Plant Fibres! Knits for Summer

It is known that us knitters like to knit all year round, come rain or shine. But when the sun is shining what yarns do we reach for. Plant Fibres of course! Plant fibres offer us a cooler alternative and provide a vegan option for those who would prefer to not use, or have allergies to animal fibres. With a variety of textures and properties to choose from, plant fibres can give you drape, structure, sheen, softness and versatility. Plus they are easy to care for and can take more of a beating than some of our more delicate woollens. Great for those summer garments or children’s clothes.

plant-fibres01

Here at Knit With Attitude we have various different plant fibres as well as plant fibre and wool blends. In this post I am going to focus on Växbo Lin Lingarn and Nuturing Fibres in Eco-Cotton, Eco-Fushion and Eco-Bamboo.

plant-fibres02

First up is Växbo Lin Lingarn. Lingarn is a 100% natural pure linen yarn traditionally grown and spun in Sweden. Växbo Lin’s Lingarn is certified with the Swedish Good Environmental Choice label (Bra Miljöval) because of its durability and environmentally friendly processing.

The earliest trace of flax culture in the Swedish county Hälsingland is dated to circa 200 AD. Evidence from the Viking age indicates that women wore linen chemises under their woolen skirts. Flax has been grown for domestic use throughout Sweden. In medieval times there was a surplus of flax in Hälsingland and linen became an item of trade. In fact, linen rather than money was used to pay taxes and fines.

Heres a little bit about how linen fibre is made from one of our earlier Fibre Fridays posts. ‘Linen comes from a plant called flax. Unlike cotton, where the fibre comes from a pod that the plant produces, linen is made from the inner stalk. This type of fibre is called a bast fibre. Other bast fibres include nettle, hemp and rattan. The plant is grown to a height of about 4 feet. When it is ready, the plants are pulled up from the roots and left to decompose in a process called retting. This unbinds the unwanted outer bark from the inner bark that makes the fibre. The two types of bark are separated by big metal rollers in a process called scutching. The fibre lengths are combed to find the longest fibres which are then spun into thread or yarn.’

Linen is a tough fibre that may feel stiff an unyielding at first, but the more you work it the more it softens. It is recommended winding linen by hand, as this begins the softening process, which continues the more you work with it.

Linen is great for summer garments. It holds it’s shape well and is light and airy. Providing a cool and breathable layer. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

plant-fibres06

Mirabeau by Natalie Selles is an attractive striped summer top with a fetching lace panel. Idea for summer holidays and evenings dining al fresco. Light and cool, with fun Breton stripes, allowing you an opportunity to play with colour.

plant-fibres05

Fiore di Lino by Regina Moessmer is a simple summer top with the added flair of lacey details around hem and cuffs. Worked seamlessly from the top down you can add more or less lace as you prefer.

Next up is Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton. This DK weight cotton with a good twist, good definition and a dreamy palette of hand dyed colours. Nurturing Fibres is an Eco-friendly yarn range, hand dyed near Cape Town by Carle Dehning and her team. Nurturing fibres strive to conserve as much energy and waste during their production process. They make use of borehole water that is heated by solar power for their dye baths. After dyeing, the PH levels in the dyebaths are neutralized and the water is used to irrigate an olive grove near the dye studio. Their whole production process, from receiving the spun yarn, is done by hand.

plant-fibres03

Cotton is perfect for summer wear, accessories, children’s clothes, blankets and more. Here are a couple for inspiration:

plant-fibres07

Razzle Summer Poncho by Noma Ndlovu is a gorgeous open lace work poncho. This would make a great light and airy layer over a t-shirt. Knit on larger needles in a simple two row lace repeat, it will be speedy as well as straightforward. Buttons on the sides are a nice edition for closing.

plant-fibres08

Colour Block Shawl by Noma Ndlovu is a great way of indulging in a few colours. This easy to knit garter stitch shawl is knit using 5 colours. Create your perfect fade or just pick your favourites and let the beauty of this hand dyed yarn sing.

Last but not least we have Nurturing Fibres Eco-Bamboo and Eco-Fusion. I have grouped these two together because they are the same weight so are really interchangeable. Eco-Bamboo is a 100% Bamboo Fibre where the Eco-Fusion is a 50/50 blend of Bamboo and Cotton. The Eco-Bamboo and Eco-Fusion have the same principles of the other Nuturing Fibres yarns. Hand dyed, eco friendly and with an aim to conserve as much energy and waste during their production process..

plant-fibres04

Bamboo has an amazing sheen, it almost glows as it catches the light. The Eco-Bamboo has a good twist which helps it hold its shape and this means it will sag less than usual bamboo. Eco-Fusion plays with the bamboo and cottons qualities, plying a matte yarn against a glossy one to give an interesting texture to your knit wear.

Here is some information on Bamboo production from our earlier Fibre Fridays post: ‘Bamboo especially has been heralded as the new natural wonder fibre due to it’s renewability as a plant, but it’s journey from farm to knitting needles is not without it’s pitfalls. There is no denying that the process of producing these yarns is a chemical one. The fibres are broken down with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide into a viscose cellulose solution, which is then pushed through spinnerets. The fibre then solidifies into the fibre that can then be spun into yarn. Luckily, with newer technology this system is quoted as being a 99% closed loop system, where the chemicals are recycled and re-used for each batch of fibre.’

