Yarn Review: Schachenmayr Regia Premium Alpaca Soft

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During Yarncamp 2018, I was offered a ball of Schachenmayr Regia Premium Alpaca Soft. After some initial problems (testing a set of dpns at the same time, a very bad idea for a convinced magic loop knitter) and some Christmas knitting, I finally have finished my pair of socks.

The sport weight yarn is a blend of 62% wool, 23% Nylon and 15% alpaca, which is pretty close to the classic Regia blend of 75% wool and 25% Nylon. The alpaca adds a light halo, but I have used way softer alpaca yarns before. I have followed a textured pattern, petäja sukat (free but Finnish only), to test both stockinette stitch on the soles and stitch definition on the patterned parts. The yarn looks very elegant in stockinette stitch and the halo surprisingly even highlights the textured pattern. There only is one point I did not like at all: the yarn fuzzes horribly. Whenever I worked on the socks, my pants were covered in short alpaca fibres afterwards. This raises the question how the yarn will behave over time and I am a bit worried the yarn might keep losing fibres. This probably will keep me from using this yarn again, but apart from the fuzzing, the yarn looks really good both in textured knits and in stockinette stitch.

I am very thankful for this testing opportunity and am looking forward to testing the yak version of this yarn, soon.

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Yarncamp 2018

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This was my third Yarncamp in a row and I am sure I will attend the next one in 2019 as well. With its barcamp background, Yarncamp is so very different from the usual knitter’s meet-ups where you mainly buy yarn, take workshops you had to book in advance and hurry through the day to meet your knitting friends who live too far away to see them regularly. At a barcamp, it is you who decides which workshops (sessions) will be held.

Each morning starts with a plenary session where everyone can offer or request sessions covering subjects she knows well or wants to take a closer look at. All suggestions are collected to a publically accessible session plan so you can check it whenever needed. Each time slot has 45 minutes which leaves 15 minutes between two sessions to have a cup of coffee, a quick chat or to grab something to eat from the buffet. To give you an impression on how versatile the sessions are, these are the 2018 session plans:

I attended the GGH session and the tatting and bobbin lace session on Saturday and also held an introductory session to toe-up socks myself.

GGH introduced their new “Bambu” yarn, a 100% rayon yarn made from bamboo. The session participants were asked to try it out, so I took my chance. The yarn knits up easily, has a good stitch definition, is soft to the touch and has a wonderful drape.

I am super happy I was allowed to take three dark grey balls with me to play with, I already have something in mind for next summer. As it is intended to be a summer yarn, Bambu’s colour palette actually is a pastel one, so I am very happy GGH has included a “light black”.

GGH Bambu

 

Uschi Wolf‘s introduction to tatting and bobbin lace was very interesting as she explained the potentials and limitations of each technique, apart from an overview of the techniques as such. She also had brought some of her current projects with her:

 

On Sunday, I attended the labyrinth knitting and yarn festival tourism sessions and held an introductory session to advanced vegan cooking and baking.

Doerthe knocked me off my feet with her labyrinth knitted sweaters. They are constructed by knitting a looong (30m or more) meandered garter “string” which is then assembled to a sweater. Sounds weird? Here is how it is made:

Using this technique, planning ahead is everything. A gauge swatch is mandatory as it affects the shape of your result as such. Moreover, you need to layout your labyrinth on squared paper first, to place the increase and decrease points. And in case you are still interested by now, like me, there is a book on that which sadly is out of print. It is called “Unexpected Knitting” by Debbie New and maybe I have ordered a thrifted version for myself before the end of the session.

 

During the “yarn festival tourism” session, Claudia Eisenkolb and the participants have compiled a list of yarn festivals worth a visit. I have added the links in case you are interested. 😉

