seven stars / knit purl

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of heading to Portland, Oregon to teach a colorwork workshop at Knit Purl downtown – based on a new pattern for colorwork mitts I have out!

Seven Stars is a pair of fingerless mitts that combines Spincycle’s Dyed in the Wool with stranded colorwork to create a pattern of colorwork with slow color gradients. I love watching the colors shift as these mitts knit up. The pattern is written for three sizes (small, medium, large) and further adjustments could be made using gauge.

For those unfamiliar with Spincycle Yarns and their Dyed in the Wool, it’s a small-batch mill-spun yarn that looks and feels like a handspun. To use Spincycle’s words, “Dyed In The Wool represents the fulfillment of our desire, here at Spincycle headquarters, to merge the beauty and texture of a handspun yarn with a more efficiently produced millspun yarn.” They collaborate with a mill on Camano Island here in western Washington state: Spincycle dyes the fiber before it’s sent to the mill to be spun – hence the dyed in the wool bit – and then the mother-daughter team at the mill spins it up! The result is a gorgeous plied yarn with unique colorways that truly looks like a handspun yarn.  (If actual handspun is more your thing, Spincycle carries several other yarns which are spun by hand in house). When the lovely ladies at Spincycle asked if I’d like to use their yarn for a design, I jumped at the chance to try Dyed in the Wool with colorwork!

For the first sample pair, I wanted to play up the rustic handspun feel of the Dyed in the Wool, so I paired it with Brooklyn Tweed Loft – when used as the main color, the woolen-spun Loft knits up into a fuzzy wool backdrop for the colorwork. That pair is pictured at left (with colors The Saddest Place in Dyed in the Wool and Snowbound in Loft). Rustic isn’t everybody’s thing, however, particularly with colorwork, so I dressed up my second sample pair with the luxurious Shibui Staccato, a sleek merino/silk blend. Pictured at right, that pair used Dyed in the Wool in Robin’s Egg and Staccato in Tar. When choosing your own colors, make sure to pick two yarns with high contrast throughout for best results.

I think these mitts have a thoroughly modern look (helped in no small part by the beautiful Dyed in the Wool) even though they make use of some very traditional techniques. I borrowed heavily from traditional Norwegian mitten construction – the cuff, gusset, and borders between the palm and back of the hand are all typical of Selbuvotter, or Selbu mittens. Instructions for working the gusset increases are written out (and I have plans to do a photo tutorial at some point in the near future) and the placement is also indicated in the charts.

The pattern is available exclusively through Knit Purl this month – you can grab a hard copy or a kit in store, or order one online. If you’d just like the pattern and you don’t live nearby, it’s also available as a PDF download from the Knit Purl Website. The kits are available in several colorways, using both Brooklyn Tweed Loft and Shibui Staccato! Here are the links:

Knit Purl – Seven Stars pattern & yarn kit
Seven Stars PDF download

I also wanted to extend a special thank you to Knit Purl for having me – and if you ever find yourself in Portland, you should absolutely pay them a visit! Their space is beautiful and well-organized, and it’s easy to while away a whole afternoon just checking out the yarn selection (I definitely came home with a few yarny souvenirs). And thanks to those of you came out for the workshop, as well! It was an incredibly fun weekend.

P.S. Yesterday was the official first day of the Hearth Slippers KAL! It’s not too late to join in! Which is good, as I’ve yet to cast on…

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