Today is a perfect summer day for knitting on a screened porch.
Maybe you are sick of the rain and the cool summer weather, but we have noticed many of you already planning your fall knitted wardrobe! We have three trunk shows at the moment to temp you- and they are all as different as can be; from baby toys to luxurious wraps.
What is all this Shibori talk anyway? It has been about 7 years since we felted our first Alchemy Project, and we have been captivated ever since.
While the Japanese word “shibori” cannot be directly translated into English, it basically denotes a “shape resist textile.” Most people are familiar with the concept of Tie Dye (originally called “tie and dye”), which is the most popular understanding of shibori. Ties such as rubber bands or strings are secured on a piece of fabric, and then that fabric is dyed; the fabric resists the dye where it has been bound.
Gina Wilde’s shibori design is an exploration of manipulating knit fabric, harnessing the effects of working differing types of yarns together (combing felting and non-felting fibers in one knit piece). In this shawl, the pure silk yarn (A) acts as a resist to the wool/silk felting yarn (B). When felted in a washing machine, or dryer the pure silk yarn actually grows in the process, while the wool/silk blend shrinks and felts . The result produces a textured and dramatic knit fabric, one that is light and airy, rather than the heavy dense fabric achieved when using traditional felting methods and yarns. Natalie prefers to felt in the dryer to keep colors vibrant, and it also seems easier and uses less resources. She soaks the garment in cold water with a rinse free woolwash, gently squeezes out most of the water, and then tosses it in the dryer (NOT in a delicate bag) with clothes of similar colors. You may need to re-wet it once or twice, but it will be done by the time your clothes are dry. If you are too scared to do this yourself, Natalie offers finishing on Alchemy projects starting at $15.
The Alchemy Trunk show is only here until July 24th!
(most of these patterns are free with yarn purchase)
If you are unable to come in, we are happy to put any of these projects together for you- tailored to your color tastes. Our staff have all knit numerous Alchemy projects and are all familiar with these yarns.
The Carolina Shawl is simple miter triangle with a beautiful central lace panel and elegant border is knit, then lightly felted to achieve the sensational drape and drama made possible by the shibori process. This takes 1 skein each Silken Straw and 1 skein Sanctuary (but we recommend buying two skeins of straw just to make sure you don't run out on the last section).
The Fits of Passion wrap is a beautiful old-fashioned lace stitch made extraordinary after the piece is lightly felted. This wrap takes 3 skeins silken straw, 1 skein sparky, and 1 skein Sanctuary. The Nautilus Wrap wrap is a colorful adventure in simple short row knitting, and Shibori Felting. This takes 4 skeins Sanctuary, and only one skein of Silken Straw, and one of Sparky.
The Rococo Cowl combines three colors and the much loved feather and fan stitch. This cowl takes one skein each of Sparky, Silken Straw, and Sanctuary. The Slinky Alchemy Ascot is an updated version of the much loved original that many of you have made out of a fingering weight yarn. This darling project takes just one skein of Sparky.
The Spark It up Scarf is a riff on the ever-popular Magicians scarf. This scarf blends Silken Straw, Sparky and Sanctuary, with a simple length-wise cast on generates flouncy drama. This project takes one skein each of Sparky, Silken Straw, and Sanctuary. The Skipping Stones Wrap blends five harmonious colors together in a simple feather & fan lace motif made interesting with basic intarsia. This project takes 3 skeins of silken straw in 3 similar colors, as well as 1 skein Sparky and 1 skein Sanctuary.
The Bon Vivant shawl is a pleasing combination of textures; a simple feather & fan lace stitch is centered in the design, and culminates in a beautiful undulating border at the bottom of this multi-season shawl. This project takes 2 skeins silken straw, and 1 skeinSanctuary.