Posts Tagged ‘Yarn & Fiber’

Thank you all for entering the giveaway for last week’s Fiber Friday Spotlight featuring Caterpillar Knits.  Kristen’s new website is fantastic, as well as her new creations featuring eco-friendly fibers.  Be sure to check back for new patterns!

The winner of this giveaway is entry#6 – Frauke!  Congratulations Frauke and enjoy your lovely pattern, Kukui!

Ok, what do we do to try to help the earth?  We recycle, we don’t eat out, we reuse as much as possible, if close does not fit anymore or is torn, it will become something new. We have an electric lawnmower.
Lights are off and doors are closed if no body is in the room. Trying to limit our driving as much as possible, don’t use plastic bags. we have a veggie garden (if the plants don’t get eaten), our light bulbs are energy efficient, use 7th Generation products, not many though, because alot you can get clean with water and vinegar…..oh, and I use the Diva cup, most of the times.    I am waiting for some Angora yarn from a friend who has some Angora bunnies.   My favorite pattern would be Kukui.

Thank you all again and happy knitting!

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This weeks Fiber Friday Spotlight features Stacey Budge-Kamison of UrbanGypz Artisan Yarn.    Working from her home studio in Asheville,  North Carolina,  Stacey draws her inspiration from the world around her creating a line of yarn that is full of wonderful textures and vibrant colors.

With four weights of sock yarns to choose from, Stacey offers knitters a lovely selection of superwash wools and blends that are available in a variety of hand-dyed colors.   Fat Fingering,  a basic 2ply 100% superwash merino yarn,  is thick enough to knit as fast as a sport weight and is available in 400 yard skeins.  SeaCell, a beautiful blend of  70% super-wash merino and 30% SeaCell fiber, a rayon derived from seaweed, is a wonderful yarn  that wicks  away moisture from your skin and  is antibacterial,  making  this fiber blend the perfect for sock yarn.   SeaCell comes in skeins of  378 yards and is also considered a thick fingering weight.   South American Fingering, a single ply 100% merino yarn, is considered to be an “awesome smoosh” that comes in skeins of 420 yards and is considered to be perfect for mittens, gloves, or even for a very special pair of socks.   Econo Sock, a  limited edition 100%  superwash merino, comes in 450 yard skeins that  knits up with just the slightest texture to create a soft washable yarn.   You’ll also find a beautiful collection of handspuns in 2 to 3 ply, Boucle and Gypz Tangle, a unique handspun that features unique colors and textures.

For those of you who spin,  UrbanGypz has a wonderful selection of fibers in Superwash Merino, Merino and Tencel, Merino and SeaCell, Merino and Bamboo, Vintage BFL and Australian Wool, all in mouth-watering colors.

Photo courtesy of UrbanGypz

Be sure to visit Stacey’s Etsy Shop, where you’ll find not only her beautiful sock yarns, roving and handspun, but a gorgeous collection of recycled sari yarn.

Helping Sister Out, a  line of yarns and fibers that come from a fair trade collective in Nepal where women hand spin from recycled fibers, is incredibly soft and available in vibrant colors.  Sales of their beautiful yarns and fibers help them earn a livable wage and supports their community.

After personally reviewing this beautiful recycled sari silk,  it is perfect for knitting a one of a kind scarf or small shawl.  For tips on working with this fantastic fiber, visit Stacey’s blog, where she also features a free pattern using recycled sari silk.

Be sure to visit Stacey online at UrbanGypz, where you can sign up for her newsletter to stay informed, online at her Blog, online at Etsy, online at Twitter and online at FaceBook.

UrbanGypz is a must to add to your favorite fiber shops, so be sure to visit Stacey online today!

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As crafters, each time we purchase a yarn, we are voting with our dollars to support the growth or destruction of the earth.  By choosing yarns that support organic farming and processing, that are not cruel to the animals or the people who are involved in its creation, that use low-impact or no dyes, or have a low-carbon footprint we are helping to reduce the amount of damage done to the earth through the processing of yarn. With each eco-friendly yarn purchase, we’re encouraging yarn manufacturers to continue producing yarns in this manner, and we continue to help our earth.     ~ Caterpillar Knits

Green, Organic, Natural.  All three have been the biggest “buzzwords” of the last few years on how we can live healthy and have better lifestyles while taking care of our precious earth.   Knitting has now found it’s way into this line of thinking by offering many new fibers to compliment our need not only to be more environmentally conscientious, but to be more attune to what we put next to our skin.  Who wants to knit a gorgeous sweater and find out it is filled with toxic  chemicals or dyes that will irritate or skin, or even more so,  has harmed the earth during the growing or preparation of these fibers.

