The Bosphorus - A Yarn Review

As you will probably know the Bosphorus is the 32 km North-South strait which joins the sea of Marmara with the Black Sea in Istanbul (well at least that is what Wikipedia is telling me!) - but no, I'm not talking about this stretch of very blue water - I am talking about yarn...... of course!

I've not been quiet over the years about the difficulty in getting good yarn in the UAE - we have a small amount of hand dyed which we can get from the lovely Dubai Knits, or Craftland in Dubai but in terms of more affordable yarn for charity items or purely because our purses are pretty tiny this month.....there has not been much to choose from.

However I am pleased to report that this is slowly changing, with a few of the local craft shops cottoning on (see what I did there!) to the fact that more and more people are either re-discovering the textile arts or learning in droves.

There has been a bit of a concerted effort in my Crochet group to source good, affordable supplies and these are coming from places such as South Africa and Turkey.  Due to its nature I think crochet lends itself to cotton yarns and this is evident in cute crochet toys, facecloths, table runners etc, which look fantastic in bright cotton colours and also have some good durability.  For baby blankets etc something washable and soft is the requirement!

So fast forward to a couple of weeks ago where I volunteered to try out one new yarn to see how it fared. This is from a Turkish company called Mirafil (you can check out the website, although it's not wonderful...) I don't think they are trading in the UK but I believe they do in the US.

The yarn I used is Bosphorus which is 67% Tencel and 33%PA (not that I know what PA is - any ideas?) the 100g ball contained 250m.  The cost here in the UAE was AED 56 for 5 balls - which is approx AED11 per ball (£2.46 in UK money and $2.99 for comparison purposes ...... sorry UK the £ is pretty poor to the $ today!!) - so thats good value for money - especially should you want to make a blanket!

The Tencel makes the yarn gorgeous to work with (and its an environmentally friendly fabric too!).  On a 5.5mm (I) crochet hook it worked up really quickly.

Originally I was going to make an evening bag, but the softness of the yarn meant that I don't think it would have kept its shape.... and....... the cat took it out of my WIP basket and took it to her bed because it was so soft, and in doing so unravelled most of maybe she had other ideas!!

Because of the gorgeous dark grey, with flecks of silver, colour (I would say it looks like Welsh roof slates in the rain!) and because I wear a lot of dark colours, I thought I would make a flower scarf with it. The pattern I used is a mish mash of something I saw on Pinterest and then I made some spirals to go on the ends.  Whether by luck or judgement I managed to use up pretty much all of the ball and this little nugget was all I had left!

According to the ball band this is machine washable at 30 degrees - so that makes it another winner for a baby blanket, not that I would make one in the Wet Slate colour (no idea of the colour its just called 08!) for a baby - the parents might think me a little odd!!!

Overall I loved it - not in any way the normal yarn I would go for, so perhaps my Yarn Snobbery has made me overlook some of the more affordable options in the past - I'd definitely use this in the future!

Welcome 2017 and a Challenge

Hello everyone and a bleated welcome to 2017.......yes, yes I know its February already!

I have had a busy couple of months over Christmas and the New Year (i.e. all of January!!).

Firstly we went home for Christmas and I spent three blissful weeks in the crisp and cold of the UK seeing friends and family and I can honestly say I loved every minute of it.  Now those of you who know me, also know that I would move back home to the UK at the click of a finger - but at the moment thats just not possible, so I have to dream and plan for the moment.

However one thing is that we are all pretty sure that we would like to settle in the South West!  We stayed in Bath for a week to see our daughter who is at Uni there, and my love for the city increased even more.  At one point I worked in Bath (many moons ago now!) and I just adore the place and the people, not to mention to vibe of the arts and food - I also absolutely adore the amount of independent shops and businesses there are there in the creative sphere, from artisan bread makers to the fabulous yarn shops Wool Bath and A Yarn Story.  Sadly I did not bring any yarn home this time, mostly due to lack of suitcase space (we travelled VERY light this time!) and also because I am now on the preparation offensive - i.e. at the moment I probably need a WHOLE shipping container for my yarn and thats going to be costly!  So 2017 is all about #activestashappreciation (more of that later).  Now I really don't think I am going to be able to afford some grand townhouse in the Royal Crescent (which is close to the apartment we stayed in) but a nice house with a garden a couple of miles away would suit me just fine!

We stayed in the third house from the right with the bay trees by the door - magical!

Since we have been back from the UK the weather has really cooled down here in the UAE and so much so that I have actually had to wear cardigans and sweaters (hurrah!).  I love this time of year, but sadly it does not last long and then we get the odd day where we have a Shamal and a sandstorm - we necessitates another two days cleaning the house and getting sand from places that you never expected.  This morning we had a lovely sunrise and red sky - I was up early for the school run as usual and it is really beautiful in a different way to the hoar frost in Bath......sigh........

So bearing in mind the container issue above - I think for the first half of 2017 at the very least I am looking to work from my Stash.  I love my stash so this is really no hardship! Jo from the Shinybees podcast has been talking about how to reinvent your stash with new uses and new stories as a challenge (well in the loosest sense of the word!) and I have taken some Patons Wool Blend DK which I had bought about 4 years ago for a Union Jack Cushion cover.  Two things happened - firstly I made a mistake in the cushion which caused me to throw it back to the recess of the cupboard and secondly I had somehow managed to order double the amount I needed - Duh!!

So as I had no Crochet project on the go I decided to prowl Pinterest - and how many rabbit holes have I fallen down as a result of that in the past - and found some lovely neutral blankets.  The stash I had was all in muted neutral tones of grey with two skeins of what I could term 'natural'.  So then I found a large openwork granny square which I really liked and Hey Presto - a new WIP was born! My lounge is predominently grey and as we only have air con and no heating, this time of year can get a bit chilly in the evenings so this will be perfect!  Slight flaw in this plan is that perhaps it will be hot again by the time I finish it!

Anyway I will keep you posted.

Don't forget to come and find me on my other social media platforms you can use the link at the top to see me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Please do come and join the Facebook page, would love to see you and I am taking part in the #yarnlovechallenge over on Instagram which I am loving! Just shows what a great community of knitters we have xxxx