We dyed this exclusive base yarn, Iridium, for Unwind to go with the hot weather in Los Angeles. The blend is 50% tencel (wood pulp!) and 50% superwash merino in a fingering weight yarn with a subtle shimmer. It only takes two or three skeins to knit this!
Originally the Chevron T pattern was designed for the Passport to Unwind Yarn Club and the club members received the pattern for free. Now, the pattern is available on Ravelry.
Chevron T is now on Ravelry. Print your pattern and write the secret word on the top right, bring it in to the shop to get 10% off materials at Unwind. Put two Unwind designs (one must be Chevron T) in your Ravelry cart, and you’re second pattern will be only $1 at checkout.
THE SECRET WORD IS “SHIMMER.”
The Chevron T is a wardrobe essential and can be worn with the V Neck in front or back. Or make two V Neck sides for a little extra allure.
Tencel yarn is naturally breathable and has 50% greater moisture absorption than cotton. It’s smooth like silk and cool like linen, but is relatively resistant to wrinkling. All these properties make it well-suited to summer knits or hot weather garments.
What else are you doing to beat the heat while knitting?
By Grace Verhagen, spinning nut and wool nerd
This blog post is the last of a three part series depicting my escapades sampling every fibre type of that SweetGeorgia Yarns has available. If you missed the previous entries, please check out my introduction and notes on BLF here, and my experiences sampling merino blends here.
Besides the merino and BFL tops I have already described, SweetGeorgia also carries four other silk and cellulose blends. 100% Bombyx Silk and 100% Tussah Silk are available in portions of 50 grams each, but a little silk goes a long, long way! Polworth+Silk is a wonderful treat if you have never experienced this exquisite wool base before, and hard-wearing Panda has been one of my favourite blends ever since I started spinning.
Now we’re getting into some different territory. 100% silk can be tricky to work with, but the time and effort is well worth the results! I spun this fibre as fine as possible, using my smallest whorl and lacing the single across my flyer before it wound onto the bobbin.
As I was drafting, I found the silk wanted to stick to my clothing and spinning apron, so I placed my fibre supply on a large sheet of paper on my lap so it wouldn’t snag before I spun it. Silk has no crimp, but I found this fibre really wanted to grip together. It was quite compact before I spin it, but I found that a little pre-drafting helped alot.
This fibre took the longest for me to spin, but I think that is because I was able to spin it so fine that it gave me the most yardage per gram of all the fibre blends. The resulting yarn was also the shiniest of all my samples.
My apartment is very warm this time of year, and it does not help that my spinning wheel is located in front of a reptile’s heat lamp. Sweaty hands meant that the tussah silk stuck to them immediately, and I could not draft the fibre smoothly into my wheel. However, I did come up with a work-around: I wore a very thin slippery plastic glove on my fibre-supply hand (this is a trick I picked up from trying to twist fibre on warm days at the studio). I could draft with ease after that!
This fibre was more wispy and delicate compared to the bombyx silk. It had to be handled carefully to avoid individual silk fibres drifting away. The staple length of this fibre seemed shorter to me, and the final yarn did not catch as intense a highlight, but it has a beautiful soft sheen and lightness the bombyx silk did not have. Both silks gave different results, but both were a pleasure to work with.
I have worked with this fibre blend numerous times before, and it has never failed to make me smile behind my spinning wheel. There is no need to pre-draft this top, it seems to melt from your hand onto the wheel. The colours are rich and deep, and though I cannot see the silk within the fibre, I can feel that it’s there. I spun this fibre a little thinner than the other DK weight yarns, as I know from past experience that it will plump up dramatically once it has been washed and dried.
I love the depth of shade and the softness of this fibre. It drafts extremely easily, and the resulting yarn has bounce and character. I find it very easy to spin thick, which is a task I normally find tricky to do. Another great fact about this fibre is how hardwearing and soft the final yarn is, thanks to the superwash wool and the small amount of nylon. This is a fibre base I could easily spin for socks with, or maybe even special baby clothes.
Silk is a pleasure to work with. It adds luxury and softness to any fibre you blend it with, and it can create dramatic results in the colour and texture of your yarn. Take a look at the final four swatches below; each of these yarns has its own unique character.
Well, that exercise was sure a treat for my fingers! Now I better get back to spinning for that sweater I want to have ready for the fall…
How have you found working with the SweetGeorgia Yarns collection of fibres? Have you noticed a dramatic difference in the texture and colour of your final yarns? Do you have a favorite style of spinning or special preparation you prefer? What type of yarns do to create with our different fibre types? Please share your experiences and stories with us! Thanks!
