This year has brought many collaborations my way, and one of the most exciting has been with Lion Brand Yarn. This company has been part of my maker journey since the very beginning - Lion Brand yarns were some of the first I ever worked with as a child and they still remain in my top choices for soft, durable yarns. Launched in 1878, the company is still family owned and operated and has a mission to "create a more colorful, connected, and giving world." Amen to that!
As part of my ongoing collaboration with Lion Brand, I have been releasing one free pattern per month using seasonal yarns worked up in modern garments and accessories. Probably the most popular to date has been the Coffee Shop Wrap - a knitted, tasseled, triangle scarf with uneven striping and eyelet details. I had no idea this pattern would be so well received and I quickly got inundated with requests for a crochet version.
I think the versatility and "classic meets modern" allure of the Coffee Shop Wrap is what has made it so successful. This is something I try to achieve in all of my knitwear, but it really shines in this particular design. I have to admit that while making it I was skeptical of it the entire time, because to me a "shawl" is just so dated and often brings up images of dowdy unattractive ensembles, but I'd been wanting to make something triangular that would work well with tassels so I trudged on. To my surprise the finished piece was light years better than I could have imagined. Simply turning the triangle around to the front and wearing it more like a handkerchief scarf made all the difference! And now I don't even mind it worn as a shawl either ;) The random stripes, tassels, and combination of cool and neutral tones bring even more modern appeal.
As a pattern it's an enjoyable knit with simple construction that allows for non-headache-inducing knitting that is kept interesting with the color changes and occasional eyelet row. It's the kind of piece that elicits the well-known "one more row, one more row, one more row ..." condition.
With crochet becoming more and more popular, especially among modern makers who enjoy a faster project, I knew I had to try to meet the demand for a crochet version of the pattern. I was afraid that the drapable and slinky quality of the knit version, which was made using Lion Brand 24/7 cotton, would be lost with the more dense, stiff quality of crochet fabric. The two crafts have very different applications and it's not always easy to replicate something in one or the other. But with the seasons changing I decided that a slightly more robust wrap might work well, so I chose to work with Lion Brand Heartland which is a wonderfully soft, washable acrylic that is warm but still has excellent drape and sheen - two elements that were important to showcase if I wanted this to be similar to the original knit wrap.
I sized up my hook quite a bit to allow for looser stitches and a more moveable fabric and mimicked the uneven striping and eyelets of the Coffee Shop Wrap, and the result is again light years better than I could have imagined. The fabric actually turned out to have beautiful drape and it's just as chic as the original with just a touch more "cozy" to it. To me this is the best combination of qualities knitwear can have - comfort and coziness but also elegance and sophistication. The last thing you want is to get stuck in frumpy zone!
And so the sister to the Coffee Shop Wrap was born! The Tea House Wrap, with a name just as cheesy-but-likeable as the first, has all of the wonderful qualities of the original and then some! Tassels and triangles are quickly becoming two of my very favorite things, and I have a feeling they are going to be making lots more appearances this fall.
Thanks to everyone who has been sharing such lovely messages on Ravelry and social media! And for those who haven't quite mastered the art of crochet or knitting but still appreciate a finished piece of knitwear: follow @twoofwands on instagram for a special surprise on the first day of fall, September 22nd! Also, shout out to my model Paige Haynes of Off the Paige who is quite the modern maker herself. Check out her Etsy shop where she sells, among many things, her gorgeous minimalist concrete jewelry worn in the photos above.