The lovely folks over at Yarn Vibes contacted me about trying out their yarn! Always a joy to try out new fibers. Let me tell you guys; I put it through the ringer on this one! Having yarn vendors reach out to discuss collaborations or trying their product isn’t new to me. Yarn Vibes, based in Ireland, actually scheduled a phone chat with me to talk. Yarn Vibes set themselves apart from the get-go! Not only did I get to enjoy the ever pleasant Irish accent, but it had a real personal touch to it to speak to an actual person rather than discussing things through email/direct messages on social media. Props to them for that as the time difference is about 8 hours and the wonderful Janine stayed up late to talk to me on a Thursday afternoon.
Yarn Vibes is 100% Irish wool. When I say 100%, it indeed is down to every strand. The sheep are living in Ireland, all the steps it goes through from the sheep to a skein is done in Ireland, and it’s dyed in Ireland. So cool! When I think of Ireland, I picture rolling green hills speckled with sheep, so to hear about this being 100% the real deal I was so enthusiastic to jump on board with this project!
I was fortunate to try out their Vale Worsted base which comes in an array of stunning colors that were certainly hard to choose from. I could happily knit from each of the lovely colors! Vale is 100% wool from mixed mountain sheep, 164 yds (150m)/ 3.5oz (100g). Yarn Vibes generously sent three colors; Sea Foam, Silver Birch, and Yewberry.
The Game Plan
I wanted to test out the yarn in various ways, so I thought hats would be an appropriate way to go. Particularly because Curt has always wanted hats out of natural wool like this that has that toothy feel to it. It’s no secret, winter gets pretty cold here in Alberta, Canada, so having a warm hat is always appreciated. I created four different hats; Mervin, Aideen, Kallen, and Cathmore. I was bound and determined to give them Irish names to keep them authentic with the beautiful fiber. So let’s jump in and discuss how the yarn played out with all of the hats!
The recommended needle size for this yarn, per Yarn Vibes, is US8 (5 mm) or US9 (5.5 mm). Completely agree with this as I had an ideal fabric on the US8 that I used in all 4 of the hats. My obtained gauge; 20 stitches by 22 rows worked in the round in stockinette stitch = 4” (10 cm) on US8 (5 mm) needles, before blocking.
Mervin is an Irish name that means “Lover of the sea”, ideal for the beautiful hand-dyed Sea Foam colorway. This design features some texture, cute little polka dots making an appearance around the hat. I felt the yarn had nice stitch definition and the texture wasn’t lost using Vale, it worked with the texture rather than against it.
Aideen is an Irish name that means “little fire”. Aideen seemed like the perfect name for this gorgeous Yewberry colorway! Aiden has a rib-like texture that lights up with the beautiful yarn. The lines stayed quite defined and on top of the garter portions nicely. I found this hat worked up the fastest of all the designs created.
Kallen is an Irish name that means “slim”. Slim baby cables that run up from the brim of this hat. Certainly needed a cabled hat with this lovely Irish yarn, Kallen turned out beautifully in Silver Birch. The cables stood out nicely and the tension of creating those cables wasn’t a fight with the wool. They got along splendidly.
Having knit three hats, I had some scraps that I didn’t want to add to my stash. Cathmore was the solution to use up the last bits and ends; I couldn’t go with not using every bit of the lovely yarn. Pairing up the colors with one another worked so well! With their selection of colors, it would be easy to partner shades up to create some amazing stripe combos and colorwork!
Washing and Blocking
I soaked my hats for 20 minutes in lukewarm water with a wool wash. I find that the Vale base from Yarn Vibes blocks out nicely and retains its shape well. The yarn has a beautiful halo to it after a wash and did soften up the fiber a bit. I was delighted to find that I didn’t have any color run off either!
I’d recommend Vale from Yarn Vibes for projects like hats, mittens, and sweaters. It has a nice durability which will hold up well in a variety of climates. The fiber is a bit toothy, so some may find it to be scratchy next to their skin or sensitive bits like their necks. It did soften up while working with it and washing, but I’d recommend swatching and testing it against your skin prior to making an item with it that may be next to the skin.