Posts Tagged ‘Shibui’

First Helix Stripes

January 3, 2019

The latest in my ongoing quest to learn new knitting techniques (and, at least once so far, crochet techniques) has been helical stripes — sometimes called “helix stripes.” They’re single stripes in the round — and at first glance, look like regular stripes — but they don’t have the usual “jog” that appears when switching colors. 


The lovely Shibui Staccato leftover from the color block mitts seemed like the perfect combination. 

Helix stripes aren’t really stripes; they’re spirals. Each color is knit partway around the circle, then the next color is used (without twisting the strands), then the third. And so on. 

The spirals are easiest to see at the crown. Pick a color and follow it down from the crown. See?


I found this video by Pepperly helpful in explaining how to knit helix stripes. She was a bit more concerned about avoiding tangling the three yarns than I was. My solution was to occasionally do a big untangle rather than taking care not to get tangled in the first place!

I quite like the finished project and most definitely like that I’ve learned a new technique.

However, as with the fingerless mitts made with the same yarn, I don’t know who I’ll give the hat to! Anyone looking for a matched set?

What knitting technique or pattern have you learned recently? Or what’s on your list?





Warm Hands and Cookie Traditions

December 7, 2018

The colorblock hand warmers (Purl Soho pattern, Shibui Staccato yarn) are off the needles, blocked, and ready for…whom? I don’t know.

I made them because I fell in love with the yarn while treating myself to a gift certificate purchase  (thanks, Jill!) at the amazing Gather Here in Somerville.


I’m not thrilled with the thumb hole. To be precise, I’m not thrilled that there’s just a hole and not an actual thumb covering. It gets mighty cold here in the Boston area, and having your thumbs exposed just isn’t that practical. But they look lovely, so perhaps, as my grandmother used to say, “your pride will keep you warm.”

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Nicholas, and as is tradition in my family, the day was marked with cookies. In each of my siblings homes, from Alexandria, VA to Boston, these thin, crisp, spiced treats were rolled, sliced, baked, and enjoyed.


I’ve mailed some to Kevin and Michael, sustenance for their upcoming final exams. And I’ve tucked a few away for Hannah, who will be home for a couple of days next week. If you’d like the recipe, you’ll find it on my December 6 post from a few years ago.

What are some of your winter holiday traditions (baked and otherwise)?





Mitts and Socks

November 12, 2018
Late last month, Patrick and I joined a couple of cousins at a beautiful and stirring choral concert. The concert — which had been planned for months and by tragic coincidence occurred one week after the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue — featured music from Terezín Concentration Camp and a new composition, Anne Frank: A Living Voice.
Top-down sock in Lady Dye Yarns (unknown color way)
A few days later, as I’ve done for the past couple of years, I worked at a local polling place on Election Day. Unlike at September’s primary election, turn-out was robust (heavy?). By the time voting began at 7a.m., there was a line of 45 people waiting to cast their ballots. I’d started my first fingerless mitt (Purl Soho Colorblock Hand Warmers) and managed only a couple of inches during my entire eight-hour shift.
view from voting check-in table at 6:40am, 20 mins before polls opened
The yarn is Shibui Staccato, a luscious blend of merino and silk. I’ll modify the pattern because I’ve got three rather than four colors. The total length is 12 inches, and rather than knit four inches in each color, I think I’ll mix it up a bit. What do you think?

Soft and Squishy

November 2, 2018
While my first crochet project, Shady Cowl, was blocking, it was time to cast on something new.
Sure, I’ve got one sock completed and the second not yet cast on, but socks don’t really count as projects in my book. (Do I even have a book?!) Thanks to a generous, thoughtful gift from one of my SILs, I had the impetus to visit Gather Here, an amazingly inspiring knitting and sewing shop with a social justice conscience that I’ve been following on Instagram for a few years. I can’t begin to describe the range of yarns, fabrics, helpful employees, and friendly patrons that I found. Plus, I was too busy fondling yarn and trying to decide what to buy to take a single photo. If you’re in the Boston area and looking for a yarn shop, head to Gather Here. I returned home with four lusciously soft skeins for two projects. This trio of Shibui merino and silk will become a pair (or maybe two) of color block fingerless mitts.
Almost as soon as I got home, my new squishy skein of Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend was on the winder. Like the Shibui, it’s a 70/30 merino/silk blend.  Before too long, it’ll be tucked away into my gift box — a Messy Bun Hat for someone special.
double lace rib knit pattern of messy bun hat
The photo doesn’t do justice to the soft champagne pink color of this yummy yarn. Because a couple of you asked, here’s a photo of Mom’s latest garter stitch scarf — in a rich green Malabrigo Rios — that I mentioned in my last post.
Every single day, I’m grateful that she still remembers how to knit.
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