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Entries in Alchemy Yarns (13)

Sunday
Apr132014

Whit's Knits: Woven Pearl Cowl

Rigid heddle weaving is a relatively new pursuit of ours here at the Purl Bee. With last spring's arrival of Schacht Spindle Co's tabletop Cricket Loom a whole world opened for us, a world of reeds and shuttles, warps and wefts. And as we explore this unfamiliar land, under every rock is a surprise even more beautiful than the last.

This project pairs fine yarns with a fairly open reed and a light touch. With the ocean and its salty breezes and sparkling tides on my mind, I chose for the weft Alchemy's Silken Straw. It embodies the rusticity of driftwood together with the elegance of a pearl. In contrast, Purl Soho's extraordinary Line Weight serves as the warp. A simple single ply of merino, it brings a cottony, matte softness to the project.

As exquisite as the Pearl Cowl looks, it's actually a breeze to make. Even if you have never woven before, you can plunge into the ocean and come up with a pearl! To get started, pick up Purl Soho's Materials for Pearl Cowl, which comes either with the 15-inch Cricket Loom or as a yarn-only kit.

And don't forget dear mom, whose day is less than a month away. Wouldn't she feel as beautiful as a mermaid in her own Pearl Cowl? Happy weaving! -Whitney

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Sunday
Aug252013

Laura's Loop: Ombre Cowl

It’s become more than evident to me that I cannot get enough of 1) neutrals and 2) cowls. First came the White Caps Cowl, a play of textures in soft creams; next the Shawl Collar Cowl, like a folded cloud; then the Salt + Pepper Cowl, a blend of crisp heathery fibers; and now, the latest addition to this mini-collection, the Ombre Cowl!

This Ombre Cowl explores the complexity of subtle shifts in shade and texture by combining three yarns of differing weights and fibers. Jade Sapphire’s sumptuous Zageo 6 Ply Cashmere starts the journey and grounds the bottom edge, while Madeline Tosh’s hand dyed Tosh Merino Light dominates the middle section, and floating along the top is Alchemy’s Haiku, a weightless silk and mohair blend.

In a gently rippling slip stitch pattern, these three fibers flow into one another with such harmony and grace that my love of neutrals (and cowls!) may be just beginning! 

Make your own exploration into this fascinating world of fiber-play with our Yarn for Ombre Cowl kit. Choose from three beautiful colorways: Gray (pictured here), Navy and Natural. -Laura

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Thursday
May092013

Laura's Loop: Salt and Pepper Cowl

At Purl Soho we have a customer who, no matter the season, breezes into the store draped in the most meticulously combined textures layered to perfection and always, I mean always, in neutrals from head to toe. She makes one color feel like a rainbow with her play of hues and shades, textures and cuts. This woman, she can really wear gray.
This lovely fashionista was on my mind when I coupled this dynamic duo of yarns. One, Habu’s Viscose Sizing, a crisp, stark white ribbon wrapped in a delicate black thread. The other, Alchemy’s Haiku, a gorgeous hand-dyed silk and mohair blend with a downy glow.
As with our customer’s ensembles, the Salt and Pepper Cowl is an in-depth exploration of tactility and versatility. The ends are ribbed pulling both yarns, contrasting with the nearly weightless body of the cowl, which is knit in a smooth single row stripe. A slit at one end can be worn at the top, folded over like a collar. Or flip the cowl over and wear the slit draping over a shoulder for some extra length, drama and jaunty asymmetry.
Thank you, chic, beautiful customer of ours, for the inspiration. You’re one of so many who exhilarate our senses every day! --Laura

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Thursday
Feb212013

Whit's Knits: Cuffed Hand Warmers

These Cuffed Hand Warmers tickle my fancy with their trompe l'oeil cuffs. As if the sleeves of a beautiful, cozy sweater were hanging down past your wrists, the effect is a refined kind of slouchy.

I love also the textural play of two yarns who, once strangers to each other, come together here in a beautiful friendship! A similar icy blue color may have been their conversation starter, but as the two yarns got chatting, they realized that what makes each different is also what makes each so special.

For the outer cuff I used Purl Soho's own gorgeous Super Soft Merino. As soft as a bunny rabbit's tail and as cozy as a featherbed, Super Soft Merino is bewitchingly lovable. And in the color Desert Sky it takes on a level of elegance that perfectly segues into Alchemy's Kozmos.

Kozmos is a complex brew of silk, mohair, wool and cotton. Lovingly hand dyed by the color mavericks of Alchemy, each skein tells a multi-layered story. And when a touch of enigmatic Kozmos pokes out from under the friendly comfort of Super Soft Merino things definitely get interesting!

If you'd like to play matchmaker with these two beauties, get started right here! -Whitney

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Thursday
Feb142013

Laura's Loop: Roll and Dash Hankies

Don't you just love when a new technique is born from a happy accident?!? That’s the story of these hankies. It was business as usual. I needed to whip up a quick gift and so, sat down to make what must have been my hundredth set of Rolled Hem Handkerchiefs.  

I rolled and rolled the edge until Kokka's beautiful fine cotton fabric held the shape on its own. Always amazed at fabric’s sculptural potential, I took a moment to admire this tiny tube along my hankie’s border. It seemed a cause for celebration, and suddenly, I found myself working unlike I had on the previous ninety nine sets.

I ditched the matching cotton thread I would normally have used and chose instead the brightest, most surprising yarn I could find, Alchemy's Silken Straw. I threaded an embroidery needle, and rather than making an invisible stitch in the crease of the roll, I went bold. I carried the silk around the rolled hem, marking the gentle curve with graphic little lines of hot pink.

Form follows function, or something like that... does that apply here? I am not sure it does, but I am sure about how satisfying it was to turn my stitches into functional ornamentation, a series of dashes outlining each hankie. 

So, I rolled and dashed, rolled and dashed, and before I knew it, I had five unique handkerchiefs. Some with many dashes, some with few, some equally spaced, some hiccupping their way around the edges. It’s so fun to just follow your fancy! -Laura

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