Back in the Spring I was lucky enough to win a beautiful shimmering skein of Blacker Yarns Tamar from Isla at Brit Yarn…..initially I’d though about using it in a hap but I couldn’t really afford to buy the amount of extra yarn I’d need for such a large project…. so after asking for some shawl pattern advice in one of the discussion groups in the Brit Yarn forum over at Ravelry I decided to knit a Karise by Karie Westermann…..and I’m really over the moon happy with how it’s come out.
Tamar is a gorgeous yarn, it’s luscious and lustrous like you wouldn’t believe, soft and whisper fine though looks are deceiving and I’ve found it stronger than I’d expected……it’s not in the slightest bit kempy and instead has a delicate haze of fine woolly fibres .
The yarn is made from 2 strands twisted together and that double ply holds and captures shadow so light seems to dance across it’s surface…….although it’s a solid dyed yarn, I think one of the base fleeces must be a grey as the yellow hue seems to ripple and glow in the sunlight. The colour is beautiful, all pollen hued and Spring hedgerow memories…….
It was such a joy to knit with, the yarn felt lovely and the knitted fabric was really silky to the touch. A couple of times I’ve been knitting this on the bus and people have thought it was silk, alpaca, angora, cashmere….when I said it was wool they’ve all look so startled……the clever people at Blacker Yarn have blended together some of the most lustrous British fleeces (Wensleydale, Teeswater and Leicester Longwool) and have created a really special and beautiful yarn.
This is actually the second time I’ve used this yarn and it’s simply wonderful to handle and touch…..the only downside in my book is that it didn’t really smell sheepy which is a quality I particularly love about woolly yarn, however, while I was preparing to knit this, I kept it alongside some Daughter of a Shepherd yarn and the sheepy aroma was absorbed so I still got my “baa ram ewe” hit.
The pattern is by Karie Westermann and while I don’t have a lot of experience lace knitting I found it really easy to follow, I was a bit worried when I realised that the lace was all in chart rather than written out in full, but actually it made things a lot less complicated and I was able to see what I was doing and check where I was a lot easier than if I’d been using written instructions.
I found using the stitch markers I made at Christmas pretty much invaluable as I liked to count how many stitches each time I’d worked a lace repeat and having the markers in the work was a bit like someone holding my hand.
I did make a couple of mistakes and every so often I had to un-knit a row or two but this wasn’t the end of the world, the yarn behaved beautifully and didn’t split or stick…..it really was a delight to have on my needles and I feel quite sad it’ll be a little while before I can afford to knit with it again.
I used some Addi fixed needles although I think a slightly pointier needle would have helped me when I needed to pass a stitch over, I’m quite a tight knitter but found my tension getting looser and my knititng more even as I went along.
The Tamar yarn blocks really well, and the lace which looked a bit squidgy and nothing to write home about before being immersed in warm water, opened out like a flower responding to sunshine…..I knew I was going to need a bit more than the skein I won so I bought a second one and repeated the chart for the first section of lace as I quite like a larger shawl, also I’m quite tall so even if it’s just draped around my shoulders it won’t be dragging along on the floor.
So how does the finished shawl feel …..imagine being wrapped up in a cloud of sheep kisses….soft, warm, woolly, gentle puffs and tickles…..it makes me close my eyes and sigh as I hold the knitted fabric up to my face.
The shawl is really light and floaty so it scrunches up beautifully if you want to wear it around your neck like a scarf or cowl which is probably how I’ll wear it rather than how I’m showing it in these pictures……I think I look like I’m waiting for Mister Darcy with the shawl like this though with the state of my hair I’m more likely to end up with Catweazle.
It’s definitely a yarn I’ll look to knit with again, and there are at least another 3 colours which have my heart racing.
Will I knit the pattern again…cough cough…I’ve already got a third Karise on my knitting needles and am thinking about the yarn I have in my stash and what would be suitable for a fourth and a fifth……I like how the pattern can be tinkered with so the lace work can be increased…..and I’ve seen a breathtakingly beautiful one on Ravelry by Maud Bailey which is knitted in laceweight yarn…..it looks like a cobweb and is so delicate.
Once again, many many thanks to Isla at Brit Yarn, when I found out I’d won the skein I burst out in tears as I was so happy, and some months later as I wrap this cloud of sheep kisses around my shoulders I can feel myself getting all silly and teary eyed again.