Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Water Abbey - it's different, but I like it!

The yarn I'm working with (Haw) and the color cards.
Blackwater Abbey Yarns are distributed from Aurora, CO (local!), and made from new wool by a small mill in Ireland (IRISH!), which meant that I was absolutely required to give them a go.  The first thing you will notice about this yarn is the COLORS.  I realize I talk about color a lot, but you've got to listen to me on this one.  The pictures on the website do this yarn no justice.  We are talking beautiful, rich, heathered shades.  If you think you want to get in on this action, you owe it to yourself to get a color card (which they will very generously send you) before you buy, or go to one of their many trunk shows to see the colors in person.  The most colors are available in worsted weight, a few in sport weight.  Their fingering weight yarn is only available in natural colors.

The second thing you will notice (if you're like me) is that the sport and worsted weight yarns are Z-twist.  Most commercial yarn is S-twist, as this is the configuration that is easiest for right handed knitters to work with.  If you are a left handed knitter or right handed crocheter, however, you will probably be very excited to find Z-twist yarn.  The reason is because in right handed crochet and left handed knitting, S-twist yarn tends to come untwisted on you, making it much more splitty than it would be for a left handed crocheter or right handed knitter.

The part where everybody is going to disagree with me is that this yarn is extraordinarily grabby.  Many would actually call it "scratchy," and there is in fact one review on Ravelry that reads simply "it made my thumbs bleed."  I don't think it's that rough.  But this is not soft yarn.  It's grabbiness, however, can be an advantage -- if you have to frog, it goes as far as you pull, and no more.  If you drop a stitch, it's not going to run too far (unless you pull on it).  It shows cables beautifully.  It also wears like IRON.  So, good for that knit bikini you've had your eye on?  Not so much.  But makes a GREAT sweater.  It does also soften with washing -- I am currently making fingerless gloves with it, and think it is definitely soft enough, plus I won't end up with felted palms.  It is worth noting that the fingering weight is significantly softer than either the sport or worsted weight.

So, summary?  If you are very sensitive to coarse wool, do not buy this yarn.  It and your fingers will not get along well.  If however you appreciate rustic wools, rich colors, and an interesting yarn structure, you will probably like it a lot.  I do!

Do you have something you want me to review? Needles? Yarn? Notions? Drop me a line! marusempai at gmail dot com. Put "Maru reviews" in the subject line.

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