Let’s Get Worsted, in Kettle Valley!

This year, I finally felt ready to hunt for local hand-dyed yarns and patterns to sell in my store. I believe strongly in supporting local small business whenever possible. Now that I have built up my inventory of staple yarns I really wanted to offer something a bit more luxurious. I had a small selection of hand-dyed yarns in solid colours, but I wanted something with really interesting colourways. I found it.

Black Cat Custom Yarn is located in Chilliwack, BC (Canada).

I was excited to have the opportunity to meet the owners this fall and to see and feel their yarns in person. A customer told me about them and I was not disappointed. I brought in a modest selection of two weights of Black Cat yarn. It has been a hit.

I have already placed another order and they are dying it now. Once it arrives it will expand the selection to 17 colourways of “Let’s Get Worsted” and 15 colourways of “Everyday Sock”. The price point is typical of hand dyed yarn.

I recently made up a project using the “Damsel” colourway of  Black Cat’s “Let’s Get Worsted”. The pattern was the Kettle Valley Shawl from Knox Mountain Knit Company out of Kelowna, BC.

So first of all, I should have done a gauge check. I didn’t and my gauge was a bit soft. I ended up using three and a half skeins rather than the three that the pattern called for. That was definitely on me. I’m confident that it could be done with three if the gauge is matched.

The Pattern: Kettle Valley Shawl by Knox Mountain Knit Co.

knox-mountain-knit-coKnox Mountain Knit Co. patterns are inspired by landmarks of the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. I love that each has a short write-up describing what inspired the pattern. They are beautifully printed on sturdy paper and priced reasonably. They all come with a Ravelry code that allows you to have both the hard copy and a Ravelry download to access on your devices. I now have hard copies of all their designs for sale in my store. (The patterns are displayed in two binders; if you’re in the store ask me where to find them. You can also view them on Ravelry.) The photographs are beautiful. They offer sets (hats, mittens and cowls) that are sold separately but made to coordinate. This is a wonderful option if you are making gifts… especially for those individuals whose birthdays land near Christmas.

The instructions were clear and easy to follow. I loved the twisted stitch method used. The first few times I did it, I had to check the instructions but once I comprehended what was happening and why it worked, I was off to the races. It’s a nice big shawl without being so large as to feel like a blanket. It was my first worsted weight shawl and I had my doubts because I like lace shawls and I love to knit with sock weight yarn. I think I may have been converted. Yes, by the final row I was knitting 357 stitches. However, I finished this, knitting leisurely in front of the TV in the evenings over the course of 10 days. I didn’t even knit every evening. It is made up of sections that when viewed as a whole mimic the trestles of the historic Kettle Valley Railway in the vicinity of Kelowna, British Columbia. I found that with each section, it took very little time to get a sense of the pattern so I could just knit away without checking the reference. That’s how I like it! I’m delighted with the outcome and so is the person who received it as a gift.

The Yarn: Black Cat Custom Yarn; Damsel; weight “Let’s Get Worsted”

This yarn was an absolute pleasure to knit. It was soft and smooth. The stitch definition is fantastic. All the effort I put into creating those trestles stood out and made the pattern proud. It reminds me of Malabrigo yarn. Sometimes when I make a larger project I get a little bored of looking at the yarn by the end of the project. Not with this yarn! There is just no getting bored of this yarn. The colourways are so fun and the names are nerdy and sometimes a bit cheeky. It definitely has personality. I washed it with Eucalan and blocked it. I thought it was soft before I washed it. Washing it softened it even more. I sat there squishing it between my hands and against my face for ages! I guess you figured out that I highly recommend this yarn.

Because it is dyed to order, it takes some time from when I order it until it arrives. That’s probably the only real drawback to this yarn. Once I get a sense of how much and how frequently I need to reorder, that will be less of an issue.

I encourage you to take the time to check out Black Cat Custom Yarn and Knox Mountain Knit Co. Both of these small BC businesses offer a high quality product for a reasonable price. If you want to make a special gift for someone you care about, I recommend combining the two for something truly memorable.

Happy Knitting!

Advertisements

Well it Ought to be Obvious…

I love to design. Whether I have a ready-to-go idea in my head that is easily executed, or a vague sense of what I want to express in a design, the creative act of designing fills me up. Sometimes, exploration leads to some fun and interesting outcomes that I would never have thought of. And sometimes, a design is accidental.

I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting since Tour-de-Sock finished. I still have the same projects on the needles, though my Whoopsie shawl is very close to completion and my Plan A (Take 2) second sock is now on the needle. Legolas is still in hibernation along with my Alecia Beth cardigan and my watermelon shawl. They are all waiting patiently at the back of the store. I knitted up a couple doll cardigans to test out some yarn samples that my rep sent me to try. The work in my store ramps up once summer is over and the number of sewing jobs increases. Often by the end of the day, I’m too tired to knit. (It takes a lot for me to be too tired to knit!) So progress has ground to a slow crawl.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to meet Kim of Black Cat Custom Yarn in Chilliwack.

I had heard about her from a few customers that passed through Revelstoke and recommended her.

Kim is a talented yarn dyer.

Her partner wasn’t feeling well on the day that I was at her studio, so I didn’t officially meet him. The two of them work together and their colourways reflect the joy they have in what they do. I have placed an order with them.

The quality of the yarn and the nature of their colourways make Black Cat Custom yarns a worthy replacement for Malabrigo yarns in my store.

I’ll be carrying their basic sock yarn and “Let’s get Worsted” weights to start with. It was really tough to limit the order!

In a basket, she had a whole bunch of mini skeins of seconds. On the top were two skeins of red sock yarn. They came home with me to become a pair of socks for one of my grand-daughters. (That was her only request, that they be red socks.) When I got home, I cast on the socks toe up. I wanted to do a fun pattern in them but I didn’t want to put in a lot of effort. I didn’t want to fuss. I thought,

“hey, I could use a mock cable pattern on these”.

So I pulled it out and mindlessly began knitting the pattern.

The pattern that developed was lovely, but it definitely was not the mock cable pattern. I sat there staring at my three pattern repeats like a dunce, wondering what I had done. Are you laughing at me yet? Good heavens. Honestly, Judy! The mock cable pattern is knitted back and forth. Socks are knitted in the round. It should have been obvious! I was working off written instructions for each row as opposed to a chart. If it had been a chart, I would have adapted without even thinking about it. But because it was written out, the wrong side rows were written assuming you turned the work and knitted it flat.

It came out looking like corn rows.

I decided to call it Rapunzel’s Ladder. How fun is that? It just goes to show you. Sometimes, you don’t even mean to be creative and yet something completely new and wonderful emerges in spite of you. Creativity is a magical thing.

20180928_101008

I’m a pretty smart person, but there are times when I can be a bit dense or oblivious. I don’t mean to, obviously… but yeah… human condition and all that. This was definitely one of those times. And yet! Eureka! I have a pair of socks developing that are absolutely lovely. My GD will adore them. They remind me of my first pair of Dirndl socks from when I was a girl. The two skeins were not exactly the same, but because they have the mottled hand-dyed look, it works. I am excited to see her face when she opens up the package at her birthday party. And incidentally, I get to pick up my Black Cat Custom Yarn order when we travel to the Coast for GD’s birthday Tea Party.

It will feel like it’s my birthday too.

Can’t get better than that! ETA for the Black Cat Yarns at Judy’s Designs is November 1, 2018.

Happy Knitting!