Holiday Gift Guide for Knitters

It's the holiday season! I've rounded up a bunch of knitting products that I can't live without. These will make great gifts or stocking stuffers for the knitter in your life or, if you are the knitter, items that you may want to ask for if you don't already have them. Some items are from small shops and others are from Amazon (for you last minute shoppers!) and they are in different price points as well.  

Holiday Gift Guide for Knitters / warporweft.com

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1. Yarn Gauge - This tool measures the thickness of any yarn when you wrap the yarn around the belly of the cat. You compare the number of times your yarn wraps around with the key to the left of the cat to find out the weight of an unknown yarn.

2. Needle Gauge - More often than I'd like to admit, different sizes of double pointed needles get mixed together and the printed needle numbers rub off. This tool helps with that. The holes are laser cut from bamboo to measure knitting needles from sizes 0 to 17 in US sizes and metric measurements.  

3. Blocking Pin Set - This set works great in place of individual pins. It offers more even tension and is quicker because there are either 4 or 8 pins on each blocker. I have 2 sets of these.

4. Yarn Umbrella - If you buy yarn online and have to wind it into a ball to start knitting, it is much easier to use this umbrella tool than to wind by hand. The umbrella spins smoothly and makes yarn winding more fun. It clamps on to the edge of a table, chair or any other convenient location (mine is clamped on to the front of my floor loom). It easily comes off for storage as well. 

5. Skein Winder - This is the piece that actually winds skeins of yarn. It is super easy to use especially when you pair it with the umbrella above. I personally like this durable metal version better than the cheaper plastic versions, but there are many great options available, including electric versions.  

6. Removable Highlighter Tape - This is a great tool for keeping track of where you are in a pattern. All you have to do is move it forward every time you advance to the next row. The tape is see through so you can see the row below without moving the tape in case you need to reference it. Tip: I fold about an inch on the end back onto itself so that it is an easy pull tab for when I am ready to move the tape up a row.

7. Rosewood Cable Needles - Sure, the plastic or metal cable needles do the trick, but there is something special about using this affordable luxury to help make cables during knitting. Sold as a set of three, this is a great tool.  

8. Small Embroidery Scissors - I use small embroidery scissors to carefully cut the woven in ends on knitting projects. I like how they get close to the fabric and make the ends easier to hide.

9. Soak Wash - This is a gentle, no-rinse cleanser that makes and keeps your clothes and crafts soft and looking their best. I LOVE Soak Wash so much that I now exclusively use it on my knits, handwoven items, as well as commercially bought sweaters, underwear, bras, pajamas and anything else that is delicate. It comes in a variety of scents as well as an unscented formula.   

Not pictured, but another great idea: A yarn bowl to hold the ball of yarn while you knit. There are SO MANY in every style on Etsy - HERE.

Happy shopping!

Updated Belltown Cowl Scarf Pattern

I am pleased to announce that the pattern for the Belltown Cowl Scarf now includes one skein and three skein versions of the scarf! I really love the Belltown Cowl Scarf, but it's a bit too heavy for most days in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to develop a one skein version that would be equally as cozy, but less bulky and slightly cheaper, too. It also takes 1/3 the time to knit, but is equally as trendy.

Easy One Skein Cowl Scarf Knitting Pattern / warporweft.com

I hope you will enjoy this scarf as much as I do! This will be an easy holiday gift or a treat for yourself. If you knit it, post a picture on the blog below or on Raverly or tag me on Instagram.

Original post: Belltown Cowl Scarf Pattern

 

Find the pattern:

Ravelry: Belltown Cowl Scarf

Warp or Weft Shop: Belltown Cowl Scarf

Seattle Weavers' Guild Annual Sale This Weekend

The Seattle Weavers' Guild Annual Sale is this week! Over 3,500 one-of-a-kind hand-crafted items, including scarves, jewelry, wearable garments, items for the home (pillows, blankets, hand towels, placemats, bath towels, etc.), tapestries, art, gifts, yarn and more. All items are handmade by our 300+ members, who are local to the Seattle area.

