Risoni by The Loom

© Knit Purl

Next up on our Month of Lace yarn pick is Risoni by The Loom. The Loom has over 40 years in the silk yarn and fabric industry. They wanted to share their knowledge and passion by creating unique yarns for all to use. Risoni is one of the special yarns they came up with for weavers, knitters, and crocheters. Risoni is a thick-and-thin silk yarn, with slubs that add instant texture to the simplest of projects.


One of my pastimes is admiring projects on Ravelry to see the creative ideas other users concoct. During one of my daily doses, I found a woven scarf that incorporated Risoni in the design. The placement of the yarn allows the slubs to give the scarf a muted amount of texture that draws your eyes in. Another intriguing project I found used Risoni in the pattern Color Affection, by Veera Välimäki. This project gave me the idea of using Risoni in a pattern with stripes, but to only use it as one of the contrasting colors, to give the project a little extra flair.


Sometimes I forget that experimenting with yarn is an enjoyable part of the creative process. I tend to stick in my comfort zone and work on projects that I can foretell the results. Risoni reminded me to step out of my comfort zone and start to play around with yarn more, to relish the process and worry less about the product. I'm going to knit a few swatches holding Risoni double with different weights and fibers of yarn to see what kind of results it produces.


Here are a few free patterns that showcase Risoni:

© Knit Purl

Risoni Bias Scarf: A Knit Purl design. This chic, open knit scarf shows off Risoni in all its slubby glory. Using three balls of Risoni silk yarn, just knit until you run out!


Risoni Triangle Scarf: A simple asymmetrical wrap that is the perfect backdrop for Risoni. The pattern is written using two skeins, but you can effortlessly use more to make a larger wrap.

© RYN Yarn

Shifting Silk Scarf: This scarf includes two other Loom yarns. Each yarn is used in a section giving it the look of shifting from one yarn to another.

If you have any fun and creative ideas for Risoni, please do share. I love reading about what everyone else is working on.

July 15, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Silk Cloud

I’m relieved to say that most of my experiences with yarn have been great ones. That being said, I did have one experience early on as a newbie knitter that left me jaded to a certain fiber. I had this grandiose idea to knit what I had hoped to be the softest pullover ever. I’m not sure what went wrong. The sweater was a mix of mohair and angora. As I was knitting my sweater, the yarn was starting to feel a little scratchy, but I thought it must be normal. After a month of being blinded by the fluff that was escaping from my yarn and having pokey things stab me in the fingers, I finally had a completed sweater. To this day, I’m not quite sure why I thought blocking the sweater would turn it from a prickly thistle to a chinchilla, but it didn’t. I was so upset with myself for knitting a sweater I couldn’t get close to without it causing me harm. From that day on I swore off mohair and would side-eye any yarn that even looked like it had mohair in it.

After time went by I realized that it wasn’t the fibers' fault for my ineptitude for picking out a nice yarn, and I decided to give mohair another shot. I have the Kristina Wrap to thank for this. When I saw this pattern I decided that it was time to rethink swearing off mohair. Another huge factor was I really wanted to touch Shibui Knits Silk Cloud. I had gone years without going near yarn that looked like it could contain mohair and Silk Cloud was luring me with its bright colors and enticing soft look.

It was earlier this year that I finally gave into the temptation and ran to our stock of Silk Cloud. I can now say I know what mohair should feel like, and it's something truly delightful. If you are looking for a soft and versatile yarn look no further - Silk Cloud is great when worked alone, held double, or mixed with another Shibui Knits yarn. Here are some of my favorite kits and patterns that really showcase Silk Cloud:

 

Kits:

Image of Non Troppo Wrap© Knit Purl


Non Troppo: Currently one of my favorite samples in the store. Non Troppo is a wrap with asymmetrical stripes mixed with playful texture. The pairing of Silk Cloud and Cima make this the perfect wrap for cool summer evenings.

© Shibui Knits

Spectrum Shawl: The mixture of Rain and Silk Cloud gives this large wrap the illusion of shifting rays. One of our customers knit Spectrum in Blueprint and it’s breathtaking.

 

Patterns:

 

© Amirisu

Keshi: A tank knit with Shibui Linen and Silk Cloud. The back panel is knit in Linen and the front panel is knit with Linen and Silk Cloud held together, giving Keshi an interesting texture and drape.

