Introducing… the need for tweed!

 

At this point you may have already heard of two of our new (for 2020) yarns - Keswick Fingering, and Keswick DK. They debuted in June and I did a Shedcast episode about them, so this blog post is to go with that. It’s not a direct transcript because I find that typed up blog posts work better following their own narrative, but I will make sure I cover everything that I covered in the video in case you cannot watch it. 

Grey tweed yarn on a wooden stool

Firstly, let me tell you exactly what it is - it’s 85% superwash merino mixed with 15% ‘donegal nep’. In all honesty I had expected that to mean that the neps were made of actual Donegal wool but as is often the case with these things, it doesn’t. The neps are made from polyamide and there is a reason for that - being not-wool means they don’t take the dye colours, and so they stand out. They’re black, white and oatmeal so you do really want to be able to see them. The fibre is also nice and soft so you don’t get little irritating bobbly bits (you can’t actually feel them when you wear things made in the yarns). Ooh and I should note here that Keswick is a beautiful small town in the Lake District, and it's pronounced "kez-ick" (the w is silent). 

 

The fingering weight (4ply thickness) one is a 2ply yarn with a high twist, giving it a lovely texture as well as the neps. The DK one is made as a 4ply (or four strands) but obviously it’s a DK thickness. The texture on that is smooth, aside from the neps. It’s more squishy and spongy than the 4ply which is a more drapey yarn, although it still has enough structure to make a lovely garter stitch fabric!

Two skeins of tweed yarn

The meterage on the fingering weight is 400m to a 100g skein, and on the DK it’s 212m to 100g. Both should easily substitute into patterns calling for 4ply/fingering or DK.

 

Of course, being brand new yarns I had to crack on with lots of swatches! The first task is simply to find out which hook and needle sizes work nicely for the yarn, and what sort of fabric you get with each. 

An untwisted curled up skein of DK tweed yarn

FINGERING WEIGHT SWATCHES

Starting with crochet, I used a 2.5mm hook and UK treble (US double) stitches - that’s what I usually go for with my swatches. I found the yarn really easy to crochet with (not all yarns are!), and I loved the firm fabric that I got. I would use this for toys or socks, or things like fingerless mitts where I want a nice dense fabric.

smallest crocheted swatch

Next I went up to a 3.5mm hook which created a softer, looser fabric which does still have good structure too - this would be great for garments and shawls.

medium crocheted swatch

Finally, I tried a 4.5mm hook as I was thinking that this might be the sort of gauge you might want for more open and lacy shawls and scarves, that sort of thing. The fabric is much more soft, stretchy, and drapey.

largest crochet swatch

All three crocheted swatches together

Moving on to knitting, I again started with 2.5mm needles as this is the size I knit socks on (as well as things like fingerless mitts). I got a wonderfully firm fabric, and I’m pleased because you can’t feel the neps so I’d have no hesitation in using this yarn for socks (which I will get around to as soon as I can!).

smallest knitted swatch of Keswick Fingering

3.5mm needles are my go-to size for most projects using 4ply/fingering weight yarn other than things like socks, and they worked well with this yarn. They created a more open and drapey fabric which would work beautifully for summer tops, and that sort of thing.

3mm needles would also work really well for a slightly more firm fabric, but with more openness than you get on 2.5mm needles. 

medium swatch of Keswick fingering

Lastly, I tried 4.5mm needles just to see what that was like. It’s rare for me to use such large needles with this thickness of yarn as I generally prefer more close fabrics, and this fabric is indeed too open for my liking. It’s soft and would be lovely for shawls though if it takes your fancy. 

largest knitted swatch of Keswick fingering

All three knitted swatches of Keswick fingering

 

DK SWATCHES

Starting again with crochet, the first size I tried was 3.5mm which is at the smaller end of what I would use for most DK, and what I got was a nice firm and satisfying fabric that was easy to work with. 

smaller crocheted swatch of Keswick DK

Then I went up to 4.5mm to see how that would look if you wanted a more open fabric for something like a shawl, for example. I thought it might have been too open for my liking but actually I thought it worked really well - still firm, but softer and adding more drape and stretch.

Larger crocheted swatch of Keswick DK

Two crocheted swatches of Keswick DK

For knitting I again started with 3.5mm needles which created a nice firm, dense, close fabric which I love. I did wonder if I’d feel the neps in the fabric, particularly at a tighter gauge like this, but I didn’t at all. 

smaller knitted swatch of Keswick DK

Next I tried 4.5mm needles. To be honest I would happily use this yarn with 4mm needles but doing swatches that are only one needle size/half a millimetre apart feels like a lot of extra work, so I usually go for two needle sizes/a full millimetre in difference. Anyway, on 4.5mm needles what I got was a fabric which to me is perfect for garments. It’s still quite a nice close fabric (not too drafty!) But has more drape than the 3.5mm needle fabric. 

