Summer Newes ‘n Such

Hi Everyone,
We have exciting newes for y’all–a new yarn base, a new gradient color way, a new tip, new projects, summer hours, and more.

Introducing Studio Sox
The Fibre Studio has found a new yarn base, which we call Studio Sox, and this fiber blows us away. It is a 75% SW Merino | 25% Nylon blend, and it takes color beautifully. We debuted it during our June 10 WWKiP Day celebration in color way Old Glory, and it was very well-received. Surprisingly, it has a soft and springy hand feel similar to our SW Merino – Fingering but is more tightly-plied and resilient for socks. We have some exciting ideas for our Studio Sox so stay tuned.

Holiday Hours
Please note: Due to the upcoming holiday, The Fibre Studio will NOT be open on Saturday, July 1, nor will we be open on Wednesday, July 5.

Introducing Princess
The Fibre Studio added a new color way called Princess to our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ line for our June 10 WWKiP Day celebration. It is now available on our online shop here. Princess evokes the whimsical pastel dresses of the various animated princesses, we all know and love. This color is Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Tiana, and Cinderella all rolled into one. There is a certain seaside cottage charm elicited by this color as well, and it would be beautiful knit into a lacy shawl and thrown over shoulders on summer evenings.

Flat-Bottom Girls
We have a new contender for an earlier blog post, Connections in the Round. One of our fellow yarnies was knitting a ribbed sock in our new Studio Sox. I asked her why it was flat, and she shared the most FABULOUS tip. She casts on her smaller projects, like hats and socks, and knits flat (back and forth) for two, four, or six rows. When her working yarn meets back up at the starting point (where her end is located), she connects her projects in the round–but only AFTER there is enough yarn in the project to prevent pulling, stretching, etc. When she weaves in her end, she simply uses a modified mattress or duplicate stitch up the side. Voila…a very smooth, seamless join. For those of us who use double-pointed needles, this prevents that crazy helicoptering effect that occurs when there are only 1-2 rows on the needles, and the needles are stronger than the yarn.

Fifty Plus One Projects
We are always looking for project ideas to utilize our yarns in unique and exciting combinations. Below are three very diverse projects, all of which could utilize one skein of our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ and one skein of our SW Merino – Fingering. The possibilities are endless. From left to right, they are Match & Move, Bad Blood Cowl, and Allira Shawl.

     

Stay tuned for our two-day Red, White, and You sale next week. Happy stitching, y’all!

 

Size Matters

Hi Everyone,
Last week, we discussed Color Matters and ways to match yarn bases, dye types and colors to a favorite project. This week we will discuss size because, contrary to what many say tongue-in-cheek, size DOES matter.

This week we’d like to introduce one of the biggest cowls we’ve ever seen. It’s the Bad Blood Cowl by Megan Bohlander. This cowl is basically one very long “stocking.” It feels amazing against the skin as the stockingnette side is always out no matter how the cowl is worn (long and loose or wrapped up around the neck). We have identified Bad Blood Kits here, which is perfect for public or social knitting, while the provisional cast on and grafted finish make it interesting even for experienced knitters.


While many of you have heard of our Fifty Shades of Gradient™ fiber line, did you know these fluffy, luxurious gradient cakes come in (what we fondly term) big-a$$ skeins? Yes, our gradients come in two generous sizes: in a 4 oz | 113 g (approx 560 yards) cake and a 7 oz | 200 g (approx 980 yards) cake. Instead of changing colors manually and weaving in all those ends, perhaps you could let the yarn do all the work!

Some of our favorite shawls, which use our big-a$$ gradient skeins are (from left to right): Brie Shawl in color way Seaside, River Cane Shawl in color way Old Glory, and Glacier Sweep in color way Glenda of the East.


