Kidsilk Haze

First of all 
Seems like yesterday!
Horrid day here, cold and wet, and even looks as if it could snow. But what do I care! After two days battling with Kidsilk Haze, a yarn I love to look at but hate to knit with, the sense of relief that it's now gone off to sample knitters will keep me glowing for days! Even my fave Addi needles did not lighten the load, there are just some yarns you don't get on with. Such a pity as from a design point of view KSH is SO gorgeous.

I knit a lot of swatches to see how a yarn behaves, trying out different stitches until I find the perfect one for a design. I'm always on the lookout for pretty little lace patterns that have maximum impact with minimum effort, as I know many knitters are terrified of lace.  I want those knitters to know there's a pot of gold at the end of the lace rainbow and I feel it's important to encourage them to try a small project.

However I now have to concede that KSH is probably not the fibre to use for this task. The problem of working with very fine yarn on relatively large needles can be very scary and can quickly become a knit nightmare. As Lucy Neatby (just noticed it's her birthday too today, so have a good one Lucy) commented the other day, it's a single use yarn, meaning you can't rip it out if you make a mistake. This is because the fibres cling to each other, but combine that with a lace pattern, notoriously difficult to rip, and it becomes a fast track to tearing your hair out.
Stocking stitch not such a problem
So I reckon if a stitch isn't working for me I can't just pass it on to sample knitters and hope for the best. Over the past couple of days I must have got through a fair amount of single use KSH and several lace patterns which ultimately were consigned to the rubbish bin - in fact I'm now convinced that these patterns would probably try the patience of the most fanatical and dedicated lace knitters.

I can hear you thinking, why did you try them then? The answer is that some patterns trick you by having a repeat of only a few rows, some have a rest row every other row (always try these first) and some have many rows, but these rows look relatively easy. But the simple truth is that until you knit them and understand the vagaries of each pattern, you just can't tell the nature of the beast.
It's when you come to lovely lace that things get sticky!
I'll spare you the photos of my pile of failed swatches, suffice to say that I did eventually find one that worked, wrote the pattern yesterday and with a great sigh of relief sent it winging on its way to my sample knitter. No complaints yet so fingers crossed I may have cracked it.
Perhaps I should stick to stocking stitch in KSH?
I get so excited about new designs and my natural inclination is to want to share them immediately.  Unfortunately, I don't think that would work for my publisher, which I totally understand as neither of us wants the book to be old hat before it's published, which in this case won't be until Autumn 2013. So why am I fussing and fretting about getting things done now?  The answer is that if you work with a publisher the book is usually finished from the point of view of design about a year before publication. I have a deadline in a couple of weeks for the first few projects in the book, so hence the flap.

However, not being able to share my new babies leaves me feeling slightly frustrated as it would be great to have some feedback as the book's progressing. Maybe you can help me out with more market research? What are your fave yarns? Do you enjoy knitting with KSH? What qualities do you like in a yarn and which ones are definite no-nos?


  1. I know exactly what you mean about KSH, knitted up it is fantastic, the drape of the fabric is superb, and the softness and colours are wonderful. BUT it is very difficult to work with. I'm currently knitting plain stocking stitch jumper with it. Almost got to the armhole shaping on the front when I noticed I'd dropped a stitch about 20 rows below!!!!! As I'd already knitted the back and one sleeve I just had to pick up what I could, and sew it in very carefully.

    One of my very favourite yearns to work with is Rowan's Wool Cotton. Smooth and soft, with good stitch definition.

  2. I am saving my yarn pennies for enough KSH to make the 'Enigma' for myself, but have never worked with it before. My firm favorite is Noro Silk Garden; it seems to always find its way into my stash. I love color and texture, so the Noro never disappoints. I find it easy to work with, and not too difficult to tink or frog, if worse comes to worst.
    There are still so many patterns in "Sweet Shawlettes" that are in my queue and in line for Christmas knitting that I am quite satisfied to concentrate on them for now!

  3. Happiest of happy days to St Felix - may the dragons be of a friendly sort and watch blowing out all those candles!!
    Don't really have a fave yarn - anything that's well-behaved! Have never used KSH so can't comment but mohair does make me itch so tend to stay away from it....usually substitute for just about every pattern I knit come to think of it!

  4. Jean, lace yarns and I do not get along well... they snag on my dry fingers, and so I steadfastly avoid them. That's a good way to think of them - as "single use yarns." And I don't live a lacey shawl lifestyle! Kidsilk Haze, and its new striped variety, is gorgeous, but too pricey for me to end up with the tangled mess which typically ensues. Into the bargain, 7-8 stitches per inch is way too trying on my eyes and my patience! Give me a good worsted or DK weight, in a wool or alpaca blend, or some nice llama! Pam xx

  5. KSH is a nightmare for me as it really does stick to itself like glue! Have always avoided knitting with it but have had to help knitters tink their projects so know what it does.
    To be honest if I am truthful my favourite fibres to knit with are cashmere, suri alpaca, merino wool and qiviut. Stitch definition with all of these is superb and as I love cable these are perfect

  6. Am knitting with KSH. It's gorgeous yarn but if it wasn't so expensive I would pitch it. It sticks,won't slide on needle etc. I tried wood & steel needles. neither work well.
    A friend told me to stick it in the freezer. That made it marginally better but still a pain..

  7. Am knitting with KSH. It's gorgeous yarn but if it wasn't so expensive I would pitch it. It sticks,won't slide on needle etc. I tried wood & steel needles. neither work well.
    A friend told me to stick it in the freezer. That made it marginally better but still a pain..


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