Unravel 2015: show preview

I know over in the US you’ve got Stitches West, but if you’re in the UK, you’re probably familiar with Unravel. It’s this weekend and I can barely contain myself!

Unravel is at Farham Maltings, a wonderful old mill building, just a short distance from London. It’s a fabulously-curated show, and usually the cause of much excitement because it has the distinction of being the first show on the calendar of the yarn and fibre festival “season”.

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Wild and Woolly: shop profile

For our next shop profile I thought it would be nice to stay a little closer to home and profile a shop that has become my new “local” here in London. Granted, I have to travel to Hackney to get there, but Anna Feldman’s shop is well worth the journey! I first found out about Wild & Woolly doing my research of shops that I was visiting on the Great London Yarn Crawl. It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been open a year as it’s already become woven into the fabric of the community that it serves. 

Read on as Anna answers my questions about her cosy little shop in London’s east end.

Anna Feldman and Wild & Woolly

Anna Feldman and Wild & Woolly

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Ginger Twist Studio: shop profile

We’ve had some great yarn reviews on the blog over the last year but then it always results in in the question, “But where does one find all these great yarns Louise?”. To help answer that, I thought it would be fun to profile some of the amazing shops that I’ve come to know online or in person (or that I know so well online that it feels like I’ve been there in person!).

Happily, Jessica James of Ginger Twist Studio opened her door and agreed to answer some questions – and also sent along these amazing photographs!

shop front 1

Jessica James and Ginger Twist Studio

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Fyberspates Scrumptious: yarn review

Many thanks to Robynn for writing us another wonderful yarn review of a truly wonderful yarn!

Fyberspates Scrumptious collage

Fyberspates Scrumptious range – 55% merino/45% silk

Scrumptious Lace: 1,000m/1,095yds per 100g skein. Handwash only.
Scrumptious 4-ply: 365m/400yds per 100g. Gentle machine wash.
Scrumptious DK: 22om/240yds per 100g. Handwash only. Single ply.
Scrumptious Aran: 165m/180yds per 100g. Handwash only.
Scrumptious Chunky: 120m/130yds per 100g. Handwash only. Single ply.

 

Sometimes a yarn name is almost too descriptive. You imagine the producers sitting around looking at the yarn. “What can we call it?” they muse. “It’s very… well, it’s so… it’s just Scrumptious.”

“But we can’t call it Scrumptious. Is that even a real word? Doesn’t sound quite professional. How about, um… I think it’s… Look, it is pretty scrumptious…”

“Sod it. Now I need cake. Tea break, anyone?”

So Scrumptious does what it says on the tin. It’s gorgeous, it’s soft, it’s lustrous, it’s very, very more-ish. Luckily for us knitters, there is more of it – in fact, with a complete range of weights on offer, there’s five times more! All shown off to great effect with the beautifully produced Scrumptious pattern collections.

Fyberspates collage 2

One quirk of the line is that, while they all share the same delicious merino/silk blend, they are not all constructed alike. Three of them are two-ply yarns, the other two singles. I tend to be a bit leery of singly-ply yarns; they are that much more prone to pilling, which is especially a worry with super-soft fibres like merino and silk, so personally I restrict my Scrumptious splourges to the plied version, which hold up pretty well for luxury yarn. And the sock-weight blend – but only that one – uses superwash merino, making it a bit easier to care for.

They are however united in touchability, roundness, shine, and the spectacular, deeply saturated colour range. While Fyberspates’ Vivacious line is hand dyed in beautifully mottled hues, Scrumptious is all about solids. Really, really solid solids. Solids you can sink into. I’m constantly amazed at the depth of these colours – not just the amazing rich jewel tones; even softer tones such as Rose Pink and ice-blue Sugar Mouse seem noticeably more there than similar shares in other yarns. Then, too, I admire the variation in the colours available: the darker shades are complemented by a whole slew of neutrals, including no less than three greys and another three creamy or off-white tones (not including the undyed Natural). Like yellow? Choose Gold or Primrose! More a green person? Would that be plain Green, Jen’s Green, Moss, Olive, Lime, Ysolda Colours Flying Saucer – or maybe Teal?

Song of the Deep Sea - Fyberspates

The stitch definition on the Fyberspates Scrumptious DK is truly glorious!

Admittedly, not all colours are available on all bases. But the subtle distinction between these shades is a thing to treasure, and makes for some magnificent colour play opportunities. I’d love to see a three-colour Stay Awhile in Oyster, Charcoal and Dandelion & Burdock (all in the sock weight), or in Eau de Nil and Deep Chestnut DK. (For a wrap, I think I’d be willing to overcome my fear of single-ply yarn – that’s not going to see steady wear in specific spots the way a garment would, or mitts.)

I also have a hankering to play with the incredible Cherry Red, which would be spectacular as a Careen Capelet – thanks to the silk, Scrumptious is lustrous enough to show off textural stitches even in darker colours. And who couldn’t see themselves in a dramatic red cape!