Saturday, October 13, 2007

Notes on Beaverslide

I first encountered Beaverslide yarn when Leanne used to sell it on eBay. She packaged it in auctions of four or five skeins, sometimes of different colors as a sampler. I bought some 90% wool/10% mohair in Bluebird to make a sweater for my younger sister for Christmas. It would match her eyes. It was among my first sweaters, and it was an ambitious Christmas--I had three sweaters on the needles for my sisters and my mom, and then...well, I got pregnant. I didn't finish a single thing on time. I was so nauseated and tired, it took all my energy to get to and from work. It turned out I didn't have enough Beaverslide yarn to finish my sister's sweater, and that's when I first encountered Leanne's excellent customer service. Of course she had more of the same dyelot--she holds a few back for this very reason. They all got their sweaters in the next few months...

Next, I bought some more 90/10 in Glacier Heather directly from Leanne to make my first Wonderful Wallaby for our infant son. I was pleased--it matched his eyes.
Beaverslide Wallaby

However, sensitive that others might not want baby things in wool, I didn't use it again for awhile. I didn't have much time to knit, either. By the time I got back to it, Beaverslide had been reviewed in Knitter's Review and had become very popular--or, at least popular enough that the auctions disappeared from eBay.

Not too long ago, I bought my first McTaggert Tweed. I was intrigued with the colors and when I received it, the texture was amazing. Almost like a boucle, very soft and, for lack of a more technical term, squishy. (The Elderberry...it doesn't match my eyes. Thank God.)

I've been knitting with it now for the past two or three weeks, working on a top-down jacket, and have only found it more interesting. My swatch with size 9 needles gave me 3.5 stitches to the inch before washing, and it was a struggle to get 4 sts to the inch with size 8 needles. That was not fun knitting. This yarn wants to be knit at a chunky weight, in my opinion. Besides that, when I did get 4 sts to the inch, after a solid wet block, the yarn relaxed back to 3.5 stitches to the inch. The row gauge changed ever-so-slightly as well--it actually shrunk a little bit.
Swatch
Another endearing thing about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed.... I had to completely change how I knit. Well, that might be overstating things. But previously, to get even tension, I would always wind the yarn around my pinky finger.
Before
I got so much drag knitting this way with the McTaggert Tweed. I don't know if it's that I have dry hands, but the yarn was catching on my skin and it was very difficult to knit this way. Not fast. Not at all. So, as I wanted to finish this sweater in 2007, I decided to play around with things a little...
After
So here's how I do it now. Remarkably faster with this yarn and the tension might be a little off, but I keep telling myself what Meg Swansen said about blocking wool; that it's just magic.

The other thing to keep in mind about this yarn, in my experience, is that it breaks much more easily than other 100% wool yarns I've encountered. I haven't used it for cabling, but it doesn't take much tension to snap it.

Well, I love most yarn. But there's something special about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed, and no one paid me to say that nor gave me any yarn to say that either. (but I'd be open to free yarn! Oh Leanne? Just kidding!)

10 comments:

Devonshire said...

What a lovely review. I think next time I am in the market for some good wool that Beaverslide will be at the top of the list. Your son is adorable. Those eyes are so gorgeous especially the fact that they match his wallaby.

Bertha said...

Definitely going to order some of this in the next couple weeks! Thanks for the review!

tiennie said...

I have some beaverslide too but not the tweed. I keep forgetting about it everytime I think about starting a new project. Thanks for the review and reminder!

Margene said...

I'm in the Beaverslide yarn love group too. :-)

Sonya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonya said...

It matched his eyes perfectly!!

katie said...

Thanks for the reviews! And are those your graceful hands modeling there? They're pretty. I hold my yarn the way you are in the second photo, all the time. I don't need much tension for some reason. When I first started knitting, I was a much tighter knitter and always had to go up at least two needle sizes. But now, holding it that way, I'm usually right on with the pattern gauge numbers/needle suggestions.

Danielle said...

Hmm, now I have an urge to try Beaverslide! Have you knit with Peace Fleece? How do you think it compares? I had similar experiences with PF -- same gauge problems (just felt better at 3.5 sts/in rather than 4 sts/in and blocked out a little shorter than before) and also thought that the PF broke easily.

nova said...

I love Beaverslide as well ( my sweater is knit from it!), but this tweed snaps like nobody's business! Seaming with it was a nightmare!!!

Anonymous said...

Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting is being republished in September. From all the great reviews, I think I am going to use Beaverslide (What a great name!) for my Starmore sweaters instead of Virtual yarns. I really want to try this Made-in-America yarn!