Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy 200th Blog Post!



It's official, our 200th blog post!
We hope we've kept you entertained, informed, and most of all...knitting! In honor of our 200th post, we're celebrating by offering our Top 20 Most Popular Items on sale. That's right, we took the top twenty most popular yarns, patterns, and notions and we're putting those items on sale for 20% off! Enjoy!

Top 20 Most Popular Items (and why knitters love them)!

  1. Plymouth Heaven Yarn - Ultra-quick knit project. "WOWs" 'em at a baby shower. Only 4 or 5 balls makes up the free blanket patterns on our site.
  2. Plymouth Galway Yarn - Felting, felting, felting! Felts beautifully and holds the color. Also popular for traditional knits - Knitters' Favorite worsted weight yarn
  3. Fiber Trends Felted Clog Pattern - Year in year out, everyone loves to knit, felt and wear these clogs. By the way, you'll need the Galway yarn listed above to make these!
  4. Rowan Colourscape Chunky Yarn - It's no wonder this Kaffe Fassett designed self-striping yarn is at the top of the list. The colors are gorgeous, with long repeats. The yarn is very soft and knits up quickly. Look for even more colors and a new pattern book this fall!
  5. Be Sweet Magic Ball - No other yarn like it! Combinations of hand tied mohair, boucle, and ribbon make up this stunning yarn. Free one ball scarf projects make it great for gift giving.
  6. Baby Alpaca Grande Yarn - Amazingly soft, chunky weight yarn is available in a wide range of colors. Fun patterns you love to knit. Also popular for hats and scarfs.
  7. Pick Up Sticks Snugs Pattern - Fun and functional boot patterns to knit, then felt. Available in Little Snugs (kids) or Big Snugs (adult). Knit them for the entire family!
  8. Mission Falls 1824 Cotton Yarn - 40 sophisticated shades of this textured cotton make it popular for both adults and kids knitting. Excellent pattern books available.
  9. Manos Silk Blend Yarn - Kettle dyed silk and extrafine wool blend makes this yarn soft with a hint of luxurious shine. Available in the most popular colors of Manos Wool. Look for even more new colors and a new pattern book for fall!
  10. Ecco Organic Camel Yarn - Eco-friendly, organic yarn. This delightful baby camel yarn a treasure in it's natural shade and knits up at a chunky 3.5 sts per inch.
  11. Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush Yarn - Light, lofty and super soft brushed alpaca that knits up at a chunky weight. Baby Alpaca Brush is also popular for it's fun to knit patterns and affordable price.
  12. Manos Geometry Afghan/Throw Pattern Booklet - collection of beautiful and fun to knit afghans and throws that will look like a piece of art to have in your home.
  13. Himalaya Recycled Sari Silk Yarn - Absolutely stunning! Yarn is made from remnant fibers from the silk weaving mills in India or from old silk saris. Free Unbiased Knit Bag Pattern available.
  14. Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set - Handy and compact kit includes needles from size US 5-15 and cords to make straight or circular needles.
  15. Polar Knit Yarn - 8 bright colors of Polartec Fleece yarn keep you cozy and warm. What makes this a favorite are the free downloadable patterns for Polar Fleece.
  16. Mission Falls Recollection Pattern Booklet - This collection of wearable sweaters, scarves, hats, and even a handbag featuring Mission Falls 1824 Wool makes this one of their most popular pattern books ever. View projects in this booklet.
  17. Sassy Skein Cotton - Vibrant cotton yarn that is wearable, washable and color fast. Available in DK weight and Worsted weight. A knitters' favorite for children's garments.
  18. Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy Yarn - Soft self-striping yarn, so wonderful to knit you won't believe it's cotton! Great for diagonal and modular knitting.
  19. Suede Tote Bottoms & Handles - Knit a tube, then sew on the suede bottom and the handles, Presto! You have a professional looking tote bag. Available in 8 colors instructions, knitting instructions included with the suede bottom. You'll need approx. 300 yards worsted/aran weight yarn.
  20. Knit One, Crochet Too Paint Box Yarn - Self-striping worsted weight yarn. Softer than another popular brand of self-striping wool, with long color changes. Excellent yarn for hats, bags, sweaters, entrelac and modular knitting. Also great for felting.

Hurry! Offer ends midnight, June 30th, 2009.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Warning Sock Knitters! The following contains yarn you'll want to knit!

Warning Sock Knitters!
The following contains yarn you'll want to knit!
Just arrived from Plymouth, Sockotta yarn new colors for Fall 2009! This season's trend is tone-on-tone color for a subtle, mottled effect. Sockotta is still the popular blend of cotton/superwash wool/nylon you've come to love and packed with a whopping 414 yards per ball and priced at only $10.95! You'll only need one ball to knit a pair of average sized socks. So grab your size 2 needles and whip out a pair, your feet will thank you!






Need some sock inspiration? Shop sock patterns!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to Hand Dye Yarn with Kool-Aid. A Step by Step Tutorial!

