A few North American readers have asked me what I would substitute for the Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift because they've been having touble finding it in the right quantities. I immediately thought of Harrisville New England Shetland, a dead ringer for Jamieson's in gauge and texture.
Here are the closest colours in my opinion. The Harrisville Oatmeal and the Cobalt are good matches for the Jamieson's Eisit and Clyde Blue to my eye, but you can see from the photo that the Leprechaun (in a special guest appearance down there at the bottom) is a different kind of green than the Harrisville Hemlock. Harrisville does offer a green that has more yellow in it, called Emerald, but I personally found it to be garish in combination with the Cobalt and the Oatmeal. Which is not to say that you couldn't find a different combination of colours altogether, but this was just following as closely to the sample version as would be possible with Harrisville's offerings. I think Hemlock in this combination actually warms the sweater up a little, which personally, I like.
And now for something just a little bit different.
Classic Elite is issuing a new yarn this fall that I have heard Creative Director Pam Allen call a "Bohus style" yarn: Fresco is a 2 ply sport weight yarn, 60% wool, 30% baby alpaca, 10% angora, in 35 colours, with a recommended gauge of 6½ sts/inch on US 5 needles. I immediately thought a stranded sweater in this yarn would be a dream to wear. With all that lovely soft fiber, even the tender skinned among us can wear a simple camisole under the sweater and call themselves dressed.
To achieve the recommended gauge of 7 st/in, I knit a 45 stitch swatch on US size 2/ 2.25 mm needles. I am a slightly loose knitter, being a scooper, so other knitters may get the same results on a size 3. I found the 10% quantity of angora to be just right, giving the yarn the gentle bloom that I like about the bunny, but not enough to tickle my nose, obscure the stitches, nor to leave a trail of fluff on the upholstery. Fresco was lovely to knit with, never split, and even in stranded knitting drapes well, but not too much. The swatch took a few days of abuse in the bottom of my purse with only a little bloom, but not a pill in sight. Longer wear under the arms would better represent how it would hold up, but I'm satisfied it's got longevity to it.
Admittedly, Little Birds would be a different sweater in this rather than a traditional Shetland yarn: drapier, a little more feminine (as if Little Birds needs any help in that direction) and steeking it would involve securing the stitches first, but I'll show you how to do that in the next post.