Nov 2, 2014

Breaking the Spell

Most of us have a few rarefied skeins lurking in the stash, but they can be a touchy topic we'd rather duck and dodge than discuss.

I’m referring of course to yarns that are so soft and sublime, we pet them, stroke them, cuddle them and adore them. They tempt us with their beauty. They taunt us with their hefty price tags. They accept our gentle caress but refuse to be knit.

They sit happily ensconced in the stash but are not truly part of it, secure in the knowledge they're the highest fiber life form: They're "shrine of precious" yarns.

I confess to owning more than a few skeins. All were acquired with specific projects in mind, but somehow the project didn’t materialize, the concept lost its appeal or they were “too good” for their planned use.

Enough already. In a breathtaking and daring move, I’m working on not one but two shrine of precious projects.

The first is my latest shawl. It combines nice but unremarkable variegated wool-nylon sock yarn with black Tajmahal, a delicious Italian-made sport weight blend of superfine merino (70%), silk (22%) and cashmere (8%).

This is an emotionally risky venture. Part of me still believes one day I might actually make the sweater for which the Tajmahal was purchased and part is convinced pairing premium yarn with humble sock yarn is quite simply wrong. Surely such luscious fiber was destined for greater things?

After much cogitation (Do it? Don’t? Do it?), I decided the only way to know for sure was to test the combination and see what happened. The initial swatch went well and it's grown into a full-fledged project that looks like this:

So far, so good.

The second project features another precious yarn from the shawl test lineup. Called Richesse et Soie, it’s a fingering weight blend of cashmere (65%) and silk (35%). This yarn was also made in Italy and is truly sublime. I’ve swatched it several times but never quite found The Perfect Project.

Hopefully that’s changed. The last time you saw it, it looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

(Yes, that's the same purple yarn in both photos, but the color in the first is more accurate.)

The red and purple swatch helped me realize how much I wanted this super-soft yarn draped around my neck, so instead of a shawl I’m making a narrow scarf. It’s growing slowly, but if all goes well, I’ll end up with something light, lush and long enough to be worn multiple ways.

Soft yarn, hard choices. It’s time to break the spell.

To see what others are working on, visit KCCOYarn AlongFiber Friday and Creative Friday.


  1. I am always hesitant to pair a fine yarn with a yarn of lesser quality. Does it just make your fine yarn feel average?

  2. I so agree! I have some yarns that I just stroke as it almost seems that anything I make from them will be an anti-climax. I just want to love them as they are and not risk it!


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