My son brought home a bag of Utz Red Hot potato chips the other day. They were amazing. Spicy, yes, but not so spicy that I couldn't have eaten the whole bag. I wondered what it was about them that was so addictive. Most spicy things you can only eat a little bit, but this was another story. Looking at the ingredients I saw that after potatoes, the next ingredient was "dextrose" a form of sugar. Plain old sugar was on the list soon after - even before the spices.
It makes sense, really, the sugar and spice have a way of balancing each other so that the effect is neither sweet nor too spicy.
Lots of our other favorite foods use a similar balancing of flavors for a combination that's better than either one alone. Maple ham, Chocolate covered pretzels, Gin and tonic, Pad thai, and salted caramel ice cream are just a few. I'm sure you can think of lots more! Hungry yet?
Fibers for handknitting are created in much the same way. Wool and silk are lovely together, as are wool and alpaca, alpaca and linen, cotton and wool, silk and alpaca. Their inherently different characteristics strengthen and balance one another for a fiber that's greater than the sum of its parts. Fiber manufacturers, and hand spinners have fun creating new blends, I'm sure. As hand knitters we can play with fibers and textures too. Carrying two strands of a yarn gives you a heavier fiber, obviously, but you can also play with two altogether different fibers. Many of you have carried a laceweight mohair with wool to give your fabric a soft halo. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Shibui is all about the mixing. If you look at some of their fibers, you'll think, wow, those are some skinny yarns, but then you realize that they're meant to be carried together with other fibers in the same colorway. It's a great concept, and it works because Shibui offers you all of its yarns in all of its colors so you have endless possibilities to mix and play.
It's exciting to see how different the fabric made of Linen and Cima looks from the fabric made with Maai and Cima. Or Cima and Silk Cloud. There are no wrong choices - it's just a matter of what you like. Shibui's chic patterns are designed to highlight different fiber combinations get you started thinking about working their fibers together, but it's only the beginning. You can create a fabric you like and design your own wrap or sweater. You can make your own fabric and put it into a Custom Fit sweater design that uses your gauge and your measurements. The sky is the limit, but it starts by playing with the yarns.
We have a few spaces left in our Shibui Mix Party event next Tuesday, August 30 from. Carol Cama, our Shibui rep, will be on hand to guide you through the process. It's going to be a fun evening! Come by the shop and get registered, or click here to sign up
I look forward to seeing you at the Mix party, or just in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.