on Saturday, despite my best efforts to completely forget about it, I went to a yarn tasting at Dairing yarns in richmond with some of my SnB folk. This was a completely new type of experience for me in lots of ways.
Firstly the style of yarn… Dairing has a range of yarns similar to/based on Habu – a company i came across over seas and picked up some cotton laceweight from (unusual, no?). Yarns from both Dairing and Habu (some of which Dairing stock) are arty, unusual, strange, textural, bizarre, lovely and did i mention arty? Lots of laceweights, lots of unusual fibre/weight combinations, unusual fibres full stop, unusual constructions. These are yarns are in no way what you generally expect when you walk into a yarn store. And because of this the garments and object created from them are also artistic and unusual.
Secondly a yarn tasting in and of itself is a new experience – being handed a ball of yarn, with lots of different samples in it, to knit, for knitting’s sake. kinda cool! Being late I only got through a few of the yarns on the day, and even then i had to skip ahead, but i finished knitting the sample ball the next morning and ended up trying all ten yarns.
The yarns were (from front to back): 1.Alesco, a cotton tape that felt like paper – I intend to wash the swatch to see how this yarn changes – supposed to soften up a lot. 2. Cotton Linen slub. the sample had 2 strands held together but it was lovely to knit with, soft through the fingers with a tweedy feel/look. 3. Denim. This was without doubt everyone’s favourite and i ended up buying 3 balls of it (possibly to make the whisper cardigan from IK spring 09). It’s a 4ply cotton, with beautiful drape. at the moment it only comes in the indigo denim colour. 4. Mohair. This is a mohair, merino, dralon (a man made synthetic fibre) blend and is pretty nice – laceweight, doesn’t shed much, but given ive just been knitting with kid silk crack, it’s not my favourite mohair to date. they do have a mohair silk blend though that i’d like to try for a comparison. 5. Tsumugi Ito This was my second favourite yarn and i ended up buying some in teal blue and purple. It’s a laceweight silk tweed and has lovely drape and feel through the fingers with great colour. 6. Silk Stainless (and mercerized cotton) The silk stainless can be held double stranded or with a strand of another yarn, as with the cotton here. It was nice to knit with – didn’t notice any hardness on the hands for this small sample, but not sure how your hands would feel after knitting a whole garment with it? It’s quite interesting when finished as it’s a ‘crunchy’ yarn for obvious reasons! 7. Linen. This was a really nice linen. Again a light fingering, or lace weight, but you could probably get away with using this for a 4ply pattern, or holding two strands together. Again, I want to wash this to see how it softens. 8.Hashigo Tape has an interesting construction. It’s one thickish strand sewn into a ribbon. The fibres are cotton and silk, but i’m not sure what on earth i’d do with something like this! 9. Wool Slub is a lovely slubby soft single. Would be great for cowls and hats (like Urchin). And finally 10. Kasumisou II which is a yarn with little ‘bits’ or ends or tails coming off it. It’s a polyester yarn, but it reminds me of vines or ornamental plants and i’d love to see it used as a curtain in a garden or for a lampshade or something!
The experience was lots of fun and the yarns were unusual and new and the samples and sculptures and garments in the store were something to behold! My favourite things were these hanging tubes, knitted in a linen tape (almost like paper) and then dipped into PVC to set their shape. I’d love these as hanging lamp shades!! The garments were interesting, though definitely not my style sadly. That being said, I did get some denim and silk tweed Tsumugi Ito, with a few more conservative garments in mind and i’d love to use some of the more unusual yarns around the home.
One more thing about Dairing yarns though, which endeared me to the store greatly, is the owners – lovely lovely folk who were more than happy to let me stay late and we had a good old chat about many things!
While I can’t say this will become a regular haunt for me, I will definitely look forward to another visit sometime!