Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting Started: Knitting Kits

Knit One Crochet Too Rasta Hat Knit or Crochet Kit

If you're a knitter, you've probably heard about knitting kits before. Knitting kits are packages that contain all the materials you will need to knit a project. While you provide your own needles and time, the kit provides a knitting pattern and the appropriate yarn for it. The advantages of these kits is that you do not have to go out of your way to locate the correct yarn to go with the project. Having the exact type of yarn used in the project will help prevent gauge issues, and will ensure that your final knitted product looks like the picture in the pattern. There are several different types of kits that you can purchase; here are a few:

Sock knitting kits are excellent because many times you want to have a product that looks exactly like what the pattern promises. This can be difficult because sometimes finding the yarn that is used in the example can be hard to find, especially if it's a wool yarn, since most local craft stores sell mostly acrylic yarn. Sock knitting kits include whatever yarn you'll need, in the amount you'll need it in.

If you love knitting hats, you're in luck because hat knitting kits are fairly common also. Hats are a great medium for using fair isle or intarsia knitting because they are relatively small and quick to knit. However, finding complimentary colors that look good together can be difficult. With hat knitting kits, you can be sure that you'll have colors that work well together.

One of the most popular kits are sweater knitting kits. Sweater knitting kits take the guesswork out of figuring out how much yarn that you will need to complete a project. Additionally, sweaters are one of the most gauge-dependant knitted projects, so you want to make sure that you use the type of yarn suggested in the project so your sweater fits properly.

Finally, there are scarf knitting kits, which are similar to sock kits in that yarn color and texture are very important to the finished product. With scarf knitting kits, you can be sure that you get the exact type of yarn, with the same color, thickness and elasticity to reproduce the results seen in the pattern.

One of the best ways to ensure that your knitting projects look the way that you want them to is to purchase knitting kits. These kits give you yarn, patterns, and any other accessories needed to create socks, hats, sweaters and scarves.

Monday, January 30, 2012

ArtYarns Beauty

ArtYarns Sparkling Wrap Knitting Pattern

If you are looking for knitting yarns, which are designed for and by a knitter, look into ArtYarns yarn. Iris Schreier is one of the founders, and she is a dedicated knitter and has written several knitting books including Reversible Knits, Lacy Little Knits and Modular Knits. ArtYarns offers a complete line of high end yarn with premium fibers, such as cashmere, mohair, silk, supermerino and ultramerino.

The advantage of using the ArtYarns yarns line of yarns is that they come in a full spectrum of colors, hues, and gauges. They have a complete line of colorways that include solids, tonals, and multicolor yarns which are available for all fiber types. They offer skeins in plys and sizes from sock yarn to bulky.

One of the most sought after fibers for yarn and wool is cashmere, and they offer but 100 percent cashmere yarns along with cashmere silk blends. The cashmere line also features glitter, sequined and prebeaded skeins, to add some zing to your knitting. This line offers skeins with thickness from sock weight to DK weight.

Merino is possibly the most popular wool for knitting. It is less expensive than cashmere, but still wonderfully soft and durable. If you are interested in this wool, look into their supermerino and ultramerino lines of yarn. These yarns are spun using 100 percent merino wool, and they are available in a variety of colorways and gauges. This line offers that range from sock weight to extra bulky weights.

Another popular fiber for knitting is mohair, which is available in a silk and mohair mix along with sequined skeins. These yarns are soft and fluffy, and they are wonderful for creating shawls and cowls that are lightweight but warm. This line of yarn is available in DK weight.

ArtYarns knitting patterns are also available, which are designed by knitting luminaries such as Iris Schreier, Nicky Epstein and Sharon Sorken. These ArtYarns knitting patterns can be purchased or are available for free when you buy a skein of yarn that goes with the knitting pattern. ArtYarns also offers a selection of free patterns which are available on Facebook.

If you are looking for a line of yarn that is made for knitters, by knitters, look into the ArtYarns line of yarn. There are a huge variety of wool and fiber types available, with a wide selection of embellishments available to add sparkle and shimmer to your knitting.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Wear a Scarf: 6 Easy Ways

If you are a knitter like me, you've knitted more than your fair share of scarves. They are so much fun to knit, but then often you are left not knowing just how to wear them. Here are 6 creative ways to wear scarves and even shawls - perfect for livening up your wardrobe this time of year!

