Sunday, April 28, 2013

The MKAL of Ice and Fire- Clue #5

Hi everyone!

Whew what a week! I hope all of you were able to make it thorough the last clue ok. I know there were many folks hung up on getting the correct stitch counts at the front and back split, and I hope everyone was able to either figure it out, or at least move forward. Remember, if you haven't yet, make sure to take a look at the photo tutorial I provided to illustrate the split. I think a lot of folks found it helpful.


Another way to wear it.
Finished weaving the ends
at the ballpark recently.
This week's instructions will prove to be much simpler. This clue will also be the final clue for this KAL. I think now it's time to tell you all what you've made. Most of you guessed it-- it is indeed a cowl! It's hooded cowl to be exact, because it can be worn up over the head (which explains the short- row shaping.) Not only that, but the buttoned flaps at the bottom allow you to open the cowl up to accommodate the shoulders a bit and give it a more customizable fit.


This design, as I may have hinted at, is inspired by Arya, who is one of my favorite characters in the books and the show. (We also named one of our chickens after her. Can you tell I am obsessed?) I am calling this pattern the "Water Dancer Cowl" in honor of her "dancing" lessons with Syrio. I find it highly appropriate that we all "needled" this cowl into existence using sharp sticks. I think Arya would approve. :)


Arya the chicken. She is
our feistiest hen by far.

With that, here are the instructions for finishing your cowl:
Front view.

Back Flap:

-Pick up sts with your needle and join yarn with wrong side facing.
-K 5, P to last 5 sts, K 5
-Work in 4 row lace pattern until flap measures 5.5" from front and back split.

*Note, you will not work buttonholes on this flap.

Birds Eye Lace Pattern:


-Row 1: k5, *k2tog (twice), yo2; repeat from * to 4 sts before marker, k2tog (twice), k5 (64 sts)
-Row 2: k5, *p2, (k1, p1) into double yo; repeat from * to 2 sts before marker, p2, k5.

-Row 3: k5, k1, *yo2, k2tog (twice); repeat from * to 1 st before marker, yo2, k1, k5. (66 sts)
-Row 4: k5, p1, *(k1, p1) into double yo, p2; repeat from * to 3 sts before marker, (k1, p1) into double yo, p1, k5.
Back view.

-Once flap measures 5.5", knit 6 rows in garter stitch (knit every row).
-Bind off all sts.
-Weave in all ends and block.
-Attach buttons on back flap edges to line up with button holes.

And that's it! Your Game of Thrones MKAL knitting is complete! Next week I'd love to post a photo gallery of people's finished cowls so hopefully you'll all share your photos with me. :) If you'd like me to feature your finished cowl on the blog, please e-mail your photo to me directly: kristen(at)jimmybeanswool(dot)com. Please don't be shy!!! I can't wait to see all of your beautiful FOs!




Side
Front
Back

Also, I will be re-formatting the pattern, and having it re-edited, and taking nicer photos taken of the cowl in order to release the pattern as a PDF. I will try to have this all done by the middle of May, so stay tuned for that if you'd like a copy for your collection.

Lastly, I'll keep all of the Clue threads "Sticky" on Ravelry for the next month and a half so that folks who are taking their time with the KAL can still find them easily if needed.

I hope you all have enjoyed this KAL. I know I certainly enjoyed chatting with all of you and designing this fun piece for you all. I love the result and I hope you all do too. I know it's definitely time for summer now and it's warming up all over the place, but just think, next fall you'll have a beautiful new cowl to wear when it gets chilly again. I can't wait! Winter IS coming. Eventually. :)

Happy knitting everyone!
Kristen

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fiber Feature - Linen

Now that the weather is warming up, our thoughts are turning to lighter,
 more portable knitting projects and we've been stocking up on some lusciously awesome new yarns for summer!

This seems like the perfect time to start talking about fibers. This will be the first post spotlighting a specific fiber and how it is best used for knitting, crocheting and weaving.

Have you ever chosen a different yarn than your pattern calls for and then not gotten the results you expected? One possible reason for this is that you chose a yarn with a completely different fiber than the one the project was designed with. For instance, lets say that you made a sweater that was designed for Cascade 220 but you chose Berroco Linsey instead. Now you're wondering why instead of being fluffy, warm and springy your sweater is droopy, not at all warm and has no elasticity. Both yarns are worsted weight, why didn't it work out?

