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Today I got a question from a newer knitter: Knots

Today I got a question from a newer knitter: Knots

My customer was upset that she found a knot in her ball of yarn. Of course she was! I remember the first time this happened to me–I think I was about 10-11 years old and I was outraged!

But after a lifetime of knitting/crocheting, and more than 10 years owning our business, I have learned a lot from manufacturers., Of course, they cannot intercept every flaw while putting up the balls of yarn. So some will always get through; the standard for knots is 1) no more than one per ball, and 2) a knot in less than 3% of all balls. So this is a very small probability of getting a knot, but at the same time most knitters have experienced this at least once. I have had manufacturers recall yarns because of knots as a defect, so I know they do keep track of this as a quality issue.

This is how I deal with knots that occur in the ball: If it happens near the first part of the row, that’s great. Just unknit back to the beginning of the row and then start that row after the knot, leaving enough extra on the edge to weave in. If you don’t want to do that (let’s say you’re knitting a 48″ wide afghan and you have gone across most of the row) , you can weave the ends in within the fabric by allowing about 6″ on either side of the knot. I usually take about 6″ on either side of the knot and create a slip knot with those tails very close to the needles. When you’re finished with the piece and ready to do your sewing, pull out the slip knot, clip off the manufactured knot, and weave in the ends.

I know it’s annoying, but it is unavoidable over a lifetime of knitting. I hope this helps.

International Lopi KAL!!

International Lopi KAL!!

What a surprise!  Berroco, Inc. is now the North American distributor for Istex Lopi yarns, which of course we love, and they are planning a wide-open Knit-A-Long (KAL) for February and March.   Here is the Berroco Blog post about the KAL.   The meet-up place will be on the Berroco Group board, on the Lopi KAL thread.  Why do I say International?  Because we have been sending all sorts of Lopi yarn from Australia to Canada to Europe to be used for this KAL!!

One of the great things about Lopi yarns is that it is a quick knit.  One of the great things about this KAL is that you can use any pattern and any weight of Lopi:  Lopi-Lett, Alafoss Lopi, or Plotulopi un-spun yarn.  All projects are welcome and there will be opportunities galore to connect with other Lopi knitters, from first-timers to experts.

We know how fun this is, because we held a KAL last year on our Handknitting.com Ravelry group for Audna  in plotulopi, which was a huge success.  So many beautiful sweaters.

Handknitting.com has been carrying Lopi yarns for almost 20 years.  No matter what patterns, books, colors, or weights of Lopi you want we have them, and of course  I am always available for questions and individual advice by email laurel@handknitting.com or by phone 307-200-0733.

Happy Knitting!

This is so inspirational in many ways– please take a moment to look at this

This is so inspirational in many ways– please take a moment to look at this

Today I ran across this article about a devastating wildfire in Western Australia about two years ago.  I hadn’t heard of it, and probably most of you haven’t either.

Beautiful needlework quilt to commemorate the Yarloop wildfire
The needlework quilt !

Almost the entire town of Yarloop was destroyed.  See the effects of the wildfire here.

The quilt is meant to symbolize life, recovery and rebirth.  The mandalas incorporated into the quilt were made by over 100 needle work practitioners (like you!) in about a month.  There are knit, crocheted, quilted, and embroidered mandalas, of all sizes.  Participation was generated by word of mouth.  It was inspired by the yarn bombing activities of a nearby town, Waroona, where the yarn bombing has become an annual event.

The part of this story that really impressed me was that these wonderful fiber craftists have recognized that even 2 years after the event, there is still need for support for the survivors.  Even symbolic support is critical to all trying to rebuild.

Of course the current wildfires in Southern California came to mind immediately.

While the rest of us are celebrating the end of year holidays, so many, many thousands of people from Santa Barbara to the south will have dreadful memories of the destruction that is occurring right now.   And after all the assistance from the government agencies and the disaster relief charities have gone, there will still be an empty hole in the hearts of so many people.  And that hole will need mending too.

 

WOW! It’s a goat jam

WOW! It’s a goat jam

Mountain Goat traffic jam, that is.  You can enlarge this as you like to see these beautiful animals.  This herd has just come down from summer grazing meadows (about 13000 feet) to winter forage.  This spot on the highway between Jackson and Alpine is about at 7000 feet.  We always see them right at this spot  both in late fall and

  late spring.  What you cannot see here is how incredibly steep the slope is on both sides of the road.  That’s what the goats like, because predators don’t like the steep.