Seattle Weavers' Guild Annual Sale 2016 / warporweft.com

On Friday morning at 11 am, our master rug weavers will speak about what goes into creating a handmade rug and what rugs are best for different areas of your home.

There will be demonstrations of weaving, spinning and other fiber arts techniques throughout the sale.

Thursday, October 27, 5-8pm
Friday, October 28, 10am-8pm
Saturday, October 29, 10am-5pm

Lower Level Blodel Hall
St. Mark's Cathedral
1245 10th Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102
(Capitol Hill)

Parking and entrance to the sale are free. Proceed to the back of the parking lot for entry.

Information on Guild Membership HERE.

A Sweet Baby Bonnet

 This is a baby bonnet that I made over the weekend. It may be the most beautiful piece I've ever made! It's called the Wintergreen Bonnet by Larissa Brown of Stitch Marker knitting patterns. It knit much faster than I thought it would and was fun to see the lacey pattern unfold.

Wintergreen knit baby bonnet / warporweft.com

The pattern calls for Sierra by Cascade Yarns, which was discontinued, so I substituted by using Lark by Quince & Co. The gray color is called frost and the pink color is called petal. They are lovely to knit with. I used less then one full skein of the lark as the main color and only a little bit of the petal for the border. I bought the ribbon from Joann Fabrics. The pattern called for 1/2 inch ribbon, but I could only find 3/8 inch in a matching color, so I went with that.

Wintergreen knit baby hat / warporweft.com

 

Notes on the Pattern

Gauge: I tend to knit loosely and generally have to go down a needle size, but I ended up going up a needle size (I used a US 6 (4 mm)) and was still slightly under the recommended gauge.

Size: The pattern only has unspecified "baby" and "toddler/child" sizes. The hat I made was for a first birthday, so I went with the "toddler/child" size.

I knit the arch part of the hat as written. It took three full repeats of the arch pattern to get to 7 inches long for me. Then I added one more row to end on the right side before continuing with the pattern.

Row 13 of the toddler/child size pattern omits part of the designation for some stitches, so I knit it as follows - K1 *m1L, k5, skp, k2tog, k3, m1R, k1, m1L, k3, skp, k2tog, k5, m1R, k1, repeat * to end.

For the border, I knit it as written in the pattern, but I added two additional rows of stockinette after the ribbon holes. For a continuous piping look, I knit the last row in the pink yarn and bound off in the pink yarn as well. If you wanted to continue the border up the sides of the ribbon band you could add a row of single crochet border with the pink yarn or, alternatively, as you work this section, you could knit the first and last stitch of each row in the contrasting pink color.

I blocked the hat in Soak Wash and laid it flat on its side to make sure the straight parts of each side lined up.    

Note: If you tie the ribbon around a child's neck,  make sure you watch them closely to avoid choking hazards.

 

Quick Info:

Pattern: Wintergreen Bonnet by Larissa Brown on Raverly

Yarn: Quince & Co. Lark in Frost (main color) and Petal (border color)

Blocking: Soak Wash and blocking pins

Beginning Knitting Tip

Today I'm sharing a knitting tip that it took me far too long to learn, but will hopefully be helpful to beginning knitters. When you put your knitting down in the middle of a row because you are too tired or get interrupted, which will happen more frequently than you would think (at least it happens to me all the time between text messages, phone calls, hungry or bored cats, dinner that needs to be stirred in the pot, etc.), you may forget in which direction you were knitting. You will want to panic because you may end up knitting in the wrong direction and then will have to take out several rows, but fear not!

Easy beginning knitting tip everyone should know

If you look at what side the strand of yarn that you are working is connected to, THAT will be the needle that you hold in your RIGHT HAND when you pick up your knitting. You can see it in my right hand in the photo above. When you hold the needle with the yarn attached in your right hand, you will continue to knit in the correct direction onto the left needle. See how easy that is?!

