Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

New Local Yarn Shops

Written by: LindyBeir

October 13, 2014

I recently visited two new yarn shops that opened in my area.  They are both lovely shops and filled with some lovely yarns – some of which aren’t carried by the local yarn shop that has been the only shop in the city for a number of years. Each shop offers a different variety of yarns than the other, so I am hoping that both of them can be successful.  We certainly have a growing number of knitters in our community, so having new yarn shops is quite appealing.

ImagiKnit Yarn Shop is located in the Bel-Air Plaza at 120th and West Center Road, Suite 602, Omaha, NE. This shop does not have a website, but does have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ImagiKnit-Yarn-Shop/263171999129. The owner of this shop moved her business to Omaha from Hastings, NE.

Wooly Mammoth Yarn Shop is located in Rockbrook Shopping Center at 108th and West Center Rd, Omaha, NE. This shop also does not have a website, but does have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wooly-Mammoth-Yarn-Shop/150211221662670. The owners of this shop recently moved from Kearney, NE.

I’m sure the knitters in Hastings and Kearney miss having the shops in their towns, because they are both wonderful yarn shops and we are very lucky to have them here in Omaha.

Appealing, as well, are the yarns I purchased from both shops. (I couldn’t resist).

From Imagiknit, I purchased a skein of Smooshy fingering weight yarn from Dream in Color. The colorway is 2014 September and it just spoke to me of autumn.  It has this delightful mix of fall colors: reds, purples, golds, greens in various shades. See the swatch below

.Swatch with yarns

I also bought a skein of Fabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat in the colorway Off with Her Red – which blends perfectly with the Smooshy colors. I am using these yarns to knit a shawl using the Merlot pattern, which I purchased at Ravelry. This will be the topic of another post.

From Wooly Mammouth, I purchased 4 skeins of Addiction yarn by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns – also fingering weight yarn. I bought 2 skeins in the colorway Teal and 2 skeins in the colorway Prussian Soldiers. I plan to knit another two color shawl using these yarns, but I haven’t decided on a pattern yet. I like the Merlot pattern, so I may choose to do that again – but there are so, so many lovely shawl patterns in my queue…

If you are in Omaha: check out our new local yarn shops.  🙂

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FO: Ruffle Scarf — Birthday Present for MIL

Written by: LindyBeir

October 27, 2012

Ruffle Scarf I knit this scarf as a birthday present for my MIL. She wears scarves all the time and I thought she would enjoy this unique scarf. I knit this using a novelty yarn called “Sashay” by Red Heart Yarns. It’s a very interesting yarn to knit with. And Yes, it ruffles as you knit it up.

The pattern is really simple. You cast on 6 stitches and then just knit every row until you have used up the entire skein. It only takes one skein to make the scarf and when finished it is about 6 feet long.

My MIL was thrilled. She put the scarf on and wore it after she opened the bag. She exclaimed at how soft it was. She said she would be the envy of all the ladies in the independent living facility where she lives. (I made a BIG hit!) 🙂

Here’s the details:
Yarn: Sashay (Red Heart Boutique) Colorway: Hip Hop
Needles: U.S. 9 (5.5 mm)
Finished length = 72 inches Width = 3 inches

Notes about knitting with this yarn: See picture below of the yarn before knitted. This yarn is essentially a stripe of lace — with the bottom edge more finished than the top. The bottom is the finished edge of the ruffles. You knit this yarn using the top two strands of the upper edge of the lace. The yarn is quite slippery and it takes some getting used to — I used metal needles for this project and the combination of the slippery yarn and the slickness of the metal needles nearly drove me crazy! I recommend using a type of needle with some grab for this yarn — if I knit it again I will use bamboo needles. Also — it is not possible to weave in the ends on this yarn. When you are done, get out your sewing thread and a sewing needle — you will need to sew down the unfinished edges of the scarf to prevent the ends from raveling.

Ruffle Yarn

FO: Basic Anklets — Cuff Down

Written by: LindyBeir

March 4, 2012

After doing two pairs of the “Fancy Feet” Anklets, I came to the following conclusions:
1) I really, really do not like to knit socks of any type toe-up. (I know that may shock those of you that swear toe-up is the only way to go — but there it is. I just don’t like to knit ’em that way.
2) I don’t like the repeating short rows that make the heel on this pattern. I don’t care for it’s depth or it’s shape.
3) I prefer using the German Short Row method over the “Wrap and Turn” method.

As knitters, we do have the right to our preferences. These are some of mine.