How to Hand Dye Yarn with Kool-Aid!
A step-by-step tutorial


Today my daughter and I dyed yarn with Kool-Aid. It was a really enjoyable experience. Since I've never hand dyed yarn before, I was a bit anxious with the whole experience. Concerns I had were: Is it going to be messy? Do I have the right material? Will all the colors mix together and make the yarn look like mud? Did I buy enough Kool-Aid to do this correctly? Will I screw this up and ruin some very nice yarn?

Well, now it's time to find out! Acutally, it was a lot like dying Easter eggs, but easier and not as messy! My daughter and I had a lot of fun. Here is a step by step tutorial of the process.


Step 1 Gather Materials
I purchased four Ziploc large rectangle containers, distilled vinegar, 3 packets each of my favorite unsweeted Kool-Aid colors, 2 pairs of latex gloves, and Plymouth Dye for Me yarns. Overall, my list was pretty good. I used only two of the Ziploc containers (one for dyeing, one for rinsing), but ended up scrounging around the house for small containers and squirt bottles for different types of application.





Step 2 Mixing the Dye and Preparing the Yarn
Mixing the dye was really easy! In the plastic pan I poured: 1 quart water (32 oz), 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 or 3 packets of Kool-Aid. The more Kool-Aid you add, the more intense the shade of dye.



Step 3 Dyeing Main Color and Heat Setting
While my daughter mixed the dye, I prepped the undyed yarn by soaking it in water and the gently squeezing out the excess. We placed the yarn in the pan with the dye, then put the pan in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Side note: Kool-Aid dyeing makes the yarn smell good enough to eat!
When we removed the pan from the microwave, we placed the yarn in another pan filled with clean, cool water to rinse. Then we gently squeezed excess water from yarn.




Step 4 Adding Spot Colors
We could have stopped with step 3 and used only the single shade of dye. But we decided to adventure on a bit more and add some spot colors. We filled a small squirt bottle with a more intensified version of our Kool-Aid concoction: 1 packet of Kool-Aid, a tablespoon of vinegar, and filled remainder of the bottle approx. 1/2 way with water.

This was my daughter's favorite part! I held up the opened hank and she squirted and sprayed, applying the dye in just the right places.



When the second round of color was applied to her liking, we placed the yarn back into an empty pan and microwaved it for another 3 minutes on high.






Step 5 The Last Rinse

Remove the pan from the microwave. Rinse yarn one last time in cool, clean water. Gently squeeze excess water from yarn.





Step 6 Drying

Tah-Dah! Hang the yarn out to dry. We hung our yarn on a tree in the backyard. It's almost dry! Now to think of knitting projects for each yarn....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Kool! Hand dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid



Okay, I've been thinking about this for a week...hand dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid.

What spawned this crazy infatuation? Well, our friends at Plymouth came out with a new luxury line of dye-able yarns called, "Dye for Me." As if just feeling these cashmere, silk, alpaca, llama and merino yarns weren't enough, they were kind enough to pack a little sheet on How to Dye Yarns with Kool-Aid to peek my interest!

So, tomorrow is the day! My daughter and I are going to give it a try. We've gathered all the necessary materials and, I think, we're ready to go.

If you want to try it too, here's our supply list:
  • 3 packets per flavor of unsweetened Kool-Aid (We picked lemon, lime, cherry, strawberry, grape, and blue raspberry. We're hoping that will result in yellow, green, red, pink, purple and blue colors)

  • 1 bottle distilled vinegar

  • Rubber gloves

  • Plastic trays (microwaveable)

  • Plymouth Dye for Me undyed yarns

Stay tuned! Tomorrow, we'll give a full report of the process; what worked and what didn't.


Check out the Dye for Me Collection of undyed yarns

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Knitting Trends - Let's Hear it for the Boys!

Knitting Trends - Let's Hear it for the Boys!
Men's garments are making a comeback this season! Designers throughout the TNNA show were proudly displaying their newest patterns for men. The projects we've seen are wearable, sophisticated, and interesting to knit!


Knitting for your fella?

Find the garment that suits his style!

Giles V-Neck Vest Pattern - The Intellectual. His weekends are spent browsing antique stores and book shops. His perfect Sunday morning is sitting in the coffee house with a cup o' joe and the newspaper.

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Spike textured mock-neck pullover pattern - The Romantic. This strong silent type enjoys jazz, cooking YOU dinner, then snuggling up in front of a crackling fire so he can gaze into your eyes.

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Chook and Mitts (aka. Men's cabled hat and mittens) -
The Sportsman. He hasn't met a game he hasn't wanted to conquer. He's a man's man that enjoys skiing, hockey, football, and biking. If he's not playing sports, he's watching them. He loves you though, and appreciates you thinking of him by knitting something he'll wear while he's on the go.
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Xander, two-color crew neck pullover pattern
- The Traveler. This cosmopolitan man is up for anything! Whether it's jetting off to London for the weekend, or spending springtime in Paris, his bag is always packed for quick getaway. Don't forget his heart's wherever you are and his favorite part of traveling is sharing it with you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Knitting: My Top 10 Knitting Projects for Babies & Kids!


