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Entries in Sport Weight Yarn (16)

Sunday
Mar162014

Whit's Knits: Kid's Fair Isle Vest

For this Kid's Fair Isle Vest I used a technique credited to a tiny island north of Scotland (aka Fair Isle) and a stitch pattern from another tiny island, this one west of Estonia (Muhu). In times and places where, by logic, function should have ruled sweater design, instead, knitters seemed to have taken sheer joy in form. It seems to me that, when they cast on for a new sweater, the women from these cold, isolated island places threw all of life's hardships and frustrations right out the window.

Such knitting ingenuity from anywhere, anytime is awe-inspiring, and the creation of this vest was a wonderful opportunity to get inside the minds of the incredible knitting women who came before us. Armed with the beautiful book, Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island, I used a pared-down palette and design to bring a modern sensibility to this extraordinary traditional stitch pattern.

And since my son, the intended recipient of this vest, doesn't plan on spending the next few months aboard a fishing vessel, instead of thick, scratchy wool, I chose Anzula's soft and supple Cricket. A combination of merino, cashmere and a touch of nylon, this subtly hand dyed yarn isn't necessarily seaworthy, but it is what we modern city-dwellers have come to appreciate!

The Kid's Fair Isle Vest is a fun challenge and also a truly satisfying trip into knitting history. Thank you to all those inspiring women who innovated such beauty by lantern light! -Whitney

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Sunday
Jun162013

Whit's Knits: Slip Stitch Dishtowels

These dishtowels look really complicated to make, don't they? I love that because, just like you want hard things to look easy, it's a great coup to make easy things look difficult!

These three stitch patterns all come from Barbara Walker's classic Treasury of Knitting Patterns and are created by the simple technique of hiding yarns behind slipped stitches. There's no tricky stranding or two-hand knitting or even issues of tension; there's just the easy matter of slipping stitches and watching as amazing patterns emerge!

Slip stitch color patterns are terrific for scarves (check out Laura's gorgeous Reversible Stripes Scarf), sweaters, blankets and even dishtowels. For these, I looked for patterns that would evoke traditional kitchen textiles: no-nonsense designs with the geometry of vintage linens.

And for a yarn that would match these hard-working stitch patterns I chose Louet's Euroflax 100% linen. As tough and absorbent as any fiber around, linen is a great friend to have over your shoulder when you're cooking up something good!

You can pick up all the Euroflax linen you'll need with our Yarn for Slip Stitch Dishtowels kit. Choose either this crisp and classic Indigo colorway or our Natural palette of earthy neutrals.

Either way, happy slip stitching! -Whitney

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Sunday
May192013

Whit's Knits: Knit Octopus

I can't say that I've ever felt the desire to hug an actual octopus, but a stuffed one has a distinct appeal: eight embracing arms! With such magnanimity, a Knit Octopus makes a pretty sweet companion!

What I didn't know about designing an octopus was that it would put me on a deep-sea exploration of knitting's inherent intelligence. Knitting, like the ocean itself, answers to an inscrutable essence, part natural law and part mystery. Bound by the mathematics of eight, this Knit Octopus practically created itself, and so to me, the result feels magically inevitable.

And for mathematical magic there's nothing better than the purity of warm white. Blue Sky's Sport Weight Alpaca in Natural White brings a lovely serenity and simplicity to the Knit Octopus, while the wonderful softness of 100% baby alpaca (doubled!) brings us back to all that hugging I was talking about!

I hope, like me, that when you create your Knit Octopus you feel a little bit like the Jacques Cousteau of knitting, probing the fathomless world of knits and purls, learning a little something along the way! -Whitney

 

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Sunday
May052013

Whit's Knits: Woven Scarf

When I was in college I spent a January break deeply ensconced in a weaving studio in Maine learning the ins and outs of heddles, warps and wefts. I became fascinated with the beauty of woven fabric, but once the month was over, I faced the same dilemma as many aspiring weavers before me: even if I could have afforded a room-size loom, where in the world would I put it? My dorm room? Or later, my first New York City shoebox apartment?

And so, about a million years later, I'm so excited to be back at the loom! This time with Schacht Spindle Co.'s perfectly engineered Cricket Loom. About the size of a record player, this rigid-heddle loom turns out beautiful woven fabric without requiring its own room. The Cricket is also super easy and insanely satisfying!

For this Woven Scarf I worked a plain weave, choosing yarns that would add their own complexity and depth. Habu's Dyed Bamboo forms a strong, smooth and wonderfully lustrous warp. And the hand dyed subtlety of Anzula's Squishy gives the weft a gently variegated beauty. The result is a stunning lightweight scarf with all the classic simplicity of woven fabric!

As a lover of all crafts that involve my hands and some yarn, the Cricket Loom is my new best friend. It swings open the door to a whole world of fiber arts whose inspiration is truly endless!

Get the Woven Scarf how-to's right here, and be sure to also check out our Cricket Loom Tips here. Happy weaving! -Whitney

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Sunday
Apr282013

Laura's Loop: Knit Tote

I don’t know if it’s just a New York thing, but it seems as though the appearance of muslin tote bags is as sure a sign of spring as blooming flowers and chirping birds. 

As the wintery skies lift and coats are shed, so too are those heavy leather bags. So in true New York spring fashion, I started digging around for my freshest, cleanest tote, and as I often do, I wondered how it was I didn’t have a knit version of this object, this thing I love and use every time the sun shines!

I dressed up this simple sack with Louet’s Euroflax, a naturally chic 100% linen yarn. This hearty, elegant linen pairs perfectly with Tunisian stitch for a gently textured fabric with a whole lot of simple grace. Use this pretty Knit Tote for your shades and a lipstick or even for the early spring peas and radishes you’ll be grabbing at the market.

There’s still a bit of bite in the air here in New York, but I am yearning for the warmth and levity of spring. As soon as I can, I’ll be rocking a tote bag, just like so many of my neighbors! -Laura

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