Baby Yarn Reveiws

Dk Baby Yarn this week samples as before done on 3.75mm needles and 3.5mm hook. A Sloppy knitter standard variation for me. These are a selection of the yarns suitable for babies — including a comparision of some merino DK which was interesting. Odd thing discovered with these baby yarns (except the stylecraft) say avoid tumble drying (a good thing for the planet but not new Mums?!) but they will wash in the machine!!

Here we go with Bo Peep from West Yorkshire Spinners……

The yarn is soft in the ball and the balls are a bit sloppy. It is 52% falkland wool, 48% nylon machine washable at 40, dry flat.  50g;112m; band tension 22stx 28 rows. £4.25 Softly spun with 3 plys. The high nylon content means the fabric feels vintage (like all the homemade baby garments I was given when my children were born), it has a nice spring and is substantial bulk to the knitting. The yarn knits easily with a bit of spring, breaking off is better with scissors! It crochets easily but the loose spin split a little if you don’t keep it tight. My crochet square is 9cm x 9cm.

 

Next Cotton Soft DK from King Cole,  100% cotton yarn is 100g, 210m and band gauge on 4mm is 22st x 28rows. machine wash at 40. Dry flat. £4.75 The ball is substantial and the yarn smooth soft with a slight aura and not tightly spun with 3 ply. This is light and soft to knit with as with most cotton there is no spring so the stretch in the knitting comes from your work.   I have 22st and 29 rows the fabric is flat with no garter to stocking stitch roll, on a crisp but soft fabric. My full sample is significantly longer than the others so watch out for patterns which tell you to work so many rows. The crochet fabric is crisp it was nice to crochet with no splitting and I have 9.5cm x 9.5cm. Both fabrics have a fluffy surface which could pill. Scissors needed.

Next Babino from Stylecraft 100% acrylic yarn with 5 plys and a tight spun look. Ball band details are : 100g , 268m 22st x 30 rows 4mm needles; machine wash at 30; cool tumble dry. £2.95 This yarn appriciated being ulled from the ball centre as the plies are softly spun it untwists slightly if worked the other way. The fabric is dense and smooth with strong bounce and stretch, it has good stitch definition. I have 22st and 29 rows for the 10cm square. This yarn feels like a smooth wool when you are working it. The yarn will break but stretches when you do so you get a shaggy tail. The crochet is 8.5cm x 8.5cm and thick with only a little spring. This yarn will split if you don’t keep tension on it.

Merino DK don’t imagine they are all the same, I found subtle differences working the samples one after another. All will snap to break easily. Starting with the discriptions!!

King Cole Luxury Merino superwash currently on offer £3. This says 100% merino superwash.Band info. 22st x 28rows;50g; 140m; Wash @40 dry flat. This is 4 loose spun plys in an rounded thread, soft to touch and smooth in a doughnut ball. Fabric is 24st x 31 rows ( so I could go down another size needle) the fabric is crisp, stretchy, and deep/dense. I liked working with this smooth stretchy yarn but it split with the sharp needle so go blunt and the ball goes a bit floppy. The crochet was 9cm x 9cm and has more diagonal stretch than across . Good stitch definition in both cases.

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK  £5.75. This is 100% wool; 50g; 12m 22st x30 rows (4mm); machine wash at 30. This is a 4plys to the tread giving a soft bulky yarn n a doughnut ball. Knitting with the twist helped the ‘non split’  The thread is soft smooth and springs. It has more visible plies in the ball but not as much definition the the stitches ( no right and left side them) so a smoother fabric. My gauge was 23st x 30rows (could try a smaller needle but may be just need to be aware of st count or sizing whan choosing a pattern). The fabric has good stretch, depth and bounce. The crochet is 9cm x 9cm and firm not as much diagonal stretch.

Adriafil Primula is new to RedApple. Band details are 50g; 150m; 22stx30rows (4mm); machine wash at 30.  Doughnut again with a slightly skinnier thread, which is a tighter spin and 4plies, it is smooth and very springy. The samples knits and crochets well no splitting. I got 24st x 30 rows, the fabric is lighter than the other two not as dense and has a little more bounce back (This lightness is common with their other products). The Crochet is 8.5cm square with equal give diagonally and across. Both have good stitch definition.

Next week I’m going to tackle British 100% wool — I hope

 

yarn reviews

A new series of yarn samples and reviews of our yarn stock.

