Wow, we have had a flood of new yarns lately. Great colors, great fiber blends and new companies to Polka Dot Sheep! I am in yarn heaven to be honest. I love introducing people to new yarns and trying new yarns myself. I have my favorites but I am always on the look out for opportunities to use something new.
I must admit, I am absolutely smitten with this yarn. It is just beautiful. It is a unique blend of 60% merino, 20% baby alpaca, and 20% silk. There are lovely little slubs in Acadia that knits up to an interesting texture. Plain stockinette stitch has a “tweedy” look but it doesn’t feel like a tweed yarn. The Fibre Company yarns are kettle dyed. Currently we have 12 colors in stock (with more on the way).
- DK weight
- 145 yards (133 yards) / 50 grams skein
- Gauge: 20 – 24 stitches over 4″ (10 cm) on US 5-6 needles
- $13.00 a skein
Anzula is one of the hottest new hand dying companies out there today. Their colors are gorgeous. We are thrilled to bring you Cricket, their DK weight superwash 80% merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon blend (aka MCN). As a round, multi-ply yarn, Cricket is perfect for cables or anything that needs vivid stitch definition. The nylon will give it great durability and the superwash makes it easy to care for. Of course, we love hand dyed yarns very much here at Polka Dot Sheep so this is a great addition our hand dyed yarn selection.
- DK weight
- 250 yards (228 m) / 100 grams skein
- 20 stitches over 4″ (10 cm) on US 6
- $32.50 a skein
This 100% wool yarn is absolutely perfect for your color work projects. Whether you want to knit a simple two color hat or a many hued fair isle sweater, you are sure to find the color you need because we have 62 colors in stock. The Cascade 220 line of yarns have a great reputation for quality. Sport weight is a really versatile weight especially for the spring or fall season garments. Cascade 220 Sport is also a great yarn for babies and children by offering the warmth of wool without the bulk. Because it is not superwashed, it is perfect for keeping little hands and heads dry and warm with the unique water-resistant properties of wool.
- Sport weight
- 164 yards (150 m) / 50 grams skein
- 22-24 stitches over 4″ (10 cm) on US 4-5
- $5.00 a skein
Any of these yarns could be part of the perfect Christmas gift for your knitting loved ones. Here are a few ideas for gifting.
- A selection of Cascade 220 Sport colors arrayed like a box of paints waiting to be used.
- Pair yarn with a pattern like a kit. (see some suggestions below).
- Just stuff a skein of Cricket in someone’s stocking. They will smile I promise.
- Any yarn makes great stocking stuffers really….
Here are a few patterns paired with these new yarns:
- Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond, Lassie or Laddie Lomond fingerless mitts with Cascade 220 Sport or Anzula Cricket
- Let It Snow! Ski Hat with Acadia
- Almond Scarves by Dagmar Mora with Cricket
- Barleycove boot cuffs with Cascade 220 Sport
- Charisse cardigan by Jennifer Wood in Cricket
- Little Boy Blue Vest by Jennifer Wood in Acadia
- Emerald Cowl by Andrea Rangel in Acadia
- 7 Christmas Balls in Cascade 220 Sport (pattern written for fingering, so use a needle size up one, balls will be a little larger) Great gift topper!
Feel free to send links to this blog posts as a hint or even suggestion for gift ideas to your loved ones.
Remember we are also having a KAL for the Lomond Collection of fingerless mitts mentioned above right now. Plenty of time to join us and make at least one pair before Christmas! Great excuse to try out one of these yarns and do a little gift knitting at the same time. Read about the KAL here and on Ravelry.
Have fun knitting! Don’t stress too much with holiday making. Remember it is to be joyful and life-giving (not drudgery).
Happy holiday knitting season!
Grafting using the Kitchener stitch is a very useful knitting skill. Grafting uses live stitches and creates a seamless transition around the edge of the knit when it is worn. If you are sock knitter, chances are you have used the kitchener stitch. But that isn’t the only time when having no seam or bound off edge is desirable.
When working in double knit in the round, grafting the finished edge is also very desirable. It is the only way to have an edge where each side remains distinct. If you want to have a top edge that mirrors your cast on edge using the two color cast on we recommended, you will want to kitchener stitch your top edge.
