One sheepish post!

I’ve another guest spot …this time over on Meredith’s lovely blog – one sheepish girl!


She sent a call out for some help blogging as she is writing an amazing craft book, which I am so excited to see!


 Head over to the post to see what I keep in my yarn bag!


The endless joys of yarn pairing

I think most of you know how truly and thoroughly a yarn nerd I am already, so the title of the post should come as no surprise? ūüėČ

Last Monday I showed a few examples of possible yarn pairs for blindingly simple but stunning subtle-y striped shawls like Camomille¬†and Merlot.¬†I got a bit carried away with the process and decided at the last minute that I’d better split the post as my yarn-nerd-ness was getting out of hand!

I’d paired up 2 more, classic grey combos to show you – ‘Colebrooke/¬†BFL/Alpaca‘ and then ‘Colebrooke/Dusty Miller‘ – and then realised how different these two shawls would be due to the properties of the yarns being paired and got really excited!

While the two above look incredibly similar in the skein, the two pairings would create substantially different moods in a shawl!

The BFL/Alpaca combo is more lofty on the right will knit up significantly warmer and ‘fuller’ than the Bloomsbury¬†BFL/Silk, with a sumptuous Alpaca¬†bloom and sponge. It is so warm – even knit as an open lace – that I often find myself overheated with this blend in the mild autumn chill!

In the pairing with Bloomsbury (right) the 80% BFL makes stitches hold a bit more crisply¬†open and the extra silk adds to Westminter’s already substantial drape giving a slightly more dressy (formal/evening wear) feel to the shawl.¬†Both could be worn to dress up last winter’s coat OR over a party dress for a holiday event, but the subtle difference lets you tailor for personality.

You would never think it just looking at the skeins, which look quite similar at first glance, would you?

I first discovered the joys of yarn pairing when knitting Helga Isager’s¬†Nightingale Vest.

It was amazing how even adding a single thin strand of lace to otherwise rather unpleasant feeling sock yarn transformed the fabric into something much greater than its parts (knitting gestalt)!

Yarn pairing is amazing and opens up a world of possibility in stash busting. Add a strand of another yarn and you can create amazing colour effects like heathering and ombre – like in Antonia Shankland’s¬†Kinetic cowl below which starts with 2 strands of the same colour, moves to two strands of 2 different colours for a gradient, then back to 2 strands of the new colour:

Or even change the drape and handle of a yarn and counteract a less desirable trait by blending to better suit your pattern – create more drape, LESS drape and more structure, or add a fuzzy soft halo for an feminine ‘sweater-girl’ twist.

Fun AND useful!

Featuring: Islington

My second staple yarn feature is on my¬†Islington¬†blend, named after the famed London borough. Home of the historic Sadler’s Wells Theatre – housed on the same site since¬†since 1683 –¬†and Arsenal Football Club, the London borough of Islington is contrast at its best and this 55% British Bluefaced Leicester wool and 45% silk blend¬†matches, with a sumptuous high-end feel which is simultaneously workhorse tough.

Like all of our 100% British BFL blends, it is made from the softest supersorted wool, ensuring that the fibre is picked through at twice the rate of normal wools, and then examined again before being combed and sent for processing at the spinning mill. This guarantees the softest fibre is used for our blends, delicate enough for the most sensitive skins, with no skin irritating pokey bits!


The wool and silk have been evenly spun into a well-balanced, unsplitty 4 ply perfect for lace details, and knits up into an even, light fabric with a bit of drape. 55% BFL keeps the silk from misbehaving and stops any sag or droop, while its long staple fibre makes it tough and extremely low pilling.

In my crazy intense abrasion testing it rated at the top of the blends I tested – mere light pilling under extreme friction, which shaved clean forever after 2 goes.

Note: One of my musts for the regular yarn blends I am carrying is that the yarn can pill a tiny bit but the yarn MUST look brand new underneath with no matting or damage to fibres, and this one passes with flying colours – an absolute winner. Anything made with this yarn will be an heirloom!

I had an unexpected but most lovely surprise today when my first Canadian customer Рthe lovely Catherine at katesmudges on Rav Рsent me these amazing pictures. She has started Happy Street with the three colours she bought РBlighty, Vestige, and Highbury!  What a great combo. How gorgeous is this:

I nearly ran to the studio and pulled the yarns out, then and there, to start one of my own! PERFECT.

And then…THEN…I saw this and nearly keeled over with joy!


She has wound all the yarns on beautiful antique wooden bobbins. *swoon*

Wow. How truly glorious…and how lovely of her to let me share them with all of you! Thank you again, Catherine!

There are still a few skeins left of the shades above as they virtually flew off the shelfs the last couple of weeks, but I will be getting more up shortly, with some warmer colours going up at the end of the week as well. If I run out before you get the colours you need, just email me directly for a custom order and I will dye up what you need.

Click on the¬†new¬†blue 10% off button at the top right of the blog to subscribe for the mailing list¬†and you’ll be the first to hear when new yarns are posted and get in for more promo offers, giveaways, etc. Don’t forget that Purlside readers get 15% until the end of September so mention you saw this on the blog in your email!

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