The reason is that Cascade 220 is made from 100% wool and Berroco Linsey is made from 64% Cotton and 36% linen. Wool is a protein fiber from sheep. A couple of wool's wonderful qualities are its elasticity because it is wavy (has crimps) and its ability to maintain warmth even when 90% saturated with water. I'll go into wool in more detail in another post but today, I want to talk about linen.

Linen is plant fiber. We get linen from the stem of the flax plant. We also get the flax seeds we eat and linseed oil from flax plants. It is also a lovely, delicate blue garden flower, one of my favorites! If you've never seen a flax plant before, North Dakota State University has a flax page with some very good photos and all kinds of educational links.

I've long been interested in genealogy and my grandmother passed on a pillow cover that was made of flax grown, processed and woven in Canada by some of my ancestors in the late 1700s. My grandmother crocheted the edging on it. While it's never been used as a cover, that I know of, you can see it is still in great condition for having been woven nearly 240 years ago.



Linen as a fiber is two to three times stronger than cotton, has a higher sheen and feels cool to the touch, although it does have a tendency to wrinkle unless blended with other more resilient fibers. The process of getting the fibers out of the plant is quite interesting. Wikipedia has a good article giving a general overview of the process. The fiber is not degraded by light, heat, alkaline process, or bleaching. It is damaged by exposure to acids and is susceptible to molds & mildews in humid climates.

For our purposes, linen fibers are quite long, 18 to 30 inches long which makes it pill resistant and gives it excellent drape. Hanks of linen yarn often feel a bit harsh to touch in the store but the more it is worked with, washed and worn the softer it gets. Garments made from linen can last for many, many decades. Linen is great to knit, crochet and weave with. The cool feel of linen and the looser stitch you get when knitting with it makes it an excellent warm weather yarn both for working with and for wearing. One great advantage of knitting or crocheting with linen yarn is that the fabric produced is not as likely to wrinkle as woven linen, when care is taken.

Linen is also a good durable yarn, great for making children's clothing!

When substituting yarns in patterns, depending on the construction on the yarn, linen could be a very suitable replacement for cotton and might also work to replace a rayon/viscose, raw silk or some acrylic/acrylic blends. Linen is not a good substitute in patterns that call for any animal fibers except maybe adult mohair which is also a long, sturdy fiber with good drape but tends to be itchy.

We carry a number of great yarns that contain linen and I often recommend them to customers looking to make summer weight garments.

Both Shibui Linen and Fibre Natura Flax are 100% linen yarns. They feel very crisp to the touch in the hank but soften up beautifully when worked up and washed. The colors are vibrant and very fun! I recommend either yarn for vests, skirts, hand bags, and sheer pullovers. They would also make great spa cloths for exfoliating the skin.

Rowan Creative Linen and Berroco Linsey are both blends of linen and cotton. This combination gives a softer to the touch yarn than pure linen, a slightly duller sheen, and very pleasant colors. I recommend these yarns for cardigans, skirts, dresses, shells and tank tops, summer throws, towels and washcloths.

Classic Elite Firefly, Plymouth Linen Concerto, Berroco Lago, and Trendsetter Twiggy are great blends of linen with rayon/viscose and small amounts of other fibers. Rayon and viscose are also plant based fibers that are man made but not really considered synthetics. They offer many of the same attributes as silk so when blended with linen they add sheen, more drape and softness. I recommend these yarns for shells, tank tops, skirts, dresses, cardigans, and pullovers. They are defiantly the most elegant of all the linen yarns, plus have more wrinkle resistance.

Looking for some great patterns to knit up in a linen yarn? Check out our kits, I've done a search for Linen for you. I really love the patterns in Kim Hargreaves' Indigo book too!


And Kristen designed a delightful vest last year in Shibui Linen. Shibui Linen Vest

I hope this helped answer some questions about this great fiber without putting most of you to sleep! If you want to learn more, there is a ton of information out there on the internet for the browsing.

As ever if you have questions, comments, suggestions or anything I can help with please don't hesitate to email me at askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Terry
p.s. I apologize for the typos, I've corrected them now.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The MKAL of Ice and Fire- Clue #4 Tutorial

Hi everyone!