Bamboo offers a really cool to the touch quality, silky with good drape. Perfect for knitting and crochet projects. Here I have found a couple of crochet ones which I find inspiring:

plant-fibres09

Summer Rebel by Brenda Grobler is a go to summer top. Wide in the neck for a relaxed fit. The crochet stitch adding a cooling mesh fabric.

plant-fibres10

Flower Stole by Yuli Nilssen is a gorgeous crochet wrap. Perfect for draping over your shoulders on those cooler summer nights. Featuring an attractive flower pattern repeat it has a graphic play with light and shadow.

I hope these summer suggestions have you dreaming of hot days and given you some food for thought when it comes to plant fibres.

 

Time for a New Project – Colour! – Inspiration from Julie Knits in Paris

As spring is looking like it has finally sprung and the sun is shining, we are starting to dream of those summer projects. Something with a burst of colour to drag us out of winter. When I think of colour I instantly think of Julie Dubreux of Julie Knits in Paris. Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious and her joie de vivre unparalleled. Who wouldn’t want some of that in their life! Well lets conjure up some of this magic from the shelves at Knit with attitude and get inspired. I have pulled out some tempting patterns that will take you through spring and into the summer months. I have gone for some of her exciting jumper patterns, with a variety of techniques, that all employ colour on a grand scale. I have also put together some yarn suggestions to get you started.

summer-colour-pattern-01

First up is Gaudi, this is one for adding a bit of colour-work sparkle to your wardrobe. A layer for early spring perhaps? When the days flip from being mild to unpredictably cold and grey, you need this jumper. Inspired by the colourful architecture of Antonio Gaudí. The mosaic covered Park Güell or the stained glass windows in La Sagrada Família all shine through. Have fun with colour in this project. Imagine the yoke like a multicoloured mosaic piece and pick a yarn that has a lot of colour, to create the look of small tiles jostled together. Also a nice contrast will give you the feeling of light, as if it’s streaming through a stained glass window.

Knit seamlessly from the top down in a 4ply. Here is some inspiration to get you started:

summer-colour-01

The main colour provided by the deep Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Wish set against the bright and varied Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Kjeta. This pairing will make the Garnsurr pop and there is enough variety over the skein to give you that stained glass / mosaic look.

summer-colour-02

This Garnsurr pairing goes for a more striking contrast. Everyone loves grellow right? The subtle speckles across all the skeins will give an even overall texture. The yellow will pop against the grey creating a really luminescent yoke. Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Grytleflaks #10 and Sneivin.

summer-colour-03

A more muted combination here but with the essence of light and dark. The Garnsurr Søkke Merino Tomreipes as the contrast colour has the essence of sun bleached tiles, with the mere hint of a muted speckle. Against this earthy purple of the Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Krilla it is quite striking.

summer-colour-04

The dark purple and green colours of this Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Tesu are perfect for a garden inspired mosaic, with hints of moss and lichen growing. Such a rich colour needs something bright to offset it like this Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Crystal.

summer-colour-pattern-02Taking us into spring is this light, short sleeved masterwork of brioche. It’s the Pörkenäs, perfect for a spring layer, or an extra on a cool summer evening. Julie says she has designed this top for brioche beginners and the repeating motifs employ the simplest of increases and decreases. Worked in the round and top down, it is seamless and reversible. Ooh the joys of brioche, two garments in one! Brioche is such a squishy plump fabric that you know this one is going to be flattering, knit with negative ease for a comfortable fit.

This one is knit in a selection of 4ply merino singles. Choose complimentary ones, or go wild with some contrasts. Speckles mixed with solids would also give great effect to the brioche stitch, as well as yarns with three distinct tones, to bring depth to the finished piece.  Hedgehog fibres Skinny Singles and Black Elephant Merino Singles are a perfect choice. We will be getting all the new colours from Hedgehog Fibre in Skinny Singles which are up for pre-order on our website if you are after something different!

summer-colour-05

A Hedgehog Fibre Skinny Singles combination in Method, Pistachio and Beach Bunny. I tried to keep the essence of Julie’s original with this combination. Having a dark blue offset with a light, then with nods of purple. A fresh watery combination.

summer-colour-06

This rich red combination uses Black Elephant Merino Singles and Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Monarch and Plump. I thought the two dark reds needed a lightness to bounce off. Monarch works perfectly here I think, keeping it in a similar family but adding a paler peachy note. The speckles also sit nicely along side the more solid plump to great effect.

summer-colour-07

Speckles across the board! Black Elephant Merino Singles in Knights of Cydonia and Arlandria and Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Hawk. Hawk is just one of those wild ones I love and some how I think it works as anchor here. Muted beiges lending themselves to the greens, while pinks and blues nod to the purples. This combo would be so exciting to knit and to wear.

summer-colour-08

Warmth and heart with this combination. Here are some of my favourites. Black Elephant Merino Singles in Lazy Days and Little Miss Sunshine and Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Seed. These colours play so nicely together, certainly one to be wearing on the run up to summer. Seed will add a great contrast making the brioche stitches pop.

summer-colour-pattern-03

When summer hits and you still want that piece of go to knit wear in your wardrobe, then this is for you. Summer Light is a lightweight summer tee. Knit in lighter than air Kidsilk Lace. I absolutely love this one and think it would look great over a shirt for a pop of colour. Quick to knit on 5mm needles its definitely one you can have finished in time for summer. The pattern is given a bit of weight by a merino single ribbing but this piece will be oh so light. Ok we’ll not quite lighter than air but just a 50g skein of mohairs worth.

