Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yarns from Stitches East!

As promised: Fun stuff about the yarn I brought home from Stitches East...

Cottage Craft 2-ply Wool in Spruce Green (Aran weight/272 yd skein)
Cottage Craft, purveyors (what a fun word!) of exclusive knitting yarns, handknit wool sweaters, handwoven tweed coats, boasts a rich history. Founded in 1915, the company is located in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, in New Brunswick, Canada.

One of my last stops before leaving Stitches--they were located along the far wall, in a booth lined with a dizzyingly colorful display of utter sheepy bliss. In fact, my excitement about Cottage Craft yarns literally made me forget my oh-so-tired feet!

One note before I continue--especially to those seeking the ultra-buttery-soft experience modern knitters seem to crave: This is WOOL. It has "tooth," and feels scrunchy and real when you squeeze it. I happen to adore that feeling. How it behaves when washed and blocked will be interesting indeed, so I'll be sure to keep you posted as I swatch and play.

Cottage Craft 2-ply Wool in Plum (Aran weight/272 yd skein)

My two skeins of two-ply wool can hardly begin to represent the company's mouth-watering colors. This tempting palette
, according to the Cottage Craft Web site:
"...reflect(s) the beauty of the landscapes and seascapes surrounding our seaside town. Many of our shades were created by Miss Grace Helen Mowat, a forward thinking lady who began the business in 1915. Each shade reflects rich heather tones, which blend beautifully."
I chose the two-ply wool (with its generous 272-yard put-up) for swatching, playing, designing, and/or knitting some holiday gifts. But Cottage Craft also offers a single-ply, lighter weight wool. With plenty of energy, the single ply is hardly a "dead," over-blocked yarn. It knits up into pretty lace on larger needles, and would make a warm and comforting wrap for the colder months ahead.

Honestly, if you can't trust Canadians to bring you lovely wool and woollen products, who can you trust? Just joking. But it does get cold there! And this Canadian company specializes in the most texturally tantalizing, fabulously woolly, inspiration-inducing yarns I've encountered in a long time. Please, if you enjoy real wool, do yourself a huge favor and buy some. Actually, it's such a great value and amazing product, go ahead and buy A LOT!


Maple Creek Farm Fine Wool Merino (Worsted weight/200 yd skein)

Discovering Maple Creek Farm yarns was another unexpected treat. The fibers and colorways are dangerously, pocket-emptyingly beautiful. It was hard to leave with only one skein, but the skein I did buy is really lovely.

Spun at a mill in Taos, NM, of fleece from Maple Creek's own sheep, this is a soft, spongy Merino with a delightfully quirky texture. It reminds me of handspun yarn, round and elastic, begging to be knitted or crocheted into something special.

Maple Creek Farm started in 2002, with "yarn from our own Merino sheep, a couple of pots, a few burners and a dream," according to the company's Web site. Now, just six years down the road, Maple Creek boasts 25 hand-dyed yarns, eight of which are also available online: three weights of silk/Merino blend; four sock yarns; and one Merino/Mohair blend.

Clearly, this small company is based on a grand love affair of color, fiber, and texture. I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be disappointed with their products.


One last note: If you do try yarn from either of these companies, do let me know what you think of them...Comparing yarn experiences is half the fun of knitting--to me, at least.


1 comment:

Elaine said...

What wonderful colors of wool and your descriptions are so much fun to read! In fact, this makes me think that I might have to consider trying yarn to make hooked rugs in the future.

(P.S. I am looking forward to seeing Charley's photos and stories as they unfold.)