The idea of knitting a Christmas gift for all of my close friends and family, brought me more joy than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, as is so often the case when you’ve left yourself with very little time to achieve something, mistakes can be made.
My target customer in the shop is me, which probably means I tend to put a little too much thought into what we stock at times. However, I think and hope, that it’s what’s brings people from all over the country through our door?
For me as a knitter, there is always room for improvement and there been a couple of yarn qualities missing from our shelves that I would like to see including, a high percentage, wool blend aran weight. So I’ve spent a lot of time researching suitable yarns initially, by looking at the fibre content versus the recommended retail price and the range of colours available. When I’d narrowed it down to 4 yarns I bought samples to knit up, in order to access the finished fabric by comparing the stitch definition, drape and weight.
I know it probably seems like a lot of trouble to go to for one yarn, but this is going to be a staple in the shop, so it has to be right as there’s not enough room in the shop to have several yarns that do the same thing.
Of the four I knitted up, New Zealand from Adriafil came out top. The 75% wool, 25% acrylic blend is a pleasure to knit with, it creates great stitch definition and produces a smooth fabric that’s not too heavy. With some blends the acrylic can make the yarn look ‘shinny’, but there’s isn’t a hint of it with the New Zealand.
Each 100g ball contains a whopping 200 metres/219 yards which means very few are needed to to complete an average woman’s jumper. I find it knits to the usual aran weight tension of 18sts by 24 rows on 5mm needles without creating a very dense fabric. The colours are fantastic too, making it a great choice for babies and children’s knits too, not bad for €7.25 a ball hey?
I’ve currently chosen 12 of the 38 available colours and intend to add more over the coming months and if there’s any you think we could particularly do with, please say.
As I said I’ve had a play and have knitted up one of my favourite little patterns the In Threes sleeveless cardigan by Kelly Herdrich which is available on Ravelry for $6. If you don’t have Ravelry we now have in store access too, so you can purchase your pattern in the shop, we’ll print out a black and white copy and send the pdf directly to your email address too.
Back to the In Threes cardi, it’s a great, speedy little knit. Knitted top down, with minimal finishing this little garment is hugely popular with the knitters of Ravelry with nearly 4500 projects to date. I’ve made six so far and count it amongst my ‘go to’ patterns. This little one is for the smallest size 0 to 6 months and it’s very generously sized. Having made this size before, I can confidently say that in most cases it’s a little more like 3 months to a year, so the baba will certainly get the wear out of it.
It took one ball of New Zealand yarn in the lovely soft turquoise and the multicoloured buttons from Rico add a little something extra and are a move away from my traditional choice of wooden ones.
The little cardigan is on display in the shop so you can have a squidge and see how lovely the New Zealand yarn is.