Since starting to knit I've been developing a mental list of yarn characteristics I love - the result is a personal wish list of "dream yarns". Some of the things on my list are pie-in-the-sky and completely impossible (with current technology), while others are based on real yarns I'd like to tweak to perfection.
In advance of my last trip to Scheepjes* HQ (read more about it here) I made a note of the more realistic things from my list, just in case the opportunity arose to put in a few requests. The list included all sorts... a lightly mottled yarn in a soft/luxury blend, fingering weight yarns for knitting shawls (not solid colours), and so on. Most of all I wished for a self-striping double knit or sport weight yarn with long colour changes - something with soft luxurious fibres, not at all 'itchy', and without any unexpected colour changes mid-ball. (That's happened too many times with a brand whose colourways I love!).
In short, what I wanted was a real knitter's yarn to make beautiful garments and accessories.
As I wrote at the time, I arrived at the meeting to discover that many of my wishes were already being granted (another was launched last week) but I couldn't tell you that the most exciting preview of all was the yarn Scheepjes just launched. 'Secret Garden' is a beautiful silk blend, in the most glorious colours. Here are my personal favourites...
L to R: Rambling Blooms, Herb Garden and Rose Arch
- Secret Garden is a blend of 20% silk, 20% cotton and 60% polyester - it's very soft against the skin.
- Each 50g ball contains 93m of yarn.
- Recommended needle/hook size is 4mm. I used 4.5mm needles for my project which produced a fabric with wonderful drape.
- Items made with this yarn should be gently hand washed, and can be dry-cleaned.
- The balls have an 'easy start' centre-pull tab (but see the note below).
- The yarn is available at Wool Warehouse* in the UK (they also offer international delivery) and other Scheepjes stockists. RRP is £4.50 / €5,20 per ball (UPDATE 18/10/16 : It's listed at £4.39 at Wool Warehouse).
Geekery / a few tips
The initial range is limited to a small selection of colours (a colourway with more orange is missing, in my opinion, and there are two purple/blue colours that are very similar), but Scheepjes typically invest in a broad colour selection once a yarn proves to be popular, and I have no doubt this will.
|The official teaser shot showing all 10 colours... I wonder what the knitting in the background could be?!?!?!|
I'm a fan of easy start/centre pull balls but would like to encourage caution with this particular fibre blend. The silk is quite 'sticky' - i.e. it sticks to itself in the ball - which means it's advisable to pull the initial meterage out very gently, to prevent the rest following. After the first few rows of knitting, it's plain sailing, but please do be careful when you start each new ball. (I learned this the hard way and it wasn't pretty!)
FIBRES & NEEDLES
The 'stickiness' also means that frogging/undoing stitches can be a bit tricky - not as hard as mohair, but this certainly isn't a yarn to use for swatching and undoing multiple times. As I like to knit quickly, I used metal needle tips for my project - they glide easily, avoiding the 'drag' you can get when combining sticky yarns and wooden needles.
The colour transitions are surprisingly even - there is slightly more bulk at the overlap between the colours, but it doesn't have the extreme variations in thickness that some other yarns have - so it's easy to use, and nothing is unexpected.
All in all, this is a beautiful yarn that gets a huge thumbs up from me - it's like a more refined version of my previously-favourite-yarn and I can't wait to knit more projects with it. When you've had the chance to try Secret Garden, please leave a comment with your feedback. Oh, and do stay tuned... I'll be writing more about other 'wishlist' yarns soon!
EDITED: I've used this yarn for two patterns which are available via Ravelry. Find 'A Great Big Cwtch' here and Shawl of Secrets (published by Scheepjes in various languages) here.
*DISCLOSURE: The yarn used for this review was provided by Scheepjes for a commissioned design project. As always, the honest opinions expressed are my own. Stockist information includes affiliate links to Wool Warehouse - thank you for using them and supporting the running of CftC blog.