Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'll take a skein of each, please

I thought Barb's post yesterday on the Sierra yarn was interesting. I think it's really important for knitters to understand that buying a skein of yarn, just to swatch, is a critical part of the whole knitting process. Just because you see a new yarn on the shelves, and you think it feels good when you fondle it, and you like how our swatch or sample looks, doesn't always mean you will like it when you work with it yourself. I know how hard it is to leave the shop with just one skein. Especially when you really want to start a project. It can be really difficult to get excited about swatching. Believe me, I know.

This past weekend, I was off on Saturday... which meant, I had two days off in a row. And with the rain/ice/freezing rain we had on Friday, I knew I was not heading up to Stowe to do any skiing. When I have two days off in a row, I usually pick a new project to take home with me. But this time I showed some restraint. I decided that I HAD to finish my Babyboo "I Love You Baby" sweater (which I did!)...

...and then I would do some mindless swatching of our Tilli Tomas yarns. We sell a TON of Tilli Tomas. And we do have several samples knit up. But we sell ALL of the Tilli yarns, and we don't actually stock all of them in the shop. Tracy had just sent me some Plie, which is comparable in weight to the Pure & Simple, but it's plied, which means less pilling. Just holding the skein, I wasn't convinced that I liked it as much. So I swatched.

I am now convinced. It's gorgeous! I went on to the Beaded Plie, the Pure & Simple, the Disco Lights, the Rockstar and finally the Flurries. I learned a lot about each of these yarns in the process, and now we have them all here for you to see and touch.

Suzie came in the other day to look at all of our new spring yarns. She is trying to select a new spring project, and she couldn't decide which yarn she wanted to use. She's always excited when we get new spring yarns... because she doesn't like wools! She ended up buying 4 skeins: a Love It Colors, a Cotton Rich DK, a Purelife Organic Cotton, and a Natural Silk Aran. If any of you know Suzie, you know she is a swatcher. She doesn't always end up using all of the yarns she buys in sweaters, but she certainly gets to know each yarn VERY well while swatching. She emailed me and told me how much fun she had knitting during our mini ice storm on Friday. She said knitting with the Love It Colors was speedy - the color change kept her interest, and before she knew it, she had knit the entire ball!

She also really enjoyed the Cascade Cotton Rich DK - she said she only had one split stitch... and that's because she looked up for a moment and was startled to see a deer looking right back at her through her window. "Up close and personal with mother nature I guess. I love the little bit of color variation (the different way cotton vs nylon takes the dyes maybe?) The swatch turned out incredibly soft and drapey! So, now I'm thinking summer sweater out of that..."

Swatch #3 was the Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton. She had to drop down to a 4 (she knits a tad loose!) but she got really even stitches in both stockinette and seed stitch. She said, "It is so soft to knit with that I have a hard time remembering that it is indeed 100% cotton. Also, it doesn't fuzz and absolutely hasn't split on me -- even when the 6 large wild turkeys went wandering through the woods behind my house! (Like I'm running a wildlife show here or what?)"

Her final swatch was the Rowan Natural Silk Aran. She fell in love with this yarn a few years ago, when she made the sleeveless funnel neck striped top from Sally Melville's Color Experience book 3. She picked up a ball of the light pink the other day, and is thinking about making another one of those tops. "a repeat as that was a really great top - just dressy enough if it had to be, but still comfy and cool! So, here's my conundrum... which yarn to use for a spring/summer/fall stitch work sweater? Nice problem to have! Thank you for adding those awesome cotton and cotton blend yarns!"

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