Fiber Farm Tour Weekend

When we saw that the weather forecast for last weekend called for absolutely perfect weather, we made a quick decision to get out of town and made a reservation at the Resort at Port Ludlow on the Olympic Peninsula. It was everything you would imagine about a small resort on a cove of Puget Sound: quiet, picturesque and good food. I was extra excited when I found out that our visit coincided with the Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour and Jefferson County Farm Tour

Resort at Port Ludlow / Olympic Peninsula on warporweft.com

Everyone was super friendly and happy to talk to us about their craft and raising sheep, alpacas and llamas at the six farms we visited. There was A LOT of fiber and now I am considering getting a spinning wheel or at least a spindle. If you have a recommendation, please let me know!

sheep at the fiber farm tour on warporweft.com

We purchased a felted Icelandic sheep pelt from Compass Rose Farms and the Dirt Rich School. The cat loves sleeping on it. 

Cat on sheep pelt on warporweft.com

We also purchased four skeins of hand-dyed wool/mohair blend yarn and two silk scarves that are felted with alpaca from Mystic Beach Studio. I can't wait to wear the scarves and knit something wonderful with the yarn. 

Yarn on warporweft.com

And the highlight of the weekend was meeting these piglets who were less than 12 hours old. So cute. Thanks to the folks at Dharma Ridge Farm for sharing them with us. 

piglets on warporweft.com

It was a great weekend. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, keep an eye out for the tour next year. 

Adventures in Yarn Farming

For a brief moment during my childhood, my grandfather owned a farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It was great to play outside in the fresh air and learn about the hard work farm life requires. Ever since, I have been interested in farming. When I saw Adventures in Yarn Farming by Barbara Parry, I couldn't resist.

Adventures in Yarn Farming / warporweft.com

The book is a wonderful overview of what sheep farming for yarn production entails. It covers an entire year in a season-by-season account of what she does to care for her sheep and farm without going into too much detail. The information about lamb birthing was particularly interesting. There are plenty of adorable pictures of sheep and the book also includes a few projects for knitters, weavers and yarn dying enthusiasts. Barbara keeps a blog called Sheepgal, which is very interesting, but infrequently updated as she seems to be busy with her farm. I recommend checking out the book and blog if you are interested in the fiber production process. I was inspired to pick up another, more detailed book about sheep farming. 

You may be interested in:


Big Wool Cable Hat

Hats, scarves and winter coats are my favorite items in my wardrobe and one of the main reasons why I love fall and winter so much (and pots of chili, apple cider, pies and all the other delicious treats available at this time of year, of course!). I could wear fun outer wear every day with jeans and a basic sweater or long sleeve shirt. I also really like Rowan yarns and patterns. They are some of the most current when it comes to knitting fashion patterns.

big wool cable hat with pom pom / warporweft.com

Last winter, when I finished the Rowan Tala Hat I really loved the large cable, but the hat was a bit too Portland for my taste and it did not fit right as it rose up a bit on my very straight hair. So I gave the hat to a friend who has wavy hair (she loves it) and I made a few modifications. First, I cut the ribbed brim to 2 inches as the fold over was a bit too thick for me. Second, I only knit three total repeats of the cable.     

purple pom pom cable hat / warporweft.com

I also added a HUGE pom-pom although the hat doesn't necessarily need it and you could skip it if that isn't your thing. Now the hat has the cable that I love and fits my head better. This hat would look great in red, white, green or any color that you love. It is also a great hat for a beginning knitter who wants to learn cables as the thick yarn easily stays on the cable hook and the knitting goes quickly.

