Tag Archives: knitting yarn

On the Aesthetics of Luxury Yarn

luxury yarn

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

Knitted Holiday Gifts You’ll Actually Finish in Time

knitted holiday gifts

Let’s be real here. You may have grand plans for all your holiday gifts: sweaters, blankets, etc. You might finish one of those things sometime in February, if you’re very disciplined.

Instead of living with the all-too-familiar shame of owing people knitted gifts long past the holiday season, why not make everyone on your list a more manageable project you can make many, many of?

Take these Audrey mitts, for example (upper-left). They use only one skein of Jade Sapphire 8-ply cashmere. They take about an afternoon to whip up. You have plenty of time to make a whole bunch of them.

Continue Reading Knitted Holiday Gifts You’ll Actually Finish in Time

Needle Felting for Fall

Fall is upon us! It’s time to start working on the big, cozy sweaters and blankets that will help you get through the winter. In the meantime, though, you need some small projects to keep things fresh. Have you tried needle felting? It’s super fun. You take a big chunk of wool roving, and you stab it repeatedly with a very sharp needle. Doesn’t that sound incredibly satisfying? Considering that it’s fall, now would be the perfect time to make wee little pumpkins and witches and ghosties and decorate your house with them!

Knitting Yarn
You can even get a head start on holiday presents with our new Artfelt kits, which include stunning scarves, coffee cozies, and iPad covers. If you’d like to learn how to make any of these things, give us a call or send us an email and book a personalized lesson! You’ll be ready for fall in no time!

Knitting Yarn

Happy Knitting (and felting)!
Christin and Diane

Why You Should Start Your Projects For Winter Right Now (Yes, Right Now)

While it has started to become just a tad warm out there, and you probably don’t feel like knitting with wool, hear me out.  You normally don’t start your sweaters, coats, and blankets until it starts to get a bit cooler, right?  Well, those are pretty big projects.  They take a lot of time, especially if you like working with small gauge. My thinking is, why not start those puppies now so you have them by the time it cools down again? How awesome would it be when October rolled around, and you had a toasty cardigan made of, say, baby alpaca, merino wool, or cashmere all blocked and ready to go? Pretty darn awesome, that’s how much. Continue Reading Why You Should Start Your Projects For Winter Right Now (Yes, Right Now)

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.

Habu Scarf

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

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

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?

Who Said They Were Better Than You?

Knitting Yarn - Knitting to Know EweSince this is my first blog, I wanted to start off with a bang. I know I am supposed to fill the page with all sorts of knitting techniques and whatnot. And they are coming. Trust me. But I thought, for the first blog, I wanted to do the social commentary thing. So, here it goes….

Ever been to an old timey state fair? You know the kind I mean. The one where there are all these women standing around all involved with their pies. They all want the blue ribbon for the best made pie. They have been making pies all their lives. Their recipes are ancient (Probably handed down by Viking women, who used to roll out dough wearing a helmet with horns on it). They know their stuff. No argument there. And there is always one lady that is all smug and satisfied; the one that usually wins. She is the one everyone wants to beat. Her pie dough is perfection. And, let’s face it; it is all about the dough, right? It has to be made, well, perfectly. Just light enough, just thin enough. The steps that are required are secret (probably some chanting involved). All very hush, hush. The “experts” walk around tasting the pies with authority, as if they were all trained by Merlin. They taste every pie crust with a heavy helping of haughtiness (As if they are the only experts on pies. I am thinking here that most of us could do this job pretty well. We are all pie eaters). The pie pressure builds, as they take another trip around the table to re-sample one or two (This is a complete scam right here. They are just trying to eat more pie, in my opinion). Finally, it’s down to the wire. They all huddle together. The wait is unbearable. They turn and announce the first prize, blue-ribbon. And who does it go to… the same lady again. She puffs up and struts to the table to receive her accolade. Her smugness is palpable. All the other pie makers look at her with longing. They want to be her. Each one of them feels a little less competent and a little less of a pie maker. And that is how a monster is born. We, as women, all have the pie making gene in us. Even though it may be subliminal, we measure our worth against other pie makers all the time. Whether we are baking pies or knitting. The contest is always there. Some people are so intimidated that they won’t even enter the arena. Why? Because there are women waiting there to make them feel insignificant and it really works.

Continue Reading Who Said They Were Better Than You?