The Sprout Cowl pattern gives instructions on using the kitchener stitch to finish. If you are knitting this project as part of our Double Your Fun KAL, you will need to note that the instructions in this tutorial and in the Sprout Cowl pattern. The end result is exactly the same. This tutorial mirrors the instructions in the Polka Dot Sheep Publications patterns such as Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat (our bestselling pattern).
The Double Your Fun KAL wraps up this Friday, November 21, 2013. This is the final technique post for the series. Look for a finished project post in the next few week.
I finished my cowl last night. The project for my daughter and she promptly took the cowl, put it on, snuggled her face down into it and went to bed. I am not sure if she actually wore it to bed but it certainly seemed possible. So I haven’t gotten any pictures of it yet.
But the grafting using the kitchener stitches is certainly not limited to double knitting. It is especially useful closing toes on top down socks and closing the top of mittens or glove fingertips. These are places that seams are often uncomfortable and cumbersome. The kitchener stitch also makes for a great straight edge such as on the top of the Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat. Then there are countless other times you might have live stitches to graft together.
Check out our upcoming KAL, Lomonds for the Whole Family, starting Sunday, November 24, 2013. The holidays are coming, these mitts are perfect!
As always thanks for joining us at Polka Dot Sheep and happy knitting!
I can not believe that entire year has nearly passed since we all started doing this knit-a-long adventure together. Here at Polka Dot Sheep we have met (mostly virtually) so many new people. So thanks for knitting with us.
For our last KAL for 2013, we will be knitting The Lomond Collection of fingerless mitts. I have noticed that fingerless mitts are very popular in general and with our Ravelry group especially. The Lomonds are a collaboration between Aimee Alexander (owner of Polka Dot Sheep) and Kendra Hope for our new formed Polka Dot Sheep Publications.
Currently we have published a women’s version, Loch Lomond and a men’s version, Ben Lomond designed by Kendra. They were inspired by a trip that she took to Scotland.
Coming soon will be Lassie Lomond, a girl’s mitts, and Lassie Lomond, a boy’s version. Lassie Lomond and Laddie Lomond are both now available. So now you can see we will have Lomonds for the whole family. Here is a sneak peek at the children’s Lomond mitts, coming soon! I will let you know as soon as they are available. If you are interested in knitting these and want to know when they are released, the quickest way to find out is via the Polka Dot Publications e-newsletter.
So here are the details of the Lomonds for the Whole Family KAL…
Start Date: Sunday, November 24, 2013
End Date: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Patterns: (click through the links to purchase at your desired locations, all are PDF downloads)
- Loch Lomond – on Ravelry and Polkadotsheep.com
- Ben Lomond – on Ravelry and Polkadotsheep.com
- Lassie Lomond – on Ravelry and Polkadotsheep.com
- Laddie Lomond – on Ravelry and Polkadotsheep.com
Needles: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm , instructions written for magic loop (you can substitute your needle type for small circumference knitting)
Yarn: Sport weight
- Malabrigo Pashmina (both adult Lomonds pictured above were knit in this yarn), a lovely cashmere blend
- Malabrigo Arroyo, one of my (Angela) favorite yarns
- Zitron Unisono Solid, very smooshy, also comes in stripes if you feel like some fun, Unisono Stripes
- Anzula Cricket, a bit heavy than pattern calls for, makes a very dense and lush mitt, also a cashmere blend
- Loch Lomond – 180 yards / 165 m
- Ben Lomond – 225 yards / 206 m
- Lassie Lomond – 120 – 14o yards / 110 – 128 m
- Laddie Lomond – 125 – 150 yards / 114 – 137 m
This KAL will be hosted here on the blog and a Polka Dot Sheep Publications Ravelry group. Please note this is a location change on Ravelry from the Knit ‘n Needle group. You can knit-a-long as a guest or we would love it if you would join the group.
Obviously these mitts would make great Christmas gifts to slip into a stocking or under the tree. If you knit like the wind, you could finish a pair in time for a Hanukkah gift as well. They would also make lovely teacher gifts or for that special person who you want to treat this holiday season.
Here are the project gallery for each Lomond on Ravelry:
I purposefully timed this KAL to start just before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Even if you don’t get them cast on the very first day of the KAL, you could cast on Thanksgiving Day and knit on them while enjoying family and friends or perhaps watching football.
