Friday, February 27, 2009

Blackstone Sock Yarn Hand Paints - New Arrival

This is a sample of the new skeins I just received fresh out of the Blackstone Sock Yarn Hand Paints dye pot.

Each skein is unique, so get them while you can.

This yarn is a 4-ply 75% Wool / 25% Nylon superwash. It can be machine washed regular.

Lots of sock bases have only 3-plys. While not a guarantee, the 4th ply adds some durability and due to the difference in how it's spun makes this yarn dreamy soft.

Please come in and squish away.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cestari Columbia Wool and Cotton Wool Sock Yarns

I just received my first shipment of Cestari sock yarns.

The wool comes from a breed of sheep called Columbia. It's naturally resistant to felting (not to say that it *can't* happen), so these socks can be machine washed on cold gentle and laid flat to dry.

I worked up a sock out of the light grey 100% Wool and it's gorgeous. It will soften up with each washing and wear like a brick.

I hope to have additional colors of the 100% in a short little time, they were back ordered.

I was able to get a Men's 10 with a long 10" height out of one skein (it was close).

I have all five colors of the 75% Cotton 25% Wool, which should be great for warmer weather. I was only able to get a swatch done so far -- but even though I normally dislike cotton sock yarns this felt great.

Both the cotton blend and the all wool come in 193 yard pull skeins for $7.00. They're all ready to knit with no winding, and the price is great.

I would suggest these yarns for either basic ribbed socks (like shown), or something where you're trying to put in stitch detail. Often the beautiful hand painted yarns are so busy that they hide all that work. The subtle heather in these two yarns will provide a perfect base to accentuate the stitch work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cranking Away

For the past few days I've been cranking away on my new-old Legare 400 Circular Sock Machine.

If you've ever wanted to see one of these machines in action, stop by the shop and I can explain how it works.

So far I've gotten three pairs and several practice orphan socks.

I can't wait until the new Cestari sock yarn arrives so I can see how that works up. 

I like my socks knit at a rather tight gauge, so even though a CSM is a lot of work -- it's a relief not to have to knit stockinette that tight by hand.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mondays Are For Ordering

It's a quiet Monday and the other shops in the building are closed, so I have no one to bounce ideas off of when I dig out the sales materials today.

I just placed an order for more Majacraft Pioneer Spinning Wheels -- Majacraft's newest and most affordable model.

I'm also enjoying a sample swatch of Mission Falls 136 Superwash Merino. Until I sat down to ponder my order today I hadn't worked with the new Sport-weight. It's soft and squisy and has a great hand on US #5 needles.

Look at all those colors! It's going to be hard to choose -- the slightly subdued colors (that still have a punch) do me in every time I see this yarn.

Any thoughts on what to order? The Cestari Sock Wool is also on my radar -- the subtle heathered color ways are a perfect fit for sock patterns with more stitch work. Sometimes cables and lace can get lost in wild hand paints. Columbia wool should work great for socks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Knitted Lace For Beginners - Class

A reminder that I will be having a two-session Knitted Lace for Beginners class on Saturday February 21st from 12 - 2 and Saturday March 7th from 12 - 2. Pre-registration is required.

This class will get you started on your first lace project -- you will be making a baby fern scarf with an attached lace edging.

We will look at yarn and needle selection and explain gauge differences in lace knitting. The how, when, and why of directional decreases (right, left, centered), yarn over placement, and lace chart reading will all be covered.

The second session will showcase differences between garter and stockinette knitted lace. Samples of traditional edgings and how they are attached will be explained. Finally we will cover properly finishing and blocking lace to obtain different effects.

This is a basic primer course to get you ready to conquer complicated lace projects. For speed and learning purposes, you will be using DK weight yarn for the class.

The cost is $50.00 total for both sessions.

You will require approximately 400 yards of DK weight yarn. I suggest a wool for ease in blocking.

After the first session your homework will be to complete the main body of the scarf and be prepared for edging during session two.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Intermediate Warp Techniques - Log Cabin Weave Class

I have scheduled a new weaving class on Saturday February 28th from 10AM to 12 PM that will cover some more advanced warp techniques.

Log Cabin Weave is a favorite of mine. This class will provide examples of different looks that can be achieved with a log cabin weave -- depending on whether you have an odd or even number of ends per block, the shape of the blocks, and the dominant color used in each block. Methods for taming your selvedges when using two shuttles will also be explored.

This is a longer class because a log cabin weave requires a more precise threading sequence through the heddle.

It is recommended that students are already comfortable with warping the loom by themselves and are experienced with threading and tension issues.

The cost is $20. 

Yarn and looms will be available for purchase, or please bring two contrasting colors of yarn that are the appropriate size for your heddle/reed -- worsted weight yarn at 8 dpi is suggested.

Pre-registration is required.

Monday, February 9, 2009

F.O. Monday? - Off The Loom

This past weekend I had several new weaving students. It was their first time using any type of loom. One chose to purchase a Cricket, the other a Flip.

Both did an amazing job working on their first scarf -- even going so far as to work a plaid! I was very impressed with their even beat and tension.

The first picture is a hand-dyed, hand spun scarf that I worked as a sample of the Flip's increased width. The piece measures 20 inches wide. That's a lot of scarf. The beautiful Cormo wool is extremely soft and has
 a touch of sheen. Hand spun on the loom is always a pleasant experience.

Second is the Boku and Yorkshire Tweed Aran scarf. It measures 8 inches wide and 3 yards long including the fringe. That's enough to go around the neck several times and still hang mid-calf. 

All of that from only 180 yards of Boku and less than 3/4 of a 175 ball of Yorkshire Tweed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Merging Colors Knitting Kits - New Product

I just received the first order from Candace Eisner Strick of Strickwear and her Merging Colors Kits.

Candace has an amazing sense of color, and uses a baby soft Merino in a gorgeous blended palette to create some really neat effects.

The kit I photographed is the Old Shale Shawl -- the colors blend one way in the lace panel, and the other way in the remainder of the shawl.

I have my eye on the Rhapsody Stole and Arioso Scarf that you can see on her homepage. The rouching effect in the knit intrigues me.

The kits vary from $48 to $96, and include all of the necessary buttery-soft yarn and the pattern.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

On The Loom

I finished assembling one of the new Cricket looms this afternoon, and got it warped with some Plymouth Boku.

The long stripes of color are off-set by Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran in Brown that I'm using as the weft. 

At 8 threads to the inch, this will be a quick weave.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Schacht Shipment Arrives

We're finally approved as a Schacht dealership, and a shipment of Schacht Cricket and Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Looms is in the shop now.

The Cricket and Flip are perfect for learning to weave due to their low price point, easy portability for taking to classes, and dent sizes that make great use of your knitting yarn stash.

We're having a Introduction to Weaving class on Saturday February 7th from 12PM - 2PM. Two spaces remain, please email or call the shop if you would like more information.