Wednesday, 6 April 2016

An ode to wollmeise

Wollmeise.  That name triggers all sorts of robust discussions amongst yarn lovers.  Cottony, dry, tight, smooth, saturated.  My feelings are those akin to true love.  I adore the tightly twisted hanks that could double as a ‘blunt instrument’ if self-defence was required (and it may be among the other Wollmeise lovers).  I enjoy the feeling of knitting with the dry wool and I adore the smooth finished objects, pill resistant and appearing as good as new years later.

I knitted myself a raglan cardigan, v-neck, in the deliciously dark navy (‘admiral’) back in 2013 and it is still as deliciously polished as it was when finished.  2 skeins and I have a perfectly transeasonal neutral garment that looks great as work wear over higher waisted skirts and is just the thing over a dress.  I would adore another in one of the deep, dark greys.

1.8 skeins of the 'pure' 4ply

I have knit some other garments for myself in the same yarn, though those are no longer in my possession – a whisper (even older, and finally gave in after some mending), a boardwalk (not terribly useful in the weather in the city I now call home), a candelia with rear pleats rather than a peplum (not my style, but terribly fun to knit).  I’ve also knit a pair of Manolo socks, and oh, the stitch definition of the twisted stitches.   

Just over 300m in the colourway 'Babe'

However, there is a subset of Wollmeise that I’ve never been able to love in quite the same way – the intesenly variegated skeins.  The twist is still lovely, and the colours so beautifully saturated but the differences between the colour is so significant, and almost overwhelming.  It’s difficult to know what to do with them in a way that will please my aesthetic. 

However, I think the answer may be weaving as it seems to spread the colours out, and the way the yarn has been dyed there are options to play with the colour repeats to create gradients, tartans and all manner of effects.  The most successful projects (again, to my taste) are those that have warped on using a crazy skein (that is the long threads in a woven scarf) and then used a plain colour complementing the crazy.  Geoff was kind enough to weave me a scarf, using a multi hued wollmeise (verhext and verratzt) and a pale purple lace weight, which fades into the colours. In woven form, the bright pink plays beautifully with the slightly purpley greys and the overall effect is charming.

The beautiful woven fabric

I used the remaining 60grams to knit a pair of socks and the difference is quite fascinating.  What appears as long swathes of colour is only a few stitches in knitting, and the striping and colour change effect is much more pronounced.  The pink seems brighter, and the grey more distinct in knitted fabric. 

I think I will be sticking to the mostly solid Twin yarn, but for those keen on the idea of weaving I encourage you to join Wollmeiseholics Anonymous and delight in the thread called 'weaving with wollmesise'.

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