It wasn’t all amigurumi all Christmas 2014, I also knitted a couple of presents too. Although I pushed myself a bit, trying patterns with unfamiliar techniques and features, it was a new kind of yarn that made it really exciting.
Two things really drew me to Drops Air: its high alpaca content (72% with the rest 21% polyamide and 7% wool) and its unusual construction. Most yarn is spun, either by hand or machine, but Drops Air is described as “blow yarn”. Here’s the spiel from its listing on Woolwarehouse.co.uk:
A new and exciting “blow yarn” made from soft baby alpaca and cozy and warm merino wool. Its construction is unique, based on the newest yarn technologies, where instead of spinning, the fibres of baby alpaca and merino wool are air blown into a tube, which makes the garments made in this yarn about 30-35% lighter than those made with conventional spun yarns of the same thickness.
DROPS Air is – as its name says – a very airy yarn that feels beautiful against the skin, which makes it perfect for accessories, shawls, sweaters and jackets in both textured and cable patterns. Garments made in DROPS Air are totally itch-free, which means everyone can wear them!
TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!
Actually I forced myself to be sensible and order only one ball in Peacock Blue to begin with. It was so light and fluffy and gorgeous, I immediately wanted to buy more of this wonderfluff but I needed to see if I could work with it first. I was concerned that because it was so soft it might not be very strong and would fall apart easily, but as soon as I tried to break it, it was apparent that it was tougher than it looked!
The real problem with the yarn turned out to be that it was a Cat Magnet. Whilst the yarn was tougher than I expected, it still needs careful washing and drying, which often suggests that it’s prone to shrinking and felting, so letting old Paddle Paws Ollie blissfully knead it was definitely not going to be a Good Idea. If he could’ve reported me to the RSPCA for animal cruelty every time I shooed him away he would have. 😦 In fact I’d probably be looking at some serious jail time!
The yarn held up very well, even when I needed to frog and rework a few rows. Unlike other soft, fluffy yarns, it was fairly easy to see individual stitches and identify mistakes.
It should be obvious by now that I LOVE this yarn, but honestly (as a blogger) there is one major problem I have with it: I haven’t worked out how to take decent pictures of the finished items that show anything but the fluffiness!
Here are the Owl Fingerless Gloves I made for nieceling no 1 from that original ball of Peacock Blue:
Even in person the owl cable pattern is subtle, but photographing it is borderline impossible! For a better look at how the detail is supposed to look check out the Ravelry entry for the free pattern by Maria Chiara Capuani.
The gloves are worked flat, and this was my first time working a textured pattern from a chart, which was easier than I thought. The thumbs weren’t a neat as I could have made them, but weren’t bad for a first attempt. My niece was pleased with them, so I think that counts as a success!
My Mum loves the softness of alpaca yarn, so it was the obvious choice for making her present. I chose the hat pattern Bellezza by Maria Parrish. I knew that some of the detail would be obscured by the fluffiness of the yarn but the texture would still add interest.
The hat itself hovers between being a beret and a slouchy hat, so there are a number of ways to arrange how you wear it. Mum was kind enough to model her new hat for me but I didn’t want to make her pose over and over as I rearranged it, so I only had a few shots to choose from.
Here’s the back of the hat:
Mum seems to prefer wearing it this way, with the ribbing tucked underneath, but I’d probably wear it a bit more slouchily, if you know what I mean! I suppose it shows that it’s a versatile hat! It only took one 50g ball to make, and I used Navy because they had sold out of Peacock Blue. There are only 12 different shades at the moment, but who knows, maybe they will add more!
The Bellezza pattern was so easy to follow, with written instructions and a chart for the lace part – which I really appreciated as this is the first textured hat I’ve knitted in the round.
Right, that’s mostly it for the hand-made Christmas presents. I might just squeeze one more post out of what is left, but I have actually finished a couple of other WIPs since then so I’ll have to see what inspires me most!