As promised, I've put together a little tutorial for separating the back from the front on your Mystery KAL project. I will encourage you all once again, as I did on the Ravelry thread, to follow the directions step by step and very literally. I would even go as far as to say you may not want to read through them all the way for this section..just do it! If you over-think it too much, it will become more confusing than it's worth.

That said, many people are visual learners. Sometimes, with more complicated directions like this, there is just no "right way" to explain it, regardless of how carefully you edit your directions. However, I do apologize for some of the silly mistakes that I made in my sleep deprived state. I should have been more careful with the directions for this post and I am sorry for all of the confusion. The directions in Clue #4 should be fully updated now, and much clearer than what I posted early on Sunday. (Some people said they are having issues getting the edited version. If this is the case, remember to refresh your browser or clear your cache as your computer may be storing old versions of the post.)

Ok, so on to the tutorial for dividing the back from the front. This starts AFTER you have placed the side stitch markers. Please forgive my ugly orange yarn. At least you can see the sts really well! :)

Also, you may have noticed that for this tutorial I didn't use the full 120 sts. If you follow these directions as written, you should still have the 64 sts on front and 66 sts on back.


Separating the front from the back:

-Remove beginning of round marker and cut yarn leaving at least a 6" tail.



-Working from the beginning of the round, slip stitches from left to right needle to 2 sts before the first side marker. 



-Rejoin yarn, K1 f&b (5 times), slipping marker when you come to it. (You should have 2 increases on the right side of the marker and 3 on the left side.)


5 increases: 2 on right, 3 on left of marker

-Knit to 3 sts before the next marker.


-K1 f&b (5 times), slipping marker when you come to it. (You should have 3 increases on the right side of the marker and 2 on the left side.)

2 increases left, 3 increases right

-K to 4 sts before the next marker.

-Knit next st with main needle, slip 2nd st onto extra needle holding towards the inside of your work (or you can use a darning needle to thread in your waste yarn).

-Continue working the next 8 stitches in this manner, knit one with main needle, slip one on extra needle or waste yarn. Remove stitch marker when you come to it.

I left the stitch marker on for reference.

-You will have knit 5 sts on main needle, and slipped 5 onto extra circular or waste yarn. (As shown in picture above.)

-Leaving main needle for a minute, use extra circular needle or waste yarn to slip all stitches up to 5 sts before the next marker onto the holder or waste yarn.


-Slip next stitch with extra double point needle (DPN) or cable needle and hold to front, slip next stitch onto circular needle or waste yarn held in back.

-Continue slipping 1 stitch onto DPN or cable needle, and the next stitch onto extra circular or waste yarn until you have 5 sts on the DPN or cable needle. Remove stitch marker when you come to it.

I left the stitch marker in pic for reference.
 -You should now have 66 sts (this is the back) on extra circular or waste yarn with 5 sts on either end that overlap with 5 sts on the front section. The back section's sts will be on the inside while the front is on the outside.



-Slip stitches from DPN or cable needle onto right side end of main circular needle.



-You should now have 64 sts on main/front needle, this is the front.


Front is also where the beginning of the
round used to be.

I hope these pictures help to show you what these steps should look like. If I didn't include a photo for a step, it was because the step above or below basically illustrated it, or I couldn't get a decent shot of it. In any case, I think these should help those of you who are struggling with the separating part. Of course, please let me know if you have anymore issues.

If after doing this, you still are having problems with the stitch count and are getting 66 on front and 64 on back, here is my advice:

1) Skip Rows 1-6 of the birds eye lace- these are just set up rows anyway to get your stitch count up to 66 sts. Just follow rows 7-10 of the birds eye lace and you will be fine.

-or-

2) You can decrease two sts on this row by purling 2 together twice in the middle section somewhere:

"Leaving the back sts on holder, work front panel as follows:

-Row 1: k 5, pm, p to last 5 sts, pm, k 5"

-or-

3) You can simply slip one stitch on either end of the needle onto your holder needle or waste yarn.

One last thing I just wanted to say. This was a really tough section. Not just to knit, but also for me to write. It's not so much that the actual knitting part is difficult, but it's just really tough to visualize and execute blindly. It was also a challenge to write it in a way that 600+ people will understand. I have to give all of you a ton of credit for sticking with it and staying positive. It's not easy, but you CAN do it. I think that is why a lot of you are here, not just to be part of a group celebrating a book series/ show that we all love, but also to learn a little something along the way. If it was too easy, you'd be bored, and if it was crazy hard, then no one would be here. 

