Spinning Tops & Other Yarns

Hi Everyone,
This week, we want to remind everyone about our upcoming World Wide Knit in Public Day as well as talk a bit about spinning. Let’s chat, shall we?

World Wide Knit in Public Day
Hang out with The Ewe Crew for our Annual World Wide Knit in Public Day Celebration on Saturday, June 9. We are hosting our fifth World Wide Knit in Public Day event (the third at this location). We welcome all fiber artists and makers to come and be with other makers.

Come rain or shine, we will swing open our industrial doors and make room for fiber, friends, and nature (not necessarily in that order). There will be a new color way for sale as well a raffles and giveaways, and light refreshments.

Visitors who plan to stay awhile should bring a knit/crochet/drop spindle project, sunscreen, a brown bag lunch, a folding chair, a reusable water bottle (or buy one from us) to use our water fountain, and perhaps even a beach umbrella if you want to sit outside on the (very safe) grassy knoll.

Spinning Tales
While we usually focus on knitting and crochet (since that comprises the majority of our followers), we love to support other fiber arts as well. We’re going to miss our Spinning Saturdays, which we put on hiatus through the hot summer months so we will give spinning our attention here in this climate-controlled Etherverse.

There are unique spinning terms just as there are with any of the fiber arts. Some of them are a bit more fun than others. For instance, “spinning a yarn” means something quite different to fiber artists than it does to the non-making community. So do the terms “getting carded” and “putting a crimp” in someone’s style and “top knot.” This makes us think of other pseudo fiber-related phrases like “getting my weave on” and “yanking my chain” too. Ha!

The Fibre Studio is most known for our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ line of products including yarn, roving/top, and our deja vu sock yarn. However, spinners can create gradient yarns at the wheel (or slightly before) in a couple of different ways.

SupPLY Chain
Spinners can organize their braided hanks in a couple of different ways to create gradients. Firstly, makers should take a variegated hank of roving and separate it by color…from light to dark or even into a rainbow effect. A very helpful video can be found here. Secondly, spinners can also ply chain spun fibers to blend those yarns into true ombre effects, marling the fiber when necessary to get a good blend.

Getting Carded
Spinners have stashes and leftovers too. If s/he wants to stash bust in order to spin ombre yarns, carding a variety of colors (or fiber types) together into color-concentrated bundles is a great way to create a gradient effect. A helpful video is found here. When creating a gradient effect, the maker should just vary the color concentration from light to dark as it is carded. Bag and organize those resulting bundles and then spin the bundles in the appropriate order to get the desired effect.

Spinning from the Top
Spinners may already have top ready to be spun. There is a simple “formula” to use to create a nice gradient effect. For instance, if the maker has two, 6- or 8-oz hanks of roving, s/he can organize the top into smaller bundles and then spin and ply into gradient yumminess.

Want to know what we’re deweing? Pop in to see our studio wörks on Ravelry, Facebook (we post changes to our business hours here), and Instagram as well as on our website at thefibrestudio.com (we post changes to our business hours here).

Happy stitching, y’all!
The Ewe Crew

Coloring Within the Lines

Hi Everyone!
This week we have two sets of tips to help select/control your color within the “lines” of your project as well as updates for this month’s shows.

Smooth Out the Rough Edges
We are excited to share a YouTube video link called “5 Ways to Make Neat Side Edges in Knitting” displaying a variety of techniques to give knitted projects smooth and finished edges (or lines). The video (about 12 minutes in length) contains five ways to beautifully finish your projects, including:
1. Slip First Stitch, Purl Last Stitch (RS & WS): Gives an even chain along both edges.

2. Slip First Stitch, Knit Last Stitch (RS & WS): Gives an even “knotted” appearance along both edges.

3. Garter Stitch (RS & WS): Gives a tidy two-stitch reversible garter border (knitting all stitches) along both edges, which is helpful in preventing rolled edges.

4. Seed Stitch (RS & WS): Gives a tidy and modern two-stitch border with a K1,P1 beginning and a P1,K1 ending to each row, front and back. It helps to prevent curling as well and looks good with most textured stitches.

5. I Cord (RS & WS): The couture selvage edge which gives a rolled, almost seamed look to a project’s edges without picking up a sewing needle. Right side and wrong side rows are given opposite treatments.

