4.15.2014

Easy Knitted Wrap

Have some yarn from a forgotten project? So did I. I found a skein of Fisherman’s Wool from Lion brand yarns, in Maple Tweed. Each skein has a hefty 465 yards or so and it is Worsted weight yarn. After some trolling around on Ravelry I found a super simple wrap, a rectangle with rows of knit on the top and bottom and k2, p2* until end of row for 2 rows  and then p2 k2 next row for 2 rows, repeat until you are ready to end it, and then knit your heart out for the ending rows. See the photo in the link here, it is the Shawl by Melanie on Ravelry.

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I used needles size 13 US, also cast on 132 stitches instead of the 110 called for. I just knitted until my skein was over. Then couldn’t decide if I needed another one. There is a fine line between wrap so big you don’t want to take it anywhere, and wrap just right. So I stopped at one skein, I like the longer length, I can wrap it over my shoulder to stay on, or wrap it backwards. It can also be used as a cowl/doubled scarf, due to the open knit smoochy quality of it. I have been exploring acrylic/wool  blends lately, but I have to say, you just can’t beat 100% wool for warmth and coziness!

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I have used this yarn numerous times! It is easy to find, price is great, I usually get mine at Joann's for about 8.49$ to $10.99, use those 40% off coupons, and get it even cheaper. It is 465 yards per skein 8 oz., tweeds are in 6 oz. skeins, aran weight yarn.is made of undyed pure virgin wool with natural lanolin oil. Color availability is natural type colors, neutral, beige, browns, tan etc.. Tweeds are also all natural/neutrals. While the yarn does feel a bit scratchy, I think the tweed yarns are scratchier. I find that after washing, it is reasonably soft, (I add some hair conditioner to the rinse water). Long lasting and so warm. If I was making a sweater or anything to wear next to my skin I would not use this yarn. This yarn is suitable for felting also. It does have a low twist. The skein I had was in my stash for a time so it was made in the USA. I believe it is now made in China. I think the brown label on the yarn are the Made in China ones.

Two other yarns similar to it are Cascade 220, also 100% virgin wool  (average $8 to 9.00 for 220 yards full price, but Cascade has a plethora of colors to choose from and a slightly tighter twist, and softer, This is a good yarn. It is my go-to yarn when I’m looking for a reasonably 100% wool.  Another similar wool is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes,100% Peruvian Highland Wool worsted weight. this yarn has 100 colors and is $2.69 per 50 gm. ball at 110 yards. Wool of the Andes does have a better feel and twist to it. Price is actually very comparable at $10.76 for 440 yards (4 balls) I can’t say anything bad about KnitPicks Wool of the Andes except you have to purchase it online and I can’t pick it up and feel it.

See links below for other knitted wrap patterns.

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I’m going to include some other fast, easy, free knitted wraps, suitable for spring temps!

-Ruana or wrap knitted pattern by Barbara Breiter
-Easy reversible thermal wrap pattern by Esther Bozak
-Wild Ride by Lila Agnew
-Four Seasons Wrap by Cynthia Cushing
-Wrapped in a Hug Stole by Grace Stark

4.07.2014

LaLa Shawl

Knitting always sooths me, I was stressed and needed a small project, out of town with little resources. I had one knitting book and found a Joanns store. After much looking around and dithering, some yarn was found that I fell in love with a wool, mohair, acrylic mix!  Patons North America Lace,I decided to buy two balls, because, well who knows what it would become?

Only having one knitting book gave me few options, Greetings from the Knit CafĂ©, so I picked out the Lale shawl and started in. The pattern is super simple and goes fast due to the yo’s and then drop them the next row! This would be a good first shawl for a beginning knitter! Love how the yarn is giving the color change and lacy look with a slight halo.

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Pattern is very easy to follow, once you knit one repetition of it, you can go on auto pilot with it.I knitted most of it during visiting friends for a music festival. So little attention to detail, and lots of talking involved. I’m always surprised at how many knitters I meet when sitting and knitting at a social gathering.

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The only part of the pattern that gave me pause was the ruffle, I had never seen one made in this manner. After reading several knitters struggles and modifications with the ruffle on Ravelry, I was initially going to omit it. But after doing so, I frogged it back and decided I could figure it out. The ruffle really adds what made this shawl stand out and make me want to knit it. After a few tries I set off and it did take some time to finish the ruffle, but I did it while watching Netflix, and I think it was worth it.

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I love the feel of this yarn against my neck, it is the perfect size and weight to wear under my winter coat and give it a pop of color. Warm and yet weightless. It makes me feel girly.

