Tag Archives: ABC Along

G is for Green

Naturally Green

Naturally Green

G can stand for a lot of things when it comes to knitting. When I recently took an honest (really!) accounting of the contents of my stash, that G stood for green (and I am not talking about the money invested in my stash either!)

As a Manhattanite, black is my favorite color. Like most New York women, I have at least one black version of every item of clothing. I think that my wedding dress was an exception. 

But when it comes to my stash, there is very little black fiber present. In large part this is due to the fact that it can be challenging knitting with black as I discovered with the Shetland Scarf. When I buy yarn,  I am drawn to the combination of the color and the fiber. Most frequently, I find myself drawn to the wine and purplish reds. 

Therefore I was very surprised to find lots of green in my stash. Maybe it’s the influence of the blue -greens that line the windows of the boutiques on Fifth Avenue but lately, I find myself drawn to the color green. Most of these acquisitions come from yarn swaps.

 

Light green baby yarn with great yardage!

Light green baby yarn with great yardage!

Green cotton with slubs - Destined to become summer top

Green cotton with slubs - Destined to become summer top

Green cotton and wool combination

Green cotton and wool combination

Mint Julep Blend of Wool, Cotton and Silk- Small Producer

Mint Julep Blend of Wool, Cotton and Silk- Small Producer

In addition, I’ve knit 3 green sweaters: a Classic Ribbed Pullover in Forest Green for my nephew, the Origami Cardi in Antique Green and the Lace Top in Olive Green.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

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F is also for Fiber Friends!

F is for Fiber Friends. While I am indebted to the animals whose fleeces (yet another “F” word!) become the beautiful fibers that I knit, fiber friends refers to actual people.   What would we do without them? 

One of my UWS Knitting friends!

One of my UWS Knitting friends!

 

Fiber friend hiding beneath cowl in Noro sweater at LYS (The Point NYC)

Fiber friend hiding beneath cowl in Noro sweater at LYS (The Point NYC)

Knitting friend casting on at LYS (The Point NYC)

Knitting friend casting on at LYS (The Point NYC)

 My fiber friends and I connect over our mutual love of yarn and knitting. We’ve met in person at knitting circles, LYS and other knitting meetups. We’re always there for each other in good times and bad times. Whether we know each other via real life or the web, we’re friends. We’re a wonderful, precious part of each others’ lives.

We accept each other regardless of whether we’ve just started knitting or have been knitting for ages. We accept each other whether we use amazing, expensive fibers like cashmere or inexpensive acrylic. 

The ties to our fiber friends are strong when there’s yarn at hand to be purchased or traded or just plain admired. They are there to egg you onto to that next purchase regardless of the size of your stash.

The best part is that they’re always there willing to lend a hand and listen. It doesn’t matter whether your boss was in a bad mood or you had a major misfortune. These relationships are worth more than gold.

For me, my fiber friends have been a treasure!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

F is for Fiber, Fiber Festivals and Fiber Farms

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

When it comes to writing about fiber, I could go on and on filling miles of online space as I’m sure many of you could as well. There’s the wonderful stuff that we find at Sheep & Wool Festivals that comes from the people who raise the animals or dye  it using a wonderful palette of colors. Of course, some of this may retain its lamby smell as the Icelandic lace weight my husband influenced me to buy at last fall’s Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival. (Don’t worry–I have it well wrapped in a plastic bag to keep its small contained!) 

At the other end of the spectrum are the pre-packaged balls that colorfully crowd the shelves of our favorite LYS. For me, that includes The Point NYC and Knitty City. I love the fact that The Point clusters the yarns by brand and color so that they burst out of their baskets. By contrast, the yarns in Knitty City are packed into their cubbyholes and spill into baskets on the floor. 

In between are the cones of various yarns and mill ends that I buy at Silk City Fibers. They come in a wide variety of contents and the colors may not always be my first choice but they’re well priced and always become wonderful cherished items. At the core of my stash, there are some large cones of wonderful materials including mill ends of cashmere and cashmere blends (which I plan to make into amazing shawls since some of it is laceweight), some thick Chunky in Sweet Potato orange from which I’ve promised to make my husband a sweater (although he insists that a pair of socks would be much better), 2 pounds of black (yes you read that correctly) lace weight Italian linen which I will either make a shawl and/or mix it with a grey and white linen mix to make my After Dark Nightie #2 and a matching bathrobe from the first Mason Dixon Knits book. 