New pattern alert! Need a light and delicate cardi in anticipation of the cooling off of summer?! This new cardigan pattern, Resonance Cardi, designed by Amanda Bell takes the familiar striped sweater and turns it on its side — flattering vertical stripes are easily achieved by working pieces sideways rather than vertically. A lace pattern that bends the stripes into pretty waves edges the wider of two asymmetrical fronts.
The Resonance Cardi is knit in three pieces, worked side-to-side: a back and two asymmetrical fronts. The body gets its A-line silhouette from short row shaping that starts at the hem edge. After blocking and seaming the three main pieces together, the short, set-in sleeves are picked up from the armholes and shaped using short rows. For a clean finish, loosely carry unused color along wrong side of hem edge of work and slip first stitch of wrong side rows.
For the sample, Amanda chose to use Glacier and Pistachio for the two colours in CashSilk Lace which makes for a delicate, soft look. You could also choose two higher contrasting colours for more “vibration” or resonance. What two colours would you want to see together?
By Grace Verhagen, yarn enthusiast and baker of cookies
Last week, I sampled the three different bluefaced leicester blends that SweetGeorgia dyes to order at the studio. If you would like to learn more background information about my sampling project and check out my previous results, please follow the link here.
Merino is the fibre that comes to mind when most people think of ‘fine wool’. This ultra-soft sheep wool has a short sample length that can be tricky for beginners to spin, but makes it popular in everything from long underwear to shawls. SweetGeorgia offers four different blends that feature this popular and versatile fibre; Merino, Superwash Merino, Merino + Silk, and Merino Bamboo Silk.
The appearance of this top is quite different from BFL. At first glance, I can see that it does not have the same long wavy crimp. Some gentle pre-drafting shows me how short the staple length is. This big and bushy top is comfortable and satisfying to spin with, though it does not draft quite as smoothly as a silk blend. The yarn this fibre creates is so shiny and smooth, even without the addition of silk!
Wow — the superwash treatment of this top has really ‘poofed’ up this merino! This roving was the plumpest of all to work with. This fiber is extremely soft and drafts exceptionally well. The colours also appear to be much more brilliant and bright on this fibre than on the natural merino wool; they almost look like a ‘cartoon’ version of this colourway!
This fibre just glistened in my hand when I picked it up. The silk adds depth to the colourway and a beautiful shimmer to the top. At first, I found this delicate blend a little trickier to draft, but after I pre-drafted slightly, the fibre just slipped through my fingers. You can see the silk shimmer in your drafting zone before the twist enters — it makes you feel like you are spinning fireworks.
A stunning combination. White streaks of bamboo highlight this roving, and give the resulting yarn a slight tweedy feel. This fibre drafts like a dream, and the finished yarn is really bouncy and soft. The ‘Tapestry’ colourway appears totally different in this fibre than the other merino blends, much more mature and subdued, but I love it! Note to self — this would make great sweater yarn!
Check out the differences in the three swatches pictured below — what a range of colours! I find it fascinating that the type of fibre you choose can so radically affect the overall colour of your yarn, as well as the the strength, bounce, and softness.
Next week, I am going to dive into the rest of the SweetGeorgia fibre repertoire — all the luxury silk and cellulose blends I know you can’t wait to hear about. I think I need a break first though — too much spinning can lead to spinning silliness.
Cheers, and happy spinning!
Cast-on Cottage in Roswell, Georgia, is one of the newest shops to carry SweetGeorgia and they just received ALL 81 colourways of Tough Love Sock in their shop. Check out their blog and all their suggestions on what to make with Tough Love »
On my visit to Portland last week, I met with Lidia Tysmbal, the manager of Knit Purl, who designed this gorgeous shawl that takes less than one skein of our CashSilk Lace. Here’s the latest from their newsletter:
The Month of Lace is the perfect chance for us to share our newest passion, SweetGeorgia’s CashSilk Lace. From her studio in Vancouver, BC, Felicia Lo uses her “passionate, relentless and unapologetic love of colour” to create glorious hanks that have flown off of our shelves.
We were so impressed with the quality of the yarn and the spot-on subtlety of the dyes that we asked Felicia to create a custom colorway that articulated the love we have for our green city. Seagrass is a limited edition, so get it while you can!
