February 9, 2016

Customer Project: Metalico Wedding Dress

Recently, a project on Ravelry caught our eye: an exquisite wedding dress knitted with our Metalico yarn by Amy (Raveler knitpurlspin). When we got in touch with her, she agreed to share some of the photos from her special day and the details on how she created this stunning garment.

I had always been that person who looked at women who made their wedding dresses as though they were a bit crazy, but when my husband and I got engaged, the prospect of shopping for a dress filled me with dread. Eventually, I remembered someone’s beautiful knit wedding dress and came to the conclusion that I should knit my own dress, too (especially since I’m not a particularly experienced seamstress).I’ve always been one to modify or make up patterns, so I spent a lot of time researching on Pinterest and Ravelry for inspiration and pattern ideas; in the end, I combined three patterns to create the dress.

Next, I had to find the perfect yarn: it had to be shiny because I didn’t want to look like I had knitted a giant, lacy sweater dress; and it had to be soft, since it was going to be close-fitting. It also had to be undyed, but not bleached white ( I look a bit silly in white), and my final requirement was that the yarn was thin enough to go through beads, because I intended to cover it in sparkles. I came across Blue Sky Alpacas’ Metalico yarn and fell in love with how soft it was and how the silk in it made it gleam. The natural color was perfect, so I bought a skein and took it to the bead store and found that Delica beads slid easily onto a loop of the yarn. I ended up using twenty skeins of Metalico and over 3500 beads and Swarovski crystals.

It took a lot of improvising to put the three patterns together; the skirt was worked from the top down using a provisional cast, allowing me to work the top part of the dress later. I learned that you can add beads as you go with a crochet hook instead of threading them on before knitting, which allowed me to add beads at whatever interval I wished. For the hem, I wanted an odd number of crystals with the largest dangling off of a center point, so I had to modify the pattern to accommodate this element. The holes in the crystals were small and fragile, so I bound off the hem with one strand of Metalico and one strand of silk beading cord to attach them securely. I picked up stitches at the waist and continued to add beads as I worked. I decided to replace the nups in the lace pattern with beads and bound of with beaded picots at the sleeves and the super stretchy bind off at the neck.

I’m quite proud of and happy with the end result. Although there is 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) of yarn in the dress and more weight from beads, it felt light and airy to wear – and it never felt hot or itchy. My mother made me a midnight blue dress and a tulle skirt to wear under the knitted dress to make the lace pattern stand out. All of the beads and crystals made it sparkle when I moved, and the skirt fanned out really nicely when I spun during our first dance. If you’d like to know more of the nitty-gritty details of my process, or see more making-of pictures, please visit my Ravelry project page. I also post photos of my current projects and experiments on instagram @knitpurlspin. Photos by Stuart Axelbrooke and Wesley Bratt.

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January 26, 2016

Inside the Industry: TNNA

Earlier this month, we headed to San Diego, California to attend our twice-yearly industry trade show, TNNA. While Minnesota hunkered down for a chilly weekend a -12 degrees, we couldn’t help but enjoy the sunny skies and 65-degree weather just outside of the convention center. Since many of our fans don’t get a chance to attend trade shows such as this one (which is closed to the public), we wanted to share a little peek behind the curtains on today’s blog!

TNNA stands for The National Needlearts Association, and it is a professional organization which has a diverse membership of wholesalers, retailers, designers and teachers from the needlepoint and fiber arts disciplines. Its main goal is to advance our community of professionals through education, industry knowledge exchange and a strong marketplace.

The Winter and Summer trade shows are widely attended by companies who display their latest product lines, as well as retailers (also known as your local yarn store) who are there to place orders for their shops. These shows are also a great opportunity for the members of TNNA to come together to share new ideas, network, and make new discoveries. Above, you can see our booth at this month’s Winter show, where we exhibited the latest yarns and patterns from both Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloë. We had a fantastic time and look forward to the Summer TNNA show this June in Washington, DC!

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January 12, 2016

There’s Still Time to Knit Along With Us!

The Two Harbors Poncho KAL is happening now in our Ravelry group, and there is still plenty of time to join in the fun! Participants can enjoy a 50% discount on their Ravelry PDF purchase of the Two Harbors Poncho pattern through March 31, 2016 by entering “PONCHO” in the coupon code section at checkout.

The perfect layering piece for chilly winter months, this jacket alternative is on-trend and fun to knit! Choose your two favorite colors of EXTRA yarn for a soft and wearable garment; the Two Harbors Poncho is shown above in #3520 Shale and #3510 Butter Cream and below in #3519 Fedora and #3521 Lake Ice.

Each KAL project knit in Blue Sky Alpacas yarn is eligible for a fabulous prize, too! All finished photos posted here in our Ravelry thread by Midnight CST on March 31, 2016 will be entered in our prize drawing for a project kit to make the Norwood Pullover. This kit includes 8 hanks of beautiful Suri Merino, 60% Baby Suri and 40% Merino, the Norwood Pullover pattern and a wonderful project bag to keep you organized.

Happy knitting!

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December 22, 2015

Design Spotlight: Benjamin Krudwig’s Reversible Tufted Cowl

Since introducing HANDSPIN to the Blue Sky Alpacas family, we have seen some astonishing projects take shape. Many of those projects have been beautiful skeins of handspun yarn (and the resulting knit or crochet project), but a recent collaboration with Schacht Spindle Company produced a truly inspirational project: the Reversible Tufted Cowl.

Designed by Benjamin Krudwig, this inventive accessory was woven on a 15” Cricket Loom using 2 skeins of Melange, 1 skein of Metalico, and one 4oz. bag of HANDSPIN fiber. “I nearly spun the fiber into yarn and then used it in the weaving, but I thought that using it in its natural form would be far more interesting,” Benjamin told us recently via email. “I had just been knitting on a pair of thrummed mittens, and wanted to use a similar technique in the woven piece using traditional weaving techniques. From there, the piece practically wove itself.”

This scarf can be worn with the fiber tufts on the outside for a fun statement piece, or they can be worn on the inside to create a warm winter accessory; Benjamin shares many more styling tips, plus a photo tutorial to weave a scarf of your own here on the Schacht Spindle Company blog.

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December 1, 2015

Two Harbors Poncho KAL

Our Winter KAL begins today! Join us as we knit the Two Harbors Poncho in Blue Sky Alpacas Extra, our luxe mix of 55% Baby Alpaca and 45% Fine Merino Wool. What’s not to love about this artful jacket alternative? Stitched sideways in two panels and seamed up the center, Two Harbors is fast and fun to knit, and truly flatters every figure. This light and lofty poncho will be your new “easy does it” favorite.

Once you finish your poncho, be sure to share it in our Ravelry group thread (located here) to be entered in our grand prize drawing for a project kit to make the Norwood Pullover. This kit includes 8 hanks of beautiful Suri Merino, 60% Baby Suri and 40% Merino, the Norwood Pullover pattern and a wonderful project bag to keep you organized.

Our KAL runs from December 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016, so knit as many ponchos as you wish in Blue Sky Alpacas yarns: the more finished projects you post in our Ravelry group, the better your chances of winning this fabulous prize!

We are also offering a 50% discount on your Ravelry PDF purchase of the Two Harbors Poncho pattern through March 31, 2016. Just enter “PONCHO” in the coupon code section at checkout.

Click here for more details in our Ravelry Group.
Click here to find your nearest Blue Sky Alpacas Stockist.

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