Call for Testers: Barents Hat and Cowl Set

Barents Hat & Cowl

This summer I was accepted as a Yarn Ambassador from The Fibre Co., for which they sent me four skeins of delicious Tundra yarn in their new colours. I had never used Tundra before, but immediately fell in love with the soft and airy texture of this bulky weight yarn. I immediately knew that I wanted to create something I could cuddle up in, and keep close to my skin. It took a few tries, but I finally created a cowl that is soft, cozy and so very warm! It is inspired by the colorway names themselves (Blue Lagoon and Barents Sea) – the stitch pattern reminds me of waves in a choppy and icy sea, and the colors complement that perfectly.

Because of the high percentage of baby alpaca and the bit of silk in this yarn, it is quite drapey (and so soft!). I’ve used a tighter gauge than recommended to create a cowl with some structure to it. I also finish the cowl off with ribbing that is designed to tuck inside for a 2-layer cowl design that helps to show off the stitch pattern on the outside of the cowl, and helps keep it close to your neck for extra warmth (a must in our Canadian winters!).

The hat uses the same stitch pattern, and has a slight slouch. It’s quite warm due to the fibre content of the Tundra yarn, despite it’s somewhat lacy appearance.


Cowl design

This hat and cowl set is nearly ready for testing. It will be tech edited before you receive it to ensure a mostly painless testing experience. This set is a quick knit perfect for last-minute gifts as it’s knit in a bulky weight yarn. I used The Fibre Co.’s Tundra yarn, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is soft and luscious (a blend of baby alpaca, merino and silk is hard to beat!), and I absolutely love their commitment to sustainable and ethical processes throughout their creation process. I recommend using Tundra if you can get it, but I understand that’s not always possible – just let me know what yarn you plan to use for the test knit!

If you’re interested in testing, just send me a message to Sarah@KnitaBitofWhimsy.com and tell me about yourself! In particular, let me know what if you would like to make the hat and/or the cowl, and leave your social media links (including Ravelry) so I can say hello and see what you’re up to!

picture of Sarah wearing the Barents Cowl

 

Deadlines:

  • Testers chosen Nov 26, 2017.
  • You will receive the pattern Nov 27, 2017.
  •  Test knit is due Dec 11, 2017.

 

Needles Required:

Cowl:

  • Size US 7 (4.5 mm) 24” (60cm) circular needles

Hat:

  • Size US10 (6mm) 16” (40cm) circular needles
  • Size US10 (6mm) Set of 5 Double Pointed Needles (or a longer circular to use the Magic Loop method)

 

Yarn Required: 

note: in the samples shown, the Main Colour (MC), and Contrasting Colour (CC) are reversed in the hat and the cowl.

Cowl:

  • Main Colour:  approx 120 yards bulky weight yarn.
  • Contrast Colour: approximately 60 yards bulky weight yarn.

Hat:

  • Main Colour: approximately 87 yards of bulky weight yarn
  • Contrast Colour: approximately 22 yards of bulky weight yarn

Barents hat

Requirements for testers:
  • Let me know what yarn you will be using for the test.
  • Specify if you would prefer to test the hat or the cowl.
  • Provide a progress update once a week in the testing thread on Facebook.
  • Create a Ravelry project page for the test knit.
  •  Give feedback on the pattern and knitting experience, and if tutorials or extra features would be helpful (super important!).
  •  Only sign up if you can meet the deadline!

Compensation:

  •  You will be given a copy of both the hat and cowl final patterns upon release.
  • You will also receive a coupon code allowing you to download an additional pattern from my Ravelry store once your project is linked to the pattern (once pattern is published). This code won’t expire.

 

 

9-inch circulars – Yay or Nay?

I tried something new recently. I’ve done bits of colorwork before, and even designed a few intarsia patterns for myself, but I’ve never attempted anything I would consider “real” Fair Isle knitting before. Then a friend requested some mittens, and not just any mittens. The “How Cold Is It?” mittens by Drunk Girl Designs on Ravelry.

How awesome are these mittens? Really, really f’in awesome 😉 They bring a smile to my face every time I work on them. Plus the pattern is easy to follow! I was worried they were going to be a bit small, but with a bit of blocking, which the colorwork needed anyway, they fit great!

The designer used 9-inch circular needles for these mittens. It was another new thing for me, but I thought they would be worth a try. Anything to play with a new knitting gadget 😉 Have you used 9-inch circs before? I picked up some ChiaoGoo needles from my LYS, found some squishy yarn, and headed home to play.

OK, for the first three rows, I nearly lost my mind. Working in the round on such tiny little needles, with tiny fine yarn, and alternating colors for the ribbing? It was awful. I pressed on (only because I didn’t have any appropriately sized DPNs). I think my husband may have learned a few new curse words as I attempted to pick up the numerous stitches that I dropped.

But then an amazing thing happened.

The farther I got, the faster I got! Pretty soon I was done the ribbing (thank goodness) and I moved onto the colorwork section. And I was hooked. There was something quite satisfying about slowly and carefully creating the f-word in such a ladylike and “proper” medium. (I had a tough start to the week, so that might have contributed to the joy of swearing! 😉 )

Even more amazing, when I got to the tip of the mitten, where I had to switch to DPNs, I was disappointed! I had grown to love my tiny 9-inch circs. I dropped a stitch with them, and my tension is all over the place, especially carrying floats between two needles. If anyone has any advice on doing that, I’d love to hear it!

 

Have you used 9-inch circulars before? I have to say I’d recommend them for sure – just don’t give up when you first start. I’m about to cast on for the second mitten, so I’ll find out if it was just inexperience, or if the first three rows always suck (I’m expecting the latter).  I’d love to hear whether you enjoy using them or not! 🙂

Yarn review of Tundra by Knit a Bit of Whimsy

On My Needles …

Today I’ve got some super squishy Tundra yarn from The Fibre Co on my needles.  It’s a mix of baby alpaca, merino and silk, and oh my goodness, is it soft and awesome! Note: I received 4 skeins of yarn in return for sharing  photos on social media; my opinions are entirely my own. 

Photo of Tundra Yarn

What I love even more than the luxury feel of this yarn, is the story behind it. The Fibre Co uses natural fibres in all their yarns, they don’t use superwash processes, and they focus on sustainability. They know where their raw materials come from, and work closely with everyone through the yarn-making process from shepherds and mills to the yarn shops that sell their yarns and designers who use their yarns.

Kitten with Yarn
Mittens the Kitten approves of this yarn!

I’ve done a little swatching with the yarn I received, and I’m very pleased with how it works up. It holds its shape nicely, shows both cables and lace well (as much as you can create lace with Bulky yarn!), and might be even softer after knitting than it was in the skein! I think I’ve got an idea for a cowl using some of this squishy goodness 🙂

Overall, I’m completely sold on this yarn! It’s soft and lofty, sustainably produced, and it comes in a range of 20 colours (including the brand new Berents Sea and Blue Lagoon that they sent me). And I’ve always been partial to bulky yarns – they work up so quickly!

You can learn more about the Fibre Co. here: www.thefibreco.com/ 

And check out all their new colours on their instagram page: www.instagram.com/thefibrecompany/ or browse the hashtags #tfcbrights and #tfcneutrals. I was one of 12 yarn ambassadors chosen to share photos of their new colours! There are some beautiful things happening ❤

And while you’re at it, check out their contest – you could win 3 skeins of yarn in one of the new colours! www.thefibreco.com/competition/