Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yarn Review: Zen Yarn Garden Gradient Trio

I was delighted to get to review Zen Yarn Garden's gradient sets. The gradient sets are grouped together as Trios or Quartets. The Trio comes with 3 skeins, 200 yards each skein, totaling 600 yards. Quartets have 4 skeins totaling 800 yards. All gradient sets have been dyed to coordinate with each other for multi-color projects.

I chose the Trio in the colors Storm Time. The light to dark blues really appealed to me. The yarn is soft to the touch. It is 100% superwash superfine merino wool that is a 2/4 ply which means 2 plies were spun into a 4 ply.
Swatching is key for helping me decide on what I want to knit with this yarn. Plus, it helps me get to know the yarn. I knitted a stockinette swatch on size US 6 needles and I definitely like the knitted fabric it produced on that needle size. It had a nice drape.
My next swatch was using a lace stitch pattern that I liked. I was pleased with how the lace looked. The knitted swatches had a almost silky feel to it. It's hard to believe that it is just 100% wool. The yarn also stood up to me frogging and washing it a few times. It's a very high quality merino wool.

Now that I have swatched with it and know how the yarn behaves, I am going to cast on a scarf using a combination of the stockinette and lace stitch patterns. I definitely would recommend this yarn if you are looking for gradient sets. Check out the amazing color combinations they have to offer. Thank you Zen Yarn Garden for letting me try your yarn.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Blog Review: JUL Designs Mod Loop Leather Closure

I have a fun review for all of you this week. The generous people at JUL Designs sent me one of their Mod Loop Leather Closure to try out. Have you heard of JUL screw-in snap closures? They screw directly into the garment. The threaded cylinder positions between stitches with a backing on the wrong side of the fabric and a screw securing the Mod Loop on the front.

They don't make any holes in your knitted or woven fabric and it is removable. The removable part is what sold me on it. I went searching for different accessories I wanted to out with the Mod Loop. I thought it would be interesting to see the different types of accessories it can be used on.

My woven cowl, which was made on a pin loom, was my first accessory to experiment on. The squares are woven on a Schacht Zoom Loom and seamed together. Woven fabric is not stretchy like knitted or crocheted fabric, but I didn't have any problems working the screws into the woven fabric. Look how great it looks and it keeps my cowl closed.
My next try was on my Turkish Lace Shawl. It's a very long shawl, about 95" long, so it can be styled numerous ways. In the book, they have it wrapped and tied. I used the Mod Loop on one end of the shawl and the other half was placed near the middle. I think it's a great way to keep a long shawl in place and it adds a nice detail.
Of course, I had to try it on a knitted garment. This is a store bought cardigan that has no buttons to close it. It's one of those popular open front cardigans. The Mod Loop was perfect for my cardigan.
I really love the mod look of the JUL closure. The clean lines really makes it versatile for many types of garments and accessories. I was given the Truffle color. The leather is nice and thick and the hardware is very good quality.
In case you are curious about the back. This is what it looks on the back of the fabric. That is the threaded screws and backing disks.The backing disks keep the Mod Loop closure snug against the fabric.
My last accessory to try the Mod Loop on was my Putney Shawl. It's not a very wide shawl so it could benefit from a closure. The Mod Loop added a great look to the shawl. It's a very eye catching closure.

I absolutely adore the Mod Loop Leather Closure. Thank you JUL Designs for letting me try out one of your closures. I can see this being used for so many types of garments and accessories. What a clever design.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Melograno Cowl with Anzula

I am excited to release my latest cowl pattern, Melograno. Melograno means pomegranate in Italian. Anzula’s colorway, Madam, reminds me of the those delicious gem-like seeds. This warm and squishy cowl is worked from the bottom up in the round. It’s a quick knit using Anzula’s Burly. The merino, cashmere and nylon blend is soft and amazing to knit with.
Thanksgiving Special Discount: Buy the pattern for only $4 until Nov 24, 2018 (midnight est). No coupon code needed. Just add to your cart for the discount.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Yarn Review: Be Sweet Magic Ball

