Wednesday, 4 November 2015

King Cole Italian Collection

This really is a stunner AND this blog post isn't massively out of date! We got this in at the beginning of last week. Or maybe the end of the week before. And since it hit the shop it's been by far our best seller (until, maybe, the Panache appeared).

And of course, Toni was there to supervise.

This yarn also has it own vlog post (again, they're easier to do and then be uploading whilst I'm dealing with stuff... sorry)... Anyway, let's not dwell on how terrible I am, let's talk about this yarn!

It has caused a bit of confusion. Is it one yarn? Is it three yarns? Why does one say mohair when I'm constantly going on about being allergic to alpaca? Hmmmmmm. Let's talk.

So - this is the Italian Collection:

Florence - Venice - Verona 

(Excuse the strange formatting - Blogger is really smashing it today!).

So. There are three yarns within the collection, two of which - the Florence and the Venice - have alpaca in it and the other one - the Verona - has no alpaca but some mohair instead. All of the yarns are interchangeable - all 50g balls, all 90m, all 6mm needles or hook, all single spun and all £4 - but they're also all different.

King Cole have provided a lovely box to display them in:

Which is absolutely gorgeous, and a lovely way to displaying the yarn but doesn't allow for a lot of differentiation. And there is a difference between these yarns - otherwise what's the point of having a 'collection'? Shall we begin??

 This is probably the first one that catches your eye. The colours are just so there. This is the row of yarn nearest to us in the photo above. It's mainly a solid colour - magenta, grey, black, teal and purple - with flashes of something else running through it:

How stunning is that? You can also start to see that there is an uneven element to the yarn, a little thick and and little thin, not as much as the Verona mind, but enough to be interesting. 

Patterns by King Cole are here and there are some stunners that I'll talk about later, but I do also want to talk about this:

Which is the Constantine Cape from Knitty by Natalie Selles. It is both gorgeous and the only thing I could think about when I first saw this yarn. When Gen came in because she'd seen the new yarn on the Facebook page, she was umming and ahhing between a few different patterns and when I mentioned that this was what I was doing, a kal was born. But I promised her not to start any time soon, not just because I'd smash it (sorry Gen) but also because I have a million things to finish (I need to write myself a list of all the stuff that has to be finished by the time I start this. It's a lot). So she's started:

How gorge is that?

It's got a bit further now. This is the first thing she's made that's a really strange construction so I know there's been some faffing around with picking up stitches etc but I think she's on the right track now? Hopefully anyway.

This is the next one that has alpaca in it. And it's the one that I plan to make my Constantine in. Hmmm. Glutton for punishment? Again, it's a single spun yarn but this time it's a little less felted together which should make it lighter feeling (potentially warmer as it can catch air in the spaces) and possibly will need a little more care in the looking after. You can see that a little here:

A beautifully furry yarn, a lovely soft touch and the colours are all combined throughout the ball, no splodges. It does wax and wane throughout to create a subtle striping effect that you can see in action in the beautiful patterns that King Cole have provided. For example:

Can you see? Very subtle indeed and I love it.

Incidentally, this pattern, King Cole 4305, is the one thing that makes me regret choosing to knit the Constantine Cape again. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions. How beautiful is that jacket? Can't you just imagine me in that! I might even make it more flouncy at the bottom! Like a pea coat! HEAVEN!

I'm not going through the colourways in these blogs because you can see them on the internet or on the vlog about it, but I do want to say that the Marble colourway is officially my favourite and should be called Tartan.

And last but not least:

King Cole Verona:

This is the only one with mohair in it. I don't want you to get me wrong here, I know lots of us have an image one what mohair is and mostly we don't like it (either to wear.... itchy... or to knit... what happens when you go wrong?!!!??!?) but this is nothing like that! There is only a smidge of mohair here, 10% to be precise, but I don't think it's because there is so little that this just feels like heaven, I think it's just beautifully spun and finished. Genuinely, this is the softest of the three yarns. Softer than alpaca! Yes! IT IS POSSIBLE! Is it because I'm allergic to alpaca that I'm not all swoony like 'ooooooooh, alpaca, I love you, let me rub you all over my face, let me knit you now now now now now'? Have you even seen a cat on cat nip? That's what people get like with alpaca, but I'm pretty sure it's just a learned behaviour. For shops like mine, i.e. not boutique-y at all, alpaca is the kind of yarn that they can afford to get in but feels like a luxury for the consumer. When actually, it's just another fibre. A nice one, generally soft, holds a colour well and drapes like a demon. But it's just another fibre, no better or worse than wool or cotton or acrylic as long as you think about how you're using it and what it's good for.

Anyway, on with this yarn. Now, the way that this is dyed is really interesting. Look closely:

Can you see how it goes thick and thin? This is the most varied of the yarns in terms of thickness. On the thickest bits, can you see how there's some creamy bits? Not sure it shows up great in this photo but it's the best one I've got and it's dark now so not point even trying.. Even if you can't see that there are creamy bits, hopefully you'll see that I think it's dyed! Most yarn that we stock, apart from hand dyed ones obvs, will be dyed in the fibre and then spun. But this one looks like it's spun and then dyed. And in my head that's a more difficult process but it also means that you get the most beautiful colour-play in the yarn and I, for one, cannot wait to see how this knits up. I'm just so sad that I have to finish everything else first! (Apart from the fact that one of the projects I'm doing is finally getting to an interesting bit and one of the projects is in another brand new yarn and I am in love). Hmmmm. Can I justify another new project?? Well, I did finish a project yesterday:

Yes, I've been sewing. Uh oh! Don't worry, I think I'm over sewing for like a year. Does it count as a finished project even though I conceived and completed the idea within five or so hours? After I said I wasn't starting anything else? I had to buy everything from scratch so I wasn't using stash? Apart from the thread which is mostly the reason I ended up with this button hole:

In that colour anyway. The state of it is due to how shit I am at sewing, and in particular, finishing my sewing (hello French seam!). I do think it's important though, to show that I'm not great at everything. A lot of people seem to be a bit in awe of my knitting and crochet, when in actual fact, I'm alright - quite good really - but it's not magic, I'm not magic. I just found knitting and crochet at a good time for me to practice. I never discovered sewing, so I'm stuck doing exactly what I did when I was 14 apart from knowing like three more things because of Great British Sewing Bee (OMG - ARE YOU WATCHING THE POTTERY ONE?!?!!? Don't tell me about it! We're watching it tonight as a household - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE).

Hmm. Back to the yarn, hey? So Verona. I feel like the Verona patterns are the nicest ones:

4300 - Boom. Those cables though. 

4301 - BoOm - that neckline though! The potential for layering!

But, like I said before, all of the yarns are interchangeable and therefore you can interchange the yarns on the patterns - you can find them all here. I'll be really interested in how these patterns work out in the different yarns and I know that as more gets knitting and I'm able to share more pictures of projects that more people will fall in love. I suspect it also might take a good smooshing to really fall in love. So feel free to pop in, even if you're not ready to buy, for a quick squish so that your fingers and their memory of how soft and delicious this yarn is can be working their magic on your brain and eventually a project will just pop out of thin air and then you'll come back and buy. Ahhhhhhhh. Perfect. I love those slow burning projects.

And I think that's it! Two blogs in two days! I really am spoiling you! The best thing?! I have a blog half written for tomorrow too! BOOOOOOOM! I feel like I'm back on it. But I don't wanna speak too soon. I do have to make up for my slow blogging months though. I'm glad you're still here and reading!

Love Eleanor. xxxx

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