Every time I talk to my Granny about knitting in times of her youth, I realize how lucky we are. She grew up and lived most of her life in times of the Soviet Union when the stores, any stores, were empty and you couldn’t get such things as furniture/clothes, forget about yarn! I remember her stories how she was waiting for a friend to come from Moscow to bring her yarn – pink acrylic skeins, very rough and pure quality, but it didn’t matter, it was actual yarn that was enough for a scarf and a hat. She considered herself very lucky – most of the times, she was just unraveling old sweaters to reuse the yarn.
So, each new and unusual skein for me is the reminder to be grateful for such small and simple things in our life such as original and beautiful yarn that bring so much joy! And I love to celebrate it with yarn “photostories” 🙂 One of my “fiber goals” for this year was to try unusual yarns, particularly the chainette yarn. It is quiet an unusual way to spun the fiber – the thread is basically a tube made of knit stitches, like a tiny i-cord.
I have my precious skeins of cotton/silk blend by Rowan (that are waiting way too long to be turned into a sweater!) that are made using the similar technique, but very different from this Paloma alpaca/wool blend from Debbie Bliss. Rowan “flattened” the tube and wrapped it with thin silk thread; whether Paloma has a lot of volume and space inside the “tube”. Woolfolk yarn, that is on my must-try list, uses the similar technique to spun some of their gorgeous skeins.
This technique creates a bulky yarn that knits incredibly fast, but the piece is so light and airy that it feel like it was knit in DK. I guess it happens thanks to all the air trapped inside the thread.
The exciting thing is that this kind of spun can be done at home! I had this idea for a long time – the tube thread can be made from a very thin (lace/fingering weight) yarn using the i-cord maker! It will take time, of course, but if you have lace weight yarn in your stash and are scared to cast on a garments with it, because it will take quiet a lot of time, you can turn it into bulky chainette skein that will be perfect for cozy sweaters and quick to knit accessories. To speed up the process check this incredible tutorial How To Knit I-Cord the Fast Way. How amazing is that?!
I hope you are having a wonderful week and feel spring coming to your part of the world!
Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and ready to start a new week! Today I continue to share with you knitwear pieces that appeared in new F/W ’17 collections. This time we “travel” to London. I was interested to see what designers might come up with, as London is famous for its diverse culture. To my surprise there were not that many knit items in each collection as you might expect for cold season, but I managed to find some to show you here.
Basics. Many designers preferred to keep it simple and don’t experiment. As a result there were a lot of basic knits that are easy to knit and wear. I think we, sweater knitters, all have/had at least one such piece on the needles – classic shape, easy stitches and simple colors.
A little bit more color from Jasper Conran. I am in love with the striped sweater. It looks so cozy and soft! Perfect for simple jeans and long walks. I especially like the stripe sequence – this is my weakest side in knitting and I am always interested to see how others play with colors.
Eudon Choi showed big chunky sweaters (looks like they are knit in fisherman’s rib) in simple earthly shades. The detail that attracted my attention is the neckline – something between classic crew neck and turtle neck.
Color. I’ve found some interesting interpretations of the colorwork in several shows.
House of Holland and Huishan Zhang used graphic motifs and intarsia. The black-and-white sweater knit in angora or mohair looks pretty striking – such a sharp contrast. If we look closely on Zhang’s cardigan and sweater, we could notice that after the pieces were knit, each diamond’s contour is stitched with contrasting color – quiet interesting visual effect.
Three ways to work with color by Teatum Jones and Joseph:
Stripes – sweater is knit in horizontal ribbing stripes with the contrasting thinner year running between rows.
Intarsia – pretty impressive and very hard to execute color work! But it offers so many possibilities!
Color blocking – cable sweater is “cut” in two pieces by contrasting colors. This is a great idea if you don’t have enough yarn for the whole sweater. I also thought it might look good with gradient effect.
Extravagance. As usual, there are extravagant and over-the-board pieces to be found – designers usually use them to create an image/mood for the show and demonstrate the materials and stitches. What usually happens is that after the show the designers leave just some details from the piece (stitch pattern/colorwork/etc) to produce more wearable items based on these extravagant show samples.
Ports 1961 and Joseph used super chunky yarns and extremely oversize shapes.
Fashion East threw on a real textile show! They mixed colors, different yarns, shapes to expand textile/knit boundaries and see what can be done with yarn. Though none of these pieces is wearable, they still remind that the knit/crochet stitches are so diverse and can be turned into anything your imagination allows!
Asymmetry.Burberry showed asymmetrical/multiple layers cable sweaters in neutral shades. Cables “run” in different directions mixing in with different stitch patterns. This effect can be achieved by knitting several pieces and seaming them afterwords, like the patchwork/quilt technique.
That’s it for London knitwear review! I hope you’ve found here something interesting and eye-catching.
There are yarns and projects that seem to take their time before turning into a finished knit piece. My beautiful skeins of Take Care Mohair have been in my yarn basket for a couple of months now, I have been swatching with it, putting it aside, looking and comparing swatches and imagining what they would become one day. This yarn is so airy and light that I wanted to knit something very special with it, but at the same time quiet simple.
Meanwhile my La Flor sweater has been on the “cast-on” list for over 6 months. You know how I like experimenting and modifications and ever since I published La Flor, I really wanted to recreate it in a completely different fiber – something super soft, with subtle, almost blurred stitch definition. The choice of yarn can change the look of the same pattern drastically!
So, one day I was going through my stash thinking what might work and then I saw my mohair basket full of swatches… I thought it was perfect – textured La Flor‘s stitch looks very different on fabric created by mohair, the stitch definition is very subtle, almost imperceptible.
I am using 7 mm needles and it knits up incredibly quickly! I am playing around with different stitch placements and taking my time to figure out if this is the perfect yarn/pattern marriage. As usual, I want to step back for a week and see if I still like the result enough to cast on, though it is definitely a challenge – I like it so much right now that want to cast on immediately! But I learned the hard way that the first excitement can be deceptive and it’s important to step back for a couple of days.
It’s been awhile since I shared my current read. After Julian Barnes’ superb language style, it was very hard to find anything that I might enjoy just as much. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 was definitely the right choice – I like the plot and, the most important part for me, the language. Just beautiful, even a few pages a day is a true joy!
I hope you are having a beautiful week! I will see you at Yarn Along today!
I never skip the opportunity to see new and unusual knitwear pieces and get inspired. It’s Fall/Winter 2017 fashion weeks season in the world of vogue and I thought it would be interesting to see what knitwear ideas the designers come up with in the new season. Several months ago I already shared NYFW spring/summer knitwear review and that post spiked quiet a contradictory discussion on one of the Facebook pages. So, before I get to the review, I want to remind that the runway show is a show and a lot of pieces do look unwearable and quiet out of this world, but for me there is always something inspiring to be found – whether it is just a small detail on the sleeve or the whole sweater.
Classic. Simple, cozy, oversize casual sweaters paired with the skirt seem to be the thing in fall/winter 2017. Mohair pieces by Dion Lee look so incredibly soft and light – I would live in them! Neutral and subdued colors are perfect for these wardrobe staples. And these sweaters are so easy to knit, though to create such wonderful drape, you’d have to use a pretty thin yarn.
Colorwork. I very rarely work with fair isle and intarsia, but some of the pieces from the shows are so wonderful that I might reconsider soon! Such a great idea by 3.1 Phillip Lim to use a completely different in structure/color fiber for intarsia in the dark blue sweater. The pink dress looks like the work of patchwork with subtle grey intarsia details.
A little bit more extreme work with color: fringes, multiple colors and intarsia motifs. I wouldn’t recreate the whole sweater like these ones, but I would definitely love to add some fringe details to my sweaters!
One more color techniques that attracted my attention – intarsia combined with embroidery and different materials. Victoria Beckham (in the middle) mixed knitting and sewing in one sweater – there are patches of knit stitches and the usual sewing fabric. I think it is a great way to experiment!! Delpozo went further and combined classic intarsia with beads, feathers and other unusual materials. Personally I would knit a simple grey sweater and embroider it with silver beads – definitely saving this idea for future projects!
Tory Burch is also giving us interesting ideas for color knitting. The green sweater’s yoke is work inside out showing all the floats. This is not the first time I see designers using the wrong side of the fair isle as the public one and I really love the effect created – the color pattern becomes slightly blurred. I also like the unusual stripes placement in the sweater in the middle, definitely worth taking a note!
Öhlin/D and Whit presented wonderful sweaters – simple and classic shapes with very beautiful color play. The first sweater is knit using the usual fair isle technique and then contrast color knitted stripes are woven into the fabric – love it!
Carolina Herrera is classic and feminine, as usual. Colorful, but monochrome sweaters with a bit of texture and classic fit. Would knit and wear all of them!
More subtle colors and textures from Sies Marjan and Eckhaus Latta. Though the sweater in the middle is menswear I would definitely cuddle in it – love the neckline and the textured sleeves.
