Posts Tagged ‘knitting patterns’

Can I Like Plant Fibers?

Friday, April 8th, 2016
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The jury is still out, but I found two yarns whispering to me from their hidey-holes in the store that might sway me to the non-protein-fiber dark side.

In what has to be the most interesting confluence of fibers that I’ve encountered, Nettle Grove, from Plymouth Yarn Company, is a mix of 45% cotton, 28% linen, 12% nettle fiber (you read that right), and 15% silk. This tonal sport-weight yarn actually feels so soft and swingy, and has a beautiful sheen. It doesn’t have any of the inelasticity that I’ve grown accustomed to feeling in fabric knit in cotton or linen. It must be the nettle. In doing some internet research, I discovered that stinging nettle has been used for centuries to make luxurious cloth, especially in the British Isles. It’s closely related to flax and hemp, and once washed and finished, results in a soft, drapey fabric. Nettle Grove comes in 8 variegated colorways, and my favorite, hands-down, is a gorgeous orange called Sunrise. It looks like a creamsicle, and I’d make this swingy tank top with it in about 2 days.

Amy learns to love plant fiber yarns! Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Alicia is a fingering weight 100% linen yarn. I have documented my issues with linen here (stiff, hard to knit, no memory) but this one could be a game-changer, in that Stacy Charles encourages knitters to use a worsted-weight gauge for this smaller yarn. It really looks like embroidery thread, with saturated colors and a tight twist. Using a worsted gauge for Alicia will give projects an airiness that knitting to gauge ordinarily would not. The more this yarn is soaked and blocked, but softer it will become. If you’re looking for a project, the Allium Shell, designed by Joan Forgione, would really make the yarn the star. It’s a short-sleeved pullover, with a zig-zag bobble pattern that really makes the best use of the crisp stitch definition and smoothness you’ll get from this dedicated fiber.

What’ll you put on the needles when the weather heats up? Let us know in the comments!

My New Yarn Crush

Friday, March 25th, 2016
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The newest yarns from Skacel, HiKoo Seuno and Sueno Tonals. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Although you all know that I’m not the biggest fan of plant fibers, I found a yarn that might help me over that bias: HiKoo Sueno and it’s twin sister, Sueno Tonals. It’s a mix of 80% Merino Superwash and 20% Viscose from bamboo. Bamboo is a light, silky, slippery fiber for the most part, and it tends to grow a bit when knit, but I think the merino in this combo smacks that bamboo into submission with the power of wool. Even better, it’s a yarn that spans multiple gauges, from a worsted to a sport weight, needles sizes between US 3 and US 7. What a shape-shifter! The Sueno comes in 14 spring-y colors like Dusty Lilac and Mud Puddle; the Sueno Tonals are delicate and beautifully shaded variations of the original line. I’m already thinking about what I’d make with either one. The pattern support from Skacel is superior, as usual. Since we’re on the cusp of spring, I might make this beanie, which can be worn in these last raw days of March on into the chilly nights of April.

Check out this intriguing fiber blend, and get it on your needles!

Raising The Bar

Friday, March 11th, 2016
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In February, I worked at the WEBS booth at Stitches West, in California. So many folks wandered into our booth to see what goodies we had, and I had a blast helping them find great yarns (not hard) and walking them through patterns for projects they wanted to make. I kept hearing the same thing, which was usually a variation of “I’m not a very good knitter, I can’t make that pattern because it’s too hard, are you sure I can handle that yarn/pattern/needle size/stitch pattern?”

The first thing I ever knit was a sweater, and it remains the ugliest sweater ever, but because I started with something sort of difficult, I think I have a bit more confidence about some things in the knitting world than I might if I had just stuck with scarves or hats. I would never say I’m a fantastic knitter, but I can get a project done without much whining and I love stitch textures like cables and knit/purl combos.

The Mill River Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns Sunderland. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

In that vein, I am encouraging all knitters who have ever wanted to knit a sweater to choose our Valley Yarns pattern 668, the Mill River Cardigan. First of all, it’s knit in Sunderland, which is the softest, coziest, DK-weight baby alpaca I’ve ever felt. The lace panels on either side of the front button bands won’t weigh the sweater down, but will let air and light filter through the panels to create movement and loft. I personally think it’s a triumph of sweater design by our own Kirsten Hipsky.

It’s a classically shaped cardigan, knit in pieces and seamed at the shoulders, sides, and sleeves; you’ll pick up stitches for the two bands on each front piece and you can choose to put in buttons and buttonholes, or leave it open. Either way, you’ll get a sweater’s worth of fiber and finishing education. If you get stuck on anything, check out our website for technique videos – we’ve got a lot of help for you! Or go to your LYS, which, hopefully, is WEBS. Either way, once you finish this charming garment, you’ll be filled with a new confidence and ready for more!

What knitting challenge will you take on this year?