 

You may need:

Ribbed Hat

Even though we are on the last leg of summer here in the Pacific Northwest, I could not resist making this scrumptious winter hat. I used Knit Collage Swirl Day Dream, which is a bulky weight yarn with strands of gold flecked throughout. It's a super easy knit, even for beginners. It took me about two hours to complete the hat.  

knit collage ribbed hat / warporweft.com

I used a US size 13 needle that was 16 inches long and cast on 40 stitches and knit one, purl one until it measured approximately 9 inches. Please note that It is important to make sure that you have an even number of stitches if you are knitting in the round because you want your rows to line up. Then I knit two together for the next two rows, broke the yarn and pulled it through the remaining stitches.

easy knit ribbed hat / warporweft.com

The link below does not have this color, but has many others from Knit Collage. You can also visit your local yarn shop or call So Much Yarn to see if they have this color. I want to make this hat in ALL the colors, so you really can't go wrong. Enjoy!  

You may need:


Wedding Paper Crafts

You may have noticed a gap in posts here on Warp or Weft and it was for good reason - we got married!! And then went on a two week honeymoon to Oahu and Maui. We had a lot of family and friends in town, so I did not get to do much knitting or weaving, but we had a few handmade items at our wedding and I wanted to share the paper crafts with you.

DIY Save the Date / wedding crafts / warporweft.com

The first is our Save the Dates. We were inspired by a DIY tutorial on Oh So Beautiful Paper and made a couple of tweaks for personalization. We designed our own Save the Date and return address stamps and had them made by Impress. The process was easy and the stamps were reasonably priced. After you purchase the size you want on the website, you send a PDF via email and wait a week or so for your stamps. We made a mistake by not ensuring the font on the address stamp was large enough to easily read after embossing and we had to order a second stamp, so be careful about that.  

hand dyed ribbon / diy wedding paper crafts / warporweft.com

We purchased the rest of the items we needed from Paper Source: A7 note cards in night, A7 envelopesstamp pad, embossing powder, embossing heat tool, envelope liner templategold glitter washi tape, gold glitter wrapping paper (for the envelope liners), and heavy duty, double sided tape. You will also need non-stick craft scissors, a pencil or pen and we used a small paint brush to remove excess embossing powder from the card before using the heat tool. The guest addresses were handwritten on the envelopes with a glittery gold gel pen. Once we received all of the supplies, it took us a little over two weeks to make 70 Save the Dates working mostly in the evenings. 

DIY wedding welcome bag / warporweft.com

The second project is our Welcome Boxes. We had help assembling these last minute as there was a drama with my wedding dress being ruined in alterations four days before the wedding and we were running behind schedule. My mom, niece and Aunt Patty were super stars with the crafting on the Wednesday before the wedding (we can't thank them enough!). For the welcome boxes, we bought A7 night colored boxes from Paper Source, used leftover gold glitter wrapping paper from the Save the Dates and got a "Welcome" stamp from Paper Source and Space Needle stamp from Impress. The stamps were embossed directly onto the box with the same gold stamp pad and glitter embossing powder that we used for the Save the Dates. The glitter paper was cut into strips and taped on with heavy duty double sided tape.  We wanted the boxes to be a nod to the Pacific Northwest as 75% of our guests were from out of town so we included a walking map to local attractions, a Seattle postcard, lavender sachets from Purple Haze Lavender Farm on the Olympic Peninsula, a delicious chocolate bar from Seattle Chocolates and a pen that doubles as a stylus from Microsoft. We also purchased copies of Good Night Seattle for the children. The Welcome Boxes were a HUGE hit with our guests. 

DIY table numbers / wedding / warporweft.com

The third DIY handmade item that we made for our wedding is the Table Numbers. These were super easy. We purchased table number tents and number stencils from Paper Source and ordered ribbon the same ribbon that was used for our invitations from Artemis and tied it in a similar fashion at the top of the table number. We used the number stencils to cut out the same gold wrapping paper that we used for the Save the Dates and Welcome Boxes so everything tied together nicely. 

 

You may be interested in:



Finished Clapotis

Finally finished the Clapotis! It was pretty easy once I figured out the beginning - the third time's a charm as they say - and I quite enjoyed dropping the stitches every 12 rows. A lot of people complain online that knitting a Clapotis is "boring" and they did not finish, but I found that it went relatively quickly and I mostly knit while watching the Tour de France. I can see where it gets a bit tedious, but the decreases were fun as you could really see it coming together. I had a mini celebration with a cupcake when I got to the final dropped stitch. 