17./18.11.18 Barcelona Knits

24./25.11.18 Friedberger Wollfest

25.-27.01.19 Vogue Knitting Live! New York City

09./10.03.19 WollLandia Kieselbronn

21.-23.03.19 Edinburgh Yarn Festival

30./31.03.19 Swiss Yarn Festival

13./14.04.19 Leipziger Wollefest und Stoffmesse

27./28.04.19 Hohenloher Wollfest

27./28.04.19 Le Fil de la Manche

11.05.19 Aschaffenburger Wollträume

11./12.05.19 Saltum Uldfestival

25./26.05.19 Kielgeholt Duisburg

01./02.06.19 Oppenheimer Wollfest

02.06.19 Rheinischer Wollmarkt Euskirchen

14./15.06.19 Woollinn Dublin

23.06.19 Auersmacher Wollfest

04.-07.07.19 Jyväskylä Knit Fest

August 2019 Wollfestival Düsseldorf

20.-22.09.19 Fanø Strikkefestival

28./29.09.19 Yarndale Skipton

28.09.-06.10.19 Shetland Wool Week

September 2019 Berlin Knits

September 2019 Das bunte Schaf Langenfeld

04.-07.10.19 Knit City Vancouver

11./12.10.19 Nederlandse Breidagen Zwolle

12./13.10.19 Wollmarkt Vaterstetten

16.-20.10.19 Loch Ness Knit Fest Inverness

19./20.10.19 German Raveler Meeting Leipzig

October 2019 Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

October 2019 Westerwälder Wollfest Westerburg

November 2019 Yarnporium London

November 2019 Wiener Woll- und Stofffest

You may wonder why I went to three sessions per day only, but there is so much more happening around that you keep losing track of time. I had a lot of really good talks in the lobby, tried out Schachenmayr’s new premium Regia sock yarn Alpaca Soft on Pony “perfect” dpns at the Schachenmayr knitting lounge and took a look at the book samples Haupt and Stiebner publishing had provided for reviewing.

The yearly yarn exchange table is also something worth mentioning. You are asked to bring some yarn, needles, books or whatever knitting related things you would like to get rid of and place it on the marked table. You also may take whatever you like no matter whether you have contributed to it or not. The leftovers then are donated to a local charity that knits them up for people in need. But look at how full the table was this year! There even were bags and books placed around it!

Apart from yearly charity for people in need, there was another one this time, held by Claudia Eisenkolb, to support Förderverein für tumor- und leukämiekranke Kinder e.V., Mainz. Claudia sold a lot of her personal knits and donated the proceeds.

She revealed the sum of the proceeds in the closing session and I am speechless she was able to donate 1376,56 €. Well done, Claudia!

In contrast to the previous events, this year’s Yarncamp warm-up event on Friday night took place in a bistro only with no yarn shop visit beforehand. As much as I liked the former warm-ups in yarn shops, I have to admit, I prefer the pub only version. It is so nice to have all evening to get to know each other and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with everybody looking forward to the actual event that starts the next morning. In case you did not attend, you definitely should. You will start your Saturday with a lot more familiar faces who are happy to see you again.

Big thanks to all the sponsors who once again have supported this event. This year’s goodie bag was so filled with yarn, accessories, etc. it almost would not close. I did not take a picture of it as I had to disassemble it completely to fit it into my luggage, but you can find a pictures of it here, e.g.

See you next year, Yarncamp! I already have blocked the first weekend in November 2019 in my calendar. Thank you for a fantastic weekend in Frankfurt!

 

The Daisy Shawl

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Actually, I never wanted to knit this. I accidentally started it when Rebekka asked me to find a way to increase invisibly in daisy stitch. I just took a ball of yarn I could not think of a project for and started knitting. After the first 10cm, I was way too lazy to frog and continued to knit a triangular shawl in daisy stitch. Then, suddenly, I had knit up the full two balls of yarn! But what to do with a striped shawl in muddy grey scales? I decided to add a purple i-cord from scraps which definitely makes the project more appealing. Nonetheless, I have gifted it to a friend as I never would have worn it. I am sure, she will love it a lot more than I would.

The shawl is knit from two balls of Schachenmayr Merino Extrafine 285 Lace, a standard Merino lace yarn in an exceptionally ugly colourway, and 11g of Wollmeise Lace in Lavendel WD for the i-cord. I will not buy any of the used yarns again. The Schachenmayr yarn is good but nothing special, and Wollmeise and me are never going to be friends. When I use wollen yarns, I want them to feel at least a bit sheepy and not completely like softly spun cotton. But this is my opinion and I am totally okay with you when you love that brand. It’s just not my style.