Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Need For Tweed

For some reason, I seem to be drawn to rustic yarns a lot lately.  I'm not sure if it's due to my penchant for texture, or perhaps the pleasing combination of subtly blended color.  Whatever the reason, it seems to be constantly catching my eye.

I recently began some new pattern-related projects, one using Cascade 220 Heathers bought at a recently-reviewed yarn shop, and I love this nice, smooth, basic workhorse yarn for lots of projects.  But as respectable and extremely useful as it is, it seems a little tame to me.  My fingers revel in knitting with yarn that has a more textural hand, or 'feel' to it - fluffy mohair, smooth alpaca, springy wool and nubby tweed.  

I am loving working with Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed for another project.  Debbie Bliss does a great job of creating colorways, with the tweedy nepps in one color being bits of other base colors, allowing easy coordination if using multiple colors in one project.  And the texture of this yarn is gorgeous - it has a crunchy, earthy feel, spun with just a hint of thick-thin variation, and a matte, handcrafted look. 

Donegal Aran Tweed is not a soft yarn (Debbie Bliss' Donegal Luxury Tweed fills that niche), but the natural roughness of the surface is pleasing, giving a lot of grab and snugging the knitted stitches together nicely. I am using garter stitch for this project which seems ideal for this yarn. 

I am not crazy about how some colors have a lot of 'tweediness' and high quantity of nepps, while other colors seem low-contrast and bland by comparison.  Or that one of the colors had a slight, but distinct, difference in gauge.

I also had one or two underspun spots that pulled apart when I tugged too hard on a stitch, although Donegal Tweed is very easy to wet-splice the ends back together. I've also noticed that in 5 balls of this yarn, I've not encountered a single knot. 

This 100% wool yarn has been used by knitters for just about every kind of project, including hats and cowls, but I think it would be too scratchy for next-to-skin wear for me, especially around the face.  I would; however, love to make a warm cardigan or jacket in this yarn.  Perhaps something like this A-Line jacket from Drops/ Garnstudio,

or Interweave Knits' Central Park Hoodie.

I'll keep you posted on my current project as soon as I am able to.  For now, I still feel the need, the need for tweed....


  1. Beautiful yarns, Robin! I totally share your feelings towards "workhorse yarns". The Drops jacket is rather popular on Ravelry, as you can see. I am curious how a tweed version would turn out.

  2. Yes, that Drops jacket just won't seem to go away from my view - I think I must eventually make it, hopefully this winter!