I had never used BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) before, but had heard a lot of good things about it. So when Lindsey Miller of Charmed Yarns made an offer to a knitting group that I was in, I jumped at the chance to try it out. Full disclosure, I did get this yarn for free. But I’ll give you the most honest review I possibly can, because that’s very important to me.
First for the stats: It’s 80% Blue Faced Leicester Wool, 20% Nylon, Fingering Weight, 100 g (3.5 oz), 365 Meters (400 Yards).
When I looked at what Lindsey had in her Etsy store, my eye was instantly drawn to the Allium colorway, even though I usually go for blues and greens. It reminded me of an old-fashioned rose garden, complete with trellis. And so the color inspired my design.
I received the two skeins I’d requested for the design very quickly. By that time I had firmly in mind how I wanted my new design to look. Right off the bat, I loved the feel of the yarn. It’s very nearly as soft as any merino/nylon blend I’ve tried. It has a nice tight twist, so it has good stitch definition and it’s not prone to splitting. It has the tiniest bit of halo, but not enough to obscure detailed stitch patterns.
With the BFL which is stronger than merino, and the added nylon, it will be great for those who’d like to use it for socks; greater durability. As most designers will attest, working on a new design will often involve a fair bit of frogging and starting over. This yarn held up splendidly to LOTS of frogging, still looking just as nice as the later yarn that was only knit once. But the drape was what I loved most about it, which made it perfect for the shawl I was making. It also has a very slight sheen that is not present in merino blends.
As I reached the end of the second skein, I decided I really did want the shawl to be larger. So I asked Lindsey to send me another skein, which she did promptly. I was VERY nervous about the new skein not matching the first two, and I left a few rows’ worth of the second skein in case I needed to blend into the new one. But it turned out that my fears were unfounded. The new skein matched perfectly! Obviously that’s not always going to be the case with hand-dyed skeins, but I happened to luck out this time.
When I finally finished my garden shawl, I soaked it in a bit of vinegar water (just in case!) and then rinsed it and pinned it out. There was very little color bleeding in the soak, and it blocked very nicely. The bloom was pretty minimal, probably due to the tight twist.
Lindsey has created kits in her Etsy shop for the Beyond the Garden Gate Shawl, which is included in Issue 4 of yarnpeople magazine. The kits include either two or three skeins of BFL twist (like I used) or Charmed singles (which are superwash merino). They even include the DMC cotton for the flower embellishments, shown above!
Overall, I highly recommend this yarn, and Lindsey as well. She was a delight to work with, and very prompt. The yarn itself is beautiful, has the most wonderful drape, and really good stitch definition. Although it is not QUITE as soft as merino, it’s pretty close. Be warned though, because of the tight twist there is not a whole lot of bloom during soaking, so don’t count on it filling in a loose gauge. However, I’m not at all a fan of working with “splitty” yarns, so I’d much rather have the tight twist. Also, there is a very faint halo, so take that into account when working very intricate stitch patterns. However, I didn’t find it a problem with mine at all. I think you’ll be very happy with this yarn in nearly any fingering weight project: soft enough for face/neck contact, and durable enough for socks and other high-use items.
Happy knitting, my dear dragons!