I am excited to share my review of Be Sweet's Magic Ball Yarn. Be Sweet’s mission; to bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers that evoke an individual style and help support community development around the world. Be Sweet works with several job creation groups that give artisans the means to support themselves and their families in economically depressed regions in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.
I have never worked with a multi-textured yarn like this before. The Magic Ball is an arrangement of hand dyed boucle and brushed mohair yarns tied with knobby, ribbon and metallic goodies. I wound the skeins by hand and was delighted to see each section of yarns and ribbon that makes up each skein of the Magic Ball. One section even had little beads threaded into the yarn.
I used a US 10 needle to knit with the Magic Ball yarn. It was so much fun to knit with this yarn. I kept wanting to knit more because I wanted to see which section of goodies I would get to next. This yarn is extremely entertaining to knit with. I think my favorite sections would be the yarn with metallic threads, bobbles, beads and hand tied ribbon. The little hand tied ribbons are such a sweet touch. There are 48 colors to choose from and I did have a hard time choosing a color. I let me oldest daughter choose and she chose Oceans. I think it had to do with the mermaid-like colors of the yarn.
I used 2 skeins of Magic Ball to design a small shawl. It is such a quick knit and the yarn really makes this an eye catching accessory. The shawl is blocking and I hope to get the pattern written up onto Ravelry soon. Thank you, Be Sweet, for letting me review your yarn. I loved knitting with the Magic Ball.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hanashōbu with Anzula

I just released a new cowl design, Hanashōbu, in collaboration with Anzula. The cowl is designed with their new yarn Gerty, a 100% American Targhee. The pattern was an exclusive kit sold at Sample It in the TNNA Summer Show in June. Now the yarn and the pattern are available to everyone. Read more about it on Anzula's blog. From now until Sept 30, you can buy Hanashōbu for a discounted price of $4 by using the coupon code “ILoveGerty” at the checkout.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Yarn Review: Dale Garn Lerke Pluss

Today, I am reviewing Dale Garn's newest yarn, Lerke Pluss. The yarn was provided to me for review from Heart of the Mitten. They are a online store and yarn shop located in Michigan. Now, they are the exclusive US retailer of Dale Garn.

Lerke Pluss is a blend of 53% Merino wool and 47% Egyptian cotton. My first impressions when I touched the yarn was that it was soft, smooth and cool to the touch. It has a soft ply. There are many strands plied together and the color has a marled look.
The yarn is easy to knit with and it went smoothly across my needles. I have to say it didn't feel like I was knitting with cotton. It had plenty of elasticity because of the merino wool. It has a very nice feel as you are knitting with it.
I used size US8 needles and it was perfect for this yarn's gauge. It knitted up very quickly. The knitted fabric is soft and stretchy, but it still had structure. It wasn't floppy. I also liked the texture of the knitted fabric.
My second test for the yarn was to crochet with it. I used a size 5mm crochet hook. It was easy to crochet with this yarn. It works up quickly and is very smooth. Some times you have to be careful of the plies splitting a little if you don't pay attention as you are crocheting, but it wasn't difficult to manage. The resulting crochet fabric is smooth and stretchy and not stiff at all.
Lerke Pluss would be a great year-round yarn for many projects. I could see myself using this for baby garments. Thank you to Heart of the Mitten for sending me this yarn to play with.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Winners of the Kumori Shawl Pattern Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I am so happy that my new shawl design, Kumori, is so well received.

I had my daughter pick out 3 numbers. The winner of 1 skein of  Feel Good Yarn Co SilverSpun® Silk and a Kumori pattern is ravelry:davetony. And ravelry: dixiekins and yoganan will each be getting a Kumori pattern. I will be contacting all the winners today.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Feel Good Yarn Co: Kumori Shawl + Giveaway

I am excited to reveal my latest shawl design, Kumori. Laurie from Feel Good Yarn Company had contacted me asking if I would be interested in a collaboration. She asked me to design something with a new yarn that she had been working on for her yarn line. We had a great talk on the phone and I learned a lot about her yarn company. I couldn't wait to get my hands on her new yarn.

