Our Favorites from Woolfolk FW17 Collection

© Woolfolk

Earlier this month Woolfolk rang in (arguably) the greatest season for knitting with a warm new color palette, introducing three new colors: numbers 18, 19 and 20. There is something absolutely savory about these figgy fall colors. The new pigments bring a sophisticated warmth to the Woolfolk FW17 collection that stands out among Woolfolk’s usual understated gray-white palette of collections past. The cashmere-soft 100% merino wools that make up fingering-weight Tynd and worsted weight Far lend themselves lovingly to the architectural brioche stitch that is so prominently featured throughout the collection.

© Woolfolk 

Knit Purl helped kick off the FW17 Woolfolk launch with its accompanying trunk show in our shop throughout September. After trying out each piece the Vejkryds Cardigan (designed by the Woolfolk team) was absolutely the most wearable, staple sweater of the collection and my number one pick out of the sweater category. Vejkryds translates from the Danish word intersect, and this cardigan stands confidently at the intersection of modern style and cozy comfort. You can snuggle up with coffee and a journal in the morning, then hunker down in the office to get work done wearing the same versatile piece. My favorite design element is the subtle shawl collar that sits comfortably at the neck and chest and won’t splay open excessively at the bust.

 

© Woolfolk

The collection has no shortage of unique accessories. Melanie Berg, known for her asymmetrical triangular shawls, surprised us with Gard, a modern rectangular shawl in a gorgeous dark plum color (#20). It is knit length-wise with a twisted rib and garter ridge pattern for a simple yet subtle geometric design. Drape it around the shoulders over a contrasting dress or blouse like the pollen-colored dress for a refined date night look or gather it around the neck for an extra warm winter scarf. Knit with five skeins of fingering weight Tynd it will yield a luscious, light-weight fabric with excellent drapey feel, keeping you warm without any excessive bulk!

 

© Woolfolk

The piece that caught my eye most as I pop in and out of the shop each day was the Omvej cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. Its inviting brioche curves can draw my eye from across a room. If you’re feeling intimidated by brioche, Omvej is a great project to elevate your skills. Practice the basics on your swatch, then graduate to increases and decreases in the pattern and your stitches will be flowing in no time. Did you know that each printed Woolfolk pattern now includes a small woven clothing tag that you can delicately sew into your finished piece? With that sophisticated touch, your friends will want to know where you bought it. Be prepared—when they hear it’s hand-knit, they’ll beg you to make them one! That’s precisely why we’re thinking Omvej will make a luxurious holiday gift for someone special — and under $75 at that!

 

© Woolfolk

 

 

Give yourself a moment to take in the full Woolfolk FW 17 collection and share with us which pieces you can’t wait to knit.

 

 

September 25, 2017 by Charli Barnes

Shibui Knits FW17 Favorites

© Shibui Knits

As the weather cools off, and school starts up, it’s a fall tradition for many to begin looking at new fall fashions.  While some folks focus on Fall Fashion Week in New York, here at KP headquarters we wait all year for fall launch season.  When all of the big players in our yarny community roll out fall knitwear collections, experiment with new yarns, new construction and ignite our imagination with ALL of the latest fall fashions.  The coolest thing about this is that everything is influenced by the latest trends, but a few really great design houses know that as knitters, we look for a bit more timelessness in the garments we choose make.  This week, we will be focusing on the Fall/Winter collection from Shibui Knits, in which Shellie Anderson once again pulls through with a brilliant collection that perfectly caters to our desire to make and our desire to look incredible.  I’ve built my fall queue with three of her pieces from the FW17 collection.

 

© Shibui Knits

 

© Shibui Knits

1. Athos

The minute I saw this gem, I cast on.  A light scarf that with a genius construction becomes a cowl in the blink of an eye will fit perfectly into my ever-changing style.  Knit in Silk Cloud held with Pebble, the fabric of this cowl will have you reaching for it everytime you walk out the door this fall.  This piece also gave me an excuse to become really familiar with the german short row, which I now know is so easy, it should be considered a magic trick.  The hardest part of this project is choosing what two colors to pair together!

