While I was at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year Jennie (Owl About Yarn) and Zoe (Pins and Needles) revealed their latest woolly adventure. We’d all arrived early for a breakfast meet up, and they thrust a couple of swatches into my hands and told me all about their adventure in creating an all Welsh yarn. They both live in the south of Wales, and had noted a dearth of Welsh yarn. These women are not the types to idle, and went straight to work to create Cartref Yarn. They very kindly sent me a generous sample to test drive.
Yarn weight Double Knitting; Skein weight 100 g; Length 205 m; Fibre content 66% Welsh Mule, 33% Bluefaced Leicester; No. of plys 3; Spun in Wales
Recently I’ve been knitting with yarns that are light, lofty, and full of air. By comparison Cartref Yarn feels much more dense and weighty. When it arrived the yarn felt crisp, and the skeins had a lot of rebound when I squashed them. It’s not a soft yarn. The word that springs to mind is robust.
This is the first time I’ve been sent a sample large enough to actually make something. The pattern is a modified version of Paddle by Tin Can Knits. Mitts turned out to be the perfect test swatch. I wore them all day, every day, for five days; which made for a pretty good wear test. I’d swatched on 3.75 mm needles, and got a gauge of 22 stitches and 32 rows over 10 cm.
Mitts after five days of wear, and before wash number three.
The mitts didn’t change shape at all with washing. I hand washed them three times with Woolly Wash, and the gauge didn’t change it all. They did soften a little in the last wash, but there wasn’t the significant transformation between the yarn in the skein, and the washed mitts.
I wore the mitts almost constantly throughout the day, whilst working at my computer, sewing, dog walking, and gardening. They did get damp, and by day five there was some minor pilling on the palm; however the yarn has great memory and the mitts sprang right back into shape with washing.
I think Cartref Yarn would make a great outdoor garment. It’s doesn’t have a lot of drape, and would hold a tailored design really nicely. Any textured elements, such as ribbing or cables, would be well defined. Personally, I found it to prickly to wear next to my neck, but it was fine against my forehead and bare arms. And I love the colour pallet that Jennie and Zoe have created. There’s a colour that will speak to most folk, and some options for colourwork.