I’m not one of those people who can’t choose a favorite yarn. I know that many will say that it’s like being asked to pick which of their children they like the best. But my children know who I like the best, and it’s a yarn child: Shibui. Almost any Shibui. And we just got some new children Shibui in the store that I’m already playing around with to figure out the perfect pattern pairing.
Shibui Linen is an anomaly for me, because I normally don’t like plant fibers. They can be a little too unyielding for me, and a bit hard on the hands holding the needles. However, Shibui Linen is softer and silkier than most linens, with a chainette construction that gives it some…well, give. I love the Apple color and would absolutely make myself a cap-sleeve tee or loose vest for summer concerts in the park.
Shibui Twig is Linen’s next-door neighbor, or cousin, or step-sister. It’s a more matte version of Linen, with a mix of linen, recycled silk, and wool in a slubby, tweedy amalgam that would stick to most wooden needles. It’s a true DK weight, getting 5.5 stitches to 1″ on a US size 4/3.5mm needle. What would I make from this yarn? It has so much personality in the skein that I’d want to let that shine. Maybe a drapy open cardi? Or a simple summer shawl for when our air-conditioning gets a little too aggressive.
Shibui has some beautiful pattern support for these two newbies. I really like the Japanese aesthetic in their design; it speaks to my love for clean, uncluttered simplicity. Take a look and see what inspires you!
When you first read through your pattern you may see a note that says to “hold the yarn doubled throughout” or “yarn is doubled throughout”, this means you’ll carry 2 strands of yarn and knit with them as if they are one strand. This allows you to knit at a bulkier gauge or to combine yarns for a completely different look and texture, like transitions of color. The Lodge Pole Cowl uses two strands of Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky for a chunkier gauge than one strand would have yielded and the Gradient Cowl from Shibui transitions colors easily by changing just one at a time.
If your pattern is made up of short stripes, usually only 2 or 4 rows of each color, it may make more sense for you to “carry the yarn up the side” of your work rather that cutting and starting with new yarn for every new row – think of weaving in ALL those ends! The trick to this method is carrying the yarn up the side of the work each time you change color for the stripes. You’ll finish a row, and when you turn the piece over you’ll let the color you just finished with hang to the front of your work and bring the new color up behind to begin the new row. If you remember to change your colors this way for each color change it will be nearly invisible. The Garter Trap scarf, and the Chevron Tube Cowl are great examples of this technique!
What techniques or stitches are you struggling with? Ask WEBS, we can help!
My last post, which ran a few weeks ago, had a glaring error, and it is this: I took it for granted that I am famous enough for the entire world to know who I am. I am indeed the new Education Manager, and my name is Amy Greeman. This is what I look like:
Amy Greeman, Education Manager
Ok, on to my pick this week. I lovelovelove Fall and Winter, which makes me an outcast in most groups. Knitters, however also love these seasons, because crisp air and cool temperatures mean lots of knitting. As I wander around the store, a few new yarns caught my eye and I thought I’d share them with you for your Fall knitting pleasure.
Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino is the Queen of the fingering-weight set. We haven’t had this particular yarn in the store for a VERY long time and I am thrilled it’s here now. There are loads of beautiful colors and it’s just begging to be knit into socks or hats, or a gorgeous shawl.
Shibui Pebble reached it’s sporty-weight hand out and grabbed me as I walked by our showcase for it. I’m a sucker for a sport-weight, and this blend of silk/wool/cashmere is balanced just right–not too stiff and not too drapey. I would make any sweater that incorporated a lacy or knit/purl pattern stitch with this.
Clockwise: Infusion Handpaint, Koigu, Eco Highland Duo, and Pebble
Universal Yarn Infusion Handpaint was a surprise to me. I’m not that thrilled with a lot of variegation, because I like to do very textured knitting, but this wool/acrylic blend feels beautifully soft and the colors are really blended nicely. I could see a nice, thick winter scarf or shrug to keep in a chilly office in this superwash yarn.
Finally, my new favorite yarn, I must confess, isn’t new at all. It’s a luscious Cascade standby I recently discovered, Eco Highland Duo. I’ve knit a cabled cowl in it, and am using it for a much more technical knit now, this Kira K design that will be a gift for my mom.
What is your new Fall discovery? What will you be knitting while you watch football (or the new season of Homeland) on TV?
