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.

IMG_5753

This is Noro Nadeshiko yarn.

IMG_5871
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.

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Friday Finds for May 31, 2013

Today’s blog post shows a couple of Etsy treasuries I made this week.  Here is the first one, entitled “Yarny Goodies I Love”.  Find the other images and links to the products here.  This one has a very loose color theme, which I find interesting, because I certainly didn’t set out to create it that way – but I love the way it came out.

Yarnie Goodies I Love

The second treasury is less organized and really mostly for spinners, but I love it!  “Just A Little Eye Candy for Spinners” is here.

Just A Little Eye Candy For Spinners

Etsy makes it so easy to find gorgeous things.  I’m going to try to show my treasuries every Friday that I can, so keep watching.  More beautiful stuff next week!

Spring Knitting, Part 2

People ask me how they can wear hand knit accessories in the spring and summer.  Here are some examples that I think work well.

This frothy lime shawl is knit in 100% pima cotton, so it’s light, soft, airy – just right for cool summer evenings or chilly movies.  It’s an asymmetrical triangle, so it’s a bit unusual, not like anything commercially produced, perfect if you like to be just a bit different. 

Lime Shawl
Lime Shawl

Lime not your thing?  How about coral?  This is a rectangular scarf,  it makes an excellent sarong.  It’s cotton, so it dries in a flash.

Coral Rectangular Shawl
Coral Rectangular Scarf

Perhaps cooler colors are more to your taste?  Noro Nobori knits up into a gorgeous blue and purple rectangular scarf.

Noro Nobori Fishnet Shawl
Noro Nobori Fishnet Shawl/Scarf

Looking for a gift?  Finding it tricky to buy colors for someone else?  Teal looks great on almost everyone, and this 100% cotton is soft, fluffy and generally fabulous.  This is another one of those rectangular scarves that you can wear in several different ways. Doesn’t it look great with the seahorse shawl pin?

Teal Rectangular Scarf
Teal Rectangular Scarf

Spring Knitting, Part 3 will be coming soon.  We just keep creating the beautiful stuff!

Spring Knitting

After a brief vacation from blogging, I’m back (well, at least for today).  Been quite busy with kids, knitting, etc, so blogging fell by the wayside for a bit.

Nicer weather has finally arrived, after a cool, wet spring here in Indianapolis.  I hear conflicting predictions on what the summer will bring, I’m hoping for cooler than average – last year was murderous.

Been knitting a lot (to put it mildly) and there are a lot of fun new items in the Etsy store.  We’ve been knitting many things that will work for spring and cool summer nights, like this pale yellow open weave shawl.  I love this primrose color, it’s perfect for women with delicate coloring, and 100% organic cotton makes it super soft.  This is an asymmetrical triangle and it’s super versatile, wear it as a wrap or scarf, or fold it and wrap for a sarong.  It dries in about 30 minutes if it gets wet, so it’s great for the beach.

Primrose Shawl
Primrose Shawl

We found a great buy on Noro Nobori yarn this spring, so we’ve done several different things with it.  I knit this scarf;  think this is the perfect pattern to show this yarn’s unusual texture and beautiful color changes.  This one reminds me of a zinnia garden in the summer sunshine.  Cheryl, my business partner sees fireworks.  How about you?  What do you see?

Zinnia Garden Scarf
Zinnia Garden Scarf

Cheryl knit the yarn in a different colorway, this one makes me think of a spring rainbow, cheesy I know – but how would you describe it?

This scarf is just right for women with fair, golden complexions – what we might call “Spring” or “Dressing Your Truth Type 1”.  I plan to write more about this color typing stuff in a future  post.

Spring Rainbow Scarf
Spring Rainbow Scarf

Cheryl also knit this black fishnet type rectangular scarf from organic cotton.  We found a fabulous buy on Mirasol Samp’a, 100% organically grown and dyed cotton, so we snapped up a lot – watch for lots of cool new things to appear in the shop.

I love this pattern, it’s so easy to wear, it makes a nice soft scarf, a shawl or wrap and a perfect sarong.  Do I even need to talk about the possibilities for a sexy Halloween costume?

Black Organic Cotton Scarf/Wrap/Sarong
Black Organic Cotton Scarf/Wrap/Sarong

I’d love to hear what kind of hand knits you’d like to see in our Etsy shop for spring and summer.  Please let me know through the comments if you have other ideas or know of patterns that would make useful (and beautiful) hand knit items for warmer weather.

Win Free Hand Knit Fingerless Gloves – Enter Our Pinterest Contest Today

How would you like to win a free pair of hand knit fingerless gloves?  Gloves that are completely unique and unlike any other pair on earth?   Simply enter our Pinterest contest, which ends Feb 25.  Better hurry!  See the rules in my earlier post.  We’ll even pay your shipping.

Here are a few new items in the Etsy shop, including a couple more pairs of fingerless gloves.

The first is knit of Malabrigo superwash yarn.

Malabrigo Ribbed Fingerless Mitts

And I just finished this spectactular and super soft shawl in an alpaca/wool blend (75% alpaca, 25% wool).

Alpaca/Wool Shawl

Isn’t that the cutest shawl pin ever?  You can get it here.  The artist is on vacation right now, but will be back in early March.  She has the best shawl pins I’ve ever seen, cows, mermaids, giraffes, you name it, she can make it.

Cheryl just completed this very sweet pink and white scarf.  Perfect for spring, it reminds me of apple blossoms.

Apple Blossom Scarf

And there’s another pair of Malabrigo mitts.

