Friday, June 26, 2009

TNNA Report, part 2: Westminster Fibers

I am very relieved that my computer continues to work just fine and so I am able to continue my TNNA report with a sneak peek at what's coming this fall from Westminster Fibers.

Yes, yes, my adoration of Westminster Fibers is well-documented by now -- and has taken a leap into the stratosphere since I discovered their fabrics. (Check out these adorable bags from Amy Butler). But as TNNA does not include fabric or quilting, today I'll tell you about some of the things that my favorite yarn companies Rowan/RYC, and Nashua have coming up.

I first must borrow a schtick from Stephen Colbert and issue a Wag Of The Finger to Rowan. I am most displeased about the discontinuation of Rowan 4-ply Soft. Courtney said it well in this blog post: this is a wonderful, versatile, soft, machine-washable fingering weight yarn that is all wool! You can make socks out of it, you can make sweaters like this one:

you can make adorable baby items, you can make gloves and mittens and hats that will be wearable so many days of the year, so many pretty colors, why, oh why, why must you discontinue it?

Now, when my dear husband, whom I love more than anything in this world, sees the UPS man bringing in boxes of 4-ply Soft that I shall have to begin stockpiling, he will begin saying things like "Honey, beautiful woman that I treasure, do you not already have bins and bins full of yarn? Dearest, do you really need WEBS to send you more boxes of yarn?" and I shall have to explain to him that this is an emergency, that they will not be making this wonderful yarn anymore and I must Take Steps or it will be Unavailable Forever Except At Exorbitant Prices On Ebay.

Mr. Coats and Mr. Clark, if I ever run into you, I'm going to administer a spanking to each of you (and not in a good/sexytime way). Also, a word of warning: don't you dare to even consider discontinuing Rowan Wool-Cotton. I mean it. You Don't Want To Go There. Trust me on this one.

To start off the preview, it's worth mentioning that I think -- but I am not positive so if someone knows for sure, please correct me on this -- Rowan Classic or "RYC" will be folded into regular Rowan, with everything being called "Rowan" in the future. (The RYC website hasn't been up lately, which supports this theory.) I suppose it makes sense to get rid of any duplicative yarn lines and just call the whole darn thing by one name.

Anyhow, Rowan has some lovelies to introduce to us this fall, including Lima, which is not made from beans, but rather a lush blend of 84% baby alpaca, 8% merino, 8% nylon in a chainette construction (similar to Cork's?). Rich colors, supersoft hand, and the combination of the fiber blend and chainette construction will, I suspect, give it more elasticity than alpaca usually has, meaning less of a tendency to stretch or sag. (Linda, do you need my address to send me some to swatch with? Because, oddly, you forgot to give me one -- or one of each color -- when I saw you at TNNA.) At 109 yds/50g, looks like a worsted weight. Yum, yum.

Felted Tweed will now be coming in aran and chunky weights. (Is it me, or does Rowan seem to spend a lot of time swapping out tweeds for each other? Because the Scottish Tweed is going bye-bye, to join DK Tweed, Magpie Tweed, Chunky Tweed, Rowanspun, Yorkshire Tweed and Soft Tweed to that big tweedy knitting basket in the sky.) The single-breed Purelife British Sheep Breeds line -- introduced last year -- will now come in a second, lighter weight (DK -- yay!). Some of the shades will be undyed single colors, with a few marls in which two undyed colors are blended together.

More colors in Kaffe Fassett Colourscape (nom, nom); an 80% wool/20% silk blend called Silky Tweed in a heavy worsted weight (a nice blend for places like Philly, where the addition of the silk makes the wool more wearable); a 100% cashmere DK; and Alpaca Cotton, a 72% alpaca/18% cotton blend which at 148 yds per 50g ball sounds like about a DK weight or so -- but I seem to have no good notes on this, so don't quote me on that one.

There will, of course, be a new Magazine (lots of cabling, fair isle and colorwork), along with a booklet of Lima designs, a book of DK patterns shown in the new cashmere yarn, a new PureLife book with patterns for the original chunky weight and the new DK weight, and another book devoted to the Kaffe Fassett Colourscape yarn.

From Nashua, I was most excited about Best Foot Forward, a self-patterning sock yarn with colorways designed by Kristin Nicholas:

Very nice indeed:

(Plus Kristin has a book coming out this fall, so we have even more colorful goodness to look forward to...)

Nashua will also be giving us
  • Champlain, a 100% wool knitting at 3.5 to 4 sts per inch in some subtle multicolors -- some are truly multicolors, with 3 or more distinct hues, while some look more marl-ish, with several shades of the same color varying in lightness or darkness;
  • Paradise, a blend of 48% wool/48% baby alpaca/4% nylon, around 4 sts per inch with a slightly thick-and-thin texture; and
  • Shenandoah, another 4 to 4.5 st per inch yarn but with subtle, long color changes (think Tapestry kind of color changes rather than Noro).
In addition to a new edition of the magazine, Nashua will release a book of kids' sweaters knit in Creative Focus Superwash, and a booklet devoted to cardigan patterns.

So there you have it, folks: some of the great things you should be seeing in your favorite LYS around mid-July or so.

Next week: a sneak peek at Berroco, and (I hope) a new No-Bull Book Review...


Pam said...

Agree with you about Rowan and their tweeds. Finally finishing a UFO with Magpie Tweed and I can't tell you how many people have praised the color. And I have another sweater our of Aran Tweed that gets similar comments. But they seem to keep swapping out all of their best products or is it me?

JelliDonut said...

I can't believe they would discontinue the 4 Ply Soft. I love that yarn and thanks to you I now have 18 balls in my stash. I rushed to my LYS and got an amazing deal. That makes me feel a bit better. Thank you for the heads up.