I know, I know.... I'm super late to this fancy party!! But I really want to talk about my new favorite obsession!! And what a better time than now? Let's chat about these incredible cakes, now that Yarnish have packed shelves full of these adorable squishes!
Where do I even begin?!
To be absolutely honest, I'm feeling a bit like the Disney Princess Jasmine: forever locked in my psychological 'amigurumi' castle, not knowing what awaits outside its walls.
There they were.
Nicole and Shelby <3
Opening my eyes to a whole new world!
And the world was Whirl-ti-ful!
Just holding one of these beauties is soooo lovely, let alone the awesome 'thing' that is created from it!
But I was incredibly confronted by it! 8ply to fingering weight is a big leap, I'll be the first to tell you! Especially if you're used to only working in a specific type and weight of yarn....
I have been crocheting for almost 10 years and I'm not afraid to admit: I 'was' a creature of habit. I only ever used 100% 8ply cotton (maybe a blend if I was feeling adventurous!) I was so set in my ways. But then I started to feel a bit feverish... you might even say I came down with a 'virus' (☉‿☉✿)
I think that's really what kicked it off for me. I found that 'special pattern': something to push me outside my comfort zone and try something new! - we will chat about the Virus Shawl later ;)
A bit about The Whirl
The Whirl is made from 60% cotton and 40% acrylic, so when you knit/crochet with it, your creation is lightweight and breathable. Each cake is considered to be 'extra large' as they are a lengthy 1000m long. Cakes come in 54 delicious colours (appropriately named after desserts!) and there is so much vibrancy in each colourway. Pictures don't do them justice!
When you look up some of the promotional material from Scheepjes, its obvious they are super proud of their Whirl-y twist! Strands are twisted in a way that 'enhances' knitting/crochet speed and it also prevents the yarn from splitting. And this is completely true, I haven't had my yarn split at all!
Another proud moment for Scheepjes is their Fuzz Buzz.
OK, so, I had nooooo idea what anyone was talking about when they were referring to this 'fuzz buzz'. Its actually quite clever: the fuzz buzz is when two colours are 'fused together' during a colour change. Its actually really exciting when you reach the fuzz buzz because you know that a new colour will be introduced to your work! If your reader, think of fuzz buzz as the beginning of a new chapter in a very colourful book!
Can you see my fuzz buzz? Its so small, it just hides in your work (but if you are having a bit of trouble with your buzz being too 'fuzz', I just use a bit of spit to smooth it out! My Nan always said that spit fixes everything and she was always right! ｖ(⌒ｏ⌒)ｖ♪
Also about colour changes: the transition of one colour to the next is really gentle. Even stark colours: each colour strand is introduced one at a time so that you have a soft gradient, rather than a heavy 'stripe'.
There is no hiding it: globally, these are one of the most popular line of yarn sold! And now I have had a play, I think I know why:
They are easy!
And I don't mean that in a bad way. For many of us, we use crochet and knitting as a form of relaxation and escapism. We are letting go of all the stress and worry in our lives, and creating something beautiful with our hands. But sometimes, our lovely craft can be a bit stressful: choosing colours, weaving in ends, packing several skeins into a travel bag for only ONE project! The Whirl has made it simple. Unless your creating a really big project, all you really need is one Whirl and your hooks or needles. Can you believe it: I have actually stopped packing my scissors for my crochet-filled train trips!
Actually, that brings up a fantastic point! If your travelling on a plane in the near future, consider a Whirl-y project!
Another big plus of The Whirl is that they are relatively inexpensive! For a standard Whirl they are $35 each. And one Whirl can make a beautiful shawl or cot blanket. I am really favoring vintage shawls at the moment, so the way I see it: $35 for a shawl is so minimal! Plus, if your considering a gift for someone you love, it is quite inexpensive (excluding your precious time making).
Some hot tips:
As I said before, I had never used a fingering weight before (outside of amigurumi and a 2mm hook!), so for me this was all a bit daunting.
