We got a sweet little email from the folks at YarnCanada.ca asking us to help them promote a contest they're having. YarnCanada.ca, in partnership with Bernat & Patons Yarn, are offering $2000 worth of yarn to some yarnworthy folk. There are 12 prizes up for grabs and it could be you, or your knit group. The idea is to give to people who give back. So if you or your knit group have a cause that you support and you'd like some yarn support you should consider entering. The contest is open to fellow Canadians and has also been extended to our neighbours to the south. You can find all of the details and fill out the entry form here
I've been meaning to do this for a long time, months in fact. The lovely people over at YarnCanada.ca generously provided us with a hefty ball of Red Heart's it's a wrap and asked us to do a review. Needless to say the fall has been BUSY. The holiday season is almost in full swing so I thought I'd better get down to business!
I'll admit that I've got a pretty robust stash and when I do go hunting for a little something, something to add to my collection Red Heart doesn't usually cross my mind. I was skeptical about this review. The 50/50 cotton, acrylic blend had me wondering how this yarn would knit up and what it would feel like. My experience with cotton is limited to dishcloths, and I don't use a lot of acrylic so I was pretty in the dark about how this was going to play out.
So even thought life has been crazy busy these past few months, I did do a swatch immediately. The yardage in this ball is ample enough (seriously ample, 1100 yards of ample) to knit up a sweet summer t-shirt so I picked up my 3.5mm needles and swatched for Edie by Isabelle Kraemer. This swatch is AMAZING. It's soft and has drape and is feather light. The yarn is rated as #1 - super fine, and super fine it is. It's classified as a light fingering weight on Raverly and there are lots of patterns that would lend themselves well to this yarn. I picked the Comedy colour way to try to get out of my comfort zone. I am in love with the bright, bold colour combo that this colourway provides. If I hadn't already fallen in love with Edie, the ball band offers a super cute colour blocked shawl called Asymmetrical Knit Shawl.
So the second I finish my #committoknit2018 (you guys, I'm soooooo close) I'm casting this on, and you should too. Red Heart's it's a wrap is available on YarnCanada.ca for an easy $11.95. Seriously. Buy a few or check out some of the other great yarns available, because after you spend $45 you get free shipping.
Now, go forth and knit (and shop), relentlessly!
If you've been listening to the podcast lately you'll know that both Karla and I have been looking into increasing our knowledge by taking a tech editing course for knitting. Karla is looking at trying the course offered by the Knitters Guild Association, and I was looking at doing The Tech Editor Master Class offered by Joeli Kelly. If you're wondering what a tech editor does check out this explanation.
Well folks, I've taken the plunge and I'm hoping to make a go of it. I have been trying to figure out a way to earn and income in the knitting industry. I thought that designing would be the ticket, but I really just enjoy knitting other peoples designs so much that I never made time to ddesign for myself. What I am good at is math, and knitting. So, I think this will be a good fit. I have a deep rooted love for spreadsheets and I intend to put it to good use.
Starting next week I'll be taking the Joeli Kelly course for 8 weeks! I'm so excited to be embarking on this new adventure that will hopefully allow me to have the flexibility our family needs. If you are a designer who needs tech editor come and check out my website www.emilywakeling.com, or shoot me an email at Emilythetecheditor@gmail.com. I'd also love to hear about your experiences working as a tech editor or with at tech editor. So hit me up!
You're knitting and vacationing anyway, might as well make a game of it! We were inspired by Andi Satterland's Heatwave Bingo from 2015 and wanted to do it again! Post your dabbed squares on instagram with #summerknittingbingo so we can follow along! If you get a line (or even a black out!) make sure to post photo evidence in the our Ravelry Group! There will be a draw for prizes at the end of summer. Summer knitting bingo runs June 21st to September 22nd! Happy Summer Everyone!!
I was recently given the opportunity to review yarn for Round Mountain Fibers (US Customers use this link) Monica was so generous she sent me three hanks of yarn, so we'll give some away in our ongoing KALS.
First off, the Round Mountain has a super clever way of classifying their colourways; there are ornithology, entomology and botany collections. All of them are spectacular and hand dyed in Vermont. I particularly love the Atlantic Puffin colourway, along with Cecropia Caterpillar and Wild Mustard. All of the colourways come in your choice of 50g or 100g skeins in either fingering or worsted weight so you can pick your poison. Just a heads up, the international site is still priced in USD. The website also has kits and some pretty amazing patterns. Not to mention their Drunk Yarn dyeing kits. You seriously need to take a look. Go on now, I'll wait right here.
