GUEST BLOGGER: SHELLIE ANDERSON | SHIBUI KNITS REED

© Shibui Knits

 

Shibui Knits recently released a new 100% linen yarn, Reed. As a member of the team responsible for developing this new yarn, I’ve been asked to talk a little bit about it and let you know how it compares with our previous Linen.


For me the most noticeable difference is the softness of Reed. It has a much softer hand than our Linen. There are several factors that contribute to that difference, of which two are particularly significant: we are using a different mill that sources higher quality raw material, and we have also tightened the chainette, which contributes to the softness and adds extra strength. The higher quality of the linen fiber also contributes to more saturated colors, which more closely align with our other yarns. We are very happy to partner with this mill, both for their responsiveness and their impeccable quality control.

 

© Shibui Knits

 

In developing this yarn, we intentionally created Reed so that it would directly replace Linen. It has the same yardage and will produce the same gauge. You can substitute Reed for any of our patterns that call for Linen, including Etch, Square, and Aurora. Like Linen, Reed mixes very well with other Shibui Knits yarns, adding to a unique drape and depth of color to the fabric. I particularly like how it mixes with Shibui Knits Cima, Silk Cloud, and our newest yarn that will be available at the end of March with our SS17 Collection.


Although I personally liked Linen, I love Reed. I wasn’t a fan of knitting with Linen solo due to its crisp hand, but I could knit with Reed on its own for days. Shibui Knits has a couple pieces coming out in the SS17 Collection at the end of March using Reed held single and one with it held double and I enjoyed every minute of knitting those pieces.


If you loved Linen, you will instantly appreciate the changes we have made with Reed – and I think you will come to love it as I do.

 

Shellie Anderson

February 20, 2017 by Guest Blogger

Shibui Knits Maai

© Knit Purl

My knitting journal is filling up with the prettiest swatches in all different colors. This week I added Shibui Knits Maai to my journal and I’m enamored. It was the first time I’ve knit with a chained link yarn and the result was not what I expected. I’ve seen chained link yarns before, but I always stayed clear of them thinking that I would be disappointed knitting with them. Silly me. Once again I’ve been happily proven wrong.

Maai was a delight to knit with. The blend of superbaby alpaca and fine Merino wool is lofty and soft in the skein. In fabric form, the yarn has an added spring that makes the fabric bouncy and light. The snapback, bounce that the fabric has, makes this yarn great for sweaters, cardigans, and accessories. What I really want to knit out of Maai is a robe and a pair of socks. Those probably aren’t the best uses for Maai, but it’s so soft that I can’t help but want to wrap myself in it from head to toe.


Here are a few practical knitting ideas for Maai:

© Shibui Knits

FW15 | Motif - A simple wrap with a bit of texture. My mom has been eyeing this pattern for a while now so I decided to make a kit for her. I paired it with Maai in Blueprint.

© Eric Mueller

Minne Mitts - I love fingerless gloves. I used to sew fingerless gloves with a friend of mine out of recycled cashmere sweaters. I finally knit my first pair this year which turned me into a fingerless glove knitting machine. Now whenever I see a pair of fingerless gloves that I love, I want to drop everything and start knitting. Minne Mitts are one of those pairs of gloves that have me dropping everything. They are small, cute, simple, and just waiting to be worn. Minne Mitts would look chic in Bordeaux.

© Julie Hoover

Cline Pullover - A dolman sweater with an oversize silhouette and three-quarter sleeves. This would be bouncy and airy knit in Maai. Have fun and knit Cline in a bright bold color like Poppy, or keep it classic and chic with Ivory.

© chickpeastudio

Erie Hat: A simple 1x1 ribbed, slouchy beanie. Perfect for a last minute gift and did I mention that the pattern is free?

December 23, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

North Light Fibers Atlantic Yarn

© Knit Purl

North Light Fibers Atlantic is a 3-ply worsted-weight yarn made out of Falkland Islands Superfine Merino Wool. Atlantic comes in an variety of solid colors, with sea-inspired names like Bull Kelp, and Teal Inlet. The yarn surely has an interesting story to tell, journeying from island to island as it is transformed from fleece to yarn. 

North Light Fibers, who we featured on the blog last year, is located on picturesque Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. The micro mill focuses on manufacturing minimally processed yarns. The wool for Atlantic originates from The Falkland Islands, a place quite famous for wool. 

Atlantic is soft, yet also feels quite sturdy. It doesn't feel as susceptible to pilling like a typical superfine Merino. Atlantic is a yarn that will wear well in both accessories and garments, for pieces that will hold up to the wear and tear of everyday life. It seems perfectly suited to creating fluid expanses of stockinette stitch, as well as for something with a little more texture. 

