Blogs I Love

Here are five more blogs I enjoy and read regularly.

Kate Larson Textiles – fiber arts and sometimes lambs!

Randall Smoot – culture, politics and history

Drinkers With Writing Problems – humorous and interesting things

Unraveled – The Ravelry Blog, all cool tips and new things to try with yarn

The Yarn Harlot – fiber arts and humor

Please comment with your favorites or your own blog.  I’m always looking for new things worth reading.

And a picture for fiber lovers

Rolags!
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Finished – The Biggest Entrelac In The World

It’s done!  Celebrate with me!

The early days.

In the beginning
In the beginning

Here is a picture before completion.  You see why it may be the biggest entrelac piece in the world.

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This is Noro Nadeshiko yarn.

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Shown on a large couch before blocking.  It got bigger after blocking.
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Nadeshiko is fuzzy even before blocking!

Blocking changes the texture completely.

Everything flattens out in blocking.

I am taping a guest spot about entrelac today for a TV show about fiber arts. Stay tuned for more details on how to watch my episode.

My favorite pattern and all the specifics about this project are on my Ravelry page.

In the meantime, please cast on your own entrelac piece.  It’s very easy, just follow the pattern.

Comment to let me know how you like this shawl.

Five Things I Want To Create in 2016 – And Free Shipping

My fiber plans for 2016 include these five projects.

Driftwood Socks

Driftwood Socks
Driftwood Socks

I am still working (slowly) on these socks.  They were started in September, it’s now February.  Not a lot of progress lately since I had to knit the biggest entrelac in the world in the meantime.

Rogue Wave Wrap

rogue wave
From Ravelry.com

I’ve been dying to make a freeform project, and this pattern from Jane Thornley looks perfect.  It’s designed for any gauge yarn.  I plan to use some hand spun art yarns in this project, along with leftovers and things I’ve been holding onto because they are so “special”.  This includes yarns that I only have one skein of, so cannot do a big project with them on their own.

Super Easy Handspun Scarf

super easy handspun scarf
From Ravelry.com

In an effort to improve my crochet skills, I’ll probably attempt this one before the larger scarf below.

Supersized See My Stitches Scarf 

supersize my stitches
From Ravelry.com

This cool crochet pattern is perfect for super bulky handspun.  I plan to dye a couple of rovings and spin them into super bulky art yarn for this project.

Jeck Socks

jeck socks
From Ravelry.com

I like the look of these easy socks.  They seem nicely fitting and good for hand dyed yarn.  I’m always looking for sock patterns that break up pooling and blotchiness that can occur when knitting with hand dyed sock yarns. I will probably use a Turkish Toe and Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato heel, I enjoy knitting them and the fit works for me.

One thing I really like about the Turkish Toe is that it’s seamless, that makes it comfortable and sturdy.

I usually knit 3.5 repeats of the heel on 1/2 the stitches, rather than recommended 3/4 of the stitches, because I’m too lazy to move the stitches around on my circular needles when it’s time to do the heel.

Yes, I use circulars for socks, and almost everything else.  I like that I can’t drop or lose them, and I find DPNs clumsy and hard to hold on to.

I’m sure I’ll also knit headbands and cowls and lots more this year.

You can see all my finished and ongoing projects here on my Ravelry page.

What fiber adventures are you planning this year?  Comment and let me know!

As a reminder, get free shipping when you purchase two or more spinning fibers from our Etsy Store.  Use coupon code FREESHIP2FIBERS.  Free shipping ends Feb. 29, 2016.

Here’s a little eye candy from the shop.

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What Can I Do With Super Bulky Art Yarn?

I get a lot of questions about the small yardage super bulky art yarns I spin.  Typically  someone admires one my yarns like this one.

IMG_5683And then they ask me “But, what can I do with such a small amount of yarn?”

A great use for this type of yarn is a headband.  I have made headbands from super bulky yarns spun from 1.75 oz. of fiber.  This one is a 2 ply, but used a small amount of yarn.  Don’t be fooled by how little it looks, it stretches to fit a woman’s head perfectly.

Headband Knit From Super Bulky Hand Spun Yarn
Headband Knit From Super Bulky Hand Spun Yarn

Check out my Ravelry project page to see all the headbands I’ve knit.  As of today there are seventeen. Scope out my other projects while you are there too.  Friend me and say hi.

You can get my free headband pattern here.  It’s easy and fast, you’ll have a gorgeous headband in less than an hour.  Warning:  These are addictive knitting!  You’ll want to make another one immediately.

These yarns can be used in weaving projects, to stripe in a cowl or hat, or to create a face framing edging.

Combine with other super bulky yarns, handspun or commercially spun, to use in a larger project.  This is a great way to use up leftovers.  Make the colors coordinated or wildly contrasting.  Try it for a scarf or a larger project.

The Rogue Wave Wrap is perfect for this kind of yarn when combined with others.  There are a lot of patterns that would work.  Here’s one that’s free.  I am knitting this now.  watch for pictures soon.

Wrap a gift for a women in a pretty tea towel and tie with fabulous yarn.

There are a few ideas get you started.  Do you have others?  I’d love to hear them.  Comment below to share!

 

 

 

 

Friday Finds Jan. 15, 2016

TED has published a list of the most popular talks of 2015.  My favorite is number three on drug addiction and how everything we think we know about it is wrong.  What’s yours?

Did you know the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has an exhibition of knitted plants that are scientifically accurate?

brooklyn botanic garden

There’s a short article in the Wall Street Journal about the exhibit and the artist who created most of it.  She’s a self taught knitter, which is kind of amazing.

