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holiday knitting? Too Late?

Is it too late to start knitting for Christmas? Maybe, but maybe not. How can you figure that out? Well let’s do some math…it’s simple math.  

  • How long can you knit each day? For me, it’s realistic to say that I could knit 1 hour a day for at least 6 days a week. That’s 6hours a week.  
  • How long until the holidays or when I have to mail presents?There are 6 weeks until christmas and hannukah week. So that is 36 hours of knitting.  
  • And so how long would a project typically take? Well that depends, right. So we have to think strategically. Use a bigger yarn and bigger needles or a smaller project like hat, cowl, mitts.  I know that I can knit a fingerless mitt in about 2 hours. And so that is 4 hours for a pair.  I could probably do a hat in that time as well. And I’ve timed myself on my Lacy Cowl made with luxurious Zephyrette and I know that takes me about 3 hours of knitting. So let’s go with 4 hours.  I could make 9 projects in the time left.  9?!?!?!

But is that reasonable? I’ve already told you all that I am the world’s slowest knitter. But still I could conceivably get some presents knit for some very special people.

Need some ideas? Well a Zephyrette cowl makes a very luxurious gift with very little knitting time. The Lacy cowl below took me 2-3 hours of TV knitting to complete. The other cowls will take slightly longer. The yarn is so soft and warm and beautiful that it is a pleasure to knit and it will be a treasured gift for that knitworthy friend or relative. Pick a skein of Zephyrette and let me know what pattern you are interested in and we’ll get you started on this gift.

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Store reopened after a lovely family weekend

This last weekend was full of family. A family wedding, lovely visits with two 93 year old aunties and their caretaker daughters, a scavenger hunt of Allentown and a concert that got cancelled. But instead we had a great time talking with Bill’s brother and sister in law and sharing our live’s stories and good, good wine.

So coming back I opened the store up with 2 major shop updates. First I added hand dyed natural colored yarns…what??? So I have a great yarn base that is made with 2 different shades of grey and 2 different weights, so it’s a thick and thin kind of yarn.

I overdyed this yarn with a brick red, a bright violet and a navy blue. The results are rich colors. These yarns are farm yarns. They are made with wool from farms of other shepherds. The yarn is highly durable and wearable. Is it soft? It is not too scratchy but it is not cashmere. It would make lovely hats, mitts, socks and even one of those great colorwork sweaters.

You can find this yarn here. What other colors would you like to see? Reply to this blog to let me know!!

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One more day closer to Rhinebeck!

And even if you aren’t going, I wanted to show you our new colors of Synergy yarn. Synergy is a yarn that I have dyed before it is spun into yarn. So it has a hand spun look. It is made with merino fiber and has a beautiful hand and is next to the skin soft.

Raspberry Synergy Yarn
Malachite Synergy yarn
Jasper Synergy yarn
Sunset Synergy yarn
Cream Synergy Yarn
Correlation hat made with Mushroom Synergy yarn

And what does it knit up like? Well it has a heathery look and there is some gradiation in the colors through the skeins. This yarn is perfect for those shawls or sweaters that are using a handspun looking yarn, like Night Shift by Andrea Mowry or one of her beautiful sweaters.

We now have 10+ colors of synergy. These 5 new colors will be added on Tuesday after the show when the store is back from vacation mode. But if you see something you love, you can send me a message and I’ll set some skeins aside for you.

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Challenge: knit 10 minutes a day wherever!

Waiting in the MVA line for an emmision check on a Prius….REALLY? Yarn is synergy in mushroom colorway

I’ve told you all that I am the slowest knitter. That’s probably because I don’t knit everyday. I know that if I did, I’d be able to make a lot more and I would feel accomplished. So I’m going to challenge myself to knit everyday for 21 days. It can be as little as 10 minutes a day. Or it can be an hour or two. Whatever feels right. But the bare minimum is 10 minutes a day. Who’s in with me? Comment on this blog to let me know!

Had to wait a long while because the chick in front me didn’t know how to open the gas compartment…..REALLY?

So yesterday was a day to run errands. I needed to get an emission check on the Prius. And I needed to see if I have immunity to measles. REALLY? Yes, apparently if you travel abroad you need to have some documentation that you have immunity or you’ve received a vaccine.

