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Entries in Swan's Island (8)

Tuesday
Oct112011

Sweet Stitching with Erin: Bandana Cowl

Working at Purl Soho, I have a front row seat to the parade of effortlessly chic people that give our neighborhood its renowned style. From here I can report that, for men and women alike, this season's prevailing trend in neckwear is the bandana. Jauntily tied around the neck, it tops off everything from Sunday's T-shirt and jeans to Friday's night-on-the-town dress! The bandana is a sassy, casual touch that suggests that the wearer possesses an innate stylishness. It's the perfect accessory  for those cool mornings when you've hit snooze a few too many times and need to turn "thrown-together-in-a-rush" into "casually glamourous"!

My Bandana Cowl is inspired by my desire to make "effortlessly chic" even more effortless. I was so excited to create something with the same freshness as the tied bandana but without the fiddly aspect of actually having to tie anything! 

I chose to make my Cowl out of Swan's Island Bulky, a brand new yarn made from a beautiful blend of undyed merino and alpaca that feels wonderfully soft against the skin. The yarn creates a dense, rich fabric that's cuddly perfection for the chilly days of fall!

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Thursday
Sep012011

Laura's Loop: Heel Stitch Hat

It happens to the best of us... You wander into a yarn shop, anxious, antsy, raring to knit, but then, you are faced with it: the Wall. It's packed full of vibrantly colored fiber, cubbies upon cubbies of yarn, arranged to inspire. But instead of igniting direction, this vertical display of skeins causes, what I like to call (in a hushed voice), Knitter's Wall (gasp!).

It's the knitter's version of writer's block. You find yourself standing there, staring aimlessly, hands thrown in the air, asking yourself, asking the wall, "What should I knit?!?!?!"

Although you can't find Knitter's Wall in any psychology books, I don't need to tell you, it is a real affliction. The good news... there's a solution! All you need is a warm-up project, a project to get those finger muscles moving and knitting neurons shooting. Something that's sparks your interest, grabs your attention, and gets you back into your knitting groove.  The even better news... I've got just the thing for you! The Heel Stitch Hat. 

Heel Stitch is traditionally used for, you guessed it, the heel of a sock. Designed for its durability and cushioning effect, I knew such a striking texture and impressive loft would make up an incredibly handsome and cozy hat.  For gorgeous stitch definition and sumptuous warmth, I used Swan's Island's beautiful Worsted weight organic merino, but most any worsted weight yarn will suit! Once you've completed it, you'll have a hat to keep the cool air out and Knitter's Wall at bay 

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Friday
Sep242010

Whit's Knits: Long Striped Hand Warmers, Revisited

We loved last winter's Long Striped Hand Warmers so much that we're still thinking about them this fall! The opportunity that a one row stripe offers to play with color is just irresistible to us. When two colors are in such intense juxtaposition they can start to effect each other in really unexpected and exciting ways, bouncing, shifting and glowing.

For the original version we used the unbelievably beautiful Swan's Island Fingering. We LOVE the Swan's Island and it's still a great choice for this project, beautifully hand dyed, sophisticated and as soft and light as a feather.

We thought that it would be an interesting (and fun!) exercise to see how the Long Striped Hand Warmer's stitch pattern would look if we used Alchemy's Juniper. Also a fingering weight merino, Alchemy's vivid palette is very different in tone from Swan's Island's more subdued colors. We knit up swatches of these six color combinations, each one surprising us in the end!

The above colors are Kai's Goldfish (bottom) and Husk (top), a mixture of spicy tomato red with a soft and mellow camel.

These are Fuchsia and Fool's Gold, a shocking cool pink with a rich curry color.

These are Hush and Fieldstone, two quiet colors, one a dusty lavender and the other a warm mushroom.

These are Turquoise Pool and Cornflower Blue, one a pumped of version of the other.

These are Tea Leaf and Dragon, a pure grass green with a deeply saturated olive.

These are Canary and Fieldstone, a sunny perfect yellow with a hushed warm gray.

It's fun to pick your favorite. We can't agree! Page's favorite is the Kai's Goldfish, Joelle's is the Fuchsia, Molly's is the Canary and Whitney's is the Tea Leaf.  What's yours?

PATTERN NOTES: If you decide to try the Long Striped Hand Warmers with the Juniper you will still only need one skein of each color, but you will probably need to go down a needle size. I used a set of US #1 and a set of US #2 double pointed needles. --Whitney

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