Tag Archives: whisper lace

Free Pattern Friday – Augustine Scarf

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Today, the Augustine Scarf in Whisper Lace.

I was so excited to see this piece in our office.  Fibra Natura Whisper Lace (440g/50yds) is one of my favorite yarns, and accessories like this, which are gorgeous but still very achievable to the novice lace knitter, are always welcome.

When the time came to photograph this, I brought a shawl pin from home.  I picked up this JulDesigns shawl pin from an LYS here in Charlotte, and have been waiting for the perfect occasion to break it out.  Jul’s designs are so beautiful, and I wanted to show what the right accessory can do for an already lovely garment.

We’re not affiliated with Jul. We just think her stuff is pretty.

But back to the scarf!  The stitches are simple – knit, purl, yo, and ssk (slip, slip, knit).  The 4-row pattern is written and charted.  The scarf is knit on the bias, and once you’ve done a couple of repeats it’s easy to see what’s coming up next.

This is also a great example of what blocking can do for a scarf.  Look at how wide it gets!  There are plenty of options with a fabric this sheer.  Spread it wide or gather it for a more casual look.

If you’re looking for something that’s simple but delicate, this is a great choice.  We hope you enjoy it.

Happy knitting!

 

Guest Blogger: Dora Ohrenstein (and a Giveaway!)

Please help me in welcoming crochet maven and designer extraordinaire, Dora Ohrenstein to the Universal Yarn blog! Dora is the author of numerous crochet books, including her latest, “Top-Down Crochet Sweaters.”

topdowncrochet-cover

I’m going to let Dora take it away, but I’ll be back at the end of the post with details on how you can win a copy of her new book plus yarn to make one of the gorgeous projects inside!

One of the constant themes in my new book, Top Down Crochet Sweaters, is the importance of choosing great yarns for crochet garments. We all know that crochet is sometimes compared unfavorably to knitting when it comes to garment-making. Why is that?  Crochet stitches were born in the 19th century to imitate hand-made laces and were worked with very thin threads on slender hooks. As the 20th century unfolded, hobbyists turned increasingly to yarn, and some of the nuance of crochet, blown up to larger proportions, was lost. Of course crochet can look great even at a larger scale, but one has to choose pliable yarns, usually in weights thinner than worsted.  My favorites are DK, sport and fingering weight yarns.  

Today we have so many choices of yarn weights and fibers that one can make absolutely stunning crochet garments. Fibra Natura’s Infusion Handpaints is a great example of a DK that works beautifully in crochet.  Its fibers are acrylic and wool, and in this case they have been spun to such perfection that the resulting yarn is as soft and supple as one could wish for.  That’s why I chose it for the pullover called Zora from my book.

doraohrenstein_zora_infusionhandpaints

Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

It uses simple double crochet clusters as the main stitch, adorned with vertical panels of more open lace. Increases are plotted throughout each row, rather than at raglan points, resulting in a yoke that ends with a smooth curve with no raglan points. Because of this, you can divide it up for body and sleeves in any way you like. It’s a great way to get the dimensions that work best for you.

I used another Universal Yarn, Whisper Lace for the garment called Rosina. 

doraohrenstein_rosina_whisperlace

Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweaters © Dora Ohrenstein. Photography by © Melinda DiMauro

Here I wanted to feature a large lace pattern called Peacock Stitch. The size of the stitch pattern dictated the choice of a thinner yarn. I love how Whisper Lace looks with this stitch — it’s slight fuzziness lends a softness to the stitch pattern. To make a more solid fabric for the body I used double treble stitches so the garment works up suprisingly fast. 

As the title implies, all the garments in my book are worked top down. If you’re inspired to get going on Zora or Rosina, please join me at my ravelry group for a CAL on this sweater and others from Top Down Crochet Sweaters. Here’s a link:

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/crochet-insider/topics

I think you’ll be very pleased with these fabulous Universal yarns, and how lovely a crochet sweater can be!

Thanks, Dora! This really is a beautiful book with extremely wearable garments inside. Want to win a copy? How about some yarn? We’ve teamed up with Dora to offer two lucky winners a copy of her new book, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters plus enough Whisper Lace or Infusion Handpaints to make Rosina or Zora (love those project names!).