Think of this one clue as the really tough uphill section just before you get to the top of the mountain peak. You are so close to the summit, and when you get there you are going to have the sweetest view, which makes it all worth it. At least after this you won't be out of breath and sore afterwards. Well, at least I hope not. :) I guess what I mean is that I don't want this section to discourage people from continuing on. Powering forth and struggling through the tough spots is how we get better at our craft. This discussion we've been having on Ravelry the past few days has been a huge learning opportunity for me as well. I thank you all for that opportunity and for being so thoughtful and patient with me in your discussion.

I really hope this helps you all! Please let me know if you have anymore questions, concerns, or issues with the pattern. I am here to help!

Happy knitting,
Kristen

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The MKAL of Ice and Fire- Clue #4


Guten morgen, meine liebe Freunde!

Forgive my German and the slight lateness of this blog post. :) I've been spending the weekend with German relatives in Tahoe. My younger brother got married last night and all of the family is visiting. The above greeting means "Good morning my dear friends!" Or something close to that. :) In any case, I do truly apologize for being a bit late. This post is a bit of a long one and it was important to me that it be just right because it could be a bit confusing if you haven't done this type of project before.

I am really excited about today though, because we get to do a little lace. I think many of you are rested and ready for a little excitement too. The beginning of this section is a bit tricky because we are separating the front from the back and working the lace sections flat wit button bands on either side. 

You will need some extra stitch markers for this section, so grab two that are a different color than what you have used for your beginning of the round marker. Also, you are going to need an extra circular needle and a cable needle or double point needle to hold some live stitches. These "extra" needles can be of any size. They are just going to be place holders. 

Since we will be working the fronts and backs separately, we'll start with the front, and the back stitches will rest on the extra circular needle while we do that. You can also use stitch holders or waste yarn to hold those stitches as well. Whatever is easiest for you. For those of you who have no clue what I mean, I'll explain more when we get to that point.

Abbreviations:

k- knit
p- purl
yo- yarn over
yo2- yarn over 2 times, double yo
k1 f&b- knit on front and back, an increase
k2tog- knit 2 together, a decrease

*For help with any of these knitting terms, I find that www.knittinghelp.com has the best glossary with videos. 

Here we go with Clue #4. You've just finished your third repeat of the purl ridge. We are going to continue working in garter stitch for 4 more rounds as follows- see * note below for directions on placing stitch markers on the 4th Round:

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Purl
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: Purl

*On the last purl round, place markers as follows: p30, pm (place marker), p60, pm, p30.

Separating the front from the back:

-Remove beginning of round marker and cut yarn leaving at least a 6" tail.
-Working from the beginning of the round, slip stitches from left to right needle to 2 sts before the first side marker. 
-Rejoin yarn, K1 f&b (5 times), slipping marker when you come to it. (You should have 2 increases on the right side of the marker and 3 on the left side.)
-Knit to 3 sts before the next marker.
-K1 f&b (5 times), slipping marker when you come to it. (You should have 3 increases on the right side of the marker and 2 on the left side.)
-K to 4 sts before the next marker.
-Knit next st with main needle, slip 2nd st onto extra needle holding towards the inside of your work (or you can use a darning needle to thread in your waste yarn).
-Continue working the next 8 stitches in this manner, knit one with main needle, slip one on extra needle or waste yarn. Remove stitch marker when you come to it.
-You will have knit 5 sts on main needle, and slipped 5 onto extra circular or waste yarn.
-Leaving main needle for a minute, use extra circular needle or waste yarn to slip all stitches up to 5 sts before the next marker.
-Slip next stitch with extra double point needle (DPN) or cable needle and hold to front, slip next stitch onto circular needle or waste yarn held in back.
-Continue slipping 1 stitch onto DPN or cable needle, and the next stitch onto extra circular or waste yarn until you have 5 sts on the DPN or cable needle. Remove stitch marker when you come to it.
-You should now have 66 sts (this is the back) on extra circular or waste yarn with 5 sts on either end that overlap with 5 sts on the front section. The back section's sts will be on the inside while the front is on the outside.
-Slip stitches from DPN or cable needle onto right side end of main circular needle.
-You should now have 64 sts on main/front needle, this is the front.

