Category Archives: Yarn

A Truthy Thanksgiving

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One of the major themes in the recent presidential election was honesty. In light of the emphasis placed on this issue, we got to thinking. Honesty should not only be a political theme. It should ingrain itself into one’s personal life as well. There is nothing wrong with living an honest, wholesome lifestyle. And what better time to start this new honesty thing, but on Thanksgiving Day? Let it be an opportunity for one to cleanse oneself of the lies and deception we have readily shared with our friends and relatives. What do we mean by this? We think you know. It’s the little things we have omitted in an effort to maintain harmony and peace with our loved ones. But, for one day out of the year, let’s try this honesty thing. Let’s come clean, and tell people what is honest and true. Here are some suggestions:

Let’s start with your Aunt Sally, who just celebrated her 93rd birthday. It is time to tell her that, yes, you did know that she was once a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, and that, yes, she has told you more times than the number of Rockettes in existence that she once met Mickey Rooney. You do know that Mickey winked at her backstage, and that she has always been convinced that it was his way of saying she would have been a better Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz than Judy Garland. (Who needs a great singing voice when you have great legs?) It is not that you want Aunt Sally to let go of her best memories. It is simply time to tell her that, no, there isn’t a remaining person alive who hasn’t heard the Mickey Rooney Rockette Story. It is time she put this whole business to bed.

How about your cousin Bertha and her new grandchild? How proud she is! Look at the many pictures! Five months old already? How about that! Perhaps this would be the day to tell her how closely the baby resembles Gerald Ford. (It’s a girl).

How about your Uncle Stanley? Let’s face it. Anyone with two eyes can see that he is wearing a hair piece. How about suggesting that, instead of the glue he uses that makes his forehead look like he has simonized it, why not just use an elastic chin strap? Just as functional and a lot less messy. The cat is out of the bag on this one, Uncle Stanley. Make your life easier.

And your Aunt Irene? Every year she makes her famous pumpkin pie. How great that this tradition has been maintained! But, the truth is that Aunt Irene couldn’t make a decent pie with a gun to her head. She simply does not possess any baking skills whatsoever. Why not suggest a new tradition? How about a pumpkin cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory? Just tell her that cheesecake is the new black. It’s 2016. Think like a millennial.

And, lastly, you can’t leave out your Uncle Hank. Uncle Hank always shows up late. He never brings anything. He always monopolizes the candied yams. (He also gave you a set of steak knives as a wedding gift that he got from the bank for opening a new account.) It’s time to tell Uncle Hank to pass the potatoes. Others would like yams too.

As you can see, honesty doesn’t always work. Sure, you could tell all of your relatives what you really think this Thanksgiving. You could break all of their little hearts with your truthiness (Stephen Colbert invented this word.) But, what’s the point? Let’s face it. The truth can be tough to hear. And you are just not made that way. You can’t slaughter people in the name of honesty. You are one of the sweetest people on the planet. You’re like the good witch, Glinda.

Let Aunt Sally tell her Rockette Story. Your only real job here is to act surprised again. She is 93. Pour yourself a scotch and gasp when she gets to the winking part. Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney are both dead. She won.

Tell your cousin Bertha that you see her granddaughter in the political arena in the future. (After all, it doesn’t hurt to already resemble a past president.) Maybe she will be our first woman in the oval office.

Make a prime rib dinner for Uncle Hank. Those steak knives will come in handy. (You probably could ask him to bring a bottle of wine. Good luck with that.)

As for Uncle Stanley, there is only one thing to do for him. Knit him a great hat. Who knows? Maybe he will become a hat guy. No need for a toupee under a hat, right?

And speaking of knitting, we have the perfect hat for your Uncle Stanley. Loopy Mango has come out with a great hat kit. The merino is super soft, and the hat only takes a few hours to make (around three). Great for Uncle Stanley and it looks good on women too. Here it is below: This kit comes with the needles, the pattern and the yarn (and this cool box). The kit is priced at $39.00.

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You are welcome, Uncle Stanley.

We are also getting an unspeakable amount of Madeline Tosh arriving next week. Just in time for the holidays. Could anything be better?
And, how about this for the knitters in your family? Give them one (or more) of the knitting products from Chica. How about a project bag that has the yarn in the bottom that feeds out the top, and holds your project as well? Or a case that holds needles and notions all in one? They all make great holiday gifts. ( No more zip lock bags for your loved one. Give her some dignity) We have them all ready to go.

