Some years ago, I was standing at a small yarn stall, nose happily buried in a ball of pure alpaca, when I looked up and, to my horror, found the owner of said stall looking right at me.
Caught in the act of one of my favourite things - smelling new yarn, I blushed. A moment passed. "Don't worry, I do it too," she laughed.
Since that day I've never stopped sniffing new yarn. I love a sheepy wool, a whiff of cashmere, the slight pong of silk.
Happily, there are lots of lovely new goodies from Designer Yarns for me to sniff this season. The Yorkshire firm distributes some of the UK's most interesting yarns, so without further ado, here are a few of my new favourites for autumn/ winter...
Debbie Bliss Lhasa (centre)
I've written about this yarn before, and that's because it really is my favourite of the new autumn/winter crop. A glorious chunky chainette blend of cashmere and yak (yum!) it's soft as butter and comes in a rich autumnal palette that's just perfect for the new season. This lovely scalloped scarf would be kind to the skin and quick to make.
Louisa Harding Pitturissimo (left)
A lyrical name for a yarn that sings with colour, this aran version of the successful Pittura is a sheeny blend of 75% wool and 25% bamboo viscose. This collared top is classic Louisa, and perfectly shows off the beauty of one of the eight variegated shades.
Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran (right)
This yarn is a big launch for the London designer, with 16 shades to choose from. It's a lovely traditional pure wool, sourced organically from hardy Falkland sheep. Thankfully, it's soft too, so kids will love it. Try them with these sweet accessories.
Conway + Bliss Odin (bottom left)
There's something so instantly appealing about a big ball of super-chunky yarn! Odin knits up super-quickly on 10mm needles, and comes in a bright, poppy palette that's perfect for new knitters. This bobble hat would make a fab first project.
Alchemy is a ridiculously fluffy, fun yarn, that will add a touch of wow to any outfit. Like Stratus from Juniper Moon Farm (top left), it's a chunky weight yarn that will keep you cosy as the seasons change. This simple sweater is a lovely way to show off its amazing texture and colour effects. If you prefer a solid colour, Stratus comes in 14 beautiful shades.
My final brand of note for this post is Noro. Just look at the picture below. While Noro was once solely known for its amazing colour effects yarns (which still have a huge following, myself included), the Japanese spinner has a new string to its bow - solid colour.
From left to right, you're looking at Hakone, Tennen, and Silk Garden Sock Solo, which are all new this season.
Hakone, a pure wool chunky, still follows the Noro tradition of incredible, unique colour repeats (see the shade card below). But the other two yarns are very much 'new Noro'. Each has eight stunning shades, gently flecked with tiny bites of surprising colour but keeping the overall feel much more muted. Tennen is an aran weight, while Silk Garden Sock Solo is officially a 4-ply, but would work fine as a DK yarn substitute too.
So if you've always shied away from the striking effects of Noro, now's the time to dive in!
Enjoy the new season.