Friday, 16 September 2016

Blacker Cornish Tin 11th Birthday Blend

Many of you will remember this time last year we were all getting very excited about Blacker Yarns 10th Birthday and their very special limited edition 10th Birthday Blend.  It sold out so quickly, it wasn't long before both the shelves at BritYarn and Blacker were looking quite bare. 

Cornish Tin II in all its glory.
The wonderful people at Blacker have decided, as so many of you missed out last year, to create another unique limited edition blend to celebrate their 11th birthday - Cornish Tin II. 

BritYarn is delighted to be stocking this amazing yarn in both 4 ply and DK.  The yarn comes in 100g skeins (350m for 4 ply and 220m for DK).  This time there are seven rich dyed shades and one undyed natural grey all named after Cornish Tin Mines.  

The 11th Birthday Blend has been created by blending together Alpaca, Portland, Saxon Merino, Gotland, Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair, and English Merino.  All the sheep live in the UK and come from Blacker Yarns favourite small producers. 

I was very lucky to be sent a little sample to have a play with before the big boxes started arriving at BritYarn.   

To the squish the yarn feels very bouncy and has a silkiness to it but not a squishy soft silkiness (if that makes sense!).   As different fibres (and their natural shades) react differently to dye the seven dyed shades have lovely subtle variations and you can still see some of the amazing darker fibres.  The undyed Levant Grey is a stunning silver shade with lovely hints of lighter and darker fibres.

My little skein of Poldice Pink.
I wanted my swatch to test out as many things as I could. I picked out the Cascading Leaves pattern from 750 Knitting Stitches.  I decided to alter the background stitch for the bottom and top sections to stocking stitch rather than reverse stocking stitch.  Sadly I ran out of yarn so that last few rows and cast off was actually done in my leftover sample mini skein of Cornish Tin 10th Birthday Blend.

The yarn was a real pleasure to work with.  It flowed through my fingers really smoothly (the 10th Blend had more of a rustic and sticky feel to it).  While knitting the yarn felt substantial and strong and I am sure it would love being ripped out! 

The stitches in my unblocked swatch look wonderfully defined and sit nicely together making the yarn brilliant for colourwork projects. My unblocked swatch was noticeable softer then my precious blocked 10th Birthday Blend swatch. There was a slight halo to the swatch and it had a lovely drape.  I should add my yarn was DK and I used 4mm needles.
As we all know giving our projects a nice bath and a block does magical things.......
My blocked swatch

Now I loved the 10th Birthday Tin but I have to be very honest and say I love this even more!  The yarn has bloomed and my swatch just feels devine.  It has a substance to it that is really pleasing but a lovely softness to it (I don't mean buttery BFL soft but I can't think of the right word).  
Cornish Tin II would be amazing for pretty much everything.  It would be great for open work, colourwork and cables.  It would equally be just wonderful in relaxing garter or stocking stitch projects.  Accessories would be amazing such as hats, shawls, gloves.  It would also make a very special garment.  I am thinking jumpers and cardigans by Tin Can Knits especially.  The only thing I personally would not use it for is socks..... why you ask?  Because this yarn just needs to be shown off to the world and not hidden in shoes and boots! 

Cornish Tin II 11th Birthday Blend goes on sale Tuesday 20th September 2016.  Remember this yarn is limited edition and will only be made this once.

If you are thinking about using Cornish Tin II with perhaps Tamar or Classic 4 ply I highly recommend you check out the amazing blog by Erika Eccles.  


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Great British Socks Away KAL is returning

That's right everyone The Great British Socks Away KAL is coming back next Friday 23rd September.  Everyone who took part last year had a great time.  It has brilliant to hear how the KAL has inspired so many of you in your sock knitting adventures. 

Like last year it will take place over in the BritYarn Ravelry Group.  If anyone wants to share their photos on Twitter and Instagram you can use the hashtag #GBSocksAwayKAL16.  

The chatter has already started in the group with plans being made and stash being rummaged through.  The rules are straightforward:

  • We will all cast on our socks of choice on Friday 23rd September 2016.
  • The yarn must be grown in Britain OR be grown local to you if you do not live in Great Britain. Of course you are still welcome to use British grown yarn if you wish. The yarn can be from your stash, a BritYarn purchase or bought from elsewhere.
  • Blends (taken from BritYarn’s Woolly Principles) using other natural fibres can be used e.g. linen as long as they comprise a maximum of 50% of the total content. Synthetic material in a blend, e.g. nylon should only account for 25% of the total content.
  • Any sock pattern can be used.
  • To be eligible for a prizes you need to post a photo of your finished pair of socks in the FO thread in the BritYarn Ravelry group by midnight Monday 31st October 2016.
  • You are more than welcome to double dip as long as the above rules apply. 
If you are new to sock knitting and fancy taking part please don't be shy..... there are all skill levels taking part and everyone is really friendly.

Hope to see you over in the BritYarn group! 

Looking for inspiration.......

Lazy Sunday Knitted Socks by Jane Burns

Sock Anatomy by Clare Devine

Blacker Classic 4 Ply

West Yorkshire Spinners Cocktail Range 

Britsock - The Knitting Goddess