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?


2.08.2014

I Shawl You <3

Winter weather has been crazy this year! Seems like warm to cold temps. Coldest temps I’ve seen in a long time. What better to get everyone in a great knitting mood!

I wanted an easy shawl pattern to high light the handspun yarn. It was my first time that I spun a pound of fiber, I picked out an unlikely color (for me) because I tend to look at my stash and it is all blue. Pumpkin or persimmon colored Blue Faced Leicester fleece! I splurged on a pound and wanted to see how much yardage I would get from it.

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I spun it up and plied it, It ended up giving me approximately 700-800 yards or so. It looked a little matt or dull to me, so my girlfriend suggested that I added a strand of something else. I picked out a spool of Sulky thread in the blendable colors, it did take 3 spools, I ran my plied yarn back through the wheel and loosely added the thread. The result gave it just enough dimension to make me happy.

Large enough to wrap around your body in the house, in a chilly office. Yet squishy enough to compress down around your neck over a coat, I am pleased with the result, nice and warm and comforting. I’m gifting this to a friend, so I’m glad to have it done.

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The pattern started out to be the Boneyard shawl pattern by Stephen West, but when I started knitting it I was watching Netflix and ended up leaving the ribs out. So it ended up to be a plain shawl. It is closer to the Scrappy Prayer Shawl recipe by Cosette Cornelius-Bates

Pattern:

I kid that it is my Boneless shawl, easy, and quick.

Stich pattern: Most simple is stocking net stitch, except for edging, but you can use any pattern, just remember that you will be increasing on either side.

Think of all of the patterns you could insert! Texture, lace anything you can imagine, go super simple with a seed stitch or complex with cables and lace. Get adventurous, really going to get creative? Here is a link to some customizable knitting graph paper to print out.  I love to look through this online pattern stitch library from the craftcookie

Yarn and Needles: Anything goes, handspun, recycled yarn, thick, thin, stash,(use your stash and make it stripy), you make the choice. Use a needle size large enough to give your shawl some drape and softness. Larger needles = lacier look.

Basic idea:
odd (right side) rows knit or use your chosen pattern, even (wrong side) rows purl, except for knit the first and last two stitches of all purl rows, this gives a nice edge.

Begin here:
-cast on 5 stitches, place a marker on each side of the middle stitch
-knit row, (first row) increase on either side of marked stitch, (two increases) I like to use the lifted increase (tutorial here), but you can use your favorite, or even a yo (yarn over), if using a yarn over this gives a hole, which is very pretty.

-purl row, k2, purl across to last two stitches and knit those
-knit row, k2, place marker, increase in next 2 stitches, k1, increase in next 2 stitches, place marker, k2

now the two below rows you will repeat until you are about 4 – 5 rows away from being finished.

-k2, purl across, knit last two stitches
-k2, (marker here) inc1, knit stitch before marker and increase,slip marker, k1, slip marker, increase one, knit to one stitch before marker and increase, slip marker, k2

when you are 4-5 rows away from being done, (this way you can use up all of your yarn) knit all across both directions, I stopped increasing also.

Then bind off in a stretchy manner, I like the Russian Cast off (tutorial here)

Now go to town and create your own custom shawl!
If this helps you out, I’d love to see a photo of what your up to, send me a photo and I’ll include it here!!
email me at knittingdragonflies at gmail dot com