The yarn Black Sheep gave me wasn't sock yarn but instead was more of an aran weight. and the trail ball was a bit like a lucky dip - there was very little information on the yarn band and no needle size suggestions at all. It took me some time to gauge which needles to use, although what I did discover whilst making my swatch was that it knits up into a much softer fabric than I expected. In the end, I used the wraps per inch method and settled on 4.50mm needles which produced a nice firm fabric. (You can see my swatch getting bigger as I changed needle sizes!)
I was surprised to find that despite the differences in the yarn thickness on the ball - in some places it was almost lace-weight and in others as thick as chunky - it didn't seem to make a great deal of difference when it was knitted up. It has a slubby texture which is quite attractive, so this is not the yarn to use if you only like smooth knitted fabrics.
I did enjoy being able to sit and knit in the afternoon with a legitimate purpose instead of sneaking in a few rows here and there between other jobs as I usually do - although I felt as though I should be looking over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure that I wasn't going to be caught out skiving! I could quite get used to this!
I was told that I could make anything I liked with my ball of yarn, so I decided to try to use it all up. Big daughter started sixth form college this week and is busy trying to define the style she wants to present now that she no longer has to wear school uniform. This is what I did with the ball ...
and this is how she wore it ...
It's a cowl, a simple knit and purl version which took almost exactly one ball (I think I had about 5 inches of it left) and knits up quickly on a circular needle. If you'd like to make one for yourself, the pattern is below, and is also available as a PDF.
Simple Twisted Cowl
1 ball of Noro Hanabatake
5.00 mm needles (optional – see note)
4.50 mm circular needle in 60cm length
Cast on 100 sts loosely with 4.50 mm circular needles. (Note - if your casting on tends to be tight, use 5.0mm needles then transfer to 4.5mm circular needle for round 1) Before joining into the round, twist the stitches once, place marker and join to create a circle.
Round 1-2 knit
Round 3-4 purl
Round 5-7 knit
Round 8-9 purl
Round 10-43 knit
Round 44-45 purl
Round 46-48 knit
Round 49-50 purl
Round 51-52 knit
Cast off loosely (use 5.00mm needles again if required) and sew in ends.
Finished size: depth approx 15cm, circumference approx 60cm
The yarn is now available at Black Sheep in a choice of 8 colours and all the information on needles and tension is on the ball band, so there's no need to worry that you've got some complicated swatching to do!
Would I recommend this yarn? Yes, I would. I was very pleased the way it knitted up, it didn't split or break and despite the thickness changes the finished fabric felt very even. I liked it, and big daughter seems very pleased with it too.
The yarn was provided by Black Sheep Wools