Leaving the back sts on holder, work front panel as follows:

-Row 1: k 5, pm, p to last 5 sts, pm, k 5

-Begin working modified Bird's Eye Lace as follows while at the same time working button holes (directions are just below the lace directions.)

Bird's Eye Lace:

Set-up lace rows 1-6:

             -Row 1 (RS): k5, *k2tog, yo2, k2tog; repeat from * to 2 sts before marker, k2tog, k5. (63 sts)
             -Row 2 (WS): k5, p1, *p1, (k1, p1) into double yo, p1; repeat from * to marker, k5.
             -Row 3: k5 *yo2, k2tog, k2tog; repeat from * to 1 stitch before marker, yo2, k1, k5. (65 sts)
             -Row 4: k5, *p1, (k1, p1) into double yo, p1; repeat from * to last double yo, k1, p1, k5. 
             -Row 5: k5, k1, *k2tog, yo2, k2tog; repeat from * to 2 sts before marker, k2tog, k5. (64 sts)
             -Row 6: k5, *p2, (k1, p1) into double yo; repeat from * to 2 sts before marker, p2, k5. 
             
Lace Pattern repeat:

             -Row 7: k5, k1, *yo2, k2tog (twice); repeat from * to 1 st before marker, yo2, k1, k5. (66 sts)
             -Row 8: k5, p1, *(k1, p1) into double yo, p2; repeat from * to 3 sts before marker, (k1, p1) into                 
                          double yo, p1, k5.
             -Row 9: k5, *k2tog (twice), yo2; repeat from * to 4 sts before marker, k2tog (twice), k5 (64 sts)
             -Row 10: k5, *p2, (k1, p1) into double yo; repeat from * to 2 sts before marker, p2, k5. 
             
*repeat rows 7-10 of the Birds Eye Lace until front measures 5.5" ending with a row 10.

Button Holes:  

*Every 6th row or so, you will work button holes in the 5 sts on either side of the lace pattern on the outside of the stitch markers. You want your button holes to be spaced about 1"-1.5" apart. This isn't an exact science, so space them however you prefer.  

-k2, yo, k2tog, k1, slip marker, work Birds Eye Lace across on whatever row you are on, slip marker, k1, k2tog, yo, k2

-Once your piece measures 5.5" and you've finished your Birds Eye Lace, you should have about 5 or 6 button holes depending on how closely you spaced them.

Here is a swatch of the lace pattern knit up:



Notice how the double yarn overs are alternated/staggered? The result should be a very open lace pattern. Almost like chain mail. ;)

Finishing:

-Work 6 rows of garter stitch (knit every row).
-Bind off.

This is it for Clue #4! I will try to check in later this afternoon if there are questions on the Ravelry Group, but I have family obligations most of the day. I will definitely be back tomorrow and easy to reach then. I know this is a lot of info and it may be new to some of you. You CAN do it! Just take a breath, relax, and as my co-worker Jeanne always says, "It's JUST knitting." 

Happy knitting everyone, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

Kristen


Friday, April 19, 2013

More poems, and an early Mother's Day treat for you...

Hi everyone! 

Heather and I have been receiving so many wonderful poetry submissions for National Poetry Month, that we thought we would share some more of them with you this week! Here are a few more of our faves from the past week and a half:

By Sheri Chin
I have some yarn
So pretty and fine
It knits into socks
With a wonderful design.

Short rows for the heels,
Decreases for the toes,
She shall have warm feet,
Where ever she goes.

Haiku by Ann Stolzman

Color Affection
Is A Color Addiction
So Many To Choose!


Mike's Blanket by Rebecca Haller

Horrible accident. Left for dead.
Survived. But never the same.
Lenten gift. Hand knit comfort.
Cherished 3 months more.
Buried with honor at death.
Knitter transformed. 

Limerick by Elisabeth Kazup


There once was a woman from Michigan
who decided she would never fish again.
She started to knit and just couldn't quit
And made all the fishies Fisherman Knits!

Olivia Lee-Nuckols

I started a tiny circle,
Worked round into a whirl.
It grew and grew and grew into,
A flower for to wrap my baby girl.


By Anne Schneider

The click of the needles, the feel of the yarn
The vision of a new garment to be worn.
From eagerness at cast-on to accomplishment at end
A knitter's pleasure may be hard to comprehend.
Our creations are ours and the process so pleasing
Our love of the craft will never be ceasing.


