Monthly Archives: September 2012

Meet the Samples:: The Jeweled Cowl

Our most recent FO is the Jeweled Cowl, a free Ravelry download.  It comes from the needles of Stash Enhancer Kathryn, who knit up the luxe beaded cowl in our new Shibui Cima.  Cima is a delectable blend of super baby alpaca and fine merino with a soft, springy hand. Add beads and it’s nearly over the top with goodness!

Knit with just 2 skeins of yarn and some sparkly seed beads, this cowl is the perfect project for someone looking to learn beaded knitting.  It would also be a fun palette-cleansing knit in between more complex projects.

We’ve had fun trying this cowl on and seeing how many ways it can be worn.  I favor the long loop as shown, but it’s also very cozy worn doubled up.

What’s your favorite way to wear an eternity cowl?  Let us know in the comments!

Leave a comment

Filed under Featured Yarn, Knitting, LYS, Meet the Samples, Products, Stash Knitting, Uncategorized, Yarn

Learn to Knit in the Round: McTwist Hat Class

Are you a relatively new knitter and looking to take your knitting to the next level? Learning to knit in the round will open up a whole new world of projects for you! Hats, mittens, cowls, sweaters, socks…the possibilities are endless!

Fran will be teaching students how to knit in the round over the course of two classes on October 7th and October 14th from 12:30-2pm. During the first class you’ll learn how to get started knitting in the round and in the second class you’ll learn how to do decreases to shape the top of your hat and tackle using double pointed needles!

The class costs $50 and includes the yarn and pattern to make the McTwist Hat!

Skill Level: Beginner – Students must know how to cast-on, knit and purl
Skills Learned: Joining to work in the round, knitting with circular needles, knitting with double pointed needles, crown decreases, finishing your hat
Materials: 1- 16” circular needle in size US 10.5, set of 4 or 5 double pointed needles in size US 10.5, yarn and pattern will be provided. Stash Recommends: Hiya Hiya circular needles and double pointed needles.Students receive 15% off class materials purchased in store.

There are a limited number of spots available for this informative class, so call the shop (541-753-9276) or stop in to register!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Secret Mission: Revealed

We met under the cover of darkness to install thousands of yards of hand knit and crochet pieces around the park. Most of it had been made by local crafters specifically for the purpose of yarn bombing our fair city’s annual Fall Festival. Other pieces were gleaned from Goodwill, deep storage, or that inevitable pile of projects gone wrong.

There was an energy in the air that night as we donned our matching Bomb Squad tees and outfitted ourselves with the tools we would need for the task: scissors, yarn, step ladders, and the biggest helper of all: zip ties.

We headed off with a mass of wool and acrylic-blend FOs, ready to spread our particular kind of crafty cheer. It was nearly silent, with the occasional cry of “Knit purl! Knit purl!” (our impromptu club cry) piercing the darkness.

I had so much fun that night, and even more fun the next day as word spread of our activities. Walking through a crowded festival and spotting a cheerful piece of crochet hugging a tree, or a ballerina outfitted in woolens is a delightful treat. It even made the paper!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this project come to life.  You know who you are!

2 Comments

Filed under Corvallis IncogKnito Caper, Crochet, Festivals, Knitting, LYS, Social, Stash, Yarn

Classes: Tink, Drop, Frog and Holiday Stocking

We’re very excited to announce that Michele Bernstein (Pdxknitterati) is returning to Stash on October 6th to teach a couple of classes! Last time she was here, her classes were very popular and all the students had a fantastic time!

This time around she’ll be teaching 2 great information-packed classes. We’ve had many knitters express interest in a class about fixing their mistakes, so the first class of the day will be just that.

***

Tink, Drop, Frog: How Do I Fix This? will take place on Saturday October 6th from 10:30-12:30! The cost is $20. During this class you’ll learn how to fix and notice common knitting mistakes. Learning the skills to fix your mistakes is something that will definitely help take your knitting to the next level!