Alas, there’s too much yarn and not enough time to knit it all!  That said, I believe that it’s important to let the fiber tell you what it wants to be . It’s not that the fibers actually talk (that would be silly!) Rather, I find that it’s necessary to test some swatches and see what type of pattern works best for the yarn. For example, the spring sweater that I’m working on required several swatches to see what stitch would work best. I am lucky that I don’t find the math required to adapt a pattern to be a chore (although I would argue anyone can do this math but that’s for another blog post). Further, I am flexible and find beauty in a wide variety of fibers! 

I am a HUGE fan of fiber festivals. They are wonderful outdoor activities that allow knitters to mingle with other lovers of yarn producing livestock, spinners and dyers. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May and the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (known as the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival) in October are the two that I attend. While they encompass a wide range of activities, I generally spend my precious time there focused on stash enhancement.

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Fiber producing animals at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

 

Lastly, there are fiber farms. While I have only visited one, it was a wonderful experience that happened during the first trip my husband and I took back in the summer of 2005. Based on a brief entry in our guidebook, we drove from Lennox, MA to the middle of the state to Tregellys Farm. The owner was an incredibly friend chap who spent time talking about the farm and its wonderful assortment of animals including the heirloom equivalents of livestock. They also had camels and yaks.

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Massechuetss

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Hawley, MA

Llamas at Tregellys Farm

Llamas at Tregellys Farm (Of course, they may be alpacas?)

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

 

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

More fiber producing animals at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing llamas at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

E is for Estonian Lace

Before my wedding, I had planned to make the Lily of the Valley Shawl in wedding white from Interweave’s Lace Style book. It’s based on a popular  Estonian Lace pattern lily of the valley. The stitch requires nupps which are an Estonian version of bobbles. In the lily of the valley pattern, they  look a lot like the stalks of white bell shaped flowers that I remember dotting a patch of my parents’ house. Since I wound up with a champagne colored dress with grey beading, I abandoned this shawl which looked funny next to the dress in favor of a less design intense pattern in charcoal grey. (Unfortunately, as a result, the shawl still lingers in my UFO pile in hopes that I will eventually finish it.) 

Thanks to Kathy at Grumperina, I discovered Lace Knitting of Estonia by Nancy Bush. The book explains that nupps were used to show that the piece was handmade and to add weight since the lace was sold by weight. Since getting this book, I have renewed zeal for nupps. I have started three other lace projects, of which one is finished. 

 

Triinu Shawl With Estonian Nupps

Triinu Shawl With Estonian Nupps

 

Estonian Lace Shawl on the Needles - Brooklyn Handspun Yarn

Estonian Lace Shawl on the Needles - Brooklyn Handspun Yarn

Lace Scarf in Blue Alpaca Fingering Weight

Lace Scarf in Blue Alpaca Fingering Weight

(Note: While Evelyn Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl requires nupps as part of the lily of the valley border, I didn’t have enough yarn to make them. As a result, this shawl isn’t included in this list.)

Have you tried Estonian Lace yet? Please let me know. I strongly recommend the book!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

D is for Decreases

 

Daffodils in Bryant Park-New York City

Daffodils in Bryant Park-New York City

D is for decreases which are critical to shaping knitted pieces and lace.

But D is also for daffodils which have opened their faces to the sun along the border of Bryant Park in New York City. It’s a wonderful sign that spring is here (even if it doesn’t feel that way!) Even more amazing is the fact that a bunch of yellow daffodils can brighten up your New York City apartment for a mere $2.99 at your local deli. 

Decreases are wonderful for making your knitted garments fitted. I use a combination of left leaning and right leaning decreases to add a tailored look to the garment. (Note:  Being left handed, I tend not to discuss the specific knitting directions since my are usually reversed.) Further, I place the decreases between 2 and 5 stitches in from the edge (depending on the stitch pattern) to add to the design of the sweater. For example, when using a ribbed stitch, these decreases can add a wonder line to the garment.

 

Lace swatch with decreases offset by increases

Lace swatch with decreases offset by increases

 

Armhole Decreases Create Nice Line

Armhole Decreases Create Nice Line

Where else do you use decreases to enhance your knitted projects?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

C is for Color

Color is a critical component of any knitting project. It’s what attracts us as knitters. It’s part of the inspiration and joy. Walk into any yarn store and the first thing that strikes you is the colors of the yarn despite the fact that most stores are organized by fiber type and brand. Tess’ Designs in Portland, ME is one of the few shops that’s organized by color, At Sheep and Wool Festivals, it’s the colors that pull us from one stall to another. 