So gather your yarn, needles and patterns and get ready to knit-a-long with us one more time in 2013.
I will update this post with information on the children’s Lomonds when they are released so check back here or sign up for the e-newsletter linked above. Update to include children’s information on 11/22/13.
P.S. Aimee, Jennifer, Helen, Jamie and myself are already planning our first KAL of 2014. Stay tuned for the announcement mid-December.
Wow, where on the earth did the past week go? We have been working hard here at Polka Dot Sheep and Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe, but I realized that the majority of the work is behind the scenes at the moment. Which means that I didn’t get a blog post written after my video tutorial for the Double Your Fun KAL. But I have been knitting away, planning upcoming KALs, pondering a sweater for my husband, and a lot of different things over on Ravelry.
Today, I thought I would share some recent projects that I have knit. This projects are actually quite unusual for me. The reason for that is that they are all knit in super bulky yarn. I don’t knit with “fat” yarn much at all as you might see if you peruse my projects on Ravelry or listen to me talk about knitting. I tend to work with worsted weight yarns with needles sized US 7 and downwards. So knitting with US 17 (12.75 mm) needles is very different experience.
My just finished project from a super bulky yarn is a Sugar Pine Cowl…
Yarn: 1 skein, Malabrigo Rasta in Pearl Ten
The Sugar Pine Cowl is the perfect holiday gift. It knits up quickly on a cloudy and damp Saturday or a two evenings at home. The Malabrigo Rasta is lovely to knit with and we have seventeen colors currently in stock.
When you purchase the Sugar Pine Cowl pattern on Ravelry, you also get the Sugar Pine Hat pattern.
From today until Nov. 15, 2013, this pattern is available for 25% on Ravelry with the coupon code: giftalong. The code will expire at midnight GMT, Nov. 15, 2013.
For my niece’s first birthday, a Clouds Rest Capelet
Yarn: 1 skein of Knit Collage Daisy Chain in Sweet Papaya
When I first saw the Knit Collage booth at TNNA, the yarn I used for my daughter’s Clouds Rest Capelet was one of the first to catch my eyes. I knew it was perfect for her.
Yarn: 2 skeins of Knit Collage Gypsy Garden in Cosmic Blue
Modifications: I knit six repeats of the second repeat section to make the capelet a bit longer. I used the last little bit of yarn that was left to make a little draw string with tassels to string around the neck line (not shown in photo).
It has been really nice to knit up these projects. If you have been knitting or crocheting for any amount of time, you have discovered that knitting with thicker yarn goes much faster than thinner yarns. It just takes few stitches to make those chunky items. Super bulky yarns give that finished object satisfaction much more quickly. Sometimes we need that feeling. Certainly that speed of finishing is really awesome when trying to get holiday gifts made.
So if you are like me and tend towards finer yarns, give one of these yarns a try.
Polka Dot Sheep Publications patterns using super bulky yarn.
Sugar Pine Cowl - on Ravelry
Sugar Pine Hat - on Ravelry
Bulky or Super Bulky Yarns that would be suitable for these patterns
Hope you feel inspired to give one of these patterns and yarns a try.
As I promised, I made a video showing the two color cast-on that I used to make my double knitting sample from the previous post.
Without further ado,
I hope you find this video helpful. If you enjoy it, can you give a thumbs up on YouTube? This helps more people find the video and by extension, Polka Dot Sheep.
Like most things in knitting, there is more than one way to do a two color cast on for double knitting. If you have another one that you like, by all means use that cast on. This cast on is really great because it sets you up to knit Color A and purl Color B as you launch into knitting the Sprout Cowl itself.
(This next section was added after post went up)
I wanted to say something about using a double knitting chart also.
As you can see in the sample above, the chart is simply a series of white boxes and black boxes. The key thing to remember with a double knitting chart is that each square equals two stitches (Color A & Color B). The next thing to remember is of those two stitches, the first is a knit and the second is a purl.