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We are bringing back our Web Only Sale of two great Schacht products for the holidays too! 10% off on the Schacht 18″ Cricket Loom, and their Ladybug Spinning Wheel. Order these in time for the holidays! You can order now on our website. Here is the link: http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/weaving-and-spinning/

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You might want to think about giving a gift card for a lesson this year. We offer lessons in knitting, crochet, and weaving. You can purchase a gift card from us for a lesson, and your loved one can choose instruction on just about anything he or she wishes to learn. Or give a gift card for anything at all in our store. We have a lot of stuff, and it is all pretty wonderful. And there is always more coming! And, doesn’t that make you just smile? ( We’re smiling pretty much all of the time just thinking about that. We just love seeing that UPS guy.)

Our store is closing early at 4:00 pm, on Tuesday, November 22. We will open the 23rd, closed for Thanksgiving Day, and then back open on the 25th. We will be open all weekend too. Yay!

So, have a great Thanksgiving. Smile and hug everyone a lot. There is nothing wrong with Glinda. And, remember. On this one particular day, alcohol is your friend. And that’s the truth.

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Sigh.

See you soon!
Diane and Christin

Three Little Words: Back to School

Indeed. Back to school. It’s quite a “hi tech” activity these days. One simply goes online, prints out the new list of school supplies, and heads to Target. Or, they can be assisted by their new best friend in the whole world: Amazon. Just check off those items on the list, and they show up at your door all set and ready to go to school this year.

But, we decided to really go back to school. All the way back to when their were no “fancy gadgets.” Back to when the closest thing to Facebook was a photo album. A playlist was who you were meeting after school on your soft ball team. A tablet was a pill you took when you were sick. Yep. These kids today have it too soft. They didn’t play on monkey bars that were metal pipes set in concrete. They didn’t slide down a rusty slide that burnt your butt and dumped you on (of course) concrete. They didn’t wish for a short monogrammed last name like Stone or Smith, so that it didn’t disappear into each of your armpits of your gym suit. And ever really look at your pictures when you were at school? Oh yeah, that’s what your hair looked like before blow dryers.

But, there were some perks. Like actual food in the cafeteria. And let’s not forget, back in the day, you were encouraged to eat all of the food groups. Skinny was a bad thing. Marilyn Monroe was curvy. And when you got home from school, you watched Band Stand. You learned the latest dance. You twisted, and you played 45’s on a hifi. You actually learned math, and practiced good penmanship. There was no texting. No Twitter. No Instagram. There was Ed Sullivan, Gun Smoke, and Bonanza. (And later the real Star Trek).

Nothing beat new school supplies either. The list was short. New pencils (in their new pencil case), an eraser, a ruler, a scissors, some paste, a loose leaf notebook, and those cool black and white composition books (that are retro now). You had actual school books. You went to the library. You had a set of encyclopedias that contained all the knowledge of the world. You did reports and dioramas. You actually copied and pasted by hand. Downloading was stuffing feathers into a pillow.

(You know who went to school back then? That awesome guy Thor. He probably was the star quarterback in his school.)

We learned how to cook, sew, and looky what we have here…we learned how to knit!

And, speaking of knitting, we should mention what is coming into our store this month.

Our newest order of Anzula Cricket is arriving this week. It is gorgeous yarn of merino and cashmere in beautiful colors. New Loopy Mango cotton, that makes a fantastic baby blanket or throw. Really fast and easy.

We are featuring this month Toft CrochetedAnimals. Here are just two of them. There are dinosaurs, a pink flamingo, a sloth, a bat, and lots of others. If you crochet, these are really fun!

They are on our website to order at: http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/toft-amigurumi-kits/

And, boy, are we weaving! Our weaving teacher, Sara Armstrong, created a shawl version of the Unicorn Tail Scarf with Madeline Tosh Merino Light and Shibui Silk Cloud.

unnamed (6)You can make a scarf just like this using a Cricket Loom. We sell these wonderful looms on our website at: http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/weaving-and-spinning/ and in our store.

Get started weaving with a class with Sara by calling our store at 215.598.9276 or writing to us on our website. We will get right back to you to set up your class. Weaving with Sara is awesome. It’s a great new thing to do this Fall.

We are getting new things in all the time. Check out our new shawl pins by Jul. Here are just some of the beautiful pins to use with the new shawl you can make this fall.

