Quite recently I stumbled upon a blog by a wonderful writer, Nadia. It is an Irish craft and garden blog, but I feel it really touches on much more than that brief description implies. While the blog includes much by way of fiber craft and gardening, it also provides a heartfelt outlet for the voice of a woman, mother, wife and dedicated writer. Nadia's posts are very moving and speak to me on a personal level, which is why I enjoy reading them so much. I am a stay-at-home mother of two toddlers, as is she, but this does not define all of me...this is just a part of me. I have dreams and ambitions that I try to squeeze in between potty training, trying to teach my sons to be gentlemen, and weird gloopy messes on the couch. Nadia gives me strength when I am feeling slightly defeated and cries out to me that I am not alone. In a way, I find myself feeling as though I am part of a crafting, fiber-loving, sci-fi enthusiastic sisterhood when I read the words put down by this blogger.
I am writing this as a blog review, but I would be remiss not to include the other ventures Nadia includes on her website. Nadia also produces quality, interesting podcasts (I've listened to a few and have loved each one) as well as engaging social media posts. She has committed herself to being a full-time freelance blogger, so I feel the content is only going to grow in the coming months. Her beautiful photography is also worth checking out, both on Instagram and on her blog. Her garden is really an inspiration.
She is the full package, ladies and gentlemen...her website has a little something for everyone. I would highly recommend checking out her website and joining in her conversation. Even if you don't find fiber as exciting or gardening as consuming, she offers something more. She writes about life, which we are all currently involved in, so take a peak at her perspective. It is well worth it.
Local Yarn Shoppe Review
I just returned from a visit to my parents. It was long overdue but I was very nervous to make the trip with my two toddlers. An eleven hour drive with nothing but you, a one-year old, a three-year old and the open road can be quite scary. My husband and I had kept planning to arrange a time when he could get off work to come with me, but unexpected and unavoidable things kept cropping up, so I put my big-girl panties on, loaded up the car, and ventured forth solo. Now that it is all done and I have made it back home, I feel quite proud of myself. High five to me. It was a lovely visit, too. My kids got to meet their great grandmother, their great great aunt and spend lots of fun time with their grandparents. Family is a very special thing.
However, a visit is not a visit without scoping out a local yarn store. And the Saturday after I arrived at my parents' house was World Wide Knit in Public day, so there was a ready reason to convince my entire family to pile in the car in search of yarn. (My dad was not thrilled, but he lucked out and found a new guitar store. So really, everyone was a winner here.) I did a search on the internet and found Bella Filati was not far off, so it was there that we went. And I am so glad we did. That yarn store is so happily situated it is almost unreal. The street where Bella Filati find its home is filled with the cutest local shops you've ever seen. In truth, it was all luxury shopping, but it was all very special. It is not every day you can find a place that has a local book store, local yarn shop, local ice cream parlor, local furniture gallery, local music store...the list goes on. In the age of big box stores and the internet, it was quite refreshing. And that was just the knitting store's location; the store itself was lovely, too.
The inside of the store was well-organized and spacious. I have commented before that I enjoy a snug knitting shop, but this store clearly was organized with the social aspects of knitting in mind. The proprietor of the shop hosts multiple social knitting groups a week, offers knitting tutorials and private lessons and also hosts classes from visiting designers. It is important she have space for people to sit and work. There was a ton of natural light pouring into the store, too, which made choosing yarn colors that much better because you could really see.
Another thing I liked about the store was that for every sample that was on display, the owner of the shoppe made the yarn that was used in a well-organized display where you could easily find nice color combinations and alternatives to the pattern. There was not a huge selection of yarn considering the size of the store, but all the yarn that was available was very nice and of high quality. The prices were very reasonable, too.
Bottom Line: This store is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The shop owner was very knowledgeable and had a very pleasant disposition. The store was bright, clean, and cheerful. Perhaps most importantly, the yarn was lovely.
Available from various retailers for approx. $15.00 a skein.
This is a single-ply, bulky weight yarn good for needle sizes US 10-11 or 6-8 mm.
Yardage= 130 yds (119 m)
100% Merino Superwash Wool
I feel like I'm gravitating toward single-ply yarns lately. They are just so delicious and squishy and, I feel, really show off the fiber from which they are created to great effect. One such example of my single-ply obsession is the Malabrigo Mecha bulky weight yarn. My mother-in-law recently came for a visit, and while casually perusing the numerous knitting magazines I had about the house, she found a cowl she really liked. She did not ask directly, but she sort of implied she would enjoy owning said cowl. What a perfect present, then! I love knitting, she loves cowls...it's a match made in heaven.
The pattern, which I promise I will share when it's done, or at least more done than it is now, called for two contrasting colors in a bulky yarn. I stumbled upon the Malabrigo at my local yarn shop and thought it was the perfect fit. I've begun knitting the cowl, and it already feels really warm and, as I mentioned before, squishy. Yay! It's exactly what I wanted for the project. I have wound all my yarn and started my cowl with about 4 inches knit (it is knit in rows and joined at the end) and I have not had any problems with breakage or tangles. And have I mentioned how soft it is? Oh my goodness, I just want to curl up in my tiny bit of cowl. The yarn itself also has a variation in its thickness, but never gets too thin or chunks out too far.
Mecha is one of 18 different yarn types offered by Malabrigo and at last count had over 40 colorways available. (Malabrigo boasts over 300 different colors throughout all their yarns, and if you are at all familiar with the company, you must know they are ALL gorgeous.) One of the things I love most about Malabrigo yarns are their colors. They are hand-dyed, so there is natural variation in all of the skeins, which is part of the charm. The good people at Malabrigo have really done a wonderful job capturing inspiration in the form of yarn. The vibrancy of their colors is really something else. If you cannot get to a store to check out their yarns in person, I would highly recommend at least checking out their website to see their lovely color palette. They two colors I have featured on this page are "natural" and "teal feather."
The company is based in Uruguay, starting as a small kitchen operation and now operating a mill in Parque Tecnológico Industrial del Cerro, a Technology and Industry Park in Montevideo, Uruguay with a brand new mill in Peru. They have made upgrades to their equipment to try to reduce their ecological footprint and are advocates of sustainability. Their wool comes from free-range sheep that are "herded by actual old-style shepherds." They are focused on the humane treatment of their sheep and providing a quality, responsibly sourced product.
Bottom Line: Malabrigo Mecha is a wonderful bulky yarn to work with. It comes in rich, vibrant colors (as well as natural) and is a high quality single-ply. I have used Malabrigo yarns in the past and have never had a bad experience. By all accounts, Malabrigo is doing their part to be a responsible source of fiber. While it is perhaps a little expensive, it is worth the money for those special projects. It will be a delight to knit with and the project will look beautiful when it's finished.