Interview with Layla from Qing Fibre

We have been so enjoying having Qing Fibre in the shop this summer, the bright colours are so much fun! It’s been flying off the shelves and onto everyone’s needles, but we recently got a restock and some new colourways in. We asked Layla, the brains and head dyer at Qing Fibre to answer a few questions that we have about her inspiration and of course, all about her beautiful yarn!

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How long have you been knitting?

My grandma was very good at knitting/crocheting and sewing, so I guess I was inspired by her since I was a little girl. I started crocheting and knitting in 2012 and I found peace by doing these crafts. It helped me to get through many difficulties.

What inspired you to get into dying?
I studied art design at university and so I can do some painting. I taught myself how to dye yarn in 2016 and started Qing Fibre. It’s my happy place to try different methods to paint colours on yarn. And I feel so much joy watching people knit with them.

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 You are originally from China, do you find that there is a different colour aesthetic in Asia than in Europe? Does this influence your dying? 
In China people love red, yellow and some vintage colours. But I myself am a little bit different, I’m a neon lover. I also love all the happy colourful colours and antique colours. I sometimes translate some classic old Chinese colours into my kind of colours.
 Qing-Fibre-4Are there any knitters in the community that inspire you?
There are so many great designers that have inspired me, I love Joji Knits, Junko Okamoto, Hansigurumi, and Stephen West is the King of knitters! I love all the fun and colourful designs from him. Sometimes I dye a new colourway just for a West Knits project. So he is truly my inspiration.

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 How do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 

I’ll start with a combination in mind and also just dye it sometimes. I find interesting colour combos in everything and I’m eager to try them in the future.

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 What’s currently on your needles?
Currently I’m knitting the Marled Magic Shawl, a So Faded Sweater and am trying to knit something without a pattern. I’m also going to knit one of the sweater designs from Junko.

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Thanks so much Layla! You can see the Qing Fibre yarns we currently have in stock on the website or in the shop. For more yarn inspiration you can follow Layla on Instagram, which is where all these photos are from.

What Maya Knits – two shawls

Well, at the rate that I’m posting the ‘Maya Knits’ posts there is a danger you might think that this is a yarn shop owner that never knits, but I do, honestly, I do. It is just that I do have an issue with – and I’ll admit it – I do have an issue with finishing off. I simply hate weaving in ends! I know there are knitters out there who love this part of a project, but I’m clearly not one of them. If you are anything like me, my best tip is to do a few ends as you go. As soon as you are absolutely sure that you’re not going to have to rip anything back, weave in the ends, this is how I do it, most of the time.

And then there are occasions when I don’t, like with both of the shawls I’m about to show you. Both of these were done ‘ages ago’ and then abandoned in their zip lock bags, waiting for me to build the motivation to weave in their ends. I did get around to it though, eventually, and now I can finally post one of these posts again – proving what I’ve actually been knitting.

Maya's Homeward Bound

You might have noticed the Homeward Bound Shawl we released the pattern for last spring, it has had a bit of a momentum over at Instagram, if you do a search for #homewardboundshawl you’ll find quite a few progress and finished shawls pictures. This was a design collaboration with the very talented Natalie Selles and we were so excited about the result that the Knit with attitude staff have all made our individual versions, and this is mine!

Maya"s Homeward Bound

For the shop we curated three set of shades which are available as kits, they all work beautifully together, but if you feel a bit more adventurous you can get the Homeward Bound single pattern from Natalie’s Ravelry Store, and come up with your own colour way in the Socks Yeah! This is what I did, and the colours I chose are the 102 Ammolite, 108 Chryso, 109 Iolite and 114 Peridot. By the way – we just launched the six new autumn colours of the Socks Yeah! so there are lots and lots to choose from.

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My second shawl is The Color Craving by Stephen West, I found this pattern in his Westknits Bestknits – Number 1 Shawls. Although this shawl ended up like the size of me, it was really quick to do (until I came to the ends that is), the rows literally flew off the needles – what an incredibly fun knit!

