Sirdar Gorgeous Review

Have you seen those images of blankets knitted with crazy thick yarn on the internet? Sirdar Gorgeous is a single ply Ultra Super Chunky yarn. Doesn’t that alone make it sound amazing? Ultra Super! If we were talking comic books, that would be like having an Ultra Superman… Well today I’m going to talk about this Ultra Super Chunky Gorgeous Yarn. Even just typing that felt like a mouthful!

To start it all off, the specs on this yarn are as follows: 51% wool; 49% acrylic. They recommend 20mm  needles to obtain a 10cm swatch with a gauge of 5 stitches by 6 rows. The skeins are 150g and sell for around $22.50 each.

I have to be honest. I was very reluctant to sell single ply yarn in general.

Back when I was a kid, we raised sheep. We would send the fleece off to have it processed and would get some of it in the form of cakes of a roving-like yarn that could either easily be spun or was typical of what people made Cowichan style cardigans from. My memory of working that was that because of my typical tension, it would just come apart unless I spun it first. When my rep showed Gorgeous to me, I looked at him sideways (the look you would give a snake-oil salesman that you see through) and said,

“Uh, seriously? People actually WANT this stuff?” He laughed out loud and said that it was proving to be quite popular.

The first thing to acknowledge is that when you either crochet or knit with any thick yarn, because of the actual girth of it, mileage is relative to its weight. The thicker the yarn the less the mileage.

You’ll get less mileage from a DK than a fingering yarn; less from chunky than from DK or worsted and so on.

Gram for gram, you are going to pay about the same as you do for any other yarn. When you look at the mileage (okay, “yardage”) on the package you can see the difference. For instance, 100g of fingering yarn usually gives you 400m of yarn. Sirdar Gorgeous is 150g and 50m. So out of 100g of it you are going to get around 33m. That having been said, in fingering weight yarn you will cast on around 34 or 35 stitches to make a 10cm swatch in comparison to the 5 stitches in Gorgeous. Yes, it works up at light speed. Man, you can put a blanket together in no time flat with this stuff. But it takes a lot of skeins.

Sirdar has provided a number of patterns to support this yarn.

In addition to a number of single-skein projects (hats, cowls…) there are also patterns for throws and for an ottoman-like cushion. Of course, you can also just wing it and make a blanket or a poncho or whatever your heart desires. 🙂

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I started out crocheting this yarn. The first thing to note is that you need to have a very light touch with it. I found that where I normally guide the yarn with one hand to control tension, I really had to simply guide it to be sure it wouldn’t catch on anything. I barely held any tension on it at all. I am a knitter at heart. I can crochet and for some things crochet works best. With the size of this yarn, I just really didn’t care for the size of the holes between the stitches. After a while, I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy with the result. I unraveled enough to cast on 60 stitches on 20mm circular needles and continued to take the crochet apart as I knitted. I didn’t want to take it all apart and run the risk of tangling it all up. Now, if you love crochet, you may have loved it the way it was. I’m not saying you shouldn’t crochet it. It’s all about preference.

For me (sock knitting is my happy place), this yarn felt GINORMOUS to handle. It took me a bit to just get used to it. I normally knit continental style, carrying the yarn in my left hand and picking the yarn with the right needle. I am finding that with this yarn as thick as it is, I just naturally started throwing the yarn with my right hand instead. Again, it requires a very light touch. If you tend to pull hard on your yarn, you’ll have to back way off on your tension to avoid tearing the yarn apart as you go.

I played around with changing colours in a couple ways. I don’t like knots in my work if I can avoid them.

With this yarn they would be way too obvious.

First, I pulled away about half the yarn from the last 4 inches or so of each colour and then twisted the two together. But that (although it worked) gave me a candy-cane effect for the stitches that contained the join. If joining the same colour, it works fine. Then I did something like a Russian join instead. So, I still pulled away about half the bulk of the yarn for the first 6 inches or so on each. But, instead of laying them onto each other and twisting, I folded them around each other (like links of a chain) and then twisted on either side of the link respectively. This gave me a clear divide between the two colours, no knots, and I was able to be very precise about where the colour change occurred.

Sirdar recommends a cold hand-wash and to lay it flat to dry; shaping as necessary while it is still wet. I have not washed it yet, but I would be terrified of what a washing machine would do to it. So, bathtub it is for my blanket.

The resulting fabric is so thick, soft, fluffy and cuddly that I suspect you’ll have to fight everyone else off to be the one who gets to snuggle under a Gorgeous blanket!

