Archive for September, 2013

New Fall 2013 Yarns: Berroco Abode

Abodefluff2

Yarns for fall are arriving fast and furious here at Polka Dot Sheep. New patterns appear every day.  It is just a busy time of year for us and for yarn enthusiasts in general. The advent of autumn usually has that effect.

We bring out sweaters that were half-finished last spring and try to remember where we left off on them. Usually this is when we usually vow to take better notes next time. We start planning new sweaters. There is a rather lively discussion going on the moment in our Ravelry group on swatching and how big people make their swatches when planning sweaters. I will tell you that my general conclusion from the conversation is that successful sweaters are preceded by big swatches in the stitch patterns used in the construction.

Others of us start pondering gifts for the holiday seasons. Currently we are knitting the Dinar slippers in our Warm Up Your Toes KAL. I am making mine as a Christmas gift for my mother. I might end up making more since they knit up quite quickly. Then there are all those accessories that improve life in the winter for our heads, hands and necks. Surely someone in your life is due for a new hat.

All of this brings me back to new yarn choices. Over the next few weeks you will be hearing about our new yarns, some are from companies that we already love and others are new to us companies.

Today I am going to highlight Abode from Berroco yarns. The Berroco yarn company is a mainstay in our yarn selections and every seasons they bring out new delightful yarns. I am not sure how they do that but they do. Abode is a delightful yarn. It is buttery soft as merino single ply yarns usually are. It is a little bit thick and thin to add textural interest as you knit. But what is most awesome is the way that natural undyed white yarn is mixed with nature inspired colored dyed yarn. The knit fabric looks fairly solid colored when seen at a distance but closer up reveals itself much more nuanced. You can see all our colors in the picture at the top of this post.

The Berroco pattern booklet for Abode has great patterns. Of course, what do you expect from Berroco? My favorite garments from the collection is Erman, a cabled cape and Mirinda, a vest that is perfect to wear with jeans. The Torrey cowl is a great mix of stitches and colors.

The Abode pattern collection can be purchased from us for $8.00 as a pdf. There are six patterns in the booklet designed by members of the Berroco Design Team including Norah Gaughan.

Berroco Abode

Yarn button_edited-1

So what am I going to do with Abode? Well, I have a friend who needs a winter hat. She has trouble finding store-bought hats that fit her well. So I said that I would make her a hat for this upcoming winter. She is a big purple fan so I got the Huckleberry color. I don’t have a pattern picked out yet but I am thinking cables and a slouchy fit.

In other knitting news, I am still working on my Dinar slippers for the current KAL. I have finished the first slipper and am into the second one. They knit up quite quickly so you still have plenty of time to knit a pair along with us before the KAL ends on October 13th. I am trying to finish a myriad of projects around my house so I can get started on a sweater for my daughter’s birthday. It is still be determined if that all will happen but if maybe I put it in writing, that will increase the chances of success. Does that work for anyone?

Look for more new yarn and pattern news in the next few weeks. As always, you can chat with us in our Ravelry group anytime. Most days, one of us from Polka Dot Sheep can be found there. It is a great place to ask questions.

Happy Knitting (and planning new projects with new yarns)!

~Angela M.

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September 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

Warm Up Your Toes KAL: Using Contrasting Colors

So have you started your Dinar Slippers? If not, there is plenty of time left in this KAL; it doesn’t end until October 13.

I am finished with my soles. I actually got them finished on the first day of the KAL. That is a rare event for me. I finished them both because I knit them at the same time. If you are curious how to knit them two at one time, I talked about it in the previous KAL blog post, Thoughts Before You Begin.

I am currently working on the uppers of one slipper. I am able to get all my stitches onto a 16″ circular needle. I have three more stitches than the pattern numbers because my garter stitch row gauge was very slightly off from 38 rows in 4″. So I have to keep that in mind as I go forward and adjust all further numbers to account for those extra stitches.

Over on Ravelry in the thread for this KAL, some of us began chatting about colors. The discussion then began about using more than one color for the slippers. I proposed using a contrast color only for the Icord trim at the end. However, others thought a different colored sole would also be really cool. So a few people have tried that approach. We learned there are some things to take into consideration if you want to change colors for the uppers.

First if using a new color for the upper of the slipper, you will want pick up and knit the stitches around the sole in the new color.

Second, in the set up round instructions, they state to purl across the live stitches (of toe) that are still on the larger needle. If you do that with the new contrast color, you will get a line of purl bumps in the contrast color as seen below…

Purl bumps in contrast

To solve this issue, simply knit those stitches rather than purl them. Then you will have the results as seen below…

Knit stitches on toe

Knitting your Dinar slippers with two colors  is a great way to use those balls of yarn left over from other projects. Just remember to take the fact that the soles are knit using the yarn held double. So you need double the yardage.

The blue and grey Dinar slippers are knit by Jamie Hess. The green and blue Dinar slippers are knit by Andrea Rangel.

On another note, it is all Andrea Rangel knitting at my house at the moment. Along with my Dinar for the KAL, I am one repeat away from finishing the Hanalei Poncho.

IMG_8787-001

My Hanalei Poncho (L) & Dinar (R)

I think that the Hanalei Poncho would be beautiful in black to wear for special occasions. I am contemplating one, maybe I could incorporate some beads using my new beading knowledge.

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the Warm Up Your Toes KAL. If you want to more about it, other posts in this KAL are

Be sure to join us over in our Ravelry group. Not only do we discuss our current KAL, but we have lots of other interesting discussions and just general chatting.

Happy Knitting!

~Angela M.

September 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm 3 comments

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