Results tagged “Wool yarn” from Fabric.com Blog
Of the 2 techniques of colorwork in knitting-Fair Isle (or Stranding) and Intarsia- Fair Isle is the more simple of the 2. Commonly Fair Isle is worked by working 2 colors of yarn in each row while carrying the unworked yarn along the back of the knitting. Fair Isle can be worked with more than two colors in each row but it is not as common or easy as 2. There are many tricks to a successful Fair Isle Project but the most is the confidence and the desire to commit to this challenging technique.
1) In my opinion- the most important is tension or tightness in knitting Fair Isle. I, like many others, suffer from TIGHT stranding. It is important to spread out your stitches and keep them spread out on your right needle to keep from knitting too tight. Picture it this way: If your stitches are tight it is like a traffic jam where cars are bumper to bumper. If your stitches are spread out it is like regular traffic where each car is at least 2-3 car lengths behind the others. You want your stitches to be spread out (think 3-4 car lengths, if you can). Not enough to strain the stitches but enough that your strand will have slack to stretch when you wear the project. Regular knitting stretches from side to side more than along the length, making sure your strands are loose maintains the nature stretch from side to side. You can test how far you need to spread out your stitches with a good sized swatch.
2) Knit a swatch. A swatch will not only help you test your tension but will also give you an idea of how your colors work together with your design. It is helpful to see how colors and design work together in a swatch before you are a few hours into your project.
3) Decide which yarn is dominant. One of the frustrations of Fair Isle is yarn tangles. You can prevent this by deciding the dominance of your yarn. If you always keep one color on top and then other on bottom, your yarn will not tangle. In the picture of my project the grey was dominant with the light blue always in the middle and the dark blue always on the bottom. When I kept to this order my yarn stayed untangled and easy to pull.
4) When knitting Fair Isle for a flat project (blanket, sweater in pieces) consider knitting in the round and steeking. This prevents purling and really saves time!
5) Pick a yarn with good stitch definition. Mohair and Angora are too fluffy to show off color changes needed to enjoy a Fair Isle pattern. Wool, cotton and linen are great choices to display the minute color changes that make up a great Fair Isle pattern.
Designed to finish off remnant yardages of sock yarn to make newborn slippers, SockPixie's Magic Slipper Pattern can easily accommodate bigger kid slippers by upgrading your yarn gauge. This is a fast and enjoyable slippers pattern to make for any special kid in your life. My daughter is especially in need of slipper because of her delightful habit of pulling off her socks in the few minutes in the crib before she falls asleep only to be awakened later with cold feet. You would think the only way to tame this habit would be to duct tape her socks on but just putting slippers on over the socks seems to deter her. I have not deeply contemplated the logic behind this, only delight in the ease of the solution. Thus I make sure to have plenty of slippers on hand. I was delighted to find such a good looking and easy slipper pattern. I dismayed slightly when I saw it was for sock yarn, since I have an abundance of worsted weight yarn remnants. I decided to make it work and set to work. I found that since the yarn is bigger and my little one's foot is bigger that if I just knit the pattern as is but with the bigger yarn it would work out perfectly for the most part. One of the few changes I made (besides the worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles) was to knit the middle of the sole longer. My wee one wears a size 6. When the instructions say to keep knitting till you reach 2 ¼ in. I kept knitting to make my sole 5 in. long. You can also achieve this by making sure you have 28 garter ridges which will give you the correct length. You can adjust the size for a size 4-5 by using a size 5 or 6 needle and even smaller by using DK or sport yarn. The same for larger. You don't want to use anything bigger than a US 7 with worsted weight yarn but by using bulky or super bulky or doubling your yarns you can knit a much bigger slipper for even older children.
I used the remainder of my Berroco Vintage and it works very well with the slipper. It is a little slick on the bottom so I will need to add some puff paint or slipper bottoms for traction. My daughter loves them too and even brought her pair to me to put on before nap yesterday. I was delighted and already have another pair cast-on.
You may remember that I recently used Berroco
Vintage for my Murphy
craft's Tofu the Gentle Dachshund Knitting Pattern and it was amazing. You
may also remember that I am a bit of a natural
fiber proponent. And while Vintage contains some natural fiber, its
majority is man-made with 10% Nylon, 50% Acrylic and 40% Wool. That being said
it is amazing stuff. It retains the stretch of wool and wool's stitch
definition but it is soft in a way totally different from any wool I have worked
with. Its hand was peculiar; I could have sworn that I was knitting up some
chenille. It had that soft, particular chenille feel to it but the tendencies
of wool. It was amazing and I loved it more than I thought I ever could.
Berroco Vintage is a worsted weight plied yarn which means it is several strands of thinner yarn wound together to make up a worsted weight yarn. However, I experienced very little splitting. I would say that it splits significantly less than wool and considerably less than cotton. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being no splits and 1 being all splits, I would rank wool at a 7, cotton a 5 and Berroco at an 8 or 9. It was very good. The color variety also makes it a good choice for a multitude of projects. This yarn would make a great choice for a Fair Isle sweater or multicolored baby blanket. The color selection is not limited to a few select colors for the season but a gradiation of colors in each family making it a 'go-to' yarn for any project.
