Thursday, December 31, 2009

GWOY: January 2010 Swatches

I love knitting swatches for the GWOY at the semi-annual TNNA trade show!  I have been doing these swatches for years and have included pictures of them on this blog for the past couple of years: January 2007, January 2008, January 2009, and June 2009 .  This gives me such a wonderful chance to play with new fibers that I might not even hear about otherwise!  I also get a chance to try out some stitch-patterns or ideas that are roaming around my head ... as there is always so much up there that never makes it to the needle or a final project -- swatches are a great solution.

This time I asked Heidi at Trendsetter Yarns (the company that organizes the GWOY) to send all fingering weight yarns ... I just didn't want to mess with novelty yarns this time.  I love the classic look of even new fibers (such as POSSUM!) and how you can update them with styling and color.

Here are the swatches I did for this go-round:

I received two yarns from Zealana Yarns:

 Kiwi -- 40% NW merino, 30% organic cotton, 30% possum.  This yarn (this is "tussock", a sage/mustard color) knits up beautifully and really shows great stitch definition.  I knit the swatch on US#3s and this would make such a great year-round sweater/top!

 Rimu -- 60% NZ merino and 40% possum.  Who'd a thunk possum would make such a gorgeous yarn?  I received a ball of Paru Brown that just begged to be knit in a lace "tree" pattern.  The yarn is soft but holds a nice stitch-definition using US#4 needles.

Origin Cachemire is a yarn distributed by Bergere de France and is lovely -- but made of 90% cashemere and 10% wool, what would you expect?  I used US #4 needles and knit a small sock with a textured (knit/purl) design.  The sock is knit toe-up with a short-rowed garter heel.  Wouldn't you love a pair of cashemere socks?  This yarn would also knit up into a nice, year-round weight sweater.

Firefly from Classic Elite is a lovely yarn made of 75% viscose and 25% linen.  Stiff to the feel, it knits beautifully and once washed, the linen softens slightly but still keeps the great stitch-definition necessary when doing lace patterns.  Here, knit on US#5s, I did a lace-rib pattern with slowly decreasing purl ribs (down to 1 purl between) than increasing to 7 purls between the lace columns.  I can see this yarn as gorgeous summer top with a fitted waist. 

Be Sweet's Cotton Candy is an 100% organic cotton yarn that is hand-dyed and balled by women in a South African co-op.  This yarn is beautiful -- the color, the feel, the knittability.  This colorway is called Greens-Mix and is a beautiful blend from a pale yellow-green through to a very blue-green.  I did the knit-purl texture "hem" and a lace-arches above -- seeing a spring/summer top.  I love the way the color-patches follow the flowing lines created by yo's and k3togs!  I used US#5 needles to create this swatch and the "hand" was perfect.

Enjoy these new yarn offerings and revel in the ability we have today to create with fibers as diverse as between possum and organic cotton from South Africa!  Get a ball of something unique and test-drive it by doing a swatch and seeing if you like it ... and please, let me know what cool yarns you discover!

BTW, I challenged myself to only use Lisl Fanderl's Bauerliches Stricken 1 for the stitch patterns, playing with different stitches and ideas until finding just the right one that would show off the yarns in a unique or clever way.  The three volumes in this set are easy to use even though the books are written in German -- the patterns are all charted and the symbols are easy to figure out.  Lots of fun, traditional patterns based on hand-knit items from the Alpine regions of Germany and Austria.

Happy knittin'
Mary C. Gildersleeve
By Hand, With Heart -- hand-knit designs

1 comment:

Leanne Pressly said...

I'm curious about this project.... as I didn't realize you could get some of the same sample skeins from manufacturers. I'm sure you didn't do these with those little sample strands!