The colors are pretty. Atlantic is offered in neutrals along with some jewel tones to brighten up the palette. The colors probably mirror what is seen on a regular basis on Block Island. Teal Inlet is probably my favorite of the bunch. It's the perfect teal that strikes a nice balance between blue and green. I am also fond of Sea Lion. A gray with slightly brown undertones, a great neutral. 

Pattern suggestions:

Our Roku hat kit comes with one skein of the Atlantic in Teal Inlet. Knit in a 1x1 rib, the Roku Hat is a great match for the Atlantic yarn. The stitches are well-defined, and the yarn has a nice drape, making a good slouchy hat fabric.

Here are some other pattern ideas for the North Light Fibers Atlantic Yarn:

© Brooklyn Tweed

The Romney Kerchief by Brooklyn Tweed is a cute little kerchief pattern that would show off Atlantic's stitch definition and drape. 

 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

The Shore Cardigan, designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, would be a great garment for this yarn. It would result in a warm and soft cardigan that would be an excellent addition to any wardrobe. Scots Thistle, a pretty purple, would be a wonderful color for it. 

 

November 07, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

© Knit Purl

New, new, new. New yarn, new colors, and a new collection. This week, Brooklyn Tweed released their new yarn, Arbor. Keeping up with their Brooklyn Tweed tradition, Arbor is sourced, dyed, and spun within the USA. The purebred Targhee sheep come from beautiful Montana and South Dakota. These sheep have a distinctive fleece that resembles the softness of merino. Once the fleeces are collected they take a trip to Maine, where they get spun at the historic Jagger Brothers mill. Jagger Brothers have been producing high quality worsted spun yarns since the 1880’s. Lastly, the yarn takes a nice bath at the nearby organically certified, Saco River Dyehouse, where it’s transformed into a vibrant and lively custom color palette.


Arbor is a squishy, soft DK weight yarn that I was delighted to swatch with. Due to its worsted-spun construction, Arbor is denser and knits into a sturdier fabric. I didn’t have much yarn to experiment with so I made a super tiny swatch, and it was beyond pleasant to knit with. Unlike other Brooklyn Tweed yarn, it doesn’t have a rustic feel to it while you knit, and it has much more of a drape than Loft or Shelter. Arbor is a versatile yarn that will make great accessories and swoon-worthy sweaters.


The new color palette is probably my favorite out of the Brooklyn Tweed family. Usually, within a color palette, there are maybe a handful of colors I can imagine creating something with, but that is not the case here. I’m inspired by all 30 color choices. I love the fierceness of Firebrush and the tranquility of Sashiko. I swatched with Dorado, which is the most enticing, understated green that will make a gorgeous pullover. It won’t be hard to find a color for your project, but it will be near impossible to not try to take all of them home.


To go along with Arbor, Brooklyn Tweed also released a collection of patterns for this lovely yarn. Here are a few of my favorites:

© Brooklyn Tweed

High Pines : A high textured cowl mirroring the shape of pine trees. This is a great project for an advanced-beginner knitter that wants to try something a little bit more difficult, but isn’t ready to take the dive into sweater making yet.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Foundry: I love reversible pieces, and Foundry is beautiful from all sides. Foundry is a cabled scarf with three button closures that can be worn as a cowl or a wrap. I’m seeing mega scarves everywhere and I think I might have to add a bit more length to Foundry so I can have my own mega scarf.

© Brooklyn Tweed

Hirombe: Hirombe is a reversible hat with a branching motif of half-twisted rib. The pattern reminds me of vines crawling up a wall that have been manicured for max wow factor.

October 21, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Woolfolk Tov Yarn

© Knit Purl

This past week, I had the delightful pleasure of swatching with the cushy, cozy Tov yarn, the newest from Woolfolk. I chose color 02, a perfect gray. While taking notes for the blog, I wrote "squishy" in big letters. It was so fun to knit with!

There are so many things to love about Tov. For one thing, the stitch definition is simply amazing! I swatched garter, stockinette, and seed stitch. Cables would be magnificent in it. This yarn seems to like texture, and lots of it. 

The Tov Collection is full of lovely knitwear. I want to knit all of the pieces! I am dreaming of Tov knit up in big, squishy fat cables, like a good old fisherman's sweater, with a modern twist. Kristin Ford's Vidje cardigan seems to fit the bill. See what I mean about that stitch definition? Incredible!

© Woolfolk

Tov is an aran weight yarn, making it a good match for quick fall and winter projects I have on my mind. It would make amazing gift knits, too.

© Alicia Plummer

The Bridgton hat by Alicia Plummer would make a great holiday gift knit (or gift for yourself!). It really shows off Tov's great stitch definition. It offers a great mix of knit-purl texture and cables, making for a really enjoyable knit. 

