We recently added Julie Asselin's Nurtured to the online store. I first discovered this yarn at Knit City in Vancouver, right as we were planning to sell yarn, and I knew instantly that one day it would be part of my dream yarn range. Of course, we've had to build things up slowly, rather than buying everything I love at once, but it feels like something of a milestone to add this particular yarn.
Nurtured is the result of an unusual collaboration between dyer Julie Asselin in Quebec and Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont. Fine fleece from Rambouillet, Targhee and Merino breed sheep is dyed by Julie and her partner Jean-François in vibrant colours which are then shipped to the spinnery and blended to create a range of subtle shades. The blending process means that the same base shades are used in several colourways so they all combine well.
Dianna Walla's new Frost Flowers mitts pattern uses 3 colours in a simple but very effective colourwork pattern. Of course I'm picturing it in grellow, but the colours Dianna used (Naturel,Through the Looking Glass and Fer a Cheval) are snow-queen perfect.
Knox Mountain Knit Co’s Kettle Valley shawl makes the most of Nurtured's rounded 3-ply structure in a bold cable pattern that clearly shows the designer's railroad inspiration. This striped version uses Naturel, Homme Fort and Compass but if stripes aren't your thing there's also a solid option pictured — I'm really into the fringe on that one too.
For a more open shawl try Amberle by Shannon Cook. This stitch pattern looks like it would be easy to memorise for a soothing, repetitive project that would be perfect to pick up while doing other things (the best kind of knitting as far as I'm concerned). Shannon also featured Compass, and combined it with Irma for a little less contrast than Naturel.
My dream project in Nurtured involves a shawl collar and cables — Thea Colman's Milk Stout is a gorgeous version of that concept. look at how smooshy those wide rib cables and garter stitch are. I *never* knit other people's patterns but I'm seriously considering this one. The Irma colour is a perfect classic neutral — I'd love to see this in one of the denimy greys or Compass too.
Joji Locatelli is the queen of the casual, easy sweater and this textured, striped pullover is a great example of her very wearable designs. Joji combined Irma with mid-grey Fer a Cheval. You can't go wrong with any combination of a light and dark for stripes in this palette.
Julie Asselin has also published a beautiful mini collection featuring the work of some of my favourite Canadian designers. The Nurtured Collection includes a cosy cowl by Hilary Smith Callis, a pullover with interestingly fractured cables by Veronik Avery and a neat, preppy vest by Glenna C.