While most of these edges won’t be new skills for experienced knitters, it is a nicely-presented tutorial in that it is clean and concise–using the same color yarn, in small swatches, with clear instruction. It’s a visual treat for a side-by-side comparison of all five methods in one short video and a nice reminder of many of the options available to makers when we want to add polish to our completed projects.

Color Confidence
We’ve previously discussed Color Matters here on Lola’s Corner, however, we recognized there is always room to grow and learn. With all of the “fade” and “speckled” project combinations out there, we thought we would share a few tips on how certain color ways change when skeined and/or when knit or crochet.

Speckled (or Freckled here at the studio) yarns are yarns with short bursts of color. The color appears in a skein from about the size of a speck up to about four inches long on the strand. When knit or crochet, that small burst of color usually reveals itself in as few as one to four stitches before the next color begins.

During many dye processes, the color pools together and can be very photogenic. However, many makers are (unhappily) surprised when their yarn is wound or when they begin a project as it doesn’t look the way they imagined.

This is why: Dye pools are created across multiple strands. Our eyes are drawn to these intense bursts of color, however, when the fiber is skeined, there is only one strand per rotation, and that intense pool of color becomes a small sliver.  At right is an example of our Freckles – Walkabout in color way Meteor. The third skein has been wound, however, it has the same blues, greens, pearl, and rusty colors as does the other three hand-dyed skeins. In the third skein, it is easier to see the impact the colors would have in a knit fabric. When selecting your yarn, imagine this third skein and then select the one that has more of the color you want to “pop out.” Otherwise, your fade may truly fade away.

Variegated yarns behave in a similar manner; however, the color pooling created during the dye process covers a larger area thus creating more intense pooling areas on the completed knit fabrics as well. Here you will see our Walkabout – Fingering in color way Cherokee. This color way has large areas of intense color on the dyed skeins; however, when wound into a cake, the same color way almost looks woven. In the knitted sample, you can see the long pooling effect, created by using a yarn which has color repeats lasting anywhere from about 5 to 36 inches in a single strand of the variegated yarn. As in the previous example, when selecting your skeins, choose the skein containing the color you most want to emphasize.

Upcoming Events
Edinburgh Yarn Festival: Our fearless leader is making the trip across the pond to the annual Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018 in mid-March. Expect a few upcoming color surprises and offerings from the studio to celebrate this trip.

Carolina Fiber Frolic: The Fibre Studio is a participant in this year’s Carolina Fiber Frolic in Sapphire, NC, from March 16-18. Stay tuned on our Facebook Events Page for updates.

Carolina FiberFest: The Fibre Studio will again participate in the annual Carolina FiberFest, held in the Kerr Scott Building at the NC State Fairgrounds in our fair capital Raleigh, NC. The festival is from Mar 23-24, however, we will pack up our yarns and travel on March 22.

Want to know what we’re deweing? Pop in to see our studio wörks on Ravelry, Facebook (we post changes to our business hours here), and Instagram as well as on our website at thefibrestudio.com (we post changes to our business hours here).

Happy stitching, y’all!
The Ewe Crew

Tips & Trips & Trivia, Oh My!

Hi Everyone,
Welcome to February–an exciting month for many reasons. This week we have a new tip that will prove to be a lifeline, some February holiday trivia, and a few upcoming festivals and shows. Later this month we will release two new color ways, but that is a subject for an upcoming post (bwaahahahaaaa).

Not-So-Notable February Holidays
While there are a few very well-known American holidays in February like Groundhog Day (2/2), Superbowl Sunday (1st Sun in Feb), Valentine’s Day (2/14), and Presidents Day (3rd Mon in Feb), did you know there was also:

  • National Pizza Day (2/9) – It is appropriate this occurs in February; pizza pie is even mentioned in the song ‘That’s Amore’ because…well…love!
  • Singles Awareness Day (2/15) – Ummm…is that ironic or what?
  • National Drink Wine Day (2/18) – What a grape idea!
  • National Muffin Day (2/20) – Use this day to soak up the residuals of all that wine.
  • National Margarita Day (2/22) – Watch out when this falls on Taco Tuesday!
  • National Chili Day (2/23) – To bean or not to bean is the question!
  • National Tortilla Chip Day (2/24) – This wasn’t combined with Nat’l Margarita Day, why?

Valentine’s Day Trivia: Most stories of how this holiday originated are considered somewhat romantic. However, one of the martyrdom stories is based on a popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome, which indicated he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell. Saint Valentine was not the only martyr ever to sign a note in that manner. There are plenty of husbands and boyfriends who think they are martyrs at this time of year…bless their hearts.