If you are a chicken keeper you may worry about your darlings out there in the cold, it is January, after all.  Maybe you’ve thought about knitting them each a sweater, but thought that would be a bit silly.  Well, in my relentless pursuit of knowledge, I’ve run across a pattern for a chicken sweater.  Pictures first!

chicken sweaters

The pattern can be found here.

And that does it for this week.  You must admit I outdid myself with the chicken sweaters…

For you fiber lovers, a picture of a new handspun bulky yarn that recently went into the Etsy store.

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Your First Entrelac

Would you love to knit a beautiful entrelac project like this?

first entrelac
My first entrelac project, knit in Noro Kochoran.

After completing 20 entrelacs I consider myself quite experienced. Many knitters have told me they would love to try it, but thinks it’s too difficult.  It’s not!  Really.  Here are some tips to make your first entrelac a success.

Pattern Choice

I always use the same pattern, if I want a bigger or smaller entrelac I change the number of stitches I cast on. My go-to pattern is The Basic Entrelac Scarf by Lisa Shroyer.  Find it on Ravelry here.  You’ll notice the shawl pictured above is featured on this pattern page.

The stitches are cast on in groups of 8, sometimes I’ve cast on as few as 16. The usual number is 24.  Right now I’m working on a huge custom wrap for which I cast on 48 stitches.  This project is is using 6 balls of Noro Nadeshiko, which is discontinued.

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The Giant

Start with 16 or 24 stitches on your first project.

Just follow the pattern, it’s very clear and well written. If you have any trouble understanding it, here is a tutorial on YouTube.

Yarn Selection

I recommend using bulky yarn for your first entrelac. You’ll see quick progress and the heavy yarn will make your stitches easy to see if you need to tink (unknit) something. It also makes it much easier to see what you’re doing when you pick up stitches to create the new blocks.

To get an entrelac with solidly colored blocks you’ll need a yarn with a long color change. My favorites include a lot of Noro yarns. I’ve used Kochoran, Nideshiko and Transitions. These are all discontinued. Many Noro yarns would work.

entrelac_in_transitions_medium
Noro Transitions

Once you get comfortable with picking up stitches (or if you have some experience with this) try a worsted weight yarn.

taos entrelac
Crystal Palace Taos, worsted weight yarn

 

bright entrelac
Knit One, Crochet Too Paint Box, worsted

If you like striped blocks like this, try a hand dyed or commercial yarn with a short color repeat.

hand dyed yarn entrelac
Hand Dyed Yarn with short color repeats

Neutrals can be beautiful too!

entrelac latte ecoduo
Cascade Eco Duo (which is one of my very favorite yarns!)

Other Tips

When completing a row, spread out the project and make sure the edges are even. It’s easy to forget or add an extra a side triangle and once you continue there is no way to correct without ripping back to that point. Best to examine each row and avoid any anguish when you discover something awry rows later.

I like to use circular needles, it keeps the edges from slipping off best, but I use circulars for everything.

Picking up stitches intimidates a lot of knitters. I was nervous about it in the beginning. The important thing to remember – it’s easy to rip them out and begin again. Entrelac is the perfect way to get really good at picking up stitches, both knitwise and purlwise. You will be an expert after your first project and never hesitate again.

If you aren’t sure exactly how to pick up and knit, check out this YouTube video on picking up knitwise.  This is focused on socks, but the principle is the same, and the stitches are very visible in this video.

Picking up purlwise is shown in this short video.  This is going to feel very awkward at first!  Keep at it and it will become easy.  Remember, practice is the way to learn anything.

The little holes at some intersections of blocks are normal. Using a slightly fuzzy yarn will help hide them. This is a perfect excuse to use a yarn with a bit of angora, again Noro is a great choice for this.

View your first entrelac as practice. Focus on learning the skills you may not be comfortable with when you begin. Don’t worry about the result. The wonderful thing about knitting is that it’s easy to tear it all out and begin again. Entrelac’s block by block construction makes it especially easy to tear out a block and correct something you don’t like.

See all my entrelac projects (and everything else I’ve knit) on my Ravelry project page. Friend me!

Good luck with your first entrelac project. I’d love to see what you create.

Friday Finds, Jan. 1, 2016

Wow, it’s 2016 already!  That was a quick year.  Here are some things I want to learn more about or try for myself in the New Year.

crochet pillow cases

I am in love with these gorgeous pillowcases and finally found a great tutorial.  The series extends  over several weeks, and covers creating the pillowcase and adding the edging.  You could start with a purchased pillow case if you want to get right to the edging.

Here is the foundation for the edge.  The actual crochet edging is the next post.

I would love to put pretty edges on white pillow cases.  Perhaps my lovely sister will do it for me.  Linda, are you reading this?

I’ve been abusing my hands, wrists and elbows lately by knitting a big entrelac project and spinning yarn.  I tend to grip everything quite tightly in my quest for control, so I get very sore.  This is very common among knitters, crocheters, spinners, painters, anyone who does a lot of hand work.  Some of you will be happy to find this great site full of Finger Yoga. Click on poses and explore!  Very simple stuff and your hands and arms will thank you.

Would you like to live in a house like this?

shipping container house

Yes, please!  Can you believe it’s created from a used shipping container?  Apparently there are heaps of these just rusting away on the east coast.  Wouldn’t it be great if these could be repurposed into inexpensive housing for retirees, young people just starting out, or people who’ve been affected by natural disasters?

Here is a Buzzfeed blog post about shipping container homes that shows how fabulous they can be.  I dream of creating one for myself someday.

And a fiber picture to inspire your creativity.

yarns to willow mist aug 16 2013
Just a bunch of hand spun and hand dyed yarn I made.