Organic cottons are now harvested without the use of agrichemicals and even wool is spun and processed in accordance with the Organic Trade Association’s Fiber Processing Standards. In their natural state, these organic fibers offer warm, earthy colors and some brands do provide a wider variety of colors, usually obtained from the use of natural dyes.   Many of our favorite designers like Rowan, Plymouth and Debbie Bliss have jumped onto this band wagon and now offer many eco-friendly fibers to temp our palettes , some we are used to, like cotton or wool, but we have now be introduced to bamboo, shell-fish,  soy and corn.

Knitwear designer Kristen TenDyke has launched Caterpiller Knits, a company dedicated to providing patterns that support eco-friendly yarns which are animal friendly, dye friendly, organic, and leave a low-carbon footprint.

With her fall 2010 line of patterns that she just  released, Kristen features six gorgeous designs, in both crochet and knit,  that will entice you to try eco-friendly yarns such as O’Wool, Manos del Uruguay, Quince & Co., Cascade Eco-Wool, and Plymouth’s Homestead.     These designs include a scarf, a shawl, a top-down knitted raglan cardigan, a bottom up knitted pullover with a front lace stitched panel, crocheted  hoodie and a crocheted hat.

Photos:  Courtesy of Kristen TenDyke of Caterpillar Knits

Photographer: Carrie Bostick Hoge

I’ve had the fortune to review one of Kristen new designs, Kukui.   Knitted in O’ Wool Balance (50% organic merino wool, 50% organic cotton), this pullover with an elegant  lace panel, along with a lovely scoop neckline  is perfect for end of summer or those chilly fall days.     This pattern is available in bust  sizes 33 1/4 to 54 1/4 (84.5  –  138 cm), will require 7 to 11 hanks of O’ Wool Balance or 850- 1440 yards in a comparable earth-friendly yarn, one pair each size US 5 and 6 (3.75 and 4 mm) and one 29″ circular needle size US 5 (3.75 mm).   Instructions are both written and charted, and like all of Kristen’s patterns, very easy to read, easy to understand and easy to follow.

To celebrate the launch of her new website, Kristen is offering a pattern as a prize for a giveaway to my blog reader’s, which starts today and ends on Friday, September 3rd at 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Rules of this giveaway:

1.   What way are  you trying to help our earth?

2.  What is your favorite eco-friendly yarn?

3.  What is your favorite pattern listed on Caterpillar Knits (the winner will receive the pattern they favor) ?

You can find Caterpillar Knits online at FaceBook, Twitter and Raverly!

Kristen TenDyke, knit and crochet designer, holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  Her designs can be found in various well-known publications such as Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Knit Simple and in many of  Classic Elite’s pattern collections.

For those of you interested, here’s a list of a few companies that offer eco-friendly yarns :

Blue Sky Alpacas Philosopher’s Wool Company
Fibra Natura Cottonwood Plymouth Earth Collection
Malabrigo Cotton Yarn Cascade Yarns
O’Wool Fibra Natura Cottonwood
Quince & Co. Queensland Collections
Sublime Yarns Rowan
Tahki  Stacy Charles Manos del Uruguay

You can also find eco-friendly yarns online at  Crafts In Bloom, The Hardy Supply Co., The Water Farms, Marr Haven Wool Farm, Green Sheep Shop, One Planet Yarns, Eco-Butterfly, Nature Song Yarn and the Yarn Market.

If  your LYS does not carry any of these brands, urge them to do so.   Knit and crochet for a better world today!

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I’ve decided to start a new category to my blog called “Casting On and Casting Off”.  Each week I hope to post a note on new ideas for designs that’s being worked on and what’s been published, and what selfish knitting I’ve been doing.

This week I’m currently working on a new hat pattern that will feature  Patons Classic Wool.  I came across an article that  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee,  the Yarn Harlot,  wrote regarding this fiber, in which she did an in-depth review on Knitter’s Review covering Patons Classic Wool.  I must say I totally agree with her on this yarn and it’s potential, especially when it comes to felting.

It’s not a posh yarn, or a fancy yarn, or a luxurious yarn. It’s a decent, upstanding basic yarn with no pretension. Tried and true, practical and inexpensive with extensive pattern support, it puts knitting with natural fibres within the grasp of most budgets.

For me, Patons Classic Wool is perfect for easy care garments such as hats, scarves and mittens.  My current design in the works will feature Patons Classic Wool in #77250 Dark Beige Marl and #00227 Taupe .  Can’t wait to finish!

