Friday, 16 September 2016

Preparing for Yarndale or Why I'll be Making a Beeline for the Blacker Booth. . .

Next week is Yarndale, one of my favourite woolly shows, and really the start of the proper autumn knitting season.  Last year, it was all about finding different single British breeds for the Knit British swatch-a-long, which is still ongoing.  And I was determined to get my hands on some of the limited supply of Cornish Tin, the 10th birthday blend from Blacker Yarns.

I did get three skeins of undyed Cornish Tin DK and knit the body of my Gwindra Shawl in it earlier this year.

The demand for this limited wool was so popular that Blacker are just about to release Cornish Tin II for their eleventh anniversary, and Sonia was kind enough to send me a sample along with some shade cards.  It is a glorious combination of all-British fibres: Alpaca, Portland, Saxon Merino, Gotland, Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair and English Merino.

I decided to crochet a little coaster as it always surprises me that more crochet designers don't use pure wool or natural fibres, apart from cotton; I regularly see glorious and very time-consuming blanket pattern kits and they often come with yarn that is 50% or more acrylic.  Which just turns me off.  Personally, if I'm going to spend months on a project, I want to use proper sheepy yarn which will keep me warmer and last longer.  Marie Wallin will be releasing a new Winter Crochet book at Yarndale and I believe she'll have some of the garments on display, which is another reason why I wanted to test out Tin II with my hook, which was a 3.75mm one.

From just feeling the ball of yarn, I could tell that it was much softer than its predecessor.   It was very smooth to crochet and my washed and blocked swatch has bloomed slightly and has a wee bit of a halo with a few stray black and white fibres sticking out. It is soft and cozy to the touch and I think it would have a decent stitch definition and look fantastic in a cabled sweater.  Seen side by side with the undyed Tin I (which, when washed and blocked got softer), I would say the only difference is a slightly more brownish tinge to Tin II, but it's barely noticeable.  Running my hands over both projects, I can't really tell the difference in terms of texture or softness.  Suffice it to say that fans of Tin I will be really happy with this newer version too.

Tin II will not only be available undyed of course. Have a look at these luscious colours!

At the moment, the Ding Dong Purple which is a deep plum, and the vibrancy of Wheal Kitty Orange are calling to me. Cornish Tin II comes in both 4ply and DK weights and will be available online on September 20th from both Blacker and online retailers such as BritYarn.  And of course they will have plenty of skeins (I hope) at their Yarndale booth.  It will be limited though, so get your hands on it early.

Blacker has also teamed up with The Knitting Goddess for their St. Kilda lace, a mix of Boreray and Soay wool, and she has dyed the most beautiful rainbow of colours.  These will also be making their debut at Yarndale and will be available at both the Blacker and Knitting Goddess booths.  There's a great interview with Joy at the Knit British podcast here, where she talks about the collaboration with Blacker and announces that there will be mini-skeins available of the St. Kilda lace too.  A bundle of those is definitely at the top of my want list. I'm very pleased to see that Blacker has also introduced a darker undyed colour which is also very beautiful.

I need to be quite restrained at Yarndale as my stash is really getting out of control, but it's hard when so many lovely vendors are showcasing new yarns and new colourways. I want to support them all. 

Another booth I'll need to visit is the Border Tart. I've bought some of her indigo dyed yarn previously but she's really been expanding her colour palette.  I was especially taken with these packages of Masham/BFL wool that she posted on Instagram.  All her colours not surprisingly,  go very well with indigo. 

And I always need to stop by Baa Ram Ewe. There are some new shades of Titus out and also their Dovestone range is now available in five undyed aran colours This is a mixture of BFL, Masham and Wensleydale and is very, very covetable. 

Daughter of a Shepherd will be there and I need to pick up a few more skeins of her gorgeous wool. She recently posted a teaser photo on IG that suggests she may have a few project bags woven out of that same wool.  Oh, so, so tempting.  I bet they will not last long.

I'd also like to pick up some natural coloured linen from Midwinter Yarns, or Namolio,  already thinking to next summer's knitting. I have various gradient colours in my stash and need some neutrals to balance them out.

And given my recent Scottish holiday on the north west coast, I will need to visit Ripples Crafts and revel in all the beautiful hand-dyed yarn, inspired by the colours of the Assynt that I fell in love with too. 

I live in constant danger of coming home with a spinning wheel too. 

But mostly Yarndale is all about the train ride up to Skipton with coffee, knitting and friends, walking along the beautiful canal, bumping into people I know from ravelry and IG and putting faces to names and knitwear, getting inspired by the creativity of awesome vendors and just soaking in a wonderful atmosphere.  Can't wait. 


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your review of Cornish Tin II, it's such a great feeling yarn isn't it. Your crocheted coaster looks great, does it get sheepy when a hot cup of tea is placed on it...just wondered as when I rub my knitted swatch rather furiously there is a definite waft of sheepiness. I know what you mean about the difference between crochet in acrylic and wool...even when I just use tapestry wool (not the softest woolly yarn known to man) there's such a pleasing change in how the stitches look and how the colour blends rather than jars...I've got an acrylic blanket that is almost finished but this year of wool knitting means the love for it is rapidly fading.
Sadly I can't go to Yarndale (the only pennies in my purse are tiny little copper ones) but please go give the Blacker stall a huge hug from me.

Blithe Spirit said...

Thanks Lisa, especially as I think your review set the bar very high. I haven't yet used my coaster but expecting it to felt slightly under hot mugs which will be fine. Still have some Tamar in my stash awaiting some projects, so not sure whether I'll also get Tin II at Yarndale, but will definitely have a good look at all the colours and that may sway me.