Waiting for my blood draw. Pattern is Correlation by Hunter Hammersen cable hat with 2 different sides!!

So yes, knit wherever you are. Knit 10 minutes a day. See how much knitting you get done. Join me in the challenge!!

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new colorway on 2 yarns for the fall

yarn for knitting and crochet
Cardinal in Snow on Zephyrette yarn

Here’s the next installment of fall colorways. These are inspired by cardinals in snow. These yarns along with other nature and autumn inspired yarns will be available at the fall fiber festivals: Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest, Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier and Rhinebeck. Come and grab a skein or two for lovely socks, shawls, hats and mitts!

sock yarn in fall colors
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beachy blanket shawl

It is totally OK to change up a published pattern. Really? Yes! I wanted to make the Waiting for Rain shawl, but I wanted to use my worsted weight LiViLy yarn. It is so soft and squishy and has wonderful stitch definition. It is made from the wool of my Cormo sheep. So even though the pattern by Sylvia McFadden calls for fingering weight, I increased my needle size to match the yarn size and got started. The result is that this shawl is really large. I can wrap myself up in it. It is perfect for sitting by the campfire on a beachy weekend, when the nights are starting to get chilly. Another great aspect of increasing the size is that the knitting was quicker. We have kits available here in our online store.

If you don’t want an extra large, blanket type shawl, you can make this shawl with our Corrie Sock yarn and follow the instructions as written in the pattern. We have kits for the fingering weight yarn as well.

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Love Knitting Shawls?

fingering weight yarn to knit a shawl

Do you struggle to pick yarns and colors that will make that shawl really shine? I put together shawl triads just for you. I combined fingering weight yarn skeins in colors that work together for a really great shawl. There are some with only sparkly yarn, some with a little bit of sparkle and some without sparkle at all. You can find the triads here.

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Washfast: What does it mean?

I am asked all the time about whether my yarns are color fast and wash fast. And my usual answer is yes. But I need to clarify that answer. And I’m going to try to not sound like too much of a chemistry geek, so here goes.

The dyes that are made to dye protein fibers are called acid dyes. There are many different formulations of these dyes but they all work the same way.

To be totally washfast, the dye molecules need to hold on to the fiber like you would hold onto your child on a busy street. You have a strong grip on your child and he or she won’t be able to get loose.  But acid dyes don’t work that way. They have a very loose grip, more like holding someone’s hand with your pinkie. In the right conditions, that pinkie can slip away. Wool, silk, mohair and alpaca fibers  hold the dye particles very weakly.

If you wash or rinse your yarn or your knitted garment in HOT water, the dye will fall off and you can have bleeding into other colors that are nearby. This is especially true with reds and turquoises.

If you are buying roving there is another layer to the story. With roving, dyers need to be very careful not to felt it when dyeing and rinsing, so there may be more loose dye particles in roving. When you are drafting and spinning your roving into yarn, you can be dislodging these tiny particles from the fiber and so when you rinse your yarn to set the twist you may have more dye run off. So be mindful of that. Again, rinse your newly spun yarn with cool or cold water.

Good dyeing technique makes sure all the dye in the pot is now on the yarn or fiber. It’s called exhausting the pot.  Good dyeing technique makes sure that there is plenty of time for the dye to attach to the fiber at the correct temperature. And finally good dyeing technique makes sure that the yarn or fiber is rinsed and that the water from that rinsing is clear without any dye particles in it.  And know that all my of yarn and fiber has gone through these 3 steps.

Now if you are spinning the roving and your hands are becoming pink or blue, that roving hasn’t been properly heat set and rinsed. That’s a bad dye job. If you get a roving like that I would urge you to wet the fiber, wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag and steam it for 10 minutes. Then you can let it cool and rinse it out. That should fix the problem and this should have been done by the dyer.

So how should you wash your garments or yarn? If you are making a fair isle or other colorwork item, rinse the yarn before you do all that knitting. You will be able to tell if the yarn will run and you will mitigate the problem before it is a problem. And each time you wash your hand knit or crocheted items, you should wash in cool or tepid water. Use a nice wool cleaner, I use The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo and then lay flat to dry.