The yarn is SilverSpun® Silk and all 9 colors are naturally dyed. The lace weight yarn is a blend of 70% Combed Cotton  / 17% Tussah silk / 6% Silver / 7% Nylon. Yes, there is a strand of real silver entwined in the yarn. The hard part for me was choosing a color. I am a fan of naturally dyed yarns. I finally settled on the color, Cloud Burst. In my opinion, you can not go wrong with grey. The color and the name of the yarn actually inspired the name for the shawl. Kumori means cloudy in Japanese.

Feel Good Yarn Company says "The silver content in SilverSpun® makes it therapeutic and conductive. Silver inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria, has excellent thermal properties, is nontoxic and is quite beneficial for those suffering from diabetes, arthritis and sensitive skin. Silver is also an excellent conductive agent allowing Smartphone or tablet touch screen use while wearing gloves knit from the yarn. The silver is permanently adhered to the yarn and will not wash out."
The yarn is crisp and excellent for stitch definition. With 800 yards to play with, I knew I wanted to make a large shawl. I chose to design a shawl with a Shetland style construction where the center triangle is knit first. Then the rest of the shawl is worked outwards.
This is how I blocked this shawl. The top edge is stretched and pinned in a straight line. Then I stretched and pinned out each picot. I block very aggressively. Shawls can take it. Trust me.
The resulting shape is a crescent shaped shawl. It drapes beautifully over the shoulders. The SilverSpun® Silk creates a light and airy shawl. The yarn really blocks out beautifully. The cotton and silk has a lovely feel to it.
You can get the pattern HERE from my Ravelry store. Or you can purchase the pattern and the yarn directly from Feel Good Yarn Company.

GIVEAWAY
Edited to add a GRAND PRIZE: Thanks to the generosity of Feel Good Yarn Company. They are offering 1 skein of SilverSpun® Silk to one lucky winner. Winner chooses the color and will also receive a pattern.

I am going to give away 2 copies of my Kumori pattern to 2 lucky knitters along with the Grand Prize to 1 lucky knitter. To enter, please leave a comment with your favorite color of SilverSpun® Silk. Giveaway ends on July 21, 2017 at Midnight EDT. Be sure to leave a email or Ravelry name for me to contact you. 

Grand Prize: 1 skein of SilverSpun® Silk and Kumori pattern.
2nd Prize: Kumori pattern
3rd Prize: Kumori pattern. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Miss Babs Summer 2017: Little Dearest Baby Blanket

Last month, I was swamped with getting ready for The National Needlearts Association Summer 2017 Show in Columbus OH. I will save that topic for my next blog post. The week before the show, Miss Babs launched their baby patterns in their Summer 2017 Collection.

I designed a baby blanket called Little Dearest with 2 skeins of Yowza. The colorway is called Deer Moss and it's a neutral color, perfect for either a boy or girl.
Little Dearest is a classic diagonally knit baby blanket that will be loved by babies and parents alike. It is knit with a 100% superwash merino wool which will make this a very warm and snuggly blanket. The alternating sections of Garter and Ridge Stitch create a pleasing texture that will be perfect for a baby boy or girl.
I am thrilled with the response to my new blanket design. I love knitting blankets, but I also know how tedious it can get. That is one of the reasons why I designed it diagonally. As you knit, you increase for half the blanket and then decrease for the other half. It makes it feel like less work. You can purchase the pattern HERE and purchase the yarn from Miss Babs online or at her retail shows.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Knit Noro Accessories 2 + Interview + Giveaway

Knit Noro Accessories 2 has just been published and it has 30 beautiful accessory patterns. I was proud to be in the first Knit Noro Accessories with my Tulip Scarf and even prouder now to have 3 designs in this book. Noro Yarns' colorways are really great for accessories. Knit with it once and you can see the appeal of the long vibrant self-striping colors. There are 30 projects which include gloves, socks, hats, shawls, ponchos, and more. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry.

