It is mid-August and my world is calming down considerably. Late July and early August will always be a busy time for me (this is when all the new autumn/winter yarns and patterns arrive in this part of the world) and I had additional knitting deadlines this year. Well, most of the deadlines have been met - I dreamt of stitch pattern repeats one memorable night - and I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Huzzah! (While I remember, I have started a Ravelry group called Karie Bookish Knits. I have so much in the pipeline that it makes sense to have a group. I guess. Okay, I am quite nervous about it all, but there you go. I am silly sometimes. Go join if you are interested.)
So, what have been my favourites this season launch?
Debbie Bliss is launching a Blue-Faced Leicester Aran which is very lovely with a good range of muted colours. The yarn reminds me a bit of Texere's own brand BFL Aran but the yardage is slightly different. Again, the pattern support doesn't work for my body shape but there are tonnes of excellent patterns available for aran-weight yarn already. The yarn is spun in the UK - I'd be interested in learning if the fibres are from the UK too.
I was really pleasantly surprised by Rowan Kidsilk Haze Trio which comprises of three strands of Kidsilk Haze twisted together. I think Trio is meant to replace the now discontinued Rowan Kidsilk Aura (an aran-weight version of Kidsilk Haze) but it has a much better handle and drape than Aura. Trio looked quite hairy, but once knitted it felt and looked much silkier than I expected. The RRP is quite steep, but it comes out cheaper than buying three balls of Kidsilk Haze, so there is method to the madness. The pattern support plays with Trio's drape in oversized, casual garments. My body shape doesn't lend itself to oversized, casual garments, alas, but Trio looks like the kind of yarn that I could see Kim Hargreaves going for.
Also, the new Rowan magazine is my favourite Rowan magazine in ages. I want to make pretty much everything in there: Orkney, Skye (in a modified lady version), Tobermory, Shannon, Lundy, Ruby, Addison, Harbour Bag (free to download!) and Lewis (also free!). But I am going to start out with the Bute cardigan and my colours will be slightly different. My local John Lewis has the original cardigan on display right now and although I adore its muted greens and browns, I will be knitting my Bute in shades of grey, white, purple and teal.
Online there has been a new Twist Collective, a new Knitty, a Cookie A garment book(!), and probably a dozen other things I haven't caught because I have been busy. Knitty is strong on socks this time which is a shame as I am not a sock knitter. I adore Cookie A's Radial shrug which is all sculptural and quirky. Predictably enough, I really like Amy Christoffers' colourwork pullover for Twist as well as Elizabeth Doherty's classy Tenaya cardigan. My favourite Twist pattern, though, is the Fortune Bay pullover with its very contemporary take on a striped pullover.
Trends? Quirky colourwork (quite traditional but with contemporary tweaks); lots of stripes in all sort of contexts; we are definitely moving away from the "buttoned at top, A-line" patterns towards unusual, but fitted (or super-oversized) shapes; a lot of marled or semi-solid yarns; traditional arans are still going but again designers are offering tweaked, contemporary versions.
Phew. And I haven't even seen everything this season has to offer just yet! More yarns and patterns are due to arrive..
Are any of you starting to plan your autumn knitting yet? Or are you still working away on unfinished Ravellenic Games projects (London 2012 was fabulous - I thought - apart from the closing ceremony)? I have a few more things to finish before I can start my Bute cardigan, but it is so nice to see all the new yarns and patterns. Although I have been stressed these past few weeks, this is really my favourite time of the knitting year.