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Photo courtesy of Universal Yarn

If you are looking for a line of yarn that is very affordable for all your desired projects, but  offers high quality, then take a look at  Universal Yarn.  This company’s goal is to provide knitters with the best fiber possible that is incredibly soft with a variety of fashionable colors.

Universal Yarn offers lace, fingering, DK, worsted, chunky and bulky weights in their lines of Universal, Fibra Natura, Wisdom, Rozetti and Nazli Gelin.  For those of you who are a fanatic sock knitters, make sure to check out their line of  Yummy Yarn.  With 15 tempting colorways to choose from, this pot-dyed, superwash merino is truly fantastic to knit with and is indeed  very “yummy”.    Debbie Macomber fans be sure to check out the Blossom Street Collection that features six weights of yarns in a variety of colors.

Universal Yarn is currently offering four eBook collections that are free to download.  These collections feature Poems, Classic TweedDeluxe Tweed and Cocoon and offer knitter a variety of patterns to choose from.  Stay informed by signing up for their newsletter or take a look at what’s happening by visiting their Blog.

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Lace knitting is a style of knitting characterized by stable “holes” in the fabric arranged with consideration of aesthetic value.  Lace is sometimes considered the pinnacle of knitting, because of its complexity and because woven fabrics cannot easily be made to have holes. Some consider that “true” knitted lace has pattern stitches on both the right and wrong sides, and that knitting with pattern stitches on only one side of the fabric, so that holes are separated by at least two threads, is technically not lace, but “lacy knitting”, although this has no historical basis. – Wikipedia

Is the year 2010 the year of lace?  It would seem so to this writer,  who has been following many of the threads posted on Ravelry.  Many new KALs (knit alongs) are popping up for the new year and most seem to be lace related.   Knitters can find KALs for lace shawls, lace hats and even lace socks.  While the simple elegance and sophistication of lace intrigues knitters, the complexity of the stitches hinders many knitters from learning to knit lace.

So, if one has never knitted lace, what is one to do?   First, take a look at  the Harmony Guide: Lace & Eyelets by Erika Knight.  This handy guide features over 200 lace and eyelet designs to entice knitters of all skill levels.  Knitter’s can learn stitch patterns from easy-to-follow instructions and with a helpful photographs This guide is truly a must for your reference library and is small enough to carry in your knitting bag.  Since there are so many lace patterns to choose from, start by selecting an easy stitch pattern and practice by knitting swatches, or even better by knitting face cloths. (Photo: Courtesy of Barnes and Nobles).

The Emerald’s Lace Bath Set by Tabitha’s Heart Design is a very simple lace pattern to learn.  Not only is this cloth perfect to knit for gifts is perfect for learning a new technique.  This pattern will teach the basic principles of using yarn overs to create a simple, yet elegant looking lace pattern.   The washcloth will require a 2 ounce skein of cotton yarn or approximately 70 yards.  Included with this download is the matching towel, that  will require 5,  2 ounce skeins.  This  free download is available online at Ravelry.   Once mastered, think of the possibilites this stitch pattern can be used for.  (Photo: Courtesy of Azknitter)

Another quick and easy stitch to learn is the leaf pattern.  The Fern Lace Washcloth by Sara Galley is not only easy to knit , but will teach a very basic stitch pattern that has a variety of uses.   Once downloaded, you will find two other cloths included that will cover yarnovers, variable stitch counts and how to read lace charts.  Once this stitch is mastered, you will be able to create shawls, hats and scarves, and even indulge yourself in many patterns using this particular stitch pattern.    Another idea for mastering this stitch, knit a book marker using lace weight yarn.  (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel/BludhavenOracle of Ravelry)

For those of you who love Tunisian Crochet, here’s a simple Tunisian Lace Stitch:

Row 1: Chain number indicated in pattern (desired number of stitches plus 1), insert hook in third ch from hook, yo, pull up lp, ch 1, (insert hook in next ch, yo, pull up lp, ch 1) across, leaving all lps on hook. Do not turn.    To complete row, work lps off hook as follows: yo, pull through one lp, (yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) across until one lp remains on hook.

Row 2: Ch 1, skip first vertical bar, * insert hook under next vertical bar and also through top strand of next horizontal bar, yo, pull through both lps on hook, ch 1; repeat from * across. For last st, insert hook under last vertical bar, yo, pull up lp, ch 1. Do not turn.   To complete row, work lps off hook as follows: yo, pull though one lp, (yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) across.

