Friday, March 29, 2013

Pendulum.

No, I haven't finished the Color Affection shawl I'm knitting for our Redux KAL. But that never stops a knitter from planning the next project and it almost never stops a knitter from casting on a next project. #amIright?!
pattern pictured with a combo of Shibui Staccato
And that brings me to the next project we're planning to cast on. It's Pendulum, designed by Amy Wright. Because we are loving stripes and fingering weight scarf-like shawls for spring and summer. This piece is knit from the top-down (meaning you start with just a few stitches at the top edge and increase toward the bottom edge) in garter stitch and the stripes are shaped with short rows so the main color stripes are "fat" at one end and the contrast color stripes are "fat" at the other end.

The pattern calls for approximately 340 yards of the main color and 230 yards of the contrast, knit on a size 6 needle (swatching isn't critical, but a looser gauge will use more yarn, and a tighter gauge will result in a smaller piece - you decide how much risk you're willing to take!). We had a quick run on the pattern a few weeks ago, but they are back in stock and of course we have plenty of options for the yarn. Here are a few of my favorites:

First, Shibui Staccato - a blend of superwash merino and silk. At 191 yards per skein, you'll need two of each color.
yes that's black, but doesn't it POP the light pink?... and garter stitch wouldn't be too hard to see.
Then Rowan Panama - a blend of viscose, linen and cotton, that you can wash (on delicate) and dry (low heat until it's just damp, then dried flat) - this is one of my favorite spring/summer yarns. Rowan has added new colors this season and we have a great selection. I'm loving the neutrals...but that blue would be stunning with either one, too.

And if you think you might want to make two - how about the lovely Swan's Island Fingering. It's 100% organic merino and the colors are gorgeous. Each skein has 525 yards, so you'll have a good bit of yarn left over...but if you had a third skein, you could easily make a second shawl.

Other options not pictured include Spud&Chloe Fine, a superwash wool/silk blend that gives 248 hards per skein. If you're close on gauge, you should be able to get by with only one skein of the contrast color, but you'll still need two of the main color. And Canopy Fingering, a blend of alpaca, wool and bamboo that comes in 200 yard skeins.

We are going to cast on next Friday, April 5 at 2pm. I'm still reviewing the projects in Ravelry for helpful tips; I'll be back next week with suggested modifications and a quick tutorial on short rows in garter stitch (I promise - they're really easy!) If you have any other questions about the project or the Knit Along, please leave a comment here or on our Ravelry forum.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

No Lack of Inspiration.

The latest issue of Knitters Review landed in my in-box this morning: 10 Tips for Kickstarting Your Inspiration. I adore Clara Parkes and I look forward to her newsletters (if you aren't a subscriber you should be...go here!), but inspiration is not a problem for me right now.

Maybe because I'm lucky enough to see this view at least three days a week.

Yes Shibui... taking up even more of that back wall! We've stocked more yarn and new colors and the latest collection of Mix patterns for Spring/Summer 2013.

They've added new colors across all the yarns and filled in a few of the most popular (for example, Silk Cloud is now available in the very popular Caffeine color way). Here are a few of my newest favorites:
Heichi in Grounds (yes, those are flecks of bright green on a dark brown background) and Cascade (photos from the Shibui website)
Silk Cloud in Caffeine and Clay (photos from the Shibui website)
The six new patterns include four sweaters (a tank, two pullovers and a cardigan), a scarf and a shawl. My two favorite patterns are sweaters (of course?!), but the shawl (Mix No. 18) has been popular, too (everyone loves choosing colors for a two-color project).

from the Shibui website
Mix No. 13 is a bottom-up seamless pullover with an all-over lace pattern, knit with Shibui Linen held double. Love the lace. Love the texture with the linen. I've wanted to knit with the linen since it arrived last year and I think this is the project I'll cast on (as soon as I finish Garance!)

from the Shibui website
Mix No. 16 is also knit seamlessly from the bottom up; it's a cardigan with color block detail and textured trim for the hems, neckline and button bands. It calls for Cima (laceweight alpaca merino blend) and Silk Cloud (laceweight silk mohair blend) held together and that mix is stunning, but Nuna would also work if you'd prefer knitting with just one strand of yarn. The pattern also shows the cardigan worn with the buttons in the back - adorable! It's a versatile wardrobe staple knit in neutrals like the pattern shows, but wouldn't it be fun in a bright green or coral, too?

Putting this post together, I also visited Shibui's Pinterest boards. If you're on Pinterest, I highly recommend you follow Shibui. Their Mix board is pure eye-candy, but I especially love the Clay board. I just bought a pair of cropped pants in that color and it's my new-favorite for spring...(you should follow us on Pinterest too!)

There are plenty of other things inspiring us at the shop right now, including the Bias 'Before & After' Scarf , which gets very fun when you knit it with Euroflax Sportweight Linen and another contrasting yarn/fiber and a Picardi cowl sample knit by the designer herself, Nell Ziroli (did you see in our latest newsletter that she's joined our teaching staff? very exciting!), that I'm seeing for spring and summer in Cascade Venezia or Maggiknits Maggie's Linen. I'll get photos and more ideas up here shortly.

What's inspiring your knitting right now?