Last week, my LYS (Green Mountain Fibers) held a Plymouth Yarn Tasting. All they asked for in exchange for your attendance was that you give some honest feedback about the selections, so they could make some purchasing decisions. I wasn’t able to go to the last one, so I was excited to try some yarn! (And it didn’t hurt that they were offering 20% off Plymouth yarns that day.)
Since there was a wide variety of yarn to try, I brought an interchangeable set and my size 1 and 3 Addis. I bought the Addis at GMF a few weeks ago, but hadn’t gotten a chance to use them. I pulled out my 3s to try some Happy Feet DK (I knit loose. Like, really loose) and I was so excited to be trying them for the first time that I asked someone to take a picture. You can’t really see the yarn or the needles that well, but we’ll pretend it’s because I was casting on SO FAST.
I really enjoyed the Happy Feet DK and the Addis, and I thought I had cemented a yarn purchase (I don’t think GMF currently carries the DK [I could be wrong] but they do have the fingering.
Anyway, before I blather on about all of the yarns I tried, here’s a sampling of what was available. I was too busy swatching to take lots of pictures, and I was too tired to think of writing down what I knitted with.
You just kind of grabbed one you liked, worked on it for a bit, then cut it off and tried another one. I tried to pick yarns I wouldn’t normally choose, so at least the owner would have some feedback on the oddballs. This is by no means comprehensive, since I didn’t write down the name of anything, and I didn’t even try the cashmere.
I worked with some Diversity, which is a fingering-weight yarn with no wool. I didn’t love it (it’s got some stretch to it), but I would be willing to buy a skein and make a pair of socks just to see how they held up on the foot and in the wash.
I got to try some Kudo, which the store carries, but I think it was a color they were thinking about purchasing. I think it’s the uppermost left skein of yarn in the picture above. It was this enchanting mix of blues and grays, and you know how I am about those. It’s a blend of cotton, rayon, and silk, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I would definitely consider purchasing some, although I think I’d use it to make a garment rather than an accessory. (And since I’ve made exactly 0 garments in my life, I’m in no rush.)
Sakkie. Oh, Sakkie. In the interests of full disclosure, Sakkie took one look at the Happy Feet DK and shoved it off the table. (Okay, not really, but metaphorically.) I was trying to stay away from sock yarns, but the blend intrigued me. It’s merino, mohair, and nylon. It was really easy to knit and the mohair was not scratchy. At all. The tag suggests that it will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, with good breathability. I know wool pretty much does all of this by itself, but — I bought it. I had to try it. They didn’t have the color of the sample skein, but I got a gorgeous purpley skein that I need to take a picture of. 20%. Happy Feet can wait. And the name is punny. I love puns.
Spago. Oh, Spago. Spago is that blue-looking tribble at the bottom left of the picture. I was really stepping out of my comfort zone with this one. I’m not saying I don’t ever play with eyelash and novelty yarns, but they’re usually very annoying to knit with, and Spago was no exception. I used a bigger needle than I normally would (it calls for an 11, and I think I used a 10.5), but it fought me every step of the way. I only cast on 6 stitches, but each stitch was time-consuming and difficult, and it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. I did let the store owner know that I thought it would be intriguing to weave with, but I did not like it for knitting.
These are all of the ones I remember, but I know I worked with an alpaca yarn, and one with mohair. I wanted to try Cottonation (it’s a ribbon yarn? But it’s cotton. So intriguing!), and the Monte Donegal just looked dreamy. There was some Neon Now on the table, and since I’m working on some socks in the pink, I pulled them out to show people. With a yarn like that, I think it’s more beneficial to see the yarn in a larger project than a swatch allows, since they could see how the striping behaved.
For a free event, I was really pleased. There just wasn’t time to try everything. I could see this working as a fundraiser event, or even just a paid event where you got to take home a small sample of each yarn. Yarn tastings are a really brilliant way to introduce people to yarns that, for whatever reason, they haven’t tried. You aren’t out financially if you don’t like it, and you don’t have to figure out what to do with the rest of the ball. There are a few yarns that are on my radar now that probably wouldn’t have been without the tasting.
My thanks go out to the staff of Green Mountain Fibers for hosting this event. I know they all put in a lot of effort and time to make sure we all had a great experience. In my ideal yarn shop, each and every yarn they carried would have a tester available. I imagine that’s very cost-prohibitive, so a yarn tasting is the next best thing. It might have also been fun (and helpful) to have score sheets, like I’ve seen at wine tastings, so you could keep track of what you liked (and the store would have that feedback on paper).
Have you ever been to a yarn tasting? What did you think? Maybe next time, we can have a fiber tasting. Hmm …
Disclaimer: I asked for permission to blog about this event, and I am not receiving compensation for it. (Although darn tootin’ I used that 20% while I had it!)