A couple of weeks ago, I got some Cloudborn Fibers Highland Fingering yarn from Craftsy. It's a yarn line that is exclusive to Craftsy and you can read more about it in my previous post. Where I last left off, I was trying to decide between a number of patterns to make with it. Which one did I choose? Now it's time for the big reveal!
|Snow Drops Reversible Cowl in Cloudborn Highland Fingering|
The answer is: None of them!!
I started this pattern, Fibonacci's Biased, by Julie Blagojevich, but I didn't think it showed off the yarn to its fullest. This yarn has a light heathered effect that was just flattened out by that pattern. I will save that pattern for a more colorful yarn.
I started Celtic Cable Cowl by Noelle Stiles, but realized it was just too complex for me to accomplish in a week. I consider myself an intermediate crocheter; I can do all the basic stitches and understand a lot of advanced stitches, but when it comes to doing stuff that's more intermediate-advanced like cables, it takes me a lot of time and trial and error to get it right. I'm kind of becoming the queen of WIPs and I wanted to complete a project in good time, so I scrapped that one. If you are more diligent than myself though, I highly recommend trying this pattern in this yarn because it looked like it was going to be gorgeous.
The good news about all of this starting and frogging: This yarn frogs really well. It didn't catch or knot up at all, and even after frogging twice, the part that had been frogged was still use-able.
|You just read a lot of words, so here's a random pretty picture.|
I ended up choosing the Snow Drops Reversible Cowl by Tamara Kelly (from the blog Moogly). I absolutely love her patterns and keep gravitating toward them. There are a LOT of free patterns on the internet, and generally you get what you pay for, but Tamara's patterns are better than your average free pattern. They usually have some special stitch or technique that's not too difficult but makes them a little more unique than most free patterns, and she usually has video tutorials linked for those special techniques. Her patterns really hit a sweet spot for an advanced-beginner-to-intermediate crocheter like myself.
I had to change the starting stitch count to 170 and hook size to 3.5mm since I was using a finer weight yarn than she designed it in. You can check out and possibly even favorite my Ravelry project if you want to save the project details for future reference.
Note: It occured to me since I am a Craftsy affiliate and Tamara is a Craftsy instructor, this might look like a setup, but it's not. I don't even know her and no one from Craftsy put me up to using her pattern. I just love her patterns! And secretly want to be her BFF. OK, I guess it's not a secret any more. Friend me, Tamara!
The reversible nature of this pattern really shows off this yarn well, especially the darker side with its slightly ribbed texture.
|Ribbed side of cowl with Stone Heather Highland Fingering|
I loved making this side of the cowl and I will use this technique again. I think you could do the exact same stitch pattern, double it over, and then seam it for a thicker cowl with this nice texture. If I do it again though, I will be more careful with my tension on the foundation row because as you can see, it got a little wonkadoodly. Maybe I would even go down a hook size just for the foundation row.
Please note: If you zoom in and see anything looking like cat hair, it's probably cat hair and not the yarn. I try to keep my projects as fur-free as possible before photographing them, but it's the cats' world and we just live in it.
|Lace side of cowl with Taupe Heather Highland Fingering|
After completing a whole project in the Cloudborn Highland Fingering yarn, I can definitely recommend it. It's easy to work with, and it's also quite affordable at $7.99 for a skein with 494 yards. I see 21 colors available on Craftsy right now. One skein would be enough for a cowl, or two for a larger piece like a shawl. This yarn hits a sweet spot for me- Nicer quality than you find in the big box yarn stores, but still very affordable compared to some of the LYS yarn out there. Honestly, I have several WIPs and a lot of yarn, so even though I love browsing at my LYS's, I have to be very judicious about what I buy there. Craftsy has always been a good happy medium with regard to price, so this is an exciting option. This does come in hanks, so you will need to wind it yourself. I like this swift and this winder.
I've worked with Cascade 220 fingering in the past and this is comparable in texture, weight, and price, but I liked the larger skein size of the Cloudborn yarn better since the larger hank size means fewer joins. I actually did a bright pink wrap in Cascade 220 fingering a while back using one of Tamara's other patterns, and while I was working with this yarn, I thought I might redo that pattern in a more practical color using the Highland Fingering at some point.
This yarn is 100% wool, so if you have a wool allergy, it might cause issues. However, I have found something interesting after getting tempted by and messing around with a lot of different wool yarns in yarn shops. Even though I *thought* I had a wool allergy because I have had reactions in the past to commercially made wool garments and cheap wool yarn, using quality wool yarn did not set off any allergies. This yarn was no different; the project took several hours for me to complete, and no allergic reactions at all. The worst it got was super dry hands after longer crocheting jags, but that's pretty normal with any yarn. I've been wearing it all morning as I work on this post; no itching. I wouldn't do any experiments if you are severely allergic, but if you have experienced just mild itching in the past from commercial or cheap wool, it might be worth a shot to try out something like this to get the superior stitch definition and durability you get from wool. This yarn is hand wash only, but it looks like Craftsy has a superwash version for sale as well. I haven't seen the superwash version in person, but it looks like they have some of the same colors available.