This yarn is a good choice for beginners because of its forgiving nature or not splitting and stretchy nature. But it is also great for the experienced knitters because of the color choice and fantastic stitch definition. The super soft nature lends it well to children's patterns. The blend of acrylic and wool gives you the best of both worlds. There is no itchy wool feel and it is washable. This is a great stash yarn because of its many virtues.
I have written before about Lion Brand's Cotton Yarns (here, here, here & here) but this is my first experience working with their wool yarns. I am also a bit of a newbie when it comes to chunky yarn. Frankly, I would always tell myself: "Self, why should you pay $X for 80 yds when you can pay the same amount and get 120 yds?" So I ended up with a stash full of worsted weight and never knew what I was missing.
Fact: You can knit a sweater with fewer yards in Chunky weight yarn than worsted.
This is very true and I know because Lion Brand tells me so. They even have this groovy webpage complete with chart and all. According to their chart to make a 36 in. chest Adult sweater you need 1200 yds of worsted weight yarn. To make the same size but knit with chunky weight yarn you need just 900 yds. 300 yds less! That also calculates into time. The reason you need less length is because each stitch covers more, so you use less stitches and also less time! If I had only sat down and thought it through, not only could I have many more sweater but also more time to knit, well, more sweaters (deadly circle).
So getting back to Lion Brand Wool yarns, I started with Wool Ease Chunky in Coco Knits Prairie Boots pattern. I was not only amazed while knitting the pattern but also when wearing the finished product. With only 20% wool, there is no itching but there is the same stretch and forgiveness that I love knitting wool. Y'all know how I am partial to natural fibers but I could not tell that this wasn't wool when I worked with it. I knew from choosing it that there was some acrylic but I was shocked to learn that Wool Ease is mostly acrylic and less so wool. I was sure from handling that it was the other way around. Hindsight being what it is I should have guessed when I didn't have to deal with splits. Had you do a blind test with this yarn, I would have guessed it to be Merino with its soft touch and delicious fuzz but no itching. This was a perfect choice for this pattern because it gives such comfort to the feet.
My feet feel cushioned but also warm. The stitch definition is what you would expect from wool. A great definition for cable and textured stitches but also a little bit of fluff to soften the look. This yarn would be great for cabled hats, textured poncho/capes, chunky bags and cozy sweaters. Since Wool Ease is 80% Acrylic it is washable making is also great for kids' sweaters, scarves and mittens. The thick yarn will also knit up a quick and cozy blanket. You can find many fabulous patterns for this yarn on Lion Brand's website or Ravelry. Hands down you must try it; I'm addicted!
Knitted ornaments are huge this year and why not. They are so classic, vintage-y and can be customized to compliment your tree or coordinated in groups for a great knitted tree. Knitted cupcakes are a great addition to your holiday decorations because they are yummy, are a total icon for holiday baking and are soft to the touch for a baby/toddler friendly bottom of the tree (like at yours-truly's house). Of course, you know I love them because they are fast. These cupcake ornaments can last the whole year through as cute decorations on a cake plate, in a play kitchen or lining the shelf in a kid's room. I knit a whole plate for my mom to display on her dining room table year round.
These cupcakes are easy and fun to make. I based mine on the Floofy Cupcake pattern for free on Ravelry. I used a great bright Peaches n Crème cotton yarn in Peacock (Fabric.com has 5 pages of colors!) for the 'wrapper' of the cupcake. Then I changed to merino wool in a light brown color (Gedifa Extra Soft Merino in Nugat). I choose wool to give it a softer cake-like look. I wanted the light brown because I was jonesing for some caramel cake. Then after 3 rows, on the 4th row I started to strand some White Gedifa Merino to imitate white icing dripping down. Since the pattern is divisible by 6, I knit 4 sts in brown, then 2 sts in white for round 4. The next row, I varied it up a bit by knitting 3 sts in brown then 3 sts in white, then 4 sts in white, then 3 sts in brown, etc. I didn't follow that exactly since icing doesn't always drip the same. I did not add a ribbon hanger because when I pinned it on I thought it was too distracting. A ribbon was pretty but when I just used a wire ornament hanger and hung it in the tree, the hanger disappeared and the cupcake really stood out on the tree.
My cupcake ornament really adds something special to my Christmas tree. It softens the hard plastic, metal, glass and porcelain ornaments. The sheen of the merino catches the light and glistens just like moist cake and royal icing. The bright colors of the cotton mean you can make cupcakes in all colors and flavors (the merino comes in many colors as well) you can decorate your cupcakes with French knot or beads for Jimmies, or buttons make yummy embellishments too.