You can order any and all of them on our website at:
http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/accessories/shawl-pins/

So, as you stroll through the Back To School aisles in your local Target store, watching everyone check off their list of school supplies, smile. You know what a warrior you were when you were getting your school supplies. You survived with only three channels on the TV. You had a transistor radio and a princess phone. You knew what real milkshakes tasted like. You ate hot food on a tray at the school cafeteria. You wrote letters and put stamps on the envelope. And you went to the movies to see Star Wars for the first time. And almost everything you owned is now for sale again at Urban Outfitters. Yes, you were a warrior all right. And you were cool.

On the Aesthetics of Luxury Yarn

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Jade Sapphire 8-ply Mongolian Cashmere

I wanted to keep this simple. I have written many times about using luxury yarn in projects in a number of my blogs posts. But this time, I wanted to talk simply about the aesthetic experience.

Yarn itself is a wondrous thing. It comes always from a source of life. Whether it be animal or plant or both, it once was part of a living thing. Sheared, cut and spun, it is transformed into another form of itself. A form that is pliable enough to manipulate into so many different forms that are unique, useful and wonderful. From garments or blankets to soothe and keep you warm, to rugs, bags, and even wall hangings.

When I hold a skein of Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere in my hand, the beauty of it is unmistakable. It is so soft and vibrant. I always think about the animal in Mongolia that was sheared, and what his world looks like. Has he been pampered and fed only the best of food to create his beautiful coat? How far has that coat traveled (and to where?) to be cleaned and spun into a wondrous skein of yarn? What did it look like and feel like before color was added to it?

I am currently making a scarf from Jade Sapphire, and I have enjoyed the project from the minute I casted on my first stitch. Although I use and enjoy circular needles (Addi Turbos being my favorite), there is nothing more satisfying to me than using a pair of gorgeous Lantern Moon Needles to work with wonderful yarn. In my opinion, they were meant for each other. The needle, being handmade out of palm wood, rosewood or ebony (my favorite) feels as luxurious as the yarn with which I am working. They remind me of a violin. The wood polished and smooth, and just slippery enough. Together with my cashmere, they complete the experience.

Continue Reading On the Aesthetics of Luxury Yarn

Ouch! Summer Fiber Gauges

Knitting Yarn: Habu Textiles Bamboo Lace

Just in: Habu Textiles 100% bamboo lace weight for all your summery project needs!

After so many years at the store, I sort of cringe when the summer projects start. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the them. There is nothing like linen, organic cotton, and bamboo to make a project feel fresh and light. Nothing drapes like these natural fibers either. The tough part is sometimes getting the correct gauge for the project. As a scarfaholic, of course, this issue does not come into play as much. If the gauge is a little off one way or the other, it is easy to adjust by adding or subtracting stitches to make the desired width and length. The same applies to blankets or afghans. But, when making a garment, it can get tricky. Sometimes, you can try to get gauge changing the needle size up or down. Nothing changes the gauge. On some fortunate occasions, a drastic change in needle size can do the trick. But most of the time the gauge doesn’t seem to want to move in either direction. There have been countless occasions, where a knitter will sit in our store, changing needles, and getting the exact same stitch count. If we are lucky, we can make an adjustment in the size of the garment to accommodate the gauge. But, a lot of times, we just can’t make it work.

I believe the reason for this is due to the nature of the fibers themselves. Cotton, bamboo, and some linens do not have a great deal of structure. They are more open and softer. In other words, they are what they are. Unlike merino or alpaca for example, they do not possess the springy ability to accommodate a larger or smaller needle. This is an issue with a finished garment as well. A knitter should take into account how the garment will drape when using something like bamboo or cotton. It can grow as you wear it or if left on a hanger.

Having said all of the above, there are some wonderful projects that can be made from these summer fibers. I am partial to the Habu yarn line, because the Cotton Gima, Linen, Linen Paper, and Nerimaki Cotton Slub, are easier with which to obtain a gauge. They are slightly more structured, and we have had great success with all of them. Also, there is the added benefit in this line of working with two or more of these fibers run together. I would like to add that the best combination of a great deal of Habu fibers is to run them with stainless steel or copper. This automatically can allow a knitter to obtain the needed gauge for a project. The yarn is immediately fortified with enough structure and definition that any desired gauge is readily achieved. Habu Stainless Steel or Copper can be added to basically any fiber from Madeline Tosh to Appalachian Cotton to give it the proper structure so that a gauge can be gotten. It also allows you to manipulate the size of the finished garment both lengthwise and width-wise.