© Shibui Knits

2. Fresco

Alongside my Athos cowl, I was immediately drawn to Fresco.  I am absolutely itching to test drive Shibui’s new yarn, Birch.  What’s better than a beautiful pullover in a lush yarn?  And, dear me, I am a sucker for ¾ length cuffed sleeves and simple shaping that elevates a cozy sweater from “lazy saturday” status to work appropriate attire.  When a sweater is this comfortable, but looks so smart, it’s like a dirty little secret!

 

© Shibui Knits

3. Sitka

Third on the needles for this fall is the Sitka tee.  With its mock turtleneck and short sleeves, it’s got serious punch while remaining unassuming, which is a winning combination in my mind.  Not to mention that Drift is one of my favorite worsted weights out there and that the short sleeves means that I can wear this sweater under my favorite jacket without having layers getting bunched up in the sleeves.

 

With so many greats to choose from, what is going to be jumping onto your needles this sweater season?

 

 

September 18, 2017 by Em Hanna

Wool People 11 Favorites

© Brooklyn Tweed | Jared Flood

As the weather finally cools down here in Portland, we are starting to think about gearing up for fall – which of course means sweater season. While we have great things to share with you once the fall collections launch, we keep returning to Wool People 11, Brooklyn Tweed’s showcase for independent designers using Brooklyn Tweed yarns.

 

© Brooklyn Tweed | Jared Flood

Without a doubt our favorite pattern from this collection is the Boundary Pullover from Olga Buraya-Kefelian. Knit in Arbor, Olga takes advantage of the smoothness of the yarn to build a pullover with crisp, clean lines and excellent wearability. The rib details at the side seams and shoulders have a bold, graphic quality against the reverse stockinette fabric and ensure a flattering fit. While reverse stockinette might not be everyone’s first choice when it comes to knitting time, the sweater is worked flat so it’s not just hours of purling!

© Brooklyn Tweed | Jared Flood

We also loved Level, a striking shawl from designer Nancy Whitman. Featuring vivid color blocks formed by a combination of short rows and intarsia, Level is great project for an intermediate knitter looking to expand their skillset or to practice one or both of these useful techniques. Designed for Loft, this would also be beautiful in the Fibre Company’s Arranmore Light or Sunday Knits Nirvana, depending on your color preference. Be sure to check your gauge before starting, though!

 

© Brooklyn Tweed | Jared Flood

Another of our top picks is Harlowe, designed by Melissa Wehrle. Also knit in Arbor, Harlowe gives a more casual effect, with a high-low hem and understated overall stitch pattern. Knit in the round after completing the vented hem, slim sleeves and clean finishing on the deep V-neck keep this pullover looking sharp – making it a good layering piece for wearing around the house or for a weekend on the town.

© Brooklyn Tweed | Jared Flood

Last but not least, we also are also thinking about casting on Leadlight, a geometric lace stole designed by Amy van de Laar. Worked from the center out to ensure perfect symmetry, Leadlight echoes the effect of leading in stained glass windows, while also suggesting the organic branching of trees in winter. The clever construction ensures that Leadlight is manageable to knit, even for the casual lace knitter – though you should be comfortable knitting lace both flat and in the round, as well as reading charts before starting this pattern. Designed for Vale, we think Leadlight would be exquisite in Shibui Knits Pebble, which would give more of a Steve Rousseau effect.


What are your favorites from Wool People 11? Anything on your needles from this collection?

 

--Meaghan

August 21, 2017 by Guest Blogger

Summer Knits

© Knit Purl

We’ve been experiencing the hottest week of the year so far here in Portland. The entire city is abuzz about it, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re putting our needles down. We are knitting right on through the heat, and we’re doing it in style. I cannot deny my love of wool, but summer knitting is all about cotton, silk and linen—fibers that breathe, and feel cool to the touch.