Skill Level: Beginner – Students must know how to cast-on, knit, purl. and bind-off
Skills Learned: Picking up dropped stitches, unknitting stitch by stitch (tinking), tearing out rows at a time (frogging), and other common mistakes
Materials: One skein bulky-weight yarn (plain, light color is best), a set of US 10.5 needles, and one crochet hook in size G, H, or I Stash Recommendation: Sweet Georgia Superwash Bulky and Addi Lace circular needles.Receive 15% off class materials purchased in store.
Homework: Knit one flat, stockinette stitch swatch. Cast-on 20 stitches and knit in stockinette stitch for 16 rows. Leave your swatch on the needles and bring to class!

***********************************************************************************************

I know you knitters don’t want to hear it yet, but the Holiday Knitting season is quickly approaching. Why not learn how to do stranded fair isle knitting while working on a Holiday Stocking for a loved one (or yourself!)? The Holiday Stocking class will also be on October 6th. The class runs from 1:30-4:30 and costs $35.

During this class students will learn how to make a traditional Christmas Stocking with a snowflake motif worked in 3 colors. You’ll learn how to knit from a colorwork chart and turn a heel. How fun would it be to make a stocking for a loved one in their favorite sports team colors? Or how about traditional red, green, and white?

Skill Level:Intermediate – Students must know how to cast-on, knit, purl, knit in the round and bind off
Skills Learned: Knitting from a colorwork chart, turning a tiny heel so you’ll know how when the time comes
Materials: Three coordinating colors of worsted weight yarn (75 g of main color, 25 g of each contrast color), 16” circular needle in US 7 or 8, and size 7 or 8 double-pointed needles. Includes Michelle’s Snowflake Stocking pattern. Stash Recommends: Imperial Yarns Columbia and Hiya Hiya needles. Receive 15% off class materials purchased in store.
Homework: Please complete the ribbing of your stocking so you are ready to begin the colorwork section. Also, on dpns cast-on 12 stitches and work as folllows: Row 1: Slip 1, knit to end of row, Row 2: Slip 1, purl to end of row, Repeat these 2 rows until you have completed 10 rows. We will turn this tiny heel in class.

***

There are a limited number of spots available for both of these classes, so call the shop at 541-753-9276 or stop by to register!

Leave a comment

Filed under Classes, Knitting

Fearless Knitting

On the eve of our Fall knit-along, I couldn’t help but reminisce about My First Sweater.

 

wicked-pie

From my blog, just after finishing up that first sweater:

My first sweater is now a knitting memory.  There are things I would do differently next time to be sure, but overall it was a positive learning experience.  I now know that I am a capable sweater knitter, up to the task of tackling any challenge.  A whole new world of possible knits now seems open to me.  Where I used to shy away from looking too closely at beautiful sweater patterns, I now take a second look.

Anything is possible when you take your time and work through the challenges, both in life and in knitting.  Knitting Wicked helped me reconnect with the fearless knitter within, something I used to know intimately but which was slowly buried.  Are you fantasizing about knitting something that you think is beyond your ability?  What if you just tried it?  And what if you tried it and succeeded?

What if, indeed?  

And with that, I challenge you to jump in needles first and join us tomorrow.  Whether it’s your first sweater or your 40th, there’s something to be enjoyed with each  new project.

I dare you to choose a pattern that intrigues, inspires, and even challenges you a bit.  The knitting community at Stash and at large is here to help, so what are you waiting for?

If you’re looking for ideas, check out Hannah Fettig’s sweater patterns here and here.  And don’t forget to check in on our Ravelry board, where there is always sure to be an answer to your burning sweater knitting questions.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what sweater you’ll be knitting this autumn and what about it challenges and/or inspires you.

Happy knitting!

xoxo

Sonia

1 Comment

Filed under Knit Alongs, Knitting, LYS, Stash

Fall in Love with Sweater Knitting KAL: Blocking

We’re on our final blog post of the Sweater KAL series: blocking and finishing! Many knitters don’t bother blocking small projects and when they tackle a larger project they aren’t quite sure how to go about blocking. Once I started knitting sweaters and shawls (both things that really require blocking), blocking FOs (finished objects) became second nature and now I block 99% of my knitting as soon as it’s off the needles.

