Some New Yarns to Rave About

Posted: May 18, 2010 in Ramblings
With all this yardwork, it’s been a while since I posted anything knitterly here.  Partially this is because I’ve been working on a knitted dress, which was taking a really long time to knit.  It’s done now, but I don’t have a good photo for you yet.  Maybe on the weekend. 
But today there’s a lull, so I wanted to tell you all about the new yarns I’ve recently discovered.  There are three brands, but they are almost all identical yarns.  At least for gauge, they are interchangeable.  Ditto for yardage (but that makes sense, since they’re all the same gauge).  The three brands are Kauni, Evilla, and Bartlettyarns.  All three are fingering weight, "Shetland-style" wool, in big 440+ yard skeins.  All three are available in the US.
Bartlettyarns is a company in Maine.  They spin their own yarns in a wide range of solid heathered colors.  The "Sport Skeins" and "Sport Cones" are the ones that match my gauge requirements.  A skein is $8.50, and Bartlettyarns is known for minimal processing, to leave some of the natural lanolin in the yarn.  Here’s a pic of the two skeins of Bartlettyarns that I have.

Evilla is a company out of Estonia.  The same kind of yarn base, but spun to have long, gentle color changes over the course of the knitted item.  Evilla is also known for leaving the lanolin in the yarn.  (By the way, you might think this is the same as grease yarn, but it’s not.  This is a very gentle amount of lanolin, such that my fingers are only vaguely shiny, not greasy, after about an hour of knitting.)  Here is a picture of something knitted with Evilla.  (I didn’t make this.)  A skein of Evilla is about $18, but the skeins are not standard weight, ranging between 140-225g each and priced accordingly.  These skeins (like the Bartlettyarns) need to be wound into balls before knitting.  Evilla also comes in solid colors and some heathered colors, but it’s a crapshoot.  The only store I’ve found that reliably carries a good selection of Evilla is Little Knits.  Fast shipping, too.

And then there’s Kauni, from Denmark.  Kauni has the same type of color progressions that Evilla has, but Kauni does not advertise that they leave the lanolin in the yarn.  Perhaps they do leave it in, but it’s not a selling point.  And Kauni is sold in balls, not hanks, so I don’t have to wind it before knitting.  Kauni is priced  the same way Evilla is, and runs about $20 for the average-weight skein.  Both Little Knits and my prior favorite store, Webs, carry Kauni.  Here’s a project I’m working on with orange/yellow/red Kauni.  (The black is Evilla solid black.)  It’s called "Sheridan’s Flame Pullover."  I couldn’t quite work out how to get a flamelike motif on it, which is what I wanted.  Yes.  To go with the New Rock boots.

Since these are all the same gauge and construction, they’re interchangeable; I’ve been able to get quite a bit of these in interesting colors from cheap sources!  With my new experience in double-knitting (making a reversible item with the colors inverted on the back), I’m loving, loving, loving these yarns.  Yes, they’re a bit scratchy.  They do soften up a little bit in the wash.  Here is a pic of the reverse side of the above item.  (Actually, the black with orange boxes will be the outside of the sweater.)

So after I got this far with the black and orange project, I started looking for more intricate motifs online and in my knitting books.  There were some, but not a lot, and not the kind of thing I want to knit.  Generally snowflakes, reindeer, other Scandinavian-type stuff.  So I bought Stitch & Motif Maker from the very talented programmers at Knitting Software and have been designing my own motifs, too.  Mentally, I’m unstoppable!  (Physically, it takes me longer to knit a reversible motif, of course, than it does to do straight knitting, so I take frequent breaks and come to the computer a lot.) 

Here’s a dice bag knit with black solid Evilla and purple/blue shaded Evilla.  The motif on the dice bag was one I designed using Stitch & Motif Maker.  This was knitted, sewn together, and then felted.  It was laundered in a hot wash cycle and then dried in the dryer on Extra Hot for 80 minutes.  Of course there was other laundry in with it.   It felted, but not terrifically well.

I’m planning all sorts of reversible items.   Stay tuned in the coming months for more pictures and descriptions of motifs and items double-knitted with these wonderful yarns.

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