Medium knitted swatch of Keswick DK

Finally I tried 5.5mm needles - this fabric has a LOT of width-wise stretch in particular, especially when you wet it for blocking out. The resulting fabric is too gappy for my liking for garments, but it would work well for lace and shawls. It did spring back a bit after I unpinned it once it was dry so don’t be too alarmed if you over-stretch it by accident. 

Largest knitted swatch of Keswick DK

All three knitted swatches of Keswick DK

 

PATTERNS 

Obviously there are endless possibilities in terms of pattern suggestions for these yarns! I mentioned a few ECY ones that sprung to mind in the YouTube video, so here you go…

 

Fingering weight:

Collingham Fingerless Mitts are elbow length fingerless mitts. Originally designed to be done in lots of stripes of Milburn 4ply, they also work really well using a single colour and then just a contrast colour for the cuffs. 

Cornhill Shawl is a seven foot wide shawl/scarf made using two 100g skeins of fingering weight yarn. I wanted to make something that was easy enough for knitting on holiday, and so it does have lots of garter stitch but that’s broken up by playing with colour, and eyelet rows. Being so long it can wrap around my neck three times to make a super-snuggly neck warmer, and then in spring and autumn you can just wear it once or twice around the neck like a normal shawl! It’s one of my most-used neckwear items. 

Paw Prints by Michael Harrigan was originally designed for a different yarn, but our sample is in Keswick Fingering and it's worked out beautifully! You only need one skein (shown here in Millpond). 

A shawl and a skein of denim blue yarn on a stool

 

DK weight:

Follifoot Legwarmers is a free pattern on our website, and these would be perfect in Keswick DK! The original pair in the pattern were made in Oakworth DK, and I also have two pairs in Milburn DK. You just want a yarn that’s pretty hardwearing so that when it gets muddy, you can let the mud dry and brush it off. 

 

We have a sample of Hetton by Tracey Todhunter which used two 100g skeins of Keswick DK to make a lovely big squishy scarf; the colourway is Meadow Rue. 

A lacy scarf and a skein of matching tweed yarn on a wooden stool

Pimms Cup by Thea Colman from our Drift Collection (in 2015!) is an absolute classic, for me. It was originally written for Whitfell DK which is pure baby alpaca and obviously quite drapey, but I also have one in Milburn DK which works perfectly, and so I would suggest that Keswick DK will work well too. The only thing I’d say is pick a semi solid colourway otherwise anything more jazzy will distract from the lovely lace pattern. Of course, the whole Drift Collection was written for DK so you could pick any of those patterns for this yarn.

For a garment, how about Threads by Justyna Lorkowska - it’s a lovely versatile, relaxed-fit jumper with well-fitting saddle shoulders.

Laura wanted to see how this yarn worked in tunisian crochet and chose the Luna Fade shawl by Natalie of Detroit Knots. This project uses three colours and subtly fades them into each other. Rock Pools, Barn Door and Hyssop looked like ideal candidates and it has turned out beautifully!

Luna Fade shawl 

 

COLOUR COMBINATIONS

This has got to be the best bit of the Shedcasts, don’t you think?!

Most of these colours have sold out now so I don’t want to fill this post with pictures of yarns that are not in stock - especially as there were *loads*! I think you need to go to that section of the video to see them and hear me describe them in person to be honest so click HERE to go straight to it. 

What I would say here is that a big added dimension to this yarn is the fact that the neps have their own colours, and that is something that I take into consideration when I’m dyeing it. You might want to consider it too. Do you prefer a light colour with the dark neps showing up, or a dark colour with the lighter neps showing up more? For a multi-coloured project perhaps you’ll want to use one of each for some lovely contrast. 

 

Whatever you do get up to with this yarn, we would love to see (as always!), so do tag us #edencottageyarns @edencottageyarns on social media, or you could pop us an email at info@edencottageyarns.co.uk, or if you haven’t already do come and join our Facebook group The ECY Garden and show off your ECY makes. 

 

I hope this blog post has been useful. If you’ve got any questions please do ask!

A curled up skein and matching twisted up skein on a piece of slate


1 comment


  • Enjoyed reading the detailed review. You’ve painstakingly swatched each yarn at different gauges! Thank you for the ready reckoner :)

    Jaya on

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