I have to say, I was rather eh… experimental when coming to picking the colours for this one. It was a case of gorgeous hand dyes that looked so good when holding them next to each other as hanks, but that probably could have worked better in a different combo. I chose the Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in (a particularly dark batch of the) Poison, Oracle and Fool’s Gold. Half way though I realised that my speckled Oracle and Fool’s Gold didn’t have much contrast between them, and that my semi-solid Poison ended up quite dark combined with the other two brighter ones. I do believe that this design would probably benefit from being done in more solid colours rather than speckled ones. But what can I say, the knit was so exciting that I couldn’t stop – and I am pleased with the result, the shawl is super-soft, super-squishy and will keep me super-warm over the upcoming winter months – and that is three wins in one!

Knit with attitude’s Insane Give Away

If you have followed our social media platforms lately you might have noticed that we have been hosting a give away over the last ten days – and it is now time to reveal the winners!

First of all though, we really would like to thank you all for participating, we are absolutely overwhelmed by the response we’ve had and we hope that most of you will choose to continue to stay with us and be the firsts to know about what goes on here in our tiny corner of the yarn universe! If you didn’t win this time around, be assured that this was so much fun that we will definitely do more give aways in the future.

So, did you win? Scroll down to see if you can find your name amongst the lucky ten. If you see your name listed, please send us an email to sales at knitwithattitude dot com, and we will have your prize sent to you asap.

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Winners: Sabine Lormann and @limsenstrikk

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Winners: @knitbykristine and Heather Barnett

prize5&6

Winners: Mandy Wong and @finishwife

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Winners: @morgan_fae, @prettyfunkyknitter, Bjørg Anita Getz Nordli and Riikka Copeland

Congratulations to all our winners, and once again – THANK YOU ALL for joining in on the fun!

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 22 – Autumn 2017

August is one of those in between months. There’s still some hot days, and the kids are still on holiday, but the nights can be cool, and there are adverts on the telly for back to school supplies. Rainy days mean cozying up and thinking about the season to come, one of the most exciting seasons for any knitter. It’s sweater season of course! What better to inspire your sweater knitting, than the autumn issue of Pom Pom Quarterly?

Autumn issues are always particularly good ones, and this Issue 22 is no exception. For the first time ever Pom Pom collaborated with an outside editor, Juju Vail, to curate the patterns in the issue. You would recognize Juju’s work as she has more often than not been the photographer for the magazine and their various other projects. In this case Juju not only curated and photographed the magazine, she also sewed many of the other garments that the models wear, for a fully handmade issue! Each piece is given the full credit of pattern and fabric source to help you re-create the whole look if you so choose.

PomPom22-coverAs a knitting shop we are here for the knitting, so we’ll take a look at each pattern and match it up with some yarn to give you ideas on what you can use.

First up we have Aubusson, a brioche scarf by none other than the Queen of Brioche herself, Nancy Marchant. The pattern calls for two yarns held together, one a luxurious 4ply yarn, and the other a fuzzy laceweight, in two sets of contrasting colours. The combination creates a unique textured fabric that compliments the brioche stitch. We love the colour choices that could be found using Sulka Legato for the 4ply and Cumulus for the fuzzy laceweight.PomPom22-01

Barbicel is one of 2 cardigans in this issue. Designed by Fiona Alice, it makes wonderful use of a sheepy yarn that will bloom a lot after blocking. For a similar yarn we would recommend Tamar from Blacker with it’s all British wool blend and rustic texture. PomPom22-02

Next up is Calamus, designed by Maddie Harvey. This colourwork snood is big enough to wrap around twice for a super snuggly fit, knit in 3 colours. One of our favourite yarns for colourwork has to be Cumbria from The Fibre Co. It’s got just the right amount of tooth and texture to really pull the technique together, and of course it also has a wonderful range of colours.PomPom22-03

Diesis is a textured pullover designed by Alice Caetano using an amazing sweater yarn, Knit By Numbers DK. This yarn is a super smooshy merino that is dyed and spun in Devon by John Arbon. The sweater uses four colours, making the colour combinations endless. We currently have 6 sets of colours in the Knit By Numbers range, each with a range of 6 shades going from dark to light.PomPom22-04

