When it comes to selecting a yarn for purchase or a given project I have to admit I am quite, well, sometimes downright unadventurous. I love natural fibres, more specifically those that come from animals with hooves, paws & sometimes claws. Wool, primarily (lets face it, that's what's in my blood, I grew up on a five and a half thousand acre sheep & cattle station), but I also love Alpaca, mohair, cashmere, angora & silk & blends of all of the aforementioned. I have even spun my British Shorthair pussy cat's fur with wool in an ill fated attempted at making yarn, so when it comes to other sources of yarn I am a little dubious.
Whilst I have to admit the plethora of 'feathers' type synthetic yarns that swept the nations about 5 years ago can certainly be credited with getting people to start knitting or reacquaint themselves with their needles, the only yarn of this ilk I purchased frustrated me so much I ended up flogging it off on Trade Me (New Zealand's version of EBay) & you could say I have been wary ever since. However in recent times I have been breaking out a little & have been experimenting with other fibres.
It started with silk, look I know it's still from an animal, but it's an insect, it doesn't bleat. I bought a merino/silk blend & was bewitched with it's lustrous sheen, lovely stitch definition & it's ultra hard wearing ability to stand up to the rigours of been made into a busy toddlers jumper & with stand masses of play, food & washing. I then tried socks for Dr Phil, the first pair I made 3 winters ago & he's still wearing them, hmmmm, maybe there's something to this?
Next came cotton, I know, I know, that's hardly a new fibre, but I had only every used cotton to make dishcloths, not garments, so when my local yarn store had some cotton crepe for just $1 a ball I succumbed, 5 balls later I had made some funky wide legged pants for Hugo, which washed, and wore, washed and wore...
I have since dallied in Bamboo (nice to knit with, but hasn't lit my fire) and now I am onto Hemp. The 'great green', something that gets people very excited in my old neck of the woods, but this isn't the potent kind, it's the textile kind. Dyed in a wonderfully rich colours, it's quite coarse to the touch, but I am told after it's first wash it softens up considerably & creates a very durable fabric that has a look similar to linen. So as usual I fell for a fetching lime green & a rich blue & have started a wide leg pant for Louis to wear this Summer. So far progress is good, albeit the fact that knitting for long stretches the hemp is a little rough on the hands, I am keen to get it finished & give it a wash to see the final effect. I was a little rash & bought four 100gm skeins of each colour, so I will have plenty for Louis pants, a pair for Hugo & probably even a top if all goes well - maybe this hemp is as intoxicating as it's narcotic cousin?