It seems as though there is no shortage of creativity in our shop as we make our way through the spring season. Just when I think I might be running out of inspiration and projects to knit, someone comes in to showcase their latest project and voila! I have a new mission! Margaret’s Gallatin scarf is certainly no exception.
Margaret chose to knit her Gallatin scarf out of Berocco’s Remix: a yarn compilation of 100% recycled fibers. There are so many great things to say about this yarn. If you’re interested in going “green” with your knitting, this yarn is a fantastic place to begin. I also love the depth that you find in the colors. None of the colorways are entirely solid, each offering a beautiful tonality (and we all know how much I love tonal yarns). The yarn even contains a bit of silk and linen, which adds a wonderful softness to your project. In my opinion, all of these qualities make Remix a perfect choice for this spring scarf/shawlette.
Because this scarf is knit with size 10 ½ needles, it is a surprisingly quick knit, which means you’ll still have time to wear your scarf before the weather gets too warm. And even after it becomes a bit toasty outside, this is the perfect accessory to keep the chill away when you’re out of the sun. It’s open weave makes it light and airy while still staving off the chill. If you’re interested in knitting your own Gallatin scarf, just click here for the free pattern. And don’t forget to check out all of our amazing colors of Berocco’s Remix! -Michael
A new line of yarn is jumpin’ into L & B Yarn Co. this spring. Start getting excited about this one guys. Leslie and I have decided that because this is such an extra special line to us we are going to be hosting a surprise unveiling for all of our yarn lovers the first of May. I don’t have all the details yet, but I can tell you that we are next in line for dying!!! Look for us to post an exact date and time for this extremely exciting unveiling. -B
Spring has finally arrived and with it, warmer weather. It’s time to talk about knitting items other than sweaters and gloves–although, to be honest, the nerd in me is always happy to talk about knitting sweaters. One can never have too many sweaters in my opinion. And as it’s April, I know that Easter is probably on more than a few of your minds. But for some reason, in the echelon of holidays, I feel like Easter doesn’t get quite as much love in the decorating department as it should. Don’t worry, we are here to help.
Recently Amberly knit these festive felted Easter eggs to bring the Easter vibe into the shop. Admittedly , felting isn’t something I do nearly as much as I should. However, it simply fascinates me. Not just because it’s another method of manipulating fiber into another form of fabric, although that is pretty cool, but also because of what happens to felted wool on a microscopic level.
First I feel like it’s important to understand the difference between superwash wool and non superwash wool. Other than the obvious difference that one is machine washable while the other isn’t, they both differ on another level as well. If you look at a strand of wool underneath a microscope, you’ll notice that it isn’t as smooth as you might think (think back to those shampoo commercials discussing damaged hair). Each strand is covered in tiny scales (see above photo). These scales, when exposed to moisture, heat, and friction, begin to fuse together causing the strands to interlock. This creates the felted fabric that we all know and love. Superwash wool on the other hand has been treated in either one of two ways: either exposing the wool to an acid bath, burning off the scales to make a smooth fiber, or coating the fibers in a polymer or resin thus filling the gaps caused by the scales. With the scales either removed or covered, the fibers have no way to fuse together. This allows for the wool to be washed and dried without creating felted wool. Pretty cool, huh?
If you’re interested in felting, but have never had the chance to try it, Amberly is offering a class on her felted Easter eggs. Not only will the class explain all about the felting process, but it will also teach you how to knit in the round using the magic loop method and how to increase and decrease in your knitting. This is a fantastic class if you have already taken our Beginner I and Beginner II class and you’re ready to try something a little more advanced. The class will be held Saturday, April 12th from 10:00am-12:00pm. The class is $20 and you will need to bring 220 yards of non-superwash wool (just look on the label if you don’t feel like getting out your microscope) and size US 10, 32″ needles. So check out this fun and educational class. If you feel you have mastered these methods and don’t need the class, but want to make some felted eggs just hold worsted weight yarn doubled and on a size 10 needle and follow this pattern. -Michael
I can remember exactly where my knitting level was the first time I saw the Woodland Shawl pattern. I remember thinking, “That’s so pretty! But I’ll never be able to do something like that!” The pattern was even charted, which in my mind only added to the level of difficulty. I remember thinking that the pattern had to have been poorly written because it called for US size 7 needles with fingering weight yarn. Up until that point, I had always thought the recommended needle size printed on the yarn label was the law and to deviate from it would most likely mean certain death. The recommended needle size for fingering weight in my experience had been US 1-3. How could it possibly require a size 7? Absurdity. I even remember thinking that the girl who helped me pick out yarn most certainly was crazy because she agreed with the needle recommendation. With all of these thoughts, you can probably imagine just how thoroughly my mind was blown when I discovered that the pattern worked out swimmingly. This was the beginning of my lace exploits.
For all of these reasons and more, I am in love with this pattern. It is the perfect pattern to introduce yourself to the world of lace knitting. Another element I really love about this pattern is that it recommends using fingering weight yarn rather than lace weight yarn. Not that lace weight yarn is impossible to start your lace adventures, but I feel like it was easier for me to learn the lace techniques using yarn I was already comfortable with knitting. This pattern also provides a breather row in between all of the lace rows where you can relax with familiar knits and purls. For my first Woodland shawl, I used two skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino. For my second (yes, I loved this pattern enough to knit it multiple times), I used three skeins of Shibui Sock.
If lace knitting is somewhat daunting to you as well, you will be pleased to know that we are offering a class on this shawl on Saturday, April 19th from 12:30-2:30. You will learn how to read charted patterns, yarn over, k2tog, ssk, and psso. You will need approximately 600-800 yards of fingering weight yarn and size 7 needles (I promise you, in this case, it is permitted that you deviate from the recommended needle size). See you then! -Michael
It has happened again. I’m back in my lace phase. Without fail, as the weather warms, my knitting desire transitions from cabled sweaters and scarves to delicate, ethereal lace shawls. And because I don’t believe in moderation or doing anything half way, I have a tendency to jump off the deep end when it comes to lace knitting and I let it dominate my knitting for an entire season. While this is all fine and dandy for a bit, it always happens that I burn myself out with lace knitting and I begin to loathe finishing my current lace project (this generally happens in the middle of my 8th or 9th lace project of the season). However, this is a new season and I would like to think I have grown wiser with myself and my knitting tendencies. This year will be different and I will take my lace knitting in moderation–admittedly, I recall making this same declaration last year and the year before, so who knows how this will transpire.
In fact, I wasn’t even planning on knitting lace so soon in the year. It wasn’t until I came across this pattern that the lace itch began. The pattern reminded me of vintage wedding shawls, something you might find if you were to look through your grandmother’s cedar chest. And I knew immediately which yarn I wanted to use for the pattern. You might recall a previous post about Mikki’s incredibly elegant Plume de Joie shawl knit out of Filatura Di Crossa Superior, a beautiful cashmere and silk blend. While the yarn did take a little bit to get used to–it’s unbelievably delicate–in my experience it’s one of the more rewarding yarns to knit. The finished project is always stunning. I knew that Superior would be the perfect choice for Dancing Cranes as well and I was not disappointed.
I chose white for this project because I wanted to preserve the wedding shawl image that I had in my mind, however it would look amazing out of any of the colors of Superior that we have. And as it only takes two balls of the yarn, you won’t need to invest in a large amount of yarn for this project. So come check out the yarn today and click here for the free pattern!– Michael