Comfort Wolle – Gala

Sometimes it’s my customers that introduce me to gorgeous yarns.

That is certainly the case with Comfort Wolle – Gala yarn. I brought it in as a special order and took a chance to bring in all 6 colourways. When it arrived, I was delighted with it.

This “degrade” (a continuous finely knitted tube of yarn) is gloriously soft despite being 80% wool and 20% nylon. At first glance it looks like roving. The skeins are 200g with an exceptional 500m of length! It’s available in six lovely ombre colourways and the manufacturer offers a number of free patterns to go along with it.

The label suggests using 5 mm to 6 mm needles. I made a shawl with it and chose to use 8 mm needles as I wanted to be certain that the lace would show through the fluffiness. It feels like a cloud. Did I say it was soft? Yeah! I can hardly wait to snuggle into it when I watch TV at night. It’s so cozy!

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The colour gradient is subtle, yet dramatic at the same time. It’s nice and thick and knits up fast. The 200g ball is large enough that you can make a decent sized project with just one of them. It was easy to work with; my needles found their path through the yarn loops effortlessly. As with most quality yarns with high wool content, it is recommended to wash Gala gently in cool water and lay it flat to dry.

The verdict: I love it!

Happy Knitting!

 

Flowers and Caboodles

Leading up to the holidays I knitted up some yarns that I’d love to tell you about.

  • Mondial “Lady”
  • and Sirdar Caboodle

are the subjects of today’s blog.

Mondial “Lady”

“Flower” by Mondial is a pretty Italian yarn and it is as fluffy as a cloud. It comes with a little flower that you can attach to the toque (beanie) that the free pattern on the label makes. One ball comfortably makes the hat in question. It’s a chunky weight yarn that knits up fast as can be. When finished, the fabric feels light and soft and oh, so cushy. At 55% Merino and 45% Microfibre, this is an easy care product that you can put in the delicate cycle of the washer. I was able to easily knit up the pattern they provided in an evening in front of the television. The almost boucle texture makes the yarn interesting enough that it doesn’t need to be more fancy than garter or stocking stitch to look fabulous. So you don’t need any complicated patterns to make it awesome. Even with the texture, I found it very easy to work with. Flower is available in around seven soft and pretty colours.

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Sirdar Caboodle

Sirdar Caboodle is so much fun! It looks like a happy marriage between yarn and confetti… if confetti were made of fibres instead of paper and stuff, that is. It’s a chunky weight yarn that has fluffy bits of colourful fibre that give it a whole lot of personality. At first I wondered whether those textured bits would annoy me. They didn’t. I admit that the first round of knitting after the initial cast on required that I seriously take my time. After that, it really wasn’t an issue. If you haven’t worked with a textured yarn before, I would offer the following advice: Take it slow until you get used to it. Yup, that’s it. Just take your time. Play around with the tension a little. When you are knitting it, sometimes you need to pull a fluffy bit through the stitch in order that your stitches don’t end up too tight or loose. Keeping a slightly softer tension will definitely make it easier to navigate. If you just give yourself a little bit of time to get used to it, the result is just so much fun. As the fabric forms, it creates such a happy vibe that I challenge you not to fall in love with it. I used a pattern that asked for chunky weight yarn and used the 5.5mm needles recommended. It worked perfectly to the gauge for that pattern. (The cast-on was 70 stitches.) A content of 64% Acrylic and 36% Polyester makes this a yarn that can take some abuse. So it’s perfect for those friends who you know won’t be careful with hand knits.

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Happy Knitting!

 

 

Sirdar Colour Wheel

Last week I knitted up a project in Sirdar Colour Wheel yarn. The pattern I used is a triangular scarf called “Whoopsie”. I suppose you could call it a shawl, although to me, a shawl is large enough to cover the shoulders and this project is too small to do that comfortably.

Sirdar offers this pattern for free through yarn shops.

There is a lace scarf pattern on the inside of the label as well.

The pattern was easy to follow. As with any pattern, it takes a few repeats to get the feel for it. After about three repeats I was able to carry on without looking at the pattern. It increases by steps of 7 stitches with each pattern repeat to the middle and then decreases back down, 7 stitches per pattern repeat until the triangle is complete.

As simple and easy as the pattern is, the finished product is quite lovely. The one repeating lace row combined with the alternating stocking stitch and garter stitch rows gives it a pretty pattern, without making it complicated. It wears nicely with the bulk of the triangle in the front to fill the V of a coat collar.

Sirdar Colour Wheel is a DK weight yarn.