The second pullover is Elibelinde by Ellinor Siljeström. The design is the epitome of a classic shape with an interesting stitch pattern. It has a relaxed shape with a textured stitch on the body and the cuffs which contrast the stocking stitch upper body and sleeves. For a really divine sweater we would love to knit it up in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul, a blend of merino, yak and silk.PomPom22-05

Nothing says autumn like a cozy pair of mittens, and add in colourwork and you’ve got a winning combination. Herati is a beautiful pair of colourwork mittens with an allover geometric pattern designed by Sari Nordlund. The colours of Socks Yeah! 4ply would create a beautiful pair, and the nylon content would add extra durability.PomPom22-06

Overcheck is another double wrap infinity snood, with a gorgeous allover geometric double knitting pattern. Designed by Ann McDonald Kelly, it uses 2 colours of a DK weight yarn. We think it would be absolutely lush in 2 colours of Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DKPomPom22-07

Palmetto is the last of the garments, a cardigan in 3 colours designed by Emilia Jensen. The main portion of the sweater is knit in one colour, with contrast epaulets and corrugated ribbing at the cuffs, hems, button bands and collar. It uses a sport weight yarn which makes for a light sweater that isn’t going to take ages to knit. Our choice is Stolen Stitches Nua, an unusual blend of merino, yak and linen. PomPom22-08

The last pattern of the issue is Soumak, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. This pair of fingerless mitts use traditional fair isle technique with a much more modern and graphic motif on it. The sample pair shown are knit in a high contrast black and red, but knit in a yarn like Cumbria there are endless colour combinations for any palette. PomPom22-09

Which pattern is your favourite? We have the issue available in store and online if you want to pick up your own copy.

Homeward Bound Knit-a-long

As mentioned in the post below – we were completely overwhelmed and so so so happy about how well our Homeward Bound Shawl had been received – that we decided to prolong our celebrations with a knit-a-long happening over on our Instagrams! The Homeward Bound Shawl is available as a kit in three gorgeous colourways in our online store, or you can get it as a single pattern on Ravelry.

The KAL started May 5th – but doesn’t end until June 19th so there is plenty of time to join in on the fun, and this is what you have to do:

  • Post any progress pictures using the hashtag #homewardboundshawl, every picture is an entry to the prize draw – so the more the better.
  • Make sure you follow both Knit with attitude and Natalie Selles, and tag both of us on your posted picture.

That is it! On June 20th we will draw two winners from all the post entered between May 5th and June 19th. One of you will receive 4 skeins (a total of 200g) of the brand new CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK in the colours of your choice, and the second prize is a pattern of free choice from Natalie Selles along with one of her super pretty draw string project bags.

As the knit-a-long has already begun we are really enjoying all the lovely Homeward Bound projects that are beginning to pop up over on Instagram – just have a look – we can’t wait to see more!

And … this is Maya’s progress so far, ready to tackle the stripes section.

Maya's Homeward Bound

What Natalie Knits: Homeward Bound Shawl

So way back in September I had to head back to Canada again to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK. This was a relatively straight forward process, but had to be done from Canada and required an uncertain amount of time away from my new home in England and my partner. Before I left Maya suggested a collaboration with the shop to design a shawl to sell as kits when I got back. We picked out some yarn and I knit it up while I was in Toronto for 7 weeks waiting for my application to be approved.

homeward-natalieSince then we had difficulty getting our original choice of yarn back in stock, so the launch got delayed, and delayed and delayed while we waited to hear back from our supplier. It was not unlike waiting for my visa! Finally in March we decided that the best course of action would be to change yarns completely for the kits, which would mean a full pattern re-knit. Again I grabbed my needles and got cracking! This time we picked a yarn that we knew we could get in easily and where we had a more personal relationship with it’s makers, Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey and Fyberspates.

homeward-detail2 The resulting design is Homeward Bound, a triangular shawl knit from side to side with a bold geometric pattern using garter stitch intarsia. I have recently become enamoured with the potential of garter stitch intarsia, especially with creating these fun modern shapes. The triangles were inspired by the traditional quilt block pattern called Flying Geese, so named as it reflects the shapes of migrating birds. The name for the pattern comes from both the Flying Geese and that I knit it while waiting to return home. It uses 4 colours of 4ply yarn, with the pattern calling for Socks Yeah! It would also be a great way to use up leftover yarn, with each section in a different colour.

homeward-detail1The pattern is now available on Ravelry to purchase, and we have 3 different colour combinations available in the shop for kits. The original combination is Beach, and there is Berries and Forest as well.

