This week we have another beautiful sample to share as well as a mini fiber wiki. We also want to revisit our Save the Knockers Campaign. We hope this information will encourage shoppers to try new fibers or help identify better yarns choices for specific project types when they are out and about at festivals, fairs, and shows.
Tilted Cowl by Jenny F
This uniquely-shaped cowl by designer Jenny F. may be the perfect marriage of cowl and shawl. Instead of the standard tubular shape, this cowl begins simply in the round but then branches out and grows like a shawl as it comes to a point on one side. It gives you the warmth and comfort around the neck while the length of the cowl comes to a point without having to worry about ends falling off the shoulders, coming untied, or creating a lump under your sweater or coat.
Strings ‘n Things
As many of you travel to SAFF and other fall fiber shows, you may encounter exotic fibers or terminology, which may be unknown to you. All fibers have inherent characteristics, which make them both unique and appropriate for certain projects or garments. Below are some of these terms and fibers and their basic characteristics.
Fleece: A woolen coat of a domestic sheep, long-haired goat, or other (usually domesticated pack) animal, especially after being sheared (but before being processed into yarn or thread).
Wool: Made from the fleece of sheep, it is the mother of all yarns and threads and remains the most popular choice for yarns. Types of wool include (but are not limited to) Merino, lambswool, Shetland wool, and Icelandic wool.
Superwash Merino/Wool: Woolen fleece, which has been processed to remove the outer scales of the fiber, thus removing the natural fuzzy crimping properties, which could cause it to felt. This “washable” wool can be machine-washed, although it is usually recommended to wash on gentle cycles or in a laundry bag and dried flat. This informative article on how the superwash industry made a comeback in the USA was shared by Christina O. (thank you) recently on social media.
Alpaca: The natural fleece harvested from an alpaca of which there are two varieties–the Suri and Huacaya. It is soft, durable, luxurious, and silky and, while similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is naturally water-repellent and flame-resistant.
Angora: The fur of the Angora rabbit. Angora is known for its softness, thin fibers, and what makers refer to as a halo (fluffiness). It is rare to see 100% Angora due both to the expense and pilling/felting properties of the fiber; it is usually mixed with another fiber like superwash wool or silk to strengthen the fiber.
Mohair: The hair of the Angora goat. Resilient and noted for its high luster and sheen. Mohair is warm in winter, while remaining cool in summer due to its moisture-wicking properties. It is durable, naturally elastic, flame-resistant and crease-resistant.
Cashmere: The fleece or fiber from a cashmere (or familial) goat that is technically a form of wool. The word cashmere is an old spelling of the Kashmir northernmost geographical region of South Asia also known for its very fine sapphires. Cashmere is finer, stronger, lighter, softer, and approximately three times more insulating than sheep’s wool.
Silk: A natural protein fiber composed mainly of fibroin, produced by certain insect larvae. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber, which allows silk textiles to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors. Silk is the strongest natural fiber known to man and is often blended with other shorter and weaker fibers to increase both beauty and durability.
Cotton: A soft, fluffy staple fiber grown in a hard, prickly cotton boll (the real irony is how soft are cotton “balls”). Cotton is a versatile and breathable fabric and is the most widely used plant fiber in the textile industry. It does, however, grow and stretch when it is wet so it is not the best fiber for items that have some heft or length. It will also shrink under extremely hot conditions. Remnants of cotton fabrics have been found pulled from prehistoric sites.
Rayon of Bamboo: Fiber created from the cellulose extracted from bamboo plants. It is considered a semi-synthetic fiber because the cellulose is chemically-altered, however, it makes a fiber that is strong with a lovely sheen (similar to silk blends) and is beautifully paired with other fibers like cotton and merino.
Tweed: Yarn which has a primary background color but is flecked with different colors usually during the spinning or plying process. Tweed (or twilled) textiles are created with purposeful flecks often in patterns like herringbone or houndstooth.
Heather: Yarn spun from fleeces pre-mixed with different color natural or dyed fibers.
Marled/Ragg: A plied yarn in which the individual plies or strands are of different colors.
We Still Think Pink in October
We have NOT lost sight of the fact that it is STILL October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we are fully committed to our Save the Knockers Campaign, which is still going strong. Our sponsorship (donating free knockers yarn to those who sign up at our studio) of the Knitted Knockers.org project will extend into next year. Further, one of our dyers (Glenda T) has knit a beautiful shawlette from pattern called Kindness (bottom right) by designer Jaala Spiro in our color way Hope, part of our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ lineup. The pattern is currently free on Ravelry and makes a beautiful gift for self or someone you love.
Safe travels and happy stitching, y’all!