Sunday Swatch – Whisper Lace

Today’s Sunday Swatch is in Whisper Lace colors 110 Lemongrass (solid) and 206 Amber Trinket (variegated).

SS Whisper Lace_blog

This is one of my favorite yarns in the Fibra Natura family.  Whisper Lace is 70% wool/30% silk and soft as a cloud.  And at 440 yards per 50 gram ball, it goes a long way.

One thing that I like about Whisper Lace is how well the solid and the variegated tones match.  They look great paired as in the lace sample above, or in Adrienne Ku’s Pescadito shawl shown at right.  Colors 104 Fog and 208 Orchid Dream make a great barely-there contrast that doesn’t obscure the lace pattern – light and breezy and gorgeous.

What’s to become of today’s Sunday Swatch?  It’s already been claimed by a young person in my house – apparently it will look just fabulous on some lucky doll.

Happy knitting!

SS Whisper Lace Zoe

 

Free Pattern Friday – Four Leaves Pillow

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

FourLeavesPillow_UptownBulky

Today, it’s the Four Leaves Pillow in Uptown Bulky.

Thick and quick are the words of the day!  Machine washable Uptown Bulky (100g/87yds) is a great choice for this home decor project.  Its 100% anti-pilling acrylic is the perfect pick for a piece that’s going to be on display.  Just two balls on size 13 needles and boom, you’re done!

The pillow is worked in one piece.  It starts in the front, is worked from the center out to the edges, then decreases around the back.  Start with DPNs (double pointed needles), then switch to a circular needle, then when the project is too small for circulars again go back to your DPNs.When you’re about 3/4 of the way done, you’ll slip a 12″ pillow inside and work around it.  Finish up seamlessly for a polished look.

We hope you enjoy this, the perfect project to curl up on the couch with.

Happy knitting!

Throwback Thursday – Tea Party

It’s Throwback Thursday!

TT Tea Party_web

Today, the Tea Party sweater!

Awww!  I love a cute kid in a cute sweater.  Of course, this pattern is from 2008, so to fit this moppet now you’d have to knit the largest size!

Regardless of when it was first published, the pattern remains adorable.  Originally meant for discontinued Bellagio, we’re recommending Cotton Supreme (100g/180yds) as a substitution.  While Cotton Supreme won’t have quite the same sheen as the original yarn, it is soft and machine washable, making it a great choice for kid knits.  And on size 7 needles, the gauge should work out just fine.

Tea Party is knitted flat and seamed, with the lace pattern both written and charted.  All in all, a great knit for any little tyke.

Afghan Knitalong – Block Eight

Block Eight is live!

8 Posts and Links block_blogLinks and Posts builds on last week’s cables lesson and neatly folds in the lace we worked on in April.  There are both left and right twists, as well as the centered double decrease of Block Four.  I love this block!

Did you find it fiddly to work the last block’s cables?  Amy has put together a video showing us how to work cables without a cable needle – a very handy technique!

I’m very eager to get started on this block.  If it looks intimidating, just remember – there’s nothing here you haven’t done before.  It’s just put together in a new and exciting way.

We’d love to see your blocks! You can share with us on Facebook, or in our Ravelry group.  We’ll see you in two weeks with a new block and a new technique!

Happy knitting!

Free Pattern Friday – Lotus Shrug

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

LotusShrug_blog

I love knitting lace, but realistically there are only so many lace shawls I need, so I’m delighted to see the Lotus Shrug in Whisper Lace!

Whisper Lace (50g/440yds) is a member of our luxury Fibra Natura line.  70% wool + 30% silk = 100% love.  It’s a joy to work with.  And it’s a perfect match for a project that hits right in the sweet spot of my personal taste.

Whisper Lace Shrug cu 1_blogKnitted flat side to side, the arm seams are joined, then the edges are picked up along the edge of the body in the round to add the lace.  Knitting outward from the edge creates a great sense of motion in the finished piece.

For me, it doesn’t hurt that it’s on size 5 needles, so I can see progress faster than on some lace projects.  This one’s going in my queue.

Happy knitting!

Throwback Thursday – Baby Squares Blanket

It’s Throwback Thursday!

Throwback Thursday Baby Squares Blanket

Our Uptown Worsted “Don’t Be A Square Afghan” knitalong has inspired us to look at other samplers!  For those looking for a lighter-weight option, we present the Baby Squares Blanket.  You knit all six squares of each tier at once – casting on 24 for the green, 24 for the white, 24 for the purple, etc.  It’s an interesting construction that steps away from “one square at a time.”

Originally knit in Bella DK, this would look great in popular Uptown DK (273yds/100g), the little sister to Uptown Worsted.  Its softness and machine washability make it a great choice for pieces that you want to last a long time.  We love Uptown DK for grown-up garments too, as featured in e-book Mountain Ridge Knits (right).

While this baby blanket would look great in primary colors or pastels, I’d be tempted to try it with a little neon pop in some of the center squares, just for kicks.  Baby blankets don’t need to be boring!

