As a knitter, I have been around the block a few times. (Understatement alert!) While I love shopping for yarn, and consider yarn collecting to be a fine hobby in its own right, I try not to collect yarn without at least a glimmer of an idea of what I’m going to make with it.
One big exception: the yarns of Freia Fine Handpaints, hand-dyed by Tina Whitmore.
Tina is a brilliant colorist and a master dyer. The colors she unspools in long, slow shifts across hundreds of yards of yarn, never lose their freshness for me. I learn something about color, and my own color sense, every time I knit with them. There is an intimacy to Tina’s yarns.
I enjoy knitting with Freia yarns so much that the pattern almost doesn’t matter—almost. My go-to is Cecelia Campochiaro’s Parallelogram Scarf. It calls for two Freia Shawl Balls, in different colorways. The Parallelogram Scarf is even better when you double the yarn, and double the width, using two Freia Yarn Bombs, which have double the yardage of the Shawl Balls.
The 860 yards (786 meters) in a Yarn Bomb go a long way. A double-wide Parallelogram Scarf takes a long time to knit. It’s a lovely ride, one I’ve taken twice at this point.
I will admit that I never even thought of another pattern for Freia Yarn Bombs. Until two things happened.
The first thing was last year, when Tina introduced Minikins. Minikins are the same yarn as Shawl Balls and Yarn Bombs—a springy merino single—and Tina dyes them in the same fascinating colorways. The difference is in the speed of color change. Yarn Bombs change color at a languid pace; they take their time. Shawl Balls, at half the yardage, change more quickly, but still very slowly (each Shawl Ball is 430 yards or 393 meters).
A box of Freia Minikins: yum.
By contrast, the color changes in a Minikin are at warp speed. For yarn, anyway. You get so many color changes in each 107-yard (98-meter) Minikin that they can fairly be called stripes.
This year, for your Holiday Shop enjoyment, we have two different collections of Minikins on offer, in little cupcake boxes of 9 Minikins. Tina calls one of them Neutral Zone (see above), which is a bit funny since Tina’s neutrals are not traditional neutrals. But they are, overall, soft and subtle.
The other collection, new to the Holiday Shop this year, is an MDK-exclusive mix. We named it the Picket Fence collection.
Freia Minikins in MDK-exclusive Picket Fence mix. ZANG!
Which brings me to the second thing that happened.
What was this sorcery? I recognized the inky blue background as a Freia Yarn Bomb in Squid Ink.
And the “pickets” in the Picket Fence—are Freia Minikins, in the Neutral Zone colorway. Jeneane’s idea of combining the two Freia put-ups, with their differently paced color changes, into this afghan, is lightning in a bottle.
Julia Farwell-Clay’s Picket Fence Afghan is now my second go-to pattern, for an all-out Freia Fest, combining one slow-changing Yarn Bomb and one zippy box of Minikins. The gauge is smaller, and so the resulting blanket is smaller. Or, of course, more squares can be added to fill out a bigger afghan. More squares gets my vote, every time.
And with that, I’m casting on.
A new favorite color formula: one Yarn Bomb in Oyster, one set of Minikins in our MDK-exclusive Picket Fence mix.
Here I go:
It was hard picking the first Minikin. I went with Canyon. I’m already amazed at how different Oyster looks when it’s next to Canyon.
Thank you, Jeneane, for the loan of your majestic Picket Fence Afghan, and for an idea that is going to give me knitting happiness for months on end.