Smooth and connected without breaks in the tones.
We all need something to whip up quickly when we need a gift for someone (especially this time of year), but as a hand knitter I always hesitate when considering my knitting for a gift if I don’t really know how it will be received. It isn’t just whether the item will be liked, I find most people like knitted items, but how it will be looked after. Mention hand-wash to most people and it is enough to make them turn to stone. Mention throwing a beloved hand knitted item into the washing machine to a hand knitter and they will do the same! If knitting for children I usually make an exception and knit with something fairly bomb proof, although to be honest, it’s never completely enjoyable as it could be. I just don’t bond with the yarn in the same way and there’s no getting away from the fact that something knitted in natural fibres just looks and wears so much better.
A good yarn makes your knitting look better. In my experience the majority of natural fibres are very forgiving of slight changes in tension between your knit rows and purl rows and other odd idiosyncrasies of pattern. Once blocked, they even out and bloom. Often something lovely turns into something beautiful in the wash. You can’t say that about any pure acrylic yarn (in my opinion). The only exception to this is very fine Merino yarn, but perhaps that’s a discussion for another day. And yes, I know that there is a misconception that all wool yarns are scratchy and difficult to look after, especially here in the U.K for some reason, but that’s just a lack of experience I think. An unwillingness to try anything that isn’t cloud soft. Sometimes you need something with a bit of grip to it to get the best from your knitting. Try knitting fairisle with something silky and you will see what I mean.
So, when I was recently introduced to Elann’s Pippilongcolors yarn, I was delighted to find that not only is it super wash treated wool but soft – very soft in fact.
The ball band states it is a mix of 24 and 26 micron wool. This information means far more to you if you are a hand spinner, but I love the fact that they put this information on the ball band along with the nm 1.8 (the size, aran weight) and the fact that it is z-spun (the direction of twist). Finally a yarn company that actually gives you some real information about the yarn you are knitting with and not just assumes that you couldn’t possibly be interested.
Just to bore you with the finer detail if you don’t handspin. A micron is one millionth of a meter. In this case 24 microns represents a wool fibre of the type from Merino or a very fine Corridale or Shetland sheep. A good Bluefaced Leicester sheep will have a fleece of around the 26 micron count. All these are classed as next to the skin soft. Just as an interesting piece of information, anything below 3 or 4 microns and you couldn’t see it as our eyesight just is not that good. Emperors new clothes springs to mind!
Anyway, where was I? Yes. Gift knitting. So, over the last week I’ve managed to knit up a couple of quick gifts for some girlfriends of mine. None of them are knitters and really can’t understand at all my love of wool, so this yarn is perfect for us all.
Leg warmers / boot toppers and a matching pair of fingerless mittens. They knit up pretty quickly and the rib pattern is interesting enough to stop me from getting bored but makes pretty good T.V. knitting too.
Taking really good photos is difficult with our gloomy weather at the moment.
I love this colour-way. It is called ‘pleased as punch’ but there are several equally lovely colours in the range all with interesting names such as ‘Blaze a trail’ and ‘chasing rainbows’. I have bought some more in a lovely colour-way called ‘Storm in a tea cup’ for my more reserved friends!
This pair of leg-warmers is for my friend who wears leggings and skinny jeans a lot. I have actually colour matched them by reeling off some yarn from the ball until I got to the same place in the sequence that I started with for the first one – but stupidly here one is upside down – if you see what I mean! Of course you don’t need to colour match them at all because they look good anyway.
You can get a pair of leg-warmers and a pair of small or medium fingerless mittens from just two balls of the yarn. The larger mittens paired with the shorter boot toppers also take the same amount.
I tried out the pattern as boot toppers in a plain yarn while waiting for some more to arrive.
These are only 15 cm or 6″ long and will be great for stopping a draught down my boots but I admit that I prefer the Elann yarn.
I have written up the pattern and more information about yarn, yardage etc. is on the pattern page. It is now available to buy from here or through Ravelry and Etsy if you would like to have a go.
If you are in the U.K. the good new is that Elann now sell through Amazon so you can get the yarn (along with their other yarns) here.
The weather here is about to turn much colder so perhaps a little brighter too? Good knitting weather whatever it will be.