 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge - Penny Tank

I couldn’t possibly discuss summer knits without mentioning my absolute favorite Shibui yarn. Anyone with access to my wardrobe will know that I’m a sucker for yarns of the Tweed variety. Shibui’s stylish Twig mimics the speckled appearance of a tweed without that warm, fuzzy, rustic feel of a traditional tweed. Made up of 46% Linen, 42% Silk, and just a tiny 12% touch of wool, it feels great both to knit and wear on a warm summer day. It’s classified as a sport weight, but I have definitely worked it into a fingering weight pattern or two. This summer I knit Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Penny Tank, in the Brick colorway on a US size 4 needle, for a dense, yet breathable fabric that softens brilliantly with each wear. If you prefer a more open gauge, Shibui’s Slope is an elegant summer basic that can be dressed up or down.

 

© Oliver James Brooks - Kiyomi Burgin's Heya Tank

There are two new yarns in the shop from DanDoh this summer. Their Silk + yarn is a shining star. Another tweedy yarn in a 76% silk, 24% cotton blend with a subtle silky shine that peeks out in the sunlight. I have been having a summer romance with Silk + since the moment it arrived in the shop. Like a schoolgirl crush, I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I had it on the needles. I customized Kiyomi Burgin’s new Heya tank by adding a one-inch hem to the bottom edge, and a garter stitch selvedge edge for simpler seaming. The simple stockinette is a great canvas for displaying the depth of color and texture in the yarn, and also makes for great mindless knitting.

 

© Cocoknits - Paulina

I haven’t knit with DanDoh’s Cotton Fine yet, but I’ve been dreaming about it knit in Julie Weisenberger’s Paulina crop top—a lovely piece to wear over a summer dress. You can also mix and match colors with the yarn held double in a piece like Olgajazzy’s Oshima pullover. My next venture with DanDoh just might be to knit Yumiko Alexander’s River Ripples poncho or Forest weave pullover—two elegant pieces inspired by nature.

 

© Shibui Knits - Eames

Shibui Knit’s Rain is our go-to 100% cotton yarn. With bright sheen and sophisticated chainette ply, even the simplest of stockinette stitch yields an elegant, high-end fabric, as is evident in Shellie Anderson’s Eames, a modern short-sleeve cardigan from Shibui Knits’ Spring/Summer 2017 collection. A Long-sleeve version is included in the pattern too, if you’d like to wear it into Fall—which always seems to be just around the corner. Cotton wears well, whisks away moisture, and can even be machine washed. Start with a gentle cycle! I always recommend washing a large swatch first to figure out the perfect settings for your garments.

 

© Shibui Knits - Athens

If you still haven’t ventured to try Shibui Knits’ new Reed yet, it’s definitely worth it—a refined improvement on their discontinued Linen. Knit by itself, it yields a supremely elegant drape as seen in Shellie Anderson’s Athens Tank. Pair it with Shibui Knits’ new Lunar for extra depth, sheen, and super soft feel. No one at Knit Purl could resist Shellie’s Siena cardigan. We’re all knitting one!


Did you know you can search for yarns on our website by fiber? Just click “Yarns,” then “By Fiber,” and explore all of our cotton, linen and silk blends. Don’t let the heat keep your knitting down! There is still plenty of time to fit in a few more summer pieces.


What are your favorite yarns and patterns to knit in the summer?

 

 

Month of Lace Favorite: Shibui Knits

© Shibui Knits

Think of Shibui Knits and you probably think of luxury fibers and a fashion-forward aesthetic. With thoughtfully chosen fibers, a coordinated color palette,  and carefully designed patterns, Shibui Knits produces the materials you need to create impeccable, elegant garments and accessories. The true hallmark of Shibui Knits style, though, is the mix concept – combining two or more strands of yarn together to create custom fabric. It shows up in patterns as diverse as the chevron cowl Mix No. 29 and the Siena cardigan from the SS17 collection, and is the highlight of Shibui’s Mix Party, a yarn tasting which focuses on allowing the knitter to create a unique, personal fabric through unique yarn combinations.

