Friday, March 25, 2005

Yarn Tasting

Yarn Tasting

The Yarn Tasting at Unwind was nothing short of a hit. Everything was well organized and flowed smoothly. We had the opportunity to sample fourteen different yarns. The yarns were presented as courses starting with appetizers: Kid Merino by Crystal Palace, Cotton Patine by Elsebeth Lavold and Optimum from Southwest Trading. The Kid Merino, a blend of merino, mohair and nylon was nice and worked up easily on size 3US. The Cotton Patine was my favorite. I bought seventeen skeins in an off white. The Optimum was pleasant to work. It's supposed to feel like cashmere and it pretty much does. I've heard that it doesn't hold up well though so I decided not to buy any.

The first course was Velourine by Fonty, Bamboo by Southwest Trading and Majorque by Fonty. I didn't care much for the Velourine. It's sort of like a thin chenille and is wrapped with a shiny viscose thread. Not my kind of yarn. But it was pretty easy to work. I'd worked with Bamboo before and liked it. I would have bought some of it but there were no colors that I would personally wear. But it's pleasant to knit. The Majorque is a blend of cotton and linen. I thought it might split easily but it didn't. If you like working on really small needles you'd probably like this yarn.

I began to get behind along about here. The Sorbet course was Jewel FX from Berroco. I've never worked with this yarn, alone or as a carry-along. Worked alone it's harsh and unpleasant. It's mostly rayon but the 6% metallic was scratchy.

The Main Course was Cotton Angora from Debbie Bliss, a very nice, soft yarn that felt good in my hands. Good yardage and at $8.00 a ball a pretty good deal. Then I tried the All Hemp from Hemp for Knitting. Very stiff yarn. I didn't like the way my cast on looked as I couldn't get it even. I understand the hemp is good for kids things because it's so durable. I might go back and get a ball of it to get a better sense of it. There were three more yarns in this course: Amerino by Laines du Nord, Glace by Berroco and Rapture from Reynolds. I didn't have time to knit with these. The Amerino is a bit of a novelty yarn, two strands plied that look like they'd be a nuisance to knit. Glace I've used before. It's okay for a ribbon but it's easy to pierce. The Rapture is a lofty silk and wool blend that would make a beautiful sweater or jacket. I will swatch this one before I buy.

And then there was Dessert. I only sampled the Isis from FFF. Another not my kind of yarn. It's a flat tapelike yarn that works on a 5US. Very hard to see the stitches in the swatch but not particularly difficult to knit. The other two yarns were Cherio from Skacel, a paper yarn that's printed with playful stylized flowers. It looked pretty stiff in the sample that I saw worked up. People were comparing it to Handi-wipes. The Macao yarn from KFI looked like a larger version of the Isis but it has a slightly softer hand.

There wasn't much time to shop. But I did get that Cotton Patine. I've been wanting to use if since I first saw it last year. I had a generous gift certificate left from Christmas so I used that and a little of my own money. If I had had more time I'm sure I would have bought more.

There were about twenty five people. A few of them I had met before at Skein. It was very enjoyable and I'd probably sign up for another Tasting if there is one. We were each given a hand out that had all the pertinent information about the yarns and most of us taped small pieces of the yarn next to the names. Each sample had enough yarn to make a decent size swatch. I don't think anyone did though. Too anxious to get on to the next course. I will work up the yarns I didn't have time to try. And see what kind of pattern I can come up with for the Cotton Patine.

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