As with any project, but especially one where the gauge is so tricky, I recommend that you check that gauge throughout the project. A lot of knitters do not realize that their knitting can vary as they knit the project. We all knit differently at different times. We can knit tighter or looser, depending on our frame of mind. It frequently happens where a knitter starts out with the proper gauge and ends up looser or tighter later in the project. Obviously, this can dramatically change the finished project. We hate to see a garment that is too tight or too loose after the project is finished. It is a really good idea to take a moment every few inches and check your gauge. It is a lot easier to make a correction at that point. It might make the difference as to being able to wear the garment and being happy, or having to rip it out or give it away. So sad.

Okay, I have tried to present a realistic view of working with summer fibers. I will say again that I love them. But, I will also say this: If everything under the moon is tried and fails, my advice to all knitters is TO PICK ANOTHER PROJECT OR PICK A DIFFERENT YARN. Unless you are more than okay with the idea that, if the garment does not end up fitting you, you have someone else to give it to, don’t continue. This is an obstacle that cannot be overcome. We would rather you not buy the project than be unhappy with the result.

In the meantime, I hope that you try your hand at something light and airy for the season. And, whatever you choose to make, I hope you have great success and enjoyment from it!

Knitting to Know Ewe Pattern Featured by Shibui Knits

Strata Shibui Knits

Diane Greenfield shares her Strata scarf with Shibui Knits at TNNA.

Shibui Knits is now featuring a scarf designed by Diane Greenfield, owner of Knitting to Know Ewe. Shibui has chosen the Strata scarf to highlight their yarns. Knitters across the country are now working on the Strata scarf!

The Strata is a “knitted piece about process.” This scarf uses a combination of Shibui Silk Cloud, Cima, and Pebble yarns and is a great pattern for knitters looking to combine different textures and colors. Yarns are held double or triple throughout the progression of this gently textured scarf—a background of twisted stockinette makes this knit meticulous, but not difficult. The final result is a lightweight scarf that celebrates color. When finished, the scarf is 92 inches long and 14.5 inches wide.

Shibui is offering the pattern for free with the purchase of yarn. Get started on your own Strata scarf today! Stop in to Knitting to Know Ewe to pick up some Shibui yarn and the Strata pattern.

Scarfoholic: A Scarf Isn’t Just For Keeping Warm

Habu Textiles, created by Takako Ueki, is one of our favorite lines of fibers in our store. I, personally, have made several scarves and garments with Habu, and love them all. They are not only unique, but very wearable items. I always say that the things I have made and seen made from Habu yarn are the things I would buy at a store if I saw them hanging there.

Since this is a Scarfoholic blog, I will speak to the various choices a knitter has to make spectacular scarves out of Habu Textiles. Since we carry just about everything in the Habu yarn line at our store and on our website, we are always thrilled with the limitless possibilities we have to make amazing projects. They are truly works of art, and I am always impressed with what our knitters come up with in terms of color combinations and their own ideas for scarves.

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Habu Kusha Kusha scarf made with Habu Stainless Steel and Merino.

I had to write about one of my favorite scarves, not only in our store, but in the whole knitting community. It is the Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf pattern made with Habu Stainless Steel and Merino. In this blog I will share not only the pattern information with you, but show you several examples of this scarf.

As you can see, this scarf is unusual. I think it looks more like jewelry than a scarf. Whenever I wear it, heads turn. I am frequently asked where I got the scarf, and when I tell someone that I made it, they want to make one for themselves. One of the features of this scarf that cannot be shown in a picture is that it can be manipulated into different shapes because of the Stainless Steel. This is one of the things that makes this scarf so special.

The scarf is typically made with two cones of Habu Stainless Steel, and one cone of Habu Fine Merino. Some knitters have chosen to make the scarf longer and/or wider. The combinations of Stainless Steel colors and Merino colors are endless. The Stainless Steel comes in three different fiber combinations; linen, wool, or silk. We carry all three choices. Stainless Steel is a wonderful fiber to use. The Wool Stainless gives more of a matte finish. The Silk Stainless is the softest. The Linen Stainless is the shiniest. As for the Fine Merino, it is absolutely lovely. I will include in this blog a project that was done using only the Fine Merino, so that you can see what it looks like on its own.