See the little ones that are about 1/2 the size of the adults?  Those are the kids that were born last spring.  Merry Christmas to the mountain goats!!

Wow! Vicuña

Wow! Vicuña

It has been many years since we’ve seen any Vicuña yarn at TNNA. The vicuña is one of two wild camelids in South America, related to the alpaca. It is said that Vicuña fiber is the softest and silkiest in the world, and I cannot disagree. It is also very warm, which is of course how the Vicuñas survive in the Andes.

Read more about these amazing animals here.

The fiber itself is very rare– there are not many animals, they are wild and have to be gently caught to be sheared. The fiber itself has to be manually picked over to remove the guard hairs, which is very labor intensive.

Naturally, this means that Vicuña yarn is quite expensive, and we were quite surprised to see some available.

Linen is for Summer Crafting

Linen is for Summer Crafting

In the summer, it’s too hot to be working with a big wool project. One thing I like to work on is guest towels, because they make great gifts (and to be completely honest, I love them myself!).  You don’t need a pattern, just a basic concept. Sport weight linen knits to about 6 stitches per inch.  Here are the steps I use to create one of a kind fancy guest towels.   Remember, this is a towel, 1 stitch or row doesn’t really matter!

1) Choose a size. A large hand towel is about 11-12 inches wide by 22-24 inches long. This is the size most often found in a 3-piece terry towel set including bath+hand+washcloth. It will take about 100g of sport weight linen. A smaller guest towel is about half as big, about 6-7 X 15-18 inches and takes about 50g. These measurements have a lot of leeway, so you can fit the size to the stitch pattern you want to use.

Read More Read More

Change in the air for the Needle Arts industry

Change in the air for the Needle Arts industry

We recently were informed of some major changes in the distribution of a few popular yarns. Twenty years ago this sort of thing would never be discussed with the end customer (you!) but our world has indeed changed dramatically because of the internet and social media.

About a month ago, Westminster Fibers Inc. announced that it would no longer be importing and distributing any yarns in North America. The brands that you will recognize are Rowan, Regia, SMC, Schachenmayr, Schachenmayr Select (aka Gedifra), Istex/Lopi wools, and Butterfly Super 10 Cotton.

Of course this doesn’t mean that these brands will no longer be available to you– not at all! There are quite a few established companies interested in providing the import and distribution of these brands.

As for Handknitting.com, you already know that we are committed to all 5 Lopi yarns, and also to Butterfly Super 10 Cotton, and we promise to continue to provide them to you if at all possible.

While we wait to hear about the possibilities for future importers, we are working on a plan to make sure we will have enough of all these yarns to fulfill your orders for the coming season.

We think it is important for you to have accurate information, not rumors. As children we all played the game “telephone line” where a message is passed from one to another and by the time the message reaches the end of the line it has changed dramatically! Well, the internet accelerates and magnifies this effect. If you have any questions at all, please contact us directly by emailing Laurel@handknitting.com.  Please do not rely on speculations on the chat and comment threads of the various social media sites for your information.  We will do our best to answer all your questions honestly and in a timely manner.

Plotulopi Knit Along

Plotulopi Knit Along

Hello Everyone! I hope you already know that we have begun importing Plötulopi, the classic unspun Icelandic wool. In celebration, I’ll be hosting a sweater knit-along in our Handknitting.com ravelry group for the beautiful Auđna pullover:

22 Audna

Isn’t that gorgeous? It is truly a special design, and has great design elements that are derived from the nature of the Plötulopi yarn.

This isn’t a beginners’ project; you should have some experience with knitting in the round, and with stranded color work like fair isle. On the other hand, you could very well learn some new techniques while we work through the sweater pattern!

Your investment in the project will depend on the materials you need, of course. You will need the yarn, Lopi Book #34, and US 7 & 9 circulars and dpns. You can see more details about this in my project listing.

There is no charge for this KAL. We have set up a kit package on Handknitting.com, but participation is not limited to people who buy the products from us. (If you are experienced with Plotulopi and have everything you need in your stash, that’s fine! We welcome your insights!)

I’ve been working and test knitting this pattern for the last month, and I will start posting my preparatory suggestions within the next week.   Please help me spread the word with your friends who might be interested. Thanks so much, Laurel

 

 

[1]: http://www.handknitting.com/Audna_Plotulopi_Sweater_Kit_p/audna.htm

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