© Shibui Knits

Founded in 2007 to meet the needs of online commerce, Shibui Knits has created patterns in-house since 2015. Patterns are designed with the mix concept in mind, and are intended to work with different yarn combinations, bringing the idea of remixing from the world of music and high art to knitting. The SS15 collection, including the perennially popular Slope tank, was the first fruit of that decision. The attention to finishing details and mindful choice of techniques ensures that each collection builds on the strengths of those that went before, aiming for the astringent elegance of simplicity. With a variety of lace-weight yarn bases available, it’s easy to build a suitable custom fabric for any occasion, while the refined color palette ensures makes it easy to choose colors that work well together, either by matching the same shade across yarn bases, as in Vista from the FW16 collection, or by using different colors for a marled effect, as in Melanie Berg’s A Twist to It.

 

© Shibui Knits

Speaking personally, Shibui Knits Twig is one of my favorite yarns for knitting solo – it’s perfect for summer garments like the Simple Tee from Churchmouse or the Summer tee from ANKESTRIK. For yarn combinations, though, Shibui Knits Pebble is my secret weakness: its tweedy flecks add depth and interest to any yarn pairing, while the mixture of cashmere, wool, and recycled silk adds a soupçon of airy luxury to any fabric – it’s probably no surprise that Julie Hoover’s Wintour is on my knit list.


What’s your favorite Shibui Knits yarn combination? What interesting mixes are on your to-knit list?

 

--Meaghan

July 10, 2017 by Guest Blogger

North Light Fibers, Our Favorite American Made Yarns

© Knit Purl

Knitting with American-made yarn always seems bring me closer to my own American heritage. There’s a special joy I find in hand-knitting with fibers that have been made close to home. I feel more connected with my nation’s rich industrial textile history and the women drove it. Knitting American-made garments also help me strengthen my local and national economy, all while supporting small businesses and small agriculture. Fibers manufactured entirely in the USA also cut out the need for excessive overseas shipping of goods, thus I get to reduce my carbon footprint as an excellent bonus.

 

© North Light Fibers

If you haven’t tried knitting with North Light Fibers yarns, I encourage you to do so. With “100% made in the USA” stamped proudly on their tag, their entire selection of yarns are produced on Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The Micro Yarn Mill, situated right in the middle of their family-owned farm, takes the fiber straight “from shear to skeins.” They tumble, wash, pick, dye, de-hair, card, spin, ply and finish their yarns right on the island.

 

© North Light Fibers

Given the seasonal nature of the island, Block Island’s economy is limited to the summer season, and jobs opportunities are limited in the cooler months. The mill and farm at North Light Fibers create jobs and reinforces the small local island economy year-round. Our friends at North Light Fibers make it their mission to prove that despite the island’s seasonal nature, year-round manufacturing is not only possible but a viable economic boost. If that’s not enough good work, they also partner with communities near and far — from collaboration with local island knitters and weavers to partnering with Women for Women, a nonprofit group that helps women in war torn countries.

 

© Tolt Yarn and Wool

We have three charming yarns available from North Light Fibers. Atlantic, made from 100% Falkland Island’s Wool, is a bouncy worsted weight yarn that surprises when taken from skein to swatch. A yarn that feels strong and hearty in skein form creates a lovely, soft fabric with excellent stitch definition. Fellow Knit Purl staffer and blogger Em Hanna and I both knit ourselves some Lambing Mitts with only one skein of Atlantic each. Atlantic’s subtle heathery colors work wonders with the simple to knit sequence texture. I’d also love to try it out on Julie Hoover’s Dafne pullover for a great layering piece this fall.

