February went quickly didn't it? It's March already and time for a new yarn of the month!
This month it's one of our gorgeous hand dyed yarns, Vivacious 4ply.
Vivacious 4ply is a robust, high twist superwash Merino wool yarn, hand dyed in beautiful, often complex layered colours, carefully designed by Jeni in her studio in Chester, these colours are then faithfully recreated by the dyers in Peru, where the yarn is made.
We've got brights like Sunshine (a lovely sunny yellow) and Deep Aqua (an intense, saturated turquoise) and our newer more muted shades like Lundy Island (subtle shades of sage and mossy greens and browns) and Pebble Beach (a beautiful combination of blue toned and brown toned greys).
I guess you want to see how it knits up?
We tried lots of different types of stitches and they all worked really nicely, Vivacious really is a great all rounder!
First, we tried some crochet swatches:
Sometimes we get asked how Vivacious 4ply crochets up and these swatches provide the answer; beautifully! The fabric is wonderfully smooth and even with good stitch definition and as Vivacious 4ply is a high twist yarn it isn't splitty, so it's perfect nice to work with too. It would be perfect for a crocheted throw or blanket as being machine washable it's easy to care for.
Next, we tried some colourwork:
As you can see in the top swatch, this yarn works perfectly in stranded colourwork/Fairisle. The yarn stichs to itself enough to help you keep an even tension and the finished fabric is smooth and blocks out nicely.
Both these swatches were knitted on 3.25mm needles which would give a nice fabric for a garment, but for fairisle items that will see a lot of intense wear such as socks or mittens I'd be inclined to use a smaller needle to help keep the fabric looking good for longer.
The second swatch is knitted in a pattern that uses a combination of slipped stitches and elongated stitches to create a dense fabric that resembles large polka dots. Fabrics like this can have a tendency to look uneven in more slippery yarns, as the elongated stitches can distort the stitches next to them, but this isn't a problem with a Merino wool yarn like Vivacious.
Our next swatch really shows off the amazing stitch definition of this yarn. I worked some twisted stitches (knitted through the back of the loop) along with some smocked stitches (at the edge) and some cabled stitches (in the centre). Cables pop most when worked in a denser fabric, so I used 2.5mm needles as you might use for socks of mittens (high twist yarns like Vivacious are more hardwearing than those with a looser twist, so are perfect for things like this). The surface texture these provide are really eyecatching and the fabric has a good memory as well (it springs back into shape when you stretch it out).
Last but not least, lace:
This swatch makes a nice fabric with good drape once blocked (I wet blocked this swatch) which would work well for a cute little cardi, or a cowl, or perhaps the yoke on a sweater. I used 3.25mm needles, but you could go slightly larger if you wanted. I'd recommend not using a much larger needle than this though as high twist yarns tend to look better at a tighter gauge.
Of course whatever you knit in Vivacious, your finished knits will be really easy to care for as you can wash them at 40 degrees C in the machine! Hooray!
I hope this has given you lots of ideas!
Here's all the detailed yarn information:
Content: 100% Merino Wool
Recommended needle size: 2.5mm - 3.5mm (US 1.5 - 4)
Tension/gauge: 26 - 36 sts and 36 - 50 rows to 10cm (4") over stocking stitch
Number of metres per skein: 365 metres (399 yards) per 100g skein
Washing instructions: Machine wash at 40°C on wool cycle