Written review below!
This week is all about chunky knits!
I was contacted by one of the relations managers for this Spanish brand a few weeks ago for a kit collaboration - I receive one of their kits in exchange for a review and exposure on my social media accounts. I had been following this company ever since I learnt how to knit so I was pretty excited to for this chance to try out of one of their kits. I chose to work the Nympheas Snood, in the colors Pearl Grey and Deep Turquoise. Because I live in Japan, however, they had to send the package to my parents who live in the States, who in turn shipped it to me. So take note of what countries they ship to.
We Are Knitters specializes in chunky weight yarns. Yarns of this weight in general get a bad reputation for being scratchy and uncomfortable, but here they did a very good job of developing a yarn base that provides warmth and comfort. The yarn is 100% Peruvian highland wool and is a single ply / roving strand. The colors I choose did not disappoint, especially Deep Turquoise. I really liked the packaging: the kit comes in a nice and sturdy paper bag, that doubles as great project storage when you are not working on it and everything is packaged and presented very nicely. I was definitely amused by the size of the needles (size 19!).
Instead of knitting up the usual swatch, I went ahead and worked on the project. The yarn itself was nice to work with, but because of the nature of single ply / roving yarns, there was some splitting and lots of piling. That said, it was fun working with chunky yarn and I finished the project in a few hours.
What was not as fun was working with the needles. The kit comes with the yarn, pattern, darning needle and straight needles. As to why one would use straight needles on a fair isle cowl project is beyond me. I checked on the website and they have not yet developed a line of circular needles. I know circular needles exist in this size... so maybe circular needles are in development? I can only hope, because trying to fit 56 stitches on one needle is cumbersome, heavy and makes it very difficult to make sure the floats are tensioned correctly.
Also working fair-isle flat makes for some really unsightly edges: and even though that can be somewhat corrected by seaming them in the end, this can all be avoided by using circulars. Circulars can help ensure proper float tension, very little finishing (no seaming is a huge plus!), not having to work purl stitches, and makes the project much easier to manage.
Circular needles are becoming the more popular needle of choice among younger knitters, and since We Are Knitters seems to appeal to the younger crowd, it could be in their best interest to develop circular needles, especially since they have kits that are above the "beginner knitter" level.
However, I will say that the needles are of good quality. The yarn slides off easily and the tips are pointy. I just wouldn't pair up straight needles for a circular project.
As for the pattern itself, it was a little hard to follow at times. It's only charted and the contrast stitches are colored in black on a white and black grid, so it was sometimes difficult to count the amount of stitches for each color. But with a little bit of time and notes, the pattern was knit up easily enough. I will note that the chart is a little small so if you have poor eyes (like me), you may need to study the chart well beforehand or find some way to magnify it.
Also, the color work in my final sample differs a bit from the color work in the sample on the website (the contrast color is worked until the end, instead of the background color). After taking a look at the pattern again, the difference in color-work is shown in the seaming instructions, but not in the actual chart itself, which was pretty confusing. There were also a few mistakes on the chart where there were a few extra stitches in the contrast color where it should have been the background color, but that was easy to correct.
When I bound off my project, the stitches were puckering ridiculously, as it was very difficult to check float tension while knitting. Thankfully this was fixed when it was blocked. The stitch definition is absolutely amazing; I love how the yarn blocked out. I will note that the yarn is not that very strong or durable on its own. When seaming up the ends, I had to go back a few times to correct some mistakes and the yarn broke apart! Seaming is not new to me, but for those who are new to the technique may find themselves getting more than a little frustrated. Hence, another reason why working with circulars is a good idea.
However, when I wove in the ends and cut the excess yarn and put it in, I immediately fell in love with the snood. It's so warm, so comfortable and just so cozy! This will be one of my go to pieces this winter. It's stylish and chic and can be worn with many items in my wardrobe.
While the pattern was a little hard to follow at times, the straight needles made the knitting process awkward and frustrating, and the yarn piled, split and broke easily after only a few re-works, I absolutely LOVE the final results. And I really do like the yarn: it's soft, it knits up fast and the only reason I re-worked it so much was because of the needles.
Their kits, in general, are pretty pricey, but if you are looking for a fun present to give or wanting to treat yourself, I really think they make an excellent gift! I would suggest investing in some chunky sized circular needles elsewhere, though, even for projects knit flat. They can really make the project much more enjoyable to work on. Thankfully you can choose to opt out of the needles when purchasing kits, so use that extra money to get yourself some circulars somewhere else (or until they develop their own line).
So all-in-all, the only real problem was the needles. The packaging and branding are well presented, the yarn is soft and warm with excellent stitch definition and the results are fantastic. It works really well for cable and colorwork projects (as you can see here). Just skip out on the needles.
Aroha Knits Recommendation: Yes! If you want a quick knit that gives fabulous results, give their yarn a go!
We Are Knitters have given me a special discount code that you can use for your next purchase on their products. Use the code arohaknitsxwak to receive a 15% discount, and if you sign up for their newsletter, you can get an extra discount on top of that! So don't wait any longer, click the link below to purchase a We Are Knitters kit!