It's the first Friday of the month, so it's time to unveil our new Yarn of the Month!
For February, we're going to focus on the fluffy cloud of gorgeousness that is Cumulus!
Cumulus is quite a different yarn from the others in the Fyberspates range, with a delicate ethereal quality.
This beautifully soft fluffy yarn is made from lovely snuggly Baby Suri Alpaca with a strong and shiny core of silk.
The thing I like most about this yarn is how surprisingly versatile it is. It adapts well to different needle sizes for different effects (depending on whether you want a dense or airy fabric) and the colour palette provides plenty of opportunities for experimentation!
So on to the swatches! (My favourite bit!!)
I thought I'd start with the most obvious use for Cumulus: lace.
I love knitting lace, there are so many possibilities! These swatches were knitted on a 4mm needle which would work well for quite a lot of purposes. The grey swatch is actually my tension square for Carol Feller's Mithral KAL and this fabric is wonderful for a flattering drapey sweater like Carol's. The finished fabric does change once washed and blocked, so don't be tempted to skip this step when checking your tension. I only blocked this lightly (I didn't really stretch the swatch like I would if I was blocking a shawl, just smoothed it out flat so the edges were straight and then pinned it in place until it was dry), but it did grow quite a bit.
Speaking of tension (or gauge), every knitter knits slightly differently, resulting in a range of different tensions for different knitters even when all of them are using the same yarn and needles. Lace weight yarns like Cumulus tend to exaggerate these differences, so I would strongly recommend that you do a tension square before making a garment in this yarn (even if you usually don't) because patterns always state the tension that the designer achieved, and there's no guarantee that yours will be the same.
Right, enough on tension, on with the fun stuff!
Just a little bit more lace for you, this time using some Estonian gathered stitches to create the fan shaped border of this shawl. Stitches like this create denser areas within the fabric which is really effective in Cumulus as it gives the effect of darker and lighter areas when viewed from a distance. Again this was knitted on 4mm needles to create a sheer fabric with a beautiful floaty drape. The fabric is deceptively warm too, so it's perfect for light and elegant layers that actually warm you up without looking bulky.
Our next swatches are more experimental, and this is mine and Jeni's absolute favourite of the whole lot.
Combining Cumulus with other yarns opens up so many possibilities (we've done a few swatches, but there are lots more you could try).
Using one strand of Cumulus in #911/Silver with one strand of Scrumptious 4ply in #318/Glisten makes the most gorgeous fabric ever!! Seriously, we think this could be the yarn combination to end all yarn combinations and I want to knit all the things in it. You still get beautiful stitch definition on 3.25mm and 4mm needles (perfect for cables and textured stitches), but with a delicate halo of alpaca and a very slight marl. We could spend all day thinking of Cumulus and Scrumptious 4ply pairs, but to start you off, why not try Ruby Red Cumulus and Cherry Scrumptious or Slate in both Cumulus and Scrumptious?
The next two swatches are in Cumulus (#911/Silver) and Gleem Lace (#713/Slate). The swatch above (knitted on 4mm needles) was knitted with one strand of each yarn to give a lovely heathered effect. In the one below (knitted on 3.25mm needles) I striped first a strand of each yarn with a single strand of Cumulus and then stripes of both yarns on their own. Both are effective, but I think alternating stripes of Gleem and Cumulus work best because of the sharp contrast between the textures.
Last but not least, you could try alternating lace stripes of Cumulus (#911/Silver) and Scrumptious 4ply (#322/Sea Mist). Knitted on 3.25mm needles, the stripes of Scrumptious give the fabric a bit of extra weight and a swingy drape, which would be perfect for a shawl.
I hope this has given you some inspiration!
For those who want to know, here are all the yarn details:
Content: 74% Baby Suri Alpaca, 26% Silk
Recommended needle size: 3 - 5mm (US 2.5 - 8)
Tension (gauge): 24 sts and 30 rows to 10cm [4in] over stocking stitch on 3mm needles
Number of metres per skein: 150m (164 yards) per 25g ball
Washing instructions: Cool handwash separately