 © Amirisu


100 Diamonds: A triangular shawl in simple stockinette stitch with a section of lace pattern diamonds. The original design is jeweled with Swarovski beads, making this mohair beauty truly divine. I’ve been following Sachiko on Ravelry since I joined the site and I’m always impressed by her beautiful lace projects and designs she comes up with.

July 08, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Glow Lace

Image of Knit Purl Glow Lace Yarn© Knit Purl

It’s July, which means it’s the Month of Lace here at Knit Purl. All month the blog will be dedicated to all things lace, starting off with Glow Lace, a limited edition Knit Purl yarn. Glow Lace is an opulent merino and mulberry silk lace weight yarn that comes in 12 radiant colors. The combination of silk and merino makes this yarn irresistible to knit with. The merino is soft to the touch, while the silk gives Glow Lace a beautiful shimmer that will tempt knitters away from all their other knitting projects.

The colorways are everything you want in a summer yarn, vibrant and neutral. Two of my favorite colorways are Dawn and Firefly. I can’t help but to gravitate towards bright colors, and these two colorways are reminiscent of summery fruit like honeydew and papaya. Now to figure out how to combine them together in a knitting project. Before I start mentioning a few pretty patterns that will pair nicely with Glow Lace, we have a little gift for all our fans of lace. During the Month of Lace (July), all lace weight yarn and kits will be 10% off by entering the code LACE2016.

Patterns:

Image of Sea Salt Cowl Knitting Pattern by Keli Hansen© Knit Purl

Sea Salt Cowl: This cowl might ring a few bells for some since it was featured during our Month of Lace in 2014. The Sea Salt Cowl is a lightweight cowl that is perfect for the warmer months. It features a geometric motif of diamonds that grow and shrink like salt crystals, and it was designed by one of our very own Knit Purl staff members, Keli Hansen. The Sea Salt Cowl was my first excursion into the realm of lace knitting and I’m so glad I gave lace knitting a shot, because the results were amazing.

Image of Twinleaf Shawl Pattern © Kelbourne Woolens + Amanda Stevenson Lupke

Twinleaf: With summer comes traveling, and the Twinleaf wrap is a great pattern to take on a trip or to the park. The use of garter stitch and short rows make this an easy knitting project, and the use of stripes gives it a clean chic look.

Image of Dawn Shawl by Grace Anna Farrow© Grace Anna Farrow

Volt: Chevrons, colorwork, and a jagged edge, oh my! I love knitting kits and this is going to be a fun one. Volt is a super intriguing wrap that will captivate lookers and I can’t wait to start knitting this project. I thought about gifting the Volt kit to my mom, but I really want to knit this so I’m going to gift my mom the completed wrap. Win, win.  

July 01, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Sexy B

About two years ago we had a kit in the store that included the Jet Stream pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier and two skeins of Sexy B by Alpha B. I went ahead and bought the kit for my mom as a gift since I knew it would be something that she would enjoy. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I was going to fall for the Sexy B yarn the kit came with. The color of yarn the kit came with was an eye-catching deep fuchsia. If the color wasn’t enough to grab my attention, the moment I started to see the Jet Stream take form, I was hooked. The drape the wrap started to take was the perfect mix of light and delicate. Then one day I reached out and felt the fabric, and immediately knew there was no going back.


My mom could tell how much I loved the yarn, so she set aside a nice amount of leftovers that she gifted me. I was beyond elated. I have yet to use the leftovers and actually don’t have any plans on using it. I can’t seem to part with it, so it will end up being yarn that I will cherish and hold onto as a keepsake. This has not stopped me from purchasing new skeins of this amazing luxury yarn. I’m a sucker for alpaca, cashmere, and silk, and Sexy B is a combination of the three of these opulent fibers. Soft to the touch and dyed in vibrant colorways, Sexy B is definitely a yarn that all knitters should treat themselves to.

Here are a few pattern ideas for Sexy B:

© Marcin Duda

Masgot: A shawl with mesmerizing stripes and endless options for color choices. I’ve been eyeing this shawl for a while now, and I think I finally came up with my color scheme: Soot and Stainless Steel for the stripes, and Two Olives Please for the pop of color. Though, I might change my mind since all the completed projects on Ravelry are giving me great ideas.

© Veera Välimäki

Secret of Change: A simple garter stitch shawl with eyelet stripes. This shawl will drape effortlessly in any Sexy B colorway.

