Well, that little swatch of Blacker Yarns Brushwork has been riding round in my armpit for three days, and there is absolutely no change. Take a close look. Can you see a difference? It doesn’t even look like the yarn is even thinking about piling.
So basically the armpit test consists of tucking the swatch into the armpit of my bra for three days running. This gives an indication of how the yarn might wear over time, and how soft the fabric is against the skin.
The other day I mentioned that, in the hand, Brushwork is softer than the shawl I have made of pure Shetland yarn. It does have a very slight prickle factor, but nothing that would stop me wearing against my neck. The Scottish Bowmont breed is a cross between the Saxon Merino and Shetland breeds, and you truly get the best of both worlds with this yarn. Almost Merino soft, but with the lightness of Shetland.
If I were planning a sport weight garment (and didn’t already have two jersey quantities of Blacker yarn in my stash), this yarn would be in my cart now. It comes out on the 28th of September, and will be retailing for £8.40 for a 50 gram ball. The price tag makes it a yarn I’d have to save up for. And, I know I’ve said this before of Blacker’s yarns, I think it’s totally worth it.
Last year I was a little underwhelmed with Cornish Tin II, but this year the folk at Blacker have really cracked it. This is a special yarn, for a special favourite garment, that will be warn for years and years.
Here in the louleigh factory, Christmas starts early. I have a stack of fun fabric all cut out ready to sew, and these beautiful Brushwork swatches have been swept onto a pile of things to do. However, it’s Yarndale this weekend, and I’m hoping to see all the colours in the ball at the Blacker Yarns stand. Yes, I’m planning a little purchase. So let me tell you about my swatching adventures.
The first ‘swatch’ is the Autumnal Mitts by Jo Bangle. I wanted to see how the yarn would look with some open work, and stitches moving about. This pattern was SO fun to knit. The first mitt weighed 16 grams, and it broke my heart to find I was 5 grams short of a second mitt. I got 21 stitches over 10cm using 3.5 mm needles. I love the stitch definition in the patterned section.
The yarn does bloom when knitted at a looser gauge, however I wanted to try it on a slightly smaller needle. I thought this would also show off a cable pattern a bit more clearly. This swatch was knitted on 3.25 mm, with a stitch gauge of 22 stitches over 10cm. I prefer this slightly tighter gauge. The fabric on the mitt is a little bit loose for my taste, and I think the tighter gauge gives a three dimensional stitch pattern more definition.
Finally, I wanted to see how the yarn would look in a fabric that wasn’t knitted. The pin looms came out, and I used every last yard making a couple of wee swatches. The small swatch has just been woven and washed. The weave is a little loose, and it feels like a fine Welsh rug. The large swatch has been for a spin the the cake mixer. I popped it in with some detergent and boiling water, then let the mixer run for about 20 minutes. The resulting fabric is lush! The weaving tightened a little, and the fabric is soft and drapey with a stunning halo. A garment in this fabric would be snuggly and luxurious.
Overall the swatches have a rustic woolly appearance, but they are super soft. I’m wearing my shawl made from Jamieson and Smith 2 ply lace weight, and the Brushwork yarn is discernibly softer.
The second swatch is in situ for wear testing, and I’ll be back on Friday to tell you how it went.
I am SO excited to be showing you this yarn. The folk at Blacker Yarns have been back in touch. (No, they don’t sponsor me!) They sent a sample of Brushwork, this years limited edition birthday yarn. The breeds they’ve included are so intriguing. Scottish Bowmont is a cross between Saxon Merino and Shetland; with a touch of Castlemilk Moorit, which gives this years shade card a warm undertone – probably why I love the colours more than their previous birthday yarns.
More on Brushwork as the week progresses. But don’t get too excited just yet. The yarn wont go on sale till 28 September.
Yarn weight Sport; Skein weight 50 g; Fibre content 80% Pure New Wool (consisting of Scottish Bowmont and Castlemilk Moorit, 20% Alpaca; Length 152 m; Tension 23 stitches over 10 cm; Recommended needle 3.5 mm; No. of plys 2; Made in Cornwall, UK.