So if you're a Whirl beginner (or looking for additional troubleshooting tricks) I have listed a few hot tips:
1. Take your time!
Crocheting or knitting with a Whirl for the first time can be a bit tricky because it is quite fine (and when you start out there is nothing to really hold onto). So take your time, give you hands time to adjust and develop their 'muscle memory'. It does become easier but not unless your willing to 'practice' with it.
This is also true if you have taken a break from creating with a Whirl: if you have been working with an aran weight, for example, then come back to a Whirl. there can be a bit of an adjustment period.
If you don't have one, consider purchasing one. Seriously!
The Whirl can be worked in two directions, you can either pull from the outside or pull from the 'easy start' from the inside. For my Whirl-y make, I chose to pull from the inside which meant that as I worked, my yarn cake naturally began to collapse on itself causing a significant *ahem*...'yarn barf'. This took me precious hours to undo, hours I could have spent crocheting. So don't be a 'Renee', grab yourself a bowl or butler. You're welcome ;)
3. Keep your label!
The first thing I did when I started crocheting my Whirl was rip off the label, and give it to the dog to chew up (its a long story but paper to her is like catnip for cats!). I am totally regretting now, because, the label is made from a really beautiful brown paper. It looks absolutely stunning when you have finished your piece (i.e. a shawl) and you roll it up and wrap the label around it. Its such a nice/professional way to present your makes, especially for gifts. This isn't a 'make-or-break' tip, its more a cool 'hack'.
Its a controversial topic. Unless your looking to enter your work in the local Country Show which exclaims that 'all work to be blocked!'.... seriously, reconsider blocking. The Whirl has a lovely soft 'give', but when you work it can naturally 'crunch' up. So every time you finish working with your Whirl, refrain from keeping your WIP in a project bag. Instead, pull it out and stretch it over the couch (not too much!) or wherever you feel is best. Give your work some space to breath and stretch its stitches. I promise, this will really help it to show off all your hard work!
Whirl-y good Inspo!
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating with a Whirl! From shawls, to blankets, scarves and even softies! Below are some stunning works to help you feel inspired.
The Virus Shawl
First, I want to show you my Virus Shawl. I showed you pictures from above but here is another sample photo. I wish I had it finished to show you the end product, but I am just not that quick ;)
I would definitely call this a beginner friendly pattern with advanced looking results! Even if you have just started crocheting: if you can do a double crochet, a single crochet, a chain stitch and count to 10, you can make this shawl!
The very talented Mel Harrison has so many perfectly Whirl-y patterns to choose from, but the most popular is the Evermore Bloom (and its not hard to see why!)
Here is Mel's stunning original Evermore Bloom in the colourway Midmorning Mocharoo (one cake project).
And our very lovely Yarnish customer, Michelle Eason, made this stunning baby blanket using Slice O Cherry Pie.
Both these creations show just how different the SAME pattern can look using two DIFFERENT colourways!
Wandering Leaves Scarf
Tegan Howes has made this beautiful creation called Wandering Leaves Scarf, her own original design!
She has used the Blackcurrent Squeeze Me colourway (one cake project!).
[Edited to add... sorry Nicole!!]
Here is something which almost literally pops out from the screen! Nicole's Like Diamonds in the Sky Shawl by Atty van Norel. Nicole used 1/2 a Salted Caramel Matcha Whirl and finished off with a Bilberry Whirlette.
Mari Koeck is working on something brand spanking new!! Here's a sneak peak in the Red Velvet Sunrise colourway!
Melody Tallon is also working on something new! She is using the fan-favorite, Slice O Cherry Pie.
Other spectacular creations!
Annaberu Izumi has made this S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G Mandala Madness blanket using Melting Macaron, then a Sherbet Rainbow and a Cotton Candy Man. This is seriously next level!
And here is another epic project!
Angela Machut made this incredible Sophie’s Dream using all different colourways! If your up to the challenge, you might like to give it a go?
And that's it! I better stop now, this blog post is already far too long!!!
I know there is soooo much I have missed: The Whirlette, The Woolly and the Fine Art! But don't worry, there is always our 'Whirl-y extension blog post'... coming soon ;)