Clapotis / knitting / warporweft.com

The pattern is free and available on knitty.com (it's right on the webpage; you don't even need to download it). I used Blue Heron Rayon Metallic Yarn in plum and a size 6 needle. There are so many other great colors of the Blue Heron Metallic Yarn that you really can't go wrong and you could also use another yarn if you prefer. With the help of the ladies at So Much Yarn, I used a modified pattern as follows: Section 2 repeat five times (instead of 6); Section 3, repeat 11 times; and Section 4, repeat 5 times. The modification was done so I could make it a one skein scarf. Other than these modifications, I knit the pattern as in the original.

Clapotis / knit / warporweft.com

I am giving this to my mom as a present for our wedding. She loves sparkles and open knit so I hope she will like it! 

Supplies you may need:



Sheep Baby Hat

This adorable baby sheep hat - or toque if you are Canadian like my husband - was one of my most favorite baby gifts that I have ever made. Actually, I've knit several of them with different color brims: purple for a girl, blue for a boy and green when they did not know the gender. There are a lot of great color options if you use the recommended Cascade Superwash 220 and you need so little of the color for the bottom that it is a good use of leftover Cascade scrap yarn!   

Sheep hat / easy knit / baby hat / warporweft.com

The hardest part about this hat is learning trinity stitch, which isn't really that hard. Here's a brief tutorial that may help you out (keep in mind that I knit Continental so if it looks funny, that's why):

FIRST ROW: Purl the first row if you are knitting in the round. Knit the first row if you are knitting flat.

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SECOND ROW: Now the complicated part! In the first stitch you knit, then purl in the SAME STITCH, and knit again in the SAME STITCH. Here's what it looks like:

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trinity stitch tutorial / knit / warporweft.com
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1) Knit one stitch as you normally would, but do not pull the stitch off the needle at the end; 2) Move the yarn to the front and purl in the same stitch that you just knit into; 3) Move the yarn to the back and knit again in the same stitch that you just knit and purled into; 4) Carefully slide the stitch off the needle. There should now be three stitches on your right needle and only one removed from your left needle. 5) For the next stitch, knit 3 stitches together. 

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Repeat for the rest of the row. Now you can start to see the pattern emerging. Look at the group of three, then one, then three, then one alternating through the row.   

trinity stitch tutorial / knit / warporweft.com

THIRD ROW: Purl if you are knitting in the round. Knit if you are knitting flat.

trinity stitch tutorial / knitting / warporweft.com

FOURTH ROW: Knit the first three stitches together. Then knit, purl, knit into the next stitch. Continue that way to the end of the row. Note that this row has the same stitches as the second row, but in the opposite order. Repeat these four rows for the trinity stitch pattern.

trinity stitch tutorial / knitting / warporweft.com

Double pointed needles are your friend when it comes to knitting baby hats, but you could probably use a short circular needle (I have not tried it, but imagine it would be difficult when you get to the small number of stitches to decrease the top). Don't be afraid to try double pointed needles. I used size 6 double pointed needles for the sheep baby hat. 

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The pattern comes from the book 60 Quick Baby Knits and is totally worth paying for the whole book if you knit a lot of baby items. I have knit several other items out of this book. All are fairly easy and pretty quick to knit depending on your skill level. The first baby sweater I made was from the book, it took a couple weeks, but it was so cute and I made it in a larger size for a first birthday, too.  

