Archive for April, 2012

Nature’s Little Spinners

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Tucked away under a canopy of oak and juniper trees in the tropical forests of China and India, nature’s little spinners are blissfully munching away on leaves as they begin their incredulous cycle from shy caterpillar to silk moth, creating some of the most lustrous fibres for knitters.  Tussah Silk is uncultivated, known as ‘wild silk’ which is harvested naturally after the moth emerges from the cocoon.  The fibre is a creamy beige colour due to the tannin in the oak and juniper leaves and is difficult to bleach but does dye beautifully with shades muted by the natural honeyed undertone.  This fibre is very resilient with a slubby texture, not slippery like mulberry silk and blends well with viscose or wool to maintain elasticity.

A beautiful silk moth emerges from its cocoon…..

 

Chinese Silk Moth

and leaves behind silken strands…..

 

Tussah Silk Slivers

A fresh collection of designs with a style that is just right for all fashion types is at your LYS this Spring featuring Tussah Silk DK from Sublime, a 50/50 blend of Tussah silk and viscose in twelve muted hues-

 

Tussah Silk col #308

The Sophisticate!  Understated in a creamy shade of Soba yellow, this vest has an elegant look, combining subtle texture and exceptional stitch detail.  Twelve shades are yours for the picking.  Tussah Silk col #308 (shown above).  

 

Tussah Silk col #309

The Fashion Diva!  Get two stylish looks with one unique design.  A lattice yoke at the front draws the eye upwards and creates a modest neckline, while the back features a deep V which can be reversed for a change of pace.  Tussah Silk Col #309 (shown above). 

 

Tussah Silk col #311

The Modernist!   A trendy tie-front design to liven up the classics and add pizazz to this season’s collection of flowy skirts, and palazzo pants.  Tussah Silk col #311 (shown above). 

 

Soba in Tussah Silk

The Sportster!  For active cool-girl style, try this airy waistcoat on for size, its a practical wear-anywhere piece with timeless appeal.  Tussah Silk col #308 (shown above).

 

Habotai in Tussah Silk

The Bohemian!  Top off long flouncy skirts this season with the latest interpretation of the twin set.  This lacy shrug adds a little shoulder coverage when necessary, and stays perfectly in position over a sleeveless shellTussah Silk Col #309 (shown above). 

 

Pomegranate in Tussah Silk

The Minimalist!  When in doubt, keep it simple with this quiet silhouette, a raglan sleeve cardigan lets the quality of the yarn speak volumes and partners well over a sleek outfit for a special occasion just as easily as making the switch to jeans and a white T.  Tussah Silk Col #311 (shown above). 

Colour Rx

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Some days a pop of colour might be all it takes to go from feeling irritable and out of sorts to bursting at the seams with energy.  Scientists have found that colours can have a psychological effect on us, vibrant reds increase self-confidence and boost spirits, while bright blues evoke a sense of calmness.  Researchers at the University of Essex in Britain, have found colours not only affect our mood but our memory, mental agility, reaction times and level of strength.  Test participants who were shown bright colours scored up to twenty-five percent higher in tests of mental agility over those who were shown only grey and beige shades.  Hand-eye coordination also increased when viewing cheerful colour.  “This shows that prescribing yourself a dose of colour could not only prove the perfect antidote to seasonal blues, it could also make you smarter and better able to remember things,” said lead researcher, Duncan Smith.

 

 The Psychology of Colour and How It Makes Us Feel

Blue:  calm, serene, cool, focused, satisfied 

Red:  warm, excited, energetic, romantic, intense

Green:  natural, calm, cool, harmonious, tranquil

Purple:  sophisticated, exotic, wise, spiritual, mysterious

Yellow:  happy, warm, hungry, optimistic, cheerful

Orange:  energetic, excited, enthused, stimulated

 

From the latest NORO Collection, here is a technicolor prescription for cloudy days-

 

Noro Now by Jenny Watson

From Noro NOW! by Jenny Watson, a sweeping spectrum of vibrant hues adds gusto to this cable detail waistcoat.  Knit in Odori, a bulky weight combo of silk, angora, and wool in six knock-your-socks-off colourways.  Col #9 (shown above).