That said, I got out my needles and some leftover sock yarn and started working on a basic anklet pattern, cuff down. I have now finished my first pair and my notes are a bit sketchy — so I will need to knit a couple more pairs before I put out my basic pattern. But here a couple of pictures of the completed anklets:

Yarn: Leftover Serendipity yarn in colorway Amethyst
Needles: US 2 (2.50 mm) circulars, 48″
Magic Loop method. Pattern has a basic rib cuff and a short-row heel. Knit in stockinette stitch.

You will note the pooling on this yarn. I wrote about how this variegated yarn pools depending on the size of needles and the number of stitches back in 2010. If you’re interested here’s the link: A Study of Pooling in a Variegated Sock Yarn

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FO: Multnomah Shawlette in Crazy Zauberball

Written by: Lindy

September 20, 2010

Knitted shawlette using Multnomah pattern

I took a little knitting detour last week and knit up the Multnomah Shawl in Zauberball Crazy yarn. Colorway is Fliederduft, which is loosely translated as “lilacs”. I had allocated this yarn to a pair of socks as part of the “10 in 2010” projects at the beginning of this year. However, after looking through many examples of socks knit with Zauberball Crazy in the Ravelry projects, I decided that I really didn’t want to knit this yarn into a pair socks. So — I switched to a shawl and ended up doing the Multnomah pattern by Kate Flagg.

The shawl was done in garter stitch until I had 265 stitches and then I started the feather and fan pattern and did 9 repeats. This pattern is a fairly quick knit. I was able to finish it up in a week and that was even with needing to frog back a couple of rows in order to have enough yarn to bind off.

Final size of the shawl — it’s actually a shawlette — was 15.5 inches by 58 inches.

Multnomah Shawl knitted in Zauberball Crazy

I am pleased with the result. It’s an nice size for a decorative scarf/shawlette and I think the striping of the yarn is shown off to better affect than it would be in a pair of socks.

Zauberball Crazy is a self-striping, marled yarn. Which means that it stripes, but because the two plies of the yarn may be different colors, you get a somewhat “tweedy” appearance in many of the stripes. It’s a unique yarn. It is a fingering weight, superwash wool and nylon yarn and the fabric is soft and drapes nicely after blocking. I did find that the yarn had a tendency to split occasionally and there were spots where a tuft of yarn from one of the plies would stick out — these were easily removed. I might be tempted to try another colorway — but not certain what project I would use it for.

The Multnomah Shawl pattern is a very popular pattern on Ravelry and there many knitters who have made larger shawls, so when I knit this pattern again I plan to knit a larger one. The pattern is free and available for download from Ravelry (must be Ravelry member) or on Kate Flagg’s website.

I have finally figured out how to share information from my Ravelry project pages, so I am linking to this project details on my “Z Crazy” Multnomah Page.

FO: Plain Vanilla Socks in Serenity Sock Yarn

Written by: Lindy

June 14, 2010

Plain Vanilla Socks knitted in Serenity Sock Yarn
I have finished my Plain Vanilla Socks knitted in Serenity Sock Yarn (Premier yarns), colorway Amethyst. This is the yarn that I wrote about in a previous post: “A Study of Pooling in a Variegated Sock Yarn”. As I discovered in my study of how this yarn pools, by using 54 stitches on size US 2 (2.75mm) needles, I got a “striping” effect as the yarn pooled. You can see the result in the picture above.

Serenity Sock Yarn is a variegated yarn with color changes that are fairly short and don’t necessarily produce stripes when the number of stitches increases. The yarn itself has a nice soft feel to it and it knits up nicely, but I did experience a tendency of the yarn to split at times. The yarn is 50% Merino Wool, 25% Bamboo and 25% Nylon and has sufficient stretch for a well-fitting pair of socks. Anyone planning on using this yarn should definitely knit a swatch with the number of stitches they are planning to use for their socks to see if it knits up in a way that they like.

There was a pattern printed on the inner label that called for a gauge of 9 spi on US 2 (2.75mm) needles. The pattern is based upon 64 stitches. Now, I got an spi of 6.25 on US 2 needles, which is a significant difference and I cannot speak to how it would pool at the stated gauge of 9 spi. I know that I knit more loosely and guess that in order to obtain 9 spi, I would have to use US 0 (2.25 mm) or US 00 (1.75 mm). I really prefer to knit socks on a little bigger needles. These socks were for me to wear around the house and they fit my feet perfectly.