Vertical Lifeline
Many knitters use a lifeline, especially when knitting open lacework, where tinking or frogging back to an earlier row is challenging due to ornate patterning. However, there is a great reason to use a vertical lifeline as well. “What is it?” you ask. A vertical lifeline is a piece of thread or  yarn, which is inserted at the beginning of a large number of repeats to keep track of a set number of those repeats. It is especially useful when using magic loop and knitting anything two at a time.

“How is it used?” you ask. For example, when knitting socks (or mittens or sleeves or 80’s legwarmers) two at a time on magic loop, it can be difficult to track position with four or more pieces involved. It’s especially confusing when the maker must set it down for some time. However, if the maker inserts a piece of thread at the beginning of an oft-repeated section and leaves it visible and reinserts it VERTICALLY every ten rows or so, it is easy to quickly review and count where the knitter left off the project.

The photo at right shows a vertical lifeline inserted into a sock and then reinserted every ten rows allowing the maker to count rows/repeats easily. A quick visual inspection of each section would show where the maker left off in the project so he/she doesn’t lose count, skip a section, or (aaack) knit backwards, which has happened to many of us when using magic loop.

Upcoming Events
Feb 16-18: The Fibre Studio will present a Trunk Show (aka Pop-Up Shop) at Hook & Needle Yarn Shop in Maryville, TN. (Studio Closed)
Feb 16-18: The Southern Alpaca Celebration will be held at the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, NC. This is a great opportunity to meet members of the Piedmont Fiber Guild (PFG) and learn of their local activities as well as learn more about alpaca and spinning.
Mar 3: For those interested in spinning but cannot attend the alpaca show, our next Spinning Saturday will be the first Saturday in March at The Fibre Studio; all skill levels are welcome. Just a reminder that The Fibre Studio is a retailer for Majacraft and Ashford spinning and weaving products. We are always happy to answer questions or arrange demos for those of you interested in learning more.

Want to know what we’re deweing? Pop in to see our studio wörks on Ravelry, Facebook, and Instagram as well as on our website at thefibrestudio.com.

Happy stitching, y’all!
The Ewe Crew

November 2017 Newes

Hi Everyone,
This November, we are celebrating the “golden age” of fiber, crafty ninja ewes, and a seasonal recipe.

We Put the Gold in These Winners
One of our newest gold standard projects is the Tilted Cowl. Our shop sample was made in luxurious Sea Song – Fingering, in three contrasting colors. We’ve used colors Indigo, BoHo Chic, and Golden Wheat in the sample (at left), but have offered a few additional color suggestions below.

This uniquely-shaped cowl combines the best characteristics of a cowl and a shawlette, and our Sea Song – Fingering (a Merino/Silk/Sea Cell™ blend) looks luminous and feels amazing against the skin.

   
Above Left: Golden Wheat, Cherokee, Sage Leaf
Above Middle: Purple Haze, BoHo Chic, Coral
Above Right: Silver, Mountain Thistle, Sage Leaf

We recently revealed our shop sample Winter Wheat (not to be confused with our color way of the same name), which is an asymmetrical cardigan by Atelier Alfa (aka AlfaKnits) with large textured stripes and an eccentric construction.

We used Cherokee, Deep Woods Red, Autumn Gold, Asparagus, and There’s a Storm Brewin’ in Walkabout – Fingering for our shop sample at right.

Winter Wheat is worked top down and sideways at the same time. The left front and the collar are worked in one piece and the top stripes wrap around the neck as a shawl. This special construction ensures the left front falls straight and the right front more fluidly.

The Yin and Yang of Shopping
Meet our three Ewe Ninjas. These ewes will help guide our customers and readership through one of the most harrowing shopping weekends of the year. Balance your shopping chi and learn about these little helpers.


Our first ewe ninja is Noir, who is our personal shopper for Black Friday. Noir will help you navigate our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ line, which will be on sale on Friday, November 24.

 


The second ewe ninja is Purpur, who is our personal shopper for Small Business Saturday. Purpur is a bit of a bag lady and will help you navigate our Atenti and custom Holly Aiken bags, which will be on sale on Saturday, November 25.

