Merino & Acrylic- Deramores a Nice Choice

I was surprised at how soft and gentle I found Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn. It is quite lofty and works up very smoothly. I found it really pleasant to use, and would gladly pick it up again. It is not as springy as I would have thought by looking at it (yet there is a little),it is very stable and giving great stitch definition.

Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn. Www.lindadeancrochet.com

Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn

This yarn is half acrylic and half Merino Wool, which might explain the lack of springiness, as Merino may be known for its softness and warm, but it appears that this combination with acrylic reduces the amount of stretch that might otherwise be present. It is probably the Merino that gives this yarn its loft and airiness appearance, yet the acrylic tempers it enough that it could be worked as a home décor item, instead of the garment wear that I usually feel is better fitting for Merino.

It is a 5 ply yarn may have a slight tendency to pill after excessive wear, yet does not split when being worked. The fiber has a moderate length and this gives the yarn a slight halo, this is also caused by the ply. It allows light to be refracted offering a subtle type of sheen, that I cannot quite fond the word for.

This yarn is a medium weight and a generous 100 gram ball has 153 yards, which goes a bit further then you might first think. I would readily use it for hats and scarves, but also for pillows and afghans. As it does not have much weight for a hearty drape, I would not use if for hairpin lace, and it has a bit too much spring for broomstick lace and love knot stitches, but it will work well with most all of traditional crochet methods.

A Different Sheep- Blue Faced- and the Yarn

It is becoming a bit more common to find the breed of the sheep listed as the fiber content of yarns, but without some knowledge of the breed it can make it difficult to assess what to expect from the yarn, it can actually make it difficult to assess the yarn itself, as often you may not even realize that it is a wool breed.

Blue Faced Luster or Bluefaced Leicester is an English Sheep breed, and the Leicester (sometimes seen as Luster, especially in the American market) is actually a reference to a geographic location of this long fleece breed. The staple, the actual individual “hair” of the fleece, is long; anywhere from 5-18” (13-46cm), so this means that the yarn can hold together even with less “twist” then some other wool. Essentially what this means is that because the fiber is longer it does not need to be twisted as often to catch hold of other fibers, as a result they may not hold as much air being less warm as some shorter stapled fibers…but not by much as the fiber also has a fine crimp.

Bluefaced Leicester yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Aran Prints yarn. (color pheasant)

Wool fibers can retain heat due to air pockets. Like insulation the more “pockets” that can trap air the more it can trap heat. So when a staple is twisted with other staples the spaces between cause pockets of air. The crimp of a fiber, is how much “wave” it has. It is a zig zag effect, and the more crimp the more the fiber can create air pockets and retain heat.

The staple also has a fine micron count, this results in a soft yarn. The micron count in the diameter of an individual strand of fiber. The easiest way to think of a comparison in micron count is to think of the hair of a small child and a grown adult. The child’s hair is noticeably softer then the adults, this is because its micron count is smaller, it is thinner, then the adult.

So with Bluefaced Leicester having all these qualities you can expect that the yarn will have a softness and billowiness to it, as I discovered in West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Aran Prints. This yarn is true to the nature of the breed. It has a soft yet durable ply that results in a well-defined yarn that gives good stitch definition. This particular yarn has a very versatile quality and can easily create an accessory such as a scarf or hat, item for home décor or a light sweater. I think that this can easily be a go to wool yarn, which fits the build for many projects.

There is some subtle qualities of various wools, and the subtle differences in this one is not something that you will regret.

Big Squeeze by Ancient Arts- A Lofty Experience

I have played with a lot of yarn over the years, but I do not think that I have ever found a yarn that is so forgiving, or as “squishy” as Ancient Arts Big Squeeze.

This yarn is 100% Superwash Merino, as a result it will not felt or shrink but has a very soft feel. The way this yarn is spun it has a great loft to it, and this has a couple of benefits. Not only is it forgiving in the stitches, and adjusting well for uneven tension, but it also holds more air making it warmer.

Ancient Arts Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Ancient Arts Yarn Big Squeeze color Frolic

This bulky weight yarn comes in a skein size of 127 yards (116 meters), which is comparable to other skeins of this weight, and one skein can easily complete a scarf or hat project. With the larger yarn, it garners a need for a larger hook a J/10/6.00mm will give you a pretty dense fabric, and you may prefer working with a hook size of at least K/10 ½ /6.5mm or greater.

The smooth even ply of this yarn also gives great stitch definition so it makes your stitches the star of the show, even though it comes in over 125 brilliant colors.

I feel this yarn will work up nicely in any home décor, simple accessory, or outer wear garment project. Due to the weight and lofty, it is obviously not the choice for small delicate items (in either look or feel). I also would not necessarily recommend it for projects that have a lot of fine detail, as the large bulk and hook make the details almost disappear.

My overall impression of this yarn is that I could just wrap myself in it and it would be a pillow and a blanket, maybe an all in one cocoon, which I could happily go about my day. It is a dream to work with.