Malabrigo Mitts Aguas

There are a lot of other pairs of fingerless mitts in the Etsy shop right now.  Go take a look at all the available gloves, and then enter the contest today.  We will be choosing a winner on Monday, Feb. 25.  Entry is easy and Pinterest is always fun.

Good luck!

Collaboration vs. Competition (and Clapotis Tips Too)

I’ve noticed something about some patterns lately that I don’t remember seeing on old, vintage patterns.

Once in a while, there will be a statement somewhere on the pattern prohibiting making the item for sale; I’ve heard these referred to as personal use only patterns.  I’ve seen this on both free patterns and patterns I’ve bought.

Now, call me crazy, but it seems to me that if I buy a pattern I should be able to do whatever I want with it (except sell it on directly, of course).  I think the time and materials I put into a knitted item, say a shawl, are quite a contribution, and give me the right to sell it, gift it, keep it, or even destroy it if I wish.

When you buy a cookbook, there isn’t a disclaimer that you can’t make cupcakes from the recipe and sell them.  The very idea is laughable, and I don’t see much difference, they are both intellectual property.

Attempting to place restrictions on the use of your creation speaks volumes about a mindset of lack and scarcity – which is not the way I choose to live.  I believe there is plenty of business for everyone.

I don’t see how it hurts the pattern designer for me to knit and sell from her pattern.  I’ve already paid for it, more people will see her designs, and that could result in more pattern sales to other knitters.

As a matter of fact, I know of at least one pattern designer, Natalie Larson, who recognizes that collaboration is a better way to do business than the old paradigm of competition.

Here’s what she says on her Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern page on Ravelry about knitting her patterns for sale.

If you buy the seller pattern, it allows you to sell an unlimited number of finished products. This is lifetime license with no sample knitting required. I ask that credit be given and that you provide a link from your listings to my etsy, HC and Ravelry pattern store. I will provide you with the links and exact wording. Additionally, I will link to your shop information from my stores – perhaps you’ll get some extra business!

She is a forward thinking business person.  Collaborating with other knitters will get her pattern more exposure, more word of mouth and very likely, more sales.  And it doesn’t cost her a thing. The knitter gets free marketing assistance.  Win-Win – I love that!

In news about my own knitting, I’ve received some custom orders lately.  I’m on the second one now, it’s a Clapotis in Malabrigo Rios, colorway Aguas.

Here’s a picture of the first Clapotis I knit.  This yarn is Cascade 220, the colorway is 9923.  It reminded me of a thunderstorm sky, I called it Thunderclap on my Ravlery page.

Clapotis in Cascade 220

And here’s the beginning of the new one in Malabrigo.  I’m thinking it will be spectacular.

Clapotis in Malabrigo Aguas

I find the clapotis pattern to be overly complicated as it’s written on Knitty.  Fortunately, Kim at SoulKnitting has made a wonderful checklist you can find here on her blog.  Makes the whole process very simple, just knit and check off the rows.

If you have any trouble with the checklist and can’t reach Kim feel free to contact me, I’ll email you the spreadsheet.

So, genius pattern design and easy to use instructions from someone else – see what I mean about collaboration?

What do you think about this subject?

A Weighty Subject

I’ve been made aware (in a traumatic way) that not all skeins of yarn are created equal – they don’t all weigh what the label says they do.

Recently, I was knitting this lovely small shawl

Blue Lagoon Scarf/Shawlette

and I ran out of yarn long, long before I should have.  The only reason I caught on is that this was the second time I used that yarn to knit the same pattern.

The yarn was Knitpicks Chroma fingering weight.  I called the nice Customer Service queen and she apologized profusely and immediately dispatched another ball at no charge.  She asked me to let her know if there was a problem with the new ball, because that might indicate there were short weights for the whole dye lot.

The new ball was fine, but this whole experience made me think (uh-oh) and I began to weigh many different yarns.

Here are some results.

Yarn

Labeled Weight (grams)

Actual Weight (grams)

Noro Kureyon             100               99
            100               90
Noro Kochoran             100               92
            100              107
            100              107
            100              103
            100              97
            100              92
KnitPicks Gloss DK             50              47
            50             49
            50             50
            50             52
Karabella Soft Tweed             50             53
            50             50
            50             50
KnitPicks Stroll             100             102
Noro Silver Thaw             100             97

What I discovered:

1.  Yarn weights are all over the place.  8 were under weight, 6 were over weight, and only 3 were accurate.

2.  Some of the underweight balls were very short, up to 10% less than labeled.  This can cause a big problem if the weight indicates that there is less yardage than labeled.

3.  Noro was the worst offender.  The reason I weighed so many Noro yarns is because my first results were so crazy (and because I have a lot of Noro).  Karabella was pretty consistent, Knitpicks Gloss was pretty close to stated weight or a bit over.

Now, all this brought more questions to my inquiring mind.

What does it all mean?  Is the yardage short?  Is the yarn underweight because it lost moisture in storage?  Does humidity in my house affect the weight?

I am willing to believe moisture is a factor, but 10% underweight is a bit much.  I googled around a bit – searched underweight yarn skeins – and found plenty of yarns for sale with the disclaimer “slightly underweight”.

Of course, I absolutely do not believe any of this is done purposely.  But, it’s impossible to know how much yarn I use if I don’t know what I started with.  And sometimes I need to know.  For example, when designing a pattern it’s necessary to know how much yarn it takes.   Also, if I don’t know how much I started with, I don’t know what I have left.  Since I often use leftovers for smaller projects, that matters to me.

So,  I’m weighing all my skeins from now on before I knit them.  I’ll record the weights on my Ravelry project page.  And, if I notice a consistent pattern of shortages then I’ll be able to make an informed decision about buying that yarn in future.