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!


Weekly update with some pairing fun!

This weeks shop update is¬†LIVE! I moved back to a bit of cool blue/greens as that side of the colour wheel is still very close to my heart. I’ve also gotten some camel/silk lace up this week for those looking to do a little lace knitting (and maybe even starting on those special holiday gifts!).
From left to right in the banner above:
  1. Westminster¬†lace in ‘Alban‘ – 50% Baby Camel ‚Äʬ†50% Silk
  2. Westminster¬†fingering in ‘Light Grovesnor‘ – 50% Baby Camel ‚Äʬ†50% Silk
  3. Westminster¬†fingering in ‘Florence‘ – 50% Baby Camel ‚Äʬ†50% Silk
As some of you already know, a few months ago I made a Camomille by Helga Isager and have been wearing it to death. It is  the perfect light shawl Рlarge enough to wrap several times around the neck on a cold morning, blissfully super warm from the gorgeous BFL/Alpaca light fingering, but at the same time light enough to fold up small and shove into a bag.


I have had a few requests for the yarn I used in the shawl and have finally had a chance to dye some up, so these will be going up on the shop this week as well.

I also had a long talk with myself (!) and will be releasing some of the hoarded blush BFL/Alpaca as I used in my version above and have dyed more of the camel/silk lace in charcoal grey, which I’ve named ‘Colebrooke‘. A beautifully dimensional grey, this colour has hints of purple and warm browns up close:

I thought it might be fun to show some possible pairings for subtle shawl striping. Below are some pink/grey pairings.
The right hand pair shows the Westminster ‘Colebrooke‘ & blush BFL/Alpaca, ‘Liminal‘, ¬†pair I used in mine, the left is a reverse with ‘Napier‘ – pink/grey/purple- in Westminster lace and a semi solid grey in BFL/Alpaca.

As I was researching images for this post I also came across this stunning image, which at first I assumed was another Camomile…
….but it turns out that¬†Christina’s¬†gorgeous, Camomile-like version is of¬†Elise Dupont’s¬†Merlot¬†crescent shawl pattern (available as a ‚ā¨5 download on Ravelry). Christina has simply striped her solid and variegated yarn above, as opposed to alternating holding the fingering yarn together with the lace, as on Camomile. Any of the yarn pairings I’ve shown here would work for this look.

Though if you prefer,  you could always knit it exactly as Elise designed it, which has beautiful blocks of variegated colour broken up by solid stripes and trim. So pretty!

More paring possibilities, below left, both Westminster – Lace in ‘Colebrooke‘ and fingering in ‘Florence‘ for a more silky/drapey version. On the right another one with ‘Florence‘, but this time with the amazing Bloomsbury silk lace in silver/grey ‘Dusty Miller‘.

Of course there are many more combos to be made from the yarns in the shop, but I’d best stop here as this has become an epic post! If you have any questions about yarn pairing don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Silky Camels

I promised to do some posts on the ‘staple’ yarn bases that I have chosen as regulars in the shop, so today’s is on my Rolls Royce blend – the exquisite¬†WESTMINSTER – 50% Baby Camel/ 50% Silk.

I have somewhat tongue-in-cheek-ily named the regular bases after London boroughs that match their ‘personality’. This one is after the borough that houses Buckingham Palace as it is fit for royal offspring…ahem. ;-P

An even split of the softest baby camel and silk gives this blend the cool, heavy drape of silk with a rich, warm halo of camel – the best of both worlds.¬†The lusciousness of this yarn is very hard to describe in words, but once you have felt it you’ll know – nothing else compares. It is simultaneously meltingly soft, weighty and amazing.

One of the most luxurious blends on the market, camel/silk also takes colour like no other yarn. Dye gains a glowing richness that just takes your breath away and I find myself getting lost in the painterly way the glazed dye ‘takes’ on this yarn. As a result these colourways are more variegated than my normal technique, but in closely toned colours to avoid jarring colour changes.

Though it appears delicate, this blend is actually a fantastic performer in my abrasion tests. The gold swatch below is AFTER repeated scrubbing, yanking, rubbing and other abuse and as you can see any light pilling has shaved off clean with no damage to the fibres beneath. You will hear me banging on about wear constantly as I feature my staple bases. Sourcing ethical, hardwearing blends was a must for me – I want your projects to last for decades AND look/feel good doing it! And of course we want to make sure our furry friends that supply us with the fibres are treated with love.

This is one of my most expensive bases, so I am only able to get it in small amounts at the moment. A couple of lucky ladies re-homed my first couple of skeins within days, so I painted up the last of my first shipment and added them to the shop yesterday. Click on the gallery below for close ups or head to the shop for multiple views.


Not to be a yarn enabler, but if you have never tried this blend, it might be an idea to splurge on a skein of this with your Purlside¬†15% discount and giving it a try. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Email me to sign up to the mailing list for the coupon code if you haven’t already.

I do have to send out a tiny apology to those who have ordered already as I have had to ship your yarn-babies without proper labels as my marketing materials have not yet arrived from the printers! Hopefully they will be here this week. If you have any questions at all, just email or tweet me @KettleYarnCo.

The shop has now been officially live for just over 5 days and I am so happy to say that orders are keeping me hopping! Thanks, once again, to all of you for your ongoing support and generosity. I am truly touched.