Neutral knits were also abundant. Those knits by Brandon Maxwell, Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta are quiet extravagant – cropped shape with exaggerated shoulders, one sleeve sweater paired with a sleeve scarf (that is definitely something new!) and super oversize sweater with extra long sleeves.
More neutrals by Oday Shakar and Sachin & Babi. The sweaters are wearable and very beautiful – classic crewneck knit in yarn with a sheen, bell sleeves and casual cable sweater. I would definitely knit the last one!
One of my favorite neutrals is this simple and elegant dress by Lela Rose – look at the cable combined with beads details!
Two sweaters that attracted most of my attention are by Prabal Gurung – though the shapes of the sweaters are quiet extreme, the details are mesmerizing! Cables, fringe, ribbing, beads – so many unusual details!
Two simple, wearable and knit inspiring sweaters by J. Crew and Adam Lippes. I love the yoke on the blue sweater – such a classic, yet modern design. And the beautiful travelling ribbing on white sweater is going on my to try list!
J. Crew created a truly wonderful collection – light, feminine and very wearable and “knitable”. Off the shoulder cozy grey sweater is on my must-knit list for ages! And what an unusual way of combining fair isle and cables in green pullover! Absolutely beautiful!
That’s it for NYFW review and I hope you’ve found here something interesting, something inspiring and maybe something funny 🙂 Fashion week is in London right now and I am definitely going to watch out for more knits!
I am not a big Valentine’s Day girl and I don’t think I’ve ever made anything Valentine’s related, except for the obligatory paper cards we had to make at school :), but this year I decided to join Meredith(who is such a big inspiration for me!!!) from One Social Girl for her #TheSocialHeartProject. Her idea is to crochet/knit/sew/etc a little heart, attach a sweet and encouraging note to it and put out there, in the world. It doesn’t have to be romantic, it’s just a note of kindness that might brighten a day of someone… I also had an idea to attach notes of gratitude and put them everywhere in the house and every time you find one of them, you’ll be reminded of the good things you already have in your life.
I knew exactly what yarn I am going to use for the crochet hearts – my December KnitCrate had the perfect yarn surprise for me! I can finally show it to you – I am being very careful of not revealing the monthly package content too early so I don’t spoil the surprise for any other KnitCraters 🙂
I tried the yarn right away, because this is what happens when I get something new – I just have to get familiar with it before it can join my yarn basket. Baa Baa Bulky Merino has a great bounce, knits like butter and creates a great stitch definition. It will be perfect for baby knits, as it’s washable and isn’t itchy. Though if you are strongly against superwash yarns, it is not for you. I also tried it with the basic single crochet stitch and it worked really nice – afghans are definitely a great project for this yarn.
If this is the first time you hear about this monthly surprise yarn project, you can read my full review with all the pros and cons here – Monthly Knitting Santa. KnitCrate Review. And don’t forget that you can always use my special 20% discount code for your first KnitCrate – GOK20.
So, back to the crochet hearts. They are so addictive to make. You think of making 8, maybe 10, but end up with 20 of them! I used the pattern that Meredith shared on her Facebook page along with the step-by-step video tutorial – you will see how easy it is. I actually timed myself and one heart took me approximately 1 min 45 sec to make. It will also be a great project for all the scrap yarns that we all have and that are too good to throw away.
Getting to know yarn during the swatch process, taking photos of the beautiful skeins is the best way for me to get inspired not just in craft, but also in life in general. I’ve been so busy these last months feeling like I am doing it all, but not really finishing anything, that I just needed a quiet weekend morning with my camera, some flowers and yarn – it’s like a meditation for me. I hope you will also enjoy this little photostory and pick your needles today…
I didn’t think that I would love any other Moeke yarn more than I love Elena, but when I started swatching with the new batch of Heritage yarn, my heart skipped a beat. What a fiber…
The new batch is slightly thinner and softer than the one I am using for my blanket and it creates such a wonderful fabric – with subtle neutral color variations, amazing drape and lightness. It will make perfect season-less garment – it will be light and soft enough to wear next to the skin for a summer evening; and it will also make a great layer piece for colder months.
Even winding the skeins doesn’t feel monotonous – I just love watching how the thread is slipping through my fingers and how colors form into a beautiful and unique pattern…
The swatching is over and I am quiet happy with the idea that I came up with, usually I am very critical and it takes me weeks to get the result that I like, but this time it went pretty smoothly and just clicked. Hope to show you the result as soon as I can!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Looking forward to seeing your projects at Yarn Along today!