Wool of the Andes, Some Thoughts

ScannedImage

There are many different yarns in the world. Many different textures, and ply, many different fibers, and qualities, and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes is an interesting yarn.

It is listed as a medium/worsted weight yarn, to me it seems to be on the lighter side of this definition and I would probably treat it as a light/DK weight yarn. It is comprised of 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, which essentially just tells that the sheep that produced this fiber lived in an area of higher elevation in Peru. However with a little more research into this yarn, aside from what the ball wrap says, apparently the Peruvian Sheep are a cross breed of Corriedale and Merino, however they are not a recognized breed in themselves. This cross breeding for to create a stable hardy wool that has a more fine texture, and thus a little softer.

Understand wool. Www.lindadeancrochet.com

Pre-felted swatch of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes

It is not overly soft, actually it seems utilitarian to me, but it is stable. It has a little springiness, and average drape. I feel this yarn fits most practical purposes, it could make a nice throw, or dabble in home décor with rugs or pillows. A nice hat could be created, but not for charities that are offering hats to chemotherapy patients. I do not feel that there is enough loft, or softness for garment wear that rests on the skin, and it has a little scratch to the soft skin under the chin, so it rules out a scarf or shawl for me.

It is a great felting yarn, meaning that if you intend to have all of your stitches disappear and create completely solid fabric (with a bit of shrinkage), then this yarn can fit the build. However this does then limit ability to care for any item created with this yarn, as it will need to be hand washed and laid flat to dry. When I felted with it, I ended up with a fabric that felted really easy, and quickly. I simply placed my swatch in with a load of denim jeans in the washing machine, and the washer and dryer did the work. I would suggest that if you are planning a felting project, like slippers or a handbag, crochet it about twice the finished size, and then felt.

Understanding wool. Www.lindadeancrochet.com

The same swatch felted (box indicates original size).

I know that there are many that love this yarn, but for me it is not a go-to. I see some purposes for it, but those purposes are not in my everyday uses.

Make It For Me- Flutterfall Shawl

ScannedImageThank you everyone joint me today from ELK Studio for the month long Make It For Me Event! (If you are not aware of this event, check it out here).

img_7503-2

Flutterfall Shawl By Linda Dean

I am happy to share my Flutterfall Shawl with you as my FREE pattern today. It is primarily created with just a chain stitch, and allows for a simple skein of yarn to go on for what seems like forever, and if you have a varigated yarn, it creates interesting pooling (more than might be usually apparent).

The design begins at the base of the neck and is increased at both sides as well as the center to create a flowing triangle, that is quite graceful.

The sample below is created with just 1 skein of a hand painted yarn, Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! ( it is light weight, 80% superwash Merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere, 4oz/495yds), but the pattern can really be created with any yarn using an appropriate size hook. Just work it until you are happy with the size and add the edging.

img_7499-2

Flutterfall Shawl By Linda Dean

 

Flutterfall Shawl   by: Linda Dean (Get a Printable Version here for $2.00 US)

Stunningly simple, yet the effect is confident and enjoyable. This simple stitch pattern allows the yarn to be the star; it has great drape and fabulous flow. This is a design you will work up over and over again.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner    Finished Size Approximately: 64”x 31”

Material List:

  • I/9/5.50mm crochet hook
  • Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! Light weight 80% superwash Merino 10% nylon 10%Cashmere (4oz/495yrds) 1 skein
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 (sc, ch 3) groups/8 rows= 4”

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

dc: double crochet

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

Yo: yarn over

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

This pattern starts in the center middle and worked outward.

Shell- [dc, (ch1, dc) 4 times] in the same indicated stitch.

Row 1: Ch 2, [sc , (ch 3, sc) 3 times] all in 2nd  ch from hook, turn. -4 sc, (3) ch-3 sps

Row 2: Ch 6 (counts as dc and ch 3 now and throughout), sc in next sc, ch 3, dc in next ch-3 sp (place marker in dc to mark as center), ch 3, sc in next sc, ch 3, dc in last sc, turn. – 3 dc, 2 sc, (4) ch-3 sps

When working a (sc, ch 3, sc) into a marked dc, move the marker up to the ch-3 sp to mark the center of the shawl. When working a dc into a marked ch-3 sp, move the marker up to the dc to mark the center of the shawl.

Row 3: Ch 1, (sc, ch 3, sc) in same dc, ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to marked st, (sc, ch 3, sc) in marked st,  ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across, ending with (sc, ch 3, sc) in 3rd ch of beg ch, turn.  –8 sc, (7) ch-3 sps

Row 4: Ch 6, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to marker, dc in center ch-3 sp,  ch 3, (sc in next sc, ch 3) across to last sc, dc in last st, turn. -3 dc, 6 sc, (8) ch-3 sps

Row 5-52: Rep Rows 3 & 4 twenty-three times. – 3 dc, 102 sc, (104) ch-3 sps

Row 53: ch 1, sc in same st, [Shell in next sc, sc in next sc] around. Finish off. -52 shells, 53 sc

Finishing- Weave in ends and block.

Copywrite 2016 Linda Dean Crochet