Wisdom Wrap, in progress.

Right before we left for market in June, Anne started knitting a Wisdom Wrap, one of Gina Wilde’s shibori felting designs for Alchemy Yarns. We’d seen (and played dress-up with) a Wisdom Wrap at market the year before, and kept it in mind all year.

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It’s an unusual piece, but simple to construct. The first step is to make long stretches of i-cord with Sanctuary, a luxuriously soft blend of merino and silk. Then stitches are picked up along the length of the i-cord and knit up into garter stitch rectangles using Silken Straw.

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The end result is a kind of i-cord scaffolding, which frames the Silken Straw color-blocks. When the knitting is done, the Wisdom Wrap is ready to be felted, just like the Simple Shibori Cowl. The Sanctuary i-cord shrinks and felts, looking almost like a velvet rope, and the Silken Straw rectangles soften and stretch out. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but having seen the finished wrap at market and tried it myself on a smaller scale with the cowl, we feel confident that a successful shibori transformation awaits. In the meantime, Anne is hard at work on the wrap, working lengths of i-cord in between blocks of garter stitch–soothing knitting.

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Besides the meditative knitting process, one of the major joys of an Alchemy project is choosing from their outstanding, vibrant color palette. Though she was picking from a smaller selection, before our colors numbered in double digits as they do today, Anne put together a beautiful colorway for her Wisdom Wrap, which calls for one shade in Sanctuary and four in Silken Straw.

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In selecting colors for a Wisdom Wrap, one strategy is to begin with the Sanctuary, which comes in variegated colorways. From there, you can use the same colorway in Silken Straw, and then┬ápull out three solid colors in the Silken Straw that appear in the variegated color you’ve chosen. Anne is using Sanctuary in color “Dark Star,” and Silken Straw in “Dark Star,” “Jungle Juice,” “Citrine,” and “Coco Rosie.” As I was arranging the Silken Straw in its basket, I couldn’t help but play the Wisdom Wrap game, putting potential colorways together, sometimes following the strategy I just laid out, sometimes not.

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I could play this game all day. Come in to plan a Wisdom Wrap of your own!

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