At WEBS, we’ve ramped up our knitting and crochet and are now in prime gift making mode. Here’s a peek at a few of the projects we’ve been busy with or buzzing about making this holiday season.
Great for Any Guy
There’s something extra special about giving someone a hand knit sweater. Sweaters take more time to make than a scarf, mittens or a hat, and they get worn pretty often. Making a sweater for a man can be a tricky task. It can be tough to figure out just what they would actually wear. I got around trying to figure out what he would like by just asking him! I gave my recipient three patterns to chose from, and then let him pick the color for the yarn.
Cashmere for Someone Special
I needed a special gift but one that was quick and easy. I found it in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere yarn Rain Drops Beaded Socks (free pattern on Ravelry!). I chose color 505 Dark Current and matching beads. With the softness of cashmere, the strength of merino wool and nylon, and colors that blend beautifully these socks are beautiful, luxurious and durable. I planned on making only 1 pair, but I love the easy pattern and yarn so much I can’t wait to begin another pair! > Linda B.
A Whimsical Knitted Hat
The Gnomey Earflap Hat makes a great holiday project. Since it only takes 2 balls of Valley Yarns Cold Spring, it’s an affordable way to pamper yourself or a loved one this season. If you’ve never done stranded colorwork before, don’t fear! This hat features a large and easy motif that flies off your needles, and the earflaps are perfect for cold weather. Warm ears, warm heart–isn’t that how the saying goes? > Emma W.
Feminine Lace Shawlette
Shibui Draper is a sweet little shawlette that knits up quickly with just two skeins of the lovely Shibui Staccato. I really enjoyed knitting our store sample. > Greta S.
Simple and Fun to Knit
I love the twist and the silk slubs of The Fibre Copany Acadia and the slighter than dk-gauge this yarn has to offer. The color choices and combinations are intriguing. Knitting the Katahdin Hat was a treat: not only is it a free download pattern, but it offers an interesting technique for striping in the round, one that I had never used. The stripe sequences were seamless, and no “jog” in the stripe when you change colors. The slight slouch to the design is so current and looks adorable. This hat was simple, but fun to make – you will want to make more than one, guaranteed! > N. P.
Wrapped in Love
Anzula Cloud is lofty and squishy in a lovely semi-solid variegation. The Aecor shawl is worked from the center top down with a knitted on border. The drop-in ladies were ooh-ing and aah-ing over this, so I know it’s not just me! > Cara S.
A Touch of Silk and Angora
Simple stranded knitting and fuzzy, luxurious Valley Yarns Sheffield make this Snow Day Hat and Mittens set a really special winter time treat. Since color work is so visually impressive, I think these would make a great gift for knitters and non-knitters alike. > Kirsten H.
1. I’m finally admitting I have a fingering-weight yarn obsession. Shibui Staccato is soft and elegant with a faint luster. I love the mix-and-match solid and multi colors, and immediately saw four or five different combos I would love to use. A few skeins have snuck into my stash already (151, 103, and 112) and I’m thinking stripes! > Emma W.
2. Herdy Sheep Banks – Who needs a Piggy Bank when you can have a Sheepy Bank? More adorableness from the Herdy folks. I think I actually let out an audible “squee” when I saw these the first time! > Kathy E.
3. I-91 Shop Hop 2011 – What a weekend! We all had such a great time Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were so thrilled at the amount of participants that decided to hop along the I-91 corridor. The energy the staff had, and the energy the customers had was incredible. We had fiber enthusiasts from all over joining the party and sharing the fun experiences they had in all of the other shops they visited. We even had people do the hop all in one day! They must have slept well that night! Customers Nancy and Cathy bravely let me snap their picture after all their fun shopping, and to top off their visit when they walked in the store, Melissa LaBarre who happens to work at WEBS noticed that Nancy was wearing one of her designs. Of course Nancy had to have Melissa sign her book New England Knits! We consider the first shop hop a huge success and are so thrilled you all had a great time! > Karen M.
4. This week we held a celebration for the graduates of our Expert Knitter Certification Program. Each garment exhibited was unique and so well crafted! It was wonderful to hear each graduate talk about their design journey. > Tina M.
5. I love my Della Q Lily Crochet Roll. The hooks kept falling out of my old case (different company) but the Della Q roll holds them in nice and securely and doesn’t take up a ton of space. It can hold way more hooks than I could hope to own. I often just keep it in my project bag in case I finish something and want to whip up a small crochet project. > Kirstin L.