Monday, March 4, 2013

Making Monday: Shibui Mix


Rings of mini skeins display the array of colors available.
 Shibui Mix
Have you heard of Shibui? It is a line of yarns that come in a variety of luxurious blends and weights. The color ways coordinate well, allowing the knitter to hold multiple strands of yarn to create unique effects. The yarns include Baby Alpaca DK, Cima, HeichiLinen, Merino Alpaca, Silk Cloud, Sock, Staccato. The thing you need to understand is that you can have the halo of Silk Cloud, the softness of Baby Alpaca and the strength of Staccato and when combined, the yarn equals a worsted weight. It is up to the design features of your pattern, whether you need yarn that has a nice drape, or the sheen of silk, I urge you to explore the potentials of this line of fibers.

I first heard of Shibui Mix while at Northampton Wool's Cape Escape knitting retreat. We were given an array of mini skeins in one color and a "cheat sheet".

Our first task was to match a snippet of yarn to the  correct weight description. As we moved through this process, I marveled at the color and softness of the yarns, baby alpaca was never so enticing. Once we had correctly identified the yarn, we taped a bit next to the ball band description on the cheat sheet.


Next, we took cards from the center of the table; they reminded me of chemistry flash cards. SC= SilkCloud, BA= Baby Alpaca, etc.  These cards were our guide to matching yarns to a pattern. If a pattern called for worsted weight we could pair yarns like Silk Cloud and Baby Alpaca with to get proper gauge for the pattern.
Silk Cloud + Staccato
Oh the color options! I revel in deeply saturated jewel tones, my stash and project pages are proof. This line of yarn has gorgeous tones of blue, red, and purple as well as the muted natural tones. Check out the array of hues on the mini skein sample rings. And you need to know that the depth of color pops when you hold two or three yarns together.

The Shibui patterns are a bit edgy, fashion forward, and to some, boxy and shapeless. To me, they are perfect venues to highlight the qualities of the yarn. Here are my top five favorite patterns. No. 4 is my favorite and the one I really wanted to order yarn for, it is a decadent wrap or throw for the back of your favorite chair. The yarn is eventually going to be ordered, as soon as I have a good reason to reward myself at that level. The pattern might look simplistic, but if you look closely, the ribs vary in width and create a sculptural effect.

Trapezoid
No. 5, so simple, so elegant.
No. 4, the decadent throw/wrap that I really want to make. Note spacing of ribbing.
SC. 1, this dress was AMAZING!
Gradient, a free pattern that uses four skeins of Silk Cloud

Mix No. 3
Here is a look at the pattern I did order yarn for. It is a simple triangular shawl, but it is nearly weightless and so soft, like a butterfly kiss. I ordered yarn in the UV color way, a deeply saturated purple hue that will be a nice punch of color as an accesssory.
Shibui Silk Cloud in UV colorway

Shibui also offers free patterns on their web page. I have two in my Ravelry queue and I now realize that I should really consider using Shibui yarns to create the ultimate FO. Ok, Shibui does cause some to gasp at the price when calculating for a larger project. I will admit, I did the math for a wrap and initially, crossed it off my list. But I have to urge you to visit an LYS that does a Shibui Mix trunk show. When you see, feel, and try on the samples, I believe you will be converted. Why knit endless piles of stuff using less expensive workhorse yarns when you can revel in the luxury of this yarn as you knit, and later, wear the garment?

As a note, if you are in the vicinity of Northampton Wools, drop in and see this yarn in person. Linda has the kit which will help you pair fiber to pattern for a beautiful garment you will treasure for years to come.

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