The past two weeks have been a wild ride here at Knit Purl HQ. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true. Especially lately. After reading the incoming results of our Year End Survey (have you taken it?), it seems many knitters want more in-depth project ideas with yarn and pattern suggestions.
Well, let’s make a go at that! Next week there WILL be a free hat pattern for all you lovely and generous Hard-Knock Kids Knitters (with three sizes, no less!); but, for now, let’s try something different for the heck of it.
|Shadow, by Sara Morris|
I know I have been, anyway. I even invested in more than a dozen skeins of Heichi in Canal to make one for myself. Of course, for those of you out there who aren’t sure about the suggested yarn, I have some substitution suggestions:
- Shibui Merino Worsted, for a machine-washable vest that will make for easier care. It also comes in a wider variety of brights, for those of you who love color. (Neutrals? Bah!)
- Shibui Baby Alpaca DK held with Shibui Silk Cloud. A combination so luscious that I’m actually starting to drool on my keyboard…
- Madelinetosh Vintage (not Shibui, admittedly), for a machine-washable vest in one of those delicious Madelinetosh ‘glazed’ colors.
- Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, for a lighter-than-air yet still woolly vest that will have the most magnificent stitch definition and drape.
- Rowan Lima. I might have to fan myself over this one. The word that comes to mind is ‘seductive’. Even better, Lima has almost the exact same yardage as Heichi, so NO conversions necessary. Can you imagine the decadence of a couture-esque Lima vest? Oh… my.
- Rowan Summer Tweed, for a similar look (and fiber content) at a slightly lower price. Also, residents of more tropical climes might need that cotton in there to lighten up the silk.
But I gotta tell you that Heichi is a delightful yarn to work with. It’s quite different from any of the other summery tweeds I’ve knit with and really does feel like there’s wool in there even though it’s pure silk. Moreover, the palette is fabulous, especially because each color has subtle flecks instead of the traditional giant slubs – giving each skein a very sophisticated feel and hue.
Of course, Shibui Heichi isn’t the only exciting new arrival to our shelves (virtual or otherwise). There’s a whole slew of new patterns up on our website for knitters who are sick and tired of all this Heichi business (sorry, but we have more Heichi news on the horizon!). For you, though, I’ve assembled some alternatives:
|Overall Cabled Pullover by Helen Hamann (front)|
|Overall Cabled Pullover by Helen Hamann (back)|
New from Helen Hamann is a decidedly cozy pullover that has me thinking of Ski lodges and hot cocoa. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s executed beautifully. What would make it even more exceptional would be a superb yarn choice. Lindsay will approve of my first suggestion, Isager Alpaca 2.
The design calls for holding two fingering weight strands together. How can you go wrong with a baby alpaca/ Merino lambswool fingering yarn? Impossible, I say! Aside from the additional snuggliness of the yarn (which would combine beautifully with the design), Alpaca 2 has fantastic yardage with 270 yards per skein.
If you’re not into the Alpaca 2 as a jumping-off point (to each their own), we have some other ideas:
- Isager Hoejlandsgarn. Mmm, Shetland lambswool in a collection of sexy heathers. (Heathers can be sexy, y’know.)
- Habu Textiles Silk Wool A-113. For that elegant couture look straight off the runway.
- Shibui Sock. Hand-dyed and machine washable for easy care.
- Swans Island Fingering. Hand-dyed organic Merino. Oh, wow, that‘d be a treat for the senses!
Lastly, before I run (after 6pm already?), here’s a cute hat that several of us have been obsessing over:
|Robin Hood by Grace Akhrem|
Grace Akhrem’s adorable Robin Hood hat. Knit with an Aran weight yarn (which is slightly heavier than worsted), I’ve already come up with some ideas for this one. First and foremost, Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed would be a perfect fit. It’s tweedy and soft enough for sensitive skin and comes in a wide assortment of colors, too. Added plus? You’d only need two balls for a hat you wouldn’t want to take off all winter long. Ooh, this might also make a great pattern for our handknit clothing drive, too!
Anyway. If you’re looking for options (who isn’t, amirite?), we do actually carry several Aran weight yarns that would make for super-soft, nice and sqooshy hats that would make you not care about hat hair ever again:
- Malabrigo Twist
- Jamieson’s of Shetland Heathers Aran
- Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran
- Shibui Merino Alpaca
And that’s all we’ve got for now. I’ll definitely be back by next week with a free Handknits for Hard-Knock Kids hat pattern and maybe even another project suggestion or two. Until then, stay warm!
*I assure you, it is no less weird for me (the designer) to be plugging this. But my coworkers assured me that it made sense to do so.