Makers’ Minute – HiKoo® Rylie

Truly a trans-seasonal wonder, HiKoo® Rylie will become your new favorite year round yarn. The unique blend of alpaca, mulberry silk, and linen means a tactile feel, gleaming drape, and superb softness rolled into one sport weight yarn. Knit or crochet for days with this wonderful creation!

Shop all Rylie colors.

Shop Moon Rise Shawl Kits – SMALL.

Shop Moon Rise Shawl Kits – LARGE.

Shop Wispy Poncho Kits.

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Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Little Poser, Part Four

fwf-logo-v11The Adventure of the Little Poser, Part Four

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

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

The nice thing about having made as many mistakes as I have is that admitting one more isn’t terribly difficult.

Remember the lovely card-woven strap I started last time? The one meant to hold up my crocheted yoga mat bag with strength and style?

Poser 4.1

Everything was hunky-dory for about seven repeats. Then this happened.

Poser 4.2

That, my friends, is a broken warp thread. Now, broken warp threads happen in weaving all the time and they are usually no big deal. When they break, you fix them and weave on.

But this warp thread spelled doom. It was a confirmation of what I had known in my heart all along. Schoppel-Wolle Leinen Los is a wonderful, unique yarn–but it’s not suitable for warp. It’s not strong enough.

I’ll say it again: I knew this.

Warp yarns need to be firm and strong, which most often means constructed from multiple plies (strands) of a strong fiber or fiber blend, twisted firmly together. Leinen Los is a single strand held together by felting. There’s an old weaver’s test for warp strength: break the yarn in two. If it twangs or pings when you break it, it may be a good warp yarn. If it gives you more of a soft pop, pick another. Leinen Los made no sound at all, except perhaps the distant rumble of failure. It drifted apart.

Poser 4.3

So why did I do it? Because I’d fallen in love with the yarn. It’s bewitching. When it came time to weave the strap, I couldn’t get past the idea of using it for the entire bag even though I knew better. Strong attachment to your first idea can be fatal. It’s a rookie mistake, but I fear that in this way I will forever be a rookie.

That’s terribly poignant. I may have shed a pensive tear. And still I had a yoga mat bag with no strap.

I considered a few options, including pairing the Leinen Los as weft with a stronger warp yarn on my Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom. But I was on the road without either the loom or the other yarn. (Card weaving with Leinen Los and weft wouldn’t have been much of an option, as the weft yarn in card weaving is hidden by the warp.)

I swallowed my pride and my fancy concepts and I turned to crochet. Just good old double crochet…

Poser 4.4

…with a contrast edging all around in single crochet.

Poser 4.5

The edging not only gave a neater, more finished appearance; it also counteracted stretch and droop, because the grain of the edging runs counter to the grain of the strap.

Poser 4.6

Once the strap was complete I decided to kill two birds with one stone and simultaneously attach the band and add the piping that I wanted and the top and bottom edges of the bag.

To attach it, from the right side I worked single crochet through both the strap and the bag.

Poser 4.7

As Leinen Los is such a gently constructed yarn, working the join with crochet was a better option that sewing it on. Sewing pulls the working strand repeatedly through the fabric, wearing it a bit each time. Softly-spun knitting yarns may abrade so much even over a short sewn seam that they just fall to pieces. Or (worse) they may appear to survive–and your seam fails soon after you put it to the test. Crochet, on the other hand, doesn’t subject any one length of the strand to repeated stress during the working.

With the strap secured, I continued the single crochet around the bag until I met up with the beginning.

Poser 4.8

This is not a revolutionary idea. But it looks nice and it lends a bit more stability to the bag at two key points.

The bag and strap were now complete (yay) but plain (boo).

You may recall that I had hit upon a solution for dressing up the bag with little chains of flowerettes, or whatever the hell you want to call them, to weave in and out of the clusters in the fabric.

Poser 4.9

Happily, focusing on the strap for a while allowed me to return to the bag with fresh eyes. I saw that the chains were not cute, or fun, or unusual. They made the bag look like it was suffering from a vile dermatological complaint.

A couple of people told me to leave it plain. Flowers, they said, would make it too feminine–and then I couldn’t use it. Here’s my thought on that: if we’d perhaps like to slow down the destruction of the natural environment and the planet as a whole, maybe we should stop telling men and boys that flowers are something only women are supposed to enjoy.

I went back to my tiny crochet library, messing around with one vintage floral edging after another.

I learned a lot about making edgings, but even when I stripped an edging down to its fundament it always reminded me of something my grandmother would have put on a Sunday apron.

Poser 4.10

That’s not in and of itself a bad thing, except that it was wrong for this project. This project was supposed to recall my mid-1970s crochet-and-macramé borderline hippie Southwestern childhood.

I kept thinking and seeing daisies. Daisies. Daisies. Daisies. And more out of frustration than anything else I decided to see if I could make a single daisy on my own. After all the fooling around with edging motifs, and all the freeform experimentation in the The Adventure of the Fallen Flowers

Poser 4.11

…it turned out that I could. After so many setbacks, that felt great.

