Sapphires Yarn (Sapphires N Purls)
The Dyer: Impassioned by knitting, Indie Dyer Beth Richardson of Sapphires n Purls began knitting in 2005, and has since discovered the inevitable joy equal to knitting: dyeing yarn. Ms. Richardson moved from big box acrylics and wools to the more exotic fibers of Camel, Soybean, Silk, and others. Her store, sapphiresyarn.com, holds a treasure trove of gorgeous, squishy yarn dyed with the highest quality acid dyes. Sapphires n Purls doesn’t record colorway recipes, so word of warning: if you see a colorway you like, grab it. It’ll be gone forever if you don’t. Sapphires n Purls also has a YouTube channel filled with both knit and crochet lessons and stitch dictionaries, as well as a Craftsy store with unique patterns for sale and free. I will always hold a special allegiance to Sapphires n Purls: when I started back up with yarncraft, her videos refreshed my knowledge and helped me expand my knitting and crocheting skill sets.
The Yarn: As I said above, Sapphires n Purls doesn’t record a colorway recipe, so when she launched her Monet colorway in her 60% merino/40% silk heavy worsted single-ply, I snatched a bunch of it up (6 hanks total). This is the kind of yarn that makes you want to get naked and roll around in it. I ordered these hanks at separate times, resulting in half of the balls with lightly muted tones, the other three being more colorful and sharp. It was okay, though, it would work either way with my chosen project. But let’s discuss the yarn. Holy crap, this stuff is like clouds. It’s so dreamy, you don’t even know if you’re touching it. I’m a huge fan of single ply, and this worked up like an absolute dream. The blend of the silk and merino was perfect for the beautiful lace stitch, your average YO/K2Tog. The colors, speckled into an incredible variegation, defined the stitches, making the greens pop, the blues flow, the pinks luscious. One little, yet incredibly important detail is the sheen on this yarn. It’s not sparkly, don’t get me wrong; it’s a gorgeous, subtle sheen that gives an incredible depth to the stitches, creating a surreal, dreamy definition. This yarn base is fluffy, incredibly squishy, and when I was knitting it up, both my mother and I couldn’t stop petting it like an angora rabbit.
There are times when a wool single ply will fuzz up almost immediately, but not so much with this stuff. Regardless of the fact that it has silk in it, the wool will fuzz eventually. Winding it into a ball from a hank was a trial: the yarn kept sticking together from friction, making the ball winding slow-going, but as it turns out, this was the only time when the wool fuzzed minimally. This yarn is perfect for luxurious sweaters, scarves, hats, and wraps. Word of warning, though. Once you knit this up and wear it, don’t be surprised if people pet you a lot. It’s gorgeous.
The Pattern: At a knitting guild meeting, I saw a woman wearing a great mesh top, and absolutely HAD to make it for my mom. When I found the pattern, this yarn popped up in my Facebook news feed, and I figured this would be a perfect match. There are two versions of this pattern: The Atlanta Mesh top (found in the Tahki Stacy Charles Metro Knits pattern pamphlet, $17.95), and Lucente (Ravelry, $6.50). The Atlanta Mesh is knit based, and Lucente is purl based. Either way, they come out roughly the same.
This is a very easy pattern to knit up. A quick cast on, work up in lace stitch using four different needles, bind off and block. Very simple. It’s worked from the bottom up over the shoulders and back down, making it one solid piece, so there’s no seaming except for stitching the sides together. It calls for something called The Stretchy Bind Off, which is essentially K2Tog, transfer stitch to left needle, lather, rinse, repeat. I wouldn’t use that bind off again, honestly. It’s not stretchy. A bunch of other knitters had suggested using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. Maybe next time, I’ll use that one. Now, this pattern, once it’s knit up, blocked and sewn, doesn’t look exactly like the one in the picture. According to the gauge from both my swatch and my finished item, if I had blocked it to look like the picture, it would’ve been huge. I blocked it according to the measurements in the pattern, and it came out quite clingy and form fitting. The sleeves were only supposed to be six stitches, I increased that amount to 10 at mom’s request. Other than that, no more adjustments were made to the pattern.
For my first go at garments, I’d have to say this turned out better than I expected. I’m glad this was an easy one to start with, and if you’re looking for a quick, easy knit for your first shirt, this is the one to do.
I haven’t checked the stitch definition with crochet. Honestly, I think crochet fabric is more utilitarian since the stitches are thicker and heavier. With a yarn like this, a knit project would be my first choice, due to the flow of the stitches. However, with the natural sheen and the incredible definition, if you must go crochet, you can try The Yuet Shawl by Rachel Choi (Ravelry, $4.95) or the Simply Soft Crochet Shawl Scarf by Patricia Hodson (Ravelry, $5).
All of these patterns I’ve highlighted here are paid patterns. There’s really no reason for that, I usually just look through the patterns on Ravelry and choose ones that catch my eye. If they end up being paid patterns, so be it. There is a way to get around that, though. I discovered a way to gift patterns to friends and family on Ravelry (except, I haven’t quite figured out how to get the wishlist tab to show up). More on that later.
I spoke to Ms. Beth of Sapphires n Purls the other day, and asked her about this yarn base. She said she’s getting more in within the week (as of 02 Dec), because Cyber Monday pretty much wiped her out. With the impending holidays, she’s aiming to focus on her family a bit more, as she dyes her yarn in her spare time. However, she promises that 2016 will bring brand new colorways and a new cowl pattern to her store. You can sign up for her newsletter at sapphiresyarn.com, or follow her here: YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Honestly, I urge you to follow her, she’s got some pretty awesome yarns, and her colorways are just plain gorgeous.
Disclaimer: All images and content are property of JuneeB Designs, 2015. Please do not use this article or its images without express written consent from June E Brown and/or JuneeB Designs. Feel free to share the article on your social media via the buttons below. Unless otherwise noted, none of the products reviewed or mentioned have been provided by their respective distributors, nor has any money or compensation been paid by them for a review of the products. All product reviews are based on my opinion and have been purchased by me. Thank you!