Showing posts with label Substituting Yarn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Substituting Yarn. Show all posts

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Cast-on loosely and don't knit tight - knitting lace with fingering weight mohair yarn

Wisp: Pattern by Cheryl Niamath (published in Knitty, Summer 2007), Yarn: Patons UK Misty

The Wisp Shawl pattern by Cheryl Niamath has somewhat turned into a classic lace knitting pattern and due to its simplicity it tends to attract many beginner lace knitters, who may never have used cobweb or fingering weight yarn in any of their projects before.

Though not my first lace project, I, too, opted for the pattern as I wanted to gain experience knitting lace with fingering weight yarn, whilst completing a relatively simple pattern. Niamath's Wisp fulfils these requirements and due to its straightforward stitch sequence, it allows you to concentrate on your manual ability and, above all, to get a feel for working with extremely fine yarn. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Substituting Rowan Kidsilk Haze

Kidsilk Haze must be one of Rowan's bestselling yarns. As I am writing this entry, Kidsilk Haze has been stashed 11813 times on Ravelry, knitters have produced 14396 garments with the yarn and it's a consistent favourite amongst designers. I have personally met the yarn in my local yarn store, I have touched it, my eyes have feasted on the fantastic colourways in which it is produced and I regularly drool over photos of Kidsilk Haze and other yarns in the Kidsilk family when browsing through online yarn shops. Yes, there are several members in the Kidsilk family: Kidsilk Spray, Kidsilk Night and Kidsilk Aura, which I believe has now been discontinued. I love them all.

Rowan Kidsilk Haze

And yet, I have resisted buying Kidsilk Haze. I first came across Kidsilk Haze in a pattern book by Laura Harding. I had been knitting for a mere few months then and didn't know anything about yarn and the price tag that comes (quite rightly) with certain materials - Kidsilk Haze is a blend of Super Kid Mohair (70%) and Silk (30%). Blissfully ignorant, I looked it up on the internet and was quite simply taken aback by the price. Just about having completed my first fingerless glove in an awfully cheap acrylic yarn, I was after a yarn that was a bit more luxurious, yet affordable, a yarn with a purchase price, which I, an absolute beginner, could justify in case my project went horribly wrong. Therefore, I was unable to buy Kidsilk Haze. I didn't think my level of skill would do the expense and the beauty of the yarn justice.

Nevertheless, if I didn't allow myself Kidsilk Haze, I at least wanted something like Kidsilk Haze. And so the endless quest for a substitute had begun - alongside the perennial search for Kidsilk Haze at a knockdown price: That illusive skein of Kidsilk somewhere on sale for less than £3.50. (Yeah, I's never going to happen.) Considering that 25g currently retail at just over £8.00, you are lucky if you are able to locate a skein for £5.95, and that would be in a discontinued colour, of which probably only one skein is held in stock. It has crossed my mind that instead of buying gold bullions for investment purposes, it might be just as prudent to have a few skeins of Kidsilk in your vault. I don't think prices for the stuff are about to drop any time soon and it might be a good hedge against inflation.

Patons UK Misty

In the light of all this praise, I need to make absolutely clear that I don't think any substitute not equivalent in materials will ever come close to Kidsilk, but this is not necessarily the task a cheaper alternative is supposed to fulfil. When substituting yarn in this particular case, I am aware that a cheaper alternative will produce an approximation in texture and look. I am perfectly happy with this - for the time being.

Patons UK Misty

After months of searching for this alternative, I found a possible candidate: Patons UK Misty, a blend of Mohair (70%) and Polyamide (30%) with a recommended needle size of 3.25 - 5.00mm (US: 3 - 8). Due to the Polyamide replacing the Silk content, Misty is a lot shinier than Kidsilk Haze. I haven't started to knit with Misty in earnest, but as far as first impressions go, I think Misty could be a frugal alternative. The yarn looks and feels luxurious. Whether it can live up to my expectations will soon be put to the test.

I have ten skeins of Misty in my stash and a few suitable patterns in mind. I will probably start swatching next weekend.  Ice Queen by Rosemary (Romi) Hill, which is available free on Knitty's website, or Branching Out by Susan Lawrence, a pattern which was the subject of a previous article and which is also available on Knitty's website, are two possible candidates.

Update: I decided to use Patons (UK) Misty for Citron by Hilary Smith Callis. For more on this, please have a look at my Citron blogpost.

Another update: I have used Misty for another project. This time, it was a stole designed by Cheryl Niamath. Project notes are now available on the blog. For a preview picture, please see below.

Wisp by Cheryl Niamath
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