Here are 6 ways to wear a scarf illustrated below:
  1. Loop-n-through
  2. Loop-n-through with a knot
  3. Back drape
  4. Double wrap
  5. Fashion knot
  6. Knot, twist, and drape
Photo courtesy of 9GAG

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Knitting Love: Free Tiny Heart Knitting Pattern

Less than a month until Valentine's Day, why not knit up a tiny heart to show someone you care. You could even knit a few and put them in a bowl like candy hearts, or string a bunch together to make a tiny heart garland. Our friend, Sheila M. on Facebook had an idea, "It would make a great sachet." We think so, too!

I knitted this one in less than an hour using Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted Yarn. One ball makes a bunch of them and their Berry color is the perfect shade of pink! 

So, get knitting some love! Get the free pattern >>

How are you going to use your tiny hearts?
Feel free to post comments and share photos of your completed hearts with us and how you used them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day - How Knitting Can Help Others

Since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became a national holiday, it seems to be a day of service, giving back to your community, and spreading the message of peace and caring for others.
"How can I help?" you ask.
Do you realize all the people that could benefit from your knitting? Not only could you knit for those in your local community such as local shelters, soup kitchens, and hospitals; you can knit for others around the world. 
There are lots of fabulous knitting charities who would welcome your completed project no matter what your skill level! Most of of the charitable foundations we are featuring below have free patterns on their website, ideas for how you can help, or even ways to get a whole group together to knit for others. 
Whether you donate one item or one hundred, they will be happy to receive your donation and you'll have the pleasure of knowing you've made someone's life a little brighter through your gift of knitting.
So, take a look at some of our featured knitting charities or you can view our entire Knitting Charities list.

Knitting or crocheting a simple square, not much bigger than a gauge swatch, can help in spreading the message to a child that they are beloved, they are the future, unique, and special. This wonderful Knit-a-Square program is part of the KasCare charitable organization and reaches out to abandoned, vulnerable, and AIDS children and orphans living in southern Africa. They offer free knitting and crochet patterns to knit these 8 x 8" squares that will be pieced together to create a warm blanket.

The Pink Slipper Project
Warm the hearts and toes of women forced to live in shelters to seek safety. Many have had to leave their homes suddenly without any belongings. Your gift of a simple pair knitted or handmade slippers will remind a woman or child that somewhere, someone is thinking of them.  Slippers don't need to be pink, but they do need to be warm and handmade. The Pink Slipper project offers lots of free patterns for you to get started.

Operation Toasty Toes
Knit or crochet finished items for our Armed Forces stationed overseas. Operation Toasty Toes sends handmade slippers, dickeys, headband, helmet liners, watch caps and fingerless mitts to warm our troops and sent a message of support. The Armed Forces encourages garments knitted are bright, encouraging colors since your gift also helps boost moral. Toasty Toes patterns must be used for packing purposes and they have lots to choose. Show our men and women in service that you care and appreciate their efforts.

Binky Patrol 
What a great way to show a child you care by knitting him/her a cuddly blanket! The Binky Patrol is an organization that has been providing handmade blankets to kids in need for nearly 15 years. They give blanket to children and teens from 0-18 (we love that they give to that often forgotten teen age group, too). 
You can knit, crochet, sew, or quilt a blanket. The "binkies" are given to children born HIV+, drug-addicted, infected with AIDS or other chronic or terminal illnesses, those who are abused, in foster care or experiencing trauma of any kind.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Knitting Trends: Slouchy Hat Knitting Patterns

There is a style trend on the runways, in your favorite shops and boutiques, and now it's hit knitting in a big way. Slouchy hat patterns are a hot trend this season! Hats are available as slouchy berets or hats with an added bit of slouch...whichever you choose, you'll love the results. 
Slouchy knit hat patterns featured above: Ysolda Teague Ishbel Slouchy Beret Knitting PatternDull Roar Phoncible Slouchy Hat Knitting Pattern, and Knit and Tonic Monkey Bones Slouchy Hat Pattern.

There's no shortage of designers whipping up these fun to make patterns and no limit on the styles available. We've seen them in lace, Fair Isle, cables, and lots of other textured stitches. These projects aren't just for advanced knitters, either. Slouchy hats are available in styles to suit knitters of all skill levels.
Slouchy beret knitting patterns (shown, left to right): Ysolda Teague Icing Swirl Slouchy Hat Pattern, Woolly Wormhead Ziggy Slouchy Hat Pattern, and Knit and Tonic Le Slouch Deux Hat Knitting Pattern.

Why do we love slouchy hat knitting patterns?
  • They are small, portable projects perfect for knitting on the go.
  • You can knit one up in just a evening.
  • They usually only require a ball or two of yarn allowing you to indulge in a hand dye or luxury yarn
  • Have interesting stitch patterns, enough to keep you interested but not so complex you can't watch tv, chat with friends, etc.
  • Slouchy hats are fun to knit and you'll love wearing them, too!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

More Knitting Porn

Heart throb Ryan Gosling!
Hey girl. I'm bummed they took town your yarnbomb, too.
Now that's porn for knitters!

