Dear lovers of good design and great yarns,
Happy Monday! We’ve got something very special to share with you.
We met Amor Esperanza Valdez several years ago at a Stitches South show in Nashville. If memory serves, Ann found Amor’s extraordinary Crave yarns first, and physically dragged Kay into the booth to see, touch, and sniff them (as you do). Amor stood there smiling, as if she’d seen this reaction before.
That serendipitous meeting led, months later, to pairing Crave’s luxurious blend, Caravan, with Cecelia Campochiaro’s design for the Corrugated Wrap in Field Guide No. 5: Sequences. (It also led to Kay spiriting away the sample and people asking “What is this yarn?” whenever she wears it.)
Amor is fastidious about every aspect of designing a yarn, and it shows. So when she proposed a collaboration with MDK, we said yes even faster than that time we bought all that cashmere.
With Amor at the helm, we knew we’d have an exquisite yarn, an intriguing knit, and a gorgeous FO at the end of the journey.
Here’s how Amor describes her new yarn:
Raíz, which means “root” in my native Spanish, is a 100 percent superwash extrafine merino. It is a singles spun base that yields a lofty and impressively squishy skein of 435 yards of fingering-weight loveliness. I named this base Raíz because since the beginning of my dyer’s journey I have been drawn to: 1) merino, 2) singles spun, and 3) fingering weight yarns. This combination of characteristics yields a color that is quite different from plied yarns, in that the colors seem to wrap, rather than sink, deeply around the yarn core, creating beautiful layers and depth. Every new colorplay on this base tickles me to my fiber-loving core.
The custom color palette that I created for MDK revolves around harmonious contrasts. Because the colors emerged in tandem with a shawl design which uses three colors, I was moved to create a palette that would offer triplet color matchings that are at once surprising and yet clearly have charisma. I was also enchanted by the resonance of pastels as pops of color against a strong backdrop of deep, rich colorways. In the stitched landscape of the Superscript Shawl design, the pastel is sharp not soft, poignant rather than nondescript. And from these twelve colors, a knitter will find so many playful possibilities.
The photography sample colors are Sherlock, Linger, and Sequoia.
Amor tells about the pattern:
The Superscript Shawl is at heart a colorblock piece. You’re knitting with one color at a time to create solid blocks of color. The rising notes of this shawl are created upon—rather than within—the primary stitches. Using applied i-cord (in surprising places) and very simple surface crochet, you will create an embossed map that traces and foregrounds the angles of the design. The result of the surface texture and color contrast is deliciously graphic. In a word: stunning.
So here’s the deal.
Raíz is available for presale now.
We will accept presale orders through July 21 or until orders reach capacity. Your Raíz will ship to you the week of August 26.
Scroll down to see lots of color combinations to inspire you.
Amor’s pattern for the Superscript Shawl will be available for purchase on Ravelry in early August, directly from Amor. The Superscript Shawl will require 3 skeins of Raíz (1 skein in each of 3 colors).
The pattern will include directions for two versions of the Superscript Shawl (one larger, one smaller), plus a companion cowl pattern that can be made with the yarn left over from either version of the shawls. Thrifty luxury is our favorite kind of luxury!
A Knitalong? Yes!
Of course there will be a knitalong! On September 16, we’ll launch an early-fall Superscript Shawl knitalong. As part of the fun of learning the clever techniques involved, which were new to us, Amor will be making snazzy videos to support the pattern.
So in addition to the camaraderie, fun, and general hullabaloo of a great knitalong, we’ll also get virtual visits to Amor’s beautiful studio in Santa Fe.
We hope a bunch of you will join us on this adventure.
You’ll be supporting an independent dyer and designer who is at the top of her game. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Amor on this special collaboration, and we see great times ahead for us all.
Let the great Raíz presale begin!
Ann and Kay
P.S. Hey there again. Are you having a hard time picking three colors? We have the same problem—it’s so difficult to choose! We asked Amor to put together some triplets. Her choices are a great place to start with this most delicious dillydallying.