You're back. They are delightful aren't they? I opted to use the fingering weight 100% merino in the Succulents colourway that was sent our way to make my first (but not my last) pair of Rose City Rollers. I did opt to use a contrasting colour with nylon in in it for my heels and toes. The merino has a good twist to it so I felt comfortable enough using it for socks, but I do like to have a little bit of extra strength in the areas that will see more abrasion. I found that the yarn was rougher on my hands than I'm used to while I was working with it. That being said I think it's softened since blocking and wearing. I've been wearing my socks for about two weeks and they're holding up well. They're comfortable and haven't lost their shape despite multiple wearings between washings.
Final thoughts, I think Round Mountain Fibers is definitely worth checking out. Monica is friendly and efficient to work with. The colourways are, frankly, spectacular and unique, and did you see the mini skein collections? Besides, if you've been working hard on your #committoknit2018 you're going to need to replenish your stash, right? You can get your stash enhancement on for 50% off right now with the coupon code 'ocanada' at check out. SWEET!
Keep knitting relentlessly,
I'm excited to be facilitating a discussion about shawl shapes at the Ponderosa Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists Guild general meeting on May 29th, 2018 at 7pm. Non-guild members are welcome so please join us and find out what the guild is all about!
As many things on earth, shawls come in numerous shapes and sizes. The shape variations are a result of strategically placed increases and/or decreases in a mathematical pattern. The five most common shawl shapes are triangular, crescent, semi circular, side-to-side and asymmetrical.
Most triangular, crescent and semi-circular shawls are knit “top down” or starting with a small number of stitches and increasing out, however some are knit “bottom up” where a large number of stitches are cast on and strategically placed decreases are used to make the shape of the shawl. Asymmetrical and side-to-side shawls are knit point to point width-wise.
The most iconic shawl shape is a top down triangular shawl. This shawl requires four increases every other row to maintain its shape. The increases are placed two at the outer edges and two down the spine of the shawl. These placements of increases make obvious triangular segments that increase in size.
The most common method of starting a triangular shawl is called a garter tab. This is where a small rectangle is knit and becomes the top border edge of the shawl by picking up and knitting stitches around three of its sides.
The shawl is knit back and forth, where when working on the right side, you work the four increases and on the wrong side no increases are worked.
Crescent shaped shawls are similar to triangular shawls in that they start with a garter tab but are different because there are more increases placed only at the beginning and end of the rows on both sides of the work. Crescent shaped shawls generally have two increases on either end of the row on the right side of the knitting and one increase on either end of the wrong side of the row. These six increases produce rapid growth in fabric along the edges and the crescent shape.
The edge of the shawl sample above is bound off using a picot bind off. This bind off is very stretchy and provides a polished edge.
Semi circular shawls also start with a garter tab and their increase placement is more geometric, giving the shawl a straight top edge but curved outer edge. In a semi circular shawl there are a four increases evenly placed across the knitting, two at the edges and two that radiate evenly from a single point. These increases, created by yarn overs, in the picture below are clearly visible. Modification of the type of increase will make them less visible.
Asymmetrical and Side-to-Side shaped shawls are similar in that they both start at a long edge point with very few cast on stitches. Because they are knit from point to point width-wise instead of center out as in the first three shawls, they don’t require a garter tab.
The side-to-side shawl construction requires one increase every other row. When you’ve reached the desired shawl depth the increase changes to a decrease.
An asymmetrical shawl starts off the same as a side-to-side shawl but, as the name implies, the increases, and thereby the shape, is asymmetrical.
The example below has one increase on the right side of the knitting at the leading edge but on the wrong side of the work has an decrease at the beginning of the row and an increase at the end of the row. These two increases and one decrease over two rows create an increasing triangular shape with a bias.
Although there are five different shawl shapes covered here there are many others, such as pie shaped which is a full circle starting from the center out or a hap which can be triangular or square where the interior is knit first and a border is applied after. Also, the above shawls have many modifications on their basic mathematics that create new shapes. For example, two triangular shawls attached edge-to-edge create a parallelogram or connected along the top edges to create a rectangle. A more central placement of the right side increase in an asymmetrical shawl creates an arrow shape.
Below are Ravelry links to some good examples of the different shawl shapes that I’ve favorited.
Crescent Shawls - http://ravel.me/K-Rae/cssos
Asymmetrical Shawls - http://ravel.me/K-Rae/assos
Semi-Circular Shawls - http://ravel.me/K-Rae/sssos
Side to Side Shawls - http://ravel.me/K-Rae/stsssos
Triangular Shawls - http://ravel.me/K-Rae/tssos
If you’re interested in further exploring shapes and construction of shawls I recommend this free online course by Aroha Knits. http://www.arohaknits.com/5-shawls-5-days-challenge-sign-in/ Or check the local LYSs for shawl classes.
