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Classes, Projects

Felted Easter Eggs

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

Classes, Projects

Woodland Shawl

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

Projects

Dancing Cranes

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

Projects

Ictis

So I haven’t knit this one yet, but I do love anything designed by Boo Knits.  The Ictis is no exception to my rule, MUST KNIT THEM ALL.  Inspired by the silhouette of St Michael’s Mount, this wide, triangular, shawl is knit in one piece from the top center in simple bands of stockinette stitch that alternate with bands of lace. It is a pattern that is simple enough for beginners to lace knitting and yet interesting enough for those with more experience and as all her patterns are absolutely stunning.  The versatile pattern can be made larger by repeating the 22 row pattern block, and can be made a bit more frilly by adding the picot bind off to the end of the project and adding beads.

All of the Boo Knits patterns are written extremely well and can be knitted by either following a chart or written instructions, just click here to check out Ictis.  Of course Sue used the Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Glazed Pecan, again you can’t go wrong with either the pattern or the yarn in this case.  I hope those of you who think you can’t knit lace might try this one out because her patterns are so fantastic, I truly believe if you can knit you can conquer lace. -B

Etsy Favorites, Projects

Lucky No. 7

Really can’t get enough of chevron right now, so when Shanna came in wearing this cowl I was hoping she would let me photograph her.  I absolutely love this, and when I finish up my cowls for L & B’s upcoming Cowl of the Month Club, I plan to make one for myself.  She used 3 hanks of Cascade Heritage, a super soft merino superwash/nylon blend that is sturdy and can be washed on gentle, you can also throw it in the dryer on low (it doesn’t get better than that).  The pattern is called Lucky No. 7 by Jenny Faifel and it is a seamless reversible infinity scarf featuring a bold and stylish black and white zigzag pattern. The scarf offers endless options for modification, although I do like the more simple minimalist approach by just picking two colors you do have the option to make it with multiple colors, which could be really fun, bright, and happy!  A little about the knitter as well, Shanna is a fantastic knitter but she is also an accomplished potter and we typically carry her yarn bowls in the shop.  We are out of stock at this time, but I do recommend checking out her Etsy shop just click here.  I think every knitter and crocheter should have a yarn bowl to call there own. -B

Projects

Cocoon Me

This is the Cocoon Me in shawlette version, Yay F.E.A.T!  I’m excited that this idea is inspiring projects and even better inspiring completed projects ;)   After coming in to the store to find out what F.E.A.T. was all about Sue was able to complete this awesome project in just a couple weeks.  She used 2 skeins of the Manos del Uruguay in the Maxima, she loved the hand of the yarn and the gradation of color that it presented.  If you saw our post a few weeks back about Cocoon Me the pattern contains two sets of instructions: one for a cowl and one for a shawlette, if you are interested in checking out the pattern just click here.

This pattern is a really fun textured accessory that uses a cocoon stitch and looks great on both sides especially if you do use a single-ply merino yarn like the Maxima.  The cowl is worked in the round inside out, while the crescent shawlette is worked top-down.

When Sue brought her finished project into the shop and we “interviewed” her, we found out that she found the shawlette version would be more versatile for her and I think it turned out lovely, not to mention that the yarn color is awesome!! -B

Projects

Spring Pillow

I’ve been having a good time over the last couple of months with my felting creations.  This one is so much fun!  It only took one skein of Cascade 220, scrap worsted weight yarn, and a little bit of fiber fill.  If you already know how to felt all you need to do is split 1 hank of Cascade 220 in half.  Using the yarn double stranded from one ball cast on 40 stitches and knit in stockinette stitch until you have completed one ball then bind off (front).  Do it again for the back of the pillow.  Felt the two pieces, we ran ours through a full washing cycle twice.  Then comes the fun part, deciding how to place your french knots.  I just did a simple grid pattern but the possibilities are endless.  You could apply needle felted flowers, embroider leaves or initials, even an abstract design could be cute.

