Yarn Review: Quince & Co Kestrel
Quince & Co Kestrel is relatively new to our shelves, and being an interesting wee yarn that is unusual in this neck of the woods, it made sense to do a yarn review for it.
Composition: 100% organic linen
Structure: chain plied to a tape-like finish
Weight: 10ply / aran
Presented in: 50g / 70m skeins
Recommended needle: 5.5mm - 6mm
I'm up first, and a post from Shelley will follow.
Obsessed with every yarn that has even a whisper of linen, Kestrel was always going to be an interesting knit. We don't often get our hands on linen yarns in New Zealand, so there was no way I could resist the call of Kestrel.
I opted for a larger needle size than Shelley, so my swatch is on 6mm tips which gives a gloriously holey fabric. The aim with this swatch was to embrace the drape, and investigate how the fabric moved with a bit more space within the stitches. As suspected, it was a very interesting yarn to knit with. While Sparrow, Kestrel's 4ply cousin feels quite hard in the hand, Kestrel's tape construction made for a much more pleasant knitting experience. The flatness of the yarn took a bit of getting used to - not in a bad way. It felt different to any other yarn which tends to have a roundness to it; despite being a heavy 10ply it slipped through my fingers like something much lighter.
Then, after knitting with it, I had a whole lot of fun. I boiled it*, washed it, rubbed it, threw it around, put it in the washing machine with a pair of shoes (which needed washing, it isn't that weird). Generally speaking, I gave it a pounding.
It isn't particularly forgiving to discrepancies in gauge or stitch oddities, however after all the hardship I put it through these started to even out.
Wibbly bits before.
And the drape, after.
With linen, the more it is handled and washed, the softer it gets. This swatch certainly is a whole lot softer thanks to the multitude of washes it went through, and look how gloriously it drapes!
Heading into summer, Kestrel would be great for light garments and accessories that also keep you covered when it cools off at the end of the day. Tomorrow i'll post some pattern ideas, for now, i'm going to throw the swatch around some more.
*Why boil it? Well I'd heard tell that it would help break down the linen fibres. Another way of doing this is to throw linen in the drier for a while, or wash it multiple times. I was curious about the boiling idea, and figured there wouldn't be much harm in trying.