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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Noro yarn trial (and a free pattern!)

Earlier this year, Black Sheep Wools asked me if I'd like to trial some new Noro yarn that they were bringing into stock for the autumn season.  I've often looked at Noro (and in particular the sock yarn, although that won't be a surprise!) and admired the vibrant colour combinations but until now, I've always been put off by the variations in the yarn thickness, despite this being a key characteristic of the yarn.  This would be an ideal opportunity for me to try it out so I jumped at the chance!



The yarn Black Sheep gave me wasn't sock yarn but instead was more of an aran weight.  and the trail ball was a bit like a lucky dip - there was very little information on the yarn band and no needle size suggestions at all.  It took me some time to gauge which needles to use, although what I did discover whilst making my swatch was that it knits up into a much softer fabric than I expected. In the end, I used the wraps per inch method and settled on 4.50mm needles which produced a nice firm fabric.  (You can see my swatch getting bigger as I changed needle sizes!)


I was surprised to find that despite the differences in the yarn thickness on the ball - in some places it was almost lace-weight and in others as thick as chunky - it didn't seem to make a great deal of difference when it was knitted up.  It has a slubby texture which is quite attractive, so this is not the yarn to use if you only like smooth knitted fabrics.  



I did enjoy being able to sit and knit in the afternoon with a legitimate purpose instead of sneaking in a few rows here and there between other jobs as I usually do - although I felt as though I should be looking over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure that I wasn't going to be caught out skiving!  I could quite get used to this!

I was told that I could make anything I liked with my ball of yarn, so I decided to try to use it all up.  Big daughter started sixth form college this week and is busy trying to define the style she wants to present now that she no longer has to wear school uniform.  This is what I did with the ball ...



and this is how she wore it ...


It's a cowl, a simple knit and purl version which took almost exactly one ball (I think I had about 5 inches of it left) and knits up quickly on a circular needle.  If you'd like to make one for yourself, the pattern is below, and is also available as a PDF.

Simple Twisted Cowl

Materials

1 ball of Noro Hanabatake (shade shown is 09)
5.00 mm needles (optional – see note)
4.50 mm circular needle in 60cm length
Wool needle

Gauge 

16½ sts and 31 rows to 4"

Cast on 100 sts loosely with 4.50 mm circular needles.  (Note - if your casting on tends to be tight, use 5.0mm needles then transfer to 4.5mm circular needle for round 1)  Before joining into the round, twist the stitches once, place marker and join to create a circle.

Round 1-2      knit
Round 3-4      purl
Round 5-7      knit
Round 8-9      purl
Round 10-43 knit
Round 44-45 purl
Round 46-48 knit
Round 49-50 purl
Round 51-52 knit

Cast off loosely (use 5.00mm needles again if required) and sew in ends.

Finished size:             depth approx 15cm, circumference approx 60cm

The yarn is now available at Black Sheep in a choice of 8 colours and all the information on needles and tension is on their website, so there's no need to worry that you've got some complicated swatching to do!

Would I recommend this yarn?  Yes, I would.  I was very pleased the way it knitted up, it didn't split or break and despite the thickness changes the finished fabric felt very even.  I liked it, and big daughter seems very pleased with it too.  



The yarn for this project was kindly provided by Black Sheep Wools.


This cowl pattern is free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using it and would like to make a donation towards future projects, it will be gratefully received!  You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side.
  Thank you! xx


8 comments:

  1. the cowl looks amazing.love the colours as well.i will have to try this wool to knit with, it does look good.

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    1. Thank you! I was really impressed with the yarn so I'd recommend giving it a go. I was very pleased that I managed to get the cowl out of just one ball as well - it felt like an economical knit! xx

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  2. Oh dear, I've just popped on realising I've not looked at blogs for a while and came across this beautiful photo in stunning colours. Now I can see my car or bike directing itself to BSW to buy some, even though I'm sure I've got a similar yarn at home.

    The cowl is beautiful, looks very well modelled by your daughter and I am sure she will be envy of her fellow students who will all want one.

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    1. Thank you! And I'm very sorry to be causing you to have to go to Black Sheep to browse around their lovely yarns and possibly even have to eat a slice of their very delicious cake (not)! ;-)

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  3. Hi Winwick Mum ... I love the pattern of the cowl you made for your daughter and when I was at Yarndale I bought some of this noro yarn. I have made it up into your cowl but unfortunately it has no twist in it. I started it three times and thought I had twisted the stitches as you said but no clearly I never. I am an experienced knitter of many years but could not grasp how to twist the stitches. Can you please explain how you do this? Many thanks - Joy Xx

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    1. Hello Joy, thanks for your comment! I'm sorry your cowl hasn't worked out, but it should be quite easy to fix if you can bear to start it again. What I did was to cast on the stitches on my circular needle and before I joined it into the round, I firstly lined all the stitches up so they were straight along the needle, then took the last few stitches that I'd cast on and turned them right round 360 degrees on the needle - this is what creates the twist. You can tell if it's worked or not when you join the round as if you try to line the stitches up straight again, the twist is quite obvious. After that, you just keep knitting and you'll find that you'll need to keep twisting the stitches around as you go or you'll be trying to knit upside down! I hope this helps, do let me know how you get on xx

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  4. I want to make this but can you tell me if it's scratchy at all since there is so much wool content in the gorgeous yarn. Thank you so much. Karen.

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    1. Hi Karen, thanks for visiting! It's quite hard to advise as people's tolerances over how scratchy they can stand is different! The yarn isn't as soft as, say, something like alpaca, but it is less scratchy than you might expect for such a high wool content. I'm also quite sensitive to scratchy wool so from my own point of view it's unlikely I'd ever wear this next to my skin - but I would happily wear it over a shirt collar (as in the picture above) or a roll-neck jumper. I know that you can buy wool conditioners which soften woollens, and I've been told that hair conditioner works as well which might help. If you're able to, I'd recommend squishing a ball of the yarn before you bought it, or perhaps make one as a gift first and see if you like it enough to make one for yourself! I hope this helps xx

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