Since we opened we have always had samples of the yarns we sell made into garments or as samples worked up for customers to see and feel. It is important as all yarns look and feel very different after working and wool yarns do change after blocking. What something looks like in the ball is the kerb appeal is one thing but how it works should be what knitter want to know.

All yarn makers and designer emphasise tension/gauge and sampling yourself as an important part of making any design up as it was intended and getting the garment you want ie the one in the picture. What this series will do is compare the samples knitted by me on a standard set of needles and crocheted on the same hook differentiated for the yarn type. We will start with DK yarns as there are some new ones in. I am a very sloppy worker and usually find I need to knit DK on 3.75mm (old number 9) and crochet on 3.5mm hook. I will try to keep the reviews factual – describe the yarn, how it works and behaves while working, any noticeable features. The purpose is to give a description to help when choosing a suitable pattern/project for the yarns not to grade as good or bad.

I pull balls from centre.

Knit samples are on 3.75mm wood/bamboo needles one blunt and one sharp (this will help to advise for tool choice) . The pattern will be the same cast on 36st, K4 rows, then 37 rows stocking st, K5 rows cast of in K. I am writing that here so I can’t forget!! I will show them just knitted and after blocking and compare them with a ‘control’ see below. I record the gauge count I got for comparison between my samples.

Crochet samples are worked with a 3.5mm hook into a granny square. Starting with a magic loop cast on ring of 12st and 5 rounds total(including the ring). The stitch I use is  worked by wrapping the yarn over hook make a base loop into the hole in the work below ( 3 loops on hook) pull through all loops on hook ( I am describing it because I get confused by the names of crochet stitches!!).

This is the master sample above which is West Yorkshire Spinners (WYS) BFL DK in olive. Yarn comes in 50g traditional shaped balls with 112m, and their ball tension is 22st to 28rows to 10cmx10cm on 4mm. The yarn is wool spun and has 4 threads(4plies). It is smooth but has a wool medium aura, knits easily and it snaps easily with a hairy edge  when pulled to breaking.  My sample has 22 stitches and 28 rows to a 10cm x 10cm square. The crochet is square and 9cm. The fabric is quite dense when compressed between finger and thumb and is springy when pulled diagonally and across the knitting, it has a minimal woolly textured ( ie the stitch definition is slightly blurred) surface.  The photo shows unblocked samples. I will do a post later showing the changes once blocked.

I’ll start with some new yarns in the shop this week a crepe spun cotton polyester, a wool and cotton and a wool and hemp mixes from Adrialfil in Italy.  I like to stock UK produced yarns where I can but I have found it hard to find these particular types mixes are not available spun in the UK, except from indie dyers. Adriafil spin theri own yarns so have a similar business model to WYS.

Soleluna is 96% cotton 4% polyester, crepe like yarn. The ball is a soft doughnut with 1 band. The band details say 50g ball with 160m it knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles? 24st and 32 rows. Machine washable. £4/ball

I have 24st to 32 rows and a quite crisp, light, fabric which is thin, smooth and stretchy diagonal and width ways. This yarn knits like wool yarns in it feels elastic when you are working it. The stitches have crepe like texture and a bit of drape. The finished garment might not need blocking the sample is flat and feels finished now. The yarn give a very stretchy light cotton fabric unlike mercierised yarns which can be heavy and dense – good for a T or shell jumper, baby clothes or vests!! . The yarn does not break so keep scissors handy. The crochet is 9cm square, has a bit of give and would make some great wash cloths or lacy cardigan!! There was no snagging or splitting while working and I could work fast. The ball was intact and not to messy when I finished the samples.

Duo Comfort is a 52% merino 42% Egyptian cotton yarn. Again a doughnut. The band details are: 50g 120m, knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles 19st and 26 rows. Yarn is smooth and 10 plied with a chalky effect to the colours. Machine wash at 30.  £5.50/ball

The yarn snaps when pulled with a frayed edge and no stretch damage.  I have 22st and 27 rows, the fabric is crisp and smooth with diagonal stretch and width ways give. The fabric is flat and has good stitch definition. It had drape and substance. This would knit for me as a DK not an aran the fabric at the given gauge it will be loose, it might be good for a lacy design on 4.5mm needles.

The crochet is 9cm square and the fabric is a bit dense with not much give, it needs a bigger hook and an open lacey design would work best in crochet. It did split a bit when working due to tight work. It did pull back easily. This ball fell apart and needs managing!!!

