Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Life is Awesome!

Don't ever let anyone tell you the transition to retirement is difficult.  I now get to focus on the things I enjoy and never feel as though I'm jamming everything into a limited day.

Yarn Review

One of my greatest joys is testing out new yarn offerings from some of the independent dyers out there.

Jonathan from MJ Yarns has asked me to test and review two new yarns that are exclusively being sold on his web site.  His other great offerings (which I've reviewed in the past) are available at various retail yarn stores.  Here is my evaluation of both his two new yarns, One Ewe and Tough Ram.





Both of the yarns are fingering weight, superwash merino wool, put up in 100 gram hanks.  One Ewe is a single-ply fingering weight yarn (380 yards) produced in the UK (dyed by MJ Yarns here in the U.S.) and Tough Ram is a heavy 4-ply sock yarn (360 yards) produced and dyed in the U.S.



Both yarns are either dyed as a semi-solid color or kettle-dyed for a more varied tonal look.

Here is my review in the standard categories I evaluate yarns:

Durability - Very High.  The Tough Ram is a tight 4-ply yarn that holds up quite well even with casting on, ripping out, and sewing up, which I expected.  I didn't see any difference with the 1-ply One Ewe, which surprised me.  Even with a bit of abuse, I saw no pilling, unraveling or scuffing of the soft yarn.

Uniformity - Very High.  My test project was a very loosely knit scarf which wouldn't easily show variations in uniformity.  However, both yarns looked and felt extremely uniform...even the slightly crimpy One Ewe single-ply yarn.

Color/Dyeing - Exceptional.  This is MJ Yarns' strong point.  The semi-solids have a small amount of variety, giving the knitted fabric a lot of interest, and the kettle-dyed yarns are a fantastic balance of dyed/partially dyed yarn.  Mostly, I'm thrilled with the color palette of this line.  The colors are deep and saturated and very rich looking both on the hank and knit up.

Put-Up - High.  The One Ewe is a perfect put up, especially if used for a scarf or shawl.  If the Tough Ram is used for socks, a 360 yard put-up wouldn't be sufficient for a pair of men's socks, but it works great for scarves and shawls as well.

Retail Availability - The two new yarns are exclusive to MJ Yarns on-line web site, so there is no retail distribution that I know of yet.  But if you like MJ Yarns' other offerings (only available at retail yarn stores), then you will love these two yarns.
Tactile Pleasure - Very High.  I am a HUGE fan of single-ply, fingering weight yarns.  They are soft, and silky and the slight crimp makes them interesting and fun to knit with, so I could work with One Ewe forever and never get tired of working with it.  The Tough Ram yarn is surprisingly softer than most sturdier sock yarns, like Regia or Trekking XXL.  It's definitely not as soft as the One Ewe, but it has a nice hand and doesn't feel at all rigid or coarse.

The Blog Contest winners will definitely enjoy working with both these yarns, and I will be awarding myself a coupon to purchase more of these yarns myself!  Make sure you put in an entry to win one of two scarf kits with MJ Yarns.  The kits will be enough yarn and the pattern for the Milano Scarf (below)...just in different colorways.

Current Knitting

I've done a lot of knitting since the last blog entry.  First of all, I've finished the Milano Scarf.
 

I recalled that the pattern stitch doesn't lie perfectly flat when it's knit, but mild steam blocking both evens out a very loose-gauge fabric, but allows it to lie flat.




I also finished the third (of six) panels for the Easton Logo Blanket and joined the first two together.


The blanket is coming out very well so far.  Given that intarsia doesn't look quite so fine from the reverse of the fabric, I'm thinking I will end up lining this blanket before donating it to Easton Mountain.

Finally, a friend who is going to Washington soon asked if I could make her a PussyHat to wear.







If you don't know about this viral idea yet, you can read about it on their web site and/or make a few hats for donation.

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