 

Noro Cabled Bag

Show off your true colours with this trendy shoulder bag knit in Taiyo, a dreamy mishmash of cotton, silk, and wool in an aran weight.  Check out eight new colourways that will rival any box of crayons.  Col #37 (shown above).

 

Noro Taiyo Waistcoat

From the Noro Collection, Volume 31, a riot of colour in a summery vest, and surprisingly quick to knit in a simple basketweave stitch.  An ideal topper over a crisp white shirt.  Knit in Taiyo by Noro.  Col #17 (shown above).

 

Rainbow Cardigan

Catch the Noro fever with this ‘wear me anywhere’ raglan cardigan knit in Taiyo, a comfy cotton mix packed full of exuberance in thirty splashy paintbox colourways.  Col #34 (shown above).

 

Karuta Cabled Top

Calm and serene, and ready to relax in this cabled top knit in Karuta by Noro.  A fairweather cotton, silk and wool blend available in eight ombre shadings.  Col #3 (shown above).

 

Silk Garden Socks

Looking for a nifty gift idea?  Knit a pair of cottage slipper socks from Jenny Watson’s Mini Knits Three, in Noro’s ever-popular Silk Garden Sock, a blend of kid mohair, silk, and lambswool in eight zesty choices.  Col #304 (shown above).

 

Taiyo Polo Inset

A cheery capelet to cover the shoulders is knit in Taiyo’s sherbet shading from Jenny Watson.  If you haven’t viewed her entire collection of designs in Mini Knits Three, its chock full of inspiration for fun weekend knitting projects.  Col #11 (shown above).

Simply Crochet

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

With all the daily advancements in technology, trying to keep up with the latest in social media, mobile devices, and apps, could it be that we are secretly pining for the past??  The tremendous popularity of the tv series, Mad Men resonates loudly in that direction and is the catalyst in creating a retro movement, back to the ‘peace and love’ generation, when life was unhurried, and full of homespun goodness.  A ‘blast from the past’, crochet is part of that era, and has been experiencing a surprising revival on the fashion runways since last Fall stealing the limelight and peeking through the veil of knitwear.  It looks like crochet is a trend that will ‘keep on keeping on.’

Fresh from the Debbie Bliss Collection for Spring, comes a superb book of crochet designs titled, Simply Crochet with eleven modern interpretations inspired by the mod era.

This collection is my first venture into the craft of crochet and I wanted to create stylish garments that would engage the seasoned crocheters as well as knitters who, like me, had been intrigued by its possibilities but needed fairly simple patterns to begin with.”  Debbie Bliss

 

Anouk

Dy-no-mite!  An off-the-shoulder sophisticated style is crocheted in a ‘barely blush’ tinge of Rialto 4.  Four new soft and romantic shades have been added to this range of luxurious merino.

Francoise

Be There Or Be Square!  A mandarin style jacket is worked in petite squares, which are easily joined together as you go.  White has never looked so right in Rialto 4, the yarn of choice for this classic, a lightweight creamy merino wool available in an array of more than thirty colours.

Sylvie

Feelin’ Groovy!  A gracious return to the hippie chic days of Sonny and Cher with this blissful skirt crocheted in three complimentary shades of Rialto 4– col #1, #28, and #34 (shown above).

Catherine

Right On!  If the thought of a project entirely in crochet is too daunting, try this stylish knitted pullover in Baby Cashmerino accented with a crocheted yoke.  Ten new shades are in stock for Spring, with col #65 (shown above).

Teresa

Flower Power!  If you grew up in the seventies, this will bring back some fond memories.  The granny square was the mainstay of rec room decor, and those ‘made by mom’ homespun hats and scarves.  But this boho bag is designed with a whole new generation of crafters in mind, beginning at the centre, the granny square is worked in a continual crochet round, making it easy to alternate between colours.  Baby Cashmerino, col #54, #57, and #66 are (shown above).

Daisy

Outta Sight!  Crocheted collars are back in vogue, the dressy finale to a plain outfit and very quick to whip up.  This pretty crocheted filet charmer is worked with only one ball of Rialto Lace, a brand new merino wool quality from Debbie Bliss, perfectly suited for lace projects in twenty hues.