An Ark on the horizon
Can you see it? That dim shape just out of view?
It's the last day of Portland-wide fundraising, and we've been beseiged with questions all month about the state of our goal. Here's what we know now?
- Stores across Portland have been collecting donations in multiple forms - cash, checks, and who-knows-what-else. At the moment, we do not have totals.
- Several Knit Purl customers have also donated online (still time to donate!)
This means that next
we have to figure out how to consolidate all these donations and get them to Heifer International and into our Ark Fund. If we send Heifer the checks and cash separately, the total won't be tallied with our online donations, it turns out. Sooo, at this very moment
, we are working tirelessly to arrange a happy medium with our favorite charity and get all your donations counted together.
Keep your fingers (or needles) crossed for us, and we should have our fundraising total sometime next week!
Labels: Ark Fund, fundraising, giving, Heifer International
True Plies: Needle-lessly Cool
Our Very Special Yarn column is on hiatus until the project I'm knitting with it is done. Sorry, I'm a slower knitter than expected...
True Plies: MY Top 5 (Coolest & Most) Essential Tools of the Trade
Aside from yarn and needles, there are a few items any knitter will need to keep on stitching away blissfully. Ignoring the standards, like tape measurers and needle gauges, let's look at some other less known but extremely useful bits and bobs created to save our collective sanity. Some may argue with the products I chose, but this is my column and we all know I'm right anyway.
1. The KA Mini Cro-Hook
I love this thing with a deep and abiding devotion. Only 2" long and perfectly useful for a million tasks (picking up stitches, crocheting edges, seaming, etc), this is THE SPIFFIEST new knitting tool I've found. It also comes with it's own plastic pouch, to protect it from nicks and suchlike. Since it's so teeny-tiny, it can fit in any project bag and won't take up room better used to store yarn. 2. Clover lock-ring stitch markers
O', little plastic locking stitch markers, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. For thou art:3. Boxy Project Bags
- fantastic stitch markers for any project.
- perfect to identify other important project details - pattern repeats, rows, shaping, you name it.
- invaluable in placing buttons.
- also be useful in lieu of buttons (just guess how I figured that one out).
- wonderfully contained in a sturdy pouch.
Truly, thou art the epitome of stitch-markerdom.
I used to be one of Those knitters. Unhappy with my traveling projects because I was constantly losing DPNs, pulling out tangled birds' nests from my backpack, and just having a Bad Time of it. Then I discovered project bags. Put your knitting and toys in a bag within your purse/ messenger bag/ backpack and voila! No more snares, missing needles or puncture marks in your Physics homework. After a couple of years worth of experimenting I have found:4. SnipIt Scissors
My own preferences are to the Lantern Moon Diamon-Drop bags and the Misocrafty wrist bags - both are large enough to carry a small to medium sized project (socks, hat, scarf) and fulfil all my realistic* project bag needs.
- Boxy is better - more space and it's trendy to boot.
- Closed is essential, an open bag (without zipper or snaps) will end in the same trauma as having no bag at all.
- Snaps or buttons are less hassle than zippers, but all are better than none (see above).
- A wrist-strap is priceless. Aside from giving you the option of knitting while walking/ jogging/ chasing sheep, it also offers something to grab.
- Less is more. Honestly, are you really going to want a project bag big enough for a sweater? Remember, your project bag has to be able to fit inside your purse/ messenger bag/ backpack.
Many knitters (and knitting-product reviewers) prefer the Clover Yarn Cutter Pendant, but I'm an old-fashioned stickler to scissors. Aside from appreciating such a purely human feat of engineering, they're more adaptable to different jobs - good luck steeking with that pendant. And these scissors fold up to prevent snaring or poking holes in anything nearby. 5. The Clover Chibi
Chibi means "little one" in Japanese. Just like the KA mini cro-hook, this is a small, affordable and completely indispensable tool. Or toy, depending on how you look at it. I store all types of needles in mine - sewing needles for buttons, various embroidery needles, and the standard tapestry needles for knitting. Once you get one of these, you'll get attached to how functional and, well, cute it is!
So those are my Top 5 toys to keep any knitter sane. Try 'em out and prove me wrong, I have a hard time imagining anyone not loving one of these products!
*Yes, I do have a secret wish for Hermione Granger's magical ability to store anything and everything in a handbag.
Labels: Bags, Tools, Toys, True Plies
It always seemed a shame to me as a child that few people appreciated my "feisty" temperament. As a matter of principle, I corrected adults who tried to win my favor and thought it charming to shorten my name to a familiar nickname. Gentle but firm I would look them squarely in the eye and reply, "Please don't call me that. That is not my name. That's my brother's name and my father's name." Most adults would just stare at me like I spit on the baby, but a few told me my feisty attitude would take me places.
