Friday, March 7, 2014


I decided to start my swatch & review process with Shibui Kavo, their newest yarn line. This yarn is a cotton core, covered in silk. It has a sort of ribbon-like structure with no stretch. When knit solo, the swatch for Kavo is a bit crunchy, slightly mold-able, and has drape. I worked the swatch on size US 5 needles and it showed off the thick and thin qualities of this yarn, which is around a lace or fingering weight on it's own.

First, the lightweight blends, worked on a US 7 needle:

Kavo + Pebble
This mix allows the shine from the Kavo to dominate in the fabric. I think in a color pairing (other than Ivory on Ivory), you would see more of Pebble's tweedy texture showing up. The cashmere content of Pebble was more prominent on the purl side, perhaps suggesting that this combo in garter stitch would highlight both yarns best. The finished weight is about a fingering weight.

Kavo + Silk Cloud
Silk Cloud always adds a halo. In this pairing, the shine from both yarns is dulled slightly by the halo from the mohair content in Silk Cloud. The finished fabric has great drape and a light hand on US 7's, and worked up at about a fingering weight. This pairing is extremely soft and I would recommend it for lightweight, summer sweaters.

Kavo + Cima
Cima is one of my favorite Shibui yarns. It works well enough with Kavo to produce a more even fabric that doesn't have thick and thin qualities and blocks out smoothly. The opacity of this pairing is stronger than the other groupings -- I would recommend this for lightweight pullovers especially.

The heavier weight blends, worked on a US 8 and then a US 9 needle:

Kavo + Staccato
This was worked on a US 8 needle. This might be my favorite of all the pairings, since both Staccato and Kavo add sheen and a silky smoothness to the finished fabric. On a US 8, each stitch was squishy and rounded. The combined weight would be a good substitute for dk.

Kavo + Baby Alpaca
I worked this on a US 8 but feel it would be better at a larger gauge to allow the Baby Alpaca room to bloom. Not a bad pairing, could be good for extremely fluid shawls or scarves. This sits nicely as a dk weight, but could easily work on US 10s for a worsted weight substitute.

Kavo + Hiechi
Crunchy and papery, an unusual feeling for a knit. The Kavo adds sheen and visual interest to the fabric without interfering with Hiechi's structure. The finished weight is around an aran or heavy worsted weight yarn. This swatch was worked on US 9's.

Kavo + Linen
Produces a sheer fabric on US 9's, very summery. The Kavo lends a bit of softness to the linen that could make it appealing for next-to-skin spring and summer garments. At a tighter gauge or in crochet, this pairing would read as a highly textured, thick fabric good for housewares.

Kavo + Merino Alpaca
Kavo mainly adds visual interest here but not much else. Worked on US 9's, Merino Alpaca does all the talking. The finished fabric could be considered an aran or even bulky weight comfortably.

Project Recommendations

I have picked three of my favorite combinations here to highlight: Kavo + Cima, Kavo + Staccato, and Kavo + Silk Cloud. These three, in my opinion, are my absolute favorites -- they combine the best way for garments that I would wear frequently.

Kavo + Cima makes such a beautiful fabric. I could see it fitting effortlessly into the Pekoe pattern by Laura Chau, which has been long on my list. I would make mine in Kavo colorway Cornflower, combined with Cima Cascade, so that it would be a lightweight sweater, but perfect for early spring over dresses.

Kavo + Staccato is probably my favorite of all the combinations. I just love the sheen of the finished fabric. I would want to knit something that I could wear all the time, fall, winter, and early spring. The finished fabric would be fairly warm and squishy -- I would choose a neutral like Ash in both bases for maximum wearability, in Ankestrick's newest pattern, Diary.

Kavo + Silk Cloud is lightweight, airy, and graceful. I'd dig into the Shibui pattern suggestions and make a Ridge, a pattern by Lydia Tsymbal, in two sizes up. Heavenly and cloud-like, wouldn't this be lovely to pull on over the weekends? Of course, I'd make this one neutral as well, perhaps in the Graphite colorway.

Have you tried any Shibui Yarns? What are your favorite combinations, or, if you haven't tried them, what's keeping you away?

Disclaimer: I do work for Shibui Knits as a part-time freelancer, and they sent me this yarn to review for free. I promise that these reviews are honest and my opinions are my own, and have in no way been influenced by the company.


  1. I am planning on knitting the Dreambird shawl and was planning on using Silk Cloud as the background yarn. I ordered online and did not realize how incredibly light it is. Do you recommend always pairing it with another yarn? If so what do you recommend? The other yarn I will be using for the pattern is Noro Silk Garden. Thank you for your help!

    1. Shibui's yarns definitely do like to be mixed, but it's not necessary. I think it's entirely lovely to knit with it by itself (like you would with Rowan Kidsilk Haze.) I might swap out the positioning of the Noro and the Silk Cloud -- maybe do the background or base in Noro?

  2. I was trying to emulate this project, as I love the colors: which uses the Rowan Kidsilk Haze, but I could not find the dark espresso brown when I was purchasing the yarn so I subbed it out with the Silk Cloud. If the Kavo has the same deep brown I may consider knitting it along with that. What are your thoughts? Thank you for your help!

    1. If the original uses Kidsilk Haze you should be fine using Silk Cloud. They are very very similar yarns and are the same in weight. Kavo does not have a brown in that color range, the closest they get is a brownish gray.


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