Archive for the ‘Tips & Techniques’ Category

Tuesday’s Tip – What to do with Unfinished Gifts

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
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Photos by Lindsey TophamChristmas Eve is here and time is almost up! If you haven’t finished all of  your handmade gifts this season, there are still some options (other than staying up all night of course!).

– Wrap your unfinished gift and let them open it this way. Depending on how much work you have to do, you can take it back and finish it Christmas day with them there, or take it home and mail it to them in a few days.

– If your hand made gift didn’t make it onto the needles yet, wrap up the yarn and the pattern for them instead. This way they get to see what their gift will look like, and you can take your materials back to finish their gift after Christmas.

– If you still want to keep things a surprise, write out an IOU for the present. A note in a Christmas card telling them to “Stay tuned for an awesome gift!” will let them know they haven’t been forgotten.

Of course, the basis of handmade gifts is the thought. Your loved ones will be thrilled you thought to make them a gift, and will treasure it no-matter when they receive it.

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Project Bag Essential

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
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photos by Amy StephensOne project bag essential that is often overlooked are simple nail clippers!

They won’t snag your projects and are perfect for snipping your yarn on the go. They’re inexpensive, and it’s easy to have one for each project bag. I never leave home without them!

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip: How to Weave in Short Yarn Tails

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
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How to Weave in Short Yarn TailsOh no! You cut your yarn tail too short and now you can’t weave in your ends. Or maybe you ran low on yarn while casting on 275 stitches and really don’t want to rip back and start over, just so you have a long tail to weave in.

This is definitely one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that!?” tips.

Just insert your yarn needle into your project first, then thread it. This makes it possible to work with much less yarn than if you threaded the needle first. It’s so simple, yet so helpful!

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip: Factor in Stretch – Swatching with Clothespins

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
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Factor in Stretch Swatching with Clothespins

 When working with a notoriously stretchy fiber, it can be hard to tell how your finished project is really going to drape. The stretch and weight of cotton yarn can add inches to a finished sweater. You can’t really tell how much the project will stretch from your swatch alone, since it’s the weight of the entire project that distorts it.

A great solution is to attach clothespins to the base of your swatch to add some weight. Now you can see how much your swatch stretches and factor that into your project. No more surprises!

 

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Use Small Skeins of Handspun Yarn

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
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This week’s tip comes from Sara Delaney, WEBS Marketing Coordinator. Sara has a great idea for what to do with those little skeins of handspun you may have sitting around.
How to Use Single Skeins of Handpsun Scrobble Cowl
Sometimes you have that perfect little braid of fiber, 4oz or less, that spins up into a gorgeous yarn, but you don’t end up with much yardage ,so it languishes in your stash. Languish no more, little skeins! Pair that handspun with a skein of sparkly mohair and make a simple cowl with alternating stripes. You won’t even have to purl! You’ll have great visual interest with the different yarn weights and sparkle, as well a textural interest with the mohair.
Click here to check out Sara’s Scrobble Cowl pattern!

Your yarn.com Wish List, it’s as easy as 1,2,3.

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
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If you have an account at yarn.com then the Wish List is a great place to save items you’re not quite sure you’re ready to buy, but you don’t want to loose track of. It’s also an easy way to put together a list of can’t-lose gifts for your family and friends.

Step 1: Add items to your Wish List

Wish List Step 1

Step 2: View and edit your Wish List

Wish List Step 2

Step 3: Share your Wish List with friends and family

Wish List Step 3

Tuesday’s Tip – How to Count Hard to See Stitches

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
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Counting Hard to See Stitches

We all know how important it is to do a gauge swatch, but sometimes your stitches can be hard to see. Knitting and crocheting with fuzzy yarn, ruffle yarn, or even just a super bulky yarn can make counting your stitches really tricky.

To make it easier, hold your project up to a window so the light can shine through.  This will allow you to see your stitches for easy counting! Just make sure you don’t stretch your project, otherwise it will distort your stitch count.

 

 

Trend Watch: Fur Yarns

Sunday, November 17th, 2013
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Fur has been hitting the catwalk and our shelves, but is there a way to keep in step with this trend while avoiding looking like a Muppet? The key here is to think small. Accessories and details add edge to your wardrobe without going overboard–I’ll show you how.

furcowl

To play with this trend, I knit myself a quick fur cowl in only a few hours using Prism Plume in the Kilimanjaro colorway. I simply cast on enough stitches to fit around a 40″ US 13 circular needle, twisted my stitches before joining them to create a twist in the cowl, and knit through two hanks of yarn before binding off. The hand-dyed colors of Plume are luscious and it’s super soft around the neck. Fur cowls look great against a cabled sweater for texture contrast, or go monochrome and match your cowl to your jacket or top–it’s like making a shirt you already own into a fur-necked turtleneck! For a retro-inspired shape, try a keyhole scarf like Zelda from Louisa Harding or a fur collar.

furvests

Fur vests can be a fun layering piece, but wear carefully and avoid other fur accessories with this one. Berroco’s Granita (left) and Lousia Harding’s Olive (right, from Book 129) feature similar construction styles with different fur textures. Both are meant to be worn open, which creates a long vertical line and helps avoid any ‘wrapped in animal hides’ comparisons. Belts emphasize the waist–always a good thing! I’d pair these vests with something sleek on the bottom, like slim-fitting pants, skinny jeans, or a pencil skirt and tights.

furyarns

The hardest part of all is deciding which fur yarn you’ll choose! These are not like the eyelash yarns of yesterday–fur-look yarns now come in different fibers and textures ranging from natural-looking fur replicas to colorfully flamboyant options. Rozetti Wicked Fur (bottom left, in color 104 Zebra) is soft, fluffy and comes in natural shades with different color ‘tips,’ just like real fur. If you want a splash of color, check out Louisa Harding Luzia (shown in 02 Ruby and 05 Sapphire) or Filatura di Crosa Jenny (shown here in 08 Almond, but it’s also available in jewel tones). Luzia has a smoother texture that tends to lie flat, which I think looks very realistic in its natural colors; Jenny has longer feathery strands mixed with shorter ones for depth. And Berroco Marmot (in the back, color 3743 Amber) creates a fabric reminiscent of shearling fleece when knitted up.

Will you be trying out one of these fur yarns this winter? How will you be using it?

Tuesday’s Tip – Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned Yarn

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
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Coned yarns aren’t just for weaving! Yarns wound onto a cone are wonderful to knit and crochet with. They generally come in fairly large quantities, which means fewer joins and weaving in ends. The only tricky part can be getting the yarn off the cone easily while you’re working with it. You could put the cone on the floor, but your seat may not be high enough to be effective. A great solution is to run the yarn over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Knit and Crochet Easily with Coned YarnRun the yarn from a cone over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.

Here, I used a tall computer monitor, but a desk lamp would work really well too. If you haven’t worked with coned yarns before, you can try the Valley Yarns 496 Greenway Shawl knit in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel (Colrain Lace) and Valley Yarns 456 Sumac Berry Shawl crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk.

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Using a Salad Spinner

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
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Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.

Use a salad spinner to get out excess water from your knitting or crochet project before blocking.

After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.

I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).

What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.