© cheryllfaust

Mirkfallon: A rectangular wrap with a modern touch that involves asymmetrical sections of a triangle lace pattern and texture.

June 20, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Canon Hand-Dyes: Charles Sock

© Knit Purl

All Amy Lee Serradell needs are her hands, two stock pots, and a double burner hot plate to turn out some of the prettiest hand-dyed yarn. Amy is the beautiful mind and artist behind Canon Hand Dyes. Now based in Portland, Canon Hand Dyes started in 2011, in the kitchen of Amy’s San Francisco home.


Canon Hand Dyes specializes in self-striping yarn and collections with a literary twist. I used to stare at Amy’s self-striping yarn in awe trying to figure out how she dyes it. After many YouTube videos I finally got an inkling of how self-striping yarn is created and it’s a labor of love. The colorways that Amy conjures are vivacious and full of life, just like the names she pairs her colorways with. The inspiration for the names and Amy’s work comes from a lifelong love of literature―for William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Jane Austen. A fan favorite, is the oh so special Charles Sock collection, with colors inspired by the vibrant characters of the popular show, Downton Abbey.


Charles Sock is a soft and springy fingering weight yarn in brilliant gradients and variegations of color. This yarn, along with the spirited colors, will get your creativity flowing and might possibly transport you right into Downton Abbey with all the brilliant characters.

Pattern ideas:

© NCL Knits

Lightwaves: A shawl with color block sections that mimic small waves. You can use as many colors as you like, but it could also look pretty using William Collins and Dowager Countess as the waves and Mr. Carson as the main color.


Eternal Spring Socks: A free pattern, these socks incorporate a delicate lacy/textured pattern inspired by spring flora.

 

© HeatherLJ

Good Vibes: This is a crescent-shaped shawl in simple garter stitch that transitions into a delicate lace pattern.

June 17, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Carol Sunday

Knitting has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. So has designing sweaters. In fact, by the time I was in high school my wardrobe contained at least a dozen sweaters that I had designed and knitted or crocheted. I also sewed - a lot! - so garment construction and clothing design are things that I've enjoyed for a very long time, although I did them just for my own pleasure until about eight years ago.

That's when I started my own yarn and design business, and one of the things that excited me and spurred me on professionally was color. I love working with color … well, playing with color is really more like it! I had a lot of design ideas incorporating stranded colorwork and stripes, but I couldn't find yarns in the right weight and softness that had the colors I wanted. I am especially fussy about my color palette, and eventually realized that the only way to get the right yarns to suit my designs was to develop my own line of yarns.

The milll I now work with is in Italy, and - very important to me - they share my commitment to ethical, humane and sustainable practices every step of the way. So I have confidence that the yarns I sell are as planet and person friendly as if the sheep were farmed right here in Illinois. Moreover their spinners and dyers are true masters of their craft! I feel really fortunate to have formed such an alliance with people I admire and trust, and have, through that relationship, been able to create the yarns I've always wanted for myself. And I'm so pleased to be able to offer them through Knit Purl to all of you.

Today I'd like to share with you a little of what goes on when I create a new colorway. 

A color gradient is usually where I begin, that is, I'll put together a group colors that range from light to dark or dark to light. They might be all in the same family as far as hue goes, like these blues, although this gradient begins with more of a green blue at the light end and ends with more purplish blues at the deep end.

Then I'll add a second gradient. Adding a neutral range to a more vivid one will actually give more pop to brighter colors as they play off of the neutrals. 

The two gradients can be combined so that one goes from dark to light while the other goes from light to dark. That strategy can be especially effective with stranded work. Or they might both follow the same path value-wise, going from lighter to darker together as they do here. This is an especially nice way to give stripes an ombré effect.

Maybe we'll toss in a third gradient. I like these muted greens. They don't compete with the blues, and are close enough in hue to them that they have the effect of adding width to the range of the colorway.

And now how about a few color complements to give our main colors something to get excited about! 

I think I'll call this new colorway Rides the Wind. It'll be featured in a new wide scarf or shawl and also a new sweater, both coming out this fall.

A color gradient doesn't necessary mean that all the colors in it are in the same family, as far as hue goes. It can span a wide range of hues as long they follow an even sequence of values (light to dark). Here I have a cool gradient that ranges from mustard through yellow greens and blue greens to grape and ending with a deep neutral. And a second gradient - a warm one - that ranges from sand to buff, curry, tomato and berry, and that shares the same deep neutral with the cool gradient.

