A cloud of sheep kisses….

morning sunlight on Tamar yarn

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.

tiddy brook and matching stitch marker

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…….

pollen hued stitches

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.

lace detail on shawl

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.

blocked lace detail

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.

Karise detail

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.

Tiddy Brook Karise

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.


22 thoughts on “A cloud of sheep kisses….

    1. Hi Sally, I’m still very much a beginner and was able to knit this lovely shawl no worries….as I mentoned in the post I did make a couple of mistakes so had to unknit a row every so often, but if you can knit and slip, pass a stitch over then you can knit this no worries.
      Already knitting Karise number 3.

  1. This is just so gorgeous! The way you describe it makes me want to snuggle up in it. It hangs so beautifully too! Another pattern for my shawl to knit list even though I haven’t even made one yet! Have a great week 😃

  2. Your shawl has turned out beautifully. It’s hard to believe that you haven’t been knitting for long.

    1. I first learnt when I was at Primary school and have had many dabbles in the last ten11 years, I’ve always struggled with remembering what was a purl, what was a knit and how to tell them apart, and if I made a mistake I’d have to rip out the whole thing….but finally something clicked last year. Persevearance and persisterance* and finding things that I really wanted to make certainly helped.
      *Millie said she had this in Larkrise to Candleford and it’s an expression I love.

  3. The wool has a very special look to it. After using so much, highly twisted sock yarn, I can’t imagine using something so delicate and light. The pattern is very pretty, I can see why you want to knit more of these. I had a look at the Blacker Yarns site and let’s just say it’s probably a good thing I’m here otherwise I’d have spent a small fortune!

    1. I’ve been alternating between some Tamar/shawl knitting and also working on a pair of socks with some WYS yarn…I’m not sure if I hold my yarn in a rum or very peculiar way (in right hand, wrapped around the finger near my thumb which I then proceed to stick up in the air)…but the Tamar is so smooth and holds the yarn tension perfectly. It feels very delicate but the yarn is sheepy and woolly so is strong and doesn’t pull over fine if that makes sense…. Lol, yeah, I’m blaming my lack of funds on you and your “what do you wish you could do/wish you could do better” question last year…..it made me really think that if I wished I could knit then what was stopping me from actually doing so. Blacker Yarns have a really brillinat range, and while Tamar is at the pricey end (though worth every penny) their Classic range is very purse friendly….maybe you could drop hints to UK friends/family for birthday or Christmas?

      1. Hhmmm I shall start dropping hints now 🙂 Incidentally, that liebster award was what led me to discover your blog so I hold you responsible for my very long list off projects I’d like to complete!!

      2. Lol…I think I gave the longest answers ever, and then went on to answer some of the questions you’d asked Rosina. Glad we’ve insired each other x

  4. well , you look lovely in it , it’s a beauty ! not so keen on the sheep kisses idea though !! cannot actually think of much worse actually than the kiss of a smelly old sheep unless it’s two smelly old sheep. you did make me chuckle with that vision. thank you x

    1. Their lips always look so tickly and soft when they are eating…and I wouldn’t mind a bit of sheep smell (I’m used to Bernard and his musical bottom) x

  5. I’ve just been catching up on some of your posts. Such beautiful yarns and gorgeous shawls. I began a new crochet shawl with some of the finest, softest wool in the world! It’s so fine, like nothing I’ve ever tried before. Seeing your work is giving me the urge to go and get a move on with it.

    1. Thank you so much for the nice compliments….I’ve fallen down the shawl knitting rabbit hole, currently knitting my seventh this year! (one got frogged and 2 were made as gifts)… mmm fancy wool yarn is lovely to use isn’t it x

  6. That scarf is beautiful. I have it in my todo list and I have some lace weight yarn that would be perfect with it.

    1. Hi Michelle, yay, it’s nice to share the Karise love…..it’s a really nice knit and I’m now getting ready to start Karise number 4…..if you look at the project pages on Ravelry for Karise , check out Maud Bailey’s shawl…that is in lace weight yarn, she makes it quite big but it looks amazing.

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