Yarn Focus: Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply

It's April and that means it's time for our new yarn of the month, Scrumptious 4ply!  

...... And that means new swatches :) 

We covered lots of different types of stitches this time and the yarn handled them all really well.  But first of all we thought we'd start with a bit of crochet: 

I love a little crochet motif square (this one is a design in progress, so watch this space) so I fiddled around with a few trebles and clusters and came up with this: 

Scrumptious is lovely and soft to crochet with and makes really lovely clusters (from my other swatches I think it would make great bobbles too).  The thing I find most annoying when crocheting is splitty yarn, but this didn't cause me any problems.  

I used a 3mm hook for this square, but I think a smaller size such as 2.5mm would work well if you wanted a firmer fabric.  I don't think you'd get such a nice effect with a larger hook though, so I'd be inclined to use a 3mm or smaller, depending on how tightly you tend to work (tension is such a personal thing).  I used soft pastels (Baby Pink and Natural for this swatch) for all the swatches here, but there are some gorgeous bright jewel tones and rich darker shades which would look amazing too (Azure and Dandelion and Burdock would really pop in a square like this).  

Next on to some simple lace: 

This swatch (knitted in Flying saucer on 3.25mm needles) is knitted in an easy cloverleaf eyelet pattern and has a lovely drape, which would be perfect for a shawl or cowl.  However if I was going to knit a garment, I think I might want a slightly denser fabric (using a smaller needle to get a harder wearing fabric) if I was intending to wear the sweater a lot.  But the stocking stitch fabric in between the eyelets is neat and consistent with a small amount of elasticity.  

Now on to some more complex patterns..... 

This little swatch is probably my favourite: 

This stitch is from one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries, although worked the undulating columns of knit stitches through the back of the loop because I wanted to show how amazing Scrumptious 4ply is when worked in twisted stitches.  I used Glisten with a 2.75mm needle for this swatch as I wanted a really nice crisp result (twisted stitches tend to work best when worked to a firmer tension).  I love the stitch definition of this swatch, it's so clear and crisp!  The sheen of the silk in Scrumptious helps the textures stand out too (look at those little bobbles)!  

Now for a fun combination of cables and lace: 

This stitch pattern is really unusual (it's from another of my Japanese stitch dictionaries) combining lace and cables and showing off two of the best properties of the yarn, beautiful stitch definition and the shine from the silk, making cables which really pop and lace which blocks out beautifully.  I knitted this swatch in Baby Pink using a 3.25mm needle, you could use a slightly smaller needle, but not too much as the cabled sections in a stitch pattern like this are quite dense.  These textures are pretty bold, so probably best kept to accessories or an accent of a garment, but in the right piece it would be amazing!    

Next, we thought we'd show you Rachel Coopey's Divelish mittens from Scrumptious Collection Volume 3

These mittens are knitted using Slate and Natural on 2.5mm needles which gives a lovely even, stable fabric, despite the silk content of the yarn which could cause some looser stitches if a smaller needle was used, as it doesn't stick to itself in the way a 100% wool yarn would.  The key to this is using a smaller needle, creating denser fabric and holding the yarns firmly in place.  The other advantage of this is that it creates a lovely cosy fabric that keeps out even the coldest drafts!  

Last but not least, I knitted up a swatch using Scrumptious 4ply and Cumulus held together (here it is next to the simple lace swatch so you can see the difference in tension): 

This knits up to a double knit tension (22 sts to 10cm) on a 4mm needle... oh the possibilities!  (Time to start plotting now :)

We hope this has given you some inspiration for using Scrumptious!  

For those who want to know, here are all the yarn details: 


Yarn information

Content: 45% Silk, 55% Merino Wool

Recommended needle size: 2.5 - 3.25mm (US 1.5 - 3)

Tension (gauge): 28 - 24.5 sts and 37 rows to 10cm (4") over stocking stitch

Number of metres per skein: 365 metres (399 yards) per 100g skein

Washing instructions: Machine wash at 30°C on wool cycle

 

Yarn Focus: Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply

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.  

Top row: #600/Spiced Plum, #601/Tweed Imps, #608/Blue Lagoon, #605/Deep Forest 2nd row: #607/Deep Aqua, #606/Sea Green, #604/Sunshine, #602/Copper Tones 3rd row: #603/Silver and Bronze, #609/Peacock 4th row: #612/Dovestone, #611/Mixed Magentas, #610/Lavender Haze, 614/Pebble Beach 5th row: #616/Crocus, #617/Verdegris, #615/Lundy Island, #613/Slate