By arranging these two complementary gradients as a color circle, with the neutral tones at the light and dark ends, the gradient becomes more or less continuous.

This is the color sequence I used in my Milano sweater. Because there are are an odd-number of colors used, the stripe sequence circles around on itself, favoring first the cool gradient, and then the warm one. Fun!

Thank you all, and thanks, Knit Purl, for the opportunity to share a bit of my colorplay process with you. Always happy knitting!

xoxo, Carol.

Visit Carol's website at www.sundayknits.com

All images © Carol Sunday. 

June 13, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Madelinetosh Yarn

The first time I knit with Madelinetosh yarn, it was to rescue me from a possible custom order knitting disaster. I received a request for a neon pink cowl for a bike messenger in NYC and I couldn’t find the right pink anywhere. After a minor panic attack, Madelinetosh and their magical hand-dyed yarn entered the equation and saved the day. The bike messenger was beyond pleased by their super neon pink cowl, and I could breathe easy. After that introduction, I was hooked on Madelinetosh yarn. Their yarn is always soft, and the colors are hand-dyed pieces of a rainbow. Whenever I’m looking for a specific color to knit with, I go straight to Madelinetosh yarn, and I have yet to not find what I need.

If asked which yarn from the Madelinetosh line is my favorite, I wouldn’t be able to answer (as of yet), but I think that might change soon. I was walking around the store this week, and I noticed a beautiful raspberry red yarn that I had never noticed before. I reached for it, and the moment my hand touched it, I knew we were meant to meet. The yarn was Madelinetosh Pashmina in Heartbeat, and it was everything I ever wanted in yarn… soft, soft, soft, and colorful. I’m currently trying to figure out all the patterns I can knit with the lush mix of merino, silk, and cashmere that is Pashmina.

While I brainstorm on all my future projects with Pashmina, here are a few pattern ideas for a some of the Madelinetosh yarn we carry:

Vasa © Paper Tiger

Vasa - This summer, striped top would look great as a solid in Tosh Sock Vintage Sari.

Begonia Swirl - Free pattern. A beautiful lace shawl that is just right for Prairie or Pure Silk Lace.

 

 

Relax © amirisu


Relax - A flowy, oversized T-shirt that I plan on knitting in Pashmina in the not so distant future.

Tambourine - A feminine cardigan with a little vintage flair that is waiting to be knit in Tosh DK.

 

 

Free Spirit © NCL Knits

 

Herbarium and Free Spirit - Herbarium is a lace top that is airy and delicate, and Free Spirit is a shawl that I’m currently swooning over and need to get on my needles. Both of these projects are waiting to say hello to Tosh Merino Light.

 

 

June 10, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

Shibui Linen

“Open windows, open doors
a breeze is warmly welcomed”

Nothing says summer more to me than Shibui Linen knit into a loose cooling top. The first time I worked with linen yarn was when I used Shibui Linen to knit the Otherside tank for a store sample, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Shibui Linen is a light and crisp yarn with a chain ply structure, that will give your garment the perfect drape. It also comes in bright, vibrant colors that are summer ready.

 

Here are a few summer tops that will knit up nicely in Shibui Linen:

© Laura Oriana Konstin
Otherside: This top is supposed to be slightly fitted, but the store sample I made was four sizes larger than my size, and it ended up turning out exactly how I would want to wear it. If you want the perfect drapey and flowy tank I suggest doing the same and going up multiple sizes.

 

 

© Andi Satterlund
Zinone: Your options are endless with this pretty lace top. Choose between a partial-lace back or a full-lace back, and a cropped length or a full, hip length to make the perfect breezy, summer top.

 

 

© Shibui Knits
Square: A modern statement piece with a unique neckline that is high in the front and lower in the back. The sheer side panels give it added contemporary flair.

 

 

© Knit Picks
Freebies: Split Back Tank is a free pattern that is perfect for summer and Book lover Valentine is a fun little bookmark to make with any leftover Shibui Linen yarn you might have.