You may need:


Dash & Albert Woven Rugs and a Little Lavender

One of my favorite things about living in the Pacific Northwest is the accessibility of the lavender farms and the ease of buying a lot of lavender infused honey. Adding a drizzle of lavender honey is the perfect something extra that my fruit and Greek yogurt needs. I also love to add a tiny bit to hot tea. Two of my favorite lavender farms are Purple Haze (their teas are some of my favorite, too) and Woodinville Lavender. I am drinking a cup of lavender tea right now.

lavender farm / warporweft.com

Over the weekend I discovered Dash & Albert rugs. We needed a small-ish rug to cover an area of the carpet next to the kitchen that our kitten keeps scratching (we've tried everything to make him use an actual scratcher and he refuses, but that's another story all together). On Sunday we wandered into Three Birds Home & Gifts on Queen Anne and found a large basket of affordable, handwoven Dash & Albert rugs and we were IN LOVE.

woven rug.jpg

We purchased this beauty and, even though the tag recommends dry cleaning, we wash it on gentle and dry it in the dryer on air dry and it's held up so far.  If you are looking for a reasonably priced woven rug, check out the Dash & Albert website.  

Giovannina Stole

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I received tons of requests for information about the shawl in the blocking post from last week. The pattern is called Giovannina Stole and is published by Skacel (#21100405). It is not available on Ravelry right now, but you can call your local yarn shops to find it. I bought my copy at So Much Yarn in the Pike Place Market.

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This pattern is absolutely lovely and a total labor of love - it took me a LONG time to finish it. I did not knit it straight through as each section is 30 rows and each are different, which takes a while to get used to in the beginning so I could not do it in front of the television or when people were talking to me for awhile. If you are going to knit it, you should note that my copy did not provide for two repeats of the middle section in the large chart, but you have to do it for the pattern to work out. 

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I used Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Saffron (it took approximately 2.5 skeins) and a size 4 needle. Since I used a different yarn and needle size than recommended, I only repeated Chart  D 13 times instead of the recommended 20 times and, after blocking, it ended up approximately 65 inches as suggested.  

For this project, you may need:


Blocking - How To Do It

Earlier this week I wrote about why I block knit and woven items - and you should, too! This is a follow up with instructions about how I block. There are a billion tutorials on blocking online, so there are probably hundreds of ways to do it, but this is the system that works best for me. 

blocking / knitting / warporweft.com

I do not use expensive or fancy equipment for blocking. Eventually I will ask for the blocking mats as a gift, but for now I just use a towel pinned into the rug for large items and a small quilting mat for smaller items

Here's how I block:

1) Prepare a sink, bowl or other appropriately sized bin (the whole item needs to fit into it and be under water) by making sure it is clean while being careful not to use any harsh chemicals to clean it so that it does not ruin your piece (i.e., do NOT use bleach to clean your sink and then put your item into the sink as any left over bleach may mark your item). I use a basic plastic bin so I only have to rinse it out with water. 

2) Pour a small amount of softening soap into your sink or bin. I use Soak Wash as a soap, but I hear that other people use a small amount of dish soap or laundry detergent. I like Soak because you do not have to wash it out. 

3) Fill up your sink or bin with water. Make sure not to fill it all the way to the top as the water will rise when the item is placed into it.

4) Place your item into the prepared water and wait 15 - 20 minutes.

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5) Gently remove the item from the water and let water run out. I like to support the item on the bottom so it does not stretch. Do NOT ring the item. 

6) Have a towel placed on the floor. Carefully place your item on the towel and roll the towel with the item inside.

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7) Gently step on the towel to get the water out of it. Unroll the towel. 

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8)  Where to lay the piece: If you don't have a blocking mat or if your piece is very large, think about where you will put it to pin it before you start the process. Consider whether the dye in the yarn will bleed. If so, you may not want to put your red, blue, etc., knitted piece on your white bedspread or cream colored rug (also be careful with your towels!).   

9) Follow the instructions in your pattern for what size to block your item. If it is a sweater, the pattern should instruct you as to what size each piece should be. If the item does not have a specific desired size, try to make it as straight as possible. Use a ruler or measuring tape to help. When you have the desired size, place pins along the edges of the item so that the item is secured to your blocking mat, rug, etc. 

blocking / knitting / cute cat / warporweft.com

10) Leave the item there to dry. Watch out for cats as they like to lay on the item and can get their claws stuck in the item (I learned this the hard way). When your item is dry, remove the pins. Make sure you get them all out and pull your item gently so that it doesn't pull your item if there is still a pin stuck in it.

