One of the delights of TNNA is seeing yarns with which I’m not currently familiar.

As a hand knit designer, I have several yarn companies that I work with over and over again and some that I just do a project with once or twice every few years. The reasons for this are many and varied, they include:

  • The yarns a company offers doesn’t fit well with my current designs
  • I just lose sight of some yarn companies as I develop a kind of designerly tunnel vision
  • I just feel a stronger affility toward some yarns and companies

There are yarn companies with whom I’ve developed a warm working relationship, some that are still in the ‘getting to know you’ stages, and some that just aren’t a good fit for my own design sense or method of working.

One of the most exciting changes I’ve noticed is the willingness of yarn companies to work together on projects (note the Duets concept between Lorna’s Laces and Mountain Colors) which is a very good idea because this is how most knitters use yarns they purchase at their LYS. Training knitters to make intelligent substitution choices is – I believe – very wise in the long run.

Every few months I go through my yarns and get rid of the older balls that have gone to ‘yarn heaven’ or are in colors that have been discontinued. There’s no sense in designing in a yarn that won’t be available to the knitting public, even though this often happens even if a designer is careful.

So I was very excited to see a wide range of new (or new to me) yarns at TNNA (click image for larger).

I only asked for or took balls of yarn that I didn’t have at home, easier for travel and more fair for the yarn companies.

My goal this week is to work up at least a St st swatch of each of these new yarns, to see if any of them would be good for HoTN, or perhaps for another project down the road.

In all honesty, sometimes I just don’t see the true beauty of a yarn until I work with it, and often I fall in love with a yarn only to realize that once its knit up it’s not quite as spectacular as I’d envisioned.

Swatching is a necessary ‘getting to know you’ step for any designer who wants to keep abreast of what yarns are available.

This past year I feel that I’ve fallen behind in my swatching homework, so I’m happy to jump back into it again. I know how I’ll be spending my Saturday!

So here, in no certain order (except how I happened to reach for them out of my bag o’ new yarns) are the yarns I’ve swatched up since arriving home on Monday evening. I’ll add more as I swatch them up.

Cascade Yarn
Soft Spun
100% Peruvian Highland Wool
Color: 2815 Reddish Brown
Rec gauge: 4 spi / 5.5 rpi on size 9 needle (US)
196 yards /179 meters
3.5 ounces /100 grams

Cascade Yarn
79% Wool, 21% Linen
Rec gauge: 4.5 spi / 7 rpi on size 8 needle (US)
196 yards /179 meters
3.5 ounces /100 grams

100% Fine Merino Wool
Color: 32965
Rec gauge: 4.5 spi / 6 rpi on size 8 needle (US)
98 yards /90 meters
1.75 ounces /50 grams

Red Rocks
New York
100% Merino
Color: Azure
Rec gauge: 4 spi / 6 rpi on size 8 needle (US)
980 yards /894 meters
16 ounces /457 grams


80% Baumwolle, 20% Polyamide
Color: 3757
Rec gauge: 4.5 spi / 6 rpi on size 7 needle (US)
110 yards /100 meters
1.75 ounces /50 grams

Crystal Palace
Panda Superwash
51% Bamboo, 39% Superwash Wool, 10% Nylon
Color: 2002 Stained Glass
Rec gauge: 5.5 spi / 7 rpi on size 7 (doubled) needle (US)
yards / meters
1.75 ounces /50 grams

I’m not going to make intelligent comments about them (I can hear Clara heaving a sigh of relief) because I’m just not the best fiber person to comment on the general makeup of yarn. But I probably will make unintelligible comments about how they knit up as I go along. Nothing to report of note right now!

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