lunedì 1 ottobre 2012

Knitting with Textured (or Art) Yarn

Knitting with handspun textured (or art yarn) can be fun, but it can also be a disaster! I am always drawn to these whimsical, colourful yarns, but I have learned to consider very carefully before purchasing!
1) It is usually quite expensive,
2) usually there is not enough for a decent sized project and, so
3) it just ends up sitting in your stash.... Every once in a while you take it out, admire it, touch it and revel in its uniqueness... but, inevitably you end up putting it away in its snug little moth proof bag because you still do not have the right project!!

Choosing the right project can mean the difference between success and lots of compliments or failure and thinking "what in the world every convinced me to spend $xxx on this yarn??"

I hope that my experience in working with these lovely, unique yarns will help you in your choices should you decide on purchasing textured or art yarn!

My first experience was with this lovely yarn called "Clouds" by Moonrover (on Etsy and on Ravelry). When I saw that progression of colours from earthy browns to grassy greens to sky blues and fluffy clouds and finally the midnight sky... I could not resist even though it had a whopping price tag of $80.00! I had to have that yarn.. and add to that $80 price tag the cost of shipping from the US to Italy and the customs duty!! I shall say no more! But I could not resist those fluffy little clouds.. and soon they were mine, all 190 yds of them!! You can't do much with 190 yds! and after having spent close to $100 I felt like I had to make something that would say "look at how beautiful I am!"
I finally decided on a stole that I called "earth, grass, sky" in which this handspun would be the focal point. Yes, I spent even more money on the yarn used to complement "Clouds", but the results were worth the additional cost and I now have a stole/throw that I enjoyed all last winter and will continue to enjoy for years to come!

In my next foray into the world of textured yarns I was a bit more judicious! First of all, I looked for an EU seller on Etsy to avoid the high shipping costs and customs duties! Secondly, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do with the yarn. I wanted to make a gift for my sister, born on October 29th and a great fan of Halloween! So, I put handspun yarn and halloween into the Etsy search bar and narrowed the results to European sellers. and this is what I came up with! Wild Pumpkins and Dark Pumpkins by WeirdAndTwisted (
It was perfect! And... since I was buying both skeins the seller didn't charge me any shipping charges (I did do a little bargaining!) My sister decided that she really preferred the Dark Pumpkins and that she wanted an Infinity Scarf.

So I went to my stash and found some black worsted weight yarn and started playing with gauge, number of stitches and where to put the pumpkins. Again, this lovely textured yarn with its bright orange Halloween pumpkins would be the focal point of the project.
This is what I finally knit for my sister. I didn't get it done for last Halloween, but this past summer my daughter was in for a visit and she took it back (thus saving me the shipping costs) to my sister in Pennsylvania.

Of course, I still had the Wild Pumpkins in my stash. So I went back to WeirdAndTwisted and asked her to spin me up some matching yarn without the pumpkins but in the same colours.
She still had some of the bright orange fiber and so she came up with Mostly Orange II.
She kindly offered to sell me just one of the skeins, but since I wanted to be the only one with this colour - I love being unique - I purchased both and got to work looking for a pattern for this great yarn.

Again, I looked for a design in which the textured Wild Pumpkin yarn would stand out it all of its crazy Halloween glory!

I finally found the shape shawl I wanted - a narrow crescent - and although the original pattern envisioned a section of mosaic colour work. I decided to substitute the Wild Pumpkins for the mosaic work and the results were really stunning!

This shawl is on sale for Euro 250 until October 15th.
If it sells, fine - if not.. this is what I will be sporting this fall!!

Summing things up - when you are drawn to an expensive yarn, whether it be textured or art yarn or an extravagant silk yarn, consider this advice:

1) Look for a seller who is close to you geographically to save on shipping and custom costs - use your head! I learned this the hard way!
2) Go ahead and splurge on enough coordinating yarn so you can make a project worth the expense!
3) Make the yarn the focal  point of your project so it stands out and makes its artistic statement!