We have loved the response for the pattern over the weekend, so we have decided to do a knit-a-long. It will run on Instagram from Friday May 5th to Monday the 19th of June. Any post of your Homeward Bound Shawl with the #homewardboundshawl tag in that time will be entered to win. On Tuesday the 20th of June we will pick winners from the hashtag, including in-progress pictures. Prizes to be announced later this week, stay tuned!

 

New Yarn: From The Mountain ethical cashmere

With a name like Knit With Attitude, we are always on the look out for yarns and projects that are working to make the world a better place. For a long time we have had a policy of no cashmere, as most of it comes from China where the origin is impossible to trace and  the animal and human welfare conditions are impossible to guarantee. Even though cashmere is one of the most delicious fibres out there, we just couldn’t have it in the shop under those circumstances. It’s meant we’ve had to turn down carrying some really lovely blends as we just don’t know where the cashmere is coming from.

Skeins of yarn for marketing

You can imagine how we sat up and took notice when we heard of From The Mountain, a sustainably farmed hand spun cashmere from Afghanistan. How could we say no?! This is exactly the sort of project that we love to support.

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Afghanistan has long been a producer of cashmere, but that quality was poor and most of it was used for carpets. In 2007 a US Agency for International Development (USAID) project called Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) teamed up with Abdul Basir Hotak, a veteran of the cashmere industry in Afghanistan, to open the first scouring and de-hairing facility in the country. Then ASAP was able to work with herders to provide veterinary assistance and encouraged them to comb rather than shear their goats, thus improving herd health and the quality of the fibre.

Spinning-womenWith the quality of cashmere now markedly increased, they were able to reach out to the community of hand spinners in the region to spin the fibre to sell to knitters. After decades of conflict in Afghanistan, many women are now the heads of their families, with limited socially acceptable means of providing for them. Spinning cashmere on a drop spindle for From The Mountain pays them the fairest wage for their work compared to spinning for themselves or for the carpet industry. This fair wage is an alternative to farming illegal crops such as poppies for opium and heroin and creates a more stable and sustainable livelihood for over 100 women, and also allows them to stay home and still care for their children and relatives.

The yarn company From The Mountain was founded by Susan Inglis, who has worked on many projects with USAID over the last 25 years as a consultant connecting traditional textile workers in over 30 countries with new markets. She met Hotak through her work with USAID in 2011 and helped develop the yarn that would be spun by the home spinners. From The Mountain is the sole exporter of the yarn, maintaining close links with the production lines back in Afghanistan. With the region still by no means stable, this yarn can be difficult to get out of the country, and has occasionally had to be smuggled out, recent fighting in Kunduz caused 4 kilos to be turned back.

Spinning

The yarn itself is a lusciously soft sport weight made of 2 bouncy plies and available in 4 natural undyed shades. The colours are natural white, light grey, light brown and dark brown. It is an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious yarn that has an ever so slight thick and thin texture due to its hand spun nature. The 100g skeins have plenty of yardage, so while they are an indulgence, 1 skein goes a long way. From The Mountain have a number of free patterns on their website that take just 1 skein to help you get inspired!

What Natalie Knits – Maude Sweater

I have recently been casting a critical eye over my wardrobe, especially my handmade wardrobe and have been thinking a lot on how it can be improved. I have a good stash of hand knit sweaters, and they do the job of keeping me warm, so I can’t complain too much in that department. However, I have slowly lost some weight over the last couple years with some healthier eating and being more active, so all of my sweaters are too big. Part of this stems from having knit them all a bit roomy originally, but something that is a little too big then quickly becomes quite a lot too big. So I’ve been feeling swamped by my sweaters, and not at all stylish or fashionable.