Photo courtesy of Handmade Ryan Gosling

The Diversity of Plymouth Yarn Knitting Patterns

Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Cabled Pullover Knitting Pattern

Bristol Pennsylvania is home to a very wonderful family owned business called “The Plymouth Yarn Company.” For over 45 years, they have supplied the public with quality materials and products for those who enjoy knitting or crocheting. Plymouth Yarn provides friendly customer service, has hundreds of beautiful yarns and yarn accessories and also has a vast selection of patterns available for their clientele. Plymouth carries many different kinds of yarn suitable for both beginners and experts including: Lace, Alpaca, Angora, Wool, Cotton, Acrylic and many others, all in which are currently fashionable and carefully dyed to provide the customer base with a substantial variety.

Aside from yarn itself, the business also sells their brand of Plymouth Yarn Needles which are also perfect for any level of knitter or crocheter. An example of this would the Plymouth brand of Rosewood Interchangeable Knitting Needles. This attractive set of Plymouth Yarn needles includes 9 pairs of knitting needles and has sizes spanning from 4 - 11 (U.S.) and 3.5 - 8 (mm.) The set is neatly arranged within a foldable faux leather case and also comes with 2 keys and 8 cable caps. This is just one example of the merchandise on hand as the company also has a selection of bamboo knitting needles as well as travel crochet hooks, buttons, shawl sticks, shawl pins and bamboo marking pins.

With such high quality tools available, Plymouth Yarn knitting patterns are also readily accessible too for patrons who wish to experience a well rounded yarn craft experience. The company offers a large list of free patterns which consist of: scarves, cowls, bags, wraps, hats, afghans, towels, throws, mittens, pullovers, vests, hot pads, socks, washcloths, shawls and many other projects.

Plymouth also sells many diverse publications which can be purchased through their company. These include: “Knitting in the Round”, “Easy Afghans for Knitters” and “Big Needle Knitting.” There are also other books which explore such topics as knitting with organic materials, family related projects, alternative methods of knitting and a 64 pattern compilation which explains how to combine knitting with felting. These Plymouth yarn knitting patterns are masterfully explained in great detail so that beginners and seasoned crafters can understand how to complete each project successfully.

The diversity that can happen with these lovely patterns is something that Plymouth encourages. By providing their customers with classical, traditional as well as newer, fashionable patterns, they are able to satisfy their shopper’s individual needs. The patterns even include a few unique projects such as leg warmers, stuffed animals, doll clothes, jewelry, wrist bands, tea cozies, and much more. With a constantly updated stock of new and stylish materials, seasonal colors, and over 60 locations to choose from, Plymouth has a project available for anyone. The company also makes certain to provide updates or revisions to their patterns, if needed, and is constantly adding more to their catalog.

The possibilities that the Plymouth Yarn Company offer are endless and provide a pleasing experience to both new and returning customers.

10 Things I Love About the Beekeepers Quilt

Here's what I am working on today and I am totally in love with this knitting project! The Beekeepers Quilt knitting pattern is a fun project from Tiny Owl Knits. It's made by knitting honeycomb shaped pieces then putting them together. The result is a cozy knitted quilt that is sure to become an heirloom. Here are all the reasons I love this project:

10 Things to Love about the Beekeepers Quilt Pattern

  1. Hexapuffs! The quilt is made up of individual stuffed hexagon shaped pillows..aka hexapuffs
  2. It's a great way to use up stash yarn.
  3. Beginner knitting project but knitters of all skill levels will love it, too. 
  4. No sewing required!
  5. No purling required!
  6. Hexapuffs are knitted in all one piece.
  7. Hexapuffs are easily pieced together to create the quilt of your choosing (again, no sewing required).
  8. It's easy to adjust the size of the quilt as you go, so you can select the finished size.
  9. The pattern includes lots of photos and detailed instructions.
  10. Very portable project, perfect for knitting anywhere!

The Versatility of Alpaca Yarn

Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Yarn

One of the most versatile materials in the world is alpaca yarn. And for that reason it's easy to see why it's in such high demand. In fact, the animals are primarily bread for their fibers.