So I made a bunch of them.

Poser 4.12

Then I sewed them on the bag, after pinning them in place with the help of a friend and a full-length mirror. I wanted to make sure I got the best effect from the, uh, “random” placement.

I liked it.

Poser 4.13

Poser 4.14

I liked it so much that after making an i-cord drawstring out of two strands of Leinen Los held together, I added a daisy to each end. They’re cute, and they keep the string from pulling out of the bag.

Poser 4.15

And I had my yoga bag.

Poser 4.16

I was so jazzed that I made up a yoga playlist to go with it, drawn from the time in my life that inspired the bag. Ladies and gents, the mellow sounds of my parents’ stereo cabinet. Enjoy in a hammock with a nice rosé if vriksasana is not your thing.

  • Jim Croce, Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)
  • Gordon Lightfoot, If You Could Read My Mind
  • The Eagles, Peaceful Easy Feeling
  • Judy Collins, Both Sides Now
  • The Bee Gees, How Deep Is Your Love
  • John Denver, Annie’s Song
  • The Doobie Brothers, Listen to the Music
  • Fleetwood Mac, Dreams
  • Maria Muldaur, Midnight at the Oasis
  • Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken
  • Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle

I’m ready for the next adventure. I hope you’ve enjoyed this one. See you in two weeks!
Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Schoppel-Wolle Leinen Los (70% Virgin Wool, 30% Linen • 328 yards per 100 gram ball). Colors: 0908 (White) and 8495 (Gray-Brown)
Addi® Swing Crochet Hooks

Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom

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 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, the Taos Wool Festival, 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/Makers’ Mercantile. 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 (presently on hiatus).

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

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), or his Facebook page.

Makers’ Minute – Sue Spargo

 

Are you an embroidery enthusiasts? Then you probably know of Sue Spargo, and if you don’t, you’re in for a treat! Sue is the designer behind many folk styled patterns, threads, needles and, of course, 100% wool felt fabrics! We have over 60 colors of this amazing wool felt and know you’ll love pairing the perfect color with your next masterpiece!

Click here to shop all Sue Spargo supplies!

Vickie Howell Demystifies the Herringbone Stitch!

Vickie Howell Demystifies the Herringbone Stitch!

Intricate to the eye, but easy to master after watching Vickie’s LIVE Facebook Feed Show.

Knitters love the look of this textured stitch! It has the complexity of a woven fabric and is perfect for accessories or home furnishings, such as pillows and throws.

Vickie walks you through the steps of to make this lovely stitch in the round – and we promise, there is nothing crazy. All you’ll need to know is how to knit, purl and slip stitches; but after watching the video, you will be on your way to knitting herringbone cowls and hats!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fvickiehowell%2Fvideos%2F1173556656086215%2F&show_text=0&width=560

In this video, Vickie uses two of our Makers’ Mercantile® Exclusive Yarns Cashmere Dream, and Luv & Lee!

Cashmere Dream is a customer favorite for both its lightweight luxuriousness and its incredible softness. Available in a single, versatile cream color, this limited edition yarn is nearly sold out, so this may be its last sighting! Order before its gone! *If you love the blue Cashmere Dream Cowl in the video, it was dyed with the Botanical Colors Indigo Dye kit.

300px Cashmere Dream set

 

The other featured yarn, Luv & Lee, is a 100% extra fine Merino Wool, single ply. This yarn comes in 26 solid and variegated colors! Something for everyone!

Luv & Lee Collage

If you are looking for the perfect one-ball project to try the Herringbone stitch, the Kenzing-Tam(shown in the video in navy blue) is perfect! This pattern uses HiKoo Kenzington, which is incredibly warm, and is the perfect aran weight for knitting quick hats and mittens. This hat pattern (among many others), is in the Skacel Minilog by Skacel which is FREE with your purchase of Kenzington!

skacel-mini-magalog-volume-cover

Add the perfect pom to complete your look – made by LOVaFUR a mother and daughter owned company that hand makes each vegan pom at their factory in Austria.

We also have the perfect circular addi® needles, in stock in every size and length for all your knitting needs!

Our recommendations for the above projects:

Cashmere Dream addi® Turbo Circular Needles 24″ US 17

Luv & Lee addi® Rocket Circular Needles 16″ size US 11

Kenzington addi® Rocket Circular Needles 16″ size US 11

 

We hope to see you back for another Makers’ with Vickie on April 28th at 10:30 PT. Vickie will be sharing how to do Intarsia in Garter Stitch and create an adorable tooth fairy pillow.

Makers’ Minute – Sirka® Counter

It’s the Sirka® Counter, which tends to your knitting by tracking three separate counts, AT THE SAME TIME. You don’t even have to remember when to stop counting; the Sirka® counter does it for you. Here’s how: The discs underneath the “face” of the counter rotate, allowing you to align the disc handles, or “crowns,” with numbers on the face. Balls and springs hold the crowns in place until you decide to advance your counts. The “hands,” which fit into slots on the face, remind you where each count ends. Revolutionary!