You can weave in your ends either before or after blocking. Some people think that it’s better to weave them in before blocking so that you aren’t messing too much with the fabric after you’ve carefully blocked your project. Other knitters say that it’s better to wait until after blocking because if you weave in the ends before blocking you won’t be able to stretch and manipulate the fabric as well. When it comes to sweaters, I haven’t found that it matters too much since you (hopefully!) won’t want to stretch it too much and there shouldn’t be overly aggressive blocking (unless it’s to open up a lace pattern). Weaving in all those ends can be a bit tedious, so some folks like to weave them in as they go. That way the only tail you have left at the end is from your bind off!

Find some wool wash:

We carry Soak at Stash…I have a large bottle like the one pictured and it’s lasted me about 8 months so far and I’ll probably get a whole year out of it. I wash a lot of handknits and use Soak for my handspun yarn as well.

You’ll want to use something gentle and ideally something that doesn’t require rinsing. I know Woolite sounds like something you should use to wash your wool handknits, but it’s a bit too harsh. You can also use a shampoo formulated for normal hair, but this requires rinsing. Personally, I like to stick to something that’s specifically for handknits and that I don’t have to worry about rinsing.

Figure out where the best place to wash your sweater is. I almost always use my top-loading washing machine. But you can also use a large mixing bowl, your sink, bathtub, or anything that will hold enough water to submerge your sweater.

Fill your container of choice with a squirt of wool wash (check bottle for specific amounts) and enough lukewarm water to fully submerge your sweater. I don’t usually measure my wool wash….but most of them instruct you to use 1 tsp per gallon of water.

Place your sweater in the water and gently push down on it so that it becomes fully submerged. If you’ve knit your sweater using wool yarn, it will want to repel the water so it needs a little encouragement to become fully submerged. Make sure you don’t agitate or rub the garment as these things could cause felting.

Walk away and leave your sweater soaking for at least 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you forget about it and 20 minutes turns into 5 hours. Not a big deal!

Carefully remove your sweater from the water, making sure that you support the entire sweater as you lift it out. It will be quite heavy, and you don’t want any pieces of the sweater to stretch under the weight of all that water!

Squeeze (don’t wring!) the excess water out. 

There are a couple of ways to get even more water out of your garment, which makes drying time faster and makes blocking a bit easier. You can roll up your sweater in several dry towels and press down on it to soak up the extra water. If you are blocking a small item such as a hat or socks, you can use a salad spinner to spin out the excess water! My personal favorite is the spin cycle on the washing machine. After I soak my sweaters (or any other knitted object or handspun yarn!), I empty the water out of the washing machine, put my sweater back in the now empty machine, and turn on the spin cycle. Only use the spin cycle for 10 seconds. I’ve tried both this and the towel method, and I think the spin cycle is far more effective. It really decreases drying time and I’ve found that there is less chance of your sweater stretching because it isn’t as weighed down with water.

Carefully carry your sweater to the place where it’s going to be blocked. If you have a mixing bowl or colander, put your sweater in there to carry it from point A to B. It’s easier to keep it all contained that way and you won’t have one part of your sweater hanging down and stretching as you walk across the house.

Lay your sweater flat to dry. You can use blocking boards, an empty bed with a towel on it, or a towel on the floor. I use large foam mats that snap together, but for sweater blocking you really don’t need anything fancy.

Block to desired measurements. I try not to fiddle with my wet sweaters too much, but I do measure across the bust to make sure that it’s close to my desired measurements. I also make sure the arms are the same length, and I often pin the cuffs just to make sure the sleeves stay the same length. If you’re knitting a cardigan make sure that each side is the same width and length.

Wait ages for it to dry. Handknit wool sweaters take forever and a day to dry. Especially in the Pacific NW during the winter. Try and be patient and wait for it to be COMPLETELY dry before doing too much with it. If the back seems really wet still, flip it over carefully.

Weave in your ends if you haven’t already! There are many different ways you can weave in your ends and I came across this fantastic post that discusses many techniques and has great pictures.

Wear your sweater proudly! 

We obviously didn’t cover everything that could possibly come up during your sweater knitting process, but I hope I’ve provided you all with some good basics to get your started!

Have you all picked your sweater patterns yet? The official cast-on for the KAL is next Wednesday September 19th! Pop into our Fall KAL thread in the Stash Ravery group and let us know what sweater pattern you’ve chosen! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions or need advice! We’re happy to help.