Happy knitting!

Picking up the Pace

Our last couple of projects have been completely reliant on colorful yarn and plain weave.  Sometimes there is nothing more beautiful than simplicity. But I get bored and like to learn new tricks. Luckily, the 15″ Cricket is lots of fun and is capable of much more than plain weave. The first thing I did when considering where to begin in this adventure was to purchase a copy of Jane Patrick’s The Weaver’s Idea Book.

Pick Up with book 2_blog

I knew I wanted to try some pick-up patterns, and I knew I wanted to make dishtowels with Garden 10, our high quality mercerized Egyptian Giza cotton. The finger controlled lace weaves in Chapter 2 really grabbed my attention, but I knew I needed a more firm fabric since my goal was towels. Chapter 3: Pick-up on the Rigid Heddle Loom was my destination. Over 50 pages of jam-packed information in this chapter, including helpful sidebar tips made me feel like  had a friend by my side the whole time I was weaving. So, Step One: Warp the loom. Instead of flying by the seat of my pants like I did for the last 2 scarves, I decided to consult the handy Master Yarn Chart over at Interweave when deciding what sett to use for my towels. I found what I was looking for on page 1. As I said, I’m using Garden 10 which is a 10-weight crochet thread. The chart told me that for this weight of yarn, the sett ranges were from 16-24 epi. I decided to go with 20 epi by threading a 10-dent reed with 2 ends per dent.

Warping double

I discovered that by threading through each slot and hole, I saved myself the extra step of having to sley the reed – yay! Step Two: Grab paper and pen and start recording. I’m pretty good at reading my knitting and crochet work, so I don’t always take notes as I’m going. Sometimes I’ll go back after my work and write patterns. But I’m a beginning weaver. And even if I was a pro, there’s no way I or anyone else could remember all the details of a piece of cloth. This is something I should have started from the very beginning:  a weaving journal.

WeavingJournalPage

Helpful things to include are yarn specs, sett, number of ends, and weaving width. For this sampler, I also took notes on each pattern I did, colors, and number of reps. When I go to make my dishtowels, if there’s a particular piece of the sampler I want to use as an all-over design, I’ll know just how to recreate it. Step Three: Start weaving! I know I’m going to want to have hemmed edges for my towels, so the header was essential to my sampler. For the beginning header, I wove using a single strand of Garden 10 so my hem wouldn’t be too bulky. After about a 2″ header, I started in by sampling many of the patterns in Chapter 3. Each pattern required the use of a single pick-up stick, included with the Cricket. Using a pick-up stick is super easy! heddle down

First, place the heddle in the down position. This raises the warp threads in the slots to the top, and the warp threads in the holes are lowered. You will be working with those slot warps that are on top. placing pick up stick_1

Then, working behind the heddle toward the back of the loom, pick up threads according to the pattern. For the first several patterns in my sampler, I did a simple 1 up, 1 down repeat. What this means, is that with the pick-up stick, you “pick up” or place the next thread on the stick, then place the stick over the next thread, and so on. placing pick up stick_2

Here’s another angle.

placing pick up stick_3

And, here we are with the pick-up stick all ready to go. I must say, as a person who is often a poor planner, I’m pretty pleased with my sampler! By going through each of the exercises laid out by Jane, everything started making more sense – the mechanics of how the warp and weft work together and all the possibilities there are! Just like the warp, in order to have a balanced weave, I used doubled-up Garden 10 for the weft also. The aqua and white in the sampler are Garden 10, and the yellow supplemental weft in some of the patterns is Cotton Supreme. The worsted weight soft cotton adds a really nice pop. I may do some of this just on the ends of my towels! After finishing up my sampler, I sewed my hems and threw the whole piece into the washer and dryer.

PickUp_FrontandBack

On the left side of the above picture is the right side of the weaving, the right side of the graphic is the wrong side of the weaving. Again, because I’m making towels, I wanted to be sure that both sides looked good. Although I really love the look of the right side of the top few patterns, I feel like the floats on the back are going to be problematic for towels. About the first two-thirds of the patterns of this sampler (bottom to top) are weft floats, meaning the weft yarn “floats” over the surface. The top third of the patterns are warp floats, meaning it’s the warp yarn that does the floating.  I found it quite intriguing that “warp floats in pairs” looked very similar on the right side as “3/1 and 5/1 floats” looked on the wrong side! Fun! And speaking of weaving with Garden thread, here are a couple of projects by Linda Davis of the Tail Spinner. Sept2013 002 (640x428)

First we have an awesome plaid using Garden 10. Linda is also doing 20 epi (same as my sampler), but she’s using two 10-dent heddles in order to keep her ends single.

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This next project uses Garden 5, a little heavier weight of our Garden thread. This was woven using a 10 dent heddle with plain-weave in the ends and a pick-up pattern in between. Nice work, Linda!

See ya next time with my finished Garden 10 towels!