Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal Yarn
Available from KnitPicks
100% Merino Wool Worsted Weight
$11.99 100g Hank
featured in Pokeberry
I had the thought yesterday that perhaps it would be helpful for me to review more of the yarns I used in my projects. Especially with yarns that are predominately available through online retailers, it's sometimes hard to know what to expect. Today, I'm working on a hat using KnitPicks Preciosa tonal yarn in pokeberry. It is a vivid pink color. On my computer, it looks a little more purple than it is in real life- in real life it is PINK. Like in-your-face pink. But that's okay because that is what I wanted. I read up on this squishy worsted weight yarn, and apparently it was a reserve yarn that was so popular, KnitPicks added it to their permanent collection. There are 16 colors available that include jewel tones as well as black, brown and grey.
The yarn is a single-ply merino wool. What this means is that there is only one strand in the yarn. In contrast, something that is two-ply (or greater) would have two strands of fiber wound together to make the yarn. There is something very special about single-ply yarns. I feel they really allow the fiber to show its natural texture; it reminds me of roving, in a way. This particular single-ply yarn is very squishy and soft, too, which makes it perfect for things like hats or scarves but can also be used for larger projects like sweaters to great effect. In my experience, single-ply yarns can be a little temperamental, I sometimes have trouble with inconsistent thickness and breaking. However, Preciosa seems to be very even and strong; I have not had any trouble with breaks.
This is a tonal yarn, so the color is variegated as you move through the hank. I have noticed a little pooling and striping, which sometimes frustrates knitters. It is not a hand-dyed yarn, so there is some uniformity expected in the yarn's tonal shifts. I read some other reviews of this yarn that proclaimed it to be self striping, but I have not had quite that severe an experience. I only mention this so you can plan your project accordingly. If your last wish is for pooling or subtle striping, this is not your yarn. The color range within the hank is very nice, not creating too drastic a shift in hue. In my pokeberry, the color shifted from the dark bubble gum color to the lighter candy pink, but the two extremes are not drastically different from one another, allowing you to create a unified looking project. I am including a photograph of a swatch done in a 2x2 rib followed be a stockinette stitch so that hopefully you can see the stitch definition (which I think is quite lovely) and the color shifts. You can see some of the striping that occurred in the stockinette stitch and the pooling that happened in the ribbing. This, I think, is just a natural part of using variegated yarn, though.
Bottom Line: I really like this worsted weight single-ply. It is very soft, feels good while you are knitting it, and is very affordably priced. The tonal shifts are not crazy, put there can be some pooling or striping in your project. The colors available are vibrant and fun, it is a yarn that will make you smile.
Intwined Pattern Studio is a fantastic, affordably priced pattern design software for fiber artists. The software retail price is $44.00 but is often available on sale on KnitPicks for a discounted price. The makers of the software also support a group on Ravelry for Intwined users.
*This is not a tutorial on how to use Intwined Pattern Studio, I just want to highlight some of its awesome features.
I know there are many different software options available out there for people who would like to design fiber art. However, if you are like me, and you are new to design or perhaps just working on a limited budget, it is hard to justify spending big bucks on software. It is possible to use a program like Excel to make your charts and patterns, I know because I've done it. I must say, though, that having a program with a stitch library and easy to use chart features makes a HUGE difference. And that, my friend, is the beautiful thing about Intwined. Intwined is low fuss yet still a powerful tool for knitters, crocheters, cross stitch, and weavers alike. If you cross genres with your fiber art, this is a great program because you can design for any of your interests in the same program. Right now, I will focus on knitting, but keep in mind these features can be applied to any fiber craft.
When you open the intwined software and go to make a new pattern, you are given a window to type in the name of your project what size chart you would like as well as the focus of fiber art (knit, crochet, cross stitch, etc.). As you can see from the screenshot below, the interface is clean and easy to use with helful icons.
Once you have your chart open, you can have a lot of fun. There are options to chart out color work as well as an extensive stitch library. One of the cool features of this software is that you can create your own icon and stitch if, for whatever reason, they do not have what you are looking for. For knitters, you can chart flat or in the round and they also have a lace option. Very cool. In the screenshot below where you can see that as you create a chart the written directions are tracked underneath. And this neat little feature works both ways, you can write your instructions and the chart updates to reflect your written work, too. You can also simultaneously work on a pattern document for your charted pattern.
The program helfully keeps track of the stitches you use and the colors, so it saves you considerabe time when drafting your chart. There are also more advanced features that allow you to copy and mirror parts of your pattern. Of course there are options to add or delete rows, as well.
Intwined uses vector graphics, so you can resize your images to your hearts content and never have to worry about pixelation. The charts also save in a format that allows them to be opened on any computer and be used as graphics in places outside the Intwined environment. That means the graphics you make for your patterns can be used on your blog, in your pattern, in a book, in a magazine...you get the idea.
Bottom Line: If you have $44.00 to spare and you are a fiber enthusiast, I would highly recommend getting this software. Even if you are not designing patterns, this software has applications as an excellent place to store notes and charts of things you are working on that you may want to reference later. It seems like a great tool to have in your arsenal with the potential to be extremely helpful to your craft.