Summer Knitting: My Top 10 Knitting Projects for Babies & Kids!


  1. Minnowknits patterns featuring Manos Cotton Stria (as shown in photo above), like the buttons? Check out the entire collection: Zecca Butons

  2. New! from Pick up Sticks - Little Tootsies Booties Pattern (available in adult sizes, too)

  3. For your little fashion bug - igottknits adorable dresses and onsies patterns for girls

  4. Cotton Kisses - this kit from Plymouth includes yarn, buttons and two baby sweater patterns, all for just $13.95

  5. Fill your garden with ladybugs and bumble bees with these hat and bag patterns from Fiber Trends - What's the Buzz? and Loveable Ladybugs

  6. Wee Knits 3 by Mission Falls is packed with wearable knits for boys and girls featuring washable Mission Falls 1824 Cotton yarn

  7. Heirloom Stitches patterns - Sophisticated knits for ultra-hip babies

  8. Check out funky knits for tots from well known handbag designer, Noni Patterns

  9. Baby Booties never looked so chic - Bekah Knits

  10. Little Willow Vest pattern by Tree Knitter Designs is a quick knit project with silk ribbon tie-closures. Just right for your little girl - and knit one for yourself with the adult version, Willow Ladies Vest pattern

Monday, June 08, 2009

Knitting Inspiration: My Top 10 List

In just five days I'll be strolling down the ailse of the TNNA Show. It's the wholesale market that happens twice a year. Shop owners from around the country (and globe) go to do the buying for the upcoming fall season. Just the thought of it makes me start to shake. Imagine, knitting inspiration everywhere! New knitting ideas, projects, and of course, YARN! I always visit the big companies that supply our favorite "everyday" yarns, but my favorite part of the show is finding little knitting surprises to bring back to you! Little must-haves that make knitting easier, more fun, and more exciting. It seems like just yesterday I was at the January TNNA show.

Here's my TNNA TOP 10 Knitting Favorites and why I chose them:

  1. Sheep Stitch Markers - Such a cute way to mark your knitting! Only $19.95 for a set of 6 adorable sheep

  2. Synergy Shawl Kit - This was such a WOW item! Be Sweet & ArtYarn teamed up to create this stunning shawl kit. My sister and I loved them so much we begged them to sell us kits so we could start knitting them right at the show!

  3. I'm Allergic to Wool Yarn - We love this hand dyed soft, chunky cotton. Chunky weight cotton is hard to find and this one is a gem. We also liked all the easy knit projects featuring I'm Allergic to Wool Yarn that only required a ball or two of yarn.

  4. Knitting at KNoon Patterns - Well written instructions, online tutorials, and projects you'll want to knit and actually wear/use! Knitting at KNoon has patterns for women, men, kids and even fun knit toys and doll clothes.

  5. The Knit Kit - This may just be my favorite trinket from the show! A compact little disk, so unassuming, yet packed with knitting power! Inside you'll find a stitch counter, tread cutter, crochet hook, tape measure, scissors, and point protectors. And, it's TSA approved!

  6. Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash - As if I needed another reason to love Mission Falls, they created 136 Merino Superwash! It comes in all the same amazing colors as it's big sister, Mission Falls 1824 Wool, but in a DK weight! Mission Falls never disappoints, and they created an amazing project book filled with lots of inspiration...what will they dream up for this show???

  7. CocoKnits Patterns - Treats for your Feets? We just had a hunch you would love these, and we were right! CocoKnits creates the best collection of "knit shoe" patterns we've ever seen. If you missed these, be sure to check them out!

  8. ArtFelt Kits - Does fiber get better than this? Arrange yarn and wool roving to your liking, cover it with a special paper, poke it a few times with a felting needle, then put it in water...Tah Dah! Project complete! We went nuts for these colorful, creative, and super quick projects.

  9. Mimi Yarn Caddies - For those who love to knit and walk (at the same time)! Clip this handy tote to your belt or purse and keep your knitting close (we mean really close) at hand. What's not to love about that?

  10. Flora Felted Doll Kit - Okay, I'm a sucker for anything cute, and Flora is sooooo cute! This little kit from Pick Up Sticks comes with all you need to knit and felt Flora. They also created a Furnishing Kit that includes instructions and materials to make her hat, purse, sweater and bloomers. Just plain adorable!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bonus Boa! Free Pattern



Bonus!

Adriafil's newest yarn, Bonus, is fun, furry and colorful. Just right for trimming sweaters, hats, and mittens or knitting a quick scarf.
Adriafil Bonus comes in three wearable color combinations and knits up at an ultra-quick 2 stitches per inch!




Bonus! One-Ball Boa/Scarf Free Pattern
  • Using one balls Adriafil Bonus yarn, cast on 3 sts on size US 13 double pointed needles
  • All rows: Knit 3 sts. Do not turn your work. Keeping the yarn in the back of your work, slide stitches to other end of needle. You are now ready to knit the next row. (Note: This creates a seamless tube also known as an i-cord).
  • When only 18" of yarn remains, bind off and weave in yarn ends.
  • Enjoy!