I hope this helps. Cheers!

More Tips:

Tips to Keep Your Knit and Woven Items Smelling Fresh

Top 3 Must Have Weaving Books

Modern Brush Calligraphy Class

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to join her at an Intro to Modern Brush Calligraphy class and I jumped at the chance. I've seen so much great modern calligraphy on Instagram recently that I couldn't resist! And I am so happy that I did. Sara Ward of Cable Car Couture taught the class and she was knowledgeable, stylish and a total sweetheart. The class runs for about three hours and goes through the structure of the letters in a way that builds on what you are learning instead of proceeding straight through A to Z.  We also got to keep the marker we were using along with the booklet that has plenty of examples to keep practicing. 

Modern Brush Calligraphy / warporweft.com

The only thing I was a bit wary about was that the class location was only provided two or three days before the class, which was at someone's home. It's probably because I am from the northeast, but it always makes me a bit uneasy to go to a total stranger's house. I'm saying this more as a warning about what to expect than as a problem with the class. Everything ended up really great and I can't wait to take another class with Sara! 

 

Quince & Co. Baby Duck Boots and a Baby Hat

Earlier this year my friend, Alex, was gifted a Quince & Co. baby duck booties kit while she was pregnant, but she didn't get around to knitting it before the baby arrived, so she asked me to knit the booties for her son. They are really cute, if I do say so myself. This is the first time I've knit with Quince & Co. yarn and it is really nice. I didn't have any problems or major adjustments to the pattern, which I really appreciate! The kit is from Quince & Co. or you can purchase the booties pattern and yarn separately from London Loop Knitting. I made the larger of the baby size booties in 6-12 months (not the toddler size) and had enough yarn leftover to make the adorable baby hat, too.

Quince & Co Baby Duck Boots and Knit Hat by Warp or Weft

For the booties - It takes a few rows to realize that the booties are knit flat and then you build out the toe, which leads into the tongue. After that, you pick up the rest of the bootie to form the actual boot. I knit the back part of the bootie with two needles instead of three to prevent a gap between the two needles (you could also use 2 circular needles if you have them in the same size and are more comfortable with that method instead of double pointed needles). I also added the picked up stitches at the end of the first row instead of the beginning of the second so that the two sides of the boot are even. And I omitted the 12 inch tails for seaming. They are unnecessary as you can seam it later without having a mess hanging down while you are trying to knit AND you will want all the available yarn if you want to make a hat, too.  

Knitting Baby Duck Booties & Hat / warporweft.com

The most complicated part of the booties for me was blocking because the tongue curled a lot on both sides when I was knitting it. To adjust for this, I pinned the sides of the tongue to the sides of the bootie after the wet block.  

Overall, I'd say the booties pattern is intermediate level as double pointed needles, short rows and picking up stitches on each side of a row are required (as well as creative blocking). If you are an absolute beginner and are dedicated to taking on this project, make sure you have patience, access to youtube videos and a good teacher to help you out.

NOTE: If you are making the hat, make sure that you fully complete the booties first, including cutting two adequate lengths of yarn for the laces. That way you won't accidentally use all of the white yarn in the hat and not have anything to sew the bottom of the booties with.

Knit baby hat by Warp or Weft

For the hat - I modified a baby hat pattern to adjust for the amount of each color yarn that I had as the hat progressed. I knew I didn't have enough yarn to make even stripes or to complete a pattern as written. I had the most apricot left over, so I used that as a base for the hat. If you run out of the other colors, you can substitute more rows at the end with apricot. The hat is knit in the round.

Cast on 88 stitches in size 3 US (3.25 mm) needles. Place a stitch marker. Join, being careful not to twist.  

Ribbing: Knit in a *knit 2, purl 2* rib for 6 rows

Main Hat:  Switch to a size 5 US (3.75 mm) 16 inch circular needle (or dpns) and Gingerbread color yarn.

Row 1: Knit 2, make 1, knit until 2 stitches before the end of the row, make 1, knit 2. You will now have 90 stitches.