Socks in Serenity Sock Yarn (on my feet)

As for the pattern used for these socks — I really didn’t use one. I knit a 3 X 1 ribbing for 1.5 inches, then switched to stockinette stitch and knit until the cuff measured 6.5 inches. I did a short row or mitered heel and then knit the foot and toe in stockinette and grafted the toe when I had 9 stitches remaining on each side of the sock. I used the Magic Loop method and knit the socks two at a time.

A Study of Pooling in a Variegated Sock Yarn

Written by: Lindy

May 5, 2010

Several days ago, I decided to knit a pair of plain vanilla socks using Serenity Sock Weight Yarn (Premier Yarns) in the colorway Amethyst. This was a yarn I had purchased at my local Hobby Lobby and had been sitting in my sock yarn stash for a few months. In the skein, the yarn appears to be a mix of greys and purples, and I thought it would result in a striping of the socks. The label does not indicate that the yarn is “self-striping”, but the picture on the label shows a sock with an interesting variation of stripes.

Since I had never knit with this yarn, I knit a circular swatch to determine needle size and gauge before starting on my socks – and this is where my study in “Pooling” began. I started with US 2 (2.75 mm) needles and cast on 64 stitches (which is what I would use for my socks with a gauge of 7 stitches per inch). As I worked on the swatch, I noticed that the yarn was not knitting up in the stripes the way I had anticipated – in fact, it seemed to be predominately purple on one side of the swatch and predominately grey on the other side.

Obviously, I had some “pooling “ going on. Pooling is an effect that occurs when a variegated yarn knits up in “pools” of color, rather than in stripes. Now, I wasn’t really sure I liked the effect – and my stitch gauge was 6.25 spi, rather than the 7 spi I wanted.

So, I decided to do a second swatch with fewer stitches, a smaller needle – and because I had read about pooling in a Rav thread, I also decided to knit from the outside of the skein instead of the inside. I cast on 52 stitches on size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) needles and knit away – and I got more striping – not even stripes, but definitely stripes on both sides of the swatch.

So, I took a picture of the two swatches and posted a comment on Ravlery under the thread, “Examples of Pooling Good & Bad”, stating what I had observed along with my assumption that the change was probably due to knitting from the outside of the skein – and completely ignoring the fact that I had changed the number of stitches in the swatch and this might also be contributing to the way the colors were knitting up.

I must admit, I did not anticipate much of a response to my comment in this thread. But I received several. It’s one of the things I love about Ravelry – fellow knitters are always willing to share and question things. Anyway – after reading the comments, I decided I needed to do a little more work before I could actually answer my fellow Ravelers’ questions.

Off I went to swatch again – this time I decided to start from the inside of the skein, use US 2 (2.75 mm) needles and begin by casting on 72 stitches. I knit approximately 1.5 inches, then purled and decreased the number of stitches to 64 stitches, knit another 1.5 inches, purled and decreased to 54 stitches and knit another 1.5 inches. Here’s a picture showing how the yarn pooled with different numbers of stitches.

So – in response to Robocass and Hypercycloid, who asked me if the difference might be due more to the difference in the number of stitches in my swatches: Clearly, the number of stitches used results in very different color patterning and it doesn’t really matter whether I knit from the inside or the outside of the skein.

Hypercycloid also asked about the length of each of the colors in the yarn. Hmm – I hadn’t thought about that, so I got out the measuring tape and discovered that each purple section of the yarn was approximately 19 inches, while the grey sections were approximately 12 inches. Not quite, but almost a 3 to 2 ratio. Statnerd suggested I count the number of grey stitches compared to the purple stitches in my wider swatch – I did and ended up with 27 stitches of grey to 37 stitches of purple. Again, this is close to a 3 to 2 ratio of purple to grey. All of you were correct in your observations that the colors shift around the circumference of the swatches – and due to the differences in the number of stitches, the colors stack up very differently for different numbers of stitches.

Zgma commented:

“It doesn’t look like a self-striping yarn to me. The striping you got in the top sample is a result of the colors pooling in a way that looks like stripes, not actual “self-striping”. When yarns are labeled self-striping, it is because the runs of color are large enough that for the project intended (as in, socks for self-striping sock yarn), the color will last for all the stitches in at least one round or row, usually more. When a particular color (for instance, the black in your sock samples) lasts for part of a row, but then in the next row the color occurs before or after it did in the previous row in such a manner that it looks like striping, it doesn’t mean that the yarn is self-striping – just that it is prone to pooling in a stripey way.”

