You will notice a theme over the next few days, and that theme is embodied by Malabrigo Worsted. In the final run-up to Christmas we’ll be focusing on yarns whose irresistible squishy softness will sooth your frazzled soul and knit up quickly; that will seduce any recipient no matter how much they try to roll their eyes and scoff at your precious handknits; and that come in so many colours you can find something for everyone. They are also a surprisingly good substitute for a whole range of patterns.
Take shawls. Now, a beautiful, lacy shawl in some amazing sock yarn is a lovely gift, but entirely impractical at this point. However, switch the sock yarn for some Malabrigo Worsted and, hey presto, you’ve got yourself a shawl in about five days (probably less if you have the time to devote to it).
This example is my old favourite, the Traveling Woman Shawl. I simply went up a needle size, followed the pattern and ended up with the joyful knitted equivalent of kittens snuggled around my neck. The only thing I would change if I made this again, is my bind off – it could do with being a little looser. The bright yellow shade of Frank Ochre is also a favourite, although not something I would ever wear in a sweater, so it’s the perfect excuse to try out a bold colour.
This is a yarn that is infamous for pilling and it’s true that the one sweater I have knitted with it looked years old in a matter of days and covered in pills (it has calmed down a lot since, after several shaves and bobble eradications) . However, this shawl has fared much better. It has felted a little, with the whole thing taking on the slightly fuzzy appearance of a much-loved teddy bear, but not a bobble in sight and the lace is still well defined.
We’re getting down to the wire now, but fear not, the Sheep is with you and will be cheering you on as you cross the finish line. To help keep you going, he’s currently working on this year’s Panto, which should be available very soon…