First Project – by Anne Schneider

Can I do this?  Do I try?
This is madness gone awry!
I can knit and I can purl
But will this project knot and curl?
Pattern's hard and tension's tight
I'll be frogging this tonight.
Just relax and take a breath
This can't be any worse than death.
Almost done, Wow it's great
Many more projects to create!
I am hooked, I must admit
Knitting's for me, I'll never quit!!


Nan Dodge – Haiku

Sweater, salmon wool.
Seed stitch so perfectly zen.
Knit purl knit purl knit.

Aren't these wonderful?!?! I just love how much knitting inspires prose!

Lastly, I wanted to share with you a new exciting project we've been working on--Mother's Day Bouquets

This is Emma with the full bouquet, her mom Mindy works at JBW. :)

Over the last few months, we've been coordinating with hand dyers and designers to create a special collection inspired by spring....and mamas! There are seven beautiful exclusive colors in the bouquets that have been made into yarn "flowers" (using knitting needles as the stems) from Madelinetosh, Koigu, Lorna's Laces, Artyarns, TSCArtyarns, Malabrigo, and Fleece Artist. Each "flower" is placed into a classic glass vase to create a truly unique bouquet. Along with the yarn collection, we have a collection of seven 1-skein projects by designers such as Romi Hill, Iris Schreier, Suzy Allen, Maie Landra, and Lynette Meek. Here is a sneak peek at a few of the designs in the collection:

From back to front: Kristen wearing TSCArtyarns,
Heather wearing Madelinetosh, Rachel wearing Lorna's Laces,
Amanda wearing Artyarns, and Emma wearing Fleece Artist.

This entire collection of patterns is available with the purchase of at least one skein of the yarn from the collection in the special Mother's Day colorways. Choose your favorite skein or one of the Mini or Full Bouquets. Either way, these are sure to be a hit!

"Here mom, have a flower bouquet!"
We wish you all a great weekend and happy crafting!
Kristen

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Traveling and coincidences...

The Old Silk Road




My honey, Geoff, left on Monday for Uzbekistan and we just got the Kaffe Fassett collection which has fabric called Uzbekistan...go figure! Geoff thought that was really neat when I showed him!

We do a lot of traveling together, but this was a trip that wasn't within my interest scope, however, I will be excited to hear about his adventures when he gets back in May.




He will be gone for almost a month and I will miss him, but I know he will have fun. Of course I will have fun here at home and may have to grab some of the Uzbekistan fabric and do something with it before he gets back.


What beautiful textiles he will see!

He will be traveling The Silk Road on a tour and has gotten it in his head to do some wheeling and dealing to buy yarn and maybe Laura will make him her international yarn rep...ha ha!! I am afraid that when he gets an idea in his head it's impossible to shake and of course he is actually kidding about this, but is truly going to look for yarn and textiles!!


Oooh, ooh, I just thought of an idea for the Kaffe fabric...a couple of comfy pillows!! What do you think?


How about the Honey Bun Pouf by Amy Butler? We could sit around on the floor and eat in an exotic manner and that would be almost like being on a trip!

For now we can all dream of travel together and consider the projects that we can make around those wonderful mental journeys! Are you travelling anywhere fun this year? Feel free to share!

As always, happy knitting, crocheting and sewing!

Jeanne

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The MKAL of Ice and Fire Clue #3

Hi everyone!

Hope you have all had a great week! I know the short rows were confusing for some of you, so I hope everyone made it through mostly unscathed. :)

Ok, so you are probably tired of Game of Thrones memes by now but I saw this one this week and I loved it so I had to share:

From www.quickmeme.com

Heehee. Makes things seem a bit more innocent, eh? Also, in case you were wondering what the GoT characters would look like if they were cats, I have the answer for you:

From www.cheezburger.com

Is the cat they found for Jorah not the perfect match?!?! I love it!

Ok, back to business. In case you are just joining us for the MKAL. Here are some quick links to the previous posts:

-Gauge and Swatching
-Clue #1
-Clue #2

Alright, now on to clue #3! By this time you should have finished three sections of short rows and your last round was a purl round. Next we will knit three more sections just like the first three sections we knit before the short rows. Knit as follows:

Rows 1-8: Knit
Row 9: Purl

*Repeat twice more for a total of three times.

