Welcome back to our second installment of the SGY Roundtable blog post series! In this bi-weekly column, we want to share with you the current discussions and thoughts of some of the fibre artists around the studio.
Last post we introduced ourselves as contributors to Felicia’s Blog, studio dyers, and unapologetic fibre geeks. This week we’d like to invite you to join us discussion about our favourite SweetGeorgia Yarns.
The topic we brought to the table was…
What is your favourite SweetGeorgia yarn? What have you knit with it? What do you plan to make with it next? What makes this yarn stand out to you?
Ginny // CashLuxe Fine, Trinity Worsted, and Silk Crush
Sure, just ask the knitters their favourite yarn… let’s go find some bibliophiles and ask for their favourite book, or some cinephiles their favourite movie, or ask my boyfriend his favourite 90s cartoon or Tom Waits song.
How about top three? I love CashLuxe Fine — I love how soft it is but how durable the nylon content makes it. It’s so perfect for those one skein shawlettes and I will fully admit to spending time arranging jewel tone palettes in it when I am supposed to be inventorying our stock of CashLuxe Fine.
Trinity Worsted is just delicious. The silk really sparkles in the strands and lighter colours like Wisteria gain so much depth. It’s perfect for cables and stitch patterns like moss stitch.
And my third top yarn? Silk Crush! I’m always pleasantly surprised at how subtle colours become on the superwash merino and silk blend. The two ply makes it perfect for lace, but it creates a cushy, chenille-like stockinette, especially held doubled.
Felicia’s Lilac Leaves in Silk Crush in English Ivy has been hanging on our sample rack for two and a half years. Most of the garments and shawls need a little bit of a steam and a rest after being packed into boxes for shows or conventions, but the Silk Crush shawl always looks new even after being squished and handled by dozens of people. It’s really the perfect yarn for a shawl that will be worn in the rain and heavy humidity of Vancouver.
Liisa // BFL Sock
Since my cultural background is one of sparsity, around-the-clock darkness and many natural adversaries (excluding giant spiders), it’s inevitable that my absolute favorite SGY yarn be BFL Sock.
Worst.. sales pitch.. ever. But be kind and hear me out.
Until quite recently, knitting in Finland (and Scandinavia in general) has been all about functionality and efficiency – which means lightning-fast continental knitting paired with affordable, local materials. People used to knit because they needed warm, woolly things that they couldn’t afford to buy, and because there was usually a farm somewhere nearby, not because they so thoroughly enjoyed the process while sipping their exotic cup of tea and watching Downton Abbey. Through the rural roots of both my parents – and having myself grown up during one of the worst economic depressions in Finnish history – this type of ascetic practicality has had an enormous impact on how I function and what kind of things I value. Scandinavian sheep breeds are not exactly known for their luxurious qualities either, so being drawn to fancy-pants fibres is just not in my genes.
Hence BFL Sock is to me the ultimate combination of durability, warmth and rustic beauty. The same way I cherish my whisky neat and my pitch-black non-flavored tea, I love the fact that it’s so simple and straightforward without a hint of fussiness. Perish the luxuries of silk and cashmere and 15 micron merino! My favorite yarn takes me back to a time where sheep had names, men were men, and the village outhouse was shared between 15 families (four generations each).
All this is not to say that BFL Sock is coarse, or unpleasant to work with. It’s obviously not as soft as merino, but for me it’s more than suited for next-to-skin wear. It has a lot of structure and texture to prevent drooping, the slightest halo to make any colour look good, and knitted up it lasts forever.
Also, BFL Sock (as well as our BFL spinning fibres) somehow manages to retain its sheepy smell throughout all the stages of dyeing, which may well be the awesomest part of it all.
I recently finished the Carpino pullover with one of our new spring colours, Coral Rose, and just bought another sweater’s worth of the eye-poppingly bright Saffron, so there shall be no shortage of those lovely sheep fumes in my household in the near future. Sniff sniff, oohh, aahh, this will go on for a while, move along.
Grace // CashLuxe Fine
Well… when I first started crafting my response, I thought this was going to be an easy choice… I’d pick CashLuxe Fine!
Even before I started working here, when I thought SweetGeorgia Yarns, I thought CashLuxe Fine. This fibre base picks up colour beautifully. It has lovely drape because of it’s cashmere content, but yet it’s still tough enough to knit everyday accessories with because of the nylon content. Amazing! The weight of this fibre makes it substitutable in most of the fingering weight projects I want to knit (I don’t knit many fine lace pieces anymore — I just don’t have the patience!). This base has always seemed like such a terrific combination of practicality and preciousness… exactly what I am looking for in a quality yarn.
However, when I was reminiscing through my Ravelry projects page in preparation for this post, I quickly realized that some of the projects I had thought I had created in CashLuxe Fine were actually knit with Merino Silk Fine! Sooooo… that must be my other favorite base.
I designed the Bridgeward Leaves shawl (to be published this year) especially for Merino Silk Fine, and I have knit an entire sweater with that base in the colourway ‘glacier’. I even created a pattern for matching boot toppers so I could colour co-ordinate. I have a project in Merino Silk Fine cast on right. now.
I have still done quite a few projects in my dear, dear CashLuxe though. My Saltspring Slouch, that I created for my friend Sara, can be knit in either CashLuxe or Tough Love Sock. I knit one of the original prototypes for the Buchanan Shawl from CashLuxe. I have a few pairs of carefully hand-washed socks in this base, such as my Sitka Dragonfly socks, knit with the June 2011 SGY Sock Club colourway.
So I guess if I really must choose just one, I would choose CashLuxe Fine for it’s suitability and softness. But I still love working with Merino Silk Fine for it’s luxurious feel and shine!
Felicia // Silk Mist and Merino Silk Lace
How can I pick a favourite?! I love them all… I go through phases where I want to knit everything in CashLuxe Fine… and then Superwash DK… and then CashSilk Lace… but here are a couple that are really special to me.
Can I get a woop woop for mohair? Have you ever succumbed to the crack that was Rowan Kid Silk Haze? I fell deep in love with this yarn years ago when I knit Sharon Miller’s Birch shawl, so when the opportunity came to add something to our SGY line-up that was beautifully soft and delicately fuzzy, I just had to do it.
Silk Mist is a tiny puff of laceweight silk and kid mohair that knits into the most ethereal, weightless shawls and cowls. We chose it for Jane Richmond’s Welted Cowl (free pattern) and also our Twig Shawl. It’s also a wonderful yarn to carry along with other yarns… it lends a little halo of colour.
After months of knitting test swatches with other lace yarn bases, I found that this is my go-to lace yarn. Merino Silk Lace is 50% bombyx silk and 50% fine merino wool. It’s glossy like silk, but then holds a good blocking like wool. It’s a whopping 765 yards per skein, making it an economical choice to make one large shawl or two small shawlettes for gifting.
I chose Merino Silk Lace to knit my wedding shawl a couple years ago and the shawl still holds up beautifully. We also used it for our recent Rivoli shawl… and I think it looks stunning!
And there we have it! Four knitters, four very different opinions about our yarn. It’s so interesting to find out why everyone loves the yarn they do; it’s a reflection of our individual styles, personal history, and knitting preferences.
Since all our collaborators like to spin, next time we will be discussing our favorite SweetGeorgia fibre bases. Stay tuned!