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.


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.


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.

July2013 002 (419x640)

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!

Sunday Swatch – Bamboo Pop

Today’s Sunday Swatch is in Bamboo Pop colors 108 Lime Green, 208 Pink Joy, and 102 Cream.

SS Bamboo Pop flower

Today’s swatch started as an experiment to see just how thick various i-cords were in Bamboo Pop.  Bamboo Pop is one of our most popular yarns, a lightweight blend of 50% cotton and 50% bamboo.

The entire flower was knit on size 4 needles.  The petals of the flower are one long 4-stitch i-cord, the stem is a 3-stitch i-cord, and the center is a 2-stitch i-cord curled around itself.

SS Bamboo Pop flower back side_blogI took a picture of the back side so you can see how it’s assembled.  I had hoped to put a chenille stem (pipe cleaner, for those of my generation) into the center for stability, but the i-cord was just a little too narrow to fit the jumbo-sized chenille stem that I had on hand, so instead I used some very thick floral wire for stability.  The extra wire extending from the bottom lets it stand upright without causing the i-cord to push up on itself and wrinkle.

The leaves were a last-minute addition, but they’re a nice touch.  Here’s the leaf pattern, done on size 4 needles:

CO 4

Row 1: k1, (kfb) twice, k1. (6 sts total)

Row 2: purl

Row 3: k2, (kfb) twice, k2 (8 sts total)

Row 4: purl

Row 5: k3, (kfb) twice, k3 (10 sts total)

Row 6: purl

Row 7: k1, k2tog, k4, ssk, k1 (8 sts total)

Row 8: purl

Row 9: k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1 (6 sts total)

Row 10: purl

Row 9: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1 (4 sts total)

Row 10: purl

Row 9: k2tog, ssk,(2 sts total)

Row 10: purl 2 tog (1 st total)

Pull yarn through remaining stitch to bind off.

I have some bits of Bamboo Pop in other colors, so I’m considering making an entire bouquet for an empty flowerpot.  It would be a nice maintenance-free addition to the front porch.

Happy knitting – and gardening!

Free Pattern Friday – Bodrum Beach Cover-up

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Garden 3 Bodrum Beach Coverup 1_blog

Everybody say hi to Yonca!

Sunday Swatch Garden 3 blogYonca is our sales director, and also the designer of today’s free pattern, the Bodrum Beach Cover-up in Garden 3.  You may recognize part of this pattern from this past week’s Sunday Swatch (right).

Yonca wanted to make a gift for her sister-in-law in Turkey, so she whipped up this colorful number in our Garden 3 cotton thread and graciously shared her pattern with us.  Garden 3 ( 136yds/50g) is 100% mercerized Egyptian Giza cotton, a favorite for durable and beautiful garments and a great pick for this breezy summer project.

It’s called the Bodrum Beach Cover-up after the town of Bodrum in Turkey, a beautiful resort with gorgeous weather, a medieval castle, and of course the beach.  I was so happy Yonca told us about this place – it’s one more spot to put on my bucket list.

We couldn’t resist sending Yonca on a virtual trip there, if only for this blog post.  Have a great time, Yonca, and keep crocheting!

Garden 3 Bodrum Beach Coverup 5_beachified

Throwback Thursday – Ruffled Shoulder Bag

It’s Throwback Thursday!

TT Ruffled Shoulder Bag in Links_blog

The Ruffled Shoulder Bag is a great project any time of the year.  Originally knit in Links cotton from our Fibra Natura line, we suggest substituting another non-wool yarn like Cotton Supreme (100g/180yds) or Uptown DK (100g/273yds).

The frills are simple semi-circular strips sewn on after knitting the bag proper, making it easy to customize with or without ruffles as you wish.

I’m thinking this might be a good thing to work on at my local Worldwide Knit In Public Day – making a bag big enough to hold my WIPs seems like a fitting project!

Pink & Plaid

One of the super fun parts of my job is getting to see projects other people are making in our yarn. Recently, Linda Davis, owner of Tail Spinner in Richlands, NC sent us photos of a fantastic weaving project. Although not woven on a rigid heddle loom (as most of our projects  in this column will be), I had to show this beautiful throw to the world! Made in Deluxe DK Superwash this throw will be able to be machine washed.


Meet Claire, a high school student local to Linda. Claire doesn’t knit or crochet (yet!), but her favorite subject in school is environmental science. Here are some details on this lovely project, courtesy of Linda:

In our county, each senior is required to do a project their Senior year to learn about something which they had never done before.  Claire’s grandmother has a countermarch, 8-shaft loom that she wants to give to her, and Claire was very intrigued by the thought of weaving.  So, she decided that learning to weave would be a great project.  She found out that I taught weaving after some investigating, and she called me last September to see if I would mentor her for her Senior project.  I said I would be glad to, and we proceeded on with her journey.  Her first project was done on the rigid heddle loom.  She created a moebius scarf using chenille and ribbon as the warp on an 8-dent heddle and weaving loosely with a simple fingering wool.  Then, we moved on to doing the throw on the 32-inch, four-shaft table loom, using a 10-dent reed.  She used the Deluxe DK Superwash for both the warp and the weft.  The throw is basically a sampler using a point twill.  She had to choose the yarn and the colors and decide the repeats of color throughout the warp and then figure out the weft repetitions.  Another of Claire’s assignments was to select the patterns she wished to use and alternate them every nine inches.  She chose a Bird’s Eye repeat over 6 ends: 3/2/1/2/3/4; and then, she mixed up the patterns using 2/2 and 1/3 twills.  So, she essentially designed the whole piece, which ended up being 30 inches wide and over 60 inches long.
seniorproject 006 (640x428)

Thanks Claire and Linda!

Afghan Knitalong – Block Seven

Block Seven is live!

7 Echolate block_blog

Cables!  I love ’em.  They can give flow and movement to a piece  that is hard to achieve any other way.  But they’re also one of those things that some knitters never try, just because they seem intimidating.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

For Block Seven “Echolate” we’ve got a video to walk you through the process of knitting both right and left-leaning cables using a cable needle.  If you don’t have a cable needle, grab a spare double-point and use that instead!

In this block, I’m particularly fond of the little rippling cables at the left.  I may incorporate that into more of my knitting!

This block also calls for a few M1 (make one) increases on row 7.  As a bonus, Amy Gunderson has put together a short video demonstrating exactly how this kind of increase works.  Easy peasy!

We hope you enjoy this foray into the world of cables.  We’ll see you in a couple of weeks with another block that builds on this technique.

Happy knitting!

Sunday Swatch – Garden 3

Today’s Sunday Swatch is in Garden 3.

Sunday Swatch Garden 3 blog

This crochet swatch in Garden 3 is actually a WIP by a member of our sales team.  It’s a piece that she’s made the front of already, and is now making the matching back for.  I’ve seen it in person, and it’s beautiful!

Garden 3 is excellent quality 100% mercerized Egyptian Giza cotton, smooth with a bit of a sheen.  Garden is part of our popular Nazli Gelin line and is available in both 50 gram balls and 500 gram cones perfect for larger projects.

Our diligent salesperson is using a US E/4 (3.5mm) hook and it’s working out beautifully, as you can see above.  Another of my favorite Garden 3 designs, Sarah Read’s  Love Ewe Nesting Dolls to the right, works up on smaller hooks.  It’s available as a free download (yay!) with website signup from CrochetMe.com.  Here’s the link.

Happy crafting!

Inspiration By Design