And that is it for clue #3. I know it's super simple, but we'll kick it up a notch next week with a little lace. :)

Hope you all have a great rest of your weekend and enjoy GoT tonight!

Happy knitting!
Kristen

PS. Don't forget to check in on the JBW Ravelry Group and join in the conversation!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gauge and Swatching...again.

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of the most common questions and advice we give out in the store.

Today, I'm reviewing swatching as it seems like we can't emphasize it enough! I don't know how many people have come into the store lately who've gone to the trouble to knit up a sweater only to find out it's too big and have to either give it away or frog it and start again! I'll be the first to admit that swatching can be a drag when you're excited to get started but I've learned through experience that if I want to make a garment fit correctly the first time with no tears or frustrations then I must knit a proper swatch before I begin.  It's worth the effort and is never a waste of time.

As Diane Soucy (of Knitting Pure and Simple) says: "A tiny difference in your stitch gauge will make a HUGE difference in the size of your finished garment."

There are two vitally important measurements you need to know to making a garment fit correctly.

  • The second is to get the exact pattern gauge.
 To watch a video explaining what follows, please watch the the video I did with Diane Soucy: How to Measure Gauge Correctly.

The first step to getting pattern gauge is to compare it to the suggested gauge on the yarn label. If the pattern gauge and yarn gauge are close then the yarn will work for your pattern. You will still have to swatch and possibly adjust your needle size to get exact pattern gauge.

This is where swatching is so important. There are a number of ways to knit up a swatch but the most accurate measurement for your gauge will be to knit up a large swatch in stockinette, 30 to 40 stitches wide and 4” tall, use the exact needles you will be using for your project. Don't expect to cast-on the number of stitches needed in 4” and expect it to measure 4”, it won't! Edge stitches, cast on & bind off all effect gauge so you want to have sufficient swatch to measure well away from all. If you will be knitting in the round you will need to swatch in the round.

To measure gauge on your swatch:
  • First, launder the swatch as you would the finished garment (steam it if it will be dry cleaned). This is important because yarn can bloom or shrink! Bloom means to expand or plump up and I think we all know about shrinking.
  • Once the swatch is dry, lay it flat.
  • Use a gauge check tool or a good ruler, measure no closer to any edge than 1”.
  • Then count how many stitches there are in a full 4". Be sure to count quarter and half stitches or even an eighth of a stitch-- it will make a difference in the size of your finished sweater.
  • If you have too few stitches per inch then your gauge is loose, work another swatch with a smaller needle.
  • If you have to many stitches per inch then your gauge is tight, work another swatch with a larger needle.
  • Repeat this process until you get the gauge called for in the pattern. Some people will just purl a few rows and try the next needle size, this can work but to get the most accurate gauge, bind off and begin a new swatch.
I can't say enough that checking gauge is so important, the time spent checking gauge is never time wasted. What is a waste is knitting a garment that doesn't fit and then never wearing it.

Always take the time to swatch and measure gauge! You won't regret it!

Any questions or suggestions for topics you want to read about, please email them to me at askTerry at jimmybeanswool dot com.

Happy Knitting
Terry





Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue...

We love poetry here at Jimmy Beans
And it looks like you do, too!

In honor of National Poetry Month, we've been enjoying a little Poetry Jam/Slam/Contest here at Jimmy Beans!  Each week, we post a different theme to Facebook and let the submissions roll in. Then, at the end of the week, we pick our favorite to post.  Combined with some really fun prizes from Wisdom/Universal Yarns coming up at the end of the month (Poems for poems...isn't it poetic?  You can thank Bethany for that one!), it's shaping up to be my favorite month of the year so far!  As Sandy likes to say, "Nothing but fun here at the yarn barn..."

Here on the blog, I wanted to feature all of the wonderful poems that have been submitted so that everybody gets their moment in the sun.  Feel free to give a shout-out in the comments to your favorite - we'll be keeping track and handing out some great Poems yarn at the end of the month!

So, here we go!

My First Project
By Christy Hagan

The yarn would split, the stitch would stick
This wasn't the therapy I wished for
But two drinks later, a moment to savor
A finished flower for the front of my door


A New Knitter Born
By Diane M. Edgerly

My little Nana left to me
A book from the 5 & 10 cent store;
Showing how to crochet, and knit, and tat,
And I’m sure a whole lot more.