Another Fine Donegal I’ve Gotten Myself Into

Friday, February 26th, 2016
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vintage leaf sweater

Photo copyright Debbie Bliss

I have been loving Debbie Bliss’s Fine Donegal from afar these days, but I grabbed a skein to check out a particularly pleasing color this afternoon (it has an antiseptic number instead of a name, but if I were the Head Namer at Debbie Bliss, I would probably call it Pine Forest with New-Growth Leaves), and I fell in love with it all over again.  It’s a scrumptious blend of wool and cashmere in a sport-weight gauge of 6.5 stitches to an inch on US size 3’s, which is my sweet spot. My love was confirmed when I went wandering around on Ravelry to see what folks are making with this delicious stuff, and found The Vintage Leaf Sweater, designed by Debbie herself and found in the pattern book that supports this yarn (also called Fine Donegal). All the pictures in this book must have been taken on a really hot day because the model looks really mad. No matter; the garments drew me in and especially Ms. Vintage Leaf. Body-conscious, close-fitting at the neck, and with a hypnotic twisted-stitch lace pattern that looks like –you guessed it — leaves. It has an afterthought collar, and elbow-length sleeves that add even more class.

It’s snowing here today, and even though we had the coldest weekend ever, I’m hopeful that looking at some sweet tweedy yarn will bring a little spring to mind. Happy knitting!

The Bleak Midwinter

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
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We’re in the thick of winter now; for a while it seemed that we were going to have a “no-snow” season, but as I look out my window now, there’s about two inches on the ground and it’s falling steadily. This weather makes me glad that I have a comforting project to sit with. I’ve just begun #677 Bookstack Cowlthe Bookstack Cowl, a Valley Yarns pattern knit in Superwash DK. It’s so squishy! I just love the hypnotic bookstack rib stitch. The image shows it knit in the “Cloudy Day” colorway, but I switched it up, to a bright red, to go with my black winter parka. The size is perfect for wearing doubled, and the spiraling bookstack rib pattern is reversible.

This doesn’t have to be a winter-only accessory; I could wear this in the spring with a long-sleeved tee in case a light jacket isn’t warm enough. It’s beautiful as well as functional, and isn’t that what the best knits should be?Bookstack rib

It’s Not Too Late For Valentine’s Day Knitting!

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
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It’s down to the wire now–Valentine’s day is right around the corner and you’d love to give your boy- or girlfriend a handmade gift. But you procrastinated, and then you didn’t know what to knit, and then the Super Bowl happened…and now you have only a day or two to make a gift to warm a loved one’s heart. What to do? Fingerless Mitts to the rescue.

A quick trip around our website offers myriad possibilities, and not one of these patterns will take you more than a day or two. (Secret: you don’t have to block them if you completely run out of steam!)  My personal favorite is by one of my go-to pattern designers, ChickenBetty. Her Birthstone Pattern by Chicken Betty.  Photo by Lindsey TophamBirthstone mitts have a beautiful 2-stitch cable motif that goes down the back of each mitt. And the garnet colorway that you see in the pattern would be a lovely offbeat choice for a Valentine.

Spud and Chloe’s Venus Mitts are made in a lovely worsted weight yarn that will keep hands and wrists toasty and stylish. Plus, “Venus.” It screams Valentine. They take only one skein of Spud and Chloe SPUDCHLPDFOTRVENUSMI.zoom.1Sweater, a superwash yarn, and would be nice for either a man or a woman, depending on what color you choose.

Finally, the Swan’s Island Cafe Mitts are the simplest ever in a lovely 2-stripe sequence. Best of all, there are 3 different lengths you can make–so if you’re trying to git’er done on a lunch hour, make the shortest one! How SWANSISPDFCAFEMITTS.zoom.1about white and red stripes? Or, if you’re going manly, gray and blue look very nice together.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Make it a crafty one!

To Poncho or Not To Poncho…

Friday, January 15th, 2016
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I’ve been thinking a lot about ponchos lately. I used to think ponchos were for the lazy knitter, they had no shape, they made a body look boxy and shapeless. Remember that big poncho crazy a few years ago, caused by, of all things, Martha Stewart in a poncho emerging from jail? Everyone was poncho-crazy and I thought that was awful.

Poncho patterns from Blue Sky Alpacas. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Fast-forward to now, and I am looking with a more kindly eye upon the poncho. I’ve seen more than one pattern for very cute ponchos that look like they are wearable by grownups of a certain age. These Blue Sky Alpacas garments were a huge hit when we had their trunk show in the store this fall. The Two Harbors Poncho is knit in scrumptious Extra (used by me for a very fun cowl a few months back) and the big ribbing swatches will draw the fabric in enough to give it shape and drape that are flattering. The Bianca Wrap is simplicity personified. ONE seam. Light, warm, and comfy. Blue Sky Suri Merino is feather-light with a very nice halo that makes this garment more functional than a shawl or a scarf.