I am so excited to bring you a yarn review from loveknitting.com! They contacted Emily and I offering an opportunity to collaborate and we pounced on it!
Loveknitting.com carries a very large variety of yarn weights and blends, everything from lace to bulky and baby to luxury. They carry some exclusive lines to them such as Paintbox, Milla Mia, Willow and Lark and Main Street Yarns, each offering diversity in choice for projects. Paintbox and Main Street are mainly acrylic or cotton yarns. Paintbox offers extensive colour choice and Main Street larger put-ups. Milla Mila is 100% Merino or 100% cotton yarns that are highly plied making them lovely round yarns, great for cabled projects.
(photo credits below are those of loveknitting.com)
I instantly Oooooo’ed over the Willow and Lark line. It offers a variety of fibre choices including blends of merino, cashmere, alpaca, mohair, silk and viscose. The mohair made me think immediately of Andrea Mowry’s Bird’s of a Feather Shawl that I need to knit so so badly. I requested my yarn for the project and LoveKnitting graciously agreed but we got mixed up in communication and colour choice. Regardless I received the most stunning skein of Malabrigo Mechita in the Plomo colourway and one ball of Willow and Lark Plume in Thunder. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the right color combo nor the correct amount for Birds of a Feather. Willow and Lark Plume is a mohair silk blend that is phenomenal. It’s so great I had to knit with it right away.
I looked at the other yarn brands LoveKnitting carries, took some mental notes, and went stash diving. I surfaced with a skein of Lorna’s Laces in the Cinnamon Kane colourway I’d received in a Soak kit quite a while ago. I thought they would pair beautifully together, held double, in Hunter Hammerson’s hat pattern Constellate. And they did not disappoint! The halo of the W&L Plume blended so nicely with the browns of the Lorna’s laces giving the hat muted, veiled look, that I feel works so well with the pattern. LoveKnitting also has an extensive library of patterns that you can purchase through their website.
Overall it was a great experience working with LoveKnitting.com and I’ve ordered the rest of the yarn for Birds of a Feather as well as yarn for a Brioche Hat I’m learning to knit in May at a knitting retreat and some yarn for a yarn swap partner! I’m sure I’ll be back again. If you’re interested in ordering from LoveKnitting.com you can use my referral link to get 15% off your order! https://loveknitting.mention-me.com/m/ol/xv0bm-karla-lockwood Also free shipping to Canada on orders over $75.
I received two skeins of their house brand Willow and Lark Woodland. It’s a sturdy two ply light worsted and it comes in 25 different colours. I Picked their Honeycomb and Marmalade colourways to make the Mood of March hat by Katrin Schubert. When it arrived, it was in a cute mesh bag that I promptly put to use as a project bag, and the ball bands hold all of the typical information plus a fun fact to keep you entertained. I learnt all about why mint is paired with lamb. The colours were bang on to what I thought they would be based on the website. It’s a bit tweedy which gives it a bit of a rustic appearance but the 50/25/25 Merino, alpaca, viscose has a great hand to work with.
The hat knit up about as fast as you would expect two colour brioche to knit up but the yarn made it easy to come back to. Despite being lightly plyed, I didn’t find the yarn to be splitty at all. It knit up with ease and was nice to work with. I did find that it shed a bit while it was knitting up. I’ve since finished and blocked the hat. Woodland stayed true to its form and didn’t change much with blocking. Finished, it has a slight halo but not enough to retract from the brioche pattern. My hat is beautiful and keeps me nice and warm. It’s going to be a staple in my wardrobe for a long time to come.
Recently, we were lucky enough to be contacted by Yarn Canada to do a review of Red Heart's Scrubby Cotton yarn, and review we did!
We each picked out 3 colours to work with (you can see their colour selection here) and got to work making some dish cloths.
There is a pattern on the inside of the ball band so I figured I would give that a go. It's a crochet pattern and I'm not a particularly accomplished crocheter so I found even this basic pattern a wee bit challenging, but with good light and some determination I prevailed. I ended up crocheting 4 or 5 dish cloths and I only knit one. The texture of the yarn does make it somewhat challenging to work with, and difficult to frog (ask me how I know) but I think the end product is worth the learning curve associated with working with this textured yarn. I think I can crochet 3 dishcloths from each ball and at $5.95 per ball, I think that's pretty good value.