Here’s how you can win:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite thing to crochet is. Be sure to enter your email address so we have a way to contact you!
  • This offer is only open to US residents.
  • You have until Friday, October 7th at 12:00 am EST to leave a comment.
  • Two comments will be selected at random. Winners will be announced the following Monday back here on the blog.

Check out our knockers!

Greetings from Stitches Texas!  We’re having a blast in booth 517, talking to crafters and, okay, maybe doing a little shopping of our own.

However, we want to share something else with you.  While we’re at Stitches Texas, we’re showing our knockers to the world!

knockers-sign

We speak, of course, of knitted knockers, which we made to support knittedknockers.org.  It’s a great organization dedicated to providing knitted prostheses to women who have lost a breast to cancer.  For this contest, each vote is one dollar, with proceeds benefitting the organization.  It’s a creative way to help people in need.

We entered two pairs in the contest.

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First, Sparkle Nation!  Designed by Amy Gunderson, these use our 10th anniversary yarn, Universe.  There’s a “best branding” category, so we made sure to brand these knockers.

Not that kind of branding.
Not that kind of branding.

Sparkle Boobs!

Amy put a little “UY” at the base.  We love these fancy sparkly numbers.  Frankly, we’d put our knockers up against anybody else’s any day of the week.

But those aren’t the only pair we’ve got on display!

knockers-in-lingerie-on-sign

Designer Tori Gurbisz is new to our team, but has instantly fit right in with the Universal family.  She designed a pair in Bamboo Pop, complete with frilly Whisper Lace lingerie.

Ooh La La!

Tori used her pair to make the point that every woman deserves to feel beautiful.  The ribboned lace is symbolic of that.

If you’re at Stitches Texas and feel like judging peoples’ knockers, go by the wall and see what’s front and center.  Our knockers could always use support, but however you vote, it’s all for a good cause. There are some truly bodacious entries and more than a handful really stand out and demand attention.

If you’re interested in helping, visit http://www.knittedknockers.org for patterns and more.

Happy knitting!

Color Pooling: Finishing with Twisted Fringe

Last time on Weaving Wednesday, I showed you how I warped for my Bamboo Pop color pool scarf. Over the last couple of weeks, I had a chance to do the actual weaving which went incredibly fast.

Weaving_1

After weaving a few picks with scrap yarn, I did a bit of hemstitching with my weft yarn, Whisper Lace.  I left a good 12″ before beginning this in order to have long enough ends to do my fringe. I did a simple plain weave throughout the entire scarf, beating with a light hand to give my finished scarf nice drape.

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This scarf was a joy to weave. The motions and weaving were simple and the colors a delight to watch. Each time I advance the warp and a new section of color came into view, it gave me a little lift.

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After hemstitching at the end of my scarf, I cut it free, leaving the beginning end still attached to the loom. I then trimmed all the fringe evenly, to about 11″.

Fringe is the easy and obvious way to go when ending a scarf. It eliminates the need for a hem. Fringe also adds a nice little bit of heft, allowing a scarf to hang nicely. An easy way to spruce up your fringe is to make it twisted. I’ve done this by hand before on a few projects, but it’s tedious and I don’t enjoy doing it. This time around, I decided to splurge and bought myself a battery operated fringe twister. Sometimes, you just need the right tool for the job.

See the two little prongs jutting out from the top of my tool? The item actually came with 4 prongs, but I removed 2 of them for this project.

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Each of my stripe sections of the scarf is comprised of 8 strands. I’m making 2 twisted fringes for each stripe, so each fringe is made up of 4 strands. To use my fringe tool, I attached 2 strands to each prong.

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I didn’t get a good photo of this step, but those little metal pieces in the top of the prongs will extend, grabbing onto the yarn, and then retract back down.

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Next, I push the button on my tool into position 1, which twists each strand independently. To get consistent twist on all my fringe, I counted to 30, (sort of in rhythm to the noise of the tool) as the tool was spinning.

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Once the strands are nice and twisty, I push my button down into position 2. This rotates the entire top of my tool in the opposite direction than the prongs rotated, twisting the strands around each other. During this step, I found that counting to 20 made a perfect balance of countertwist.

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Then, release the ends of the yarn from the metal prongs and tie in an overhand knot. The twist stays twisted!

