A Bit About Bluebella Fingering - from my Email May 17, 2020

Posted by Laura Jones on

Today I'd like to talk a bit about BLUEBELLA 80/20 Fingering which is my luxury and special Bluefaced Leicester/silk fingering base ~ a little different and which may just get you started on your addiction to Bluefaced Leicester, also frequently referred to as BFL (of course, that's provided you aren't already addicted).

BFL is a longwool, or long staple wool. It has some of the longest individual lock lengths among sheep breeds used today for spinning/knitting. The fibres are relatively straight, too, which adds to their sheen and strength but which results in a yarn feel that is less smooshy or springy as compared to Merino but which makes up for that in drape and an almost luminous glow. It is relatively strong and not as fine as most Merino, micron-wise. I think of it as a little bit "crispy" - strange word perhaps, but if you feel it I think you will agree.

If you have no wool sensitivities you should be fine using BFL. If you do, it wouldn't be my first choice for anything next-to-skin, however its popularity is resulting in breeding for softer/smoother fibres resulting in softer and softer yarns over the years (in my opinion), so it may work for you.

The construction of my Bluebella is a blend of 80% superwash BFL wool and 20% tussah silk. It's a three-ply base.

BFL loves it in the dyepot! With the bit of silk to help, I find most colourways glow on this beautiful canvas. The dye strikes quickly and the layering of washes is stunning, with a watercolour-painting-like effect and extra glow from the BFL and silk fibres.

green black bfl hat

A "Sockhead" hat I knit in my Venomous colourway...

One thing this base is excellent for is lacework. It takes an aggressive blocking and stays open, showing off the beautiful detail (a feature that I find true for all BFL, not just this base). At 425 yards per 115g hank, it has ample yardage to make a lace shawl and a couple of hanks make a generously-sized shawl, lace or otherwise. I would also recommend it for other accessories (hats, mitts) and of course, it's wonderful for sweaters.

I am especially proud to offer this base as I get it from a local independent supplier who has it custom-spun at a local mill, so while the fibre isn't Canadian, the rest of it is :)

lace bfl shawl

Lace detail from my "The Harvest of Lugnasadh" shawl (wonderful pattern by Catherine Knutsson / Small Bird Workshop)

Please see my "yarnie" page on Ravelry (link below) for some beautiful projects using this sweet base

It is a premium base and one that should definitely be hand-washed and air-dried flat, superwash treatment notwithstanding. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to give it a try! And if I've begun your new addiction to BFL, you're welcome ;)

NOTE: I don't have a lot in the shop right now on this base, but more is being dried as you get this - stay tuned! Maybe not the best planning on my part but I had to talk about this beauty...

 What I'm actively working on now (in other words, which WIPs are getting attention): a new kidmosilk lace/fingering hat design - that's still in the works! I have knit two prototypes that weren't quite right but I think the third will be the charm. I will be writing it up soon I hope. I am still plugging away at Naveen by Kate Oates [and loving it!], but my Mom is almost finished hers - I am so excited as it will be her first full sweater knit in my yarn. Aaaaand sock 1 of a pair of toe-up afterthought heel socks (no pattern) ~ check out my project pages on Rav [very little change from 2 weeks ago, but I think my hat pattern is gaining steam now].

No FO's to share at the moment (see above - must knit faster...)!

With the C-19 situation, I am not certain about in-person events coming up, but will update as soon as possible.

Stay safe and well and thank you for joining me.