Want to pick up this exclusive, limited-edition colourway from Knit Purl? Visit them here »
To feature our new Trinity Worsted, cashmere-blend worsted yarn, Grace and I tag-teamed to design this cowl and wristwarmer set. One skein of Trinity Worsted will make either the cowl or the wristwarmers. Pick up two skeins to make an extra long cowl that can be wrapped twice or to make the full set. Get both patterns online on Ravelry!
This pattern was original designed as a Mother’s Day gift for both my aunt and my own mom. I wanted to create something feminine without the hassle of a scarf’s loose ends or a shawl’s finicky shape. This cowl has a organic structure that looks alive even when just casually thrown on over a jacket or blouse. The combination of seed stitch and cablework provides an interesting project to knit, as well as an interesting pucker in the final product. One skein of yarn will produce a smart little neck warmer that can be knit quickly. The 2-skein version can be wrapped multiple times around the neck for extra comfort and warmth. — Grace
Super cozy and warm, these ribbed wristwarmers will stretch to fit all sizes. The centered double cable produces beautiful flowing curves and also helps to trap more air between the stitches, increasing the warmth overall.
Quick and easy to knit up, we’d love to see your finished Lineal sets!
By Grace Verhagen, fibre junkie and junior reporter
Before the summer instalment of TNNA this year, Felicia asked me to spin and knit samples of every fibre base that SweetGeorgia has available for sale. Right on! I gladly agreed — I thought the experience of comparing all eleven different blends would be unique and educational — and oh boy was I right!
My task was to spin approximately 35 grams of each different fibre base; enough to produce a sample skein of yarn as well as a knitted 5” x 5” swatch to show how the fibre would look and behave in a finished project.
Although all fibre bases are available in every colour that SweetGeorgia dyes, each sample I tested was dyed in the ‘Tapestry‘ colourway, part of our new fall palette. This way I could more easily compare the different attributes of the fibres.
I spun each sample the same way so I could keep my results as consistent as possible. After weighing myself a 35 gram length of top, I divided this in half lengthwise so I could create two equal bobbins of singles to be plied back together. Then I divided each of those lengths in half again the same way so the colours would repeat more often in the final yarn.
For a majority of the fibre samples I tried to spin the singles to a thickness that would result in a DK weight yarn after they were plied together. However, the pure silk samples I spun as fine as possible so I could knit a light, lacy swatch that would be more representative of the type of yarn most people would wish to create with this fibre.
All samples were spun worsted on my Schacht Ladybug using with a fast or medium whorl.
I decided to tackle the BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) blends first. Bluefaced Leicester is a ridiculously cute sheep whose wool has become very popular in recent years. The medium-long staple length is sturdy enough to be used in socks, but it is also soft enough to worn next in the skin in a shawl or sweater. SweetGeorgia offers top comprised of 100% BFL, 100% superwash BFL, and 75% BFL/25% tussah silk.
When I compared this top side by side with my other samples, I noticed right away how much crimp and bounce is in this wool! This quality allows the fibre to hold itself together while it is being handled, yet it still drafts extremely well. The crimp gives the resulting yarn structure and confidence. The fibre has a matte look to it, and this in combination with the slightly fuzzy texture of the yarn made the resulting swatch rather rustic and natural looking.
This fibre base has all the crimp of the original BFL fibre, but with extra POOF! Superwash wool has been specially treated so it will not felt if machine washed. This top feels thick and bulky for its weight. It also absorbed the dye differently than the natural BFL – the colours seem slightly more rich and saturated. Spinning this fibre feels exactly the same as working with regular BFL, except it drafts a little bit smoother.
Oh! This sample has all the puffiness and bounce of the other BFL wools, but the silk blended into this fibre makes feel softer to the touch. The silk has absorbed the dye differently than the wool around it – this top has extra tints of colour captured by the silk, and my singles look extremely shiny on their bobbins. The BFL keeps the resulting yarn sturdy and plump, and it drafts like butter onto my spinning wheel.
Take a peek at the photo below of the final swatches produced by the experiments with BFL yarn; compare the contrast of colours and shine between the three different blends!
Next week, I will explore the merino blends that SweetGeorgia has to offer!
PS. Want to learn to spin with Grace?! She will be teaching a 4-week beginning spinning class at the SweetGeorgia Yarns Studio in Vancouver starting August 6th!
It’s been 17 years since I’ve been to Salt Lake City. The first time was during university when my girlfriends and I drove down from Vancouver through Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to Utah to visit one of our closest friends who had moved to study there. This time, my husband and I drove 17 hours each way to Snowbird, Utah to join about 650 other nerds and Frogpants fans in a mini convention called Nerdtacular.