Top row: #600/Spiced Plum, #601/Tweed Imps, #608/Blue Lagoon, #605/Deep Forest
2nd row: #607/Deep Aqua, #606/Sea Green, #604/Sunshine, #602/Copper Tones
3rd row: #603/Silver and Bronze, #609/Peacock
4th row: #612/Dovestone, #611/Mixed Magentas, #610/Lavender Haze, 614/Pebble Beach
5th row: #616/Crocus, #617/Verdegris, #615/Lundy Island, #613/Slate

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: 

Swatches crocheted in #617/Verdegris and #605/Deep Forest

Swatches crocheted in #617/Verdegris and #605/Deep Forest

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: 

Fairisle swatch knitted in #605/Forest Green and undyed yarn, textured swatch knitted in #606/Sea Green and #610/Lavender Haze, both knitted on 3.25mm needles

Fairisle swatch knitted in #605/Forest Green and undyed yarn, textured swatch knitted in #606/Sea Green and #610/Lavender Haze, both knitted on 3.25mm needles

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.  

Cabled and twisted stitch swatch knitted in #608/Blue Lagoon, knitted on 2.5mm needles

Cabled and twisted stitch swatch knitted in #608/Blue Lagoon, knitted on 2.5mm needles

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:  

Lace swatch knitted in #603/Silver and Bronze, knitted on 3.25mm needles

Lace swatch knitted in #603/Silver and Bronze, knitted on 3.25mm needles

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: 


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

Yarn Focus: Fyberspates Cumulus

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!  

Top row: #910/Sea Green, #909/Water, #911/Silver, #912/Camel 2nd row: #903/Bottle Green, #902/Rust 3rd row: #904/Teal, 913/Slate, #908/Plum, #900/Pillar Box Bottom row: #906/Turquoise, #905/Moonlight, #907/Magenta, #901/Ruby Red

Top row: #910/Sea Green, #909/Water, #911/Silver, #912/Camel
2nd row: #903/Bottle Green, #902/Rust
3rd row: #904/Teal, 913/Slate, #908/Plum, #900/Pillar Box
Bottom row: #906/Turquoise, #905/Moonlight, #907/Magenta, #901/Ruby Red

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!!)

Yarn butterflies shown in (left to right): #902/Rust, #904/Teal, #913/Slate and #911/Silver Swatches shown in: #902/Rust and #913/Slate

Yarn butterflies shown in (left to right): #902/Rust, #904/Teal, #913/Slate and #911/Silver
Swatches shown in: #902/Rust and #913/Slate

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!  

Shawl shown in #911/Silver, yarn butterflies shown in #902/Rust, #931/Slate, #911/Silver and #904/Teal

Shawl shown in #911/Silver, yarn butterflies shown in #902/Rust, #931/Slate, #911/Silver and #904/Teal

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.  

Cabled swatch knitted with one end of Scrumptious 4ply in #318/Glisten (top yarn butterfly) and one end of Cumulus  in #911/Silver  (bottom yarn butterfly)

Cabled swatch knitted with one end of Scrumptious 4ply in #318/Glisten (top yarn butterfly) and one end of Cumulus  in #911/Silver (bottom yarn butterfly)

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?  

Gleem-Cumulus-lace-web.jpg

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: 


Yarn information

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


Happy Knitting!  

Pattern Focus: CoopKnits Socks Yeah!

Last week we told you all about the yarn, so this week we though we'd show you some fab patterns that would work beautifully in CoopKnits Socks Yeah! 

(To see any of these patterns in more detail, just click on the picture to be taken to the Ravelry page.)

With our yarn of the month being Socks Yeah! it's only right to start our first pattern focus with a variety of socks!  (For all these sock patterns you'd need two skeins of Socks Yeah to make all but the largest adult sizes.)

....And what better place to start than with one of Rachel's own patterns, Hulanicki from the latest issue of Pompom magazine:

Hulanicki by Rachel Coopey from Pom Pom Magazine issue 15 Winter 2015

Hulanicki by Rachel Coopey from Pom Pom Magazine issue 15 Winter 2015

Designed especially to suit Socks Yeah, Rachel's socks feature columns of single twisted stitches which take advantage of the excellent stitch definition of this yarn. 

Next is another of out favourite new patterns from Rachel, Alfrick:

Alfrick Socks by Rachel Coopey from Ravelry

Alfrick Socks by Rachel Coopey from Ravelry

If you love stranded colour work, these cute socks are just the ticket, combining fun small scale fair isle patterning with knit and purl textured stitches.  And being fraternal socks, you'd only need a skein of each colour! 

We also love Rachel's Brighton socks from her first book, CoopKnits Socks Volume One:

Brighton Socks By Rachel Coopey from CoopKnits Socks Volume One

Brighton Socks By Rachel Coopey from CoopKnits Socks Volume One

Another cute pair of colour work socks, these would be perfect in #105/Danburite with #104/Sphene and #107/Beryl as the accent colours (you'd need two skeins of the main colour and one each of the contrasts).  We love the flag inspired fair isle! 

