Tag Archives: Merino

Maine Bound Knitting

Visiting our friends in York, ME has become a mid-July event where we combine great friends, ocean air, good food and knitting. 

As a surprise, I brought my friend Amanda the set of Heirloom Lace Placemats. Unfortunately, I miscalculated my knitting time and was shy of finishing the last placemat. Despite my efforts to knit on the bus, I wasn’t able to finish in time. I still wrapped the blocked mats and plain black napkins as a house warming gift. To further complicate matters, I ran out of black yarn so that I had to rip back a few rows to make the mats match.

While the placemats make a decorative home-related gift, I found that knitting four of the same pattern got boring. I would suggest using related lace patterns in the same color yarn as a variation.

While the weather was uncooperative for a summer weekend at the beach, we used it as an excuse for heading up to Bath, ME to check out Halcyon Yarns. Halcyon Yarns is a great haven for fiber artists. It’s like a clean warehouse chock full of various fibers and related tools. The sales folks are really knowledgeable about the intricacies of knitting. Plus there’s a room filled with books like a small knitting library.

There’s so much wonderful yarn that it’s difficult to decide what to buy. I was swayed by a small producer named Swan’s Island which is a real location off the coast of Maine. My family stayed there for a summer when I was a child. I bought a skien of a blue-green sock yarn to make a shawl with.  Additionally, I bought a couple of books on making gurnseys which were difficult to buy elsewhere. That too was a hard choice but the women who helped me tracked down the books that they thought were best including a small one from the UK.

 

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Isles of yarn-eye candy

Isles of yarn-eye candy

To my surprise, we made a stop on the way back at Tess Yarns. For anyone who hasn’t had the joy of experiencing the lush hand dyed colors, I strongly recommend a visit to the shop or a yarn festival. While the price of many of the types of yarns can be rather dear, there are some well priced yarns such as the merino superwash. My biggest challenge is finding enough yarn of the color I want. This trip I kept being attracted to by the same greens I bought at Halcyon. 

 

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Welcome to Tess Yarns

Welcome to Tess Yarns-Weren't you here last summer?

 

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

 

 

 

In the end, I did something that I rarely do. I bought a single skein of a wonderful purple/magenta sock yarn for a small shawl. Despite searching the entire store, three wasn’t another skein to be had. In addition, I bought two other skeins of a blue for another shawl or short sleeve top. (I must confess that I have several other purchases from Tess lurking near the bottom of my stash waiting to be knitted.)

On the way back to York, we stopped for a wonderful lobster roll by the side of the highway out of Portland. It was a cute stand where we were the only patrons (which was no surprise since it was late by the time we finished shopping.)

 

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

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Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl Begun

Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn from The Point

Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn from The Point

 

Based on  the recommendation of Alyssa, the manager at The Point, I decided to use the two skeins of black Malabrigo merino sock yarn for the Fountain Pen Shawl in the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits magazine. The yarn is scrumptious. It’s a delight to touch and pet!

After the Shetland Scarf that I made for my mother, I promised myself that I wouldn’t make anything out of skinny black yarn. Unfortunately, by the time I purchased this yarn at The Point’s Anniversary Sale, my color choices were either black or white. At this point, my stash is overflowing with various shades of white left from my wedding-related knitting. So black it was!

The Fountain Pen Lace Shawl is a relatively easy pattern to follow. There is one nupp for the 16 row repeat. It is interesting insofar as the left and right sides aren’t knitted in a symmetric manner. 

I have left this project for our Fire Island Vacation in hopes of finishing it in the bright sunlight. Unfortunately, the weather is too windy to deal with the pattern and the thin yard on the beach. The wind fills the plastic pattern sleeve. My husband blew up the pattern charts and I am using highlighter tape to mark my place.

 

Fountain Pen Shawl from Interweave Knits on Fair Harbor Beach

Fountain Pen Shawl from Interweave Knits on Fair Harbor Beach

Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Lace Detail

Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Lace Detail

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Happy Birthday to The Point (NYC)

Happy Birthday Martini Glass

Happy Birthday Martini Glass

To celebrate its 4th birthday, The Point NYC had a sale. In addition to baskets of specially marked yarns in wonderfully lush colors, everything else was 20% off. I used this sale to treat myself to some wonderful Malabrigo 100% Merino Sock Yarn which I had been craving since it first hit The Point’s shelves. At the time, I had just started knitting (and reknitting) my Swallowtail Shawl so that I couldn’t indulge myself in yet more shawl related stash. 

Unfortunately, the lush sock yarn has been flying out of the store so that there were only 7 skeins left by the time that I arrived at the sale. Despite the fact that I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t make another black shawl after finishing the Shetland Lace Scarf for my mom, I found myself magically drawn to the black Malabrigo Sock Yarn. The problem was that there were 3 skeins of black, 2 white and 1 brown skein. So black it was. 

It has 440 yards and Alyssa the manager commented that she was able to make the fountain pen shawl from the Spring 2009 Interweave with about 750 yards (and she used the Malabrigo!)  

Since I am in the midst of making the Estonian Lace Inspired shawl from Brooklyn Handspun and the Ribbon Lace Shawl in grey angora and silk lace weight, I will have to wait to start this project. Fortunately, a black shawl is useful 12 months of the year.

Malabrigo Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in Black

Malabrigo Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in Black

Swallowtail Shawl in Teal is Finished!