Yarn Chicken and Other Barnyard Fiber Challenges

  • This may be the most “d’oh” tip we’ve ever offered, but honestly, the best way to ensure sufficient yarn for your project is to actually use the yarn base, weight, and yardage for your size, which is recommended in the pattern.
  • Knit a gauge! Use scrap yarn of the same type and weight as your project and knit a gauge(s), varying needle size until you meet the project’s gauge requirements. This will ensure your project will use the pattern’s estimated yardage and meet the size requirements.
  • To use a lighter weight yarn than called for in the pattern, calculate the percent increase in number of wraps per inch (wpi) from the recommended yarn weight to your desired yarn weight and then increase yardage by same percentage. For example, if pattern calls for worsted weight yarn (9 wpi) but you desire to use fingering weight yarn (14 wpi) your project will need 64% more yardage. The formula is 9 ÷ 14 = 0.64 and then (# yards of worsted in pattern) x 1.64 = (# yards of fingering to buy). [Please note: Needle size will also determine how much yardage you will need, but we are making the assumption the maker is going to use the needle size recommended for yarn weight.]
  • Playing yarn chicken (bock! bock!) is not always a fun activity. When calculating whether you have enough yarn to finish the remaining number of rows and bind off, we like the following process. Lay out your project as flat as possible (do not stretch but it must be flat). Lay out your working yarn across your project if flat (or around the project if in the round) three times for each row and six times for a stretchy bind off. You can do as often as necessary as your working yarn ball/cake diminishes.
  • This last tip isn’t about size so much as about happy endings. When purchasing yarn, buy enough (or more than enough) yarn in the same dye lot or group to finish your project. If you plan to “just buy more” if/when you run out, you may find a dye line across your project that is unsightly. Also, when making a large tonal project (like a sweater), it is recommended that the maker alternates skeins row-by-row to get a lovely and consistent result.

We hope you better understand how both color and size matters when selecting and making projects.

Happy stitching, y’all!

 

Color Matters

Hi Everyone,

We want to send out a big thank you to all of our World Wide Knit in Public Day visitors. Saturday saw a lovely crowd on-hand here at the studio to sit, spin, chat, knit, and enjoy other makers’ company. We drew names for several giveaways; however, like Elvis, some folks had already left the building so we will be contacting those winners about their prizes.

Color Matters

This week we are going to talk about color because, let’s face it, color DOES matter. Most of us have a palette within which we are comfortable. Perhaps we have consulted a color expert at some point and were told we are an autumn or a winter, etc., and we have strictly conformed to those criteria. Many of us would like to branch out…experiment…live a little. Here are a few interesting factoids about yarn and color:

  • Seventy percent (70%) of yarnies buy the same color(s) shown in a pattern photo or in a shop sample.
  • Color can evoke both emotional and physiological responses and may impact mood, hunger, energy/fatigue, and a sense of space.
  • Color often represents season, team spirit, or even familial coats of arms.
  • The term for fear of color is chromophobia.

Many yarnies are uncomfortable when a new palette is suggested to them; others just cannot envision a completed project in a color not pictured. Because most LYS owners simply cannot afford to have a sample made in every color way or all the latest projects, here are a few tips to help match projects with color ways, which are not necessarily available as a sample.

  1. Identify projects you like based on criteria other than color (e.g. overall shape, size, stitch types, flexibility with style, skill level, et al).
  2. Seek shop samples or other project photos, which have traits similar to the project you have identified to see what those items look like in other dye types (how the color is applied). Are those projects that appeal most to you completed in gradients, tonals, natural, or speckled yarns?
  3. Seek a yarn base, which is appropriate for the project (e.g. yarn weight, texture, fiber make-up, and season).
  4. After you have identified a dye type and a yarn base, select those color ways that most attract you or look best with your complexion. Do NOT be afraid to hold a skein up next to your face in front of a mirror. Ask to see other project samples in those color ways if they are available–even if they are not in the same yarn base.
  5. Follow this formula:
    pattern + dye type + yarn base + color way = PERFECT PROJECT FOR YOU

We’ve included project photos of Match & Move by Martina Behm in three different color combinations as an example of color flexibility. This one project demonstrates three very different color personalities.

Just remember, even though color matters, it’s not something to fear. So…what’s the next chapter of your color story?

Happy…and colorful…stitching, y’all!

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 04 – Casting On

Continuing our Unraveled series, today we are going to tackle one of two topics, about which some makers feel so strongly, we’re quite sure we can already hear someone’s yarn felting from steam and agitation all the way from over here. (Ha!)

In this post, we answer what WE think are the best cast on methods (our next blog of the series will discuss the bind off). There are many available cast on and bind off methods available to knitters, but we’ve narrowed our blog topics down to a few of each, which we think will repeatedly prove useful during future projects.