My favorite aspect of ponchos is that they are like a sweater without the sleeves–they go over your head and they stay put. I don’t like open cardigans, nor do I like futzing around with shawl pins or winding scarves so they don’t flop open at the first gust of wind. As my office-mate correctly identified it, “they’re like wearing a blanket.” And who doesn’t want that, when it’s icy outside?

What do you think about this new poncho trend? Which one will you make?

Ready, Set, Knit! 428: Kathy talks with Amy Greeman

Saturday, January 9th, 2016
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This week Kathy talks with WEBS Education Manager, Amy Greeman about the top patterns of 2015 at WEBS.

Ready, Set, Knit! episode #428 - Kathy talks with Amy Greeman. Listen now on the WEBS Blog - blog.yarn.com

#1 pattern of 2015 was from Blue Sky Alpacas – The Lanesboro Vest

#2 is from Debbi Stone, at Stitches of My life Designs – the Wanda Estelle

#3 comes from The Fibre Company – the Keswick cardigan

#4 is another from Debbi Stone – the Sproutlet Baby Blanket

#5 Jo Sharp is back with the Garter Stitch Jacket

They were So close to the top 5 we couldn’t help but mention #6 and #7, both from Shibui, the Facade scarf and the Emboss jacket

And don’t forget to check out the Valley Yarns eBook – Last Minute Knits with some great chunky, cold weather knits.

Amy’s Yarn Picks of the week: The Downton Abbey Collection!

Reminder:

Saturday, January 30th from 1-4pm, join Andra from Berroco and learn all about the new Amano yarns!

Sunday, February 7th from 12-4pm,  join us for our 10th Annual Pre-Game Escape!

Upcoming Events:

Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

No Resolution

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
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I have NEVER been a resolution-setter, and I know if I did make myself a list, I’d cheat before the Ides of March. I have, however, been giving myself a stern talking-to about my lack of organization when it comes to knowing what I have in my stash. In the last month, I’ve brought home three different patterns, knowing I had yarn in my stash to make them. However, once I crawled on all fours through the closet where I keep my stash yarn (piled into plastic bins, no system whatsoever), I realized that I didn’t have enough of one yarn, didn’t have the needles I needed for another…it was anarchy.

Getting organized in 2016. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

If I was going to run down the organization rabbit-hole, I think I’d need to go through every single needle and set I have. I’d need to record it somewhere (there’s an app for that!) so I always have it with me. I’d need to really sort out the yarn I have, by weight, and if I was super-insane, by fiber. I’d need to go through every single pattern I have lying around in various formats and find a place to keep them free from coffee-spillage and my own absent-mindedness.

If I were to be an organized knitter in 2016, WEBS has a few items that I think would help. This Grellow and Gray Sirka Counter would enable me to finally get rid of about 10 different, useless, row counters and stitch markers. It keeps track of up to 3 separate counts and doesn’t move unless you advance it. GENIUS.

I could know what needles I have by knowing where they are–and this Knitter’s Pride case holds a multitude of different sizes, even crochet hooks and tools. And they’re gorgeous.

Chic.a clear zipper-front pouches are just the thing for all my tools. Cable needles, blocking pins, stitch holders, probably even my double-pointed needles. I can just peek inside and wave to all my goodies.

And time. Time is what we all need more of. In 2016, I definitely plan to take more time to do the things I love to do.

For help in getting yourself organized be sure to check out our “31 Days to Get Organized” series of blog posts!

Selfish Knitting

Friday, December 18th, 2015
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I’ve celebrated “my” holiday, and now I’m sitting back and watching other people celebrate holidays. I guess we’re all counting down days til the New Year, and I’m very sure you’re getting tired of “10 Best” lists.

Selfish Knitting on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

I’m going to buck the trend and write a shortie about a thing I’m knitting just for me. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up the needles for 1) a sweater, and 2) a sweater for me, but last week I cast on some Classic Elite Telluride in a heathery grayish-blue for the Lone Star vest. I’ve been stalking that garment for months, trying it on every once in a while and forcing other staff members to admire it on me. I finished up some gift knitting for the last of my knitting list and I decided It Was Time.

I’ve knit a few inches of the front and I was gritting my teeth a bit at the linen content in this yarn (normally I just hate plant fibers), but the alpaca/donegal mix totally makes it worth your time. The linen gives it juuuuust enough structure to counteract the drapey tendencies of the alpaca.

I want to point out to all readers that I made a gauge swatch, changed needle sizes a few times to get it exactly right, and then, my friends…I washed it and blocked it, and THEN measured my finished gauge. Just to be sure. Completely sure.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this sweater; maybe a resolution for all of us could be to make a “selfish” project every once in a while to keep our mojo intact. Happy holidays to everyone!