It’s A Kind Of Magic

Five balls of yarn curve around a photo of the Northern Lights. The yarn matches the colours in the picture - dark blue, blue-green, grey, acid aqua and apple green. The background is a pale gold carpet

Back in February I had a design submission accepted. I was asked if I would be interested in using a particular dyer’s yarn and I jumped at the chance. The dyer in question is Rachael of Cat and Sparrow. We had some communication about the project and she asked if I had particular colours in mind. I replied with “Something like this?” and sent the picture that had inspired the design.

When the yarns arrived I was utterly stunned. “Something like this?” – it was exactly like that!! Rachael had worked absolute magic. The yarn is Singular BFL, a Bluefaced Leicester fingering weight singles yarn. ‘Singles’ just means it only has one ply. It was a joy to work with and I am SO pleased with the results.

When you are sent a specially dyed set of yarn that’s all there is – you can’t just go and buy some more to experiment with – so, although I’d swatched my idea thoroughly in completely different yarns and was clear on how the pattern would work, there wasn’t a lot of wriggle room for playing with and checking the best order of colours. So, I turned back to a technique from my City & Guilds in Hand Knit Design (thanks Loraine!). A great way to try ideas out and compare them without using up lots of time or yarn:

Trying out colour order options

The finished pattern – Bargello Aurora Wrap – is being published this Thursday (September 1st) in The Knitter, Issue 180 (that link should update to be Issue 180 on Thursday). Rachael is selling kits of the yarn on her website, dyed exactly the same as the yarn I knit the sample in, for you to knit this lovely wrap. And the finished design and kit has a 10+% meterage buffer for each colour, so it won’t be a disaster if your tension is a little looser than mine. You shouldn’t end up playing yarn chicken!

5 Skeins of yarn in a pile. Dark Blue, grey, blue-green, apple green and jade
Bargello Aurora Yarn Kit from Cat and Sparrow UK

The wrap is worked lengthwise in order to get the maximum effect from the angled stripes (you’ll see…!), which has the added benefit of minimising the number of yarn ends to weave in once you are finished!.

Here’s a very sneaky peek from when it first came off the needles, before being blocked:

Bargello Aurora unblocked

This yarn has no problem being blocked firmly despite being a single ply construction – it was surprisingly strong and has great stitch memory. I’m not showing you the finished item though – you’ll have to wait until Thursday for the big reveal on that one!

Whilst the news of this design is very current, the wrap was knitted many months ago (in March). This week I have been working on two knitting projects, one of which I can show you. The latest secret knitting is coming on well and I’m now on the fourth section of five. I had got as far as halfway through section three before (did I tell you?) when I had to admit some aspects were not pleasing me, so I cast off, blocked it and reconsidered. That was definitely worthwhile as it looks FAR better now – tiny tweaks but they’ve had a big impact. Of course, I can’t show you that one.

The other knitting project I cast on for on Thursday. I finished it last night and it is now blocking on a balloon.

That’s the joy of a hat – it’s small and quick and this one was good telly knitting (apart from when I missed a couple of yarn overs and had to fix it a couple of rounds later), especially as the yarn was a DK weight and light in colour. The pattern is Rachis from Woolly Wormhead and the yarn is from The Midnight Dyery (dyed when she was The Project Bag). I highly recommend the pattern (and the yarn)! I made the fourth size of six (21″) and there was plenty of yarn left from a single skein.

The other piece of big news is that Yarn Gathering is now less than three weeks away! When Anne at Yarn O’clock and I first started talking about and planning this event, September seemed such a long time away. And now it’s so close!

It’s very exciting for us that, since we first circulated the idea amongst yarnie friends/possible vendors, there has been such a positive response. We’ve even had some local fibre artists we didn’t know about contact us and ask if there might be room for them to have a stand.

Hopefully you’ve seen the posts that I’ve been publishing on Instagram and Facebook in the past week or so, each one spotlighting a different vendor. Yarn Gathering even has its own Instagram page now (@yarn_gathering_nwales) which should make it even easier for people to get details about the vendors they can come and meet. And, of course, I’m updating the webpage whenever I get additional info.

Yarn Gathering will be a small event (only a dozen or so stands), but since the Mold Food & Drink Festival is also on, it’s a great opportunity to make a day of a trip to our lovely corner of North East Wales!

I think that’s all I have time to tell you about today – I’m now going to help my lovely wife attempt to straighten up the washing line with the use of potting grit down the side of the post… Wish me luck! K x

2 thoughts on “It’s A Kind Of Magic

  1. Beautiful colours and shawl. I would love to have a go at weaving the picture in the sam colours .

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