Maude1Luckily as a knitter this is a splendid excuse to knit more! First up was Maude by Caarin Fleischmann, from an old issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. I found 6 balls of Wool and the Gang Sheepaca in my stash, and with a bit of gauge wrestling I cast on over the Christmas holidays. The yarn is listed as an aran, but it’s really a DK, so swatches are absolutely necessary with this yarn. The pieces came together relatively quickly for a DK weight yarn as the cabled fronts and backs were perfect for loads of travel we did around Ireland visiting family. The sleeves zipped along when we got back as the knit and purl texture was perfect for my purse. After seaming it up last week, I haven’t taken it off!

Maude4The Sheepaca was surprisingly lovely to work with. I’ve struggled with wearing alpaca next to my skin before, especially near my neck, but I’ve had no problem with this yarn. The 50/50 wool and alpaca blend is just delicious. The wool evens it out and gives it a lovely stitch definition for the cables, and the alpaca ups the warmth a bit which is perfect for working at the shop which can get a bit drafty if the temperatures really dip.
Maude2Even better is that it fits and I feel like it’s upped my wardrobe! I’ve worn it with jeans and skirts and over dresses, and over collared shirts which is perfect. In classic white it’s done really well with transitioning from everyday casual to something a bit fancier. I made 2 changes to the design that I knew would make it fit into my wardrobe even more than if I left it as is. First off I lengthened the sleeves to full length, and secondly I did a more traditional crew neck. To do the neck I started the scoop about an inch earlier than the pattern. Then I picked up stitches and knit about an inch of ribbing before casting off, unlike the pattern which has you knit longer and then fold it over and sew it down, which causes the neckline to stick out a bit. I think it looks lovely in the pattern, but I knew I was looking for something a bit more traditional for this sweater.
Maude3 I’ll admit I’m totally hooked to this sweaters-that-fit concept and I’m motivated to keep going! I’m thinking that a Muna sweater in chocolate brown might be up next, or maybe Rocquaine in natural pale grey Plötulopi?

Also thanks to Maya who took these pictures of me when we went to Edinburgh Yarn Fest a few weeks ago!

What Maya Knits – Larch Cardigan

Lets talk about WIP (work in progress) projects, those that eventually turn into UFOs (unfinished object), those that seem to take on a resentful personality of their own and just refuse to be completed. The worst ones are the ones that you’ve even managed to remove from your basket or project box, packed up and hidden away hopefully to never be seen again – but they will still be lurking at the back of your mind – and mocking you: You thought you were such a great knitter, but you will never ever be able to complete me – I will haunt you to the day you diiiiieeee! This blog post is about one of those.

I did the cast-on for my Larch in February 2013 (this was before I had my Instagram set up, and I had to check my Ravelry to see when I actually started the project). If you have a look at my Ravelry profile you’ll notice that this is actually the last project I listed there – that tells you how much this project has been haunting me over the years – so much that I’ve ended up ignoring my Ravelry projects just so I didn’t have to see it pop-up every time I visited the page. Why not just frog the whole thing, you might say. The reason I started this project to begin with is that I fell completely in love with the design when I first saw it, and I was equally in love with the yarn I chose to use. The Fyberspates Scrumptious 4Ply is my go-to yarn for so many project and the colour Jen’s Green is still my all time favourite green. The thing is, I never fell out of love with neither the design or the yarn – through the whole process I really wanted this specific cardigan in this specific colour. Then ‘life’ happened – and I never seemed able to finish my Larch.

I’ve had a look at my Instagram to try to trace the progress of my Larch, in March-14 I’m bragging about having finished the body, and that there are only sleeves and edging left to do, however I don’t seem to be casting on for that first sleeve until June-14 – and completing it in January-15…

Then it seems like I am sloooowly but steadily knitting on my cardigan, completing the sleeves, and as this post shows – I’ve started on the shawl collar in July-15. See this! I’ve started the shawl collar, and this is exactly where I left it and how far I’ve gotten when I picked it up again last Christmas (that’s one and a half year later) determined to finish this project. (I am now slightly embarrassed and cringing on my chair writing this blog post).

