On my recent trip to Prince Albert I picked up some yarn, it wasn’t the locally spun locally dyed yarn of my dreams but I was pretty excited to try it out.
African Expressions, a local South African brand, is spun in Port Elizabeth (just over 300 km / 200 miles) from where I am staying at the moment. So actually it turns out it is pretty local to me right now. The mill is owned by Samil that has been operating in that area since mid sixties, over the years the business has grown and changed with the current operations that produce this range of yarn developing in the mid nineties.
As I have continued to read the links between my ball of wool and the recent trip to Prince Albert have been strengthened. It turns out that the Angora Goats sent over from Turkey all those years ago arrived in Port Elizabeth before making their journey into the Karoo and turning that region into one of the largest Mohair producers in the world today.
So really what I have discovered is that the yarn I almost turned my nose up at because it wasn’t locally spun indie dyed yarn is grown, spun and dyed within about a 500km radius of where I stayed. I can’t be absolutely sure of the Merino wools exact origin but I am pretty sure it’s not far from here either.
I’m pretty excited about this discovery – especially seeing as the yarn is a cracker! I love it!
Adore by African Expressions
80% Merino and 20% Mohair
100g ball – 120m / 131 yds
Available in 18 shades
The yarn is soft and smooth without that fluffy halo that you usually find with Mohair yarns. The single ply offers both a softness and a slight structure to the stitch definition.
My swatches were both worked on 6mm needles, even though the ball band recommends 7mm. I am a fairly tight knitter so I think that 7mm might be a little large for this fibre and weight – it would certainly create a loose airy fabric.
I worked a simple stocking stitch block and a larger lace panel. The lace was an utter joy to knit, chunky lace always is.
The magic of this yarn is in the blocking! I was bowled over by how beautifully it blocks. As expected with a blend like this the fabric grew a little and bloomed to reveal a delicate and subtle halo. The sheen, I would assume from the Mohair, is also wonderful.
The natural has a slightly softer handle than the dyed yarn, but the dyed yarn is still deliciously soft, as you would expect from a blend of Merino and Kid Mohair.
I am looking forward to seeing how this wears as I am sure the Mohair will add some strength to the Merino which in this single ply style is often prone to pilling.
I also have some design ideas up my sleeve for the cooler months – this swatch would make a wonderful shawl, don’t you think?
Where to buy
This yarn is pretty widely available in South Africa and the online store Yarn in a Barn stocks all 18 colours too.
The extensive stockist list on African Expressions website is pretty hand if you are looking for a local stockist or an international outlet, they have stockists in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe.
Finally Skapie, a South African online shop has a great range including this yarn. They deliver locally and internationally.
Have you knitted with an South African yarn recently?
I would love to hear about your yarn discoveries.