Tuesday, August 10, 2010

KFI: Louisa Harding Millais

Millais dc The swatch blanket continues to grow. This time with Millais, another new yarn in the Louisa Harding line.

Like Rossetti it is a bulky yarn with a suggested knitting gauge of 3 sts/inch. Unlike Rossetti, which is a boucle, Millais is a smooth yarn. It's lightly spun, giving it a cloud-like structure.

Vital Stats
Fiber: 50% Wool, 50% Acrylic Yardage: 65 Stitches: 3 Needle size: 11 Ball weight: 50g
It is available in 10 colors, which you can see on the KFI site here.

Crochet Swatch
Let's start with the crochet swatch today, shall we?

My sample ball is color #6, Blackcurrant. As you can see in the picture the colors are really heathers, as opposed to solids. This gives it a lot of depth, without interfering with any pattern. The overall effect is purple, but there is some hot pink and black if you look closely.

Millais dc closeI went with a I/9-5.5 mm hook this time. I worked 36 dc (US) by 15 rows and ended up with a block about 10 inches across and 8 inches tall. Of course, I wasn't able to finish that last row, so I'll be ripping it out and using the length for sewing when I have enough blocks to piece together.

This hook size resulted in a nice firm fabric that I think will be good for sweaters. It does reduce the softness of the yarn a bit. If you were going for snuggly I think a J hook would be better. Probably in a single crochet (US)[ok, let's just agree that as an American I'm always going to use US crochet terms] to reduce the space between stitches but still keep things soft. On the other hand I haven't washed my swatch, so I don't know what impact that would have. Working in a more imaginative stitch pattern will also influence the feel of the finished fabric.

Have you noticed that just a slight change in gauge can make all the difference in how soft a yarn feels and how much drape it has? This is one of the reasons it is so important to swatch with a yarn before you substitute in a pattern. Just because you can get the gauge doesn't mean you want to.

Knit Swatch
Millais swatchFor the knit swatch I went with the Feather & Fan stitch found in the Perpetual Calendar Stitch Dictionary. I used the US 11 needle recommended on the ball band. My 46 st swatch is about 13 inches wide. This is including the 4 sts in garter stitch on either end framing the two pattern repeats.

My ball is in color #9, Adventure. (Isn't that a great color name?) The overall effect is black, but there is dark blue and grey in there as well.

There was a method to my madness in selecting this stitch pattern. The sweater "Smile" from the Dream Catcher book uses a variation on the Feather & Fan stitch, so I thought you'd like to see it in action.

Worked at this loose gauge, because of the big needles, the fabric is nice and soft, which is why I suggested a larger crochet hook might be a better choice.

Millais closeWell, that's a lousy picture. Trust me that the yarn works up very nicely in this textured stitch. Even in the darker color it has nice detail.

It will be a nice addition to my blanket.

This morning I logged into Ravelry and discovered that Louisa Harding had added me as a friend!

I think I managed not to go all fan-girl on her. You know how difficult that is for me.

I asked if she knew when her "Designer's Corner" for the new collection will be updated on the KFI site and will let you know as soon as it's posted. It is always interesting to hear about the inspiration behind the lovely patterns people design.

Yarn. On TV. Getting the Glory it Deserves.
In other news, the ABC entertainment show "On the Red Carpet" is going to feather La Knitterie Parisienne a LYS in California during this Sunday's episode (Aug 15). So check your local time and set your DVR. I hear this store used to be on one of knitting shows on HGTV, so they should know what they're doing.


  1. Oh my gosh. You're a friend of LH? That's pretty awesome. Be as fan-girl as you want!

  2. Have to say - loving that purple! Very nice swatching. :D