I have been working on test knitting all of my yarns, something I have wanted to do for a long time, but just couldn’t quite seem to accomplish. It’s not like I know nothing about my yarns – I have knit with Haughty, Coquette, and Coquette Lace and I dye and handle all of them and know their hand and that they are all fantastically milled, consistent yarns with practically invisible joins and zero knots. I have been very picky about what yarns I will add to my line, but that is still not the same as having spent dozens of hours knitting with them. Knitting them has given me much better information about things like whether they are splitty, prone to pilling, how they block, stitch definition and subtle preferences about fibers and blends that are harder to articulate. I discovered that I absolutely love Minx, a yarn I had not carried much because it’s relatively high price just didn’t seem justified. The Bluefaced Leicester is a rare wool and I know it is prized by some knitters, but I didn’t really understand why from a tactile perspective until I knit Across the Pond with it. It occupied a sort of perfect place for me I found – it has that “wool” feel, that slightly wiry loftiness, but with a luster, strength and softness that remind me of silk, and blending it with silk and cashmere just play up it’s sheen and softness. Minx is a near perfect yarn for me, but I had to spend some to time with it to learn that.
Since I enjoyed the Bluefaced Leicester so much in a blend, I decided to try a batch of 100% BFL in an Aran weight to do some traditional sweater knitting. I knitted Fimma, an Icelandic sweater, for my little boy in under a week. I am pretty happy with how it turned out, although I always feel like my colorwork tension could improve a bit and I need to work on my technique for changing colors each row to keep that space from opening up at the start of the row where you dropped one color and picked up a new one. But given how hard my kid is on all of his things, I am not sweating the little imperfections too much. As far as the yarn… I admit it is not the crazy soft decadent yarns I am accustomed to, but taken on it’s merits – as a pure wool spun with traditional sweater knitting in mind, it’s a lovely yarn. It is soft as far as wool goes and it has a bit of drape to it that distinguishes it from merino, plus it’s silky sheen. It is clearly a stronger fiber than merino – it has long staple and I suspect this sweater is going to wear wonderfully. So, for traditional sweater knitting where you need a hard wearing wool but still want something special that is softer and more luminous that traditional wool, Ardent, in 100% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, is a great choice.
Ardent will be available tonight, Friday February 26th, at 7pm, PST.