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Monday, November 1, 2010

Mail-order Treats

Saturday a pretty little package was in my mailbox when I got home from TheCity. You are all well aware of my preoccupation with the right yarn for a knitted dress - and before I realized I could add long sleeves to the Soho Dress from Modern Top-Down Knitting I was searching for sport yarn to knit the Promenade Dress at the end of the book. (heh heh I will spare you any cliches about loving this book from beginning to end, or first to last, or start to finish.... but you know I'm thinking them.)

The big surprise to me was how hard it was to find sport weight yarn! DK weight ... slightly thicker than the once more common sport weight - is all the rage now. Mind you. I like DK weight. And I appreciate the efforts of all the fiber councils to get us to refer to yarns by their international yarn number. but old habits die hard and I've always called them sport, worsted, bulky ... I can never remember that sport weight is #2 and worsted is #4.

After checking out some of the larger on-line sites and leafing through the fall Patternworks catalog, in search of more options for sport weight yarn, I turned once again to that font of yarn information, Clara Parkes and her vast, rich, deep yarn review resource. I always go to MissyC first because I trust her research and unbiased reporting more than anybody else. And she did not disappoint me - because among the dozens and dozens of yarn companies she writes about I discovered Quince & Company. Rediscovered, actually, since I remember reading the review when it was first published.

I was looking for a reasonably priced sport weight yarn in solid colors to knit the Promenade dress. Something with some spring to it and a nice texture. I don't need merino softness, but I certainly didn't want anything scratchy - this is going to cover my whole body. I wanted a fairly firm twist to this too - nothing loosely spun. It's got to stretch over a derrière that occupies a chair 50% of the work day.

I've been a big fan of Pam Allen, owner of Q&C for quite some time. I love her ...Style books, put out by Interweave Press, especially Scarf Style. The Q&C yarn looked like it might just be what I was seeking. At $5.75 for a 181 yard skein, the price certainly hit the target. The web page was fun to search. Simple, but deceptively so. I ordered a skein of sportweight Chickadee and the irresistible fingering weight Tern, a blend of wool and silk. Just to play with, you know? And, just in case I fell in love with all the Q&C yarns, I ordered her color card so I wouldn't have to depend on my monitor to make future selections.

And the package came on Saturday - less than a week after I placed my order. all wrapped up in pretty tissue paper with a sweet little postcard welcoming me to the fold, signed by Pam. It was much more like getting a present from a friend than a purchase from a store.

The yarns are lovely. Smooth and springy, the sport wt wool has no itch factor (for me) and the wool/silk blend is just slightly silkier. duh. it's got silk in it. I can tell these yarns will take some abuse before they begin to pill. The ply and the springiness of the yarn gives it resiliency. The colors are muted. Even in the color card the bright colors don't scream at you. They are bright. Not loud. I know where I will look when it's time for me to start my next big colorwork project.

And so here I am with these 2 single skeins plus the 4 red samples I ordered on Friday on the way. It seems to me that the next few months will be all about the Swatch.

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