 

Here are a few basic items that you may find helpful for blocking:

How to block if fairly easy as long as your project isn't too difficult. I hope this helps!

Blocking - Why Do It?

There are a ton of blocking tutorials online, but a few people asked about it after I posted that I was blocking, so I thought I would join the club and write about it, too. In case you don't know what "blocking" is, it is a finishing process where you steam, spray or soak a knit or woven piece or pieces so that you can stretch or you can redistribute the stitches/fabric. The most asked question was why I block because it seems like an unnecessary pain. I block to shape items, to make them softer, to make the fabric expand and settle a bit.  Here is an example of squares for a quilt I am knitting before and after blocking. The before is the dark purple on the left and the after are the pink squares on the right. The difference is astounding! 

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I don't block absolutely everything. With knitting, I block anything that needs to be shaped, including sweaters, anything that has curled while knitting, any garments that I am giving to a child and anything that needs to be made to a certain size. With weaving, I generally soak the item first or wash it on gentle cycle in the washing machine and then dry it on the lowest setting in the dryer. If you weave towels or other heavy use items, it's generally ok to wash the items and dry them however you would normally do so. Depending on what fabric you use, each strand of the woven item may get a bit plumper which leads to a more satisfying cloth look. With this piece I thought the weave was not tight enough until I washed it:

weaving / blocking / warporweft.com

I am working on a tutorial with a bit more detail about blocking items and will post it later this week. 

Charity Knitting Request

Oh my goodness, we watched Captain Phillips the other night and it was SO much better than we expected! There were a few moments where the Tom Hanks we know and love came through, but I was pretty captivated with the rest of it. I have to admit that I never really thought about the shipping industry, which is embarrassing as we live near the Port of Seattle (which I have since learned is the fourth busiest port in the US).  I am so much more interested in the Port now and want to take a tour. 

Ship leaving the Port of Seattle / warporweft.com

On another note, I received an email that Afghans for Afghanistan is in great need of donations of hand knit, wool or alpaca baby hats for newborn to 1 years old as well as 7 years old to adult sizes. The organization collects items for those in need and sends them to a hospital in Afghanistan. If you are looking for something easy to make this weekend or have a bunch of wool scrap yarn laying around, this is the project for you. The deadline for them to receive donations for the current shipment is currently July 3, 2014, but they are requesting an extension. More specifics on the rules and regulations is on their website here.

baby hat pattern / knit / warporweft.com

The hat above is an easy baby hat pattern. I recommend the following:

Materials: Double pointed needles of a size to get 5 stitches per inch (I used size 6) and 1 ball (or scraps that equal a ball) Cascade 220 Superwash. For the hat above, I used two colors of leftover scrap yarn and changed colors every three rows. 

Cast on 64 stitches, put a marker and join to knit in the round. Be careful not to twist the yarn as you join it. If you do twist the yarn, you won't be able to fix it and will have to start over.

Work in stockinette stitch (knit every round) until the hat measures 5 inches from the edge. Decrease as follows:

Rnd 1: *k6, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (56 sts remain)
Rnd 2: knit
Rnd 3:*k5, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (48 sts remain)
Rnd 4: knit
Rnd 5: *k4, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (40 sts remain)
Rnd 6: knit
Rnd 7: *k3, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (32 sts remain)
Rnd 8: *k2, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (24 sts remain)
Rnd 9: *k1, k2 tog,* repeat from * to * around (16 sts remain)
Rnd 10: k2 tog all the way around (8 sts remain)

Cut the yarn leaving approximately an 8 inch tail and thread it through the remaining 8 stitches. Pull it tightly and secure the end by pulling yarn to the inside of the hat through the center of those stitches. Weave in the ends. The hat should be approximately 5.5 to 6 inches tall and at least 11 inches around. 

Happy knitting!