While thinking about what else to make with Tov, Chaleur came to mind. The herringbone stitches would be so well defined! And it would be so warm and soft - I'd want to live in it!

© Julie Hoover

There are so many projects that would be wonderful in Tov. With its soft hand, and beautiful neutral palette, I think I might have to get a skein in every color. 

October 10, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

Shibui Knits Drift

© Knit Purl

 

Shibui Knits Drift is the newest yarn offering from Shibui, and it’s quite delightful.

I had a pleasant experience swatching with this cozy, fluffy yarn, imagining it for all sorts of fall and winter projects. The worsted weight makes it an excellent match for anything from cowls to sweaters. Its fiber content is 85% Extra Fine Merino, and 15% Cashmere. As you can imagine, it’s pretty amazingly soft. 

Here are some projects that I think would be wonderful in Drift:

© Tin Can Knits

Barley by Tin Can Knits. One skein is enough to make up to the child size of this adorable hat. Drift's drape would work really well in the slouchy version of the hat, too. This is a really good beginner project, using both stockinette and garter stitch. 

© Veera Välimäki

Smooth Edge by Veera Välimäki. I've admired this project for a while. I love the herringbone stitch pattern, and it would look so nice in Drift, with a light halo from the cashmere. I'm imagining it in Ash, light enough to show off the color. 

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

Lila by Carrie Bostick Hoge. This is the ultimate Sunday lounge-about-the-house sweater. It would be lovely in Drift – so soft and cozy! Drift would give it a nice drape, and feel warm and comforting. 

September 26, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

My Design Inspiration: Illimani Yarn

ILLIMANI began its journey in the textile world back in 2004, with a collection of clothing knitted with alpaca and llama yarns, mostly by artisans in Bolivia and Peru.  We have worked for many years with knitters, crocheters and weavers from the Andes region, where some continue to use ancient traditional techniques.

It all began when I received a parcel with samples of an alpaca yarn spun in Bolivia that claimed to have similar softness as fine cashmere. I was very impressed with the quality and softness when comparing it to the more widely available pure Baby Alpaca from Peru that we were using as main material for our clothing.  It was then that I decided to switch the focus of the company, and to offer unique yarns for hand knitters that can truly understand and value an exceptional yarn when they see one. In a few months we were importing our first and most beloved yarn, “ROYAL I”. No wonder why Knit Purl has chosen this yarn to introduce it to knitters in Portland.

The secret behind this beautiful yarn is not only that we use the best selection of alpaca. It is also the de-hairing process that is also used in the Baby Llama which is simply taking away all the coarse hairs and leaving just the very fine ones using a new technology. The llama yarn that goes through this de-hairing process is now as fine as the finest baby alpaca. This is certainly changing the llama yarn industry in Bolivia making the baby llama (de-haired) one of the finest fibers in the world.

Take a close look at the label of ROYAL I. It is the same alpaca that we use along with our ILLIMANI logo: 

 

 

Royal I is the knitters dream come true.
The very best selection of alpaca, with 18.5 – 19.5 microns (1% of the alpaca wool production), you have a yarn as soft as cashmere plus all the treats of alpaca to make your knits not just incredible soft and luxurious but more durable and resistant.

Our heathered greys are the best sellers, and probably our signature colors.  These are melanges with natural undyed color and black. Blues and other jewel colors are also quite popular.

I was told by knitters all over the world that Royal I is an addiction. Once you knit with it, it is hard to go back to the other regular yarns. The good news is the price. The cost is significantly lower than any other comparable yarn.

There is no better place to launch this yarn in Portland than in Knit Purl.

- Alvaro Echazú

September 19, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Leftovers

Leftovers. You either love them, or you’re not a fan. Then again, when most talk about leftovers it’s usually in reference to food. Personally I love leftover food and I could spend at least an hour sharing that love with everyone, but this post is about a different kind of leftover.
I finished a colorwork sweater a couple of weeks ago and didn’t use nearly as much yarn as I thought I was going to. The end result left me gifted with a decent amount of leftover yarn. I’m going to pause there for a second. As I mentioned before I love leftover food, unfortunately, I don’t share the same amount of enthusiasm for leftover yarn. Let me explain. It’s not that I don’t like all leftover yarn, it’s that I don’t like surprise leftover yarn. I want to know ahead of time whether the pattern I’m knitting will use up all the yarn, or if I will have a substantial amount at the end that I will be able to use. It’s more of a planning thing really. I like to start planning what I will be able to make with my leftovers. If I know I’m going to have leftovers, I will make sure to buy a color that I will want to use in another project.
Now back to the sweater leftovers. I based the colors I picked off an alpaca cardigan my dad purchased in Bolivia. He purchased it back in the '90s and has yet to find another like it. The sweater has a couple of large moth holes, but it doesn’t stop me from living in it when the weather takes a turn for the cold. The cardigan has a really nice pattern that I’ve been wanting to recreate before any other moths try finishing it off. My idea was to knit the original sweater I was knitting and use the leftovers to start making pattern swatches. I actually ended up with much more yarn than I anticipated, but it was ok since I double planned. I knew that if I had enough leftover yarn, I would also want to make a bulky beanie. It was perfect timing since my friend requested a bulky beanie minutes after I realized how much yarn I had leftover. I’m pretty excited about starting my creations from the ending of another project.
© Knit Purl

