Sunday, 20 January 2008

Get Knitted, Yarn Fatigue & Nasty Noro

Last Saturday, I picked up Robynn, Yogic Knitter and Erqsome and we set off for Get Knitted in Bristol where we spent the day browsing yarn, occasionally chatting to other Ravellers and members of GK's local knitting group. You may have seen scenes similiar to this on other blogs already over the past week:

GK's shop is very roomy and their staff were very friendly and welcoming. It has an area for people to knit, a small play area for children and a table close to the coffee area for non-knitters to relax. It was fun - I was delighted to meet Tussah Silk, Nonnahs and Tutley Mutley (who made the most delicious Apple and Ginger cake plus facilitated a Ravelry Quiz).

I almost met Woolly Wormhead (again). It's an odd thing when someone is a fairly well known blogger and handspinner, whose blog you read from time to time. Then, you spot them at a knitting event (Ally Palace; Stitch & Bitch Day and Get Knitted, in this case) but for some reason, a natural opportunity to say hello and introduce yourself does not arise - I am not the sort of person to push myself under someone's chin. I'd feel awkward about it.

Yarn Fatigue?!
Despite spending most of the day at Get Knitted, I came away with very little. They had plenty of lovely things to browse so when I first got home, I was worried that I might be suffering from yarn fatigue!

On reflection, I think that it was because I only had one project in mind that definitely needed a yarn purchase. So although GK had some very good yarns, including imports, I was not in the mood to buy things on spec?

It also helped that I didn't see any colours I fell in love with. In this picture, Erqsome is chatting to Nonnahs, clutching a skein of yarn that she kept trying to put back. Yet every time we saw her, she had picked it up again.

In my view, that skein of yarn was destined to go home with her - there's just no point fighting against something that appeals to you so strongly. Purchase and enjoy it - end of story!

I didn't have any of those moments. Nope, instead I found myself in the Noro section, thinking about my fella. Awwww...

Nasty Noro
Roobeedoo: surely it's a bit early to be measuring the fella up for a jumper? However, I must confess that the handknitted gifts are already a fact of life - he and his son got matching hats, in different colours last October!

Over Christmas and New Year, the fella mentioned that he needed a scarf. Now I know exactly what scarf I would like to knit for him but it requires me to learn a new technique, so that has to be put on the back burner until later in the year. We discussed an interim scarf.

We found ourselves in a little LYS in Wales at the New Year, where they had some Noro. There was a Noro Silk Garden colourway that he liked but the shop only had 1 ball in stock (#86).
So last Saturday, I searched GK's Noro section. Not there. I consulted their Noro brochure. Not there. So I think that it might be a discontinued colour?

So, after much dithering and worrying about whether the yarn was soft enough and whether this colour would suit the fella (or be better for his son), I picked out colour #47 instead.

Ok - Noro Silk Garden - it looks okay in ball form? Pleasant even? Hmm. The best that I can say is that it photographs quite well (all images in this post should enlarge, when clicked) but I have no plans to buy another ball of this yarn ever again.

Personally, I found it grim and scratchy to work with. It left prickly fibres between my fingers as I worked. To the point where I am now worried that the scarf will be too itchy to wear.

So can anyone explain, why do people rave about this yarn so much? I understand the colour and striping thing but surely that doesn't compensate completely for how unpleasant this yarn is to the touch? Why is it so expensive? More importantly, does it soften with wear?!

So, after the above photoshoot (for the fella to see how the colours turned out), I have soaked it in Eucalan (to try to reanimate the lambswool, despite the yarn saying dry clean only) and it is now blocking on my spare bed, giving off an almighty stench of ancient sheep. If that doesn't work, then my only hope is to line it with fleece, so it can be worn without exfoliating its wearer's neck.

I am still not sure whether the colours will work for the fella or whether they would be appreciated more by his son (they would certainly go better with his hat). Ho hum, perhaps they can fight over it, in the event that it dries soft enough to wear?

Okay, I must get back to my sport admin and Puss in Boots wrap template work...I am so behind on everything...I am trying to catch up, I am, I am.


Shannon said...

I actually knit a cardigan in silk garden. I didn't mind working with it and kind of like the more organic nature of it (i.e. the plant matter one sometimes finds). I actually soaked mine in some organic hair conditioner and it softened up a ton. I tend to have fairly sensitive skin so thought I'd be resigned to wearing said cardigan always with a long-sleeved shirt. Not so! The conditioner helped and I wore it several times with a t-shirt.

I used HRH Duchy conditioner if you must know.

Team Knit ! said...

It does soften with wear, it really does. But I know what you mean- I was wondering the exact same thing myself the first time I knit with it. And what's with all the twigs and plant stuff in it? Yeesh.


Roobeedoo said...

Too early for a sweater? After spending Christmas with the guy?! Anyway.... have you looked at Lang's Mille Colori? It is 50/50 wool / acrylic (aargh!) but is very soft, very lovely colours, and self-stripes most Noro-esquely, without the wildlife. £1.95 for 50g at Knitting 4 Fun dot com.

Roobeedoo said...

Sorry - £2.95

Yogicknitter said...

Bev was starting a project with some on Sunday and says it does soften up quite a bit so I am sure it will be great. I loved the colours when you brought it around on Saturday.

Deenz said...

I made Klaralund with Silk Garden and LOVE it. I'm sensitive to scratchy fabric in general, and Eucalan has elimiated all itchiness. Every time I Eucalan it, I swear it gets softer and softer...but then, it all depends on your personal sensitivity! Good luck!

TutleyMutley said...

I've posted the Ginger Applecake recipe on my blog...
Your photos are far superior!