The chart square color indicates what color (A or B) that first stitch of the pair is knit in. Then the second stitch is purled in the other color. In this chart sample, color A is white and Color B is black. Let’s look at the second row of the chart from right to left, you would knit it as follows:
- knit Color A, purl Color B
- knit Color B, purl Color A
- knit A, purl B
- knit A, purl B
- knit A, purl B
- knit B, purl A
- knit B, purl A
- knit B, purl A
- knit A, purl B
The chart is read from right to left as we are knitting in the round for this example . When knitting flat, you read from right to left on the first side and then after you turn to work back in the other direction, read left to right. How you read the colors also reverses from one row to the next when knitting flat. However, since our KAL project is knit in the round, this is something that we don’t have to concern ourselves with now. If you want to continue using the double knitting technique, many great projects are knit flat and you will perhaps research it a bit more.
(End of the added part)
Another helpful hint I would echo from the Sprout pattern is use your lighter color (if you have one) for Color A. Because you are knitting in the round, Color A will be the dominate color facing you with this pattern. It is a bit easier to see how your double knitting develop.
Are you ready to cast on your Sprout Cowl tomorrow and tackle double knitting with us? My yarn is wound and ready to go. I am using Malabrigo Worsted in Hollyhock and Pollen. Come chat in this KAL’s Ravelry thread. You can also ask questions or tell us about your project in the blog comments.
Are you excited about our upcoming KAL? I am. Double knitting is a different knitting experience yet it is so very familiar because it is still knitting with plain old knits and purls. Like I have said many times before, knitting is rather straightforward, only two stitches, knits and purls, and everything else is some sort of combination or manipulation of them. Same with double knitting.
What is double knitting? It is a method that produces a reversible fabric that shows the knit (or stockinette) side on both sides of the object. The knit fabric is actually double thickness. When you double knit, you do have double the number of stitches you would normally have on the needles for that given item. For example, if you would normally have 75 stitches on your needle for a hat, that same hat double knit would have 150 stitches on the needle. 75 stitches for one side of the fabric and 75 stitches for the opposite side.
Double knitting is also usually done with two colors. Often the colors are switched from side to side to create the pattern.
Another constant in double knitting is you will also knit a stitch, then purl a stitch. You might change the color of the stitches but you don’t change that back and forth sequence. It is like knitting 1×1 ribbing.
When casting on for double knitting you can use a two color cast on that will give you a clean edge of one color on each side or you can simply use your usually cast on holding the two yarns together then treating each color of the cast on stitches as its own stitch. I would recommend doing this when making a gauge swatch. Then you can practice a two color cast on that gives a prettier and cleaner edge.
Your yarns always move from back to front together whether you are using them or not. This is different from other types of color work. In my sample, Color A is the blue and Color B is the pink.
If you are making both sides solid colored and in the round, you would simply repeat these steps with the Color A always knit and Color B always purl. But double knitting can also be knit flat. So when you are knitting flat, you turn your work and begin working on the reversed side. You still knit the stitches of the facing side and purling the others, but your colors will be reversed. You will knit Color B and purl Color A. Sounds confusing? It actually becoming clear rather quickly as you do it.
Gauge in double knitting…standard advice is you will need to go down at least two needle sizes compared to what you would use to get comparable gauge for your yarn knit in stockinette. I had to go down 3 needle sizes. Normally I can get 4.75 stitches an inch on size US 7 with Malabrigo Worsted. For this project, I am using US 4 needles. That is a significant difference. You will know very quickly if you need to use a smaller sized needle because your fabric will be too loose and you will be able to see the opposite side through it.
To make your gauge swatch, you can just cast on 30 or so stitches using both yarns as one. Then knit all the Color A stitches and purl all the color B. You don’t have to do your swatch in the round to get a good idea of your needed needle size. Just knit flat, so you will turn your work and knit Color B and purl Color A. Just work until you have a big enough swatch to measure or until you can clearly say, “This doesn’t look right, I think my needle is too big”. I reached that conclusion after three rows with an US 6 needle and after about 5 rows with an US 5 needle. I did an entire swatch with the US 4 needle to make sure the gauge was correct and then used that information for the knitting you see in the pictures.
Want to see what the inside of double knit fabric looks like? Here you go…
Here is my little sample knit up. You will be seeing more of this sample in future blogs. After it has done its Polka Dot Sheep blog duties, I think it will become a coffee cup cozy.
I know that this is a very wordy post. Hopefully it helped you learn a little more about double knitting. I will post a tutorial on the two color cast on method that I used. But there is more than one way to do two color cast on and you can use any that you prefer. Also don’t worry if you haven’t got your yarn together, there is plenty time in the KAL to do your swatching and knit your cowl. Understand that since I am leading the KAL, that I am often ahead of you as participants.
