Sunspun Fine Yarns

Yarn in Focus: Shibui Twig

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Vital statistics

46% linen, 42% recycled silk, 12% wool
50 g/174 metres
Sportweight
Gauge: 22 stitches = 10 cm on 3.5 mm needles
$24 per skein

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Just in time for the warmer months is a new-to-us yarn from Shibui that combines linen, silk and wool. Not surprisingly, the resultant yarn combines the better qualities of those fibres: the linen producing a lightweight fabric with a hint of crispness that softens a bit more with each wash, and the silk a slight shimmer, making Twig ideal for trans-seasonal garments that you can layer.

IMG_3320The dominant linen and silk make-up also means that the yarn is less yielding in the hand when knitting, and can feel a little stringy and stiff, like most linen yarns can be. Unlike the Shibui Linen, which has a chainette structure and is therefore softer, Twig is made up of multiple individual plies, each of a single fibre. You may need to change metal or wooden needles depending on how tightly or loosely you knit to prevent the squeak and the work getting too tight.

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Amy swatched in this yarn and found it tended to bias a little (see pic above). The swatch will probably relax when given a good bath and blocked, but it’s something to watch for. Also, again because of the linen, uneven tensioning and stitches do not always block out, so go slow until you get the hang and work out the tricks with handling this yarn!

With the linen and silk, perhaps consider garments that drape, have flowing lines, and simple shaping that does not rely overly much on yarn elasticity. Think Calvin Klein or Eileen Fisher garments; Shellie Anderson seems to have channelled those designers in her Slope Tank, which also includes a feature hem done in short rows. That says summer in a pic, doesn’t it?

Shibui-Collection-Slope-1_mediumOr Heidi Kirrmaier’s sleek and minimalist Fine Sand cardigan, which showcases the wabi-sabi qualities of the fabric. The top-down cardigan has simple, elegant lines, and a lightly shaped front section. This most wearable garment has wardrobe staple stamped all over it.

16659670353_f4301bc5cc_zIf you’re familiar with Shibui yarns, you’d know they are designed to be paired with other Shibui yarns to produce different fabrics and endless effects. The Trestle tee blends Twig with Pebble for a tunic-style tee that will wear well from late summer into autumn.

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Kristin Ford’s Mix No. 3 is an ethereal-and-solid shawl that is very versatile and can be worn in so many different ways – as a shawl, or pulled together into a scarf. Those transparent stripes are such a lovely feature. The original pattern calls for Staccato and Silk Cloud, but you can substitute with Twig and Silk Cloud for a different but no less elegant effect.

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If you cannot choose between the twelve different Twig colourways, perhaps Judy Brien’s Okapi is an option – you can play around with colour combinations as your heart desires! This top-down, seamless sweater has saddle shoulders. The pattern calls for a lace-weight yarn held double, so a single strand of Twig should work (you won’t get that marled look though), but swatch before you begin.

DSC06100_medium2Lace lovers need to check out the stunning allover lace that features in the Hitofude Cardigan, which will show off the yarn beautifully; we can imagine the linen and silk contributing to the cardigan’s overall drape. There are some stunning finished examples on Ravelry – look them up and be inspired!

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