Friday, February 18, 2011

The New Yarn Report - Filatura di Crosa Tempo

I reckon the most commonly asked question for any wool shop owner is "What does this knit/crochet up like, then?". I'm a bit slow on the uptake, so it's taken me until now that one really good way to answer that question is to blog about a new yarn every couple of months. (I'm saying every couple of months, because I need to knit and/or crochet with it before I write it up!).

Our excitement for last December was the release of a new yarn by Filatura di Crosa: Tempo. Tempo is a cotton/acrylic blend that managed to intrigue me enough to get me to overcome my bias against wearing petroleum derivatives and make me pick up my needles.

My first attempt with my sample ball of Tempo was the DROPS Skirt With Lace Border from Garnstudio. The Tempo crocheted up well and smoothly, although I found it tricky to count rows when distracted by colour, weight and texture changes! Unfortunately, I hadn't done my sums correctly - when I realised that we didn't have enough yarn in stock, I had to frog the skirt and start over. (Note to self: MUST buy two packs of Tempo in Wheatfields in our next order so I can do this skirt - it was looking pretty awesome before I started unravelling).

My Plan B was to crochet something from the Amazing Crochet Lace book by Doris Chan: I could kill two birds with one stone by showcasing the yarn AND the book. The only problem with this idea is that variegated, textured yarn does NOT make good lace. Colour plus texture plus lace pattern equals massive overkill - nothing was shown to good effect. The pattern was overshadowed by the colour and the texture was lost altogether. More frogging :(

Plan C was the Jo Sharp singlet with dart shaping from 'Saturday' (now discontinued, but apparently you can email and request a PDF of the pattern). Bingo! Four balls of Tempo have knitted up into a nice, light singlet very quickly and easily. On the good side: the increases and decreases are less visible on the Tempo, because of the colour and texture variations. Jo Sharp DK tends to knit up with very clear stitch definition, which is great for lace patterns, but makes it difficult to increase/decrease invisibly. On the down side: if you lose your place knitting or crocheting with Tempo, you may find it tricky to count rows or find increases/decreases from previous rows - I found it very easy to lose my place, particularly if working in a distracting environment, e.g. on the train.

Filatura di Crosa have produced a pattern book to support the yarn - the book has a good selection of singlets, shrugs, and light cardigans and jumpers. Unfortunately, the book is quite pricey and most of the patterns require 10 or more balls of yarn. If cost is an issue, my suggestion would be to see if you can grab a back issue of Australian Knitting Magazine. Vol 2/No 4 (Summer) includes several Tempo garments, and I don't think any of the patterns use more than five balls, even for the largest sizes.

Happy knitting/crocheting!