Swatching with Marie Wallin's Aran

Marie Wallin’s yarns and patterns are constant favorites here at The Woolly Thistle. Her original yarn, British Breeds 4ply, is a staple for great reasons - it’s a loosely plied, worsted-spun, fingering weight yarn that comes in a curated palette of colors made from a careful blend of British wool breeds. But what if you need a thicker yarn? Good news! Marie Wallin has created a big sister to her original British Breeds: British Breeds Aran


There are two menswear patterns from Marie's previous collections - the Grasmoor Jacket from Cumbria and the Helvellyn Sweater from Westmorland - which Marie designed using two strands of her fingering weight yarn held double. She loved the resulting cables so much that it inspired her to work again with John Arbon Textiles mill to create a worsted weight version of British Breeds!

British Breeds Aran has 93 yards per 50 gram ball (equivalent to 186 yards per 100 grams) and a recommended gauge of 19 stitches and 26 rows per 10 cm. Where the original British Breeds has two plies in its construction, the Aran has 4 plies, making it a much rounder yarn than the fingering weight. It’s also still worsted-spun, making it quite smooth and low-fuzz. This makes it ideal for cables and textured stitches, and actually knit very nicely into squishy two-color brioche as well! It comes in a selection of the same signature Marie Wallin colors.

The entire palette coordinates well for colorwork, stripes or any other color-mixing. You'll find all these elements in Marie's new pattern collection called Aran, a book of 12 designs all using the new Aran yarn!


I’ve knit three swatches in this yarn - one with two needle sizes in stockinette, one in simple colorwork, and one in two-color brioche. For the stockinette, on a US 6 needle I got 19 stitches per 4 inches and on a US 8 needle I got 16 stitches per 4 inches. I’d be happy with a sweater or hat in either! For the colorwork, I got 18 stitches per 4 inches on a US 8 and for the two-color brioche, I got about 7.25 brioche ridges per 4 inches. 

If you’re a fan of original British Breeds or if you’ve wanted to use Marie Wallin’s colors but like knitting thicker yarns, Marie Wallin British Breeds Aran is a great choice! It also does a few things, like textured stitches and brioche, even better than the fingering weight original because of the round structure. Overall, the Aran version is a versatile, robust yarn in Marie Wallin’s signature sheep breed blend and colors.

Shop all 12 colors of British Breeds Aran and Marie's new pattern collection starting April 12th. Kits for all the colorwork designs will be available starting Apri 26th! Each kit will come with all the yarn for your chosen size, a TWT tote, and a digital download of that pattern.

Let us know what you think of Marie's new Aran yarn! What color will you be playing with first?

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