This year, during Stitches West, I decided to knit up the skeins I’d bought right away. This was possible because, instead of purchasing sweater quantities, I stuck to accessory knitting ( I had a trip to Edinburgh to save up for.) The result is that I was empowered to dive right in and try out all the different new yarns that intrigued me. What fun! My favorite of all of them has turned out to be Miss Bab’s sojourn, a blend of 65% cashmere, 35% silk which is to die for!!!
Every year at Miss Bab’s, I bought one skein of this fabulous yarn until this year I had enough to make Joji Locatelli’s 3 Color Cashmere Cowl:
This whimsical little pattern produced the longest cowl I’ve ever knitted, but the yarn was so delicious that I enjoyed every second! I am intrigued to see that Miss Bab’s is currently selling mini-skeins of the Sojourn for $8, making it more accessible rather than the once-a-year treat the $32 skein has been for me. (The length of the regular $32 skein is only 200yards).
Another exciting yarn I found at the Stitches market was the Myak baby yak medium. The two skeins I purchased were more than enough to make a beautiful pair of Smocking Mitts using Carrie Bostick Hodge’s pattern.
I wore the mitts everywhere in Edinburgh and found them super soft and warm.
Next, knowing how could it was going to be in the UK, I knitted my husband a pair of Maize Mitts by Tincan Knits. Maize It is a free pattern that looks great on a man’s hand and is very easy and straightforward to follow. I used Silkyak dk yarn by Handwerks in Pitch, as the minute my husband felt the yarn I was using for my Swoncho, he asked me to knit him something too.
I bought that yarn at my LYS, as I try to spend part of my Stitches yarn budget locally each year so that my favorite yarn store doesn’t disappear! I did notice that the silky yak yarn pilled a bit, perhaps because of the silk content, while the Myak baby yak yarn did not, so in future I would probably use the Myak if I am seeking a yak fiber for a hard-wearing item. I have noticed almost no pilling in the Swoncho I knitted out of the silky yak dk, though, but then a sweater takes much less friction than mitts which are in constant use.
Finally, this week, I dived into the ball of Rowan Cashmere Cotton I’d purchased from my LYS. The yarn has the dry feel of cotton but not the toughness of many plied cotton yarns that I dislike. Instead, the cotton was soft and smooth in the hands, with plenty of give so I could knit with it comfortably. I used a free lace pattern, Speargrass Hat, to test it out, as I was wondering if it would be appropriate for knitting a lace summer cardigan. A 3-plied yarn is not ideal for knitting lace, because the roundness of the 3-ply structure can take away some of the negative space that shows off a lace design, but the lace still showed reasonably well. In future, I would choose Cashmere Cotton for a simple, eyelet-type lace rather than a complicated pattern for this reason.
I really enjoyed all the yarns I purchased at Stitches West, but my favorite is definitely Miss Bab’s Sojourn. That is a real pity, as it is the most expensive yarn of the bunch. I will just go back to purchasing one skein a year as a little treat for myself and sooner or later, I will end up with enough yarn to make a truly special piece.