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Erika Knight British Blue Yarn Review by Nadine

In a recent email from Minerva Crafts they announced they were looking for reviewers for the Erika Knight British Blue Yarn that they were now stocking, I nearly bit their hand off in eagerness to give it a try. Not only is it 100% wool, it is also British wool and made from a breed other than the much more mainstream merino. As far as ticking my boxes go it was already off to a flying start.

OK the technical bit, Erika Knight British Blue knitting yarn is a DK weight yarn made from 100% machine washable wool from Bluefaced Leicester sheep. It is available in 25g/ 55m balls and Minerva Crafts stock 17 shades of it.

As much as I wanted to request to review them all I managed to rein in my inner wool pig and settled on 2 balls each of the 106 and 109 colour ways. The ball bands only list the colour way number but the website lists the actual colour way names, always much more interesting I feel. In this case colour way numbers 106 and 109 are actually given the names “milk chocolate” and “Steve” respectively.

The brown really is the colour of milk chocolate and quite frankly any yarn company that is willing to call a colour way “Steve” with no explanation if pretty awesome in my book!

Let us get the negatives out of the way first – ball size. At 25g/ 55m per ball these are tiny, one ball fits perfectly in the palm of my hand with room to spare and I have the hands of a child. Having said that it is surprising how far 55m goes depending on your projects. Whilst weaving/ splicing in ends on a adult garment knitted in this wool might become a bit of a chore, baby garments and accessories should be a lot more agreeable.

Moving on to the positives, this wool is soft like kittens! For those of you interested in the more technical description of this softness you might like to know that Bluefaced Leicester fleeces typically fall in to a 24-28 micron count range. To put that in to context merino fleeces generally fall in to the 11.5 – 26 micron count range. This puts Bluefaced Leicester yarn at the coarser end of the merino range but it is still definitely next to skin soft and very suitable for baby knits.

The characteristics of the breed give the yarn an excellent drape, meaning that this yarn would be ideal for shawls or garments with a more relaxed/ softer silhouette. As Bluefaced Leicester fleece is a long wool it also has a natural lustre which really comes through in the finished dyed yarn.

Given these characteristics you may well have expected me to knit a sample shawl or baby garment to test it out but instead I chose to knit a stranded colour work sample. It really is not as off the wall as it sounds, I knew from the breed characteristics alone that the yarn would work well for certain things but I really wanted to test it out of its comfort zone. I was worried that the natural drape would be counter productive in colour work mittens but actually my sample worked up really nicely and it was a pleasure to knit with in this way. My attempts at stranded colour work nearly always involve a fair amount of frogging or ripping back of knitting and I wanted to know how well the yarn would cope with this. Long wool breeds (which Bluefaced Leicester is) generally make a yarn that is durable and hard wearing so I was expecting it to do well. What I did notice though was that ripping back a project more than twice in the same spot caused the yarn to fuzz up slightly and start to develop neps. This doesn't have to be a major problem provided you aren't particularly prone to making mistakes when you are knitting.

Not all wool lovers are knitters so I decided to try out the Erika Knight British Blue Knitting Yarn using my crochet skills too. I have to say it was an absolute dream, I used a bog standard metal crochet hook and the yarn just glided over it as I was working my stitches, I was able to build up a real rhythm. I was even more pleased to note that the lustre you can see in the samples knitted in plain stocking stitch was still visible in the more ornate crochet stitches in the sample below.

Unfortunately my weaving skills aren't up to the task of putting the yarn through its paces in this sphere but I have every confidence it would perform well there too (as a weft yarn at least).

Overall I would highly recommend the Erika Knight British Blue Knitting Yarn because it is soft yet durable, has a wonderful lustre and drape and comes in a nice range of colours. Good for knitting and crochet alike it would be an ideal yarn for accessories and garments (adult or baby). Added to this is the fact that it is 100% wool, British and from a non-merino sheep breed. With all this in its favour I think small ball size can be forgiven and if not then you'll be pleased to know Minerva Crafts stock it in 100g/ 220m hanks too.

Thanks for reading,

Nadine @ The Many Knits of Nadine

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