Thursday, March 22, 2012

Textile Thursday - Studio Donegal 2ply

Textile Thursday - have a peek at the fibre I'm using this week....  

© Studio Donegal
Yarn name: 
Merino 2-ply.
Donegal Yarns (Studio Donegal).
Fiber content:
100% Merino.
20 sts by 26 rows = 4 inches / 10 cm on 4mm (US 6).
Weight/yardage per skein:
100g / 190 yards (174m).
Country of origin:
Manufacturer's suggested wash method:
Handwash garment with care and dry flat.
Average Retail Price: 
9.50 / 100g skein. I purchased this yarn here

Studio Donegal have some wonderful new colours as you can see from the above picture, my favourites are the new steel grey, turquoise and chocolate brown. They say they have chosen their palette from the surrounding landscape which here in Ireland is usually dull and grey but even the grey colourways here are beautiful and perfect fro men's garments. The yarn itself is spun using traditional methods in the beautiful Kilcar by Donegal Yarns. A full colour palette is available here

I have been working with the midnight blue colour #554, the yarn is beautifully soft in comparison to the Aran Tweed. I started working as I normally do and constructed 4 inch swatch on  the recommended 4 mm needles but it was just uncomfortable to work this yarn on these needles, so I moved up a half size to 4.5 mm needles. The stretch in this yarn is really astounding and if you choose to work with this yarn (and I really hope you do) please, please knit a swatch and wash it. My swatch grew by 0.5st/inch (i.e. 2 sts per 4 inches) after washing which will affect the overall size of a garment. 

The swatch was so smooth and completely surprised me in a number of ways. It did not behave like I thought it would and I am completely in love with the intensity of colour and contrasting specks. Knitting in this colour is a little difficult as  it would be knitting with any dark yarn. I have ripped back so many times I lost count BUT this yarn still looks as good as the day of purchase.

Knitting and Pattern Choices: 
Knitting with this yarn was easy going and relaxing. The garment holds cables amazingly well and gives a clear definition to the cables as you can see below. I have chosen to knit a child's garment with it due to the stretch and durability of the yarn. It doesn't snag, pull or fight with me in anyway (yes yarn can fight with you). This yarn does require blocking, garments will grow in size off the needles. 

This yarn will knit up beautifully in almost any situation from accessories to garments to childrens knitwear. Even a simple stockinette stitch will provide textural interest due to the beautiful dying and flecks of contrasting colours.

Normally I would recommend Ravelry as a pattern resource but this yarn is so new that very few patterns are specifically written for it. My choice would be Carol Fellar's Contemporary Irish Knits for a refreshing modern view on Irish knitting patterns. 

Washing and Blocking:
I am always surprised by the number of people I meet that just do not block their FO's but block really does make a difference. I blocked my garment the same method as my swatch  a warm bath in mild soap, followed by a rinse in the same temperature water, a gentle blot in a towel, and then careful prodding back into shape before letting it dry flat.

Interesting Finds: 
If you want to read more about the history of Donegal Yarns why not click here

I found this video while reading about Studio Donegal,if you want to watch the carding and spinning machines of Studio Donegal in operation why not make yourself a cup of tea and watch the short video below.  The video also provides an insight to garment construction and weaving.

Overall View: 
I can really find no fault with this yarn. It's sold in 100gram hanks which gives you a decent 190 yards (174 meters) which is perfect for a winter accessory if you just want to dip your needles in before splashing out on a full garment. 

Let me know your views on the Merino 2-Ply, I would love to hear from your experiences with it. 

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