My Headlines

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shadow Tweed - yarn review!



I got around to taking some pics of my dyed yarns today, and they are all up in my Etsy shop. At the moment I have five colourways, 2 skeins of each. I am really happy with how they worked out, and if I find some free needles, may indeed take them down and start knitting with them myself!


I have seven (7) Tropfest DVDs at my disposal, and so far, I think I have had seven (7) commenters since Monday. If you want to make it at least a little bit of a competition, leave a comment. (Yes, I realise that freebies from the newspaper may not make for exciting - I know next time I want comments I should cough up some yarn...)



Here is the Shadow Tweed review I have been promising - the text in italics is straight from the Patons website and is what they are using to market the yarn. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are taken by me.

Book 1263 – Shadow Tweed (picture from

Patons Australia introduces Shadow Tweed – a beautifully soft ‘roving’ type yarn with multi-colour neps and a unique colour shading (have a look at all the shades click here), with a repeat occurring approximately every 60 grams. Patons Shadow Tweed is a blend of Wool with Acrylic and Viscose and available in a palette of 5 shades. Using 6.50mm needles with a suggested tension of 14.5 stitches and 20 rows to 10cm, Patons Shadow Tweed is quick to knit.

The specifics of the blend is 56% wool, 40% acrylic, 4% Viscose. This creates a lovely soft yarn, and when I purchase it, was told there was no risk of it felting. However, the label still says 'hand wash only' and 'dry flat in shade' - so I won't be throwing it in the washer and dryer without a second thought....

What Patons calls a 'roving' type yarn, I would describe as a loosely spun single ply. It is possible, by holding the yarn approx 20cm from the end with one hand, and using a 'pinching tug' to separate the yarn as one would when drawing fleece for spinning. This means the yarn can sometimes 'grab' onto itself causing a bit of a tangle, and also can be split if you use pointy needles - I'm using clover bamboo needles and not having any problems (bamboo needles generally being rather blunt)

The main overall effect of the yarn is very "noro-esque". It has long graduated colour repeats, with small "tweedy" flecks in contrasting colours. And as I have already said it is "Pierre Endorsed" I will add that it is soft enough for the pup to sleep on...

One fact not mentioned (that I could not find with a fairly thorough search) at Patons or its parent company, Australian Country Spinners, site was that this yarn is clearly labeled on the ball band as "Made in Italy. This doesn't worry me, but Australian Country Spinners seems to be promoting Australian fibres manufactured at locally at the Wangaratta Woollen Mill and it would be very easy to think this was a product of Australia, which may rub the wrong way with some patriotic knitters.

Book 1263 features 19 styles including Sweaters, a Vest, Jackets and Coats. Although contemporary in design, there is something for all ages and skill levels.

I didn't purchase this Book because I felt the designs were all cardigans or high-necked sweaters. I am making up a pattern as I go along, but if you aren't that confident (or crazy) you could probably use the yarn as a substitute for any worsted weight yarn pattern.

The latest hand knitting fashion trend of textured stitches, cables and lace are reflected throughout this book. Knitters looking for an unusual technique for a sweater should look at Style 19 on the back cover, which is created by knitting squares, forming a colour block effect.

Shadow Tweed seems to suit textured stitches, such as moss, seed and reverse stockinette, really well. The cables seem to "pop" off the fabric in a way I couldn't quite capture with my camera and flash photography. I have chosen to complete a basic v-neck sweater, with raglan shaping with the yarn I bought. To use this yarn to what I think is its best advantage, I am completing the majority of the sweater in reverse stockinette, with a gorgeous Celtic-like braid cable running up the front. The picture on the right is not a true representation of colour, however, as it was taken without flash, it shows off the cables well.

As mentioned above, style 19 is completed using mitred (magic) squares. It is very similar to Jane Slicer-Smith's designs - and creates a very striking effect.

Patons recommends knitting from 2 balls with most multi-coloured yarns. This helps avoid obvious patches of colour in your knitting. Patons Shadow Tweed has unique colour shading with a repeat occurring approximately each 60grams. Due to this long repeat, each ball will vary in the outside appearance.

I am not sure why Patons has suggested knitting with two balls, as this is something you would do to prevent pooling with variegated yarns, while shadow tweed is more a self-striping yarn - and you want colour pooling with the graduated colour changes and knitting with two balls would disrupt this effect.

