Friday, June 29, 2007

XRK Yarn-Along

It doesn't take a sharp-eyed reader to notice that the three XRK bloggers have very different aesthetics, and are inspired to knit for very different reasons. When the same pattern catches all of our fancies, then, it is the perfect occasion for an XRK KAL. So at MDSW when Ann and I both swooned over the same yarn in the same color, we knew it would be the perfect yarn for the first ever XRK Yarn-Along. The yarn, Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit is a 50/50 wool/tencel blend, in a beautiful silvery green colorway called Peridot.

The idea of our yarn-along is to see what the three of us create with this same yarn, to see how different knitters can take the same material and create something totally unique, as well as learn from each other how each of us treat the same material.

So as the first knitter with the Sylvan Spirit yarn, I have some impressions and observations:

- the yarn is even more beautiful knitted up than in the skein. There are beautiful yellow flecks throughout the yarn, and some darker green ones as well. The yellow surprised me, especially with the generally silvery cast of the yarn, creating a verdigris color that makes the fabric rich and interesting, even in plain stockinette. The stitches are beautifully defined, and the fabric it creates is an interesting blend of elegant (the silveriness) and rustic (the tweediness and hand).

- the wool is not like a soft merino, so it does not have that super-soft hand, but I imagine that will change some upon washing. An informative review of the yarn here confirms these suspicions. It has a crisp, almost crunchy hand, but the fabric feels a little smoother once knitted up, similar to hemp or linen, although it is not at all twine-like to knit with. I wouldn't call it itchy, but itch-tolerance is relative.

- I am getting about 5 spi on US7s.

- This yarn would make a beautiful clapotis or any other simple shawl. It isn't smoothly silky, but the drape would be divine, especially knit at a larger gauge.

I originally had the Rusted Root pattern in mind but discarded that idea when I realized that this yarn really is wool. Not in that really scratchy, Lopi-like way, but in that really warm way. This is not a summer-top yarn. So I started the Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits (also available for free here). Although my gauge is different, I think this yarn is a good match for the pattern, and it is the right weight for a cropped cardigan, a perfect, "throw-it-on-over-something" layer. But through this process, I learned something else about this yarn that I am very, very sorry to report:

- I don't think we bought enough yarn to make a cropped cardigan. A shrug? Yes. Bolero? Maybe. Vest? Sure. But a cropped cardigan with sleeves? Probably not.

- You can buy more of the yarn here.

8 comments:

Madge said...

Well, drat. Sorry to hear the yarn gnomes have been messing with ya...what? you mean you don't blame yarn shortages on gnomes? Did you manage to score some more at Webs? Fingers crossed you've foiled those gnomes and can keep on knitting!

Bridget said...

It's such nice yarn, I hope you can find more to finish the cardigan, 'cause it does seem like the perfect combo.

Ann said...

Hmm. What to do, what to do ... I'm actually mulling over the Clapotis idea ...

The yarn looks great knit up ...

Octopus Knits said...

How beautiful! The yarn is just lovely -- you must find some more to finish the cardi...

tiennie said...

Truly truly beautiful yarn! Can't wait to see what you all knit!

Mighty Momogus said...

I'm glad to get a review of the Sylvan Spirit. I love Green Mountain Spinnery - the last time we were up in Vermont we took a tour. Those machines are dementedly cool.

Good luck with your, ahem, yardage issues!

pamela wynne said...

What a great idea! Can't wait to see what you all do with it. :)

Dorothy said...

It is beautiful and the cardigan would have been gorgeous all finished and such like. I hope you can find more of that dye lot.