The St Denis yarns are the creation of Veronik Avery, one of my favorite Canadian Designers. Both of these yarns are 100% wool and they share the same colour palette. Nordique and Boreale are both classic woolens, designed to be soft and non-pilling with great stitch definition.
They were originally released in the Fall of 2009, through Classic Elite yarns in the U.S.A. and by Veronik Avery in Canada. This is year Veronik has taken over the distribution of the yarns into the U.S.A. as well as Canada. She has released and continues to support the yarns with a range of patterns by prominent designers, such as Pam Allen, Jared Flood and Veronik herself. These patterns come in a booklet format and the 3rd booklet has just been released.
Nordique is comprised of 3-plys and is a sport weight yarn, woolen spun and bouncy! At 137m (150yds) per 50grs this yarn will knit to from 28 to 24 sts in 4 inches depending upon the needle size chosen. Being woolen spun this yarn can handle being knit to a more loose gauge than some other yarns of the same weight. I have recently finished and blocked the Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood. This pattern was designed for Nordique and shows the yarn off very well. The yarn has great stitch definition and a soft hand. This is not a Merino, so there is a slight itch factor for those whom are sensitive to the feel of wool.
Wikepedia on Woolen spun – A woolen yarn, in contrast, is hand spun from a rolag or other carded fiber (roving, batts), where the fibers are not as strictly aligned to the yarn created. The woolen yarn, thus, captures much more air, and makes for a softer and generally bulkier yarn.
Boreale is comprised of 2-plys and knits to a true 4-ply gauge of 28 sts to 4 inches. Boreale comes in a 50gr ball with 206m (225yds) per ball, like Nordiqe, Boreale is also woolen spun and has the same great bounce and loft. I recently designed two twined knitting projects that used Boreale, and even with the constant twisting this yarn kept it’s ply fairly tight and did not split as much as some of the other 4-plys used.
Both Nordique and Boreale softened and developed more loft with washing. Both yarns offer the extra payback that comes with a high calibre yarn, thus paying the knitter back with a project that they will enjoy for many years to come. If you love good wool and the pleasure of knitting with a yarn of great bounce and body, both of these yarns are perfect.