Leave a comment

Filed under Knit Alongs, Knitting, Products, Tutorials

Fall in Love with Sweater Knitting KAL: Seaming

Most of Hannah Fettig’s patterns are knit in one piece and require little to no seaming. However, there are a few that do require seaming and I’d like to cover it so that you don’t feel unprepared to knit other sweaters in the future!

Many knitters I know really dislike seaming. I honestly don’t mind it too much and I think it’s because I learned how to seam early on in my knitting and just went for it. One of my very first sweaters was seamed and while I prefer to knit sweaters in one piece so that I can try them on, I don’t dismiss a pattern just because it requires seaming.

I’m certainly no expert in the seaming department, but I’ll share what’s worked for me as well as some great resources.

Some Useful Tools for Seaming:

Darning Needles – we carry the Chibi’s at Stash

Marking Pins to hold your knitted pieces together – Also available at Stash

If you’re knitting a sweater that requires seaming you really need to block your sweater pieces before seaming. I know, I know. At this point you are sooooo close to having a finished sweater that you can wear and the last thing you want to do is wet your pieces and wait for them to dry before moving onto the next step. TRUST ME. Just do it. It’s really important that you block your finished pieces to the correct dimensions before you try and sew them up. It will be much easier to match them up if they’re all the correct size. Not to mention that blocking will help to uncurl those pesky edges.

Should you use the yarn you knit the sweater with to seam? In most cases, yes. However, if you’ve used a yarn that breaks apart easily (do a little tug test on a strand from your ball of yarn, does it break fairly easily?) or a single ply yarn, you’ll want to find something else to seam with. In this case, I’d suggest finding some sock yarn in a color that closely matches your sweater. This is a good time to dig through your leftovers bin! If you’re knitting a sweater in bulky yarn, you may want to think about using something a bit thinner to seam with so that your seams aren’t too bulky. Try seaming your swatch to test out whether you’d like to use something thinner before seaming your sweater.

Unlike with traditional sewing, you want to seam with the right sides facing you and the wrong sides together. The way you’ll sew them together will create a seam on the inside of the garment.

Using the mattress stitch, seam the shoulders first. Seaming the shoulders first will allow you to attach the sleeves with more accuracy. Knitty has a great article with pictures on seaming using the mattress stitch. Sometimes the pattern will have you do a Three-Needle Bind-Off for the shoulders instead of traditional seaming.

After you seam the shoulders, pin the top of your sleeve  to the body of your sweater using marking pins (or you can use split ring stitch markers or coil-less safety pins). I like to start at the top center (where your shoulder seam is) and pin the center and then each side. It’s also a good idea to use the same method when seaming. Again, use the mattress stitch. Typically, I cut a length of yarn, put it through my needle, stick the needle through the top center and pull half the length of yarn through before beginning seaming. That way you have yarn to use for seaming on both the front and back of the shoulder/top of sleeve. Start seaming the front and when you reach the underarm, stop and go back to the top and seam the back of the shoulder/sleeve.

Once you’re done seaming the top of the arm, use the mattress stitch to continue seaming down the side of your sweater. You’ll want to pin this as well before sewing. After the seaming the side, seam the sleeve also using the same pinning and mattress stitch process. 

Repeat for the other side of the sweater!

What if it doesn’t look as neat as you’d like? Well, you have a couple of options…the first, of course, being to rip out all of the seaming and try again. The second is that you can block your sweater or steam it and see if that helps even out the spots you aren’t happy with. It’s hard to believe that steaming or blocking could really make that much of a difference, but check out this post by Anne Hanson.

If you aren’t completely happy with it, rip and redo it. I know it sounds like a lot of work and it’s a bit demoralizing when you have a finished sweater and then you undo the seaming, but you won’t regret redoing it.

Some other great resources regarding seaming: Stitch ‘n’ Bitch: A Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller, The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, and The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square. There are also countless videos on youtube and forum postings on Ravelry.

The last blog post in the series will be up on Friday: Blocking!

Leave a comment

Filed under Knit Alongs, Products, Tutorials