Wednesday, July 8, 2015

June Luxe Musings: Shibui Knits Linen

The Luxe boxes are some of my favorite to put together and curate each quarter. I love coordinating some of the best yarns I've been able to find with notions makers and companies that I feel are worthy of your attention as Yarnbox subscribers. It's almost like being involved in a swap when each Luxe box comes out -- everything has been planned in secret, so doing the big reveal on a Luxe shipment is like having your swap partner open their box at long last!

While Yarnbox was still growing, I spent some time working for other companies, doing all sorts of little odd jobs, including writing. Shibui Knits had me write copy occasionally for newsletters, and one of the perks of working for a yarn company is that you usually get to try a few of their yarns at wholesale. Linen is one of the yarns they sent me to sample for a piece I was writing on the Mix concept.

Shibui Linen is unlike many other linen yarns on the market, in that it is lightweight, relatively soft (for linen), and is a chain ply. I love chainette yarns because they basically allow fibers that normally have specific rules about drape and weight push their boundaries. Shibui Knits' Linen breaks out of the standard linen structure by simply having structure. Where many linen yarns hang lifeless, limp, and heavy when knit or crocheted, the chainette of Shibui Linen adds a little body to the base, creating knits that retain their shape better in addition to looking and feeling crisper. When the time came to design the summer Luxe box, the best linen your yarn money can buy seemed like the natural choice for our members.

I knew from working with Shibui Knits that Darcy Cameron (company owner) keeps a tight ship, and her team would help determine the feeling of the box in a way that worked best for them. It seemed only natural that a company focused on combining the perfect yarn with pattern would design the garment for this box in-house. The scarf kits, which came in three distinct color groupings, create lovely mid-season accessories that are simple for even beginners to knit.

Of course, Luxe couldn't be a luxury box without the inclusion of extras! One of my favorite project bags is a box bag from Splityarn. Caro Sheridan hand-sews beautiful project bags with quirky, modern, and trendy fabrics. The bags are all the right blend of sturdy and soft, with high-quality details like contrasting zippers and fabric labels. While I would have loved to include a boxy bag in every kit, it seemed more reasonable to put what Caro calls a 'Wee Notions Pouch' into each Luxe shipment. These pouches are the perfect size for storing stitch markers, like the shell and wood adorned ones from Bling Your String that this kit also included. As usual, Aryn doesn't disappoint, this time with larger rings (as requested by our members) and another selection of beautiful materials.

Many members decided that the seven skeins included were great for a scarf, but even better for a garment, and are now joining us online in our impromptu Ravelry KAL/CAL for Summer Sweaters. If you're interested, come follow along! The KAL started on June 25th and will end October 1.

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