, Fall 2016 or available on Ravelry

The second pattern that caught my eye is the pattern for the Milkweed Socks by Anne Podlesak.  I absolutely love the texture on these socks created by the different stitch patterns.  I have a skein of tweedy sock yarn that I think would be a perfect match!

Milkweed Socks by Anne Podlesak, pattern featured in Filament Issue No. 1, Fall 2016 or available on Ravelry

The remainder of the patterns in this volume are just as wonderful.

The issue itself features various modeled shots of the garments in the front section, followed by the pattern details in the back. Another detail that I love in the front section are the little sketches of the sweaters included along with the actual photographs. Obviously I haven’t knit anything from this volume yet, but all the patterns look to be well written, with clear, easy to follow instructions along with charts and schematics.  All in all, I would highly encourage you to give this one a look.

Filament No. 1, Fall 2016 can be purchased in hard copy from the Knit Filament website for $21 plus shipping. Included in each hard copy is a coupon code so you can also download the issue on Ravelry.

If you don’t want to order a physical copy, the issue can be purchased as a digital download only on Ravelry for $21.  Finally, patterns can also be purchased individually for between $5 and $7 per pattern.

Anne and Kathleen have also offer to give away a copy of Filament No. 1 to one lucky winner. Please head over to my Ravelry group for details on how to enter to win a copy of your own!

A special thank you to Anne and Kathleen at Knit Filament who sent me a copy of Issue No. 1 (retail: $21.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.

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.

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.