Makers Minute – Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday Deals!

Come to our Brick and Mortar store THIS SATURDAY (11/26/16) to enjoy 20% off almost every item in the shop!

Not local? No worries! We’ll be running the same deal on MakersMercantile.com on Cyber Monday!

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Ask Me Monday Tutorial by Vickie Howell – addi Express Kingsize with Free Yarn!

We love blazing through quick gifts and charity projects using the addi Express King Size Knitting Machine, and here Vickie Howell gives a quick demo on the machines! Buy from Makers’ Mercantile and get $80 worth of amazingly plush Merino Yarn that we have selected as the perfect yarn for the machine!

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Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers: Part Four

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The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers: Part Four

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

My friend Euclid

Fallen 4.1

is always going on about how a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. I usually just tune it out, but staring at this length of free-form crochet really brought the point home to me.

Fallen 4.2

Here I was in week eight of this project, and from tip to tip the fabric measured 38 inches long and about seven inches wide. While most of it was worked in a fingering weight yarn (Schoppel Wolle Zauberball®), that was not a lot of acreage for the amount of work involved.

I hadn’t taken Euclid’s advice. I’d worked from point A to point B (if this is even B, it might be A-and-a-half) in little linked-up circles that meandered in hither and thither.

Now I was going to go back to Point A with two other yarns

Fallen 4.3

to add more detail.

Euclid shook his head. “Hey man,” he said. “You do you, okay?”

First Pass: Deep Purple

The odds in my game had been slanted in favor of the gentle browns and creams of the Zauberball®, but there was still a lot of the pale purple Hikoo® Tiara (Color 74: Amethyst) scattered through the fabric. The effect was nice enough, but a piece worked entirely in muted colors runs the risk of looking a little sleepy.

I decided to pepper the whole thing with tiny jolts of Hikoo® Simpliworsted in Color O33: Red Hat Purple. That is a PURPLE!!!! Purple, as deeply saturated as the Tiara is subdued. When you put brilliant and muted versions of the same color near one another in the same fabric, the effect can be a handsome shimmer–something the Fair Isle knitters of Shetland have known for generations.

My first thought was to make teeny pistils for the purple flowers with chain crochet, and I soon saw that the effect was…

Fallen 4.4

horrid.

I was hoping for elegant charm. This looked more like bad soft sculpture. The blossoms were all soft-edged and suggestive, like a pastel sketch or watercolor painting. These nubbins looked more like something from a cartoon. So I ripped them out.

Still, I really wanted that kiss of brilliant purple in the center of each Tiara flower. I worked a few more fiddly bits of crochet, none remotely successful. Then, before giving up, I tried a few simple, straight embroidery stitches taken from the center out.

Fallen 4.5

Huh. Not bad. Good enough to move forward, anyhow.

Second Pass: Second Layer

My goal with the Hikoo® Rylie (Color 124: Urchin) was twofold: to add texture and to add a third purple to the mix. I wanted to make a second layer of scattered blossoms to sit on top of this first layer–an idea I got from talking to Edie Eckman when I called her to ask permission to use Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs in this series.

I had noticed a project, a tote bag, illustrated in the book and asked how she had achieved such a deep, sculptural surface. “It’s not hard,” she said. “You can always go back and add more where you think you need it. Those were made separately and tied on.”

Well, okay then.

I used my smaller hook–a US size D (3.25mm), which I’d been using with the Zauberball®–to work out this variation on the blossom from Edie’s book.

Begin with sliding loop.

Rnd 1. Ch 1, 4 sc in ring, join with slip st to first sc.

Rnd 2. Ch 2, 6 dc in same st. *Sc in next sc, 6 dc in same st. Rep from * around, join with sl st to first sc.

Fasten off.

This gives a ruffly little four-petaled flower with two yarn tails sticking out the center of the wrong side. I spent a very enjoyable hour turning out a pile of them.