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I would definitely make this pattern again, and use this yarn! See yarn info above, the color repeats are quite long, and I like the look it gives.

Although this pattern was in a book, below are some very similar free shawl patterns:
-Lala’s Simple Shawl by Laura Linneman
-One skein summer shawl by Kat Oliver
-Impossibly Large, Impossibly Simple Shawl by Miranda DiStanfo
-Matter and Void by Julia Mueller
-143-13 Raspberry Shawl by Drops design

Happy Knitting

2.13.2014

Seed Stitch Cowl/Scarf

Winter winds, snow and ice? That translates to lots of knitting. I had a birthday to knit for and a couple of skeins of Hometown USA by Lion Brand. I was drawn to this yarn due to the extreme softness, it just made me squeeze the skeins and the vibrant colors, and then noticed that it was 100% Acrylic. I’ll be the first one to tell you, I hardly ever knit with a yarn that does not have some natural fiber in it, but this felt so tempting I couldn’t resist. I usually buy Wool Ease Chunky with a fiber content of 20% Wool and 80% Acrylic, but kept going back to this one. I just couldn’t stop touching it.
It is a super bulky yarn at 9 sts x 12 rows per 4 square inches. Available in 63 colors, the solids and multis are 100% acrylic, and the Tweeds are 94% acrylic and 6% Rayon (due to the tweed bits). I decided to try it out, as I had fallen in love with the Tampa Spice color, I thought it would  be perfect for my birthday gal.
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I wanted a Cowl pattern, and loved the look of the seed stitch cowl, free patterns on Ravelry. I cast on 18 stitches for my cowl and used #17 size needles, I wanted the cowl to be super squishy soft.
Pattern: Super Chunky Infinity Cowl by Hannah Hockley (knit end to end and then join, see link below on how to kitchner a seed stitch)
Chunky Knit Infinity/Eternity Cowl by Jayna Grassel (same as above but involves twisting the finished item before kitchnering the ends together))
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See texture of yarn/stitch above. The snow was so bright that day, everything kept getting washed out.
Easy knit, turned out very nice, in the end I decided to not join it and keep it a scarf. I love a cowl, but if I don’t want to loop it twice around my neck, I find it awkward to let it hang. Is it just me? I figured the scarf had more style options.
I did find instructions thanks to Tricksy Knitter, on how to kitchner the ends together when using a seed stitch. She also has instructions for stocking net and knit kitcher. Tricksy also has a pleather of knitting knowledge and instruction on her website, I recommend it, go give it a look.
I was so impressed with the Hometown yarn, I couldn’t believe it was 100% Acrylic, it worked up fast, had good stitch definition and was a joy to knit with. I’ll add info later on how it survives the wash and dry test. Product Care Instructions: Machine wash. Initial water temperature should not exceed 40C or 105F. No bleach product may be used. A machine dryer may be regularly used at the hottest available temperature setting. I wonder if it will pill, I looked at the rating on Ravely and it gets a 4 out of 5 stars. I’m very impressed with it so far, and am making more projects with it. I haven’t found any Cons for this  yarn  yet. The price point is good. I bought mine at JoAnn’s for approx. $4.99 per skein but, I found it cheapest at Walmart for $2.97!
Solids: 5 oz. (142 g), 81 yd. (74 m)
Multis and Tweeds: 4 oz. (113 g), 64 yd. (59 m)
HomeTown USA Pros and Cons
Pros
Cheap (Wal-Mart the cheapest)
Soft
Lots of colors, multis and tweeds also (63 different) bright colors would be good for school color scarfs!
Widely available
Easy Care
Good Stich definition
100% acrylic (for those who want super easy care or wool allergies)
Super Bulky, works up super fast
My usual go to bulky washable yarn is Wool Ease Chunky, and this is miles softer than that (wool ease chunky is 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool).
Fast to knit up a item
Cons
-100% Acrylic ,For those of you that want % of natural fiber in it for warmth, I’ll update on the warmth, as single digit temps are with us for a while
-Possible pilling?  I’ll update on this later, after a good several wash & drying. *update* NO pilling, I did notice a small amount of shedding (fluffy), but I washed and dried until dry, I have been washing with jeans to give it the rough treatment. I’m truly impressed!
-fuzzies-If you must rip out a project this yarn will fuzz slightly, and shed.


Overall
I love this yarn, and have already bought more to knit with. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. I cannot find anyone who does not like this yarn, except for the acrylic haters. *grin* I think this yarn slighly can fuzz when being ripped out due to the loose twist in it. That may also account for the softness, short fibers=softer feel, more natural fiber like?