While there are many different options for using leftover yarn, I personally always make hats. This will be my first time that I branch out and do something different. I have seen some pretty blankets made with leftover yarn, and some amazing sweaters. I doubt I will ever have a leftover stash that will amount to either of those. I’m a planner, and if I don’t see a possible next project out of my leftovers I will give them away. I actually gift the leftovers I don’t want to a couple of ladies that make toys out of them. It’s nice to know that where my creativity ends, someone's inspirations begins.


What do you do with your leftovers?
September 02, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Woolfolk Sno

© Knit Purl

I'm pretty smitten with Sno. It's probably one of my favorite yarns. I am slowly working on Julie Hoover's Elmont pattern in color 1/15, with just the sleeves and yoke left to go. I started it before I hurt my wrists last year, and recently brought it back out after I recovered.

As much as I love that sweater and can't wait to finish it before the fall, I must say that got a little distracted when I saw the new Sno colors from Woolfolk.

© Knit Purl

The new colors are all great additions to the lineup: 1/11, a striking cream/navy, 12/15, an alluring maroon/black, and 1/17, a classic cream and mink.

One of the reasons why I love knitting with Sno is because of how amazing it feels. Sno is quite pleasing to knit with, and it makes a downy, soft fabric that you can't resist touching. I know it's been said before, but it really does feel comparable to cashmere. In addition how nice it feels, I cannot get enough of the marled colorways. The barber-poled strands add interest to any knitting project, and ultimately create a kaleidoscopic, mesmerizing fabric. 

© Knit Purl

The new colors are all equally amazing, but the one I want to start with immediately with is color 12/15, the maroon-black. There’s just something so intriguing about this color. It’s dark, but also interesting. My plans? League by Veronik Avery, with 12/15 as the main color, color 12 in Tynd for the saddles, and color 15 in Tynd for the sleeves. I love the idea of combining the marl with the solid colors it's derived from. 

 © Brooklyn Tweed

 

Here are some other ideas for using this beautiful marled yarn:

 

© Interweave Knits

Douillet Sweater by Noriko Ho. I love a good striped pullover, and I enjoy the visual patterning effect of using two different striped marls. 

© Melanie Berg

Mirkfallon by Melanie Berg. This shawl makes good use of the subtler marls, like color 1/2. The marl adds a bit of texture and depth to this beautiful piece, while allowing the lace to shine through.

© Woolfolk Yarn

Tryk Scarf, also by Melanie Berg. I would love to play with different colors in this scarf, perhaps using different colors of Sno for the blocks of contrast color, and Tynd for the main color. This scarf is a great combination of simple and challenging: it's mainly composed of mindless garter, with bits of intarsia to keep you on your toes. 

The splendid array of colors and irresistible softness make Sno a brilliant selection for your next project. 

 

August 15, 2016 by Oleya Pearsall

ITO Kouki

© Knit Purl

What fibers come to mind when thinking of knitting new summer creations? I go straight for linen. I forget that there are so many other options out there that are also suitable for the warm summer days, like nice, breathable cotton or cooling silk. What about paper? Did you know paper textiles have a long tradition in Japan, and they are very much like silk in that they're cooling in summer, and warming in winter? I was unaware of this until I introduced myself to Urugami by ITO. ITO has another yarn that makes a great summer companion.

Kouki by ITO is a lustrous ramie and silk blend yarn. Ramie is a great fiber for those hot days that are still visiting us. Ramie is known for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky sheen to the fabric appearance. The silk gives Kouki durability, making Kouki garment-friendly and ready to wear.

Here are a few pattern ideas for these gleaming yarn cones of Kouki:
© Knit Purl
A Hint of Summer: Light weight tee. Classic stripes and a fantastic drape make this tee a summer staple. Choose your own colors or grab a kit and start knitting.
© Jana Huck
Kouki-Hearts: Wrapped in love. This pretty striped wrap is embossed with hearts. The luster of Kouki really highlights the hearts in this pattern.
© Assemblage
Hane: 1 top, 6 options. A top with asymmetric drape, side shaping, and unique sleeve detail. The options are endless with this top. Short sleeves, no sleeves, ruffled sleeves, or a blend. Hane will look pretty in Penguin.
August 12, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin