Finished Object: Icelandic Yoke Sweater #2!

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I finished the Icelandic yoke sweater for my son over the weekend, and I’m SO happy with how it turned out!

This one was the result of Jackson trying on my North Shore sweater, and very nearly walking off with it (if it had been even one little bit softer, he probably would have tried to take it). He wanted a sweater, too, but like Caragh, he wanted it SOFT, and also in a more geometric pattern. He didn’t like any of the ones I could find on Ravelry; they were too busy, or too feminine-looking (to him), or too flowery, or too “scenic.” So I looked through most of my stitch pattern books and found the main “X” pattern in one of them (I can’t remember which, unfortunately), and then to keep it simple, created a basic colorwork striped pattern for above and below it.

This one, too, is knit in my DK weight cashmere base, Elysium. This is a base I’ve only ever used in my Yarn Club, but it’s so nice I might have to do a special run sometime.

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I designed Jackson’s sweater from scratch rather than going with a pattern, because I already knew he wanted a yoke pattern I was going to have to design. Having just knit two bottom-up yoke sweaters, I’m now familiar with the general construction and structure. Finally, having just finished Caragh’s sweater, I knew what my gauge was for this yarn, and how it would behave in this sort of design. So I set about by measuring a sweater Jackson already had, added a bit for growing room, and went from there.

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He loves it, and it fits him very nicely. I knit it with enough room that it should fit him forever, even after he fills out a bit from his current tall, lanky frame. Knowing how both my husband and my brother went from being very lanky (even skinny) as young men, to still fit but broader in the shoulders especially, I knew if this was going to be a sweater Jackson could wear for a long time, I needed to plan ahead.

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So, it’s loose, but not too baggy. (Jackson wanted to make sure I got his toe shoes in at least one photo, so there you go! Obligatory toe shoe shot.)

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Jackson picked the colors: a deep, dark charcoal blue with light gray and natural white for the pattern. They look so great together, and so great on him.

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While I loved knitting for my kids when they were little, creating something I know they’ll wear into adulthood, a cherished, handmade piece of their wardrobe that’s basically a hug from their Mom every time they wear it, makes me incredibly happy. And a just a little bit teary when I see them wearing what I’ve made especially for them. It’s really one of the best things about making things by hand.

Since posting the first photo to my Instagram and Facebook accounts last night, I’ve had quite a few requests for the pattern. So, I’m going to knit this again, in one of my regular bases (either Birte, Brigantia, or Selene) and actually write it down while I do it. Then, I’ll be looking for a slew of test knitters!

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So, leave a comment if you might be interested in test knitting this design. AND a suggestion on what to name this design, if one comes to you. Naming patterns is just as difficult as naming colorways can be!

 

Posted in Finished Objects!, Knitting | 24 Comments

Color Inspiration Thursday: South Pacific

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South Pacific on Spirit Trail Selene

South Pacific is a beautifully rich blue with aqua and teal-green undertones. The ocean in shadow and moonlight, when it’s that deep, mysterious blue-that-has-so-much-going-on was my inspiration for this colorway, which is one of my favorites.

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I’m dreaming of pairing South Pacific with Retro and Au Naturel, or Lavender Fronds (a brand new colorway; stay tuned for the inspiration for this one!) and Glacier, or for a project with some awesome pop, Lady Slipper and Lemon Tart! So many possibilities with this colorway, which is another one of those perfect non-neutral neutrals.

 

Posted in Color Inspiration Thursday | 4 Comments

Introducing Selene!

Spirit Trail Selene in brand new colorways for Spring (clockwise from upper left): Lady Slipper, Lavender Fronds, Lemon Tart, Atlantis, and Sprout

Today, I’m really pleased to introduce Selene, the DK weight version of Luna, my new worsted base which I introduced last month in a limited color run of various pink shades (don’t worry, more Luna is coming in other colors in the near future). Selene, Luna, and Eos (the fingering weight version) are all spun from non-shrink 100% wool.

The fiber, which is a blend of different wools including but not limited to Merino, has been raised and processed under GOTS-certified standards for organic and ethical shepherding and processing. What this means is it’s been processed to be non-shrink without the use of either the coating plastics or acid stripping typically used to create superwash yarns. Neither of these methods are very good for the environment, and both create super-slick and smooth yarns … which is nice when you want something super-soft, but isn’t always the best choice for projects. This new fiber still feels like wool and has the spring of wool, but it can be machine washed and dried (I still recommend hand washing for longest wear, or washing / drying on gentle and cool settings).

Selene is great for colorwork, and I’ve dyed a series of colors which work well both on their own, and combined for colorwork. As a three-ply yarn, cables and stitch patterns pop in Selene. And, while it feels like wool, it’s still next-to-skin soft, and machine washable, so it’s especially great for projects that will get a lot of wear and tear, for babies and children, and for gifts to loved ones who may not understand the necessity of hand washing non-superwash items.

Spirit Trail Selene in some of my favorite recent colorways (clockwise from upper left): Glacier, Antique Rose, Au Naturel, South Pacific, Fog, and Eggplant

And because I can’t help myself when it comes to playing with colors for colorwork projects, here are some awesome possible pairings:

For now, these new non-shrink bases will only be available online (or, if you’re in the neighborhood, in the shop at my studio in Sperryville, VA).

Posted in Color, Spirit Trail Studio, Yarn | Leave a comment

Guinea Pig Creative, and Poll Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took my poll on Maryland Sheep & Wool. It’s so helpful for me to get feedback, and I really appreciate it! The winner of the random drawing from the comments here on the blog is: Paula! Who I’ve now emailed and the yarn and pompom are on their way to her!

This past Wednesday evening, I had a group of local friends over to the studio to dye silk scarves. I had some different techniques I wanted to try out for a class, and thought testing it out on friends would be a great plan. That way, if it didn’t work out well, I wouldn’t have wasted people’s money in taking the class.

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Guinea Pig Creative at Spirit Trail Fiberworks Studio

 

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Talking color possibilities

 

I emailed and asked if they’d be my “guinea pigs,” and thankfully they were happy to oblige. I especially wanted them to help me because none of them have ever used dyes like this before, so they were newbies to the process. Jeez, we had so much fun, and decided we need to get together every couple of months for a night of group creativity. And Jen Perrot made it official when she dubbed us “Guinea Pig Creative.”

These ladies are not only a whole lot of fun, kind, generous and just super people, they’re all artists, too. So, I thought I’d introduce them because, if you’re ever in Rappahannock County, VA, most of them have great places to visit, and some are on the Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour (every year, the first full weekend in November:

Patti Brennan of De’Danann Glassworks is an amazing stained glass artist (we met when my husband gave me stained glass classes for Christmas nearly 10 years go; what a great Christmas present, right?!). She has weekend workshops and is one of the driving forces (probably THE driving force) behind the Rappahannock Artisan Trail and our new Second Saturday Open Door Tour monthly events.

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Patti’s scarf (looks rather like stained glass, doesn’t it?)

Kat Habib creates beautiful hand-built ceramics at Kat Habib Ceramics, using various firing methods the create really stunning and unique pieces, which are for sale in the Flourish Roots shop (see below).

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Kat’s scarf

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQllG-kD1RL/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">My first hand dyed silk scarf! Thank you for having me as a guinea pig @spirittrailfiberworks!! It was a great class and I'd happily play in your studio for hours! Such a gift to live in this talented and warm community.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Kat Habib (@kat.habib) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-16T21:14:43+00:00">Feb 16, 2017 at 1:14pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Kat’s scarf on Instagram

Heidi Morf, who used to own Four and Twenty Blackbirds (a phenomenal restaurant in Flint Hill, VA), and then Twenty Four Crows (cafe and gift shop), creates phenomenal stained glass art, mosaics, lamp work beads. Right now she shows her work at other studios, including Patti’s; we’re hoping she builds herself a studio so we can go play with her art supplies, too. heheh.

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Heidi’s first scarf, which we thought might have been over-saturated but turned out so incredible. 

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Heidi’s second scarf (this was actually the under-color of the first scarf before she added the other colors!)

Karen Mosebrook owns Morningside Farms Nursery with her husband, and Cocoa Manna, where she creates hand-roasted cocoa beans and brewing chocolate (sort of a coffee “alternative,” but more than just an alternative … I like it mixed with coffee!). She’s now also getting into handmade artisanal chocolates, and I can’t wait to see how this develops (and to be HER chocolate-making guinea pig later this year!).

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Karen’s scarf. So pretty.

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQnkZQ9Bi1n/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Special thanks to @spirittrailfiberworks for the silk scarf dying class, it was a total blast! @flourishrootflorals @heritagehollowfarms @dedanannglass .</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Karen Mosebrook (@cocoamanna) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-17T15:46:57+00:00">Feb 17, 2017 at 7:46am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Karen’s Scarf on Instagram

Jen Perrot of Flourish Root Florals creates absolutely gorgeous floral arrangements, wreaths and other pieces. In addition to her own floral arrangements for weddings, special events, and special order, her shop also features Kat’s beautiful ceramics.

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Jen’s scarf. This one was the biggest surprise, because Jen started with an under color of khaki green, adding a burgundy and brown overlay which ended up covering the green entirely. But, the green gives it a depth it wouldn’t otherwise have. 

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQnXM8Ilp4t/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">#creative #collaboration with dear friends in my village….#lucky to be surrounded by so much talent…. . . My first hand dyed scarf…and I'm hooked. #thankyou @spirittrailfiberworks for sharing an evening &amp; happy to be a #guineapig . . and so begins the #guineapigcreative collective of dear friends &amp; sweet souls… . . #flourishroot #florals #makesomething #handcrafted #artisan #makesmehappy #makesmesmille #thisiswhatwedo</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Flourish Root Florals (@flourishrootflorals) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-17T13:51:41+00:00">Feb 17, 2017 at 5:51am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Jen’s Scarf on Instagram

Molly Peterson is a talented photographer, farmer, and co-owner of Heritage Hollow Farms with her husband, Mike. They have a farm store next to Flourish Root Florals, where they sell their pasture-raised meats, some of Molly’s photographs and notecards, candles from a local candle maker, and other local products.

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Molly’s scarf. Like clouds and a rich summer sky.

It’s really cool how each scarf really reflects the art of its owner. Even if that wasn’t on purpose, it obviously leaks through!

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One of the fun aspects of dyeing scarves is not being entirely sure what will happen in the dye process. There’s an alchemy that isn’t completely controllable. Which I believe is one of the reasons I really enjoy dyeing scarves the way I do; it’s a process I can’t completely control. And that’s good for me, when most of my other dyeing is very controlled and purposeful.

And that’s a run down of Guinea Pig Creative. Stay tuned for more photos of our creative group activities. Next time it might be Pysanky (Ukranian) egg decorating, for Easter and the Spring Equinox.

Posted in Give Aways, Guinea Pig Creative, Silk Scarves, Spirit Trail Studio | 1 Comment