Updated: Apr 8, 2021
I first envisioned this project on the road to visit Center of the Yarniverse and Dances with Wool, the first two of my four stops on the inaugural James River Yarn Crawl. My other two stops on the crawl were The Flying Needles and my own LYS at the time, Yarn Matters, but it was also the week before we moved back to Texas, so I did not make all the way out to Baa Baa Sheep or The Yarn Club. I'm hoping to make it back out to Virginia one of these days so that I'll get to meet them!
Inspired by the James River, this wrap is meant to be meditative and flowing. The colors I selected were largely influenced by my own perceptions of the rivers in the area to include the hazy, silvery look of the water under a cloudy sky and the dark gray driftwood littered along the shoreline. I also made an effort to select yarn from local(ish) dyers! I ended up with eight different skeins of yarn from the four shops I was able to get to, some of which I used almost all of and others just a sprinkling (like that driftwood). With the leftover yarn I got to make this cool linen stitch scarf!
I still have a bit more left, too, that is probably going into another linen stitch scarf along with some other yarn I have in mind. I just need to check yardage and such.
So! Let's talk about those dyers, shall we?
Color 1 is a beautiful tonal silvery gray from Little Fox Yarn called Gossamer. The base is Vixen and I used most of this one. The yarn is 80% Merino and 20% Silk. Delish! Aimee is located in Richmond, VA and we first met at a trunk show at Yarn Matters. As I already mentioned, the rivers often look silvery to me and so I chose this color as a reflection of that.
Color 2 is a fun light blue variegated colorway called Cowboy from Kim Dyes Yarn. I thought this was a nice addition to the river color section because the water is often dappled with a variety of colors reflecting against it as it moves. The base is Napoleon Sock and is also 80% Merino and 20% Silk. I had been following Kim on Instagram since she did a trunk show at The Flying Needles, but it was during the James River Yarn Crawl that I got to meet her at Center of the Yarniverse! She is also located in Virginia.
Color 3 is a wonderfully rich blue from none other than the owner of The Flying Needles! Midnight Peacock is dyed on Susan's Songbird base, which is 75% Merino and 25% Nylon. Robin's Promise yarns are dyed right there in Williamsburg and since I only used a smidge of this wonderful blue in the wrap, it was the main color in my scrappy scarf. Love it!
Color 4 is a warm sandy brown called Monozite from The Fiberists. Much of the river shoreline shifts between sand and shells and dirt and moss and scrub, so I chose this semi-solid to be more all encompassing. The base is a 100% Superwash Merino single and is called Collins Unum Fingering. I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting Reggie and Spencer, but I'm hoping to some day!
Color 5 was a last minute addition, representative of that driftwood I mentioned earlier, that I actually ordered after we moved. Melanie of Baad Mom Yarns had a trunk show at Yarn Matters during the crawl and so I reached out to her for Slate on a 75% Merino and 25% Nylon fingering weight base. She is not actively selling right now.
Color 6 is the best sage green ever, which I loved using to pull in all the lichen and lighter greens that grow just off the shore of the river. It's called Unbric Horizon and it's from Urban Girl Yarns. The base is 90% Superwash Merino and 10% Nylon and I believe the name is Virginia now. Shelia is also located in the Richmond area and I ALSO met her at a trunk show at Yarn Matters!
Color 7 is one of my favorite greens! It's from Tempting Ewe Yarns and it's called You've Got to be SEEN. This is a mossy, lush green that really pops some vibrancy into the base of the woodline, like ferns and ivy and those first bursts of green in the spring. The base is Ewe So Happy Sock and is 90% Merino and 10% Nylon. I met Wae at yet another trunk show (MAN I miss having an LYS!) and she has since struck out on her own with ColorWae Fiber Arts!
Color 8 is another variegated colorway, this one in green as we shift our view towards the trees growing in the distance. I found this gem from Wise Owl Fiber called Verdant Meadow at his (maybe?) first trunk show at The Flying Needles during the crawl! Taylor was a joy to meet and I hope we'll see more from him in the future!
As you can see, I used a variety of yarn bases and fiber contents in this piece and they all work together beautifully, adding dimension and texture and visual interest. Each one is a fingering weight yarn, but they range from light fingering to bordering sport yarn, I'd say. I like to think the silk in the first two colors adds a nice sheen to the "water" in the center, too!
Of course, you don't have to follow the river theme when YOU make this wrap! In fact, I was delighted to see some of my testers using completely different colors. I will link the images in the gallery below to their project pages on Ravelry if you would like more information.
I think this would also be fun to make with an ombre yarn or a self-striping yarn with long color sequences. Then you would get the stripes and/or color changes without actually having to change colors! You could also omit working the mirror side for an asymmetric scarf instead of a wrap.
The pattern itself includes a link to an informal video tutorial, a photo tutorial for joining on the second side with a standing sc decrease, estimates of yardage used for each color plus an average per repeat to help with yarn substitutions, and a color coded crochet symbol chart. It was professionally tech edited by James Bartley and tested in Yarnpond as well as independently outside of the testing site.
Speaking of Etsy, which I'm new to, I created a small collection of other pieces to release in coordination with this design, which includes stitch markers, the spiral shawl pin pictured, plus a couple extras, the scrappy scarf, and some handspun AND some art!
Be sure to keep an eye out for more information about the upcoming James River Yarn SCROLL, scheduled for September 12-14. You can follow them on Instagram here. Each shop will have in person shopping hours as well as some Zoom times!
Happy crocheting, y'all!