Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vive les Fillets Provençaux!

So what do you think of when you hear the word Provence? Fields of lavender lazily buzzed by bees? Sun-drenched medieval hill towns baking under a blazing sun? Rubbing elbows with the glitterati along the Riviera and the Côte d'Azur? Madam Will You Talk? If you're a knitting fanatic, chances are you think of a trio of yarns by Classic Elite: Provence, Avignon, and Mistral.

Provence is still in production, a wonderful DK-weight mercerized cotton that comes in 205 yard hanks. The color range is fantastic.

I used Provence to make the tulip-bordered rose top by Norah Gaughan I blogged about the other day. In the 10 years since I made the top, I can report that it's holding its shape well.

Avignon alas is no more; it was a DK-weight silk-cotton blend that knitted like a dream; I used it here in beige:
beige Avignon top
The black is a Lion Brand microfiber yarn. The yarn is quite matte (the silk is Tussah silk) and was wonderful to knit with and to wear. I wish I had bought a ton more Avignon when I had the chance.

And Mistral: Mistral alas also is no more. A DK-weight plied blend of 85% pima cotton and 15% alpaca, it has a soft sheen.
Classic Elite Mistral yarn
I have 20 hanks of Mistral in this intriguing taupey-plummy color. Every so often I take out some hanks and fondle them. Yesterday, the Mistral began preying on my mind. It was telling me it would so much better for my new Pattern Times Two LS top than the Jaeger Ascot, even if it's not ivory. To get the Mistral to shut up, I wound a hank and knitted a swatch:
PTT Mistral swatch
And got gauge right away. So I casted on the required stitches for the back to see the entire pattern:
PTT Mistral
Mistral is right. It's much better suited for this pattern than the cabled Ascot yarn. It gives the little framed leaf motif nicer, crisper definition than Ascot does. And it knits like a dream- it really glides along on my Addi Natura needles (I was afraid it would be sticky on them, but no). This will be a lovely dressy top in a color no one knows the name of.

One problem remains: Back to the drawing board for an ivory top.


fleegle said...

They all look yummy! Wish I could knit's summer now and it looks appealing. But, my hands hate it, sigh.

Experimental Knitter said...

Aaah, gee, don't know what to say. Is it that cotton sucks all the moisture out of your hands?