New summer yarn – Rowan Softyak DK

Rowan’s most exciting spring/summer release this year is Softyak DK, a gorgeous yarn perfect for the warmer and transitional months. I’m sure yarn made from yak must exist, I’ve never seen it before so it was a real surprise to me when I saw this. Blended with yak and cotton, the yarn has a chain construction and slightly mottled effect due to the differences in why the dye is absorbed by the mixture of fibres. Even more surprising is how wonderfully soft the yarn is, I expected yak to be a bit scratchy but thatcouldn’t be further from the truth! It’s really comfortable against the skin.

Softyak DK

The palette contains a mixture of pastels and brights, making it versatile for your summer wardrobe.

Softyak DK 230 CreamSoftyak DK 231 SteppeSoftyak DK 232 PlainSoftyak DK 233 PrairieSoftyak DK 234 SavannahSoftyak DK 235 PampasSoftyak DK 236 LeaSoftyak DK 237 MeadowSoftyak DK 238 HeathSoftyak DK 239 PlateauSoftyak DK 240 PastureSoftyak DK 241 LawnSoftyak DK 242 PeatSoftyak DK 243 Terrain

To accompany the new yarn is the Softyak DK Collection of new designs. These are a few of my personal favourites.

Karma

This is quite a simple jumper, but the gathered hem at the bottom gives it a really interesting line.

Karma 1Karma 2

Nambu

The simple lines make this easy to wear and allows the block colours to be the key focus of this cardigan. The relatively short body will make this great for showing off your nice summer dresses and skirts.

Nambu 1Nambu 2

Jumo

A really cute tunic with some interesting textures, I especially like the ribbed cap sleeves. I’m also a sucker for a keyhole on front or back neck, so that’s a winning detail for me.

Jumo 1Jumo 2

Tinley

Another example of simple lines allowing the colours to do the talking. I really like the exaggerated shoulder shaping and the flattering neckline on this.

Tinley 1Tinley 2

Ketu

I fell in love with this jumper the second I turned the page and saw it. Something about the chunky garter stitch edges, the little buttons on the neckline and the overall shaping really capture my imagination.

Ketu 1Ketu 2

I was so taken with both Ketu and Tinley that I already have the yarn to knit both! I swatched for Ketu over the weekend and I’m now ready to cast on. I’m knitting it in the same shade as featured in the photo (Plateau). For Tinley I have chosen Plain as the base colour and will be using the remaining balls of Plateau for the stripes after I finish knitting Ketu with it.

DSC01599

I hope this has inspired you to check out Softyak DK, it really is a lovely yarn and I can’t wait to have a finished garment to wear!

A Summer of Light

As promised, this is the first of my reviews from the Rowan spring/summer collection for 2015. Summerlite 4ply is a sumptuous new cotton yarn which uses 100% of the finest quality cotton. The finish of the yarn is matt, but it still feels beautifully soft. There are 12 shades in a lovely summer palette:

417 Pure White418 Washed Linen419 Duck Egg420 Blushes421 Buttermilk422 Still Grey424 Periwinkle426 Pinched Pink428 High Tide429 Navy Ink431 Pepper Pot432 Aubergine

To accompany the yarn is a collection of patterns from Martin Storey which show the yarn off to great effect with a mixture of cables, lace and colourwork. These are just a few of my favourites:

AmandierHellebore
Amandier
Hellebore

These two are lovely little garments that would be great for the slight coolness of a summer evening, just to keep the chill off. The lovely lacework and stitch textures used show this fine yarn off to great effect.

ArgentineLunaire
Argentine
Lunaire

I’m a big fan of cables so these both get my vote! There’s something just so delicious about a little cabled jumper. Both of these also rather excitingly feature beading! That isn’t a technique I’ve tried before and I think it’s great to see Rowan including it in their latest designs. The best thing is that either jumper would work fine without the beads, so anyone who doesn’t want to be quite that adventurous could simply leave them out.

RoseanBelle Du Jour
Rosean
Belle Du Jour

My last picks feature stunning colourwork in simple shapes, which is a great combination. Rosean in particular is a very simple and flattering shape, but made really special by the lovely rose pattern. Belle Du Jour adds some extra interest by having lace sleeves and hem which I think makes that a fascinating project.

If you’d like to see more, you can browse the whole Summerlite 4ply collection on Rowan’s website.

This yarn has enchanted me so much that I will be knitting a design from the collection. Hortensia struck me as a really wearable design that should be good for in-between seasons as well if dressed in the right way. I’ll be knitting it in shade 428 High Tide, watch this space for a project post in the future!

Hortensia

Unfazed By Tweed

One of my favourite new yarns for this autumn/winter season is Rowan’s Fazed Tweed.