 

© Knit Purl

Just like it’s worsted weight counterpart, Water Street also can seem deceptively simple in skein form, but absolutely astounds when knit. The softness of the cashmere balances with the hearty merino to create a soft, yet hearty fabric. Not quite a tweed, the subtle color variation throughout this 40% cashmere / 60% super Fine Merino make it unlike any other yarn we have in the shop. A simple mock-cable in tincanknits’s Gather cowl (short version) would make a great two-skein project for summer travel. Grab a third skein for the matching hat!

 

© Quince & Co

Just in time for our Month of Lace, we’ve just bumped up our supply of Forever Lace, the super-soft 80% baby alpaca 20% Bamboo blend yarn offered by North Light Fibers. The touch of bamboo will help this alpaca yarn maintain its shape overtime. With great tensile strength, it’s even recommended for weaving warps. I’d knit it in Hanna Fettig’s light-weight Wispy Cardigan or Assemblage's Kozue, a simple, yet refined scarf. During the month of July, you can enjoy 10% off Forever Lace, and all of our other Lace-weight yarns to celebrate all yarns light and airy.

 

What yarns do you knit with the feel closer to your heritage? Have you thought about the impact your favorite yarns might make on your local community?

July 03, 2017 by Charli Barnes

Luft Collection Love

© Woolfolk

The latest pattern collection from Woolfolk all circles around their brand new yarn, Luft, and I must confess, I’ve never been more inspired to knit a bulky weight sweater in my knitting life. And what’s more fun than picking favorites and dreaming up new projects?!  These are my top picks from the new Woolfolk Luft Collection.

 

1.  MARMOR - by Regina Moessmer

© Woolfolk

This cardigan, to me, is the best combination of comfy and chic.  The structured shape and slip stitch details allow it to easily fit into a more professional wardrobe, but the ever-humble garter stitch lends this sweater to be perfectly paired with jeans and flats as well.

 

2.  SØLV - by Cecelia Campochiaro

© Woolfolk

From the brilliant mind that brought us the texture-game changing book Sequence Knitting, Cecelia Campochairo wins again with SOLV.  Knit on the bias, this wonderfully oversized wrap pattern is easy to memorize and completely reversible.  I’m dreaming of one in the black colorway for extra sassiness. Fair warning though, this is definitely a piece that runs a high risk of being “accidentally gifted”. *  Thank goodness this is one wrap you won’t mind knitting twice.

 

*An accidental gift happens when a friend or loved one asks to borrow a handknit “just for the evening!” and then they love it so much and look so happy wearing it that you end up letting them keep it.  You definitely didn’t knit it for them, but it’s theirs now, you gracious soul.

 

3.  KOBOLT - by Sarah Solomon

© Woolfolk

This is the sweater that whenever I see it, I wish I were already wearing it.  I love the oversized fit and mock-turtleneck!  Having played around with Luft, and experienced its softness in person, I daydream about how cozy it is to wear!  And I realize that I may be in the minority here, but I LOVE that it’s seamed.  It’s nice to have a “I want to live in this” sweater with a bit more structure so that you CAN actually LIVE in it and still look like you’re as fresh as a daisy.

 

What are your favorites from the new collection, and more importantly which color are you going to choose?

 

 

June 19, 2017 by Em Hanna

Father's Day Gift Guide

© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

Last month we gave love to mom, and now it’s time to shine a light on the dads in our life! We’ve got more great gift and project ideas for father’s day below.


© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas


Hats have always been my go-to gift idea, especially for men. They’re quick to knit, and I much prefer knitting in the round to knitting flat. We’ve got some simple, yet classic hats from Churchmouse in the shop—including their new Thinking Cap pattern, knit up in my all-time favorite Shibui Knits’ yarn, Pebble. (Cima would also be a great choice). Note: it is knit on a US size 0 needle. If that doesn’t appeal to you, consider the Ribbed Watch Cap and Beanie or Pressed Rib Cap and Muffler patterns knit up in fingering and worsted weights, respectively. Try Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft or Shelter for rustic, all-american texture, or lavish him in luxury with Woolfolk’s Tynd, Sno or Far. Consider knitting matching strands of Tynd and Sno together (both fingering weights) for a gorgeous speckle fabric at a light-worsted gauge.
 

© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas


Churchmouse also has easy-to-knit sock patterns such as Simple Toe-Up sock and Basic Sock. If you’re new to sock knitting, both of these patterns include clear visual diagrams to accompany already well-written instructions. We recently replenished our stock of Sunday Knits, so you can mix and match any color of Eden, Angelic, and Nirvana for the perfect pair of weekend socks for dad to cozy up in.

 

© Knit Purl


Did you know our wooden pom-pom tools aren’t just for knitting pom poms? Get the kids involved with Father’s day by helping them make mini weavings, friendship bracelets, tassles, key chains… there are infinite tiny gift possibilities with this fun gadget. Find some inspiration over at the Loome’s video tutorials or their meticulously curated Pinterest page. (When the kiddos are done, sneak it back into your stash for some well-deserved selfish knitting!) I love Shepherd’s Wool for kids’ crafts. Available in a wide range of colors, the reasonable price makes it easy to mix and match a variety of hues.
 

© Knit Purl


Our Okubo Wooly Rollers may be designed for knit supplies, but would also make a sophisticated pencil and tool case to pop into a laptop or messenger bag for work and creativity on the go. I’d grab one in charcoal/charcoal color combination for my dad.
 
Most of the father’s I know would agree that the icing on top of a well-thought Father’s Day gift is time spent together with family. Contrary to popular belief, the art of knitting is not restricted to women. We enjoy welcoming many male knitters to the shop all the time here at Knit Purl. If you’re local to Portland and your dad has an interest in knitting, consider joining us at one of our upcoming Fundamentals of Knitting: Absolute Beginner classes.
 
I wish a very happy Father’s day to you and your partner or father. What do you plan to knit for Father’s Day?

 

 

June 12, 2017 by Charli Barnes

mYak Story

@mYak

The changing seasons always have me thinking of exploration to distant lands, ideally with exotic fibers. One can’t always get out of town at the drop of a hat, though, and sometimes have to be content with a bit of armchair traveling – and few places on earth draw the imagination powerfully as the Tibetan highlands. Since Alexandra David-Néel’s journey to Lhasa in the 1920s, the first western female to visit the city, Tibet has been a magnet for adventurous females, and the story of mYak yarns epitomizes this sort of intrepidity.

 

@mYak

Co-founded by Paola Vanzo and Andrea Dominici, mYak demonstrates the best of a hybrid heritage – spinning together the natural fibers sourced from the nomadic herders of the Tibetan highlands with the founders’ native Italian attention to artistry. These two have spent years traveling in Tibet and working directly with herders, much in the same way the June Cashmere team does, with a deliberate focus on training and sustainability. This personal involvement in fiber sourcing and processing ensures that mYak yarns are ethically produced, eco-conscious, and fully traceable from the grasslands of Tibet to your project bag.

 

@mYak

mYak yarns, available in both worsted and lace weight, are made of 100% baby yak down. Due to the extreme cold temperatures of the Tibetan plateau, this down is exceptionally fine and warm – and exquisitely soft. The down is combed from the bellies of yak calves in the spring, before it is naturally shed for the summer, which means that the animals are not harmed in the process of collecting the fiber. This does mean that the supply of the yak down is limited, both because the number of suitable yaks in a herd is small, and because the process for collecting it labor-intensive. The down is sorted from the guard hairs in Tibet, then shipped to the town of Biella in northern Italy for processing and spinning.

 

@mYak

To enhance the sustainability and strength of their yarns, mYak chooses not to bleach the natural color from the fiber. Yaks are generally darker in color, and the down ranges from pale grey to nearly black. Dyeing the fiber unbleached gives depth to the colors of the yarn, as well as a rich heathered quality.

 

Where will your fiber travels take you this summer?