The Cast…On (CO)

Long Tail CO Method: This is a great method when you need a fairly stretchy cast on and only a minimal number of stitches needed–a good thing since part of the tail is used to create the cast on stitches. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is enough tail remaining to create all stitches (depends upon weight and wpi calculations). Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your dominant hand. Ensure the yarn tail is facing you. Insert your non-dominant hand thumb and index finger between your two strands of yarn (tail and working yarn). Close the rest of your fingers around the yarn, which creates tension. While holding your non-dominant hand like holding a slingshot, insert the needle under the strand that is wrapped around your thumb. Lift your needle up and around the top of the strand that is held between your fingers. Bring your yarn out through the thumb loop. Pull your thumb from the loop of the yarn and pull the yarn to tighten the newly-developed stitch. Repeat until the correct number of stitches are on your needle.

Knitted CO Method: This is a consistent method when there is a large number of stitches to cast on and when the cast on edge will be easily seen in in the final project. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is about six inches of yarn tail remaining. Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your non-dominant hand. Use your fingers to hold the yarn tail out of the way. Holding the other needle in your dominant hand, insert the needle into the slip knot and work a knit stitch, but do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Insert your dominant needle into the newest stitch as if to knit and repeat until the correct number of stitches are on your needle.

Cable CO Method: This method begins the same as the Knitted Method, however, the remaining steps create definitive spacing and ensure ribs and other stretchy set up rows do not flare or buckle. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is about six inches of yarn tail remaining. Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your non-dominant hand. Use your fingers to hold the yarn tail out of the way. Holding the other needle in your dominant hand, insert the needle into the slip knot and work a knit stitch, but do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Insert your dominant needle completely BETWEEN the slip knot stitch and the newly-formed stitch (AND NOT INTO IT), wrap the yarn as if to knit, and pull the stitch through the two stitches. Do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Repeat as necessary.

For experienced knitters, these are not new methods, however, if you are a beginner or are teaching a friend or loved one how to knit, we hope this list proves to be a useful resource.

Peaceful stitching, y’all!

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 03 – Connections in the Round

Happy New Year, everyone! We thought we would start off the new year by posting a new segment in our Unraveled series. With all the beautiful cowls and infinity scarves, which have been posted these past weeks, this post is dedicated to knitting in the round.

cowl-photos[Pictured Above: (On Left) 3 Color Cashmere Cowl in colorways Cherokee, There’s a Storm Brewin’, and Autumn Gold & (On Right) Soul Warmer Cowl in CPK6 – Dark Side of the Rainbow]

We will discuss two primary topics: how to seamlessly 1) join your cast on stitches in the round and 2) add jogless second (third, fourth, etc.) colors. [Note: These tips work for any type of needle.]

Joining in the Round
After casting all of your required pattern stitches, cast on one additional stitch. Ensure all cast on stitches are facing the same direction (inside of circle) so there is no twist or moebius created at the very beginning of the project. Slip the first cast on stitch purlwise from left to right needle. Take the last (extra) stitch cast on on the right needle and pass it over the newly slipped stitch. Tighten both the working yarn as well as the end yarn to remove any bar or gap. Place a stitch marker on the right needle to mark the beginning of your row and begin to knit in pattern.

A helpful video for joining your work in the round can be found here.

Update Since Original Posting
Another way to join in the round came from a fellow yarn who was trying our our Studio Sox yarn in a ribbed sock pattern. She starts all her small projects like hats and socks flat (back and forth), knitting two or four or six rows. Then, when her working yarn meets back up at the starting point (where her end is located), she connects her projects in the round–but only AFTER there is enough yarn in the project to prevent pulling, stretching, etc. When she weaves in her end, she simply uses the mattress stitch up the side. Voila…a very smooth, seamless join. For those of us who use double-pointed needles, this prevents that crazy helicoptering effect that occurs when there are only 1-2 rows on the needles, and the needles are stronger than the yarn.

Changing Colors in the Round
When it’s time for a color change, add the next color and knit just as if flat knitting. At the end of the row, take the right needle and pull up the stitch directly below the first stitch of the current row and place it on the left needle right beside the first stitch of existing row. Knit both the first stitch of the row and the pulled up stitch together as the first stitch of the row and continue to knit in pattern and color.

After a few rows, ensure the color join is seamless by weaving the yarn ends on the back side of your work using duplicate stitch.