Rows 2 and 3: Knit with Apricot.

Rows 4 and 5: Knit with Egret.

Rows 6 and 7: Knit with Apricot.

Row 8: Knit with Gingerbread.

Rows 9 and 10: Knit with Egret.

Row 11: Begin the brown and gold pattern - *Knit 1 Gingerbread, knit 2 Apricot* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 12: *Knit 1 Apricot, knit 2 Gingerbread, knit 2 Apricot, knit 1 Gingerbread, knit 1 Apricot, knit 1 Gingerbread, knit 1 Apricot*  repeat to the end of the row.

Row 13: *Knit 1 Apricot, knit 2 Gingerbread, knit 1 Apricot, knit 1 Gingerbread, knit 3 Apricot, knit 1 Gingerbread* repeat to the end of the row.  

Row 14: *Knit 1 Gingerbread, knit 2 Apricot* repeat to the end of the row.

Rows 15 and 16: Knit with Egret.

Row 17: Knit with Gingerbread. 

Rows 18 and 19: Knit with Apricot. 

Row 20: *Knit 1 Apricot, knit 1 Egret* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 21: *Knit 1 Egret, knit 1 Gingerbread* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 22: *Knit 1 Apricot, knit 1 Egret* repeat to the end of the row.

Rows 23 and 24: Knit with Apricot.

Row 25: Knit with Gingerbread.

Row 26 and 27: Knit with Apricot.

Row 28: *Knit 2 Apricot, knit 1 Egret* repeat to the end of the row.

Rows 29 and 30: Knit with Apricot.

Row 31: Knit with Gingerbread.

Rows 32 and 33: Knit with Apricot.

Row 34: Knit with Egret.

BEGIN DECREASE ROWS WITH APRICOT (change to double pointed needles as needed):

Row 35: *Knit 6, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 36: Knit.

Row 37: *Knit 5, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 38: Knit.

Row 39: *Knit 4, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 40: Knit.

Row 41: With Gingerbread, *Knit 3, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 42: Switch to Apricot for the rest of the hat. Knit.

Row 43: *Knit 2, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 44: Knit.

Row 45: *Knit 1, knit 2 together* repeat to the end of the row.

Row 46: Knit.

Row 47: Knit 2 together on all remaining stitches.

Break thread and pull through remaining 11 stitches tightly. Weave in the ends.  Wet block the hat (I used Soak wash) and lay flat to dry .

If you are feeling less adventurous, you could knit in a color block pattern. I'd suggest casting on in the apricot, then switching to the gingerbread (the darker brown color) and egret (the white color), then back to the apricot to balance the design of the hat.

EDIT: I haven't made the bigger size booties, so I don't know how much left over yarn you will have if you make that size. If you try it, please let me know whether it works out!

Quince & Co Baby Duck Booties Kit - Here - or buy the pattern and yarn separately - Here

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Over the weekend, we went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Santa Fe Indian Market. The 95 year old market features over 1,100 Native artists from the US and Canada. It was really great to see all of the handmade items from such talented artists. The weaving and beadwork were indescribable. I was impressed at how friendly and willing to discuss their work the artists were. It was a great opportunity! 

Santa Fe, New Mexico / warporweft.com

We flew to Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon and spent Friday driving to Taos and checking out the sites along the way. We stopped at the Santuario de Chimayo and then took the High Road to Taos. The landscape was incredible and the skies are unbelievable. I forgot to look up the elevation before we went, but immediately knew we were at altitude - 7,100+ feet. If you go, make sure to drink plenty of water between the altitude and the dry climate, it's easy to become dehydrated.    

New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
New Mexico / warporweft.com
New Mexico / warporweft.com
New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
New Mexico Landscape / warporweft.com
Rio Grande River in New Mexico / warporweft.com

This was our first visit to New Mexico, first time driving on Route 66 and first time seeing the Rio Grande. In Santa Fe, we went to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, which had a variety of work that I'd never seen before and some history about her life. It was a great vacation!

