Knitting off Broadway

Rain, rain...

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.
Another Stunning Trunk Show from Shibui until July 29th 
Come in- try on- touch!
Shibui Yarns infuses modern taste with classic silhouettes, blended with elegant and functional designs. 'Shibui' quite literally means "elegant with a touch of bitterness" in Japanese.  We love this yarn line because they use the highest quality fibers, and a limited color palate.  Their patterns also fully showcase all of their yarns for knitters of all skills and styles.


Mix No. 23 is not for the faint of heart, but it is a nice (but challenging) first double knitting project.  This plush and dense cowl uses 2 skeins each of two colors Cimaheld doubled.  Broad contrasting stripes meet to form chevron points, giving the cowl a cool geometric allure. Modern and stylish, No. 23 cowl is equally beautiful in soft neutrals or vibrant brights. 


Mix No. 21 is constructed side to side knit in a simple rib stitch that provides luxurious stretch and drape.  No. 21’s slightly lengthened back gives it a modern silhouette. Staccato held double creates a rich fabric with a silken sheen.  This sweater uses 9-14 skeins of Staccato.

Mix No. 20 is next up for Natalie's summer knitting, and as soon as you touch it, you will know why!  
Narrow stripes intersect at perpendicular angles making this striking cowl a fun and interesting knit.  An unexpected pop of color is right on trend, and adds interest to this otherwise neutral cowl. Cima and Silk Cloud held together give No. 20 its lightweight yet warm fabric that will make you never want to take it off.  This cowl is knit using 5 skeins each of Silk Cloud and Cima (2 skeins each Color A, 2 skeins each Color B, 1 skein each Color C) on US Size 6 circular needle.

Mix No. 19 is figure flattering color blocked silk mohair pullover.  Silk Cloud held double knits up into a sumptuous, yet practically weightless fabric making the most perfect gauzy, drapey pullover. Contrasting hues create distinct blocks of color, providing an interesting juxtaposition to the soft, haloed fiber. Knit No. 19 in a tonal pairing for a subtle contrast, or go bold and bright for a dramatic look.  This sweater is knit using 6-7 skeins of Silk Cloud held double on US Size 4 (3.5 mm) circular needles, 16ʺ and 24ʺ long and Size 6 circular needle.


Silk Cloud and Cima, one of our favorite pairings, come together in Veer. Deceptively simple, this v-neck, tunic length sweater is knit in the round, with a flattering dropped hemline on size 6 needles. Simple increases define the shape, and fitted sleeves are juxtaposed against the loose, easy fit that you can dress up or down. Silk Cloud gives an incandescent glow to the fabric, while the high percentage of baby alpaca in Cima make this a delight to wear fall through spring.

This sweater is knit using 4-5 skeins each of Shibui Silk Cloud and Cima held together.

Swans Island Baby Collection trunk show until July 21st

The finest kind baby blanket has been a favorite with customers for several years now.  A quick knit, with just enough details.  This blanket takes around 1250 yards of worsted weight wool.

Zoe the baby beluga  with her simple shape and sweet face is a wonderful first baby gift and is knit in the Natural Merino Worsted.  

For the adult in your life, make them Chloe the big beluga!  This adorable stuffed Beluga is a simple treasure for you to enjoy making and sharing.  Knit in the round with basic stockinette stitch from nose to tail, she has elegant shaping details and a sweet embroidered smile.  The big sister to our pint-sized Zoe, Chloe makes a wonderful gift for children of all ages knit in the Natural Merino Worsted.  We have plenty of both whale patterns in hard copy.

Flopsy the bunny is a classic toy knit in worsted weight wool.  Toys are always the right size for those on your knitting list.  

The Bunkie Blankie is not a quick knit, but it is truly a hand-crafted heirloom.  Simple linen stitch is used throughout to impart a woven look to the face of the fabric, and feels wonderfully soft. The back side of this fabric has an equally interesting texture that looks like seed stitch, so there really is no “right” or “wrong” side.  This blankie uses around 1,000 yards of the main color, and 150 yards of the contrast color shown in Swans Island Natural Merino.  

The Itty Bitty Blankies are adorable, and have just enough going on to make semi-solid or solid yarns shine!  
This charming little blankie is just the right size for babies on the go! We love this little knitting project as it doesn’t take forever to complete and doesn’t need as many skeins as a “regular” sized baby blanket. The pattern is the same for both yarns, but the size will vary slightly according to gauge. No matter - this little square is just big enough to cover up a car seat or take along in the stroller.  Knit it in Swans Island Natural  Merino Worsted, Washable DK, or Sport Weight.  Did we mention that the Natural Merino feels like Cashmere when you are knitting? 

Written by Natalie Bell — July 16, 2015

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