Fallen 4.6

The yarn tails are used to tie the flower to the main fabric as desired. In a move than I am afraid will get me sent to the free-form crochet penalty box, I decided in advance where to put them all, and pinned them into place.

Fallen 4.7

It was quick work to tie them down with a couple of double knots on the wrong side, and clip the tails to tiny ends.

Parting Shots

I began this series by comparing free-form crochet to one of my sketches; and the more I worked on the floral fabric the more true the comparison became. With both, part of the process is knowing when to stop. Theoretically, you never have to–unless the materials themselves collapse under the weight of the accumulated work.

Is this finished?

Fallen 4.8

I suppose it is. I feel that it is. I’m ready to move on.
I’ve learned a lot in working on it, and what’s more, I’ve enjoyed myself. No, free-form crochet is not the most efficient way to produce fabric. But who cares how long it takes, if you have a good time?

I really wanted to show you this piece on a model; it looks best that way. Sadly, Marie-France partied a little too hard last night and so I must ask that you accept a substitute.*

Fallen 4.9

Fallen 4.10

Fallen 4.11

Fallen 4.12

Sorry.

Coming Up…

So ends this adventure.

See you the Friday after Thanksgiving week, friends. The cold weather is drawing in, and I’m at work on a new sweater.

*Personal to Vogue Knitting magazine. You have my number. Call me.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman (Storey Publishing)

Schoppel Wolle Zauberball® (75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon), 420m/100g ball. Color: 1993 (Chocolate Cream)

Hikoo® Tiara (10% Kid Mohair, 5% Wool, 49% Acrylic, 22% Nylon, 10% Bead, 4% Sequin), 188 yd/100g hank. Color: 74 (Amethyst)

Hikoo® Rylie (50% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen), 274 yd/100g hank. Color: 124 (Urchin)

Hikoo® Simpliworsted (55% Merino Wool 25% acrylic 17% Nylon), 140 yd/100g hank. Color: 033 (Red Hat Purple)

addi® Olive Wood Crochet Hooks

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, three looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Makers’ Minute – Zauberball Family of Yarn

Katie goes into detail about Zauberballs! What does it mean? How do you pronounce it? Just how many variations are there? Wonder no more!

Shop Zauberwolle, Shop Zauberball, Shop Zauberball 100, Shop Zauberball Crazy, Shop Zauberball Starke 6

Shop Lace Ball, Shop Lace Ball 100, Shop Edition 3, Shop Edition 6

Makers’ Minute – addi® Express King

 

This Makers’ Minute covers the awesome addi® Express King knitting machine! It’s the perfect way to get items like hats, scarves, flat panels and more done in a hurry!

With your purchase of this machine, you’ll also receive your choice of one of our specially chosen yarn kits for no charge!

Purchase an addi® Express King.

Additional yarn kits can be purchased here.

Transcription:

Hi, I’m Katie and I’m here once again with your Makers’ Minute! Today we’re talking about our awesome knitting machine, the Addi Express King Size.

The King Size is our larger version, which is great for worsted weight yarns to make hats, cowls, flat panel knitting…that’s right, you can work in the round and in the flat, because as we all know there’s a certain holiday season just around the corner, and perhaps you’ve over promised a couple of gifts.

That’s why you’re going to love this knitting machine. In no time you can whip out a hat for your brother, a scarf for your friend, and a felted wine cozy for your best friend! Skacel even has a video on their YouTube channel of how to make a hat in half an hour. You can see that link in the description below.

With your purchase of the Addi Express King from Makers’ Mercantile, you’ll also get your choice of one of our yarn kits. The yarn selection for these kits were specially matched because we know they’ll work up great on this machine. Don’t worry each kit is available in multiple colors that we know will look great together. The yarns we currently have available in these kits include- a 100% extra-fine merino (that’s what’s worked up here now), HiKoo Kenzington, Hikoo SimpliCria, and Hikoo Trenzado. Need even more yarn? Not to worry! You can purchase additional kits as well.

