Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ruche Panel Tuque for Our Back 40

Edited to add Jan. 18th: The Our Back 40 kit shop is just opening today or at the latest on Monday, Jan. 21st. There will be more colors offered for the hat kit at that time. Please check back to order your kit if interested!

Hi, Knitters,
I briefly shared this new hat design called the Ruche Panel Tuque I did for Our Back 40 last week when I was showing off the finished Belfast Hoodie. I want to give you a little more detail on this wonderful alpaca yarn company and some of the other patterns in their new kit collection that is premiering at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend in New York City.

My friend in knitting, Tanis Gray, who I first met in 2007 when she was an editor for Vogue Knitting, contacted me to see if I would be able to design something for a small alpaca yarn company debuting at VK Live. I submitted this hat idea and then waited anxiously for the yarn to arrive. I requested a worsted weight. When the yarn arrived in a tiny box I had no idea what to expect, not even the color. 

Oh, I was excited to see this gorgeous shade of green when I opened the box. The yarn is incredibly soft and luxurious. The company's tag-line is, Cashmere Quality, All-American Alpaca. It is a luxury yarn that makes you want to sink in and stay awhile. The Ne Plus Ultra Worsted-Weight Alpaca knits up like a dream and shows stitch definition wonderfully. I think the Ruche Panel Tuque would be a very warm everyday kind of hat. I can't wait to knit another one up for myself. It would be my go-to hat during these cold winter months without a doubt.

Here is the description of the worsted weight yarn I received for the hat from Our Back 40 and it's all true!

There are many designs available for the Our Back 40 kits you can purchase at VK Live in NYC this weekend and then online through the website. These kits include the yarn and pattern and they are really something special, like a little treasure or true luxury item. The hat I designed would be the perfect gift for a beloved woman in in your life (or for yourself, of course).  

Other designers included in the pattern collection for Our Back 40 are Tanis Gray, Mary Jane Mucklestone, Elspeth Kursh, Jessica Dekker, Ann Weaver, and Angela Hahn. 

Here is the description of the mission of Our Back 40 from their website, just reading this makes me excited to be a teeny-tiny part of their development: 
Our Back 40 develops, produces and sells yarns which bring together the finest alpaca fiber produced in the U.S. with discerning consumers who value its quality and provenance.
We achieve this by cultivating direct, fair trade relationships with small American farms to access their finest grade alpaca, and working closely with an artisanal mill in this country to produce yarns of distinct beauty and authenticity. When you purchase our yarns, you join a community and complete a vital circle of American trade.
Our goal is to inspire great projects with yarn that exceeds your expectations, made from fiber so fine it redefines alpaca. 
It's me again. You can see a list of the small farms along with links to them right here! I love reading the names of all of these farms. It is quite a list.

If you are attending Vogue Knitting Live this weekend in New York please stop by the String Yarn booths where you will find all of the Our Back 40 knit samples for the new kits at the booth. You will also be able to see and touch their yarns in person. You won't be disappointed and please tell Lynn I say hi! The booth numbers are 807, 809, 811, and 813.   

Now, a little bit about the hat called the Ruche Panel Tuque. Tuque means hat or beanie in case you weren't sure. I think it is such a cute name for a hat. The RPT is designed to fit an average woman's head from 19-22-inches in circumference. (My head measures 22-inches if you are interested in the fit.) If you are knitting this hat for a head on the smaller size you could always go down a couple of needle sizes for the brim. This will make a tighter fit. The hat knit as written is very comfortable on my head.

I made up a cast-on technique to get that adorable little ruffle in the panel section of the hat. I was really pleased with how it turned out. The frill is just enough detail, a perfect touch if I do say so myself. The hat is knit on US size 7 needles at 5 stitches per inch. The yarn is a generous worsted weight. 

I really wanted to keep this hat for myself but I'll just have to order a kit to make one to keep. 

And because I know I'll be asked this question, the pattern will eventually be available in my Ravelry Pattern Shop but not for quite a long while. I'll keep you posted when it becomes available. Click here for the project page for the RPT. Eventually I would love to do a quick knitalong for this hat as I really want one to keep at my house.

I'll leave you with a couple of beautiful photos I received from Lynn Edens of Our Back 40. These are the photos you will find in the actual pattern and on their website. 

(photo provided from Our Back 40)

(photo provided from Our Back 40)

Have fun at Vogue Knitting Live in New York this weekend. I can't wait for Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle as I will be teaching there (registration for classes just opened!). I've already heard from quite a few who are going to be in my classes. I love that. Please let me know if you are coming so I can keep my eye out for you.

Thank you for all of the Opal Sock Yarn Bunny and Hat Set love! The patterns are flying out of my pattern shop. That is so much fun. I really appreciate the support and I can't wait to see all of that sock yarn knit up into adorable little bunnies.

I'll be back soon with more. Get ready for another super fun review and giveaway next week.
best, susie