Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

Joanna, modeling the amorphous garment "right side up"

On Thursday I was at Sister Arts Studio in Chicago to kick off a the Cardi Shawl Knit (and crochet) A Long. I first knit this garment (designed by Stitch Diva) last September. After raving about it to Donna at SASI over the pone and e-mail, I knew I just had to drop in wearing it. Just as I suspected, when she saw it in person, Donna decided that we must do this project as a Knit-A-Long.

The whole thing is knit up as one looooong rectangle, knit along the long edge instead of the short. The magic is in the 3 needle bind off. The resulting garment can be worn right side up, upside down, belted, pinned, open, even backwards!  Of all my garment projects, this is my most frequently worn item.

Please Note: photos never do this garment justice, though Donna and Joanna made a valiant effort! She is wearing the XS, which is generously sized enough to be tried on by significantly larger women. Customers who normally knit a size L or even XL are knitting this project in M.

To prepare for the Kick Off event, I knit up a small army of swatches. It was amazing how much there is to think about when planning a garment yarn choice. I admit, I usually don’t spend as much time on this step as I should. That will certainly change now! The key word you’re going to hear over and over with this project is “Drape”. This is not a densely knit wool sweater, it is an exciting foray into the sensuous world of slinky knits. Today I will cover the protein fibers I swatched up.

"Upside Down" and shawl pinned, my personal favorite way to wear this!

The most luscious choice by far was definitely the Lhasa Wilderness by Bijou Basin. It is a 75% yak, 25% bamboo DREAM of a yarn. I was in love before, but after this swatch, I am really dying to knit this garment again with this yarn. The swatch was unbelievably light and soft, but with spectacular drape and a barely-there sheen. The stitch definition was clear. This fiber combination is both breathable, hypo-allergenic, and warm. Considering this project would need just a hair over 4 skeins for the generously sized XS, this is a great “Bang For Your Buck” yak project.

If the Yak/Bamboo is just not in the budget, the new Llama Luxury from South West Trading Company is a spectacular substitute. It comes in a subtle palette of neutrals. The llama fiber is remarkably light, yet insulating (think alpaca). It drapes wonderfully, but has enough stitch memory to keep from looking saggy. The swatch had a slight halo, making it look oh-so-inviting to squish!  Soft and lovely next to the skin, you would need 7 skeins to make the XS.

Wearing it backwards; feels crazy, and yet it totally works!

The most popular choice at Knit Night was the Yin/Yang combination from SWTC. These are sister yarns, each 60%wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk. Yang also has a iridescent mini-sequins held on by a silk thread. With these yarns you can knit most of the garment in the plain Yin, and then throw in some Yang on the ribbing and drop-stitch rows. It adds some extra sparkle and interest. The yarn itself has great stitch memory and knit up to a rather dense, bouncy swatch compared to the rest. The bamboo and silk contribute enough drape to keep the project hanging as it should.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Swatched With Love; Cellulose Strikes Back!


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Tea and Swatches

In preparation for a very exciting night this Thursday at Sister Arts Studio, in Chicago, I have been a’swatchin’!

You may remember, last fall I knit the Stitch Diva Endless Cardi Shawl. It was a delightfully simple yet satisfying project. I wore the resulting, um, cardi? shawl? wrap?…garment to knit night. It was a smash hit and I got knitters’ handshakes from every direction. Well, We decided that it needed to be a Knit-A-Long.

I knit my original garment using stash yarn, not yarn I sell. However, several of the yarns that I carry would be stellar subs for this project. The garment demands a drape and sheen to be successful. I have been swatching and sampling from my rep kits to help customers pick their favorite yarns for their projects.

If you are interested in joining this KAL, we will be kicking it off at Sister Arts Studio on Thursday at 6:30.

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No photos yet. My entire living room is buried in fiber goodness. My much-talked about Karabella Sales Kit is in! And at nearly 50 pounds, this is one mother of a kit! I have spent the last day and a half just barely getting this thing into order for appointments. Patterns alone merited 10 solid hours of re-filing. So Much Cashmere! So Much Glory!
If you are in Wisconsin or Illinois and are even remotely interested in fashion forward luxury knitting, book your appointment right away!

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I‘m am thrilled beyond thrilled to announce a new addition to the Knest Inc family! I just got off the phone with the charming and talented Julie from J.Knits yarns. J. Knits is a fabulous hand-dyed yarn company with some truly KILLER COLORS! right off the bat, I can tell you that the color “Minneapolis” should be on every stores’ shelves! Check out their website, get to know the line, and get excited with me. I can’t wait to get my rep kit and bring this line to you all!

minneapolis colorway

minneapolis colorway

If you are particularly enthused about this new addition, please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail. That way I will jump you straight to the head of the line to be contacted.

Be the first in town (or in the state!) to carry J. Knits!


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IMG_0592Well it is a BEAUTIFUL weekend here in Chicago. The temperature is hovering just under 70°F and the sun is out. What a fantastic time for the Fiber Art Show at the Chicago Botanic Gardens!



The garden was packed to the gills with folks out enjoying the last gasp of warmth.









The show was mostly quilts, with a fair amount of weaving thrown in. There was a sizeable market to check out in addition to the show itself. The dozens of woven wraps and scarves available for sale were the highlight of the show for me. There were a lot of strung bead necklaces, painted silk scarves, and simple garments knit from big-box-store yarns that truthfully, I could have done without.

IMG_0585It was a spectacular day to be at the gardens; Quilt show or no.

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Introducing Llama Luxury!
 South West Trading Company has introduced a new, very affordable and totally luscious luxury yarn. It is 100% baby llama fiber with a 22.5 micron count. It comes in 8 natural shades ranging from creamy white, through heathered camel and smokey grey to a deep rich charcoal. At MSRP $11 for a 100m skein, it is a bargain! It officially knits up at 5 sts/inch on a 7, but I got a hot insider tip that it is better off at 4 sts/inch on an 8. Either way, I can’t wait to swatch this baby up!

Shopowners, if you are looking for an affordable luxury yarn in natural shades, this is a winner! Please e-mail me if you are interested!

Always looking to strike while the iron is hot, SWTC is also introducing a SOLIDS COLLECTION in their perennial hit sock yarn, Tofutsies! There will be 10 solid colors introduced at the end of the month. Solid colors will show off your more complex or delicate stitch work in a way that variegated sock yarns can not.

To celebrate the new yarns, they are also rolling out the two new patterns you see here. Wouldn’t that brown sweater look great in my closet?
Llama Luxury and Solid Tofutsies ship at the end of October, so look for it on store shelves soon.

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I am proud to announce  that I have added Mountain Meadow Wools to my line of manufacturers. This is an awe-inspiring company that I hold near and dear to my heart already. Based out of Wyoming, Val and Heather are dedicated to all that is Good in yarn manufacture. They started the company not because they are passionate about knitting, but because they are passionate about wool as a fine agricultural product of Wyoming. They are committed  to doing right by farmers and ranchers, the sheep, the environment, the independent yarn shops, and the knitters. The yarn is naturally grown, humanely shorn, DOMESTICALLY PROCESSED AND SPUN in the most eco-friendly fashion and naturally dyed (or not dyed). 10% of the MSRP goes back to the farmers. In this industry, that is incredible.

The yarn is all natural, springy, and refreshingly home-spun (no pun intended, I mean that literally). I am confident that it is a joy to work with because Cat Bordhi is a devoted fan.  The retail prices are far lower than any other yarn of this caliber I have come across. I have not knit with it yet, though I plan to very very soon.

Shopowners, this is not to be missed! Knitters, please, ask your LYS about this yarn!

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