 

Named for the star of Stranger Things, our third ewe ninja is Eleven, who is the personal shopper for Cyber Monday. Eleven will help you navigate that strange and wonderful cyber space where beautiful yarns meet amazing projects. Eleven knows a secret, which is The Fibre Studio is having a sweater knit-a-long (KAL) in January. Hence, our Walkabout – Fingering, Merino Bamboo – Fingering, and our Patterns will be on sale on Monday, November 27. This will be a great time to stock up on fiber and patterns for generously-sized projects like large wraps and sweaters.

Stay tuned. More to come next week….same fluffybutt time, same fluffybutt channel.

A Seasonal Recipe
With the holiday season approaching and all the gorgeous apples available, we wanted to share an all-natural and tasty recipe with you.

Salted Caramel Fruit Dip (Makes About 2 1/2 Cups)
Ingredients:
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup raw smooth hazelnut butter
3-4 tsp fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)
Large, flaky salt to garnish (optional)
Instructions:
1. Cover dates in warm (but not hot) water and soak for 4-6 hours.
2. Drain the dates and place in a food processor, reserving date water.
3. Add hazelnut butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sea salt to food processor. Process mixture on high until smooth. Add reserved date water (one tablespoon at a time) until desired consistency–thicker for dippin’ and thinner for drizzlin’. Garnish with flaky salt as desired.
4. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Serving Suggestions: Perfect as a dip for crisp, tart apple (or other firm fruit) slices or as a drizzle for apple-pecan “nachos.”

Want to know what we’re deweing? You can always pop in to see our studio wörks on Ravelry, Facebook, and Instagram as well as on our website at thefibrestudio.com

Peaceful stitching and mining for gold, y’all!
The Ewe Crew

What the….?!

Hi Everyone!
We are jumping on the “What the….?!” bandwagon! There are all sorts of sayings, acronyms, emoticons, expressive language (some more colorful than others), and fiber projects, which allow us to insert our own term into the question “What the….?!”  Here are today’s two favorites.

What the….Fade?!

Designed by Andrea Mowry, this What the Fade wrap pattern is her first ever Mystery Knit (ahem) FADE Along!!  The color suggestions (not kits) pictured are among the many potential options available in our Walkabout – Fingering and Freckles – Walkabout yarns.

Why no kits?” you ask. Two simple reasons: 1) to offer you the opportunity to stash bust on this very large project and 2) to encourage you to be your most creative, unique self. We would love to HELP you create your perfect project and don’t want to tie you to preset options. Of course, we’d be delighted to help you put together a one-of-a-kind kit.

Not interested in another mystery? Take a look at this Find Your Fade (at left) by the same designer. This gorgeous shawl was made by Anne Z who raided her stash and then also added our Walkabout – Fingering and Freckles – Walkabout yarns in variegated, tonals, and freckled yarns to bring it all together. A truly personalized beaut of a project!

What the….Fibre Studio?!
This past year has witnessed a lot of changes here at The Fibre Studio at Yarns to Dye For. We expanded our color palette and dye types to include Freckles, added new yarn bases (like Cotton Bamboo and Studio Sox ), and brought back our SW Merino – Sport and Lt Worsted and Bulky in a plethora of color ways.

Our most profound changes have been to our online shop. We redesigned it within a new platform and want to provide you with a visual aid to help navigate the new design AND to let you know what helpful information is available to you 24/7.

As with life, the only constant in our studio is change. Happy stitching, y’all!

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 05 – Binding Off

Hi All! We are again tackling a highly-personalized topic for knitters. Continuing from our last Unraveled blog post in the series, which was dedicated to cast on methods, today we will discuss bind off methods.

While there are many bind off methods available to knitters, here are several methods which will be utilized repeatedly. We think these methods are great tools for any maker to have in his/her knitting arsenal.

“Why are you sharing several bind off methods but only highlighted a few cast on methods?” you ask. It’s simple really. With a cast on, there’s just “empty space” with needles and a bit of working yarn. However, when there are infinite types of projects and stitch combinations already on the needles at the end of a project, selecting the correct bind off really pays homage to the finished project. It can even “make or break” it.

The Bind…Off (BO)

 

 

 

 

Knitted BO Method: This is the most basic bind off method and should be utilized with right side of fabric facing knitter. Tight knitters should go up 1-2 needle sizes to prevent puckering.