You can still sign up for the in store support class at the Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe. Space is limited though. You can learn more about this class in the introduction blog post for this KAL and on the class page on the website.
Join us in chatting about our yarn choices and ideas on the Double Your Fun Ravelry thread. If you want advice on colors or yarns or need some inspiration, check it out.
Happy Knitting and get ready to cast on with us on Sunday, October 27th.
Edited to add:
Other blog posts in this KAL series are:
- What is Double Knitting Anyway?
- A Two Color Cast On & Charts
- Grafting Using the Kitchener Stitch Tutorial
Complete Ravelry thread found here, Double the Fun KAL 2013.
Everyone ready for another knit along with us at Polka Dot Sheep? I hope you are excited as me about learning a new technique as me.
Come and learn double knitting with us!
Sprout – Double Knit Cowl designed by Jill Draper
Techniques to be learned:
- Doubling Knitting
- Two color cast on
- Reading with double knitting chart (rather than making solid colored sides)
- Grafting with kitchner stitch
Start Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013
End Date: Friday, November 24, 2013
On to choosing yarn…my first recommendation is to use the same yarn for each side. For example, I am using Malabrigo Worsted. Then decide on colors. This is a great project to use a fun variegated yarn as one side. Pair that variegated yarn with a more solid color. Otherwise, the pattern might not show well at all.
The best weight of yarn to achieve the gauge of this project and for a good fabric for excellent results is worsted weight, a yarn that normally knits up in stockinette stitch with 4 to 5 stitches per inch. You will need at least 200 yards of each color you choose. For many of the recommended yarns that will be two skeins, one of each color. But be sure to check the yardage of the yarns before you purchase them.
Here are the recommended yarns for this project at the given gauge: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Berroco Vintage, Berroco Vintage Colored (variegated Vintage) Malabrigo Worsted, Malabrigo Rios, Madelinetosh DK (a very heavy dk yarn) and Berroco Abode. We also stock the broadest colors ranges in several of these yarns. We have 47 colors of Vintage + 5 colors of variegated Vintage Colors for a total of 52 colors, 36 colors of Ultra Alpaca, and a whopping 76 colors of Malabrigo Worsted.
VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION …. with double knitting your gauge and needle sizes might not be what you would normally expect. With the double number of stitches on your needles, your gauge will be different. You might need to go down in needle size(s) from what you would normal use to get the same gauge in stockinette stitch. So you must swatch in your chosen yarn to get gauge and achieve a fabric where the opposite side does not show through. There is no way around this step in this project. This is also why it is much easier to use the same yarn for each side.
Jennifer O. (twincomet on Ravlery) will be my partner in knitting. I am so glad she is on board. She is an excellent knitter and has a great eye for color. Over in the Ravelry thread we will able to answer questions about color and yarn choices if you have them.
There will also be a new feature for this KAL, an in store support class at the Knit ‘n Needle in Whitefish, Montana. If you join the support group, you will be able to receive personal help from Jennifer or Aimee. This not a traditional class since some of teaching for the technique will be here on the blog and in the KAL Ravelry thread. However, it is fun to meet together in person while knitting the same project. With specific expert knitting help available, there is something more than your standard knitting group. Along with technical support, Jennifer or Aimee will help you chose your yarn and colors.
In store Double the Fun Sprout Cowl KAL class will meet on Mondays from 11 am – 12:30 pm. There will be three sessions, October 28, November 4, and 11. The cost will be $25 and you can attend as many of the sessions as you wish. The first session will focus helping you chose your yarn, getting the pattern (available in store) and working on gauge. However, simply knitting along with us here on the blog and on Ravelry is totally free. But I encourage you consider joining the class. We want to support all our customers both in person and on-line in the best way possible.
Take a look at the recommended yarns and chose some fun colors. Your finished Sprout cowl is sure to gather compliments and keep you warm all winter.
Toward the end of next week, I will talk about two color cast on and what you will be looking for when you swatch for this project.
Come over and chat colors and yarns in our Ravelry thread for the Double the Fun KAL. If you live near to the Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe, stop in and get your pattern, yarn or sign up for the class.