And that determination was what saved my Larch in the end. I dug out my project from that dark hidden corner at the back of the closet because it was mocking me, right, but I only had the shawl collar left to do. Now at this time I’d completely lost where I was in the pattern – I’ve actually lost the pattern – and had to look it up in my Ravelry library again. Not only that, but I had no idea what size it was I was making… I thought I’d figured it out – ripped out the collar and started again – just to find out I was completely wrong. Nothing less than three times did I rip it out and start over again until I finally got it right. – If I’d only finished it sooner…

Right, so all the knitting was finally done – just the seaming left to do, and I have to admit it took me another couple of weeks to build the courage to tackle this. Coming to tension – we always advice our customers in the shop that this is a very individual thing – and that it can differ from day to day according to your mood, your energy level, (how many glasses of wine you’ve had), and so on – and boy had my tension changed over the years… The body, the sleeves, armholes, edging – my tension was all over the place and nothing seems to fit together – but I made it work somehow. And that’s it – my Larch is finished. It has a whole range of beauty marks and weird stitches, and quite a few wonky seams – but it is finished at last – and I will LOVE (and use) it ’till the day I die!

Finished Larch

Interpretations Vol. 4

Interpretations-Volume-4-CoverInterpretations Vol 4 has arrived! This years installation to the project by designers Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli follows perfectly and does not disappoint. Published by Pom Pom Quarterly, it was released this past weekend at Unravel Festival

The idea behind the project is that together the designers pick 6 words and then each design a piece based on that word, for a total of 12 projects. The words for this year’s book are gather, chromatic, magic, fragile, direction and hidden. The resulting projects reveal the different interpretations of the words from each designer. While the words are in English, neither designer speaks it as their first language, which makes the cultural influences that much more interesting. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, Veera from Finland and Joji from Argentina, the book and the designs speak to the ways design sensibilities can converge with knitting wherever you are.

One of the things we love about Veera and Joji’s patterns is that they bridge the line between wearability and interest in a both practical and interesting way. They often use stripes, construction and texture to turn something that would otherwise be rather boring into a more exciting and dynamic piece.

East or West by Joji is the most obvious use of the construction and colour. The centre panel is knit vertically in rib, and then the side panels and sleeves are knit in stripes off of that main piece. This construction creates vertical stripes easily, and plays the textural stripe of the rib off of the colour stripes very effectively.

East-or-West

Another sweater by Joji, Wishes is one that may at first glance seem boring, but on second look reveals itself to be entirely practical and much more interesting than first thought. The top down sweater is knit in 4ply silk and in black, which to any knitter who has knit a sweater sounds like and endless slog! And black, how uninspiring! However, I’m sure all of us have a shop bought thin machine knit black cardigan in our closet that gets reached for regularly. Not to mention of course, that when knitting one’s own sweater there are a hundred other colours to choose from! The top down nature makes it easy to get started, and the construction of the swingy body is done through some well placed eyelet rows every couple of inches that are sure to keep the knitter engaged.

Wishes

Speaking of texture and interesting construction, Joji’s Radiate has also caught our eye. Another top down sweater, this one uses the yoke increases to create a radiating stripe with two colours in rib that also serves as a sort of ombre effect on an otherwise plain pullover.

Radiate-.Interpretations-Volume-4.-Pom-Pom-Press

We now have 30 colours of Léttlopi in stock and have been playing around with the colours, we are therefore loving the options for knitting Veera’s Double Trouble jacket! The sweater is knit in three pieces, two fronts in one colour and the back in another. The garter stitch pieces are then seamed together to create something that while completely simple can be as exciting as your colour choices. The light grey and charcoal of the original are timeless, but what about coral pink and black, or navy and light blue?

Double-Trouble

The collection is not all sweaters, there are a few accessories as well. One of our favourites is the Tourmaline snood by Veera. The ribbed texture gives way to cables of varying size for a meaty texture that is also reversible for a versatile snood to wear everyday.

Tourmaline

We have Volume 4 up online and in store right now! The books all also come with a digital download code.