A new baby in the family
Should have a special gift you see;
But what could I give, or make, or knit?
I wish my Nana was still here with me!

With no one I knew of to teach me,
I bought needles, small buttons, and yarn;
With hopes of knitting a sweater,
For my cousin’s new child in her arms.

My Nana’s book showed how to cast on,
How to gauge, how to knit, and to purl;
I must try, take my time, and keep trying;
To knit a gift for this sweet baby girl.

A girl of sixteen had done it….
Knit my very first sweater with glee!
With no one here to show me the way,
But my dear Nana’s booklet and me.

I still have this book – what a treasure,
Though it’s old, but not very worn;
Little Nana gave me the gift of her book,
And a brand new knitter was born!


Haiku
By Chris Webster

First, last, knit project
Each row, different stitch numbers
Good thing it's camo


First Mystery KAL
By Louise Slater

Winter is coming.
I can’t wait to start this KAL.
When will I wear it?

MKAL’s killing me.
Waiting for new episode
AND clue is too much!


The Gift (or, how my cat scored her very own fuzzy mini-blanket)
By Pamela Brown Yaeger

I'm drowning in this Barbie pink
But I'll hook on, 12 rows, I think.
The kid is three, what does she know?
Of colors, hues, of textures--no.
She wants a scarf. It must not scratch.
Just pink, then purple, garish match.

It's 4 am, my fingers burn
Just three more clusters, chain and turn.
Each row feels endless, I hate each stitch
Just one more wretched color switch
To neon purple yarn that sheds
I'm crawling with these micro threads.

I battle on, snip off the ends,
And hold it high, when truth descends:
The Barbie dream scarf cannot go.
I've added clusters to each row.
Four inches wide has grown to eight
I cannot frog, I know my fate.
And so, without another fuss
I go online, to Toys R Us..


By Sandie Russo
It's been a rough day, so how to de-stress?
Some knitting and wine I think would be best.
Knit one and sip one. Purl two, sip two.
A fun little project I'll knit in royal blue.
My wine glass is empty, so pour me some more,
As I follow my pattern, needles flying for sure!
3 hours later I'm feeling much better.
But, wait we're these some socks or a sweater?
Some socks or a sweater? I really don't know.
Oh well, at least I loved the Merlot!


By Shelly Barnes

Like so many before me in this room,
My first project started with a red loom.
Potholders were made.
The craftiness stayed.
Now my skills have done nothing but zoom!


First Project
By Tracey McKibben

My first project was a scarf
I was eight
with the urge to create
It was fuscia and took forever to complete
with ragged edges
and imperfect stitches

But imperfection imparted a desire to learn
that has never left
as I pursued my craft

I have no idea what happened to that scarf
probably the trash
but it was the beginning of my stash


By Kathryn Elise Heffner

Drunken ball of yarn,
vomiting on the floor,
Yarn is full of knots and tangled,
Yet my project requires more.

Out come the scissors
to snip in bits and pieces
My smooth scarf becomes bumpy
The sight of it gives me shivers


By Joann Smith Norman

Yarn so fluffy, sweet and bright
Mysterious as the darkest night.
Knit with brows furrowed tight...
But never finished, never right.
Acrylic nonsense, fiber siren!
Drawing knitters near and far,
But never pleasing, never soothing
Left to molder, deep in drawer
The knitter asking, "what for?"
Never finished, never loved,
Acrylic wonders, color drugged.
Chose thy yarn with careful charge,
Acrylic "novelty", no second thought!


By Maren Cole McLaren

Beautiful lace cowl
Bit through by kitten
Languishing in bag.


By Willanda Woodard-Topps Stephenson

A little leprechaun told me to buy a lot of green
To have it for St Patty's day so that I may be seen
But oh for naught I tried and tried to get the clovers right
I made them all misshapen and ever way too tight
And now you see skeins sit in bags in corners with my trash
O M G! Did I just say that!... I meant to say my stash! ;-}


By Sue Beers

Knit one, purl two, knit 2 together yo
Darn gotta do over
Stitches don't add up
Gotta rip it out
No doubt
Now the yarns is in a knot
I going to put this away
For another day
Oh! What was I making?
I forgot!

I hope you all enjoyed this first little collection! We certainly did! It will be great to see what comes next from all of you poets out there!

Heather