Shop Counters

Shop Bento Cases

Additional Tutorials and Videos

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Little Poser, Part Three

fwf-logo-v11The Adventure of the Little Poser, Part Three

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

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

Today I’m setting aside the bag part of the yoga mat bag, the one we’ve been making from Schoppel-Wolle Lenien Los (on sale through April 15, 2017 at 20% off for 2 or more balls), so that we can focus on the strap.

Poser 3.1

Homemade straps are a Dirty Little Secret of the knit and crochet world. It’s fun to knit your own bag. It’s fun to crochet your own bag. But most bags need straps or handles, and neither knitting nor crochet is particularly good at meeting the challenges of life as a strap.

You may well have been, as I once was, the victim of one of the ten million knitted beginner bag patterns that blithely instructs you to knit and attach a skinny yard of garter stitch. And what does garter stitch famously do? Garter stitch stretches.

Poser 3.2

Somehow, the patterns never get around to mentioning that.

In the same yarn and worked in an equivalent gauge, crochet usually stretches less than knitting–but still it stretches. Ask anyone who wore a crochet bikini in the 1960s.

What are we to do?

You can purchase a ready-made strap or handle, or even a whole support system. Lots of folks take this route. (The leather and plush caged purse kits offered by Makers’ Mercantile have been flying off the shelf.)

Poser 3.3

But what if you would like the entire piece in the same yarn? What if you want to make it all yourself?

When I first started collaborating with John Mullarkey––a fiber artist known particularly for his work with card weaving––this question came up immediately, because card weaving most often produces long, slim straps. And they’re strong. And guess what else? They don’t #@$%! stretch.

Our first experiment with this was a bag made from Hikoo CoBaSi. I knit the body in a mosaic design, and John wove the coordinating strap.

Poser 3.4

I’ve been using it ever since as a model in my mosaic knitting class, and students always coo over the strap and ask if they could do something like that.

Yep. Because card weaving is a very, very accessible form of weaving.

A Few Words About Card Weaving

I can’t possibly give you a full-length introduction to card weaving (also known as tablet weaving), but here’s a tiny bit about how it works. (If you’d like to dive in on your own, check out John’s DVD.)

First, the loom. The loom is a deck of cards.

No, I’m not kidding. The loom, shown here…

Poser 3.5

…is a deck of cards.

Cards come in different shapes, but the square is the most common.

Poser 3.6

You’ll note that each corner of the card has a hole, and the holes are lettered A, B, C, D.

To warp the loom–that is, to put on the threads that allow us to begin weaving–we follow a draft that tells us what color thread is put through each hole in each card, and whether they are put through the card front-to-back or back-to-front.

Here, for example, we have a card threaded front-to-back as follows: A, light; B, dark; C, dark; D, light.

Poser 3.7

The warped deck of cards then only needs something to hold each end of the warp threads taut. This could be (among the many possibilities) two sticks in the ground; two poles; the weaver’s own belt and a tree; or clamps attached to a table.

A more portable solution is an inkle-style loom pressed into service with the beginning and end of the warp tied together, which creates a circular warp.

Poser 3.8

(This particular small loom from my collection is one John Mullarkey produces for use in his classes, but others–such as the Schacht Inkle Loom, available by special order through Makers’ Mercantile–would serve the same purpose.)

Card weaving is usually warp-faced, meaning these warp threads are going to dominate the appearance of the finished fabric.

To weave our pattern, we follow our draft to turn the cards either forward (away from the weaver) or backward (toward the weaver) so that a different hole comes into the top position.

Poser 3.9

And as we do this, different combinations of threads are brought to the top of the shed, as you can see here. These are two of the sheds used to make the strap design.

Poser 3.10

Poser 3.11

The shed, for those new to weaving, is the space between the raised and lowered warp threads that our cute little shuttle

Poser 3.12

passes through, carrying the weft thread that locks the fabric together.

So we turn the cards, pass the shuttle, turn the cards, pass the shuttle, and–if all goes well–out comes a beautiful, strong patterned band.

Poser 3.13

Will all go well?

How about we talk about that in two weeks, when we bring this adventure to a close?

Tools and Materials Appearing in this Issue

 

Schoppel-Wolle Leinen Los (70% Virgin Wool, 30% Linen • 328 yards per 100 gram ball). Colors: 0908 (White) and 8495 (Gray-Brown) – On sale through April 15, 2017 at 20% off for 2 or more balls!

Hikoo CoBaSi (55% Cotton 16% Bamboo 8% Silk 21% Elastic Nylon • 220 yards per 50 gram ball).

Leather and Plush Caged Purse Kit (shown in Ripe Plum–other colors available)

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 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, the Taos Wool Festival, 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 regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. 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 (presently on hiatus).

 

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

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), or his Facebook page.

Makers’ Minute – Annie Lane Sheep Canvases

Annie Lane’s folk art needlepoint designs have enjoyed enormous popularity over the years. They are stitch painted and whimsical; perfect for creating your sheepy decor. These are a joy to stitch and guaranteed to make you smile!

Click here to shop for Annie Lane Sheep Canvases.