Jillian & Amy’s Shibui Mix Knitalong: the launch

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Left, a Shibui Mix recipe card, showing yarn combos that, when held together yield a specific yarn weight, including suggested needle size and gauge; right, one of the Mix patterns that calls for two strands of Silk Cloud held together.

At last June’s TNNA (the trade show for the knitting industry), we were introduced to a brilliant concept: Shibui Mix. The clever folk at Shibui Knits have created a system we’ve never seen anywhere else. They have 8 base yarns, and have swatched every possible combination, so that knitters can simply take two of the yarns they like, knowing in advance how they’ll knit up when held together. Because the Shibui Knits line features yarns that are finer than average, this gives us quicker knits than using a single strand and — most interestingly — the ability to create projects that reflect exactly the mood we’re in at the moment.

Jillian came up with the idea of having the two of us work on the same pattern, but in two different Shibui Mixes. Jillian is, as you probably know, a very woolly knitter. I am the complete opposite. Can we both find happiness with the Shibui Mix system?
The choice of pattern was an easy one: Cocoknits’ Cocoon Wrap. It’s originally designed in a bulky-ish wool. How would it look made out of something double-stranded and wispy?

(Editors’ note: The  yarns and patterns for this experiment were graciously provided by Shibui Knits and Cocoknits with no obligation to provide anything but honest feedback.)

 Jillian  Amy
 shibuiskeinsUS
Shibui Silk Cloud in Fjord (left); Shibui Linen in Suit (right) Shibui Linen in Cascade (left) and Graphite (right)
I had a terrible time picking yarns and then colors. Being confronted with WALLS of Shibui at TNNA is overwhelming because it’s all perfect and gorgeous. I walked around petting and contemplating stuffing it all in my bag. I settled into the Linen/Silk Cloud combo, because the gauge would work and because I love the juxtaposition of the texture and the construction of the yarns. The silky fuzzy slickness of the silk and baby mohair and the crisp chain-link of the linen.

The colors went a little faster. I’m in a blue, deep indigo blue phase, which the Linen had. I wanted a little lift colorwise, but not a different color so I went for the Fjord in the Silk Cloud.

For me, the choice was a little easier. Since I can’t touch wool (I’m allergic) and mohair doesn’t feel pleasant to me, I had the option of going with linen, silk, or alpaca.

In the end, though I really like both the Heichi and the Baby Alpaca DK as yarns, it was color that spoke to me. I am so in love with the Cascade blue in Shibui’s Linen that I had to choose it first. And my favorite combination with it was the same yarn in Graphite, a medium blue-grey. (I’ve already done a project using Shibui Linen and absolutely loved it. Lightweight — almost weightless — but double-stranded it makes a substantial enough fabric to have a really impressive visual impact.)

We’re both swatching and will have cast on and gotten well into the knitting by next Monday’s update. Tune in to see how we each like our Mix and how it is knitting up!

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