Because the colour repeat occurs every 60g, Shadow Tweed is sold in 100g balls. I think this is a great idea - when I have been knitting with Jet and Inca (also marketed by Patons) I found it frustrating that with 50g balls, the yardage ran out quickly and I was forever weaving in ends where I had joined yarn. The yardage on Shadow Tweed is quoted as 133metres.

Each of the balls in the left picture is not only the same shade, but the same dye-lot.

Some garments in this book have been knitted beginning each new panel at a similar point of the colour repeat at the hem. Others have been knitted beginning each new panel at a different point of the colour repeat at the hem. Beginning each panel at different points of the colour repeat at the hem will result with a more individual and unique garment. Neither method is ‘correct’ – it is entirely up to your preference.

I'm going with the flow and knitting with the first ball I can grab when I run out of yarn. This is the same sort of problem you run into with Noro and any other graduated yarn with long repeats - you get to figure out what you do yourself!

Patons suggests knitting from the outside of each ball, so you can more easily determine the colour point you are using. When joining in a new ball in a panel, Patons recommends selecting the next ball beginning with the same colour as just completed from the last ball. This will result with a more even ‘flow’ of the colour shading in each panel. However, in Book 1263, Style 17 has been knitted beginning new balls with a different colour from the just completed ball. You will notice more contrasting striping occurring, which we also think looks fabulous!

Also - I would recommend knitting from the outside of the ball as you get tangles from the yarn "grabbing" when you start from the centre of the ball.

Note – When joining in a new ball, be sure to always join yarn at the side edge. Where knitters decide to begin panels with specific colours, Patons suggests purchasing an extra ball, to ensure you have enough yarn for this method.

Overall, I would recommend this yarn for anyone who wanted a quick knit. It retails for about $8 to $9 for a 100g ball - and although it doesn't quite have the luxury fibre content of Noro, you get a similar effect for approximately 25% of the price. The colour range is still fairly limited (5 shades) but I fell in love with most of them and, even though there wasn't my usual green, gladly stepped outside my usual palate to play with the fantastic autumnal red. I'd suggest looking at the pattern book to get a better idea of the shades, as the swatches on the Patons site don't go through the full colour repeat and may be a bit misleading.


Taphophile said...

Excellent and comprenehsive review - thank you. That "Made in Italy" thing is a bit tricky.

Bells said...

now that's a review worth reading! I feel I know that wool inside out and I've never touched it. thank you!

Kristine said...

Can I ask where you got it? I'm just annoyed because we ordered the whole range from ACS and we didn't get *any* Shadow Tweed. Yet somebody else already told me they got some from Spotlight. So obviously the smaller independent shops aren't as important to ACS as the big chain stores! Harrrumph. :(

chocolatetrudi said...

Great review! Lynne of Yarnivorous dropped around last week and showed me some of this yarn. It's very similar to the Vero I knit with recently, but softer - though the Vero isn't particularly scratchy. The Vero's colour changes varied in length - some stripes were longer, some shorter while it sounds like the Patens yarn might have even stripes.

Let's hope you don't find as many knots, with the wrong new colour following, as I did in the Vero!

Also - the Vero is made in Italy for the New Zealand company, Naturally. That's got me wondering if it's the same italian yarn manufacturer.

Sally said...

Shadow Tweed is $7.55 in Lincraft (Australian craft store, for those outside the country). Followed your lead and bought some today. Very good price. And I hadn't realised that I am the first person to buy any of your hand-dyed yarn. I feel very privileged. Will of course let you see the results.

Taueret said...

thanks for the review, I saw this in Lincraft and didn't 'get' the striping thing from looking at it in the ball.

Lynne said...

What a fantastic review! Almost makes me want to buy some Shadow Tweed but - alas - I'm on a yarn diet!

The Wool Inn is certainly a great shop. Reading the above comments (and your wonderful review) makes me realise that I shouldn't take my local lys for granted!

Anonymous said...

Hi... great forum... haven't found a pattern yet but Clegs in Melbourne city has Shadow Tweed in colour 6911 for $4.95 a ball - i think it is usually $14.95 (133meters long so good value still). The colour is apparently being discontinued but that had quite a lot of it. It moves from blues into greys with hints of purples and pinky mauves... great colour for men or women... Marie