Seattle Fashion Exhibit Round Up

The fashion exhibits at Seattle museums are unbelievable right now! From traditional to unconventional, there's a bit of awe and inspiration for everyone. Here's my roundup:

Fashion Books of Seattle / warporweft.com

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair at the Bellevue Arts Museum     

Everything about this exhibit is phenomenal - the history, design, construction, embroidery, beadwork. I couldn't get enough. The exhibit features about 40 designs from the 50 year history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and also profiles Eunice W. Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company and publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines who was the visionary director and producer of the Fair. At the Bellevue Arts Museum, but closes this weekend - August 14, 2016 is the last day before it moves to Washington, DC.

World of WearableArt at the EMP   

This exhibition was so good that I bought TWO books. The World of Wearable Art is New Zealand's largest art show and asks designers from all over the world to take “art off the wall and adorn [it] onto the human form.” I went in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how obsessed I am with some of the pieces. The exhibit can get a bit crowded, but make sure you take time to look at each of the pieces thoroughly AND to watch the full video. It's worth it.

Check out the main website from the headquarters in Wellington, NZ if you can't make it to the EMP - World of WearableArt

Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World at the Asian Art Museum

This isn't a traditional fashion exhibit as it focuses on the use of indigo dye in fabric and the creation of fabric. The featured textiles are a sampling of how indigo is used around the world and includes many household textiles in addition to wearable pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to identify a Lee's Surrender handwoven piece in the collection. I am planning to go back to this exhibit soon. I need to see it again! At the SAM Asian Art Museum through October 9, 2016.

 

Head to any or all of these (I recommend all) as they are great for fiber and non-fiber people alike.

Have a great weekend!

Handwoven Cashmere Scarf

Here's a look at my first completed handwoven cowl scarf! I am honestly in disbelief at how well it turned out. I am often really hard on myself when it comes to the things I make...especially when it comes to weaving, but I am going to wear this scarf with pride. And it is SO soft. This was also the first time I wove with 100% cashmere and it was a treat. I am going to try a few variations on this scarf in the coming weeks and, if they turn out well, I will list them for sale on this website.

Handwoven Cashmere Scarf / warporweft.com

If you are interested in making this yourself, the pattern is Monk's Belt with a black 10/2 perle cotton warp and a purple 100% cashmere weft. The perle cotton is a little bit stiff, but maintains the structure of the scarf. If you are looking for a better drape to the scarf, you may want to try a different warp. The sett is 24 ends per inch. I wet finished it using Soak Wash in Celebration, which is really nice because you don't have to rinse the fabric, and let it dry flat. 

French Seam on Cashmere Handwoven Scarf / warporweft.com

Then I sewed it together with a French seam.  Instructions on how to make a French seam HERE. It's never too early to start preparing for winter with great handwoven accessories (especially because summer barely came to Seattle this year!) and this is a favorite.

Invisible Reweaving Book

It's been such a busy month! We had a bunch of visitors in town and are finally getting back to our real life. We also went to the US Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon over the Fourth of July weekend. It was a really great experience and inspiring to see so many people living their dreams. If you ever have a chance to go to an Olympic trials, do it! If you go to Eugene, bring plenty of sunscreen and a poncho.

Reweaving book / warporweft.com

We stopped in Portland on the way to Eugene and I raided the weaving section of Powell's Books. You can't beat old weaving books for instruction and examples. The reweaving books from Fabricon Co. are really impressive. If you are wondering what reweaving is, the one sentence explanation is a method of repairing woven fabric using threads from another part of the fabric. The booklet comes with a set of old tools (good thing I recently had a tetanus shot), sample fabrics to practice on and tips for finding jobs in reweaving. The letter from the company promises "profit and success" along with an ad for Magni-Focuser New 3-D Binocular Magnifier. It also has the name and address of the original owner of the books, which is pretty cool. I love old books and I can't wait to try out this technique.