 

June 06, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin

My Design Inspiration: Sarah Kurth

Sarah's studio

My first exposure to knitting was through my grandmother's huge stitch dictionary, which my crocheting mother gave me. I was around the age of 7 or 8, and loved making things with my hands. I would play “knitting” with scraps of fabric and stretched-out cotton balls. The fancy designs in the knitting binder intrigued me but without instruction or proper materials, I lost interest until I was in college.

I have a degree in architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly's motto is “learn by doing” and getting my hands right into the middle of things is an excellent way for me to learn. I chose architecture school because it took math and logic and mixed it up with art and creativity. The foundational knowledge included color theory and principles of design, then moved on to 3-dimensional expression of sometimes vague concepts. I learned how to bring order to wild art that needs to be experienced to be known.

This is how knitting is in my hands as well: art that must be experienced to be known. Although I can appreciate knitted (and crocheted and sewn and woven) items by looking at them, the true joy for me lies in the handling. There's a big difference between seeing a texture and feeling a texture, and it's the combination of seeing, feeling, and doing that is so very pleasing.

 



I am usually so focused on my yarn production process that I forget to allow time for inspiration to come to me. By inspiration, I mean the ideas that seem to come on suddenly, the moments where pieces finally fall into place. If I patiently wait for ideas to come, nothing ever happens. It's like expecting a fire to ignite without fuel. So I have to wander a bit, let my brain fill up with flakes of color, texture, and light, then let it settle for awhile before I can do anything with it. I must go out into the world to gather kindling: to museums, to yarn shops and fiber events, to interesting buildings and landscapes, and soak in all the textures. And then I get my hands busy doing.

 



Often when I'm dyeing, I'll mess up a color recipe or have the opportunity to experiment on purpose. When I start out with a specific color in mind, it's very difficult to hit it. However, when I let intuition take over—as when I'm trying to salvage a screwed-up dye lot—I find layers of color do unexpected things. I start to get excited as I take the wet yarn out of the dyepot, seeing how the colors have absorbed unevenly into the yarn in a perfectly imperfect way, and I know that when it dries, it's exactly what the yarn needed to become. As I stare at the yarn, images and words flood my brain; images gleaned from the world around me, and mostly in nature. It's where I feel most grounded and at peace, so that's how I choose colorway names.

 



I'm so thankful to have found a craft in which I can bury my hands and let my creative intuition lead me. I find that I need this process of inspired doing to balance out all the boring, purposeful doing in my life. Thank you, Knit Purl, for your continued encouragement to keep playing with color!

 

To see more of Sarah's work, visit her website and her Instagram page.

May 16, 2016 by Guest Blogger

Baltic Linen Lace

I hope everyone is enjoying the Portland summer vibes we are having. I know I am! These past couple weeks have been divine and I’ve been soaking it all in by working in my yard, taking siestas in the sun, and knitting on my deck.


I’m still knitting all my WIPs and I think I might even finish one of them by the end of the week. *Insert happy dance.* The sooner I finish knitting all of my WIPs, the sooner I get to start working on summer projects. I do have a lot of WIPs, so there is a chance I’m going to miss out on all the summer fun. For those of you that are getting ready for summer knitting or have already started, be sure to check out Baltic Linen Lace yarn.

One of our sample knitters completed the Banana Leaf Shawl in Baltic Linen Turquoise and it turned out so pretty and light. The stitch definition is faintly uneven, which adds a slight variation to the finished garment that is aesthetically pleasing. If you are in Portland you can stop by the store and take a peek so you can see and feel how lovely Baltic Linen knits up.


Here are a few patterns to get you started on your summer Baltic Linen projects:
Riverton Tee: A simple top with delicate lace edging and pleating. The great part about this pattern is you have three sleeve options to choose from: cap sleeve, flirty flutter sleeve, or sleeveless.

 

 

Sakasama Jacket: A lightweight cardigan that can be worn upside down and inside out. The pattern calls for holding the yarn double, but this might work out nicely with only using a single strand.

 

 

Holey Square Shawl: Free pattern. This pattern makes me think of a moth chewing through one of my scarves in a strategic manner to leave me with a chic little upgrade. If only moths really did that...

P.S. If you are new to knitting with linen, it will have a rougher texture against your fingers than knitting with cashmere or merino. Don’t let this deter you! I started to knit with linen last year and I always love the end result. If you know of any ways to soften linen before working with it please do share. We always like to learn new tips and tricks!

 

May 13, 2016 by Laura Oriana Konstin