How did I miss hearing about the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week? It's a good thing I still check in on blogs every other day or so, or I would have missed it entirely!
So, a day late and maybe more than a dollar short, here's my first entry for it:
The first prompt is "A tale of two yarns" and it says to "Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them."
Well it probably will surprise no one to see that I'm about to write about Koigu!
I remember my very first skein of Koigu vividly: I bought it in 2002 from a LYS in Englewood, NJ that no longer exists. The colorway was mostly mint green with bits of yellow and blue in it, and I fell deeply, irreparably in love with the yarn the second I laid eyes on it. At the time it was one of the most expensive yarns I'd ever bought at $11 for 50 oz! Those two skeins became a scarf which is now long-gone, but my Koigu obsession lives on.
When I first discovered Koigu it was still very hard to find, so any store I went into that had a Koigu stash meant I came home with at least a few skeins to hoard away for the future. Looking through my Ravelry projects, the earliest documented FO I have in Koigu is the Charlotte's web shawl:
Which was also my first "real" lace project. I remember very clearly picking out colors for this shawl, most of which came from Purl's old tiny store in Soho. I knit most of this shawl while at work (I used to work in a call center where we were allowed to do anything at all as long as we were sitting at our desks with our headsets on!) and finished it in about a week, and wore it pretty much non-stop afterwards. It's still one of my favorite projects and I still wear it all the time! I should probably take a better photo of it now that I own a nice camera . . .
I've knit everything from shawls to baby items to blankets to sweaters in Koigu, and in every case the finished item is one of my favorites. Many of my original knitting patterns are designed around Koigu's wonderful yarn, too!
Here's a few of those projects, but you can see them all on my Ravelry projects page if you're curious:
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="338" caption="Socks finished in 2007 and still going strong 5 years later!"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="372" caption="Remember when mini ponchos were all the rage?"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="278" caption="Favorite armwarmers in Koigu Cashmere"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Koigu scraps blanket"][/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Yes, sometimes I use solids"][/caption]
Between the oldest project and the newest (the Koigu socks I finished a few weeks ago), I've knit literally dozens of items from Koigu and it never fails to please. The texture of the merino, the bounce in the stitches, the excellent laundering qualities, the way it wears beautifully even when abused, and above all, the colors, keep me coming back for more year after year. Now that Koigu is easy to find I no longer hoard it like it's going out of style, but you might not be able to tell if you came over and looked at my stash . . . I still own over 100 skeins of the stuff and I don't plan on letting it go anytime soon!
And now for the not-so-great-yarn:
On the other side of the spectrum, Noro's Kureyon Sock was a yarn I expected to love so much that I bought multiple skeins of it, sight-unseen, right when it first came out.
I tried to knit it into a dropped-stitch shawl design:
But it hurt my hands so badly that I had to stop.
I then tried crocheting with it:
And while that was easier on the hands and the in-progress scarf was gorgeous, the work itself wasn't pleasant. The yarn feels like string in your hands while you work with it, and it cuts into my tension finger in a very unpleasant way. I knit/crochet for fun and relaxation, so anything that isn't pleasant doesn't make the cut! These two half-finished projects are still in my closet and will probably be UFO's forever and ever . . .
I'm still on the hunt for a yarn with these long color changes, in this gauge, but with a good texture. If you know of one, send me the link!