It is a striping yarn with fairly large sections of each colour. Sections of it are quite subtly gradient, while it still offers pops of colour change as well. It is packaged in 150g cakes. It knits to a gauge of 22 stitches by 28 rows to a 10cm square on 4mm needles. The fibre content is 80% Acrylic, 20% wool. The cakes are very attractive.

There are a number of colourways to choose from. From dark earthy neutrals to bright neons, there is pretty much something for everyone here.

Sirdar has a long history of making beautiful yarns that feel amazing.

Colourwheel is no exception. It was a pleasure to knit. The texture of the yarn made it easy to see the stitches, even in relatively poor light. It felt nice in my hands and was soft to touch.

At first glance the price might seem high. However, remember that this is a 150g ball of yarn. That’s a lot of yarn. When you take that into consideration, the price is very reasonable. I wound up the leftover yarn after I completed the pattern. There was still a little more than 30g remaining. It went a long way.

I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this yarn. I found myself anticipating the colour changes as a way of marking my progress. That made it even more fun for me to knit this project. I took my time and puttered away at it over 5 evenings in front of the television. It makes me want to do another one in a different colourway. 🙂

Happy Knitting!

 

 

Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn

It’s been a while since I wrote a product review. When I come across something that wows me though, I love to tell everyone about how amazing it is. Today I want to tell you about Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn.

I love making socks.

If I’m really honest I haven’t tried a huge number of different brands of sock yarn, but of all the ones I have tried, this is my new favourite!

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Cascade Heritage Sock yarn is a line of 4-ply yarn in over 60 solid colours. Put up in 100g skeins, at 400m per skein the “mileage” is typical for a sock yarn. The price point is pretty typical as well. (Cascade has some “Heritage Sock Prints” as well, but I am specifically talking about the solids today as I haven’t knit the prints yet.) It is made up of 75% merino superwash wool and 25% nylon. Again, this is typical of sock yarns.

In case you are unfamiliar with sock yarns, the nylon adds strength and durability to the wool.

This makes a big difference when knitting socks as the toes and heels take a tremendous amount of abuse. Without the nylon content (or something similar) they wear out quickly. Considering the amount of work in a pair of socks, you really want to be sure the yarn is going to stand up.

After a friend showed me a skein of the print version of this yarn, I started hunting for where I could buy it for in my store. I contacted the supplier and asked whether they could send me a sample of the solids so I could knit it up myself and be sure I wanted to invest in stocking it. They happily sent me a sample. I thought I would use it in one of my Tour-de-Sock stages since that was what I was knitting at the time. I set it up on my swift and began winding the balls. I found that the yarn kept slipping over the top and bottom of the ball as I was winding it. I suspect that’s because the yarn is so very smooth, it doesn’t grab the ball like other sock yarns do. I am usually pretty ruthless when I wind sock yarn and spin the handle on the ball winder as fast as it will let me. I had to slow things down considerably in order for the winding to go smoothly. That irritated me a little, but to be fair, I’m impatient.

And to be honest, this yarn is well worth taking the time to wind carefully and slowly.

For the socks that I knitted up I used this yarn as my main colour. For my contrasting colours I used Knitca Sock. (Knitca Sock is put up in solid colours in 50g balls. The smaller balls means there isn’t as big of a spend when you are doing colourwork. The fibre content is the same.) By the time I finished casting on with Cascade Heritage Sock yarn, I was in love. This is by far the softest most luxurious feeling sock yarn I have encountered thus far. Knitca Sock is a pretty typical sock yarn in its feel. In comparison to the Cascade Heritage Sock, it felt downright scratchy. I had never considered it scratchy before, to put it into perspective.

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Before I even finished knitting up the sample yarn, I placed an order. I have a small shop and there’s only so much I can spend bringing in new products. This one will be a new staple in my store. I have brought in a small selection of neutrals and a few colours that customers specifically asked me for so far.

I hope to be able to eventually carry the entire colour array of over 60 shades.

My DH sits next to me on the sofa at night, watching TV while I knit socks. He has always said not to bother knitting him any because “wool feels rough and scratchy”. After knitting the sample pair, I had him check out the socks. He immediately recognized the difference in the way the two brands of yarn felt. The response: raised eyebrows and a “Hmmmm… and that’s wool?” My response to that was, “Oh yeah, baby! That’s wool.”

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I knitted up another pair for the competition in a creamy colour. When these were done. My DH picked them up and squeezed them. I asked him whether he thought I should make up a pair of socks in that yarn for him to test out. You know, just to see whether he could tolerate them. I told him that if he hates them, I won’t push to ever make him socks again. He agreed that he is willing to give them a try.