Yep, you are right about that.

To each of those that took the time to comment — thanks! I learned a great deal about pooling and variegated yarns.

I did a little internet surfing on the subject, as well. I found two informative posts about Pooling — One from the Yarn Harlot and the other from Knitting Sutra.

So – I am not really sure if I like this particular yarn – but I have decided to proceed with using it to knit a pair of plain vanilla socks. I am going to use US 2 (2.75 mm) needles with a gauge of 6.25 spi and cast on 54 stitches (this should fit my foot). I’ll post pictures of the final result.

Part 2: Freeing Yourself from a Pattern – Step 2: Analyze the Pattern and Modify It to Fit.

Written by: Lindy

April 2, 2010

In my last post, I went through all the necessary measurements you need to take in order to ensure that you can modify or create any sweater pattern you wish.
If you haven’t done so, you may want to go back and read this information and take your measurements.

Today I will discuss how to analyze a written pattern so that you can use it as a guideline to knit your own well-fitting garment. First, get your favorite sweater – you will be using it to help you analyze the pattern you have selected.

Now, let’s take a look at this sweater – you need to understand what it is about this sweater that makes it your favorite. Is it a pullover or a cardigan? Is it close-fitting or loose? How long is it? What type of sleeve does it have (Set-in, drop, raglan or other)? What type of neckline ( Round, V-neck, Boat Neck, Square, or other)? Now compare this information to the sweater pattern you want to knit. Just a word of caution, here, if the pattern you have chosen differs dramatically from your favorite sweater – you may not be happy with the end result. Then, again, if it is a conscious choice, you may.

Now let’s look at the sizing given in the pattern. Sizes are often stated as “Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large”, etc. Some patterns will give sizing using finished chest/bust circumference, while others will state the sizing in terms of actual body measurements. If the pattern sizing is in terms of finished measurements, it will have the ease incorporated into it. If in actual body measurements, you may have to determine how much ease is factored into the garment. The amount of ease is both a matter of personal preference and a property of the design of the sweater. To determine how much ease you prefer – pull out your favorite sweater, measure the chest and compare the measurement to your actual body measurement. The math is simple: Subtract your body measurement from the garment measurement – this will give you the amount of inches of ease.

Now – take a look at that pattern you are considering– is there a size that matches your actual chest measurement PLUS that amount of ease? If the answer is “Yes” – then, if your gauge with your yarn matches the pattern, you are good to go.

If you find that your size is not represented within the pattern, you will need to adjust the body width.

For a body width less than the smallest size given in the pattern, recalculate the number of stitches to cast on and then follow the directions for the smallest size.

For a body width greater than the largest size given in the pattern, recalculate the number of stitches to cast on and follow the directions for the largest size.

For a body width that is in between sizes, recalculate the number of stitches to cast on and then follow the directions for the closest size.

In all cases, the formula is: SPI (your gauge) X body width

There are some additional elements to consider and modify if you are adjusting body width:

If the sleeve is a drop sleeve design, be careful not to add too much body width or the shoulders will be too wide. If you need more width in the hip area than the shoulders – use an A-Line shape for the body – which means that you will need to factor in some decreases from the hip to the underarm.

If the sleeve is a set-in sleeve design, remember that as you change body width, you must also adjust the shoulder width because the top of the sleeve should hit the end of the shoulder.

The sleeve length must be adjusted when adding or subtracting body width. This is because if you add width or subtract width to the body, you have also done so to the shoulder width – and shoulder width contributes to the total sleeve length. Verify the length you need for your sweater and make adjustments accordingly.

Additional considerations in modifying a written pattern:

Does this pattern incorporate a textured or colored stitch pattern? If so, what is the base stitch pattern? To determine this, look at the instructions and the graph for the stitch patterning. Most stitch patterns are a multiple of a base number of stitches – i.e. 8 stitches over 24 rows. So, if you are reducing or increasing the number of stitches to cast on – you will need to adjust this number so that it divisible by your base stitch pattern. For example: You have determined that you need to cast on 214 stitches and your base stitch pattern is an 8 stitch repeat. If you divide 214 by 8, you get 26.75 – which is not a even number. You will need to increase the number of stitches you cast on to 216 – which is evenly divisible by 8.

Today, I have discussed how to use a written pattern as a guideline and modify it so that it will fit properly. This works best if your gauge matches the pattern, but your measurements do not.

Next post, I will discuss the notion of designing your own sweater from your choice of yarn, a basic design and the stitch pattern of your choice.

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