My friend Kathryn, an expert (though sadly blog-less) knitter and world traveler, has requested a post on my experience with Miss Babs' yarns. Since I am behind on taking photographs of recent completed knits, today seems like the perfect time to take up her suggestion and revisit my love-affair with these lovely yarns, which now covers several years.
I stumbled upon Miss Babs' booth just as the company made its first appearance at Stitches West, around 2009, I believe. Like many knitters, I was drawn to the rich colors in Babs' fabulous palette of hand-dyed yarns, but what really made her offerings stand out for me was the great variety of hand-dyed solids. By then I had learned from much trial and error that as much as I loved to cast on with variegated yarns, I didn't often feel thrilled with the results of my efforts. Hand-dyed solids, on the other hand, often returned my love and produced knitwear that felt visually special and plain wonderful to contemplate.
The range of colors, too, felt much larger to me than that of most other "indie-dyers" that I checked out at the Stitches market. I don't know the first thing about the challenges of yarn-dyeing, but during my visits to various booths, I often felt that blues, greens and purples tended to overpower other more subtle shades, and I was too frequently reminded of the tie-dye t-shirts of craft fair displays. In contrast, the many yarns displayed at Miss Babs' booth looked polished and fashionable and spoke to my Parisian-Californian hybrid self loudly and clearly.
I had been combing the market for the right yarn to make my own version of Mustaa Villaa's soft ruffle shawl, and Babs' Yummy 2-Ply fit the bill perfectly. It is a satiny-soft, fingering-weight wool, comparable to Koigu KPPM, and the simple brown shawl I knitted with it was so pleasant to wear and so versatile that I went on to knit 5 more over the years, always following the same recipe: 2 skeins of Yummy for the body of the shawl and one for the edging.
These shawls have kept me warm and comfortable through many long flights and chilly nights. I have made a couple as gifts and they have been well received; the fact that they are long makes them fairly versatile. The quality of the wool is exceptional, and relatives who tend to find most wools too scratchy have loved the silkiness of Miss Babs's Yummy.
For a couple of shawls, I broke my own rule -- what can I say? I fell in love -- and I went with a variegated yarn for the edging. This one happened to be Northumbria fingering, a slightly lighter weight than Yummy. I also succumbed to a gorgeous pink and brown colorway called Chocolate Roses and made myself a very cozy pair of socks:
One day, a baby blanket needed to be produced, and I finally had the perfect excuse to try out Miss Babs' Yowza - Whatta Skein!, a light-worsted, superwash wool with just the right amount of softness. The yardage is generous enough that one could squeeze out one small blanket out of just one skein, but I wanted a supersize blanket, so I splurged for two. Once again I chose a solid colorway -- a pale yellow called Wheaten -- in order to display the textured pattern to best advantage.
Not only is Yowza-Whattaskein! ideal for baby projects, but the rich colorways give the knitter a chance to branch out of traditional pastels and knit truly unique knitwear for a special baby gift. I am especially pleased with how this cardigan turned out:
Again, one skein of Yowza was plenty for one baby cardigan, with enough yarn left over to make a pair of very warm and cushy child-size socks. I have a bit more Yowza stashed away for a cardigan for moi, in a pebblestone colorway that I can hardly wait to tackle. Soon.