July Subscriber Inspirations!

July Subscriber Inspirations are now live!

This month’s inspiration photo came from Amy, a longtime customer and knitting friend, who is also the podcaster behind Hudson Valley Knits. Amy sent me a photo of the pretty bits of glass she’d found on her walks along the Hudson River.

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I loved the soft background glass, and the subtlety of the colored bits. Since last month’s colors featured green and orange, I decided to downplay these a bit and focus on that soft blue and amethyst.

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I pumped the amethyst up to a darker, richer plum-pink-amethyst to create a better contrast with the other two colors (artistic license is so freeing, right? 😀 ). “Bottle Glass” is the blue on the left, “River Walk” is the soft gray with subtle speckles at center, and “Beach Treasure” is the plum-pink-amethyst on the right.

I really love how these colors turned out, and how they play together. Of course they’d each be wonderful on their own, and all three look great together, but they also work in combination of any two of them – either tonal solid with the speckle, and the two tonals would also look great together in a colorwork project.

There are so many fantastic patterns using multiple colors these days. I absolutely love working with two or more colors in fair isle, stranded, striped and other patterns.

The July Subscriber Inspiration colors are available on STF Philomena (four ply fingering weight superwash Merino, 438 yards per 100g skein) and STF Selene (three ply DK weight 100% nonshrink wool, 255 yards per 115g skein).

Some of my favorite pattern for finger weight yarns like Philomena are:

Clockwise from upper left (click on the following links to go directly to the Ravelry pages for these patterns, where they can be purchased): 3 Color Cashmere Shawl by Joji Locatelli (which I adjusted to add more of the third color), Breathing Space by Veera Valimaki, Sipila by Caitlin Hunter, and one of my all-time favorite designs, Ravello by Isabell Kraemer.

These are just a few possibilities for these colorways dyed on Philomena – check out this Ravelry search for hundreds more.

And, of course, loads of possibilities for multi-colored DK weight patterns for these colors dyed on STF Selene.

These colors will be available for pre-order on my website until July 25, 2018, or until they sell out!

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Knitting with Linen?

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It is so hot and humid in Virginia these days! Good grief, I just can’t stand the humidity anymore.

For me, Heat + Humidity = No Handknits to Wear. Which is a bummer. I bought some Shibui Reed and also Shibui Linen (which is a really interesting construction!) last year, thinking I’d knit myself some summer handknits … someday.

That someday is now. This weather had me pulling the Reed out a few days ago, and swatching (this is the Ash colorway). And I started looking for patterns.

I love Elizabeth Doherty’s new pattern, Westbound, which calls for Shibui Reed. I bought it, and I’ll knit it someday. But, the yarn is held double throughout and this is problematic for two reasons: 1) I don’t have enough yarn and 2) I wanted a lightweight top.

Then I bought Linho, by Joji Locatelli. I also love this one, too, but it uses Quince & Co. Sparrow, which is lighter weight than Reed … and … I don’t have enough yardage for this one either.

THEN, I bought Cullum, which is designed in Quince & Co. Sparrow, but there are quite a few knit in Reed. I have enough yarn for this one. I think ;-).

So, I swatched, and I soaked and blocked my swatch. And by blocking, I mean that I laid it out and let it dry as it wanted – no pins, no stretching. Nada. (I did not, however, machine wash and dry it … perhaps I should?).

Cullum and Linho say to expect linen to relax by 10% and that this has been factored into the sizing. My swatch did not relax at all. 5″ x 6″ unblocked … pretty much 5″ x 6″ blocked. ARGH. What to do?!

What do you think? Should I figure my swatch is correct and move forward? Or should I factor in a 10% growth estimate for a full-sized garment and go with that? I mean, I know it doesn’t have the memory of wool, since there’s no crimp … but how much will it grow is my dilemna. I don’t want to end up with a humongous tent ;-).

All opinions and advice are welcome!

On another note: would anyone be interested in hand-dyed linen, or a linen-silk or other linen blend? I’ve been considering delving into dyeing plant fibers for the last year or so, because, truly, I’d like to have some handknits that don’t have wool in them. I don’t know if it’s me, or if the humidity and heat actually ARE worse, but I’ve definitely been more attracted to lighter weight yarns for most of my projects (dk is about as heavy as I personally want to go for most things these days). And there’s just no way I can wear wool in the summer anymore.

My entire dyeing career has been all about protein fibers, so I’ve never considered widening the scope to plant fibers. These days, I definitely am.

Anyone interested, or is it just me?

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