I sort of knew that I was going to like this new yarn from Erika Knight for a number of reasons. First off, it’s name… Wild Wool reminds me of my favourite album by Paul Weller (bet he never thought that one day he’d be linked, however tenuously, to a knitting yarn). Secondly because I really like the thinking behind Erika’s yarn range; to give us eager knitters the highest quality, natural, sustainable and eco friendly yarns dyed in a delicious choice of colours. So having been given a couple of hanks of Wild Wool to play with (I love my job) and with no pressure to produce a design or even to write this review I cast on and started to play.
If you’re thinking that a yarn made from nettles inevitably means roughness and hours of scratching whilst sitting in a muddy field knitting around a camp fire then think again.
I certainly wouldn’t have guessed simply from handling it that there was nettle fibre in this yarn. In fact it’s only when I read the label which gives the fibre content as being 85% wool that nettle is mentioned and it’s accounted for in the 15% viscose. It’s presented in 100g hanks which I honestly couldn’t resist squishing as I opened them up to wind into a ball. And, rather than being plied and twisted it’s more like a singles yarn that’s been twisted just enough to add strength whilst retaining a lofty, rounded hand feel.
Winding into a ball often gives you a real feel for a new yarn and what I noticed whilst doing it in this case this was just how incredibly lustrous this yarn is. As you know bright, bold colours really are my thing but inkeeping with her timeless aesthetic Erika has chosen to launch it in 8 restrained colours inspired by the wild outdoors. There are two blues, pale pink, purple, deep green, two greys and gold (possible my favourite) but this yarn blend has a luxurious sheen that brings incredible richness to every single one of these shades. Another thing I love is that Erika’s wit is reflected in their names with each one an informal and very British term for walk such as traipse, mooch and pootle.
So what’s it like to knit? Well there’s a wonderful roundness to it as it comes off the ball that flattens out a little when it sits in the needles as newly formed loops. But, as the next row of stitches is worked on top of them they regain their roundness once again producing row after row of beautifully even stitches that sit closely together. The fabric is soft, silky and lightweight and, because the yarn has a slight halo it’s so cosy on the skin that once again you forget about the nettle and any preconceptions you may have had about it. Win, win, win!
Wild Wool has subtle veins of fibre that give it a marbled sort of colouring (the base colour plus dark in the lighter shades and light in the darker shades) so when knitted up these produce the most subtle tonal variations across the face of the fabric. And what’s also interesting is that although it’s not a tweedy yarn there are occasional little flashes of solid coloured fibre that reveal themselves as you knit so you may find that amongst the cool grey of Amble (sh 700) there’s the odd white stitch whilst in sh 704 Pootle that flash could either be white or old gold.
Now although the ball band recommends knitting in a 5.00mm needle and my knitting tends to be a little in the loose side I actually found this resulted in a slightly tighter tension than I would have expected. In fact my cast on edge curl upwards a little so I stepped up to a 5.50mm needle for all but the stocking stitch swatched shown in this post. Once the samples were blocked I gave them a little blast of steam which plumped the stitches up beautifully and as you can see it’s a great yarn for showing up all sorts of textures including garter stitch, moss stitch and cabling.
This is definitely a yarn that I’d use again, in fact as I used it for a recent magazine design submission I’m hoping that will be in the not too distant future.
In the meantime I can enjoy playing with the latest additions to my stash and I’ve included the details of the yarn below.
Yarn: Wild Wool by Erika Knight
Content: 85% wool 15% viscose (nettle fibre)
Weight: 100g (3.5 oz)
Packaged as: Hank (skein)
Recommended needle: 5.00 mm (US 8)
Recommended hook:5.00 mm (Size H)
Standard tension: 18 sts and 26 rows to 10 cm (4 in)
Number of colours available: 8
Care instructions: Hand wash or dry clean in certain solvents. Iron on a cool setting
For more information on where to find your nearest stockist head on over to Erika’s website http://www.erikaknight.co.uk/stockists/