Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fourth of July Knitting Patterns 2011

I thought I would get these patterns up early this year, so you actually have time to knit!  Below are a few links for some patriotic knits.  For more July 4th Patterns, check out the archive for June of last year.  Enjoy!

America Star Coasters
American Flag Placemat
Americana Knitted Evaporative Beverage Cooler (you will need to register to view this pattern.  Registration is free!)
Let Freedom Ring Towel
Patriotic Mini-Sock Pin

Happy Fourth, everyone!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ball Winder Review

I recently posted a video on YouTube of the swift (and ball winder, the New Wool Winder from Royal) I got from Paradise Fibers, the Super Swift II.  Someone commented that they were thinking of getting a ball winder, and would it hold a standard skein of yarn, specifically Lion Brand Homespun.  I had never used the ball winder for anything other than in conjunction with the swift to wind hanks.  As you may know, Homespun comes ready to use, it is not necessary to wind it into a center pull ball.  I do know some people who prefer to rewind yarn, and while I have never done it, this question made me curious if the ball winder would accomodate your average skein of yarn, should I ever choose to rewind.

So I performed a test, using the LB Homespun in question, which is a bulky yarn and comes in 6 oz/170 gram skeins (that's 185 yards) and a skein of Mainstays yarn.  Mainstays is a brand  marketed by Wal-Mart; it is a 4 ply worsted weight yarn and comes in 7 oz/198 grams.  Don't ask me how many yards it is, because I am not mathematically gifted enough to figure it out.

The Homespun resulted in a super sized ball, which did fit on the ball winder, however as I neared the end, it began to wind itself around the bottom of the disc the yarn sits on as it winds.  I didn't have much trouble removing it from the ball winder though.  The ball of yarn is much too loose in my opinion, but I suppose that isn't of importance.

The Mainstays yarn, I decided to hold in my left hand just to give it a little drag as I wound with my right hand.  This resulted in a tighter ball of yarn, but it was still a fairly good sized ball.  Not something I can imagine conveniently fitting into a knitting bag along with a book or half finished project.  Unless you have a very roomy bag!  At the end, I also had an issue with the yarn beginning to wrap around the winder, and I had a bit more trouble removing it.

After this unscientific test, I think I prefer to leave my average skeins of yarn as they come and only wind hanks.  Now, if you do like to rewind your yarn, there is the Jumbo Ball Winder V2, which would probably be a better choice as far as preventing the yarn from winding around the machine.  But, at $199 a pop, well, I'd rather spend that much money on yarn!  Depending on how much and and how bulky the yarn you want to wind, perhaps you will find $199 a good investment.

Here is a picture of the results of my experiment.  The LB Homespun is on the right, Mainstays on the left.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creative Knitting July 2011

The newest issue is here!  

On the Cover:
Harmony of Hues
Seven Seas: Undulating Currents of Deep Sea Blues
Eco Maniac: Green is the New Black
Shore Things: Relaxed Sophistication in Subtle Shades of Sand

Caught my eye on the inside:
Caribbean Seas Shawl, by Ava Lynne Green knit in DK weight yarn.  Sample in the magazine was knit with Woodland, from Classic Elite Yarns which is a 65% wool, 35% nettles blend yarn.
Oyster Bay Afghan, by Shirley Macnulty knit in Worsted Weight yarn.  Sample in the magazine was knit with Therapi from South West Trading Co., which is a 50% fine wool, 30% Bowlder (Jadeite), 20% silk blend yarn.

Ollie the Octopus, by Anie Marriott knit in DK weight yarn.  Sample in the magazine was knit with King Cole Dolly Mix DK from Cascade Yarns.  Super cute toy for kids!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Knit'n Style August 2011

Another fabulous issue of Knit'n Style!  Here is my review of Issue #174

Cover Highlights
First Look at Fall Fashions
Knitting with Peruvian Yarns
Art to Wear - The Hexagon Coat
Master Edge Stitches

Some of the goodies on the inside:

Faux Crochet Cardigan by Mary Anne Oger and is knit with Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima (I just received a skein of this yarn from Jimmy Beans Wool this morning, and it is the softest cotton yarn I have ever felt!  I ordered only one skein just for experimental purposes.  I have yet to wind it up, but just smooshing and cuddling the hank I can tell this is a fabulous yarn!)
*This pattern is designed for machine knitting!

Mushishi Textured Wrap featuring Plymouth Yarn Co. Mushishi is a wrap front cardigan featuring a lace panel and gathered neckline on the back, and a deep V-neck and waist tie on the front

Frilly Knit Scarf featuring Red Heart Boutique Sashay - this is a funky, fun yarn that I have never knit with before.  I have some similar yarn that I purchased a couple of years ago at a show, but it is buried deep in my stash.  If you need some help using this yarn, click HERE for a video.

Lots of nice projects in this issue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Filati Handknitting Spring 2011

From Lana Grossa, this is always one of my favorites.  I pretty much like everything in this issue.  Visit the website - you can see pictures of all of the projects in this issue.