Continue Reading Scarfoholic: A Scarf Isn’t Just For Keeping Warm

Another Scarfoholic Favorite: The Ostrich Scarf

This is an oldie but goodie at our store. I wanted to make a scarf using a stitch that looked complicated, but was easy. I came up with this one. It is basically a stockinette stitch with one row that changes it all.

Here is the stitch pattern:

  • Cast on desired amount of stitches to make your scarf
  • Knit in stockinette stitch for as many rows as desired. End with a right side row.
  • Next row: *Purl 2tog, yarn over, repeat from * to end.
  • Repeat above to desired length.
  • Bind off on a stockinette row.

Continue Reading Another Scarfoholic Favorite: The Ostrich Scarf

The Scarfoholic Series Continues: The Garter Sideways Scarf

For those of you who love knitting scarves as much as I do, I had to do a blog on one of my favorite scarves to knit. A knitter told me once that a scarf knitted in garter stitch, done sideways, lays better than any other scarf. (Thank you, Cassandra). So, I set about making this scarf to see if she was right. I like my scarves to be from 80” to 90” long, and about 9” to 10” wide. For the first scarf I tested, I used one of my favorite luxury yarns. Road to China Light, by Fibre Company is a gorgeous yarn to do just about anything with. I knew it would not only look beautiful done in garter stitch, but would feel luxurious as well. My gauge was right on at 5 stitches to the inch on a size 6 needle. So, I knew that if I wanted the scarf to be 90” long, I needed to cast on 450 stitches. I used Addi Lace Clicks, creating a cable of 60 inches to accommodate the stitches I needed to cast on. I would like to note here that, if you are like I am and fall in love with making sideways scarves, you might consider purchasing the Addi-Clicks. You can create unlimited combinations for projects using the different cables and needles. Since needles are not inexpensive, it is actually a practical investment purchasing the set of needles rather than one at a time in different gauges. If you wish to take a look at the sets of Addi Clicks offered, here is the link.

I used five colors of the Road to China Light. I needed one skein of each color for the scarf. Each skein made a stripe when completely used up. The colors I used were: Peridot, Riverstone, Citrine, Camelian, and Ruby. (All of the above materials can be found and purchased on this website. Here is the link.)For the last color, I only used half the skein to make the stripe thinner, so that it acted as an accent edge to make the scarf look more finished and added something interesting. Here is the result:

Knitting Yarn - Knitting to Know Ewe

I was very pleased with the scarf. It did, indeed, lay beautifully.

Continue Reading The Scarfoholic Series Continues: The Garter Sideways Scarf

A Confessed Scarfoholic

scarfSince learning how to knit at the age of ten, it is unnecessary to say that I have accumulated somewhat of a hillock of knitting projects. There have been tons of sweaters knitted just for the store alone. And, don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy putting on that finished sweater and prancing around the house, singing “I made this! I am a genius!” (Let’s face it. There is nothing like self praise). I have gone the gamut from socks, baby sweaters, afghans, and gloves. I have nurtured a healthy addiction to all aspects of felting, from dry needle to knitted felting. But, far and above everything else, I LOVE making scarves. Why, you may ask? Okay. I will tell you.

There are limitless types of scarves. It is an ideal first project. It can be a very basic design, but made out of a luxury fiber, it can be spectacular. When I am teaching someone to knit, we start with a simple scarf. But, it is my belief that using a quality yarn and great needles makes knitting easier to learn, and ends with a much nicer scarf. Continue Reading A Confessed Scarfoholic

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Knitting YarnHaving owned a knitting store for over eight years now, I have met an army of knitters. How knitters feel about their knitting has been a great source of fascination to me. Knitting is so much more than knitting. It is a mirror for life and how people perceive it. I could get all philosophical now, and talk about coping skills and what not. But, frankly, all I am going to say is that sometimes I don’t get it.

When I decided I wanted to own a knitting store, my impetus for doing this was to own this zen-space that was about creativity, appreciation of luxury fibers, relaxation, and personal challenge. In other words, fun. Knitting has always been a source of fun to me. I love the challenge of learning a new technique. I love working with yummy fibers like cashmere or alpaca yarn. It has also always been a great source of relaxation for me.

Continue Reading Are We Having Fun Yet?