This design has been a long time coming. I started it last Winter and by the time it made it through full pattern writing and test knitting I’d decided the weather was getting a bit too warm for a chunky shawl. So it sat over the Summer and then I moved… and it was out of sight. With the imminent threat of snow I dug this, last year’s favorite shawl, out of hiding.
Oyster Bay uses 4 skeins of We Are Knitters MeriPaca yarn. It’s a beautiful bulky weight blend of 20% baby alpaca and 80% merino wool. I’m a huge fan of this combination! There’s enough baby alpaca to notice the softness, but not enough that you get that halo of fuzz that can irritate more sensitive skin types. And, of course, merino wool is hands down my favorite fiber out there. So I can’t really go wrong with this yarn.
It does appear that the original color I used has since gone out of stock, but MeriPaca is still offered in a few very pretty colors. [VIEW ALL]
I have 3 favorite mass market online yarn suppliers that I stalk and shop from on a regular basis. This list changes, but it’s accurate for the past couple months at least. Until I find a new supplier to feed my addiction. 😬 You might be surprised at the combination of shops. Or maybe not. They’re different, and between all 3 I can pretty much cover any project I’m dreaming up.
1. We Are Knitters
This one is a new obsession and currently highly stalked. (I just completed a design using some of their Pima Cotton in Terra-cotta.) I love the simplicity and high quality of their yarns. The patterns are inspirational, but nothing I need as they are mostly basic shapes I can complete without a pattern. However, I do often buy yarn as a kit from them because of the deals they run. And why not? An extra pattern laying around never hurt. Plus the packaging is so cute. Yarn, printed pattern, a garment label, yarn needles, and [optional] crochet hook or knitting needles all come packaged in a heavy duty brown paper bag with a color photo on the front displaying what design the kit is. A+ on the marketing to We Are Knitters.
2. Knit Picks
KP and I go pretty far back. When I was just starting out as a novice knitwear designer they were one of the first companies to back me up and give me a chance to prove myself. For that they will always have a spot in my heart no matter what. Plus they’re really just super awesome people. I met some of the staff this Winter at Vogue Knitting Live and I was not let down. Over the 9+ years since I published my first design with them I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with lots of the staff at KP and they’ve all been a pleasure to work with.
If you need a good yarn that’s not going to break the bank you’ll be able to find something on KnitPicks.com. They used to be strictly plainer yarns. The basic wool and acrylic and cotton. However, as the years go by they’re branching out into all sorts of exciting new fiber combinations. (WonderFluff is like holding kittens on clouds.)
3. Lion Brand Yarn
If you follow my Instagram (@FiddleKnitsDesigns) you’ll see I use Lion Brand pretty frequently. This is relatively new for me. We Are Knitters is on the higher end, Knit Picks falls comfortably in the middle, and Lion Brand brings in a good affordable option. It’s solid yarn. Most of the offerings are all, or nearly all, manmade fiber. They do have the LB Collection which brings in more natural and higher end fibers. It is, however, online available at their NYC retail store or directly through LionBrand.com. While some yarnies turn up their nose at manmade box-store yarns, I think there is a time and place for them in my project lineup. Good acrylics are what I want for blankets and every day type garments that will endure a lot of wear. Sometimes I want to make things that I don’t want to feel like I have to treat like an heirloom. Give me a sweater I can pull on quickly, get a little sweaty in, and toss into the washing machine.
So there you have it. My current 3 favorite go-to brands. What are your top 3? Do you usually stay in a niche? Or do you have favorites for different needs? I want to know! Maybe you can introduce me to my next yarn obsession. 😬
I finished up the Oyster Bay shawl last week. The knitting is done, shawl is blocked, pattern is written. Just two more crucial things: photos and test knitting. (Interested in test knitting? Send me an email at: email@example.com and I will sign you up to receive test knitting calls!)
I love the way this shawl turned out. It’s simple, but not boring. The Arab weight yarn knit up with a nice drape on US 10.5 needles. With an easy to memorize center panel and an easy texture to the body, the design made great travel knitting. So with it done I needed to replace my commuting project. That’s where the Stony Brook shawl comes in.
I wanted to create another pattern that was simple, but not plain. I had recently come across photos of my Aquamarine shawl and was inspired to do something similar.
For Stony Brook I plan on doing a garter stitch center and knitted on border as I did for Aquamarine. However, I’m doing a sweetheart shaping in the style of The Red Queen shawl.
The combination of garter stitch center and knitted on cable and lace border makes for a great shawl. For me. I love designing the intricate patterns like Philosopher’s Stone or Bonnie’s Wish, but I also love simple pieces with interesting accents.
I also love, love, love the smooth buttery feel of Sugar Baby Alpaca. It’s a dream to work with! I would definitely work with it again. The only downside is that since it’s 100% alpaca there’s no natural elasticity. (Merino wool will always be my first and truest fiber love 😻)
I won this amazing Meri Paca yarn from We Are Knitters (WAK) back in December. They were running a contest over on their Instagram feed and by some miracle my name got picked. I never win anything! (Dont we all say that?)
Originally I thought the yarn would become a cute little short sleeved pullover worked in reverse stockinette on the body with some cable detail on top. I got halfway through the second ball and decided nope, this wasn’t it.
Earlier in the day I went on a little shawl design spree and sketched out 4 new ideas. The Meri Paca yarn seemed like the perfect choice for one of them. So it was tinked back to begin a new journey. I think we’re on the right path now.
I absolutely love the way this yarn is knitting up. WAK may potentially have been elevated to my current favorite yarn company. (I have another project going with their Meri Wool and it is also to die for if you like single ply yarns.)
The shawl in progress is worked from the top down with standard triangle increases. Meaning you will increase on every right side row with wrong side rows being worked as established. The center panel repeat is only 12 rows long (only 6 pattern rows) making it super easy to memorize. I’m finding it to be a great project to work on during my commute.
I’ve heard of We Are Knitters for a while now. And have been eyeing their yarn for months. However, I’m practicing restraint (or at least I was for a little while) on buying yarn that I know I don’t have the time to use. Especially expensive yarn. Even though my fingers were itching to feel the fine fibers. And then the holiday sales hit. And then the Christmas bonus came. And my enabling friend saying buy it, it’s on sale, you’ll regret not buying it! And I listened, because she was right. And man and I glad I caved.
I bought enough skeins of The MeriWool in Sprinkle Pink to knit a basic stockinette raglan pullover. I opted to go at it from the top down because I really enjoy watching the shaping happen that way. (Also i love the confusion on non-knitters faces when you try explaining you’ve starring at the neckline and these little extra parts will be sleeves.)
The color of the yarn is gorgeous, so stockinette was the clear choice to let it shine. I plan on making this my train project, at least until I get to the sleeves and it becomes awkward in a crowded commuter train. Photos and a pattern when it’s done! Whenever that might be.