Here are a few:

Design 14 - Beautiful sweater knit with the front and back worked side to side, and a nice cable across the top.  Knit with Lana Grossa Taglia, 100% cotton yarn.

Design 17 - Gorgeous hoodie knit in a drop stitch pattern, using Lana's yarn called Marmo, a 35% cotton, 35% viscose, 30% silk blend.

Design 35 - Fabulous cabled turtleneck for the guys (but I would wear it myself!) knit in Ambiente, 85% recycled cotton and 15% recycled cashmere.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Knitscene Summer 2011 and Love of Knitting Spring 2011

In this issue of Knitscene, you will find the following, plus lots more:

  1. 7 Simple Summer Tops + 7 quick accessories
  2. Explore Garter Stitch with Stephen West
  3. The Magic of Mitered Corners
  4. The Artful Knits of Amy Christoffers
Some patterns I like:

  1. Embassy Scarf by Amy Polcyn, a light and airy drop stitch and garter stitch pattern  creates a feminine scarf
  2. Mayville Cardigan by Sarah Fama, a super stretchy stitch is used for this simple jacket.  The sleeve silhouette is easily achieved - drop sleeves are worked without shaping to give a wide cuff and relaxed shoulder.
Love of Knitting Spring 2011 has 28 flirty spring knits - scarves, shells, vests and cardigans.  Also, learn to knit bobbles.

Buttermilk Shell by Melissa Leapman - wear a long sleeved shirt underneath for those cool spring days, and alone for the warm summer nights
Cropped Eyelet Vest by Irina Poludnenko, a beautiful, feminine vest featuring a picot edging and pretty lace pattern
Sunny Day Jumper by Amy Polcyn for Aslan Trends for little girls - super adorable with adjustable straps make it wearable for this and several seasons to come.
Azure Shawl by Nancy A. Boccuzzi is a beautiful lacy shawl with a ruffled edge is knit with Lucatape  yarn, by Lucci Yarns. This pretty yarn has tiny sequins woven into the fiber to give it a little something extra special.  Very pretty!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Interweave Knits - Summer 2011

The latest issue is here!  Full of beautiful knits, here are a few items you will find in this issue:

Cover Highlights:
21 Playful Warm Weather Knits
Liven Up Your Knitting (We Love Patchwork; Fast, Fresh Texture; Easy, Breezy Lace)
Kathy Zimmerman, the Knitter's Knitter
Create Your Own Lace

Caught my eye on the inside:
Bast Fibers: Article by Deborah Robson  :  A brief description of how yarn is made from these fibers as well as a review of several, including Louet Euroflax Sportweight and Halcyon Block Island Blend.

Cobblestone Vest, by Talitha Kuomi - This beautiful lacy vest uses the Louet Euroflax Sportweight yarn

Dockside Cardigan by Amy Miller - Comfy cardigan is knit with Cascade Yarns Heritage and features a classic brocade stitch

Amelia Hoodie by Erica Jackofsky - Lovely sleeveless hoodie is knit in stocking stitch, with a band of whipstitched swatches, knit with Malabrigo Organic Cotton.

Lots more awaits you in the Summer 2011 Issue of Interweave Knits.  Be sure to get your copy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sandra Knit Trends Issue #1 2011

While I have heard of this magazine before, I have never had the opportunity to read it.  So when I saw it in the book store a couple of weeks ago, I got it. I am only finding limited info on this magazine.  It took me a while to find a website for them.  It was hiding in the middle of the magazine on the 7th page of the pattern instructions! I think this is a special issue of Sandra, and is published quarterly. This magazine is printed in Germany, and the international distribution is through Pineapple Media Limited.  You can purchase single issues of Sandra HERE.   You can even subscribe through amazon!   There is also a UK site called Newsstand, where you can purchase the Knit Trends issues.

This issue features both knit and crochet projects for spring and summer.  Full of lacy, feminine projects such as Design #30, Cardigan with Eyelet and Leaf Pattern Scarf, or Design #14 the Mottled Blue-White Pullover, and #58, Lace Pullover in Lilac.

There are also patterns for little boys and girls such as #47, Purple Wave Patterned Pullover (for girls)  Something for everybody in this magazine except men, apparently.

That's it for now.  Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carriage Yarn and House of Yarn & Needlecraft

Not long ago, I was in Ocean, New Jersey.  Of course, I had to check out the local fiber selections.  I was only able to make it to two stores.  Below are some pictures of the shops and what I thought of each one.

