Archives For the Fibre Company

Now that I’m home from all my adventures, I wanted to share a little about the launch of The Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. When I spent some time at The Fibre Co. stand over the course of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I was struck again by what a wonderful experience it was to be in a collection with two incredible designers, working with a company that makes such an amazing product. It was fascinating to see how we all had such unique interpretations of the theme of water: waves, waterfalls, rivers, bays, and quiet pools. Texture was a really huge part of the collection, which makes sense with a yarn as tactile as Road to China. Watching people react to the shawls in person was so meaningful. No one could resist touching them, and people were so generous with their appreciation of all the designs. Hiroko’s gorgeous lacy yellow Lingholm shawl really stood out as a perfect pop of colour, and everyone wanted to try it on!

I absolutely loved seeing all of the shawls together, so I thought I’d share a little of that experience with all of you who couldn’t make it to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

Melanie2 Collage

Hiroko Collage

Helen Collage

Top to bottom, left to right: Melanie Berg’s Armadale and Falls of Foyers; Hiroko Payne’s Lingholm and Portinscale; my Kelso and Tobermory.

It was a really big deal for me to be a part of this project, and I want to give a big thank you to The Fibre Co, to my two fellow designers, and to everyone who has commented, sent me messages, and bought the patterns already. It means so much to me to be a part of such a supportive, creative community.

All photos ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

I’m really thrilled to finally be able to share not one but two brand new shawl patterns with you today. Tobermory and Kelso were designed as part of the Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. Three designers each contributed two shawl designs: myself, Melanie Berg, and Hiroko Payne. The Waves collection was created to showcase the incredible Road to China Light yarn from The Fibre Company. Being part of this collection has been a wonderful experience. I’m delighted to be in the company of such wonderful shawl designers, and working with the Road to China Light yarn was a dream.

 

The Tobermory Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Tobermory shawl is named after an impossibly beautiful seaside town on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where brightly painted buildings sparkle against the dark blue bay. Legend has it that a Spanish galleon laden with gold lies at the bottom of that bay, lost in the 16th Century and never recovered.

Back of the Tobermory Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The stripes of the crescent shaped Tobermory shawl hint at the promise of riches beneath the waves. Its easy lace and eyelets were planned to thoughtfully showcase two colours of the gorgeous Road to China Light yarn: lustrous, subtly tonal, and always treasured.

Buy Tobermory on Ravelry!

Kelso Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Kelso shawl takes its name from a charming Scottish border town which lies nestled in the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers. Known for the romance of its ruined abbey, graceful bridges, and cobblestone streets, it is a place to lose yourself in time as you wander along the riverbanks.

Kelso Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

An elongated triangle shawl, Kelso captures the different textures of river and town, with wonderful three-coloured stripes, flickering eyelets and simple lace. The pattern was designed to feature the distinct beauty of the Road to China Light yarn, bringing its complex saturated tones and gentle lustre centrestage.

Buy Kelso on Ravelry!

 

Like so many knitters, my work is deeply influenced by fibre. So many of my designs can trace their beginnings back to a skein of yarn that captured my heart and set my mind working. I always like to share a little about how the fibres I work with spark my creativity, so here’s a little bit more about the fantastic yarn which inspired the Waves Collection. I spent ages pouring over the Road to China shade cards to choose colours…they are all so jewel like and luscious. I spent ages pouring over the shade cards to choose colours. I decided on something a bit more dramatic for Tobermory, and was really influenced by the water theme for Kelso with the blues…I imagine a misty morning on the water with the lavender.

Here’s the description from The Fibre Co.

The Road to China blend was born from our days of owning a small mill back in Maine in the early days of The Fibre Co. Years of fibre exploration at the carding machine hand blending raw fleeces led to the pursuit of the perfect yarn made from truly luxurious fibres. The resulting Road to China blend creates a knit fabric with a soft halo but enough definition to explore subtle textures and shifting patterns. In keeping with the tone of gentle decadence that Road to China brings, we developed a colour palette that is inspired by nature’s jewels and dyed each hank to work in harmony with the raw fibres that go into the blend. Combining the light fawn of the baby alpaca with the soft tones of camel and cashmere as well as the lustrous sheen of silk gives the perfect base for subtle duotones that peek through our saturated colours. Road to China Light is the hank we reach for when we want to create something truly special.

This is one of, if not the, most luxurious yarns I’ve knit with. It’s so soft and silky — incredible to both knit with and wear. Super cosy. I also really came to love the sport weight. It has a bit more body than fingering but still very light. I’m just such a fan.

It’s so exciting to send these two patterns out into the world after working on the designs in secret for so long. I absolutely love this shawls, and I hope you will too! The samples will be on display at The Fibre Company’s stand at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so you can visit them in person. (I also recommend taking a moment to pet a few skeins of the Road To China yarn!)

It has become a Curious Handmade tradition that I design a special pattern for each retreat. We’ve been so lucky to have The Fibre Company as a retreat sponsor since we began running these events: each time I’ve had the privilege to create a pattern inspired by one of their luxury yarns.  The very first retreat pattern was the Hilltop Shawl, which used the perfectly-named Cumbria yarn. Next came the Bracile Hat and Cowl for the last autumn retreat. They used the amazing woolen-spun Arranmore yarn.