WoCa is a 70% wool 30% hemp yarn eco yarn. the band details are: 50g  110m knits on 3.5 or 4mm 21 st and 28 rows to 10cm, The yarn is bi with white fibres it looks coarse with plant hair and fluffy white texture. It is a single ply yarn. £4.85/ball

I have 19 st and 29 rows and a soft plump fabric. It has a loose structure and hairy surface. The fabric stretches width and diagonally and has drape. It does feel soft and not scratchy which the visual suggests and has a pleasant rustic feel appears more substantial. Possible uses at this gauge: simple designs to show off the yarn the big casual jumper or cardigan, or a cowl hat. Will need smaller needles to get the suggested gauge and will give a denser possibly springier fabric.

The crochet is 10cm square – it is stretchy but firm. This yarn crocheted much more easily than expected for a single/roving spun yarn no splitting, and smoothly, it is not so easy to pull back due to the fibre aura. I could see this as a nice blanket of granny squares but any complicated patterns will get broken up in the strong colour mix/marl style. The yarn breaks when pulled and has a stretched tail. And the ball stays together well (the yarn nature it is gripy onto itself in the ball – which meant pulling out lengths as I worked the crochet, this may effect your tension when knitting).

Next time DK Baby yarns!!!

 

 

New What?

 

Well that went by fast ………..its spring and the daffys are outdscf6581

And its nearly three months on from this photo. 2018 was a bit like that keep going, keep going, oh look round and all change …..I started the year wanting to make more things for me. I was going to do things that completed outfits and I make things I liked in 2018  but other things happened and reflecting on the year I think its more what I learnt from all the 2018 chaos, than what I made – I learnt:

nothing and no-one lives forever; when you loose something it is OK to be sad, angry, frustrated just don’t take that out on others;

we expect too much perfection from everything especially other people; when people are over stretched they are not at their best; love people, who love you and spend time with them;

take time to evict the “stuff” that is not longer ‘useful or beautiful’ from your life and when you do don’t feel guilty; reducing the amount of “stuff ” you have helps you focus on life and what you really want /need to knit/make;

These are the last few makes recently completed.. and strangely I kept making through the storms of life its become an anchor in the chaos!!

 

Sock On…..

What with one thing and another I seem to have left blogging for quite a while….. Life largely getting in they way and a computer gremlin who refused to speak to my camera until yesterday. I had given up hope of reconciliation and was browsing for ipads!!

I didn’t manage my seven sock challenge at Christmas, I completed 3 pairs but there are still 2 odd socks in the bag without a pair. In February we had an order from Italy it brought some lovely dark coloured sock yarns in 50g balls, and luxury 4ply alpaca and merinos.

 

The idea of the sock yarns was that you can pick two colours and get two-tone socks from 100g (at £4 a ball for the usual nylon, wool mix they are a good price). However the blurb says you can make a pair from a 50g ball!  Challenge accepted…..

At this point there was to have been a lovely series of work in progression photos of said socks… ( technology has still thwarted that or rather my laptop has….)

the socks were duly knit on No12 (2.75mm) with a pattern I have used before 73st cast on. As you might know I knit socks on straights and as such I was able to knit two at the same time (I know some people can do this with knitting in the round I have never mastered the fiddlely process myself). Side by side also helps as the pattern I use knits a left and right sock, so I always know where I am….. (And just to note there is no seam to feel on these socks, if you remember to slip the 1st stitch of each row …..honest!!!)

Anyway the said socks did not come from one ball and unless you are a child or a small footed booby  … you will still need the 100g. I got from 50g all the way to and inch from the toe shaping so mine will look OK but they would be better if I had knit plain heel toe and gusset and toes as well. But experiment will inform and a new pair of socks to add to the tally!!!

If you want to learn sock making we have a class 10th April with places – sock structure ( we knit flat to start with), skills for socks – short rows, toes shaping,  (slip-stitch seams) and knitting in the round. Leave a message in Facebook or call the shop.

 

Seven Socks for Christmas

As this will be my last post before the holiday and probably the New Year let me wish you all Seasonal joy and a Peaceful New Year.

This year Christmas is a low-key affair I am not making presents or indeed giving any (I don’t want others to spend their hard-earned money on me). I have made blankets for my grandsons because I can’t always be there to hug them but a blanket says I would if I could.