My Autumn Stars Sock pattern for Fabric.com was firstly inspired by the yarn. I often find myself cruising the Fabric.com website looking for project ideas and when I saw this Kaffe Fassett Designer line I was curious. I loved the super wash but I fell head-over-heels (pun apurpose) for this colorway. It embodied all fall to me in its jewel tones variegated throughout with a heavy emphasis on red. As I knit the Regia into my sock pattern it only served to prove me right in my choice. The feel is amazing; my foot thanked me every time I tried on the sock to adjust the fit and gauge the pattern.
This pattern is secondly inspired by my first date with my husband. It was a fall evening much like we are experiencing now in Georgia and we were in college. Earlier in the day my Astronomy professor encouraged us to watch that evening's meteor shower. My husband and I later spent our first hours getting to know each other, not in a nosy restaurant or a dark theater, but under the autumn stars. The cascading eyelet lace pattern that I chose reminds me of that night.
This is a surprisingly simple pattern that can be memorized for enjoyable movie watching or conversations by the fire. A short row toe and heel make for a comfy fit and no seaming. I have also incorporated Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off to ensure a comfy, easy fit throughout the whole sock. The only notions you will need are a tapestry needle, stitch markers and a measuring tape. This toe up sock pattern is quick and great for last minute gifts or holiday stocking stuffers (I am done with the puns, I think...)
For more project info check out my Autumn Stars Sock Project page on Ravelry
Few things evoke the feeling of fall and colder weather to come, cozying up with a good book and the suppressed joy (or stress) of the coming holidays like cables. I rarely knit them in warmer weather but the first morning I wake to crisp weather, my hands itch for my needles, some wool (of course) and an interesting cable pattern. Cables can be integrated into any pattern to give it instant warmth and texture. The hat is an old standard but the classic appeal can warm up any outfit or knit in an excepted color can turn a simple pattern on its ear. Hand warmers/mittens are a great gift for the office go-er forced to work in 50 deg, INSIDE! The small cable tucks double the layer and add extra warmth to your hands. Knitted sleeves are very on trend this season, like leg warmers for your arms; these fast knits can also extend your summer wardrobe by making it possible to continue wearing short sleeves well after everyone else has tucked them away. Cabled socks are a coveted gem as are cabled sweaters. Legend has it that around the British Isle fisherman's wives would knit specific cable patterns for their husbands and sons. Not only would the cables help to keep them warm in the cold sea spray but also serve to identify any souls lost overboard.
Cables are not really tricky; they just need some patience to learn the technique. Cables are typically worked in a rib pattern. On the right side the knit stitches are crossed to make the cable and the purl stitch form a contrast to ensure the cables stand out. The ribbing also helps add back stretch that the crossing of cables removes. Cables are not worked every row but crossed and then worked in the rib pattern for a certain number of rows before crossed again (as determined by the pattern). It is very helpful to use cable needles for cable work but in a pinch I have resorted to DPN (they can be long and unwieldy) and crochet hooks (awkward but doable). There are several kinds of cable needles, just a few inches long some have a curve or bend at the center of the needle to secure your stitches till you need them. Some have notches carved in for the same purpose. Practice and preference will determine which is best for you. To cable you will slip a set number of stitches from your left needle onto your cable needle and hold it either in front of back (this determine whether your cable will twist left- front or right- back. Sometimes the loops on my cable needle will be loose and my needle will try to slip out while I am working other stitches. I will tuck my cable needle into my knitting to secure it from dangling and slipping. It is also helpful to mark either side of your cable with stitch markers so you don't need to count stitches every row.
Cables vary some simple to intricate, so if you are learning cables I recommend finding a simple pattern, just one twist, to gauge how the game is played before you move on to the big leagues. The good news with cables is that they are all amazing and impressive so one simple twist can make any project look incredible just as much as an amount of pretzel fanciness.Pictures as shown: Cable needle held in front for left twist, Cable needle held in back for right twist, Tucking the cable needle into knitting to secure and prevent slipping, Pretzel cable
I have always been blown away by Amy Butler color choices; it is characteristic that really set her above the crowd. The color palette was the aspect I was most excited about when I first heard about her Belle for Rowan yarn line. I was not disappointed. I am also pleased with its organic quality. I knew her line would be amazing simply because it is produced by Rowan and...it...is! The blend of cotton and wool is quite deceiving and intriguing. At first you can just feel the cotton, but then you notice the plush quality of the wool. It is easy to work with and stays together like cotton. It knits slower like cotton but it doesn't have the dry feeling of cotton but the soft trait of wool. It is stretchy like wool but it is not as fuzzy. It has all the best features of both fibers.
The stitch definition is above par lending it well to cables, color work, and tricky textures. Given the softness of wool and the smoothness of cotton, this yarn works well for wearing close to the skin: hats, sweaters, leg warmers, and hand warmers. There is no irritation so you know it will also be a great gift for babies and small, sensitive children. I am planning on using Amy Butler's Belle in my November Free Pattern Download but with some many possibilities I am having trouble narrowing it down. The swatch shown is actually one of my attempts to narrow down a design for November (you are looking at swatch number 4). Usually, I pick the yarn first and the project just follows but there are simply so many directions to go with Belle that I am happily frustrated.