Today I’m excited to release the third CHCH pattern, the Laveer Kerchief, made from The Fibre Company’s luxurious new yarn, Luma.

IMG_3245

Laveer is an evocative old nautical term for sailing against the wind. I love the sense of striving, adventure, and exhilaration in that word, and I think this snug little accessory captures that same sense of exploration. Perfect for windy days on land or sea, Laveer is a jaunty sailor-striped kerchief which exists somewhere in the space between a cowl and a shawl. Knit in the round and featuring easy lace and eyelets, it’s versatile and cosy, but light enough to wear even on warmer days.

You can buy the Laveer pattern here now!

A little bit about the yarn: Luma has a tagline which really sums up this wonderful yarn: “threads of sunlight.” 50% Merino wool, 25% Organic cotton, 15% Linen, 10% Silk.

Here’s the Fibre Company’s description…

A classic DK weight yarn, Luma is inspired by the mood and light found in mid-latitude savannas—those grassland ecosystems with open canopies allowing plenty of sunlight. Daily life in mid-latitude climates, whether in the drier Mediterranean or temperate Great Plains of the USA, is best handled with a layered approach to clothing. Plant-based fibres mixed with silk and wool provide a built-in layer of warmth in winter yet lightness when required in warmer temperatures. The Luma palette includes soft neutrals and bright shades of pink, blue and green.

The colour palette is super fresh and pretty: very spring like and light. I absolutely love it. All of the colours go together very well, so I am very excited to see what combinations the retreat attendees choose for their stripey Laveer kerchiefs! (I also love that you can get two kerchiefs out of two skeins just by reversing the colours!)
The combination of plant and animal fibres is really interesting. The wool gives it some elasticity, the plant fibres give it that light summer feeling and the silk makes it lovely and smooth to knit. The feel of the fabric is soft and light with a nice body to it. This would be really very nice for summer cardis and tops. As always with The Fibre Company yarns the blend is very intriguing and different and very enjoyable to work with…it seems to knit up surprisingly fast, as well. I’m not sure if it’s the touch of silk in there which makes my needles fly or some mysterious sort of magic, but I love it.
If you have a bit of retreat FOMO, hopefully this pattern will cheer you up. I decided to release it as the retreat gets underway. I’m hoping it will inspire you to take a little special knitting time for yourself this week, even if carving out space for a whole retreat wasn’t possible this time. I’m wishing you a special cup full of fragrant tea, your favourite chair, and a few hours of uninterrupted creativity, wherever you may be.
Play

ch95

On this week’s show I’m introducing a really fascinating swatch along, catching up on the Summertide MKAL and Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and continuing to explore what Slow Fashion means for me and for us as a society. It’s a subject that I’m really passionate about (as you’ll hear!) and the deeper I go with it the more meaningful it becomes.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can snag yourself some Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

I was excited to learn about the Breed Swatch Along that the Knit British Podcast is hosting!

Shiny Bees Podcast where I first heard about the SAL

Knit British Podcast Episode 42 which introduces the SAL

Breed Swatch Along FAQs

I mention several natural yarns I’ve got stashed (and/or have used in the past) which would be great for the Breed Swatch Along:

Black Bat

Blacker Yarns

whisperingislandblacker2

Whispering Island in Blacker Yarns Shetland DK

Hole and Sons Poll Dorset

I’m hoping to participate because the Meet My Yarn KAL I hosted a while back was so fascinating to me, and I didn’t quite feel finished with exploring the subject of fibre-focused swatching when it was over.

The Curious Handmade Meet My Yarn KAL thread…lots of great info there

Fibre Company Cumbria which sponsored the Meet My Yarn KAL

I also have two books that I think would be amazing resources for this SAL:

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers

Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-breed Yarns

What’s in the WIP

Slow Fashion October 

– Karen Templer from Fringe Association is giving us all great prompts for thinking about how we consume fashion, and I’ve started a blog series in response.

– I mention Fashion Revolution

The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

The challenge is still going strong! It ties in beautifully with Slow Fashion October, so it’s been great to see the cross-pollination going on. I’m still working on my Times Square and need to put the sleeves into my Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt. The finishing date is October 31st, so you’ve still got some time!

Summertide MKAL

The last clue has been out for a week, and the FOs are beginning to flow! We’ve got great prizes, so make sure to post a photo of your finished shawl in the Summertide FO thread by Oct 31st to enter!

Knitvent 2015

This project is still top secret, but I’m working hard to get it ready! I’ll be offering an updated version of my popular (and free!) Holiday Gift Knitting Planner very soon, so that you have lots of time to get properly prepared for the season. Keep your eyes out for that, along with hints about the new Knitvent collection!

Upcoming Events

Online Reveal Party for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Summertide MKAL

Save the Date! Tuesday November 3rd

Since we’ve got two big projects finishing at the same time, I thought it would be really fun to get together on Ravelry and Instagram to showcase styled photos of our completed items. I’ll be starting a thread on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, and we’ll take the hashtags by storm.

