Tag Archives: kauri

Fringe Association L’Arbre KAL

Greetings! If you are a fan of Karen Templer’s wonderful Fringe Association blog you may have seen today’s Hat KAL announcement. I’m pleased to say that Karen has chosen the L’Arbre Hat which first appeared in my debut book Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style [STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books]. 

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The good news is, my publishers have graciously provided the hat pattern as a PDF download. The bad news is, the original yarn used is being discontinued! No matter, I always welcome the chance to do a little stash diving…

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Karen asked what I thought might be a good alternative and my first instinct was Zealana Artisan Heron, a wooly single-ply with a rustic charm. I think I might have been thinking of the Heron Hats blog post when I said that because I completely forgot about Zealana Performa Kauri! It has a touch of silk, which the original yarn had as well, and that lends a jewel-like glow to the finished fabric. The round plied yarn works up very quickly and is adaptable to many gauges. I worked it quite tightly to make a firm, felt-like fabric for another hat in the book, the Karin Fascinator.

Karin Fascinator
© Jared Flood from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose (STC Craft, 2014)

I love the Kauri color selections, too. They’re bright but still grounded in nature, which fits right in with the scheme I came up with for the Magpies chapter that contains both of these hats.

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I remember being worried about selecting trendy colors that may be out of fashion by the time the book was printed, but I ended up just following my gut, choosing shades that would work in the rainforest setting I selected for the shoot (Discovery Park in Seattle, WA). Deep watery blues and teals, chartreuse leaf greens and vibrant magentas looked right at home among all that greenery.

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One note before casting on–I’m not sure why I didn’t go down a needle size or two before I knit the brim. Why, Past Me, why?! Good thing I can fix that now as I cast on a second L’Arbre. Oh, and if my needles look a bit long, well, well spotted! I can never find my 16″ circulars, so I’ll make do with Magic Loop.

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Knitting, always a process, eh? Will you be joining the KAL?

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Ria + June | Episode #4 Non-Wool Animal Fibers

Hiya! I’m diving back into my trusty copy of the Principles of Knitting to learn more about fibers. For the most part I’ll be reading this book cover to cover, but I’m skipping ahead to part 7 this week to learn about the materials that make knitting possible. Yarn obsessed? YES.

We’ve already heard what June has to say about wool, but there is much more to the fiber world than the fluffy stuff found on sheep backs. Chapter 27 has loads of facts about wool, the most commonly used fiber and specialty wools like mohair, cashmere, quivit and our favorite, possum.  A lot of these fibers fall into the luxury category for their fineness (rated by microns, with lower numbers indicating finer fibers) and for their relative scarcity. Cashmere goats, for instance, only produce a few ounces of down per year. Some animals, like  vicuña and guanaco from Peru, are only shorn every third year, making their fleeces even more precious than cashmere!

Bison fiber is on the rise and while it resembles sheep’s wool in many ways, it’s an ideal candidate for those with lanolin allergies, as it has none. The most fascinating section was the one on silk. June explains the terminology that often goes along with silk, words like ‘mulberry’, ‘tussah’ and ‘raw’; she even explains the cause of the distinctive odor of raw silk (you’ll have to read to find out).

Lastly, June covers fur fibers like Angora and possum. While the brushtail possum found in Zealana yarns do fall into this category, it’s a free-range fur, not raised for the express purpose of yarn production. Zealana yarns use brushtail possum fiber in an effort to correct an ecological imbalance. The resulting yarns are as soft as cashmere and because of the hollow core of the fiber, they’re warm and lightweight. June states that it’s usually blended with merino wool, which is absolutely true, but Zealana has expanded on that even further with unique blends like Kiwi and Kauri, which include organic cotton and silk, respectively.

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These high-performance yarns prove that blending fibers is a way to coax the best from each, and to even out the inconsistencies or flaws in every fiber. A bit like a yarn cocktail, the sum is often greater than its already great parts.

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