Repeat Row 2 for pattern.   For last row, ch 1, skip first vertical bar, * insert hook under next vertical bar and also through top strand of next horizontal bar, (yo, pull through 2 lps) 2 times; repeat from * across. For last st, sc in last vertical bar. Fasten off.

For further information on mastering lace knitting, sign up for classes at your LYS.    You can also find many online sites with step by step instructions on basic lace stitches.  Join in a knit-along online where you will have support from experienced knitters.   Take your lace project with you to your knitting nights or local meet-ups to gain further knowledge and tips from those in the know.

Related Blog Post:  Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 5 Lace Knitting – Book Review

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Thank you all for participating in my recent giveaway and a special thank you to Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms for providing two gorgeous hanks of yarn to our lucky winner.

We had a total of 63 entries ( including all re-tweets, entries on FaceBook and/or on Blogs).    I entered 1 through 63 on Random.org and the winner is ….

Sarah of  New Boston, Texas

Congratulations Sarah ~ Natalie will have your lovely yarn in the mail to you very soon!

This giveaway was sponsored by the Yarnmarket,  purveyor of  high-quality yarns  from over 70 leading manufacturers.

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The indie design movement is made up of independent designers, artists and craftsman who design and make a wide array of products without being part of large, industrialized businesses. ~ Wikipedia

The word indie has been part of the fiber world and lingo for the last few years, but what exactly does indie mean?  Indie refers to independent crafters who create beautiful  hand-dyed, hand-spun yarns and roving, as well as offering fantastic designs for knitting and crocheting.

Independent crafters have given a whole new meaning to the word yarn and fiber by tempting crafters with a wide array of palettes to choose from in a variety of textures, fibers and blends.  Crafters can find these wonderous fibers available in local shops, in many online web stores, online at  Etsy and on  Artfire.   When searching on Etsy , crafters will find many indie dyers including Windrose Fiber Studio, a local Arizona company, the Urchiness, Lambsears, Epicurus, Springtree and Wasi Sabi Yarns.   Artfire also offers many independent artisans, including  Slow Color and Dyeabolical Yarns & Roving.

Here is a sampling of online stores that feature indie dyers and designers, or their own lines of yarns:

  • One Planet Yarn & Fiber features small independent artisans and designers from all over the world.  You will find luxury Indie yarns including Yarn Botanika, Ever Green Yarns of Arizona,  A Piece of Vermont and Madelinetosh of Texas, as well as patterns by many Indie designers.
  • Slackford Studio features quality hand dyed yarns and spinning fiber as well as fine, hand made accessories created by local artists.   Available in lace, fingering, sport and sock weights.
  • Sunshine Yarns features sock, lace, sport, and worsted weights, as well as roving, all created in rich, inspiring colors and luxurious natural fibers.  This shop dyes many weights of yarn inspired by  Harry Potter and Twilight  characters.
  • Spritely Goods, a local Arizona based company, features a variety of luxury yarns and fibers,  hand-spun, hand-painted and hand dyed yarns, as well as supplies, accessories, patterns and soaps.
  • Briar Rose Fibers features “hand painted” yarn in wool and wool blends. Merino, Wensleydale, Merino and Tencel blends and wool and flax blends, as well as fiber for spinning.
  • Liberty’s Yarns creates one of a kind hand-dyed yarns that are incredibly soft and perfect for socks, scarves, shawls and even hats.
  • Woolen Mill St Yarns offers hand-dyed yarns  that are available in a variety of fiber, weights (sock and lace weight) and colors,  as well as beautiful fiber to spin.
  • UrbanGypz is a one woman cottage industry run by Stacey Budge-Kamison, purveyor of  unique one of a kind hand-dyed yarns and fibers.

Another great example of independent artisans being supported is  through the program now being offered by Knit Picks.   Knit Picks is partnering with independent designers to offer affordable patterns that can be used with their line of  yarns, giving both Knit Picks and the designers a win win situation.   Knitters can now purchase patterns for only $1.99 that feature many of their favorite Indie designers,  purchase the required yarn for the pattern at an affordable price and rejoice that the cost of the project is well within their budget.   What a fabulous way to try out several patterns, purchase the necessary  Knit Picks yarn and enjoy the feeling that you’re not breaking the bank to satisfy the need to knit !

This is a wonderful opportunity for you the designer to get your name and patterns in front of thousands of knitters.  Knit Picks does not take commission or an upload fee, so once the pattern goes live on the Knit Picks website, the designer will be paid quarterly and will earn the full $1.99 per purchased pattern.  Knit Picks will also offer the designer the ability to log into a site to keep track of  the number of patterns sold.  If you are an independent designer interested in this program, please visit them online for further information on how to submit your pattern, your samples and your photos.