But what if you're not really a sock knitter? 

How about this cute shawl, Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander

Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander from Ravelry (photo used with kind permission)

Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander from Ravelry (photo used with kind permission)

This pretty shawl combines garter stitch with lace and this combination of garter stitch and lace would work perfectly in Socks Yeah.  You'd need two skeins to knit this and we think it could look gorgeous in a strong colour like #104/Sphene or more subdued shade like #106/Kunzite. 

Or how about some mittens, like these gorgeous Snow flurry mittens by Deepika:

Snow flurry mittens by Deepika from Ravelry (photo used with kind permission)

Snow flurry mittens by Deepika from Ravelry (photo used with kind permission)

These would look amazing in #106 Chryso and #109/Iolite, and with the Nylon content of Socks Yeah your finished mittens would see you through plenty of winters! 

We've been chatting to Rachel and there are lots of new designs for Socks Yeah! in the pipeline too, so watch this space :) 

Happy Knitting! 

 

Yarn Focus: CoopKnits Socks Yeah!

It's the New Year, so we thought we'd give our blog a little revamp!  Every month we're going to focus on one yarn and give you lots of inspiration and ideas for what to make with it.  This month (as you might have guessed from the title), we're focusing on our newest yarn, CoopKnits Socks Yeah!
 

Top row: #101/Obsidian, #102/Ammolite, #103/Axinite, #104/Sphene.  Middle row: #105/Danburite, #106/Kunzite. Bottom row: #107/Beryl, #108/Chryso, #109/ Iolite, #110/Malachite. 

Top row: #101/Obsidian, #102/Ammolite, #103/Axinite, #104/Sphene. 
Middle row: #105/Danburite, #106/Kunzite.
Bottom row: #107/Beryl, #108/Chryso, #109/ Iolite, #110/Malachite. 

This fab new sock yarn with a gorgeous palette of 10 colours is designed by Rachel Coopey of the aforementioned CoopKnits. 

If anyone knows what makes a good pair of socks, it's Rachel, so naturally her first yarn should be a sock yarn :D 

If like us, you're a fan of Rachel's sock patterns, you'll know just how much attention to detail she puts into her designs and this yarn is no different.  Having seen her carefully pick out a range of colours before narrowing them down to the perfect palette of ten shades, we can certainly back that up! 

There are cool and warm shades to suit anyone and so many colour combinations to play with!

There are cool and warm shades to suit anyone and so many colour combinations to play with!

Socks Yeah! balances out the most important properties of a sock yarn perfectly, with Superwash Merino for softness and easy washing and Nylon for strength. 

But it's not just for socks!  It makes beautiful accessories and garments too.  Rachel has even tried it out with crochet, making these pretty motifs to decorate her studio!

Socks Yeah! looks great crocheted too :)

Socks Yeah! looks great crocheted too :)

We had a play around with some different stitches to see how they'd knit up, lace cables, twisted sts and colour work and a bit of crochet too. 

This yarn is such an all rounder, after making a range of swatches using different techniques I can confidently say that it would work just as well in the delicate pretty stitches of a lacy shawl as it would in a cosy pair of socks or that favourite sweater you'll wear to death. 

I wet blocked all the swatches, rolling them in a towel to get rid of the excess water and then pinning them out to dry (I stretched out the lace swatch, but none of the others). 

lace-swatch

For the lace sample, I used #104/Sphene and 3mm needles to give a slightly more open fabric, but I used 2.5mm for all the others.  The lace fabric drapes really nicely on these slightly larger needles, but you could use a larger size still if you wanted.  Even only going up a couple of needle sizes given the fabric a lovely drape when blocked. 

fair-isle-swatch

I'm particularly pleased with the way the yarn works in stranded colour work (using shades #105/Danburite and #102/Ammolite), I find keeping an even tension in fair isle patterns can be tricky on little pieces and small needles, but the stitches stick to each other nicely and really keep the fabric neat. 

The slip stitch cabled swatch (shown in #102/Ammolite) has really nice stitch definition in both the cables and the columns of twisted sts between them. 

cabled-swatch

I love the way the colours in the range work together too, the fact that each shade is slightly heathered makes the transitions between the shades a little softer as you can see in this little crocheted square; worked on a 2.5mm hook in shades (from the centre out) #106/Kunzite, #105/Danburite, #102 Ammolite and #107/Beryl. 

crochet-swatch

For those who want to know, here are all the technical details:


Socks Yeah! is hardwearing and can be machine washed at 30 degrees. 

Content: 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon

Length per skein: 212m/231yds per 50g

Recommended needle size: 2.25mm - 2.75mm (US 1 - 2)

Tension: 36 sts and 50 rows to 10cm (4") using 2.25mm needles


What would you make with Socks Yeah?