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After I made all the twisted fringe on the final end of my scarf, I cut the beginning end from the loom. To keep this end of my scarf from moving around, I just set a heavy book on top.

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After handwashing and laying flat to dry, I had myself a very colorful scarf!

Pooling-Scarf-Flat-1

My finished scarf, before fringe is 62″, and is about 78 ” with fringe. With one ball of each color of Bamboo Pop and 1 ball of Whisper Lace, I could have gone about 20-30% long if I had wanted.

Pooling-Scarf-2 Pooling-Scarf-3

I’m extremely happy with how this scarf turned out. It’s quite lightweight with amazing drape. It’s so very wearable. I could envision this in many different color combinations of our Bamboo Pop.

Join me next time for a lace weaving adventure with our anniversary namesake yarn, Universe!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Berry Patch Cardi

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Berry Patch Cardi hi-res

Today, the Berry Patch Cardi in Whisper Lace.

This pattern comes to us from our Mexican distributor, Rebecca Pick.  In their magazine, they featured an absolutely stunning crochet design in Whisper Lace (440yds/50g) designed by Ángeles Uribe Salinas.  Rebecca Pick graciously shared it with us, and now we get to share it with you!

Berry Patch Cardi hem hi-resThis beautiful cardi is made of strips of delicate fan lace.  They’re joined as you go, with the bottom of the strips left loose to fall freely.   Can’t you imagine twirling around in this and seeing the little butterflies of lace fly?

The lace is written and charted, and a schematic is included for assembly.  We love how the multi-colored yarn works up into individual fans for a delicate and unique look.  This is a great skill showcase.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Happy crafting!

Berry Patch Cardi shoulder hi-res

Ready to Wear

In case you missed the first few posts in this series on my Flame Lace Top, you can find the warping post here,  how to make string heddles here,  actually weaving the fabric here, and taking the fabric off the loom here.  I’m using Flax as warp, and Whisper Lace with Garden 10 held together as warp.

After taking my fabric off the loom, I decided to machine wash on gentle and then laid flat to dry. After lightly pressing the fabric with my iron, I was all ready to start sewing and cutting:

Sewing_1

What really drew me to the Flame Lace project in the Simple Woven Garments book was the weave structure. Though I think the garment in the book is really cute, I’m not a big fan of that shape for my body. Going into this project, I knew I was going to make some changes. But I didn’t fully decide on those changes until I got started. And even then I made improvisations along the way.

The first thing I decided to do differently than the original was to shape my armholes. The easiest way for me to determine my armhole depth and shape was to grab a top I already own and use that as a guide. I’m a big fan of using wrapping paper that has grid lines on the back for things like this.

Sewing_2

To make a template for my armholes, I laid my top on the back side of the wrapping paper and traced one side. I opted to freehand the neck hole, as I wanted it to sit a bit lower than the one on the shirt I was using as an armhole guide. After cutting out the first side, I folded the paper in half and traced to get the second side – an easy way to make sure it was symmetric.

Sewing_3

After cutting out my armhole template, the next step was to pin it to my fabric. But before I could do that, I needed to determine where the shoulder seam would be. Rather than cut out separate pieces for front and back from my fabric, I was using the entire length of the fabric for my top.

I decided as I was tracing my armholes that a hi-lo hem would be cool. I opted for about a 5″ difference in front and back hems, folded my fabric, and then pressed it with my iron to indicate my shoulder seam.

Then I pinned my template to the fabric:

Sewing_4

My two best tips for sewing: don’t skimp on ironing or pins.

Now, before any cutting can happen, it’s important to secure the fabric with the sewing machine. If I was cutting store-bought fabric for a garment, I would simply pin the pattern to the fabric and cut. But because I’m using my handwoven fabric that has a much lower thread count (fewer threads per inch) than most commercial fabric, I needed to take care that the weaving doesn’t come apart.

My first step was to sew a folding guide line for myself. I sewed a straight line of stitching just along the sides of my template:

Sewing_5

After removing the paper, I sewed two more lines, but this time with a narrow, short-length zigzag stitch. These are the really important lines, because they’re securing the threads of the weaving and preventing them from unraveling. I used my presser foot as a measuring guide for my lines The foot is about 1/4″ to 3/8″ wide from the center of the needle to the outside edge, making my total seam allowance be about 5/8″.

