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Entries in Alchemy Yarns (13)

Thursday
Aug302012

Laura's Loop: A New Simple Pleasures Hat

It was almost four years ago when Whitney wowed us with her Simple Pleasures Hat. There are a few projects from the Bee that every single person at the shop just HAS to make. This is one of them! As soon as fall breezes in, we reach for our Simple Pleasures Hats, grinning as we all arrive to work in our matching knitwear. It's just too good a pattern to pass up, a dream to knit and even better to wear!

For this season, we've knit up a fresh, cloud-like version in elegant creams and super soft cashmere. We started with two strands of Jade Sapphire's beautifully soft and cozy 2 Ply Cashmere. After a few inches of ribbing, we added a strand of Alchemy's mohair and silk Haiku. This gorgeous combination of hand dyed fibers makes for complex plays of pigment and texture with a subtle luster, a downy halo, and a spectacular depth of color!

Like every autumn, I am sure there will be a lot of new Simple Pleasures Hats around the shop. Come surprise us with yours! 

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Sunday
Jul292012

Laura's Loop: White Caps Cowl

My mom lives an urban life in a landlocked city, but I've always felt she belongs in a small town by the water. It's so easy to picture her hopping on a boat or walking along the shore, her salt and pepper hair mussed by the sea air, her sneakers tattered, her jeans old and worn, but her sweater a chic slip of linen or cashmere. 
Have you ever known someone who so throughly embodies a duality that you can hardly describe her? That's how I feel about my mom, but one thing I can say for sure is that my mother's elegance depends on her rustic nature. You'd never see her in make-up, but that is precisely what makes her beautiful. Whether I knew it or not, when I started this cowl, I was knitting with her in mind. It, like she, pairs unlikely opposites that together create a one-of-a-kind amalgam, radiant with depth and beauty!
I knit this cowl primarily with Habu's thick-and-thin Cotton Nerimake Slub. It creates a decadent, cloud-like fabric that is both hearty and ethereal. And set against the cotton are thin stripes of Alchemy's Silken Straw, a meticulous, flat silk ribbon with a crisp finish and pearly shine. Together, these yarns form a graceful and surprising union, each complementing the other!
We named this the White Caps Cowl because the cotton captures the feeling of frothy caps on ocean waves while the silk subtly shimmers amidst the cowl's folds and drapes, like light dancing across the surface of the sea. To add some duality to your life, you can get the full pattern for the White Caps Cowl here! -Laura

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Sunday
Jun172012

Whit's Knits: Just Triangles Entrelac Scarf

It seems that many of us have two reasons to knit and that these reasons are the opposite of each other! We, on the one hand, choose projects for their monotony, knowing that mindlessness and repetitive motion put us in a meditative state that even a yogi might admire.

And, on the other hand, we love a challenge, knowing that when a pattern activates our minds and surprises our expectations the result is an elated sense of achievement. Here's a pattern for when you're in that kind of a mood!

The Just Triangles Entrelac Scarf takes traditional entrelac knitting, which involves lots of small triangles and squares, and gives it a modern look with a blown-up scale and a pared-down style. Omitting all those squares, you'll knit just the first and last rows of entrelac, ending up with eleven big triangles in all. Pretty fascinating and definitely fun!

And if you're unfamiliar with the mysteries of entrelac, you'll perhaps come to the pleasant realization that those two opposite reasons we knit sometimes become one. As your mind whirrs with wonder, you may have to suspend your disbelief and relax your skepticism. You may, in fact, just have to take a leap of faith into the unknown!

The secret behind this scarf's spectacular glow is a new yarn from the wizards at Alchemy. Tweedy is a very lightweight blend of cotton, silk and mohair, loosely spun into a beautiful cocoon of hand dyed color! Each skein has in common a creamy white strand of cotton so that colors blend subtly together, shifting from shade to shade as if lit by the sun!

 

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Sunday
Jan222012

Whit's Knits: Deep V-Neck Sweater

As anyone who has ever knit a sweater knows, it can be a real juggling act! With this Deep V-Neck Sweater, I had the happy and lucky experience of somehow, someway managing to keep all the balls in the air. A seamless set-in sleeve pattern, a spectacularly seductive yarn and a very forgiving fit, all conspired to work together in beautiful harmony!

While set-in sleeves are perhaps the most flattering sweater construction, they traditionally involve the dreaded last step of laboriously sewing together all those pesky pieces. Determined to avoid that tedium, I embarked on this project armed with a few vague notes from Elizabeth Zimmermann and a cannot-fail doggedness (sound familiar, knitters?). Turns out a seamless set-in sleeve sweater is not only possible, it's fascinating and absolutely easy!

And what about that incredible yarn? Alchemy's Kozmos is an extraordinary blend of silk, mohair, wool and cotton, all hand dyed together to create a fuzzy, shiny, nubbly complexity of color and texture. It is this sweater's magic ingredient, infusing it with a truly unique flavor, expressive, elegant and very feminine. 

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Sunday
Aug212011

Whit's Knits: Sunshine Scarf

I feel a little guilty divulging this information, as if I'm betraying the whole rest of the spectrum, but I have to admit that I have a favorite color... yellow. And not just any yellow, not baby yellow or lemon yellow or mustard yellow, but deep and bright and clear sunshine yellow, the kind of yellow that emits its own light and whistles its own carefree tune. 

When it comes to this kind of yellow, Alchemy is the master, hands down. Alchemy's yellows are saturated and fresh, like pollen-soaked blossoms. Using them to make a scarf in August feels like the perfect way to bring the heat of summer into the upcoming crisp nights of autumn.

While Madeline Tosh's beautiful Tosh Merino Light serves as the soft, neutral ground, Alchemy's Kozmos provides the entertainment, not only with its splash of intense color, but also with its play of texture: a little fuzzy, a bit shiny, and a lot gorgeous!

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