 

 

--Meaghan

 

 

May 29, 2017 by Guest Blogger

The Story of June Cashmere

© Jared Heveron

June Cashmere yarn appeals to the heart and head as well as the hands. The yarn, available in both a DK and a heavy laceweight, comes to Knit Purl from the mountains of the Kyrgyz republic in Central Asia via Belgium (for scouring), Scotland (for spinning), and Maine (for dyeing). If a transparent supply chain were all that made these yarns special, though, we wouldn't bother telling you the story – it's the human element (paired with the extraordinary quality of the yarn!) we want to highlight.

 

© Jared Heveron

Cashmere is a fiber born from adversity: the extraordinarily soft fiber we know and love comes from the insulating down of cashmere goats, allowing them to withstand the brutally cold winters in Mongolia and the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China which are the sources for most of the finest cashmere in the world. Exceptionally harsh and/or snowy winters in 1999–2002, 2010, and 2016 – known in Mongolian as dzud – have decimated the herds in Mongolia, though, and limited the cashmere supply. Suppliers have been forced to look to other countries to meet the demand for the fiber, including Kyrgyzstan, nestled among other former Soviet ’Stans on the western border of China. Most buyers, sent from Chinese mills, buy cashmere by the kilogram at a low price, putting no emphasis on the quality of the fiber they are buying, with the result that many Kyrgyz herders sheared their goats to increase the yield, thus mixing the cashmere down with the tougher guard hairs: this is where June Cashmere makes a difference.

 

© Jared Heveron

Starting in 2013, Sy Belohlavek – the founder of June Cashmere – became interested in bringing Kyrgyz cashmere to western knitters. Rather than trying to purchase cashmere at the lowest price per kilo, he and his buyers told the nomadic herders he would pay higher prices – for higher quality, pre-sorted fibers. At first, they focused on the proportion of down to guard hairs, but after three years of training, Sy and his team are able to focus on the quality of the cashmere down itself during their annual spring buying trip, paying the herders higher prices for softer fiber. This provides the shepherds with a much needed source of income in a country suffering from chronic underemployment, allowing them to pay debts and invest for their future.

 

© Jared Heveron

June Cashmere also engages in development work to support the welfare of the herders who produce the cashmere, installing heating in schools so children can pursue their education during the winter, as well as repairing water pipes so communities can have access to clean water. This is an essential business goal for the company, as Kanat Anarbaev, the Kyrgyz general manager, discusses in an interview on the June Cashmere blog. In addition to these infrastructure projects, the company also invests in community training, spending time and money to teach the herders not only how to sort fibers themselves, but how to train other shepherds to do so as well. The company is not interested in keeping these small, independent producers dependent on June Cashmere for income, but wants to see them – and Kyrgyz cashmere – become a real player in the global fiber community.

 

© Jared Heveron

What you really want to hear about, though, is the yarn. Both the DK and the laceweight yarns are plied, with five and three plies, respectively. Although both yarns bloom when washed, they do not have the tender halo of most cashmere yarns on the market, such as Cardiff Cashmere, making June Cashmere well-suited to gender-neutral patterns. Both yarns are a pleasure to knit with, having a dry, almost cottony hand, without much bounce, but with very good stitch definition; they are probably best knit at a tighter gauge, which will give the finished product greater resilience and elasticity. In working with the yarn, our tester had occasion to rip out and reknit, and the yarn softened up beautifully, but did not pill or become ragged. Be careful, though when combining colors: the samples we blocked did bleed, so at this stage in the development of these yarns you might want to focus on single-color projects. With this caveat in mind, though, we feel confident in saying that these yarns will only get better with time – and they are already pretty extraordinary!

 

© Jared Heveron

It’s important to think about where your yarn is coming from, as well as how it is produced. June Cashmere yarns are an interesting example of how it is possible for globalization to make a positive impact on the those living in emerging economies, while also bringing a very special pair of yarns to your needles. What's the story behind your favorite yarn?

 

-Meaghan

April 03, 2017 by Guest Blogger