Practice

Attended a pre-retirement meeting this week. Yes, retirement from the day job is getting closer. So what do I intend to do with all that “free” time? Hopefully continue with what I’ve been doing in free time all my life: knitting, crocheting, volunteering, designing, teaching, drawing, painting, and writing. I’ve heard from some folks that one is even busier after retirement!

New opportunities present themselves on occasion and one of the most recent is to write articles, book and yarn reviews for a popular e-zine. One article and one book review have already been published, so today I’m doing a practice run with a yarn review of something from my own stash.

Halcyon Victorian Two Ply Wool (100% wool, sport weight, 325 yds per 3.5 oz. hank, 1485 yds/lb, WPI: 14, Gauge: 6-7 sts per in. on size 3-5 ndl)

The label reads: “A perfect pairing with Victorian Boucle or Brushed Mohair for a sumptuous bulky yarn” …

… however I worked with it as a single strand in the projects described below.

I acquired a supply of this yarn when it was selected as the yarn of choice for a design submitted to Knitscene, which was eventually published in the Winter/Spring 2010 issue as Recedere Hat. The pattern is still available for downloadable purchase.

Photo copyright Knitscene/Interweave Press

The generous yardage in the skein would be enough for several Recedere Hats, but I also decided to try the yarn in a crochet project.

On first touch, one notices a distinct vintage feel to the yarn with a characteristic “scratchiness” that is often complained about when wearing items made of wool. Its tightly twisted plies produce a crisp-handed fabric, whether knitted or crocheted, and you may notice some irritation on the finger that carries the yarn if you work with it for long periods of time. But yet, there is something about Victorian Two Ply Wool that keeps one persevering to finish the project. What happens next is rather magical.

Upon gently hand-bathing or wet-blocking the finished item, the yarn softens and blooms into a thing of beauty. When I completed this Vintage Wheel Square Scarf I blocked it which revealed a fashionable accessory that retained its vintage look, stitch definition and shape, yet was malleable enough to drape gracefully:

Halcyon Victorian Two Ply Wool may not be everyone’s cup of tea, yet it has characteristics that make it suitable for projects with an old-fashioned look.  Try it for hats, shawls, shrugs or scarves where it can be worn over a base layer of fabric to counteract the perception of “scratchiness.” It knits and crochets easily enough and you will find a significant change in the fabric’s hand after it is washed/blocked. All things vintage are “in” so consider this option when planning your next wooly “back to the past” creation!

© 2011, Designs by KN. All rights reserved.

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2 Comments »

  1. Bailey said,

    July 23, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    My in-laws are much busier since they retired and having more fun then ever. No couch potatoes. Enjoy yourself.

  2. Designs by KN said,

    July 23, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    Looking forward to it!

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