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.
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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!

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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 – the lovely Catherine at katesmudges on Rav – sent me these amazing pictures. She has started Happy Street with the three colours she bought – Blighty, Vestige, and Highbury!  What a great combo. How gorgeous is this:
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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!

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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.

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The difference a slipped stitch makes

I’d meant to do this post last week, but thought I had deleted the photos from my camera before uploading to the computer. But lo and behold, when I went to download photos from our trip to the seaside this weekend (more on that later), there they were!

So here, somewhat delayed, is something I meant to highlight visually for those of you out there that might not yet have encountered the wondrous Bias Bind Off!

My Relax was a pleasant, quick knit and all that stockinette moved along so effortlessly that I got to the bind off on the back of the neck in no time. I was blithely knitting away as per the pattern instructions and was almost finished, when I woke up out of my blissful knit coma and  realised how jarring the plain bind off was turning out. You can see the stepped effect below between the rows and the way some of the stitches are pulling out of shape between them.
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This is when I had my ‘doh’ moment and remembered the amazing Bias Bind Off technique that I first tried out on my Audrey a few months ago. I’d like to say that I frogged back and redid the neckline…but I didn’t as it was the back of the neck and I am too damn lazy! However I did dig out the instructions for the Bias finish for the front and this is the difference below – a clean sloped edge that creates a smoother join when you are picking up for the neckline.
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If anyone hasn’t already tried this bind off, it is super simple and just requires a slipped stitch to be worked at the beginning of each ‘tier’. You can see the written instructions and a video on the technique at New Stitch a Day.

It is definitely a keeper for the technique file! You could use this stitch for a raw edge on a neckline and not have to add an edging it is so clean!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_BFLSilk_Relax1