Monday, 28 March 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns - 2KCBWDAY1

5564667600_cffc20e5c7_o[1]


Part of any fibre enthusiast's hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loather about them.


I am rather a yarn snob, and I don't mind admitting it. I like nothing better than the finest merino, maybe with a little cashmere, some silk, or how about throwing in some alpaca for good measure! That's not to say that my stash only has expensive yarns in it, because it doesn't, but I don't mind paying that little bit extra for something truly gorgeous. I have recently come across a yarn that has taken my yarn appreciation onto new levels. I had been admiring a scarf that Anne Hanson had blogged about, and I left a rather tongue in cheek comment about how if she ever needed a test knitter for it, then I'd be more than happy to oblige. Thinking nothing more about it, I was delighted when Anne replied, saying she'd love me to test knit it, and she'd arrange to have the yarn sent over to me! The yarn comes from Great Northern Yarns, and is 70% mink and 30% cashmere. If, like me, the idea of mink makes you think of old ladies wearing rather dodgy fur coats, then think again. According to Craig, who runs the business, the minks are healthy, stress-free animals, sheared annually to provide the fibre for this most wondrous of yarns. To say it's soft is an understatement. I can honestly say that I have never felt such a soft, silky, light yarn. It is amazingly warm, and wearing it makes the yarn bloom to give a luscious feel. I've worn it loads already, and there's no sign of any pilling! I love it so much that I'm going to treat myself to some more (thus breaking my pre-KnitNation yarn diet) to make the infinity version of the scarf, all ready for next winter! Here's a picture of the scarf whilst it was blocking. It really is just dreamy!


Monkey Bread blocking 001


A yarn that I have tried very hard to love, is actually more a range of yarns from Noro. I am and always will be eternally grateful to Noro yarns, because it was a skein of Noro Iro yarn that enticed me back into a yarn shop after a gap of about twenty knitting-free years. I was completely entranced by the wonderful, vivid colours, left the shop with a couple of skeins and the rest is history! Here's the scarf that I made way back in November 2007, in my pre-Ravelry days!


The start of it all! Noro Iro scarf


I still love the colours, although my yarn tastes have changed over the years, and I find myself being drawn more and more to subdued colours and semi-solids. No, what irritates me about the Noro yarns I've tried is their scratchiness, their overspun bits, their underspun bits, the added bits of twig, the knots and breaks in colourways that completely mess up a colour repeat you're working on! Do you get the picture? I'm sure an awful lot of you would want to dive into this little lot .......


Noro colour

...like children in a sweet shop, and have a good old rummage around. I'd probably join you! But given the choice, I'd rather have the mink and cashmere yarn! Which would you choose?

18 comments:

PandaBearofDoom said...

What gorgeous colors. I love it

minniemoll said...

Difficult one - the mink and cashmere sounds gorgeous, but I think I'd go for the Noro, especially if it was Silk Garden, that's one of my favourite ever yarns. I just wish they did a plain coloured version, sadly I think that you can have too many stripy clothes. Ask me how I know...!

Clicky Needles said...

I'm with you JK - Noro fabby colours but oh, those twigs.

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

The top scarf is lovely, I was a bit 'eeek!' at the mention of mink but if they don't die then it's a-ok with me.

I haven't used Noro before, it's interesting to read on this blog week that it has an equal amount of lovers and haters.

thebyrdsnest53 said...

That scarf out of mink and cashmere is gorgeous! I do love noro though for the beautiful colors.

Northern Monkey said...

Mmm that mink and cashmere yarn is gorgeous, of course the colour really does it for me but it looks so snuggly soft I am rather coveting it.
I regularly pick up Noro in yarn shops and put it back where I got it from. I really don't see the appeal, it's all scratchy, why would I want to knit with it? The colours are great of course and I've seen some lovely colours but the texture (and threat of twigs, knots and breaks) really puts me off.

Saffy said...

That mink and cashmere looks really lush.

Genki said...

Just love that Noro! I don't really like things to be perfect or easy... Has to be some kind of effort to be worth it. I think for me colour is the most important thing, so all Noro's faults are little 'quirks' that make me love it more!

knitting said...

mink and cashmere?! oh my goodness that just sounds like heaven! how wonderful that you got to be a test knitter of such a lovely pattern and such scrumptious yarn!
-cmv

Amy said...

I agree about Noro. I love the idea of them but they are disappointingly scratchy. Luckily it seems that lots of other brands are jumping on the gradient yarn bandwagon.

Moonie said...

Oh, you lucky duck! Congratulations on your test knitterliness (yes, that's a word because I say so)! Beautiful work :)

Madmum said...

I think I'm with you on the Noro - it is a love/hate thing.

Stadtwaldvogel said...

Soon I will buy this lovely mink cashmere yarn after hearing you talking so much about it! :-) I prefer semi-solid yarns, Noro is far too colorful for my taste.
Yours, Julia

Susan @ Damn, Knit & Blast It said...

Love that scarf :-)

I don't think there's anything wrong with being a yarn snob and l;oving fabulous yarn - I'm there with you :-D

Agree with the Noro thing too - I could never see the attraction - the colours always looked rather muddy to me??!!

Alexandra said...

They both look amazing! The mink looks so soft, but I love the Noro colors!

I love the scarf, the cables look great!

Kepanie said...

That mink looks absolutely dreamy! Liked reading the 411 on that.
Why can't Noro be softer? I stay away from that at my LYS. It's such a shame for something so beautiful to be so itchy.

Maria said...

I totally agree about the Noro, bitten once, will never try again.
But that mink looks so very soft and great colour

Jenny said...

I'm a complete yarn snob too, besides I love sheep too much to ever desert them for acrylic.