A few weeks ago I alluded to Akari in a previous blog. We had just received this beautiful new yarn from Noro, and I was desperate to make a blarf with it. Well, I did. Here are some of my observations and thoughts when working with this wonderful yarn.
Sometimes I get this feeling when I’m making a project that I never want it to end. That’s how I felt working with Akari. I picked a color makes me feel happy these days (the yellow/beige/orange combo called Amur Adonis) and every time the yarn shifted from one color to the next i couldn’t help but think “ooh now it’s time for yellow” and then “ooh now the orange is here!”
I knit the Akari Wrap on the bias, with a simple garter edge to keep the edges from curling. I blocked it out to loosen it up. I wanted to give the fabric a nice drape. It’s about 18” wide and very long. I wanted it to be the sort of wrap that I could double up around my neck or wrap around a jacket to keep me warm while winter lingers. I also wanted it to be light and to drape enough that I’d wear it as a layer throughout the spring and summer months.
Akari is a worsted-weight yarn, but after blocking my Akari Wrap, my gauge was at about 14 stitches over 4 inches! My point? You can really play with gauge on this yarn. Knit it anywhere from a traditional worsted weight gauge of 18 or 20 stitches over 4”, or loosen up the gauge on a larger needle. A tiny knitting note: I’m a loose knitter and I knit up my Akari Wrap on a US7 needle. I purposefully let myself be relaxed with this knit and blocked it across its width. That said, you may want to play with needle size before you knit up your own projects with this yarn. I think most knitters will get gauge on the Akari Wrap on a US9. Needle size isn’t that critical, but if you’re particular, check your gauge.
While I hope two dozen of our knitters make up their own Akari Wrap, I can’t help but imagine all the other fun things I could make with Akari. Take a look at this beautiful swatch, and use your imagination to envision how Akari could transform the following projects – and so much more!
Since Akari adds so much to the fabric it creates, you don’t need a ton of texture (like cables) in your knitting. It will look great with lace, though!
The Hipster Shawl by Joji Locatelli is a wonderful shawl project that would show off everything Akari has to offer. Garter Stitch, the simples bit of lace and tiny tassels add personality to this piece without fighting with Akari’s beautiful shifts in color.
Joji’s Worsted Boxy is another project from this prolific designer that would complement Akari beautifully. Akari will elevate this simple, relaxed shape and be a marvelous piece that could be worn any time of year.
Nuuk is another sweater project that would be transformed by Akari. Originally written in the first issue of Laine for Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, Nuuk is a sweater-tee that can be worn as easily alone as it can be worn as a layering piece. It’s top down, seamless construction means that the color shifts in Akari will translate beautifully to this finished piece and the lack of sleeves means it’ll be one beautiful, continuous river or color. Nuuk knit up in Akari is going to have more drape and be even more feminine than the Shelter version of this popular sweater!
Noble Blue is a triangular shawl pattern by Janina Kallio. It’s a combination of simple lace and garter that will let the color shifts in Akira come to life. One other nice quality is that Noble Blue is made with a little over 500 yards of worsted-weight yarn – so you get a transformational accessory with one of Akari’s big huge skeins!
A no-brainer project idea is making an Easy Folded Poncho with Akari. Two balls of Akari will get this done, and it will create a gorgeous layering piece that can be worn any season of the year.
One more versatile accessory for Akari is the Trimont Snood from Blue Sky Fibers. Originally written for Woolstok, Akira will add some personality to this effortless layering piece. I’ve always loved that the Trimont Snood can be worn as a cowl, a cape or a hood. It can play so many roles for the wearer, and it will doubly do so with a gorgeous yarn like Akira.
As mentioned above, check your gauge (and block it if you’re particular) with Akira. It’s combination of fibers makes its finished fabric less predictable, even for your more experienced knitters. Don’t worry, this little step will be worth it. Anything make with Akira will be a beautiful and treasured hand-knit piece!