The first stop was Portland for a quick visit to Knit Purl and Dublin Bay Knitting Co, both of whom carry our yarns now. Knit Purl has a beautifully clean and refined aesthetic — nothing on the floors, everything perfectly arranged and aligned. There is a whole wall of Shibui yarns, and another wall of just Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter and Loft yarns. And in the centre of the shop is a full display of Habu silk, paper and metallic yarns. Dublin Bay is spacious and full of gorgeous yarns, including their own hand-dyed yarn called Solstice and also hand-dyed yarns by Three Irish Girls.
Knit Purl is located right next to a city block packed with food carts. So of course, we had to stop and get lunch at Nong’s Khao Man Gai for their very popular Chicken and Rice. It was so simple — literally a cup of rice with steamed chicken wrapped in a piece of paper with a bit of sauce on the side. It’s something I could eat everyday, it was so good! (But so bizarre that it was served in just a piece of paper!).
We also stopped by to see what all the fuss was about at Voodoo Doughnut. It was the middle of the heat wave and we stood outside in the blistering hot sun for about half an hour, waiting in line to get some donuts. When I finally got to the counter, my brain was so fried I couldn’t make out the meaning of the items on the menu… (like, what flavour is a “Voodoo Doll” donut?? I still dunno) but I ended up getting the Portland Cream (just like a Boston Cream) and the apple fritter and they were awesome.
Driving to Boise, we stopped at the side of the highway to look at a bunch of alpacas and watch the sunset over the wheat fields. The difference between Oregon and Idaho is so immediately distinct. Once you cross the state line, the landscape turns from trees and green to rolling golden hills of wheat and farms. Idaho looks nearly uninhabited except for the patchwork of greens and golds of farmland. Once we reached Salt Lake City, we stopped for a relaxing coffee break with knitwear designer, Miriam Felton, and her husband. It was great to see her knitting away on her new, very innovative, gauntlet design as we chatted. I think her new Modern Colorwork collection will be well received when it launches later this summer.
We reached the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort by Thursday evening, just in time for the Early Bird meet-and-greet with many of the participants. It was also in good time because later that night heavy rainfall ended up causing a rock slide on the road to the resort that prevented many locals from making it to the event for the Friday morning start!
What is Nerdtacular? It’s kind of crazy sounding, but it’s basically a giant meet-up for fans of the Frogpants Studios network of podcasts. Everyone gathered at Snowbird to meet the people who make these podcasts, watch the panel discussions and live casts, and play boardgames together for the weekend. Nearly everyday my husband and I listen to The Morning Stream, and last year they even played our wedding song request on the show on the day of our anniversary, so we were pretty excited to meet Scott and Brian… and Turpster, Marc and Nicole Spagnuolo, Stephen Schleicher, and all the other producers. Surprse highlights of the weekend included Brian Brushwood‘s insane magic act wherein he stuck nails in his eyes and cut his own tongue off and watching Justin Robert Young and Tom Merritt improv an episode of FSL, a feat of bizarre creativity and comedy. Seeing such creativity in all these people, regardless of what they are nerds about (whether is music or Magic, Star Trek or Star Wars), was incredibly inspiring.
On Sunday afternoon, we drove back in to SLC to do a little trunk show at Blazing Needles. It’s a wonderfully cozy shop that has taken over an entire house in a residential area of SLC… and it has a metal sculpture of knitting needles and yarn outside on the front lawn that can be lit on fire!
I spoke about SweetGeorgia and our studio in Vancouver and we passed around garment samples for everyone to try on and play with. One of the girls at the shop, Danny, even designed a little monster stuffy in our Hummingbird colourway for the trunk show. After the trunk show at Blazing Needles, we returned to Snowbird for one last night and took the last gondola up to the Peak to catch the view of the ski runs and the valley. It almost made me feel like yodeling.
The only thing I bought on the entire trip was a skein of Bumblebirch yarn. It was hand-dyed in Portland and is a soft and squishy blend of Bluefaced Leicester wool and bamboo in a fingering weight.
Finally, we started home on Monday morning and saw more alpacas along the way (sheared, this time). I finished several knitting and crochet projects along the way, crocheting at least a couple dozen more squares for my Summer Garden blanket. It was a much needed time to rest and disconnect after all the hustle of TNNA and the preparation leading up to it. Road trips are fun… all the random truck stops and small towns, the gas stations in the middle of nowhere that gouge you on gas prices, the hours of podcasts and chatting, and oh so much knitting time. Thanks to my husband who drove the whole 35 hours without getting us a speeding ticket. Two things I could have never accomplished.