Yarn Cakes and Tea Episode 7: Circus Tonic Handmade Revelry

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Circus Tonic Handmade was founded by Hannah Ginn, based in Sydney, Australia (she gets extra points for being from my birth place!). She recently started her hand-dying business while on break from scientific employment and is already seeing some great growth and interest in the knitting community. 

Hannah is quite a lovely soul to interact with and has a "go-getter" spirit, which I personally really like to see in a small biz entrepreneur. She contacted me with the idea of doing a collaboration together and I was really interested to see what fiber artists from Australia could bring to the table so I agreed. 

She sent me a ton of yarn, in addition to a special color way that she hand-dyed for me. It is such a great honor to receive a skein of yarn that was especially hand-dyed for me (and she gave me four skeins!) and it is not an honor that I take lightly. The yarn color way is called Southern Fulmar, which is a seabird. Hannah names her colors ways after Australian native birds and the natural environment and it gives me a nostalgic longing for my birth place.

The yarn base that Southern Fulmar was dyed up in is her Revelry Sock Fingering line, 80% Australian Merino and 20% Nylon superwash yarn, with 409 generous yards per skein. The skeins are super squishy and soft to the touch. 

QUICK KNIT

I am not a sock knitter, as I have yet to knit my first pair of socks, so I was immediately drawn to designing and knitting a lace shawl with this yarn. It was such a pleasure working with this yarn: it's soft on the fingers, the yarn doesn't pill, it works easily on metal needles and it was very elastic and springy. It is not cat proof however, as in the minute I left my knitting unattended, I returned to find that my cat had chewed through the yarn and I had to re-attach it. Ok, so that's not a fault of the yarn as all yarn is chewable, but beware, cats may love this yarn too much. 

The yarn does split a bit, which can get a little annoying when you are working lace, but as a whole, the yarn held itself well and is strong and durable. The yarn went through lots of stress and work when I was using my really long cable needle cord, which unfortunately is slightly faulty as some parts of the cord are rough and catch the yarn. Why I thought it was a good idea to use that, I don't know, but the yarn held up and didn't fuzz, despite all the friction that it went through.

POST-BLOCK

I managed to knit my hair in there too.

I managed to knit my hair in there too.

This yarn can stretch a long way and can hold up to aggressively blocking nicely. It holds its shape well and the lace pattern flourished. The shawl has nice balance of memory and drape so it falls over the shoulders elegantly while still retaining the lace patterning and picots at the edges. It's warm, soft, cozy and HUGE! I used up an entire full skein and commenced into a second skein (about 20 yards of it) and then decided that it was going to be plenty big enough. And also working rows of 300+ stitches is not my thing (I get lazy sometimes and if I'm thinking that I'm getting tired, then knitters will probably think the same). 

The yarn has good amounts of bounce, which is really important in a sock yarn. Bounce allows a fitted item to stretch comfortably but still "bounce" back to its original shape and size when relaxed. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Do note that this is a nylon blend as well as superwash, so if you're the super organic, natural type, then this is not for you. However, if that doesn't bother you at all, this is a great versitle yarn, good for socks, shawls and other fitted accessories and even garments that favor flattering fits. A joy to work with, easy to take care of, fun to wear with a touch of Australian culture. I'm really glad to see such quality work coming from Australia, as importing yarn can be expensive and hard to get to. If you're located within Australia or New Zealand, I highly recommend giving this yarn a go. If you're international, take note of the shipping fees but if it ever pops up in your LYS, give it a squish (Hannah is currently only selling this in her Etsy shop, last time I checked)!  

Australian and New Zealand knitters rejoice!