Remembering last years Christmas misery of flu when I discovered the joy of straight knitting socks and with New Year round the corner I investigated my sock knitting bag. I am wearing more handmade socks now I have some lovely new shoes to wear them with (thicker socks need wider shoes).

I probably need to complete the pair for the 3 odd socks in it. There are several idea yarns – some donated or scrounged from the lovely Mr Wrack at Triskelion Yarn .

I have just finished a couple of big projects (I will try to complete a year round-up of knitting sometime in the holidays) and have no real idea what to do. There were a couple of unfinished pairs lying around the shop too. So my mission this season is to complete as many pairs of socks as possible. Sock knitting is easily transportable and not too intrusive.  I think seven (socks not pairs) is a reasonable number to attempt and those tiny ones do up in no time.DSCF6581

 

I can recommend a piece by Kate Davies  on gauge, for a quick Christmas read.  I love it that although the yarn is the same all of the designers in her new book have different gauge ideas about the fabric they want to produce. Why everyone is so surprised that we all knit differently and our tension is variable? — we are not machines and do not have settings!!

I fully agree with her on swatching especially if you are inexperienced – knitter know thyself . I am sloppy and need to come down to 3.75mm or even 3.25mm needles for a DK yarn to be around 22st to 4″ and my tension goes haywire if I knit in the round and when I knit colour-work so for hats I plan to make several or stick to patterns or stitch numbers that work for me. Take responsibility for your work, and at least check part way.  That said, only way to really check a hat (or a sock) fits is to try it on and wear it ……

Now where is my notebook …  what did I cast on for those socks and which needles did I use? Ho Ho Ho Nadolig Llawen

 

Penecillin, tassels and bat hats

I have had another bout of sinusitis and have been off my game/head. Bending and turning is painful and my current morning routine includes a little group of tables mostly white (the penicillin however is dark red and orange (see below). I have been making the stars for the window which …… got a bit boring so I decided I needed hats, comfort, protective, not too much thinking and easy to complete!

The first was a bat hat – for my Grandson Jake, who is big into superheros and not into hats…… It isn’t perfect but the next one should be DSCF6563

Then I finished a chunky version with some marled combo yarn (from a trial that didn’t work as a I hoped) but it needed a pompom or something (fashionista I am not)…….. tassels anyone?!!

 

I have a basic hat in the shop simple as and I have even rewritten its pattern this week too…just waiting for printing this one is in Illustious heather

Having got going I went back to my love of fair-isle for a flourish and to try some special dyed Triskelion scylfing (where does he get those names?) it is lovely and I mixed it with some Wendy Ramsdale (in a colour they don’t do anymore)…. wonder where that colour scheme came from? It needs a little finish to the back pompoms? tassel? or stars???

 

 

Cowl Recipe

 

DSCF6558I have made a number of samples which are on display in the shop. They show off the yarn colour combinations and ideas for changing yarn type or weight. They are there to inspire. Recently I have been chastised for not having them all available as patterns.

Sorry people but writing detailed patterns for a dyslexic is more than a bit stressful. I find lots of written patterns easily jumble K1,P2,K3 sl, jumping around on the page is a recipe for knitting chaos.

So my patterns are usually stitch recipes

Number of stitches to cast on

The stitch pattern ( 1 repeat of the stitch combinations)

Number of repeats of the pattern (across and/or up the pattern)

It works for the cushion cover mitts and cowls.

Cowls especially worked in the round are simple to do (and no sewing required!). And you can do your own plain or colour work one

with a quick calculation and a chart search of the net. First pick your wool and pattern.

The calculation

Measure how long you want your cowl 22″ or 24″ gives a neat neck warmer: I usually go 22″

Check Ball band of chosen wool for gauge Number of stitches (10cm is 4″)

22 divide by 4 = 5.5 muliply by number of stitches in gauge (DK =22) gives cast on 111st

Plain cowl sorted Stocking st or any texture stitch (moss st or basket st works for a reversable one)–just carry on for the depth you want deeper the better (I estimate 100g for 6″ in DK)

Adapting for the pattern

If you want to add some stranded knitting choose a design there are lots of free charts on the net. Use one with as few long runs of single colours to cut down on baggy strands at the back. Count the number of stitches across your pattern (37). Get the calculator and divide the basic cast on stitches (111) number by this (37).  3 (oh I didn’t fix that at all) so repeat the pattern 3 times across each row.

If you find you need a few more cast on the extra number to make full repeats and if there are extra stitches spread them out evenly between the motifs .

Simples honest !!!