Alpaca is a domesticated animal that is native to the Andes Mountains of South America. Because of the low temperatures of their habitats, they rely upon their coats to stay warm. The fibers of their hair are hollow, providing a high degree of warmth. The insulating capability of alpaca is five to seven times greater than that of wool. But despite their ability to insulate, alpaca fibers are lighter than those found in wool, which makes alpaca yarn ideal for garments designed to keep humans warm, from scarves to sweaters. Other knitted and woven items that can be produced with alpaca yarn include blankets, hats, gloves, socks and coats. Baby alpaca yarn can be made to make beautiful accessory items, such as vests, legwarmers and even mittens. This type of alpaca is actually finer than cashmere.

Characteristics that determine the value of alpaca are the amount produced by each animal, its color, fineness and the length of the fibers. And while the two textiles are processed in a similar manner, alpaca has many advantages over wool. Not only is it warmer than wool, but softer and stronger. Its durability makes it more adaptable to various industrial processing methods. And its value is reflected by the fact that raw alpaca hair can be converted into "clean" fiber, for use in yarn, at a yield rate of between 85 and 95%. This contrasts with a yield rate for wool of only between 45 and 75%.

There are many other characteristics that make alpaca unique. Not only do the hair fibers come naturally in 22 different colors, but they can be blended to reproduce virtually the entire color spectrum. Industrial processors are particularly fond of white alpaca because it can be dyed to any color, and when dyed, the color will not fade. Alpaca is also versatile because it can be combined with other textiles. Appealing to wearers is an alpaca silk blend yarn, which is super soft and super light. A particular type of alpaca silk blend yarn is half and half, while other blends may be only 20 to 30% silk. Baby alpaca yarn is not only the softest and finest variety of the material, but is still durable, and can be hand-washed. On the other end of the spectrum is bulky alpaca yarn, which is perfect for knitting. Though heavier, bulky alpaca yarn is still smooth and soft.

Strong enough not to tear, alpaca is not easily stained, and if it gets dirty, it can be cleaned without the need for special cleaning agents. Those who are sensitive to certain fabrics will be happy to know that alpaca material is hypoallergenic. And unlike wool, alpaca will not build up static electricity, which means no sudden shocks for the wearer.

Alpaca yarn may be more expensive than wool, but it's many advantages make it well worth the extra cost.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Plymouth Haciendo Yarn Review + Free Knitting Pattern

Hi, It's Nancy Queen again from NobleKnits.com and I'm here to talk to you today about Plymouth Haciendo Yarn. It's a beautiful thick and thin yarn and it comes in a nice big hank. Haciendo is available in a wide variety of colors. We have a one-ball Rustic Lace Scarf Free Knitting Pattern available.
I'm unwinding this hank because I want you to see how thick and thin Haciendo is. It has a really nice texture as you are knitting. It's not spun super tight so it's really, really soft. It's actually one of my favorite yarns this season.
Again, it's Plymouth Haciendo Yarn available at NobleKnits.com. Check it out!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Two More Reasons to Love Sidney Sheep!

It's hard to think you could love Sidney Sheep any more! Sidney is an adorable sheep figurine hand crafted in the mountains of Peru. He's the creative vision of artisan, Emily Barnard.
A few months ago we introduced you to Sidney in the small size.
Now you have even more Sidney Sheep to love - he's available in sizes Medium and Large. The medium Sidney stands approximately 10" tall, and the large stands approximately 12" tall.
How to love Sidney? Place him near your favorite knitting spot. He's a great listener and loves to hear your knitting accomplishments and woes!
Shop all sizes of Sidney Sheep >>

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Post holiday blues

Not sure what to do with herself this morning..my daughter took to dressing up the dog in a number of interesting outfits. We had a scary punk rock dog, a posh paris dog, cozy winter wear, and my favorite her "spring party dress".

Note the handmade yarn collar she created to add a bit of glam. :)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Swiss Cheese Cowl Free Knitting Pattern

Acquamarina Swiss Cheese Cowl Free Knitting Pattern

Scarf measures: 20" around x 12" high

You will need:
Loosely cast on 90 stitches. Join into round taking care not to twist stitches.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Purl
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: Purl
Round 5: *(Bind off 5 stitches, Knit 5) repeat from * to end of round.
Round 6: *(Cast on 5 stitches, Purl 5) repeat from * to end of round.
Round 7: Knit
Round 8: Purl
Round 9: *(Knit 5, bind off 5 stitches) repeat from * to end of round.
Round 10: *(Purl 5, cast on 5 stitches) repeat from * to end of round

Repeat Rounds 3-10 utnil about 10-12" tall (or desired height), ending with a round 8.

Last 2 rounds: Knit 1 round. Purl 1 round. Bind off loosely knitwise. Weave in all yarn ends.