New store sample: Twinleaf

twinleaf9A stunning wrap by Grace Anna Farrow that Lisa made even larger (see mods) for maximum comfort and versatility! Minimalist in design, Twinleaf uses short row contrast colour stripes and an asymmetrical design to create a modern and functional piece with dramatic effect.

Click here to see additional photos and project details (including modifications) on our Ravelry project page.

- Melissa

twinleaf8

Free pattern Friday: Colorblock Shawl

free_colorblock_shawl2(Photo: Jen Emmerson)

Colorblock Shawl by Jenn Emmerson is an easy-knitting, easy-wearing piece that will take you from early fall into winter. It’s worked in one piece from the bottom up in solid, contrasting colours using simple increases to create the triangular shape. While this is obviously a great pattern for beginners, we think the graphic, high-impact nature of the project makes it an appealing knit for all skill levels! [ED: ooops, the red and grey version is actually knit with Blue Sky Alpacas - Alpaca Silk (not MillaMia) - the grey and yellow sample below is knit with MillaMia. Note: We are also fully stocked with 30 c0lours of BSA Alpaca Silk!].

free_colorblock_shawl1(Photo: Jen Emmerson)

free_colorblock_shawl3(Photo: dashydash)

millamia
MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino yarn is made from 100% extra fine Merino Wool. Its supersoft feel makes it ideal for babies and young children, and the lovely twist on the yarn means that the resulting knitted fabric has a great stitch definition. Produced in Italy.

100% extra fine Merino / 50g / 125m /  3.25mm (US 3) / 25 stitches per 10cm / 4in

- Melissa

Take Good Care Of Your Stash

If you consider yourself a serious knitter, building a stash is unavoidable, really. I cannot explain it. It just so happens. You’ll buy yarn that you won’t use right away – and that is called ‘stash’. Granted, some stashes are larger than others and some contain only left over yarns from projects, but they all have something in common: they need to be stored.

I have yarn that I like to have on display, because I do love looking at it and it inspires me. Then there is the yarn (sweaters’ worth of yarn) that cannot be displayed in a pleasing manner and that needs to be stored or ‘stashed’ away.

Over the years I have tried several methods to store my stash. Sorting it by colours turned out to be a desaster (at least for me) because I was always looking for another colour of that particular yarn and somehow it did not make as much sense to me as I thought it would. So I have settled on sorting my stash by weight. That works well for me. It really depends on your sense of order how to arrange or organize your yarn – I do have a couple of tips, though! Most of these come from my personal experience, a lot is what I choose to do – so remember, if you have different preferences, do it however you like! :-)

Yarn likes to breathe.

Have you ever noticed how loosely yarn is usually wound into a skein? (There are exceptions, I have to admit. I have one skein of Wollmeise Sock yarn that is so tightly wound that I am sure you can knock someone out if you had to!) This is most important for natural fibers like wool, alpaca, any animal fiber that has elasticity, actually. If you do not plan to use the yarn soon, you better leave it in skeins. If your sense of order requires the yarn to be wound, make sure you do not wind it too tightly. If you wind elastic fibers to tightly, they’ll stretch while they wait to be knitted. Now, please do not misunderstand me: this does not hurt the yarn itself, once washed it bounces right back. However, if you knit with yarn that has been stretched during storage, your gauge will change significantly after washing! If it is too tightly wound the yarn flattens out and thins during storage, knitting with that might be quite different from knitting with a properly stored yarn. Cotton, Linen and non-stretchy fibers are – if not excluded – due to their rigid nature not in too much danger of changing a lot.

However, plastic bins for storage are fine.

Yes, I know, I said yarn likes to breathe – but I explained what I meant with that, and apart from winding it too tightly, yarn stored in plastic bins will be just fine. That is what I do. Sometimes I even put the pattern together with the yarn in one of those extra large zip-loc bags. So I won’t forget what I had planned to knit with it. Plastic bins keep the dust out, so do plastic bags.

There is no SPF for yarn.

Remember that when you have yarn in your living room or any other room, come to that. If there are spots in that  room that get hit by the sun, try to avoid putting yarn there. Especially cotton and silk, but wool also if always exposed from the same side to direct sunlight, will fade – even when in a plastic bag. Your yarn will stay pretty if not exposed to direct sun light.

Avoid snags.

Are you a fan of baskets? I am. Very much so. When it comes to storing yarn, you definitely want a basket that is covered in fabric on the inside, or even plastic, if need be. If it is not, there will be snags – and they are not pretty! If there is no fabric cover to be had, make sure there are no pieces sticking out, meaning that the insides of the basket are smooth, otherwise you can damage your yarn.

Make sure you get no unwanted visitors.

Some of us do not have a big space and no generous closet or big shelf to put all of our yarn. This often means that some of the stash is relegated to the basement. To avoid getting visitors we do not want, you can put Lavender sachets in the plastic bins, cedar blocks are good for yarns that are mostly wool – and then I recommend to check every once in a while if everything is in order. (I brought some yarn from Germany when coming to the US and later Canada and learned the hard way that it doesn’t have to be moths that damage the yarn. I do not know what kind of bug it was, but my 100% wool yarn was damaged and not usable anymore.)

Revisit, revise.

Yes, I know. There are some yarns we bought years ago and we would have just such a hard time letting go. Or so we think. When I find a yarn like that, I try to find a project for it that I would really love. If I can’t find one, I usually let it go. It depends on how long it has been sitting in my stash. This is the hard part, I know. But I have also learned long since that letting go can be very liberating, and also, I make space for more, newer stash…

Happy knitting, as ever!

- Mona

A yarn lover’s best friend…Stashbot!

Is your stash getting out of control? When you find a project you’d like to knit and try to use yarns you stashed without a specific pattern in mind do you come up short? Frustrated? Stashbot to the rescue!pamphlet_stashbotStashbot is your yarn shopping companion! If you find a yarn you can’t live without, this guide will help you determine how much you should buy. It will pay for itself over and over as it saves you from purchasing more skeins of yarn than you need.  Most importantly it will keep your stash useful as you’ll be sure to have enough yarn to knit the projects you would like.  Stashbot is an 8 page booklet that includes yarn requirement averages for gauges 3 – 8 stitches per inch / 2.5 cm. All yarn requirements are presented in both yards and meters.

- Melissa

More books back in stock…

We love these pattern books – fresh, modern garments and accessories designed with some of our favourite yarns!gudrun_knitwithmeKnit with me – A mother & daughter collection by Gudrun Johnston.
Click here to preview.

kb_essentialsKnitbot Essentials is a collection of six popular Hannah Fettig designs paired with three of her must have accessories.
Click here to preview.kb_yoked

Knitbot Yoked is a collection of four modern round-yoke sweater patterns and two accessories. Hannah Fettig provides valuable tips and techniques for knitting round-yokes from the top down. This book also serves as an introduction to Fair Isle knitting.
Click here to preview.

kb_linen

Knitbot Linen features six unstructured knits designed and knit in Quince & Co. Sparrow.  Inside the book you’ll find five garment and one accessory patterns.  I share my tips on knitting with linen, and Pam talks about the Sparrow color palette.
Click here to preview.

- Melissa

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