Supporting these Indie artisans not only support small business and local economy, but supports and promotes the fiber industry by producing high quality dyed yarns and unique designs to fiber enthusiasts globally.

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I recently received a box of incredible yarn to be reviewed for my Fiber Friday Spotlights from Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms .  This wonderful luxurious collection of handspun yarns included kid mohair, silk ribbon with kid mohair and alpaca,  and kid mohair with wool.   Very soft and knits up nicely as an accent yarn to any garment.

Originally a horse race breeder, Natalie Redding turned to raising and breeding sheep as she was worried about her small children being around horses.  In 2005, Namaste Farms was born and when Natalie drove her first two Wensleydales to a show in Oregon,  they won, and the rest was history. Now she has an entire flock of champions.   Namaste Farms is dedicated to the ethical raising of superior fiber animals, which include the WensleydaleLongwools and Gotlands.   In addition to these two luxurious wool producing breeds, Namaste Farms also runs a small flock of Champion PBA Pygora Goats as well as Grand Champion and Champion CAGBA Colored Angora and AAGBA White Angora goats.

Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms

Natalie offers gorgeous and incredibly soft blends of yarns that has the fresh, clean fragrance of an Aveda custom scent.   You can purchase these beautiful yarns directly from her website, as well as locally at Wildfiber in Santa Monica, CA and Daily Fiber Yarn in Murrieta, CA.   Natalie’s yarns will soon be available through the Yarnmarket this fall, which will be carrying her line of “Ohm Kid Mohair” Yarn, “Ohm Mohair Blend” Yarn, “Silk Core” Yarn and “Pop Art Charmed” Yarn.

For my blog readers, Natalie of Namaste Farms has been kind enough to provide two  gorgeous hanks of yarn.   The lucky winner of this giveaway will receive two hanks from her Ohm Collection, one from her Sari line using 100% kid Mohair that is handspun with a delicate silk thread, and  the second hank from her Barbadense line using 100% kid mohair that is handspun with a cotton and metallic thread.  These two hanks have a retail  value of $100.00 and are the perfect accent to any design.

Ohm Collection: Sari Line

Ohm Collection: Barbadense line

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment, along with your contact information.  This giveaway will end on Saturday, August 14th at 6:00 p.m. CDT with the winner to be announced on Sunday, August 15. Please remember to announce this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry and on your blog.  Extra entries will give you even more chances to win this fabulous yarn!

This giveaway is sponsored by the Yarnmarket,  purveyor of  high-quality yarns  from over 70 leading manufacturers.

This giveaway is now closed ~ thank you!

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As we move into the month of August I have realized that I only have a few more months in order to get my Christmas knitting done.    This past weekend I stopped into Michael’s to look at beads but headed over to the yarn department to see what was new.  I didn’t find anything too exciting, but I did find a couple of booklets that I have been looking for that have a few projects that I would love to tackle for Christmas.

I have gathered a few booklets filled with projects that I will start knitting, along with a nice collection of wool yarns by Ella Rae and Patons.  I do believe my Christmas project bowl is ready to go, now to start with the knitting!

In my bowl, I have one of Patons new books,  Seven Steps:  Seven Mittens, that features a great collection of projects from very basic mittens to more complex.    This booklet is perfect for beginner knitters to advanced knitters, offers easy to read instructions and has clear concise charts for the more intricate designs.    For me, I have found a pattern for my friend in Philly, along with a pattern for her hubby, a pattern perfect for my Mom that I can created a matching hat for, and a few patterns for me.   This booklet is a great buy for those of you wanting to learn how to knit mittens and gloves.  I also have Patons Six Steps: Learn To Cable booklet.  I know how to cable, but this booklet has a shrug and car coat pattern that I must knit for myself, along with a hat and scarf set for my Mom.

Next I purchased  Bernat’s Ready Set Snow booklet that features seven  designs, five of which are cable related.   While this booklet is not especially for my Christmas knitting, it was a great find for me, along with Bernat’s Alpaca booklet – Chill in the Air that features eight gorgeous designs.    Both of these booklets offers a collection of classic, traditional cardigans, pullovers and accessories that range from cablework to colorwork, and has something for knitters of all experience levels.  Of course I know that there are two sweaters that would be perfect for my Mom, so they might be used for Christmas knitting after all.

Be sure to listen to Katie’s episode 52 from the Electric Sheep podcast ~ it’s about Christmas knitting and knitting gifts for others, quite enjoyable!

Happy knitting everyone!

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