IRL – Wisp Scarf mod

I am lucky enough to work with a great group of ladies here at Universal Yarn. We mostly consist of Yonca (sales manager), Heather (social media goddess), and Katie and Jackie (customer service wizards), me (Amy) the design person. We’re a small group of 5 women, but we all knit, crochet or both. There’s hardly a day that goes by where one of us is not wearing our handmade preciousness.

Thus begins a new series I am calling “IRL”, or In Real Life. Every day I come to work in a building that houses more yarn than you can imagine. It can be overwhelming to look at it all boxed up in the warehouse, sitting on shelves, or piled on my desk. It’s always calling to me, “knit me! make something out of me!” We sell yarn here, but we also love using and wearing it. I thought you might be interested in some of the things we make, so here goes.

I’ll start first:


I’m wearing a scarf I knit up last year made out of Whisper Lace. With just 2 balls of color 103 Harbor, I came up with a whopping 20″ x 60″ scarf/stole. It’s long enough that I can keyhole it, or when it’s really cold, double wrap around my neck like the photo above. The pattern is a modified Wisp by Cheryl Niamath, free on Knitty. I didn’t add buttons; I just cast on extra stitches, added a couple of random vertical garter stitch columns for interest, and knit until I ran out of yarn. For me, a person who almost exclusively knits garments, it was a refreshing change!

How about you, what Universal Yarn are you wearing today?

Free Pattern Friday – Mermaid Tunic

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Lumen Mermaid Tunic blogToday, the Mermaid Tunic in Lumen.

We were actually going to wait for warmer weather to release this, but it got so much love at Stitches West that we just had to set it free.

This tunic is worked in pieces from the bottom up and seamed.   The lace pattern is a simple six-row repeat – no cable needle needed for those twists.

Lumen 3 ball stack blogIt’s designed for Rozetti Lumen (134yds/50g), a chained cotton ribbon with shiny viscose stretches.  Its vivid color is delicious.  There’s a multi version, too.

We hope you enjoy this little burst of Spring in the midst of winter.

Happy knitting!


Free Pattern Friday – Sunblock Hat

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Yashi Sunblock Hat blog

Today, the Sunblock Hat in Yashi.

Yashi ball blogWe are looking forward to summer, partly because it gives us more excuses to use this great raffia yarn.  Yashi (40g/99yds) has a papery texture, but is much softer and more pliable than others we’ve seen.  It’s easy to work with and is proving a fast favorite around the office for crochet.

Because it’s so soft, with a project like this very wide hat, we’d suggest you crochet it tightly and maybe give it a little starching to stiffen the brim.  You’ll start at the top and work your way out.

I can see myself lounging in a chair by the pool in this hat, reading a good book and sipping… uh… tea.

Yes. That’ll do nicely.

Happy crafting!

Weaving Wednesday – challenge!

A few months ago, I sent a little care package to Denise over at Schacht, maker of our Cricket rigid heddle loom.  It contained several different yarns, all completely different in composition and construction: Infusion Handpaints, Cotton Gold, Poems Silk Solids, and Bamboo Bloom Handpaints.

Infusion HP 115 Gray Matters web BBH 310 Fuji_web Cotton Gold 1100_web Poems_Silk_Solid 701 Black_2_web Poems_Silk_Solid 702 Sterling2_web

The challenge for Denise was to take all these vastly different yarns and weave them up into something awesome. I didn’t make it easy for her, but I at least softened the blow by including coordinating shades in each different yarn. Well let me tell you, Denise passed this challenge with flying colors (so to speak, at least in greys and blues!).

Check out the Schacht newsletter for details on the finished project and a great how-to for repairing a float, or skipped warp thread.


Knitspiration – The Long Fence

How about a little summer in the midst of winter?

The Long Fence by Romare Bearden
The Long Fence by Romare Bearden (1986)

Romare Bearden (1911-1988) has a special place in my heart.  He hails from my hometown of Charlotte, NC, just down the road from Universal Yarn.  He moved to New York and contributed to Harlem’s vibrant arts scene in the 30’s and 40’s, often using imagery from his home state.  Romare Bearden was that fortunate artist who gained respect and recognition in his lifetime, with his works displayed in important collections around the globe.  If you’re ever in Charlotte, take a pleasant stroll through Romare Bearden Park – then come up the road and see us.

His use of color is inspiring.

Uptown Worsted pinwheel


The bright colors…

Northanger Abbey_blog
Northanger Abbey Shawl in Garden 10
Goldenrod in Flax
Goldenrod in Flax from Back to Natura
Seashells Hoodie in Deluxe DK Superwash from Fall Classics
Seashells Hoodie in Deluxe DK Superwash from Fall Classics

…with more natural tones.

Timbers Hat in Uptown DK
Timbers Hat in Uptown DK from e-book Mountain Ridge Knits
Emerald Isle Lap Blanket in Deluxe Worsted from 50 Knitted Gifts
Emerald Isle Lap Blanket in Deluxe Worsted from 50 Knitted Gifts

So many choices.  So many directions to explore.

Happy knitting!




Free Pattern Friday – Seabird Shawl

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Good Earth Adorn Seabird Shawl_blog

Today, the Seabird Shawl in Good Earth and Good Earth Adorn.

This shawl is aptly named!  The colors are reminscent of sea and sand, and the triangular shape makes you want to spread your wings.

Good Earth Adorn Seabird Shawl back_blogIt’s a warm-ish weather shawl, designed for our cotton/linen blends Good Earth (103 Desert) and Good Earth Adorn (304 Breeze).   A look at the back shows how Adorn works up into subtle variegated bands.  It’s a nice touch.

It goes without saying that this would be good beach knitting – light on your lap as you soak in the sun.  I’m looking at this shawl and dreaming of warmer days.

Happy knitting!

Knitspiration – Happy Birthday Miss Jones

How about a special birthday Knitspiration?

Rockwell Happy Birthday Miss Jones colors
Happy Birthday Miss Jones – Norman Rockwell 1956 – with Deluxe Worsted Superwash

What I love about this picture – and about all of Norman Rockwell’s work – is that it tells a story.  The eraser on the floor shows that her students wrote on her board in a rush and then had to scramble back to their seats.  The eraser on the student’s head shows that maybe they’re not always little angels.  And the fact that Miss Jones isn’t bothered that they’ve ruined all her multiplication problems shows that she’s the kind of teacher who values her children’s high spirits and appreciates their thoughtful intent.

Heather birthday tiara
You may address me as “Your Majesty.”


Today is my birthday, and like Miss Jones, I recognize this as an opportunity to reflect on generosity and intention.  I am truly fortunate to have the kind of co-workers here at Universal who will bomb my office with streamers and present me with the traditional Universal Yarn Birthday Tiara.


This is a time to be thoughtful and ask: what opportunities can I seize in my life to show un-asked for care to others?  Am I showing generosity to myself as well as to others?

Twist Collective – Aphelion in Good Earth

Today I will practice gratitude for the abilities that I have – to think, to craft, and to love.  And I will be grateful, too, for those who appreciate those gifts.

knitwear Fall Winter 2013 kite-cardigan Deluxe Chunky
Interweave Knits – Kite Cardigan in Deluxe Chunky


What will you do today to bring joy to yourself or someone else? Whether you create a garment or a moment, know that what you do has value.

Twist Collective - Scribe Mittens in Deluxe Worsted
Twist Collective – Scribe Mittens in Deluxe Worsted

Happy knitting.