First up, Carriage Yarn (you can also find them on Face Book)
This little shop is located in a small shopping center.  When I went in, there were some ladies sitting around a table chatting and enjoying yarn. I was immediately welcomed to the shop. Although small, this store is jam packed with lots and lots of yarn.  From what I saw, the majority of their yarns were synthetics. To be fair, I was on a bit of a time crunch, and so did not have the opportunity to look at every single yarn, so she may carry some that I just didn't see.  I enquired about Araucania Ruca Multi, which is one of my all time absolute favorite fibers.  It's made from sugar cane and is an absolute dream to knit and wear.  They did not carry this yarn, however she did have Sugar Rush by Queensland Collection. I did not purchase any because A)It comes in fairly small skeins, and B)I feel that, while made from the same materials, the Araucania is superior.  But that's just me.  Believe it or not, I did not buy anything at all.  As I said, it seemed that the majority of her yarns are synthetics - now, I am not saying that synthetic yarn can't be nice and soft and pretty, but I have come to prefer 100% natural fibers for the most part, or natural fibers blended with only a small percentage of synthetic material.  Nothing in this shop caught my eye as must have.  If you are in the area, stop by because there may well be something you like.  And it is always nice to meet fellow knitters! I would likely stop by again, even just to sit and chat with my fellow fiber enthusiasts.  For more information about them, visit their web site or Face Book page using the links above, or visit them at the location below.

895 West Park Avenue
Ocean, NJ 07712-7205
Phone: (732) 493-3334 Fax: 732-493-3370



And now, House of Yarn and Needlecraft.  
What to say about this shop.... the owner is Dolly Griffith.  Now, I don't want to be rude, but I would not likely revisit this shop.  First and foremost, I was not welcomed when I entered, and I was not asked if I was looking for anything particular or needed help.  I did not see any natural fiber yarns, and most of the shop was not very orderly or neat.  It was rather cluttered.  In fact, I would almost go so far as to say it was a down right mess.  A lot of the yarn seemed to just be placed haphazardly around.  Now, Dolly is an older lady, and perhaps does not have the energy to keep things in order, I don't know.  Like I said, I don't mean to be rude, I am just stating the facts of the place as I found it.  That being said, she has an awesome collection of back issue magazines and pattern booklets!!!  I have never been to a shop that had such a large selection, and if I were to go back, it would be to peruse these items, even though there seemed to be no order to them, they were all mixed up.  I was interested in getting my hands on some Helens Lace, from Lorna's Laces.  She had none, and I am not certain she even knew what it was to be honest. (Not that I expect any shop owner to be familiar with every single yarn on the market, that is unrealistic of course.  But I think Lorna's is one of the more popular yarns so.....)  Whenever I have asked for a particular yarn in my LYS, and they did not carry it, they offered to order it for me, or were able to suggest something similar.  Dolly did not.  True, I do not live in the area, however she didn't know that, and I felt a good business person should at least offer to order something for a customer.  Anyhow.... The lady who was in the shop with her was making a fantastic lady bug blanket (I think it was crochet) that I wish I had thought to ask for the pattern.  It was so cute!  I think you can see a little bit of it in one of the pictures below.  I did not purchase anything in this shop either, and was not impressed in the least with the place.  Won't go back should I be in that area again, either.  Sorry Dolly, your shop gets a thumbs down!

The store is located at:
227 Main Street
Manasquan, NJ 08736
Phone: 732-223-9788
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM - 5 PM


The Knitter and Yarn Forward

I always say this at the beginning of magazine reviews... this is one of my most favorite!  Let's face it, all of the magazines I review are my favorites, or I wouldn't read them.  So... here we go!

The Knitter Issue 30
On The Cover:

  1. Inspired by Nature, stunning shapes and organic textures
  2. Shetland Lace, celebrating the revival of ancient traditions
  3. Masterclass, create beautiful effects with intricate slip stitch

Caught my eye on the inside:

  1. New Yarns Review: I love this section - it always adds at least one yarn to my wish list!
  2. Hayworth: A gorgeous long sleeved shrug with a lace patterned collar designed by Sarah Hatton
  3. Knitting for health and wellbeing, an article by Betsan Corkhill of Stitchlinks examines how knitting can help improve the lives of people in pain 
  4. Roundabout Cowl by The Sexy Knitter features  reversible cables

Yarn Forward Issue 35
On The Cover:

  1. Spring Styles, Knitwear's take ont he new season's trends
  2. Great prizes in the design competition
  3. Substituting yarn, all you need to know
  4. Uncovered, free online patterns
  5. Exclusive: Lucinda Guy pattern and interview (to be honest, I don't know who Lucinda Guy is, but perhaps you are a fan of her work - if so, this is for you!)

Caught my eye on the inside:

  1. Blois Socks designed by Corinne Fourcade, an elegant pair of socks with a side twist inspired by the magnificent  spiral staircase of the famous Blois Castle in the French Loire Valley
  2. Twist and Turn Cowl designed by Sarah Punderson, an oversized reversible cable is featured lovely cowl
  3. Lovelace Skirt designed by Marleen van der Vorst, mainly knit in stocking stitch, this skirt features a nice lacy bottom

Plus lots more, don't miss this issue!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Piece Work May/June 2011

Just received the lastest issue the other day!  I love this magazine!

Features in this issue are:

The Extraordinary Story of Lace
Intricate Butterfly crochet pattern
Learn the Technique of Alencon Lace
Knit the Queen's Lace
Marina Andersons Discovery: A Bobbin-Lace Coverlet

You will also find the following inside this issue, which I like:
Dragon Scarf to knit by Inna Voltchkova

As always, this magazine does not disappoint.  Pick up your copy today!