In order to create a knit that more closely approximated designer fabric, I combined three yarns together. This is because the expensive woven fabrics favored by designers like Chanel have color depth and texture that can rarely be recreated using only one yarn. My white knit jacket, above, is comprised of three yarns for the main body and a fourth yarn that was used for the trim.
For my Chanel jacket, I created color depth by combining three yarns that were similar in color, yet slightly different, and all of them had a different material composition ranging from merino to paper to silk. Since my color scheme was black and white, I chose Claudia Handpainted Yarns’ black tie 4-ply yarn in merino as my working yarn:
This variegated yarn is mostly white, with just hints of black, which was just the kind of subtlety I wanted. To add depth to this predominantly white color scheme, I brought in the Habu silk tram degummed NS-28:
This yarn has an incredible shimmer because of the pure silk, which shines through the knitted fabric and creates an impression of luxury. Also, this white is not exactly the same as the white in the black tie merino 4ply. Whereas the merino ranges from white to cream to grey, the silk is pure white, so combined together, they have more color depth as there is a subtle contrast between the two whites, which is further displayed by the contrasting grey/black splashes of color in the black tie.
To give my fabric the feel of the bouclée of a classic Chanel and to deepen the color depth still further, I added a third variegated yarn which also ranges from white to grey to black and contains a symmetrical texture element of small squares of paper incorporated into the yarn, Habu yarn's N-78 B-3. Yes, this yarn is actually made of paper:
With these three yarn choices, I was able to simultaneously address the need for color depth and texture at the same time. By sticking to neutral colors with subtle variations I was able to create a consistent fabric that looked more luxe. This is important, because when we look at the variations in color in most Chanel textiles, we can see the variations are perfectly symmetrical and the colors are generally muted. This is why I chose to use a simple basket weave made of knits and purls and why I kept my color variations more symmetrical by combining the two variegated yarns with a single white one that maintained a pure line of color throughout the jacket.
The edging ties the whole piece together. I executed the pocket and front edging borders in a double moss stitch using Schulana Mosco yarn doubled:
I do not believe that it is always necessary to combine multiple yarns in order to create a luxe fabric—there are some tweed yarns, for example, which are designed to create color depth. But in my case, I felt it was worth the extra time and effort to combine yarns in order to achieve exactly the fabric that I wanted, and the feeling that I was engaged in creating a kind of textile art was the most satisfying part of the experience.