Fazed Tweed

Everything about this yarn screams autumn, which is my favourite time of year to knit for. The yarn is a wool and alpaca blend with an unusual construction of a central fuzzy tube surrounded by a netting which gives the tube some definition. You can really understand the yarn better if you deconstruct a piece of it, which Cindi did in her blog last month:

Fazed Tweed Deconstructed

The construction also means that the yarn is lightweight whilst still being really warm, so it’s great for those autumn days before the hard cold of winter sets in.

This delightful new yarn is available in 10 delicious shades:

001 Maple002 Larch003 Sycamore004 Yew006 Bay007 Holly008 Elm009 Oak010 Ebony011 Elderberry

The Fazed Tweed Collection which accompanies this yarn is absolutely stunning. Here are a few of my highlights…

Naomh

Naomh

Being quite a fuzzy yarn, I wouldn’t have expected it to provide good stitch definition. How wrong was I! Look at those gorgeous cables.

Seana

Seana

With the colder weather drawing in now, who can resist a snuggly cardigan like this?

Keara

Keara

I love the cables on this snood, another great example of the texture and definition that you can achieve with this yarn.

Orla & Mona

Orla Mona

I’ve featured these two patterns together because they are my favourites and for the same reason – absolute simplicity and beautiful lines. This yarn is able to hold a really fantastic line which gives designs such as these an unmistakably classic appeal. There’s nothing special or flashy about Orla, for example, if I tried to explain it to someone who hadn’t seen it then I don’t really know how I’d explain its appeal, but I just adore it. And every time I show either of those pictures to any of my knitter friends they all go “Ooo!”, which is the best review you can get in my opinion!

Watch this space for a post coming soon on a small project I’ve done from this collection.

Stash Management For Geeks

I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that my stash was starting to get a little bit out of hand, when I realised that I couldn’t really remember much of what was in there. This is a problem for me because if I can’t remember what’s in there, I have little chance of being able to plan projects with it, so I’m never going to actually work through any of it. I’m sure you have probably noticed by now that I am as much a geek as I am a knitter, so there was only one possible solution to this problem: A Spreadsheet

Yes, dear readers, I went straight to Google Drive* and drew up a brand new yarn stash spreadsheet. What information could possibly be needed in such a document? Let me tell you…

  • Brand
  • Colour/Shade
  • Weight
  • Number of balls
  • Metreage per ball
  • Total metreage (calculated automatically from the number of balls and metreage per ball, obviously)
  • Project(s) assigned to the yarn

Now I have my entire stash at my fingertips wherever I am! If I stumble across a pattern in a shop or online that I like the look of, I don’t have to go and rummage through my stash to find out if I have something that might be suitable.

The spreadsheet is sorted with yarns that are already assigned to future projects at the top, followed by yarns for which I haven’t yet chosen a project underneath. Those yarns are also sorted by metreage, highest first, allowing me to see of which yarns I have the most available for new projects.

Lastly, there is a motivating element of shame in this spreadsheet, thanks to the inclusion of a grand total metreage. I now know that I have over 8 km (5 mi) of yarn in my stash. That amount would stretch from Trent Bridge to Radcliffe-On-Trent, and that’s not as the crow flies! So, yes, I definitely need to tip my knitting:acquisition ratio a little further the other way in 2014.

 

*Naturally the spreadsheet must be available on my mobile devices when I’m on the go, as well as on my laptop at home.

 

Giveaway – Rowan Angora Haze

Rowan released a brand new yarn for this season, Angora Haze. Available in a range of gorgeous shades from palest white, through soft pastels, to rich black – there is sure to be a shade to suit every taste. As you would expect from a premium Angora fibre, the yarn is unbelievably soft and, at a generous 137 m, you can get a good amount of life from a ball.

Here’s a quick overview of the available shades:

Cuddle 520Baby 521Cradle 522Nest 523Hug 524Caress 525Embrace 526Kiss 527Tender 528Caring 529Love 530Squeeze 531True 532

To accompany this delightful new yarn is the Angora Haze Collection, full of luxurious knits to make the most of the softness this fibre provides. Here are a few highlights from the collection, but be sure to check out the whole range on Rowan’s website.

LucilleBetteMarilynJudy BeretRubyBrigitte

If you have any concerns about how Rowan obtain their Angora fibres, there is more information available online about the methods they use which clarifies that all the rabbits are live and cared for during the process.

 

I was lucky enough to be sent two balls of Angora Haze to review along with the pattern brochure, but unfortunately I am slightly allergic to Angora so I can’t work with it or wear it. This is good luck for my readers though, as I am giving away the whole Angora Haze package to one lucky person! The prize is one copy of the Angora Haze Collection brochure, one ball of Angora Haze in shade Hug 524, one ball of Angora Haze in shade Embrace 526.

To enter, simply comment below with what you love about Angora yarn generally, Angora Haze specifically or the Angora Haze Collection. Entries close at midnight on Sunday 24th November and the winner will be chosen at random from all the comments received on this post up until that point.

Good luck!

Angora Haze - Yarn Lifestyle 1

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