After you complete your pattern on the right side take both sides with wrong sides facing and sew them together with the same color that you used as your main color using a running stitch.  I went with the bright fun pink for spring as my accent, but now I’m thinking that I might make one for my sofa in my decor colors.   If you aren’t sure about felting or french knots we are offering the Spring Pillow as a 2-part class in March.  The class will be $20 and will be held Saturday, March 8th from 12:00-12:30 and on Saturday March 15th from 12:00-1:30. -B

Projects

Be Mine Felted Bowl

First of all I would like to say Happy Valentines Day! It’s been a little while since I’ve felted anything and it is as much fun as I remember.  Some of you might be wondering what is felting?  Basically you can either knit or crochet a project out of 100% wool (non-superwash) then all you do is put it in a washing machine and wash the project on hot.  When you remove the project it has transformed (don’t forget to shape and let dry)!  The wool has shrunk and made more of a solid, stiff fabric that is much like felt that you would purchase from a hobby store.  You can felt anything you knit out of non-superwash wool.  Over the years we have done quite a bit of felting, bags, purses, bowls, vases, slippers, and even sweaters.  Just remember when you are felt a project the before is going to be much larger than after you shrink it down.  For example, the slippers we have made in the past look like something a giant would wear until after the felting process is finished.  It is also possible to felt a fiber that isn’t a full wool, alpaca/wool blends will also felt, and we have even felted a bag that was made with 50/50 wool/acrylic.  If you decide to try out this simple little project you will need one skein of Cascade 220 and size 10-40″ circular needles.  Just go to the free pattern section of our blog to check out the pattern or click here.

The project is fun for any season just change the color of your yarn and your motif by adding a different shape at the end.  We added our shape by needle felting, which happens after you have felted your project.  You do this by using a single ply yarn in a different color in this case white.  You add the white in bunches to the top of the project and apply by using a needle felting tool and mat.  If you have questions feel free to come in and see us and we can help explain or feel free to give us a call 405-820-7391. -B

Projects

Iron Maiden

Ha ha ha, being her sister I find this quite amusing. Leslie doesn’t like to knit with yarn that has been hyped up and there has definitely been some hype around the shop about Manos del Uruguay’s newish 70% Merino 30% Silk, 490 yard hank of Fino.  This is the part I love, she finally had to admit after knitting up this Iron Maiden that Fino is like knitting with butter (and she wasn’t talking about the color she choose).  The light variation in the yarn that comes from the dying process gives the project some depth and texture without loosing the lace work in the shawl.  The crescent shaped shawl pattern is extremely well written and only takes one hank of Fino.  Leslie is a chart reader but in this case she found that the lace pattern was just as easy to read in the written instructions, so if you find charts daunting this will be a good pattern to try.  The pattern is also easy to memorize and see so stitch markers weren’t a necessity.  The body of the shawl consists of diagnal stripes that change direction as they meet in the middle so it appears multi-directional.  It blocked out to a really nice size exactly like the pattern said it would.  To take a look at the pattern just click here.

My favorite thing about this project or any project that uses Manos del Uruguay is it is a fair trade yarn.  With each purchased skein of yarn you will be helping a woman to support her family. Each skein is signed, so you will know who made your yarn, and from which village in Uruguay it came.  Can’t get much better than that! -B

Projects

Candy Sachet

This month we’ve decided to organize the majority of our classes around a Valentine’s Day theme.  This means that if you’re at a loss as to what you could give to those closest to your hearts, you’re in luck!  We are here to help.  Who says Valentine’s Day has to be all about teddy bears and chocolates?  Although, I could never really protest if someone wanted to make that day all about chocolate.

What I love most about this candy sachet is that there are so many possibilities as to how you can personalize it for someone.  Not only do you have the option of replicating a favorite candy by changing the colors, but you can also choose to fill the sachet up with something scented!  Lavender is always a wonderful choice.  Along with the calming effects of the scent, it also repels those pesky moths from snacking on our precious wool, making this a perfect gift for any knitter or crocheter.  Filling the sachet with cedar would be another excellent option for those wanting to keep the bugs at bay.  Personally I love the scent of rosemary and cinnamon, two items also known to repel moths.  You really can’t go wrong :)

If you’re interested in knitting this sachet for yourself or as a gift, we’re offering it as a two part class on February 8th from 3:30pm-5:00pm and 15th from 3:30pm-4:30pm for $25.  In this class, you’ll learn the magic loop method, yarn overs, increasing and decreasing, and icords.  So call and reserve your spot today! -Michael

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