Stop over to makersmercantile.com right now to pick up your Addi Express King and get going on all of those gifts to make sure everyone has something handmade this holiday season.

Check out the 30 minute hat video from Skacel here:

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers: Part Three

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The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers: Part Three

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

So began the rolling of the dice and the oh-so-gradual emergence of my carpet of crochet flowers.

Fallen 3.1

By freeform standards, my form was not all that free. I was using one motif; albeit in two different weights with two different yarns, the finer of which (Schoppel Wolle Zauberball®) was gradually changing color.

Fallen 3.2

Even so, I struggled.

My earliest blossoms were lopsided and scrunched, with a tension that could be kindly described as clenched.

Fallen 3.3

I elected to use the “flat join” from Edie Eckman’s Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs, which allowed me to join as I worked, and more importantly discouraged me from ripping out too much. I told myself the rustic nature of the Zauberball® helped to disguise that, and from time to time almost believed it. There’s even a mutant flower in there with five petals (or was it six?) instead of four. I can’t seem to find it now, but I know it’s in there.

But this is a freeform piece, so I elected to let it go. Nature mutates, so why not my crochet?

That sounds so laid back, doesn’t it? Que sera sera. Laissez-les bons temps rouler. So terribly Zelda Fitzgerald leaping into a fountain.

In truth, it was forced out through a clenched jaw. I had no idea of my innate attachment to uniformity until I tried to let it go.

In spite of my best efforts, I’d pause and note that my “random” blossoms were still lined up in neat rows and the edges of my scattered carpet were frustratingly even.

Still, I pressed on.

Fallen 3.4

I thought of a society dame in an old New Yorker cartoon by the legendary Helen Hokinson, putting the finishing touches on her flower show display and saying with exasperation, “I am trying to achieve the effect of a sombrero carelessly thrown down!”

There is a lot of blather about knitting and crochet being forms of meditation. For the first time, my needlework really reminded me of meditation. Specifically, my earliest attempts at meditation, when that hour spent on a cushion full of buckwheat hulls felt like a month in a pit full of vipers.

Still, I pressed on.

I felt like this thing I was making might truly stink, but I wasn’t going to write two columns about it only to present you with a finale showing a bunch of cut up flowers and the caption, “Nevermind.”

It grew slowly, but it grew.

Fallen 3.5

My tension relaxed and steadied.

Fallen 3.6

My joins grew more adventurous.

Fallen 3.7

I began to break away from the unconscious habit of working in parallel rows.

Fallen 3.8

Without knowing when or how, I relaxed into the work.

When the fabric had reached dimensions that might serve as a cowl, I paused to assess.

Fallen 3.9

Now, it’s okay. I don’t hate it. I also don’t love it–yet. I was going to bring the adventure to an end here, but after rummaging around in my stash I’ve found some Hikoo® Rylie and Hikoo® Simpliworsted, and with those I’m going back to work it over a little more. I think it needs variety.
I’ll have put four very different yarns all in one piece. I’ve never done that before.

This, however, is freeform–so I am free to do it. Exciting.

See you in two weeks.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman (Storey Publishing)

Schoppel Wolle Zauberball® (75% Superwash Wool, 25% Nylon), 420m/100g ball. Color: 1993 (Chocolate Cream)

Hikoo® Tiara (10% Kid Mohair, 5% Wool, 49% Acrylic, 22% Nylon, 10% Bead, 4% Sequin), 188 yd/100g hank. Color: 74 (Amethyst)

Hikoo® Rylie (50% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen), 274 yd/100g hank. Color:

Hikoo® Simpliworsted (55% Merino Wool 25% acrylic 17% Nylon), 140 yd/100g hank.

addi® Olive Wood Crochet Hooks

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters
at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has
been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue
Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and
the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon,
one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average
day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays,
cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin
lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a
Schacht spinning wheel, three looms, and a colony of yarn that
multiplies whenever his back is turned.