Thursday, April 21, 2011

KFI: Findley! Yummy new yarn

Findley pile This blog post is mean on so many levels.

First this yarn I'm in love with won't be in stores until the Fall 2011.

Second none of the colors I have are going to be available in stores. However, the 12 colors that will be available are just as stunning.

Perhaps you have heard of Juniper Moon Farm. Susan Gibbs did what many knitters and crocheters dream about. She quite her desk job and started raising sheep.

Instead of the resulting wool being spun and sold to yarn stores for years she sold it directly to people. You can buy a CSA which entitles you to a portion of the wool production while Susan and her team takes care of all the messy, hands on business.

Pretty exclusive stuff.

Now a different door to her creative sensibilities has been opened. She has teamed with Knitting Fever Inc. to design a new yarn line that is spun and dyed in Italy. Her little flock of sheep could not grown enough wool to meet the demand of nationwide distribution, so they had to call in reinforcements.

The new line is also called Juniper Moon Farm and is starting with three yarns: Willa is a bulky 60% Merino, 40% Super Fine Kid Mohair blend, Chadwick is a worsted weight 60% Merino Wool/40% Baby Alpaca blend, and Findley is a lace weight 50% Silk, 50% merino blend.

Tanis Grey, formerly of Vogue Knitting, has designed patterns for all the yarns. I did not get a pattern book to go along with my yarn, and I suspect it's because they aren't finished yet! There is a sneak peak of some of the sweaters on the farm blog (scroll down). They look very interesting.

Oh, Findley.
This yarn is so soft and lovely. As soft and lovely as you would expect a silk merino blend to be.

And the colors are just lovely. I especially like the yellows and the blues, but the green is lovely too and well, I could just list them all as my favorite, but that would be silly. Really, they all deserve to be worked up into some fabulous project.

Considering I have four balls of each color (well, two of white) and each ball is a whopping 800 yards, I can make multiple fabulous projects.

Which means I'm totally spoiled for choice and was just a wee bit paralyzed when I first opened the box.

Findley lace swatch But I'm pretty sure I have it sorted now.

I was considering the Abotanicity sweater from Knitty. To that end I started swatching with the yarn held single on a US 1. That was kind of insane. It occured to me after several rows that people don't usually try to get a dense fabric with lace weight yarn. Also, since that pattern calls for fingering/sock weight yarn I don't think it will work out.

Since I'm not really a lace shawl knitter, I decided to expand my options by holding the yarn doubled on a US 4, which is this blue swatch.

That made me think of my friend Pam's Lacy V-Neck sweater that is in the Holiday 2009 issue of Vogue Knitting. (It's the middle one of the second row of the "A Softer Shade of Pale" patterns.) Those lacy bits you see in the blue swatch is the stitch pattern. I'm pretty sure it's going to work, which is very exciting.

The trick is deciding which color to use. I might stick with this robin's egg blue one. Although I'm debating the silver grey one, which I know is the influence of the magazine picture.

The next sweater I'm considering making is from the 2004 issue of Simply Creative Crochet magazine. I don't see a picture of it online. The sweater had a plain body and lace sleeves made with wee square flower motifs that are connected as you go along. I've had that pattern in my library for quite a while. The pattern calls for crochet thread, so I think this lace weight yarn will work. I crocheted a little swatch but it calls for a D hook and I only had a C available. My B, D, and E hooks have all evaporated!

Again, I'm not sure which color to go with. I'm debating between the burnt red and the pale yellow.

The last of the published patterns I have my eye on is the Jade Sweater from Elsebeth Lavold's "Book Two: The Sentimental Journey Collection." This book is very possibly out of print so if you see a copy grab it. This is another pattern I've had my eye on for a while. No hesitation on color here, I'm totaly using that royal blue. The trick with this one is the pattern calls for 5 sts/inch and I'm getting 6 sts/inch so I'm probably going to have to rewrite it for my gauge. Considering the small would have been big on me I would have been fussing with it anyway.

Findley w Plaid buttonThe final color I have plans for is the deep yellow goldenrod one. I want to knit something fabulous that will take lots of buttons because I think that yarn is a fabulous match for the tartan buttons I made. For this sweater I'd like to do something clever with a non-traditional neck line that goes diagonally across the sweater. You know, from the center neck down to one armpit.

The question is whether my knitting math skills are up to the challenge.

I'm also tossing around several shawl patterns that would use the yarn held single. And, of course, I'll have to reserve some for when the pattern books are available so I can make an official pattern.

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