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

There might even be a surprise or two!

The Pebble Beach Workshop:

Friday October 23rd

I’m hosting and teaching an in-person lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach at the beautiful Makelight Studios in London. It’s going to be a wonderful day of exploring creativity and skills, and I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

That’s it for the show notes today. Happy knitting!

CH 80: with Norah Gaughan

Helen —  June 24, 2015 — 32 Comments
Play

Episode 8o with Norah Gaughan

Photo © Norah Gaughan

This conversation with Norah Gaughan is a really special one. Norah is an incredibly accomplished knitwear designer who has been sharing her patterns with the world since the age of 17. After a long time on staff at Berroco she has recently gone independent, but her workload has not slowed down even a little bit! She is constantly partnering with some of the biggest names in the yarn world to bring out a steady supply of amazing designs which play with shape, colour, and construction. Having her on the show was such an honour. She talks about developing her new collection with The Fibre Company and shares so many insights into how she conceives, designs, and creates her ground-breaking patterns. If you’re anything like me, I think you’ll find this conversation incredibly inspiring.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their very wonderful Acadia yarn.

 

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

One of my Whispering Island Shawl samples was knit in Acadia, and it’s just a wonderful yarn to work with, on every level. You can buy Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

KAL News

Pebble Beach KAL

Just a little while left in this one, but people are still adding beautiful FOs every day! If you’ve somehow missed this one, but have ever knit one of my patterns, you can still enter until the 5th of July. Just post a photo in the FO thread, and you’re in!

Muse 2 KAL

The KAL is about to wrap up – be sure to get your entries in by 30 June.  I’m still working on my Rachel Coopey Oleum socks. I don’t know if I’ll make that deadline, but I should have them finished for the Summer of Socks KAL in the Coop Knits group! Double dipping in KALs is the best.

Show links

The patterns we discussed in detail from the Norah Gaughan for The Fibre Company collections were:

Times Square

Skyscraper

Oporto

Atonium

Metropolis

District

You can find the entire gorgeous collection on Ravelry here.

Norah is also designing some really special pieces for Brooklyn Tweed these days, and we specifically mention her pattern

Chainlink

She’s always busy with yarn shop appearances and teaching engagements, which you can find on her events page. If you’re lucky enough to be nearby any of these opportunities, I highly recommend you check them out!

We’re also giving you a chance to win pattern of your choice from Norah’s new collection with The Fibre Company. Be sure to listen to the end of the episode to find out how!

As I mentioned, tomorrow I’ll be doing a little trunk show for Pebble Beach  in Brighton  at YAK with The Uncommon Thread. June 27th from 2 to 5.

That’s all our notes for this episode! Thank you so much for joining us, and happy knitting!

Today I have been pondering what to do with my skein of Terra given to us by The Fibre Company at the Muse Connection Volume 1.

It is an Aran weight yarn – 90metres/98yds so its a bit tricky amount to do a single skein project with but never fear! I found lots of ideas which may also help with a few other small and perfect skeins of yarn in my stash.

With such lovely yarn I’m thinking that it would make a lovely gift….or something nice for me!

Terra Woad Light

So of course I turned to Ravelry and my first search was on the “Yarn” tab and I searched “Terra Fibre Company”. I then selected the “Projects” tab to see what others had made with the yarn. After a bit of looking I realised that I could do an advanced search and select the exact amount I had to narrow down the results.

I found a few good options with this search:

Alfalfa Baby Hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn

(free pattern)

Alfalfa Baby Hat

© Kate Gagnon Osborn + Kelbourne Woolens

Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits

(free pattern)

Barley

© Tin Can Knits

Leia Bonnet and Pixie Booties by Mel Clark

From book – Knitting gifts for Baby

Terra Projects

© Helen Bankers

So then I decided to widen my search to any Aran weight project that used one skein.

This time I went to the Pattern tab and clicked straight on the “pattern browser and advanced search” link under the search box.

Then on the left hand side I selected filters Weight = Aran and Meterage. At first I selected 0-150 metres but then realised I could get even more specific and selected “cusomize: enter a range…” down the bottom of the box and put in 0-90 – that would give me just projects that used the exact amount I have.

Rav Search image

Using this search I found a lot of cute ideas. General ideas include baby hats (as above!), headbands, small fingerless gloves, boot toppers, cozies for mugs and phones and little toys.

A few that caught my eye in particular are:

When Left Foot Met Right Foot by Justyna Lorkowska

When Left Foot Met Right Foot

© Lete

Toasty Talus by Clare Devine

Toasty Talus

© Clare Devine

Tiffany Neckwarmer by Hilary Smith Callis

Tiffany Neckwarmer

© Hiliary Smith Calis

Smart Driver Mitts by Lizzie Laine

Smart Driver Mitts

© Lizzie Laine

What do you like to knit (or crochet) with small amounts of Aran weight yarn? Leave your suggestions in the comments!