10/04/13: What’s new?

Its the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s here! Yes, yes – I know it feels more like summer than fall right now, but stitching season has really and truly begun, with boxes of new yarns are arriving each week to prove it. So what’s new?

10.03.13.07First up, an entirely new line for us – Plymouth Yarn Company. We’ve brought in four yarns we loved at first sight: Baby Alpaca Brush, Merino Superwash, Gina, and Baby Alpaca Aire.

Baby Alpaca Brush (the magenta ball on the left) is cloud-soft and one of the two lightest “chunky” weights we’ve ever petted. It’s 80% alpaca with just enough nylon to keep it from floating away. Knit it up on US9-10 needles and be amazed at more than its $6.99 price.

Worsted Merino Superwash says it all: fine merino wool, works up on US7-8, machine washable and dryable. This cushy yarn from Peru (the lavender hank, second from left), at $14.99/218 yards, has great stitch definition. A nifty cardigan sweater sample now in the shop beautifully proves that point.

Plymouth Yarn Gina is an amazing self-striping worsted weight yarn. Use it in any pattern calling for a Noro product like Silk Garden or Kureyon, and you’ll never want to knit with anything but Gina again, especially at $5.99/109 yards. It’s wonderfully spun, smooth, clean, and very comfortable for next-to-skin wear. As if that wasn’t enough to make you a fan, the colors are both vibrant and harmonious. Imagine!

Our final Plymouth introduction is Baby Alpaca Aire, the other incredibly light “chunky” yarn we couldn’t resist. True to its name, this 100% alpaca yarn from Peru is positively fluffy, thanks to its braided cable construction. The looped fibers mean more elasticity, so it won’t stretch out the way some pure alpacas might. Use it as an aran weight on a US9 or watch it really plump up on larger needles; either way, it’s is a pleasure just to have it in your hands.

Every season, we seem to find more and more must-have yarns from Berroco, another American yarn company. For Fall 2013, we’ve fallen for Vintage, Marmot, and Borealis. Vintage has been one of their best sellers for years. We now stock a palette of over 30 colors – yes, you read that right. It even has its own shelf. A workhorse of an acrylic/wool/nylon worsted from Peru, it is machine washable and affordable for even the biggest of afghans at $8.00/217 yards. Below, Vintage is teamed with Marmot, a fun furry Italian yarn, in the Pelly Cowl, a free pattern with yarn purchase.

Pelly

10.03.13.05Fun fur? No nose wrinkling. Imagine Marmot around the brim of a hat or cuff of a mitten. Really – one touch and you’ll be looking for any possible way to use it.

And here’s Borealis, right, another great yarn to play with for fashion scarves, cowls, and hats. A bit of shine, lots of sophisticated color. Acrylic and wool combine to eliminate the itch factor and boost softness. This one’s a true bulky that will work up quickly on US11 needles or a K hook. Super-fast gift stitching, anyone? It’s on my needles right now.

10.03.13.02Speaking of color – you asked for it: Freia Ombré in both lace and sport weights. This painterly hand dyed gradient yarn has delightfully long color runs that flow into one another. The colors are carefully applied to match very well over multiple dye lots even though no two balls of yarn will ever be the same.   Even the simplest pattern can be made to look elegant and complicated when you let this yarn do its thing. Here’s Jill’s sample of Carina Spencer’s Zuzu’s Petals* cowl in sport weight; the shade is Lichen.

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Zen Yarn Garden is another source for divine hand painted yarns. We picked two new yarn bases: Serenity Silk +, 500 yards of lace weight that’s 75% merino/15% cashmere/10% silk, and  Serenity 20, 400 yards of bouncy DK weight that’s 70% merino/20% cashmere/10% nylon. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Jill has already knit up this fashion forward cowl/shoulderette Trellis Wimple* using the Serenity 20 in the color Bumblebee. It glows.

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10.03.13.06If it’s autumn, it must be time for new sock yarn from Opal. This bright, charming collection is named The Little Prince, with labels decorated with illustrations from Saint- Exupéry’s book. Start your holiday sock knitting early with these joyful self-patterning yarns.  Rainforest 9, another jazzy collection, is due later this month.

The UPS truck has just left us with boxes of new colors of Liberty Wool Prints from Classic Elite and Frabjous Fibers‘ debut yarn line, Wonderland, and a yummy new tweed from Hikoo called Kenzie. And Shibui Cima and Pebbles are on their way. I’ll have pattern suggestions and pictures for you for all these soon. Which brings us to Titus.

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Titus is British through and through. It’s the creation of Verity Britton (that is her real name) of the artisinal yarn purveyor baa ram ewe in Yorkshire, England. We met her at TNNA in June, and I’ve never met anyone so passionate about a yarn and its terroir.  Titus is a luxurious fingering weight blend of 50% Wensleydale and 20% Bluefaced Leicester wool, leaving just enough room for the alpaca that makes it so lustrous and drapey. The name “Titus” honors Sir Titus Salt, a Yorkshire wool manufacturer and philanthropist and an early spinner of British alpaca in 1836. Even the color names pay homage to their Yorkshire roots. My favorite is Parkin, named for a rich Yorkshire oat cake bursting with ginger and treacle. (I bet you can guess which one that is.) Such a classic yarn deserves classic patterns. There are four complimentary baa ram ewe patterns with yarn purchase. Ann Kingstone’s Baht ‘At* fingerless mitts and Ilkley Moor* beret are two of them, shown below in the color Yorkstone. I’d love to see Titus made up into a Churchmouse Cashmere Beret*, too. I think I may need some of that Parkin.

Ilkley Moor   cashmere_JJF_0505_gallery_large

Our schedule of upcoming classes will be the next post. Included will be a class on knitting in the round. There could be a Titus beret in your future, too!

* Patterns marked with an asterisk are available at Gosh Yarn It!

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