Knit two stitches, pass the first worked stitch over the second worked stitch, leaving remaining stitch on right needle. *Knit another stitch, and pass first worked stitch over last worked stitch, leaving remaining stitch on right needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Stretchy BO Method: This bind off method is great for most all projects, but especially for lace knitting (where projects are aggressively blocked) and for finishing projects which may need to stretch and shrink (e.g. hats, cuffs, socks, et al). This method is already stretchy (most makers do not need to go up a needle size) and is worked with right side of fabric facing the knitter. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

*Knit two stitches together through the back loop and move worked stitch back to the left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Stretchy Rib BO Method: This bind off method is quite useful for rib combinations (1:1, 2:1, 2:2, et al) when the maker doesn’t want that “flare out” at the end of their project. You know what I mean…that stretched out appearance which can make brand new garments look worn and socks not stay up on the leg. This method is worked with right side of fabric facing the knitter; the method alters based on the “next” stitch. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

Based on rib stitch in row below, knit/purl first stitch. *Looking at the next stitch to be worked, twist existing worked stitch by turning right needle 360 degrees (clockwise for an upcoming knit stitch and counter-clockwise for an upcoming purl stitch), and then work the next stitch as usual in the rib. Pass first worked stitch over second worked stitch.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Icelandic BO Method: This semi-stretchy bind off method is appropriate for binding off those projects knit in garter or with slipped stitches because the resulting edge has very defined horizontal bars. This bind off can be completed from either right or wrong side facing rows. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

*With yarn in back, insert your right needle into the first stitch as if to purl. After insertion, take tip of right needle and insert into second stitch on left needle as if to knit. Wrap working yarn around right needle and knit that second stitch. Move worked stitch back onto left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Picot BO Method: This decorative method can really finish a lace project beautifully. There is a simple math equation used herein. Basically, the maker should bind off twice as many stitches as he/she casts on. The more stitches cast on, the larger the picot bump. Also, due to the additional cast on stitches, this bind off method utilizes about twice as much yardage to bind off. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

For a small picot – *Cast on two stitches. Knit two stitches and pass first worked stitch over second stitch. Knit the next stitch and pass the first worked stitch over the second stitch…three more times. Slip remaining working stitch back to left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

I-Cord BO Method: This bind off method is the most complicated and possibly the one utilized the least. However, understanding how this method works is of great benefit when the maker wants to create a beautifully smooth finished edge to a garment and is also beneficial for baby blankets and wash cloths. This method creates a closed edge (and can use 3 or more stitches depending upon the maker’s preferences) so it holds up to wear very well. It also utilizes a lot of yarn to finish the project. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

For a 3-stitch I-Cord, cast on three new stitches. *Knit two of the new stitches. Knit the third new stitch along with the next “old” stitch together through the back loop. Move all three stitches on the right needle back to the left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Feel free to share this or any of our blog posts with your greater fiber community and/or those newbies you’d like to teach to knit. Sharing is caring, and we love welcoming new fiber artists and makers into our community.

Happy and peaceful stitching, y’all!

 

Easy As 1-2-3

Hi Everyone,
As you may have noticed, we’ve recently dedicated much of our blog post time to those topics (e.g. Size Matters, Color Matters, et al.) we hope will help our fiber community match patterns and yarn in a thoughtful or even courageous manner. Since 70% of yarnies buy the color ways and pattern combinations they see in photos or in shop samples, we wanted to share some of our favorite bundles on Ravelry.

Got stash? We certainly do. Like to bust that stash wide open? As do we! Below are Ravelry bundles with suggested patterns for 1-, 2-, 3- or other multi-skein projects, which will enable you to free up fiber storage space even as you create a project you love. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

One-Skein Wonder projects can be found here.
Dynamic Duo projects can be found here.
Triple Treat projects can be found here.
Knits in Kits projects can be found here.

Did you know local yarn shops and studios like The Fibre Studio receive a small wholesale income from the Ravelry patterns we sell? And at NO ADDITIONAL COST to the customer as well!? #shoplocal #shopsmall  During the purchase process, we provide our pattern customers both with a hard copy and an update to their Ravelry library. Many patterns shown in our Ravelry bundles are sold on our online shop here, and some of the online pattern pages display photos of our shop samples or customer projects completed in our yarn. Simplify your life and buy your yarn and patterns together.

Curiouser and curiouser. Let us know if there is a topic or a question you’d like answered on our blogs or emails. As a tight crafty community, you might just find that others have that same question or are curious about the same topic as you!

Happy stitching, y’all!