That, my friends is (IMHO) the best endorsement any sock yarn could ever ask for.

So after the competition is done, I will be delighted to make my DH’s first pair of hand knit socks.

If you haven’t tried this yarn yet, I encourage you to do so. It’s SO YUMMY!

Spring Knitting

The sun is out, the sky is clear and a gorgeous blue. I can hear the swallows calling each other. There is a gentle breeze and if you stand in the sunshine, it feels gloriously warm. (Of course this is Revelstoke, so all that could change by the time I finish writing my blog.) When winter finally says good-bye for real and the days are consistently warm my appetite for knitting changes. It also has some real competition now that I can be out in my garden enjoying the warmer weather.

The types of yarn that attract me change when the weather gets warm. Instead of reaching for wool and acrylic blends I find myself reaching for bamboo, cotton, linen and blends that incorporate these fibres. The chunky and bulky yarns don’t appeal to me quite so much now and I find myself looking for 4-ply and DK yarns instead. That’s not to say I give up wool altogether; after all sock yarn is 4-ply, that’s light enough to work on when it’s warm outside. Although if I’m inclined to knit cotton socks, now would be the time. That having been said,

any time of year is a good time to knit socks as far as I’m concerned.

I find myself thinking about light and breezy patterns for summery garments and coverups, crafty things like bags and doll dresses, tea cozies or lacy things. With winter (in our Mountain resort town) being my really busy season both for sewing and for the yarn shop, I often find myself feeling a bit like the end of April and beginning of May exist so that I can recover from the intensity of the winter season. I still have to work and the sewing never actually stops, but it usually lightens up and I can slow down enough to realize that I’m tired. My sweetheart can tell where I am on the exhaustion scale by what and how I knit. When I don’t pick up my knitting at all, I should just go to bed… and he doesn’t hesitate to tell me so. I’ve had a whole week of not picking up my knitting at all. I had good intentions of making up a pattern this week but clearly, that didn’t happen. LOL And it’s all good. I’ve always been one to push myself hard and sometimes I just need to back off and chill. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about knitting. Bob says that if I ever stop thinking about knitting, he’ll have to rush me to the hospital to find out what’s wrong with me. 😛

I have some lovely summery yarns in my store and I thought I’d show you them and see if I can offer some springtime inspiration. I’d love it if you would leave a comment below to suggest things that you like to knit or crochet during the warmer seasons. I am looking for some inspiration too. 🙂 I’ve been scanning ravelry.com looking for a summer shawl pattern that will work well with the Diamond Luxury Tropicalia yarn. It’s so pretty with the hint of shine from the viscose.

Anne crochet cotton

Anne Crochet Cotton: 100% Cotton; 27S X 30R on 3 – 3.5mm needles

Mulberry silk

Diamond Luxury Mulberry Silk 50% Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen; 22S x 28R on 4mm needles

Pima colori cotton

Diamond Luxury Pima Lino Colori Cotton: 60% Pima Cotton, 40% Linen; Laceweight

Diamond Luxury summertime

Diamond Luxury Summertime: 55% Cotton, 45% Acrylic; 20S x 28R on 4 to 4.5mm needles

Diamond Luxury tropicalia

Diamond Luxury Tropicalia: 55% Cotton, 45% Viscose; 22-24S x 26 – 30R on 4mm needles

Knitca cotton

Knitca Cotton: 100% Cotton; 21S X 5R on 4mm needles

wavy cotton

Knitca Wavy: 100% Cotton; 16S X 18R on 4mm needles

Solo Cotone sock yarn

Lana Grossa Solo Cotone; 37S X 29R on 3 – 3.5mm needles

Nako Fiore

Nako Fiore: 25% Linen, 35% Cotton, 40% Bamboo; 25S X 35R on 3 – 3.5mm needles

Nako solare

Nako Solare: 100% Cotton; 25S x 37R on 2.5 – 3.5mm needles

Nova plus cotton cool

Nova Plus Cotton Cool: 100% Cotton; 18S X 24R on 4.5mm needles

Sirdar Baby Bamboo

Sirdar Baby Bamboo: 80% Bamboo, 20% Wool; 22S X 28R on 4mm needles

Supersock stretch cotton

Supersocke Cotton Stretch Uni: 41% Wool, 39% Cotton, 13% Polyamide, 7% Polyester; 30S x 42R on 2.5 – 3mm needles

There are a lot of other yarns available to satisfy all our spring and summer knitting desires. I hope this little sampling serves to inspire you. Happy Knitting!