A helpful video for changing colors in the round can be found here.

As always, we encourage you to post your cowl and infinity scarf projects and pictures on our Facebook page here or on our Ravelry page here.

Happy stitching, y’all!

Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016

Dub. Dub. Dub.

Keep Pounding Photo 01

Hey y’all! We are so excited the NFL pre-season has begun, and we are supercalifragi really looking forward to supporting our Panthers again this season. We’ve expanded our Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016 to provide additional options to our customers. Sooo…even if you participated last year…we have new and expanded options (really beautiful patterns) for you to make unique Panthers swag in 2016!

We have four options for our Keep Pounding Yarn Club, which include:

Option 1:  Our Fifty Shades of Gradient color way Panthers’ Pride in our SW Merino – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $35 as well as a fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 2: Noir/Go Panthers Dynamic Duo in our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $44 as well as several fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 3: Noir/Go Panthers/Silver Lining Triple Treat on our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $66 as well as fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 4: Noir/More Noir/Go Panthers Triple Treat on our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $66 as well as a fiber with pattern purchase with either one of two of Melanie Berg’s latest patterns (Eifelgold & The Girl in Me). These patterns require more of one color than the other, hence the “More” in Noir.

There is a Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016 discussion topic on our Ravelry discussion page here. We would LOVE to see your Panthers swag from last year as well as what projects you want to knit, crochet, or weave this year to show your Panthers Pride.

Peaceful stitching, y’all!

P.S. Tips for carrying two-colors up the side of a multi-colored project can be found on our blog here.

 

 

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 02 – Carrying Multiple Colors

In our last edition of Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 01, we discussed fiber colorfastness and knitting bouclé purls.  In this edition, we want to discuss winding fluffy yarns (alpaca, mohair, angora, etc.) as well as carrying two colors of yarn up the edge of a wrap or blanket.

Fluffy Yarn

Question 1:  How do I wind fluffy yarn without leaving so many fibers on my equipment or floating around in the air?

Answer 1:  There are several suggested methods of winding and handling fluffy, fibrous yarns to reduce the amount of loose fibers.  One method is to freeze your skein or cake for a few hours prior to handling. The oils in these fibers will solidify just enough to make winding a breeze. Another method is to use a vegetable- or water-based glycerin on your hands. Hands should be soft, and the glycerin should be rubbed in thoroughly, creating easy movement through the hands without creating friction.  However, wet hands or hands covered in lotions will only leave a nasty deposit on the yarn. The key is using a vegetable- or water-based glycerin and and using less, not more. Lastly, soak your yarn as though you’re going to block it, blot it within a large towel until almost dry, and then wind it. The fibers will flatten and smooth out thus reducing those loose, floaty fibers.

Question 2:  I hate weaving in ends, however, I like knitting with multiple colors and want to do more of it. I’ve heard that some knitters carry multiple strands of yarn without cutting them. How and when can I do this?

Answer 2: When a knitter refers to carrying multiple strands of yarn, they “usually” mean carrying multiple colors up the side of a project.  While there are no hard and fast rules to carrying yarn, there are a few best practices.

If you’re using two colors in a striping pattern where you knit in one color from one side of the project and then back (a two row stripe), it’s an easy matter to just knit the first (edge) stitch in Color A only, then knit the second stitch in Colors A&B together. Proceed to the end and back in Color A only for two rows knit. In row three, when there is a color change just knit the first (edge) stitch in Color B only, then knit the second stitch in Colors A&B together. Proceed to the end and back in Color B only for two additional rows knit. This brings up the second color, without your edge stitch being in a different color than the current striped row, for a more seamless knit edge.

While we don’t recommend carrying more than two colors as the edge or seam will become very bulky, there is another way to reduce the number of ends to weave in.  When coming to the end of a row where there will be a color change, cut the yarn to twice the length you will need to finish current row. Loop the yarn around the second color and bring it back on itself twisting the yarn to get it as thin as possible, as close to the original untwisted yarn thickness. Complete the row and then twist the second color tightly around on itself as well and begin the next row. Your yarn beginning and yarn end have thus already been knit (or woven) into the fabric and you’ve only left to trim the ends.

Were these topics helpful? Please let us know if you have topic suggestions. We want this blog series to benefit our readership so allow your voice to be heard!

Happy stitching, y’all!