I couldn't wait to try these out. I usually use a knit hemp washcloth and I have a separate plastic scrubby, and lucky me, our sink backed up so after 4 days of waiting for a plumber I had a spectacular pile of dishes to wash. I have to say these dishcloths worked like a charm. They have a good amount of scrub to them so I can toss my old scrubbers. They do a decent job of cleaning my cast iron pans too, no small feat. I am pretty sure that this will be my go to yarn for dishcloths from here on out.
Final thoughts - Red Heart's Scrubby Cotton yarn can be difficult to work with at the beginning, but with a little perseverance they produce excellent, reasonably priced dish cloths with just the right amount of texture to get the job done.
I was also very excited to give this yarn a try! I love my knitted dishcloths and the criteria for a good dishcloth are; can it scrub the grub off, can it absorb the spills and how does it wash up?
Red Heart Scrubby Cotton from Yarn Canada checked all these boxes! My husband was very impressed by how much liquid the material soaks up and the added surface area from the boucle spun yarn did an excellent job of scrubbing away the dried on toddler food from the table. That being said, this yarn is not abrasive and will not scratch a surface. I've crocheted two dishcloths with it and my next project for it will be a shower mitt. The yarn is soft and would be a lovely exfoliating cloth to have in the shower.
I washed and dried my cloth with my other linens and the colours stayed true. There may have been minor shrinkage from eyeballin' it but I can't say for sure because I did not measure the initial cloth.
Because of the ply structure on the yarn it does make it challenging to work with but as soon as you get in a groove it's great. I crochet two dishcloths in an evening and was very impressed with how quickly they work up. The end product from the yarn far out weighs the short learning curve to get the yarn flowing smoothly through your fingers.
These cloths will definitely be used in the regular kitchen chores rotation and I would also recommended it for bathing. Cloths and shower mitts make great hostess gifts and are quick to work up with this yarn.
Lately on the podcast I've been talking about my motivation, or rather lack of motivation. I know that motivation for my craft often waxes and wanes depending on the season, or what's on the needles, or if I just bought some spectacular new yarn.
I've been in a funk now for nearly 3 months. I'm hoping that the end is in sight. I know where my motivation went, and I've been keeping from you. I am excited to announce that my little family is going to get just a wee bit bigger this year.
I've been struggling these past few months with a serious lack of energy that doesn't even allow me to wrap string around sticks. Combined with being a pseudo-single mom, exhausted barely begins to describe how I feel. I am hoping that my second trimester brings me more than just an insatiable craving for chocolate. I'm hoping that it brings me my energy back. I'm going to need it if I expect this tiny human to be properly wrapped in wool.
Are you ready for 2017?! We are and we're welcoming it with a year long KAL!
I (Karla) have recently become overwhelmed with my stash and my 2017 goal is to knit from stash until Knit City 2017 (September 30th to October 1st). That's no stash acquisions for 10 months! Lofty goal? That's why I need your support and to do that I've come up with a KAL.
The KAL will begin January 1st 2017 and run until December 31st 2017. We will have quarterly entry threads in the ravelry group for your FOs and prizes to give away (more on those in a bit)! There is also a year long thread to keep track of all your gifts knits and there will be prizes for most gifts knit in 2017!
Thank you to the following prize sponsors!
Denise of Sock Ruler
Brenda of Two Sticks and Ewe
Sara of Riv Creative
Sally of Yarn Friendly
Joanne who is @porthardy1 on instagram
Okanagan Knit Co
Chantal of Mudpunch
Jess of Haven Fiber Arts
Jocelyn who is @jocelyn_shuman
Sylvia of Softsweater Knits
It's not too late if you would like to sponsor a prize! Just drop as a line and we'd be happy to have you on board. All sponsors will be mentioned in each episode of 2017!
Ok! Here are THE RULES!
1. Any and all gift knits will be accepted, there's no minimum yardage, if it's a gift it counts.
2. Gifts knit from yarn acquired in 2016 or before get two entries, so post those FOs twice for more chances to win. (Please be honest, there's no way for me to actually track this so I'm holding out on good knitting karma that there will be no cheating). If you knit a gift from yarn from 2017, you get one entry.
3. Entries are quarterly, Jan - Mar, Apr - Jun, Jul - Sept, Oct - Dec. You cannot enter something finished in March in the July quarter etc.
4. Year long FO thread is where you will open one post and keep a running tally of ALL the gifts knit in the year. Go back and edit this post as many times as you need to include all gifts.
5. This really should be rule #1 but HAVE FUN! Post pictures of what you're knitting on instagram with the hashtag #stashtogiftknit2017 so we can see all your projects!
All prizes will be drawn with random number generator except the full year thread winner will be the one with the most gifts knit.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions! I can't wait to knit with you!
Emily and Karla, we knit relentlessly.