 

Lace Detail-Ella Rae Lace Merino

Lace Detail-Ella Rae Lace Merino

The Swallowtail Shawl in Teal is finished. I loved the Ella Rae Lace Merino. It was a very springy yarn which coordinated well with the time of year. 

After finishing 6 sets of repeats for the main part of the shawl, I decided that the 1 skein that I had wasn’t going to make as big a shawl as I had anticipated so I frogged it. 

In addition, I didn’t realized that the Ella Rae Lace Merino was really a fingering weight not a lace weight as a result, I had a few stressful periods near the end where I resorted to weighing my ball of unknit yarn to determine how to finished the shawl. 

Due to a limited amount of merino, I decided with the help of the team at The Point and fellow knitters not to make the nupps for the Lily of the Valley pattern and had to eliminate rows 13-22 of the pattern as well. That said, the shawl measured 30 inches by 60 inches and looks wonderful!

 

Swallowtail Shawl in Teal Ella Rae Lace Merino Blocked

Swallowtail Shawl in Teal Ella Rae Lace Merino Blocked

 

Swallowtail Shawl in Ella Rae Lace Merino Border

Swallowtail Shawl in Ella Rae Lace Merino Border

 

Swallowtail Shawl in Teal Ella Rae at The Point

Swallowtail Shawl in Teal Ella Rae at The Point

Valentine’s Day Stash Enhancement-Ella Rae Lace Merino

Ella Rae Lace Merino in Teal from The Point

Ella Rae Lace Merino in Teal from The Point

For Valentine’s Day, I took advantage of The Point’s President’s Day Sale and treated myself to a hank of Ella Rae Lace Merino in their teal color way. I had been eying the yarn which is 100% Italian merino and dyed wonderful shades of blues and greens which seem to be popping up in the stores along Fifth Avenue as they migrate towards spring. 

Maybe it’s the desire for something new as spring peaks through the dull winter weather that’s attracting me to these colors that I don’t often wear.

Or maybe it’s dreams of the Carribean waters that we haven’t visited this winter…

Island dreaming - Nevis in Winter

Island dreaming - Nevis in Winter

Whatever the impulse, I bought the last teal hank. I hoped that it would be enough for a tank top but alas the hank has 460 yards which is fine for a smaller project, it’s not enough to try a cami given the fine weight of the yarn. 

Therefore, I decided to make a small shawl that I can wear through the changing seasons that can give my wardrobe a boost. I am using the Swallowtail Lace Shawl which I have been thinking about making for a while. Evelyn Clark designed the pattern and having made her Shetland Triangle, I know that she’s a great lace designer!

Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Lace Shawl Using Ella Rae Lace Merino in Teal

Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Lace Shawl Using Ella Rae Lace Merino in Teal

This pattern incorporates the Lily of the Valley pattern at the border so that it involves nupps but at this point, I’m experienced so that doesn’t seem like it will be a challenge.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Silk City Fibers Year End Sale Visit

As readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of the Warehouse Sales at Silk City Fibers in Paterson, NJ.  As a manufacturer and wholesale, Silk City Fibers’ doesn’t regualarly sell directly to consumers. On the second Saturday of the month, they open their doors from 9.00am to 1.00pm to consumers.

Silk City Fibers in Paterson, NJ

Silk City Fibers in Paterson, NJ

The yarns offered vary from sale to sale.  The yarns are on cones which may be a deterent to some knitters. Also, since the yarns are used in manufacture, many of them are relatively fine for the hand knitter but can be very useful for machine knitters and weavers. One way for hand knitters to overcome the issue of the fineness of the fibers is to wind several threads together. I have used multiple strands of yarns that would otherwise be too thin to make wonderful knitted projects. 

In addition to their five rooms of wares, there are often boxes of mill ends up front. For me, these are often a treasure trove of unual yarns. While there may not be enough to make a full sweater or other project, they’re great for scarves and other small projects.

Mill ends up front...

Mill ends up front...

To the best of my knowledge, Silk City Fibers’ email list for the sales has been built via word of mouth, customer telling another.

For this trip, four of us drove from the upper reaches of Manhattan to Paterson after a quick pit stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and bagels. We made good time and were in the warehouse by 9.30am.  My friends were focused on the Chunky merino which has 450 yards per cone. Together, they persuaded the manager to bring out other colors since they weren’t inspired by the ones that were for sale. Of course, the fact that they were buying twelve cones in total helped sway his decision.

Being into lace, I was focused on a cone of their Kashmir, a 15% cashmere, 15% silk, 70% merino blend, which was on sale. I bought a cone in a brick red which I plan to make into a spectacular lace piece. 

Out of the mill ends, I found a 2 1/2 pound cone of Italian 100% linen in a New Yorker’s favorite color, black. While the thread is very thin, I figure that I can knit three threads together to make a great linen top. Additionally, I bought a 1/4 pound of a fine grey mohair with a thin silver sparkle to it. I tested knitting one thread before I bought it and it will create a wonderful stocking knit shawl.

As we were finalizing our decisions, one of the employees brought out four one pound cones of 100% alpaca that had been company samples. It was very soft alpaca from Peru in a fingering weight. I took the cone of white  to use for a lace item.

We paid and left happy so that we could get back to the city before noon. Each of us had spent under a $100.00 for our stash enhancing bundles which were way below the retail prices we’re used to.