Grab a skein of mohair and a merino single for the ribbing and you will be set.

summer-colour-11

Peachy! This combination has Peach Belini’s written all over it. This tropical delight is perfect for an afternoon of sipping your favourite cocktails. Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace in Monarch and a couple of Black Elephant Mini’s in Pineapple Express, perfection.

summer-colour-12

This is a combination I would go for, I’m always a sucker for green. The earthy to bright tones of Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace in Parklife sit wonderfully next to Black Elephant Mini’s in Arlandria. Garden party anyone?

summer-colour-09

If you are going to go bright, go bright! Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace in Pinky Swear has got to be one of the brightest. I’m imaging this one gracefully over a white top, as the neon pink of the Kidsilk fizzes in the sunlight. Offset that with the richness of Black Elephant Mini’s in Moulin Rouge. For that cherry red on top of the cake.

summer-colour-10

A little poolside number for those summer holidays. Create a graceful breezy top in Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace in Bubble with Black Elephant Mini’s in Tranquility. One for the lovers of blue, but there is still plenty going on in the Bubble to keep you interested.

So as the weather warms up there is no excuse not to be knitting, there is a fun and exciting colourful project for you for any weather!

New Yarn: G-uld Naturally Dyed Alpaca

We are beyond excited to be the first stockist of G-uld! G-uld is an independent yarn dyer in Denmark who dye exclusively with natural dyes. These stunning range of colours are concocted with pure artistry. Their ethos is based on good craftsmanship, with understanding and respect for the material, quality and nature. Their production and materials are rooted in old traditions and with a great desire for the past to meet the present.

0e17fee6547f496c762330555afabed74cfee078

G-uld was founded in 2013 by Anne Støvlbæk Kjær and Louise Schelde Jensen and the team now consists of Anne Støvlbæk Kjær, Louise Schelde Jensen and Daniel Ejler Christensen.

“First and foremost, we want to deliver delicious plant-colored yarn, beautifully designed and inspirational. Knitting joy, presence and good experiences that come from working with good craftsmanship and good materials. And an insight into historical dyeing of textiles and yarn.”

Their interest lies in bringing us back to hand skills. Where mass production and technology has made us lose touch. In the past the hand skills of the individual was often a necessity and way of life. These crafts often involved nature and the craftspeople and nature were at one. There was a knowledge in the year’s course, materials, and accessibility. But these crafts still live on and in a busy world it is important to remember them.

“For us, the good qualities of the materials and exciting history ensure that with the work of the hand they can create unique things, and perhaps through the process, achieve mental health. We believe that in the 21st century we need unique elements – and good craftsmanship that has taken time to make, is definitely worth waiting for”

53759602_403052907144859_1371816156406274843_n

Now for the yarn itself! A super soft, 100% Alpaca in a collection of 20 amazing naturally dyed shades and 2 undyed. G-uld Alpaca is a 4Ply weight yarn with a lovely twist, making sure you get a superb stitch definition. A luxurious yarn perfect for your new favourite jumper, cardigan, hat or shawl, the possibilities are endless. Each colour is labelled with the natural dye material used to develop that specific colour. Anything from Madder Root to Walnut and many in between.

guld-alpaca-kwa01

A new yarn needs new inspiration so here is a selection of great projects to get you started. In store we have, the Rambling Rose Jacket, Westwind Cowl and Sunflower Beanie.

709ee4f7fc8f29ecf9c79aa3c788b9a9037fbccd

Here is the Rambling Rose Jacket by Susie Haumann. A simple open jacket edged with a pretty cable detail. Seen here in strong deep purpley-red from the cochineal dyed KWA01. The alpaca would make this a wonderfully soft top with great drape, the perfect warming layer.

Cowl.1

The Westwind Cowl by Louise Schelde Jensen will highlight the texture of this yarn and give you great definition. A simple mesh pattern is repeated with garter ridges in between. Give yourself over to the colourful joys of this yarn and knit this pleasing warm cowl.

42ad48243f08654c3a602086dacfdb597cae4183

The Sunflower Beanie by Marie Mønster lets you play with two colours. A perfect two skein project and a great way to experiment with this yarn. It’s clever design creates a spiral of stitches reminiscent of the seeds lined up in the centre of a sunflower. Seen here in the Madder Root dyed KWA08 and the Undyed Grey.

You have to see this yarn to believe it, the amazing skill of the dyers and the ability to produce such an amazing range of colours with just natural materials is mind blowing. Whats more it’s on the most gorgeous base you could imagine.