Color is at the center of the eye candy that draws us to a specific yarn. Here’s a selection of colors from The Point in New York City.

Green, blue and purple hanks

Green, blue and purple hanks

Orange, yellow & red hanks

Orange, yellow & red hanks

 

Multi-colored twisted hanks of yarn

Multi-colored twisted hanks of yarn

Pink, berry & purple yarn

Pink, berry & purple yarn

 

Light green & light blue yarn

Light green & light blue yarn

Valentine's pink & red yarn

Valentine's pink & red yarn

Manos in light blue, purple & mixed colors

Manos in light blue, purple & mixed colors

Manos yarn in oranges and brick red

Manos yarn in oranges and brick red

 

Each knitter has colors that attract her. I tend to be attracted to reds and pinks family . I have to push myself to buy a variety of yarn from other parts of the color spectrum. I find that I can knit with the most wonderful yarn but if the project’s a color that I don’t like, I find it difficult to push myself to finish the item. 

How does color effect your ability to knit?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief


B is for Balls of Yarn, Baskets of Yarn & Bags of Yarn

When it comes to Bs and knitting, there are lots of choices. Living in a New York City apartment where space is at a premium (even with a stash-friendly husband), balls of yarn, baskets of yarn and bags of yarn rule. They are more of an organizing principle which is critical space is limited and stash enhancement just happens.

B is for Balls of Yarn. I have learned over time that it’s important to keep the last remanent ball of yarn for any completed garment in case repairs or changes are needed. It can be a snag or total restructuring when the garment grows in unanticipated ways.  I keep these colorful balls in an old glass jar/vase which doubles as a decorative piece next to our non-functional fireplace. Old swatches are also kept here since they can be unraveled in case of emergency.

Balls of Yarn stored in large glass jar as decoration

Balls of Yarn stored in large glass jar as decoration

 

B is for Baskets of Yarn. Baskets are another great way to store yarn in a decorative manner. Since they are out in the open, I keep some of my non-wool cones in baskets. I find that the serving baskets from catered events can be reused to create useful ways to store excess stash. (Please note that there wasn’t room to show the indoor tree.)

Baskets of Yarn-Another way to decorate with yarn!

Baskets of Yarn-Another way to decorate with yarn!

 

B is for Bags of Yarn. One lesson that I learned from the Carols with whom I knit that it is important to have nice places to store your knitting projects. They were upset with me for carrying my projects in plastic bags from the grocery store. (Mind you, I did use the green twistees to allow the yarn to be pulled from the balls.) Enter the project bags and supply bags. Here is an assortment of bags that I use.

One of my favorites is the metric tape covered bag where I keep my knitting tools such as tape measure, scissors, crochet hooks, stitch markers and needles. It’s hard to believe that I got it at Filene’s Basement!

Metric Ruled Tape Measure Knitting Tool Bag

Metric Ruled Tape Measure Knitting Tool Bag

 

I am  attached to the bags given to me by stores that I have visited when I have been out of town. Among my favorites are the off white bag from Loopy Yarns in Chicago’s Loop where I store one of my current projects and Loop‘s the light blue bag from Philadelphia  where I store my WIPs near the couch.

Loopy Yarns bag - A Chicago Yarn Store Souvenir!

Loopy Yarns bag - A Chicago Yarn Store Souvenir!

 

Loop's Blue Shopping Bag - A Philadelphia Yarn Store Souvenir!

Loop's Blue Shopping Bag - A Philadelphia Yarn Store Souvenir!

 

Then there are the cloth bags that my friend Vere Halstead made for me. I was lucky to get the yellow and orange island print. Vere works in the design department of CUNY and hopefully will set up an Etsy store to sell more of these great bags. I keep my special projects here!

Vere Halstead's Knitting Bags - Where I keep my special lace projects!

Vere Halstead's Knitting Bags - Where I keep my special lace projects!

 

Lastly are the big, extra thick plastic storage bags where I keep my unwound stash which aren’t worthy of a photograph since they’re stored at the bottom of my closet.

How do you store your stash? Is it beautifully displayed or hidden from view?

Written by Editor-in-Chief – Knitted Yarns