May 11, 2013

8 Ode to Rowan Kidsilk Aura -- The Sofia Wrap


I present to you one of my favorite knits: the Sofia Wrap.  The pattern is by Kaffe Fassett from Rowan Magazine 48.

The photos are taken at an isolated, rustic chalet on a hunting and fishing preserve (Portneuf) in Quebec.  It takes only 3 hours to get to the gate on the freeway from Montréal... but add an extra hour and half to traverse 50km of dirt road in an economy rental!  There is no electricity, but there are gas lamps, a gas stove and a gas fridge.  It is the definition of peaceful, as you can tell below.  Part of the reason I am blogging about this today is because we just re-reserved for 7 days of person/internet/noise-free bliss in July.



We had a lot of fun trying to get the perfect photograph on that swing.





And here is my 'taking the waters' photo series you read about in 19th century novels where ladies simply must go to Bath, the Baltic or wherever for "recovery".  (Recovery from wearing corsets daily, I'm sure.)








This wrap is the combination of everything I love in knitting:

1. Intarsia colorwork.  In intarsia, you carry bobbins of color along the back of the work, twisting in the new color when you come to it.  This technique seems to frighten a lot of people, but I find it addictive and fun.  I prefer intarsia to stranding (or, holding 2 colors at once for every stitch) because the fabric is thinner, and you never have to bother with wondering what both of your hands are doing.

But with intarsia, you have hundreds of ends to weave in.  I tried my best, and even made a cartoon for the particular short ends I was cutting.  The yarn, Rowan Kidsilk Aura, is silk and mohair, and has the curious property of being slippery when you want it to be firm (i.e. weaving ends), but being firm when you want it to be slippery (i.e. ripping out).




You are forced to show the back of this wrap if you don't have a lining, so you have to be neat.  I'm rather satisfied with how I managed.  Also: I don't recommend a lining, the silk in the yarn adds enough weight, and you would lose the delicious warmth and softness of this one-of-a-kind fabric.




2. Kaffe Fassett color patterning.  You don't knit Kaffe Fassett for fit or fashion... you knit his patterns for amazing color patterning and repeats.  I replicated most of his color choices, except the overly green "Orchard"... I tried to replace with the yellow-green "Pistachio" as much as possible.  I did end up using Orchard, and still don't like it's tone compared to the other shades.

Here are my preferred intarsia tools, bobbins, and my favorite colors in the wrap (the full ball is Pistachio):





3. Rowan Kidsilk Aura.  This is the most luxurious, scrumptious-feeling yarn I have EVER knit with.  It is a combination of kid mohair and silk (like the very popular laceweight Rowan Kidsilk Haze), but three times the weight.  Sadly, it is discontinued.  I hope that this amazing yarn will be revived someday.

All is not lost!  Here is a Ravelry search for members who are willing to sell their Kidsilk Aura stashes.  Alternatively, Jannette's Rare Yarns STILL carries brand new bags of 10 of a few colors, at an amazing price.  Here is my recent acquisition of the color Forest.  Don't you want to dive in?



Just to tempt you even more, here is a fantastic sweater (Mellow by Anna and Heidi Pickles) knit by my dear friend Ringleader on Ravelry... that takes 10 balls or less!  There is, seriously, an inch of fuzz "aura" coming off her shoulders.  An aptly named yarn, Rowan!  






As you can probably tell, I have quite a Kidsilk Aura stash.  I'm thinking of working on this gem in a Rowan Kidsilk Aura pattern booklet: Liliana.



It will be a lot of fun to convert this sweater into a version with all my little Sofia Wrap leftovers!  Just imagine... 




































8 comments:

  1. YOU are amazing Miss D, as is this wrap, those pictures and that lake. You are so right about Aura, it's the loveliest of yarns, unbearable that it was discontinued, and still we love it even with it's schizoid properties! I am afraid of intarsia, you amaze me that you love it so much. Maybe I will drop by in July and we can have some private time to knit, B won't mind a bit! Oh my, that lake is gorge!

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    1. I'll be waiting for you at the gate! Bring your bobbins and rent a jeep.

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  2. I love that wrap Dayana, it is so beautiful. Looks like a great vacation place. Now what will u b photographing this year?

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    1. Oh, that is the million dollar question!! Hopefully by then, we'll have something new to play with, hmmmmm? =)

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  3. Lovely wrap and what a gorgeous place to visit !

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  4. Great work - That is a fantastic piece. Beautifully shot photos too - better than the Rowan ones I think :) I am in awe of your ability to LIKE intarsia I can do it but dislike every minute.

    Do make Liliana - I made her in the given colours using the stranded method. one of my fave knits (and VERY VERY warm!!)

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    1. Thank you so much -- I do love intarsia, but I know it is annoying for some people. I just love that I only have to worry about one strand and can control the tension very well, all the time. AND I AM SO GLAD to meet someone who did Liliana! If you see this reply, do tell me if you think the top of the arms are too wide. On the available Ravelry project pictures, they seemed a bit bulky. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/liliana

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  5. Your photographs are all very professional, seems a knitting magazine, simply beautiful. I will definitely continue following your blog! :-)

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Thanks for your comment! :)

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