I finally sat down and made a decision about what to make with my Beanie Bags yarn. So freeing!
First, let’s look at the package. The mailing envelope contained a single bag filled with stuff:
The packaged contained 4 balls of yarn in the same shade of grey (although the light catches them differently in the photo below, they’re clearly the same shade in person), a plastic yarn needle, and a packet of soak fabric wash.
Here it is all together with the card and packaged-by note so you can see the other side of the bag, which is fun too:
Very cute! You can read about the yarns on the Jimmy Beans Wool website. The “learn a thing about yarn” theme here is blending. I’m familiar with doing custom yarns in this way since here in Portland we have Yarnia, an entire store dedicated to custom yarn blends. I visited Yarnia as a stop on the Rose City Yarn Crawl and while I wasn’t willing to wait for winding something custom, I was impressed by the huge selection of options.
As I said in my previous post, it took me a while to sit down and decide what to do with these yarns, since there were a bunch of possible combinations. I finally settled on a pair of two-yarn blends.
Shibui Pebble and Cima
I just want you all to admire how black and white the yarn ball photos look. I had a momentary freak-out when they downloaded from the camera because I thought something had gone wrong and I was getting a greyscale photo instead of the original, but no, I just took very monochrome pictures.
Cima is super soft, Pebble has nice texture. The combo gives you the best of both worlds! I grabbed a stitch dictionary and tried out a kind of leafy swatch. Here it is unblocked:
This is “lace ribbons” on page 63 of Melissa Leapman’s “The Knit Stitch Handbook” if you’re trying to duplicate it.
The end result is soft, flexible, and has that texture. Very nice! The swatch stretches out and looks a bit more angular when blocked, but the flexibility and softness of the yarn remain.
Shibui Maai and Staccato
Maai is pretty similar to the chained alpaca yarn I used for my kitty hat (it’s Misti Tui) and my one complaint with that yarn is that it’s too soft and fuzzy show much stitch definition.
This blend, however, is all “by our powers combined!” and it’s got reasonable stitch definition with a bit of a sheen, but it’s still soft and plush with a halo of fuzz.
The swatch is “tumbling blocks” from page 46 of Melissa Leapman’s “The Knit Stitch Handbook.” Chosen because it’s a knit/purl only texture so there isn’t too much help if the yarn can’t carry on its own. The photo is unblocked and only one side, but it basically looks the same blocked and on the reverse side.
Once I got around to using it, I really loved this Beanie Bag. I got to try a new technique and honestly, once I sat down with the stitch dictionary I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what to do. Just needed to get over the hump of indecision, I guess, and decide that swatches were the plan for this bunch. I loved the Shibui yarns and could see myself buying more of any of these, and it’s nice that I can turn around and just get them from the Jimmy Beans Wool website..
I’m not sure I can see myself doing a whole lot of yarn blending in this way, mostly because I can’t see myself building up a stash with appropriately matching colours for that. It seems to me that it would make more sense to take advantage of local store Yarnia if I wanted a blend, since they have a huge range of yarns and colours right there.
But I *could* see myself going out of my way to blend a yarn that wasn’t working for me, and now I’ve got a better sense of how a couple of blends work, so I feel like I learned a useful technique. Thanks JBW!