I designed a shawl, a scarf and a hat for this book. It was a pleasure to design and knit them for Noro Yarns and Sixth & Spring Books. I hope you will enjoy knitting the patterns from this book. Happy Knitting!
 © 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
© 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
The Garter & Lace Diamond Shawl is knit with alternating strips of garter and lace, knit on the bias to create a diamond with vibrant color and texture. It is knit with 4 balls of Noro Silk Garden Sock in #84 Orange/Red/Pink. You start at one corner and end at the other corner.
 © 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
© 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
The Garter Ridges Scarf is knit with 3 balls of Noro Taiyo in #67 Neutrals/Black/Carnations. It has a subtle knit and purl stitch pattern. It is easy to memorize and quick to knit up.
 © 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
© 2017 Sixth&Spring Books
The Lace Beanie is a slouchy beanie that incorporates simple lace and stockinette. It is knit with 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Solo in #12 Forest. After knitting with Silk Garden Solo, I want to knit this hat in every color they have. Even though it is one color and not like their usual self-striping colorways, the colors are deep and vibrant. You can have a new hat knit up in a weekend.

INTERVIEW + BOOK GIVEAWAY
Jen Lucas Designs recently contacted me to interview me for the Knit Noro Acessories 2 book. Plus, she will be giving away one copy of the book to one lucky winner! Head on over to her blog to read my interview and enter to win the book. The deadline to comment on her blog post for a chance to win the book is 5/7/17. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday

It's fun to look back on my activities and projects from the last several weeks. It's like a week in review with pictures. I always link to products I use whenever I can. Have a great week!
Cashmere Fun Size Bundles from Lux Adorna Knits.
 Planning my weaving project with graph paper and colored pencils.
 Embroidery Alphabet Sampler from KHG Arts.
 Weaving on my Zoom Loom from Schacht Spindle Co.
 Magic Custard Cake is a crowd pleaser whenever I make it for friends.
 Quilkfolk Magazine is a wonderful new magazine for the quilting community.
Knitting with Noro Yarns is always a pleasure.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed DK

Spring is upon us and it's time to play with some cotton yarns during these warmer months heading into the hot summer. I recently got some Tatamy Tweed DK from Kraemer Yarns to try out. Normally, I am not a fan of cotton yarns because it has no elasticity and can be hard on my hands. Tatamy Tweed DK is a blend of 45% cotton and 55% acrylic. I had a feeling that I would like working with this yarn because of the blend.

My first impressions when I took it out of the packaging? The yarn was cool to the touch and soft. The colors are vibrant and very pleasing to my eyes. I liked the little flecks that were spun into the yarn.
Instead of knitting with it, I decided to try weaving with it. I used my Zoom Loom to weave some squares. It was easy to weave with Tatamy Tweed DK. The yarn wove smoothly and did not snag or fray. If you have any experience with pin loom weaving, you would know that not every yarn is suitable for pin looms. This yarn held up to the 3 layer warp and then weaving with it.
The woven fabric is light and very smooth. I am delighted by the tweed flecks in it. They add little pops of color to the finished fabric. My photo doesn't do it justice, but the woven fabric is bright and fun. I haven't decided what I am going to make with the squares, but I think it will be something for one of my daughters. I am going to keep weaving and see what it becomes. Tatamy Tweed DK is machine washable which I think it's great for kids because it's easy to care for. It comes in many bright colors and neutrals, too. Whether you knit, crochet or weave, I would highly recommend trying this yarn. The cotton and acrylic blend is perfect for anyone with wool allergies. Thank you to Kraemer Yarns for letting me review your yarn.