Sewing_6

I’m using light gray thread – can you see it? I barely could and had a splitting headache by the time I was done from squinting so hard. I wanted the thread to blend into the fabric and it blended too well!

Can you see it now?

Sewing_7

Now that these important lines were stitched I could safely cut out my neck and armholes. I made sure to cut outside  all lines of stitching, right up against the last zigzag line.

Sewing_8

Once the neck and armholes were cut out, I had to prep the curves so I could fold them under. If you’ve ever sewn a garment with curved lines, you know that you have to snip the curves so they can be eased to the inside of the garment. Again, because I was working with hand woven fabric, I had to secure the fabric before making these snips. I set my machine to a very, very short straight stitch, and made 2 parallel lines of stitches on either side of where I intended to cut. That way, when I cut through the fabric, it wouldn’t unravel.

My apologies – I seem to have forgotten to photograph this step!

Anyway, next, it’s onto the ironing board again. And more pins! For a double-rolled hem, I first pressed in my openings on my very first straight line of sewing. Remember, my guide line? Then,  I pressed in again on my first zigzag line.

Sewing_9

Once I pinned and sewed my neck and armhole openings (this time, with thread I could actually see), I tried it on Betty to see how we were coming:

Sewing_10

Hey, it looks like it could actually be something! To wear!

There were just a few things left to do. First I trimmed away that fringe. Fringe is actually in style right now and I could have left it, but opted to cut it away instead.

Next, I needed some side seams. Because the sides of the fabric are the selvedges, I found no need to do double rolled hems because the edges are “finished” already.

The final width of my fabric after washing, by the way, was about 19 1/2″. Which means, if I were to sew the sides together with 1/2″ seam allowances (taking up a total of 2″ in seams), then my finished top would be about 37″. Perfect! I have a 34″ bust, so having a few inches of ease in this woven top will work well, since woven fabrics really don’t have any give.

My hips, however, are significantly larger than 34″. I’m a pear shape and my hips are about 39-40″. I couldn’t sew the full length of my side seams or I won’t be able to fit into this baby.  I also could have made the top shorter than intended so that it sat above the fullest part of my hips, but I didn’t want to do that.

Instead, I opted to sew only part of the side seam and give myself side vents to accommodate my curves.

Sewing_11

After sewing the side seams, I pressed them open. Remember my other rule – don’t skimp on the ironing. I then made a single-fold hem on the unsewn portion of the sides, and made a double-fold hem on the bottom. After that, more ironing! It’s important to iron sewn seams to sort of settle them into place. It also makes them look more finished. I like to shoot a little steam on seams of knitted items too to help them relax.

Sewing_12

And here are some final shots:

Flame Lace side closeup square hi-res

Flame Lace hem hi-res

Flame Lace on form hi-res

Flame Lace on Amy crop hi-res

All in all, I’m please with how this turned out. Though I have quite a bit of sewing experience, I’ve done very little sewing with my own hand woven fabric, which is definitely a whole different ballgame than sewing with purchased fabric. This project has definitely sparked ideas for more garments. Now all I need is to find the time to implement them!

Join me next time as I explore how to make the most of Bamboo Pop multi colorways and planned pooling!

 

Playing With Sticks

If you’ve been following along on my latest adventure in weaving,  you read about warping a wide rigid heddle loom for the Flame Lace Top, and then rigging up string heddles for a second pick-up stick. The warp is Flax. The weft is one strand of Whisper Lace and 1 strand of Garden 10 held together.

This week is all about the fun pretty stuff: woven fabric! Once I got my pick-up sticks taken care of and my shuttle wound, I set to the soothing rhythm of weaving. I started right in with the 2 pick-up-stick pattern, and practiced a couple of repeats before hem stitching:

FlameLace_1

Out of the 12 rows of the pattern repeat, 4 of these involve use of the pick-up sticks. It took me just a few repeats to get the hang of it and after that it was smooth sailing.

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Weaving is such a good opportunity for me to unwind. Music streaming, audio books, or just sitting with my own thoughts is such a relief after a hectic day.

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Join me next time when I take my finished fabric off the loom and do – gasp – cutting and sewing with it!