Last week I mentioned how I’ve been grappling with the raison d’être of this blog, questioning, in particular, wether the world needed another knitting blog, particularly the kind of “show and tell” category my blog tends to fall into. My answer (if you can call it that) came to me as I was reading a couple of comments in response to the topic of knitting podcasts in which one reader* voiced her concerns/frustrations with her inability to find material that goes beyond the “look what I made” and the hyper-positive, frequently ad-like yarn talks (that’s what I took from that comment and apologies are given if I missed the point).
This comment most definitely hit a nerve as I found myself in the unique position of nodding along with that reader while, at the same time, I was also looking for a closet to hide in. I, too, have a threshold** of seeing yarn brands bombing my favourite feeds (be it on blogs, IG or podcasts) and yet I had also recently accepted yarn and promo offers myself (and quite happily, too). Obviously, this comment gave me much to mull over.
On one hand, I’m super excited to be given an opportunity to sample new-to-me yarns (at no cost to myself) and share my experience with it, but, on the other hand, certainly the last thing I want to do is make my readers feel like their attention is being taken advantage of for someone else’s gain. To be honest, I’m still a little stumped by this debate but I do promise to be upfront and fair about all the yarn and other knitting products I mention here in this space. I would also like to encourage your feedback on this topic. What are your thoughts? Am I overthinking it or not thinking it through enough? Which side of the fence are you on?
What IS clear to me (and what reading those comments only edified) is that I absolutely LOVE the show and tell vibe of the social media knitting community. A long time ago, I mentioned that I once belonged to a knitting group and, since I’ve moved (over 3 years ago), I’ve continued to miss that experience of bonding over a shared passion for knitting. The online knitting community fills, to some extent, that void of positivity in my knitting life. It’s inspiring to see all the amazing talent out there from all over the world, it feels good to leave positive, encouraging comments on their posts just as it feels good to receive them on my posts as well. I suppose the questioning of my blog’s reason for being came from a place that is happy to share my projects, but that is also wanting this space to be something other as well. What that other is remains to be seen.
So, for now, with all worrying about what I’m doing here as context, let me get around to sharing what I’ve been meaning to share with you all along: my most recent knitting adventures with Wool and the Gang.
When offered to sample their yarns, I asked wether I could try their Sheepaca or Woolly Bully. Wool and the Gang generously sent me a ball of both as well as a ball of their Crazy Sexy Wool. I’m really glad they included the Crazy Sexy Wool as it turned out to be my surprise favourite of the lot. This kind of oversized, roving style yarn is pretty outside my fingering to worsted weight comfort zone and while I confess it did take my hands a little time adjusting to the size 10mm/US 15 needles (and I could have/should have used larger ones), I was surprised how fun it was to knit with. I decided to make a simple 1×1 ribbed cowl to take advantage of its structural (dare I say sculptural?) properties.
The result was a super cozy, quick-to-knit tube o’ squish. I used the whole ball of Crazy Sexy Wool in shown here in Ivory White.
One thing remains to be seen in regards to my overall personal measure of excellence (which is to say, I’m no Clara Parkes): my cowl has started to pill and only time will tell wether this proves to be the kind of awful-shaggy-mess-I-daren’t-be-seen-wearing-in-public pilling or the kind of charming, this-once-belonged-to-my-university-sweetheart-ages-ago-patina type of pilling that I happen to have a weakness for. I’ll keep you posted on which it turns out to be but, so far, I’m still wearing it happily and with confidence.
While the Woolly Bully has yet to be used, I did make another project (I’ve been dying to knit since its release) with the ball of Sheepaca. Again, I used the entire ball with just enough leftover to make a substantial pompom. Here is Fidra, knit with 1 ball of Sheepaca (yarn held double) in Cinnamon Dust.
I think you can see that this Sheepaca has great stitch definition held double like this. As it turned out, I thought this looked very much like a 100% wool yarn pre-blocking (as seen in the photo above), but post-blocking, it looked decidedly like an alpaca/alpaca-blend in so much that it lost almost all of its initial sheen and loft (and wether that’s a positive or a negative quality is completely down to personal taste, in my opinion). As I final thought about this yarn, I would be remiss in not reporting how very soft it is, wearing this hat feels a bit like having a great big (orange) hug stuck on top of your head. I happen to like that.
So, in the end, I had two finished, wearable projects made out of two reasonably priced balls of yarn which I’d say is pretty good value (if you asked me).
Despite all my uncertainty about knitters as yarn promoters and quasi advertisers, I can say that I am grateful to have been given this yarn (thank you Wool and the Gang!) and I am happy to offer you a 20% discount off your purchase if you decide that you’d like to give it a go yourself. Simply enter 20LEIGHSIDE in the promo code box during checkout, it’s valid to the end of March, 2016.
Happy knitting! XO
p.s I know my discussions here have been a little (angst) heavy lately, I swear the next one will be pure fluff (or fuzz, more appropriately). Thanks for bearing with me.
*I say comments because I also appreciated what another reader had to say in response. A good and honest discussion on the topic, I think.
**My threshold very much echoes what the above mentioned “other reader” had to say – I don’t really mind seeing brands appear in people’s posts, I think a sincere discussion about what makes the yarn so loveable is enjoyable and oftentimes enlightening, whereas the “look what status yarn I’ve just added to my collection” or all out viral guerrilla marketing posting kind of turns me off (wait, isn’t this what I’ve just participated in?!). I love how the online knitting community exposes me to great new yarns and products, unfortunately, I don’t like how these amazing products (through no intention by their distributers necessarily) can be presented in such a way that they are inclined to be perceived as status enhancers or that encourage feelings of “needing” to buy that yarn/product for no greater reason than wanting to “own the pretty” (which I confess to having done my fair share of). Thoughts?