Occasionally, it has.
As a child I explained to Santa if I was to become a ballerina/princess/astronomer, I would need a telescope
to start the scientific end of my future career. I got one.
As a sixteen year old, I dressed in my best skirt and blouse and walked inside Trump Tower
in New York city to ya know, check the place out. It was nice.
New to Los Angeles, as an adult I landed a dream job in jewelry by calmly explaining (unannounced) to the owner why he would be making a mistake if he didn't hire me. He hired me.
Recently, I discovered women and men who share the same love of geeky order, who don't think me (too) weird for organizing yarn by color, who understand my need for the pretty. They appreciate salty personalities and my insistence that if you just badger someone a bit they will come around to your way of thinking. My co-workers, turned friends, believe badgering works because they are feisty too.
In the world of yarn, Recent evidence that badgering works includes the long awaited reprinting of Solveig Hisdal's stunning Poetry In Stitches
book. Several calls to Norway using words like "pretty, pretty, please" and "c'mon you know you wanna" by Fearless Leader and staff produced a rumor that is 95% sure to come true.
Yeah I know, ninety-five percent sure? We believe they will reprint it because badgering them to include copies of the pattern in their kits
has proved successful. (Norwegians are so totally unprepared for our brand of systematic haranguing.) Their kits are fabulous, the yarn
superb, and the book incredible. They have a product that Americans are blessed to get : old-world, timeless knitwear. We committed to 50 copies of the reprinted Poetry In Stitches
so if you want a copy that won't cost you your first born on Ebay
, pre-order one here
. We have the yarn
too, but you can always just get the kit
you want to knit because they now include the pattern. That is, until they get the new copies of the book out...
proved successful as well. They are incredibly busy running a farm and yarn company. As we've encountered in the past, if you call them up (you call Florida and then they patch you through) sometimes you catch them during "lambing season
" and your order for all your anxious customers just has to wait. Which is fair. I think anyone, man or beast giving birth has the right to say "Uh, sorry I can't give you any wool right now. I'm a little busy having a baby sheep
." People of course wouldn't say that. Just substitute wool for spreadsheet and omit the sheep part. Makes more sense now, doesn't it?
While hounding the very sweet Malabrigo-tonians we discovered our automatic ordering system didn't jive well with their system. They only send out their orders after it is complete and we were sending them orders near weekly. They could never fulfill all the orders at once so they kept holding the yarn from going out.
So we learned something new and they sent us our yarn, all eight-thousand dollars worth
We have new colors as well:
That's hot, huh?
The shipment is so pretty it begs for rolling around in... homina
So, the moral of this story is: always make a pest of yourself for yarn.
Perhaps that's a bit obnoxious. How about: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Yeah, too trite. Take your pick of one of these quotes then:
Seize opportunity by the beard, for it is bald behind. -Bulgarian Proverb
Victory belongs to the most persevering. -Napoleon Bonaparte
(1769 - 1821)
By perseverance the snail reached the ark. -Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(1834 - 1892)
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas A. Edison
(1847 - 1931)
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. -Calvin Coolidge
(1872 - 1933)
Labels: books, kits, PoetryNStitches, store workings, yarn, YarNews
True Plies: To The Point
The products up for review this week? Six different brands of DPNs used for sock knitting. Admittedly, Knit Purl doesn't carry most of these needles, but they all deserve to be reviewed just the same. The ones with asteriks* are brands we offer for sale. To keep this fair and unbiased, we'll look at each of these products in alphabetical order.
Brittany Birch 5" DPNs
I like these needles because they're made in California, using sustainably harvested Birch wood. They come in 3 lengths and a variety of sizes. For the purposes of this review, we're going to focus on the sock sizes (US 0 - 3). Personally, I don't use the smaller gauge Brittany needles for socks. I tend to knit tightly and worry incessantly about breaking them. But, I love the smoothness, softness, and ecological qualities of this product and use them for lace and baby garments instead. I must admit that the Brittany's are guaranteed, without exception, for 10 years. And have known more than one knitter to take advantage of their exchange policy. That said, Brittany DPNs can only be a good investment.
Clover Bamboo 5" DPNs
These needles are perfect for wooden needle enthusiasts. Smooth but not slick and incredibly durable (don't ask how I know this), these are great for beginning sock knitters and the more experienced who prefer to take things slowly. The type of bamboo the company uses tends to be very strong and withstands most attempts at bending or warping (you don't want to know how I know that either). Clover DPNs come in 2 different lengths, 5" and 7". For sock knitting, I prefer the shorter needles, but know of some sock knitters that like the longer needles. To each their own.
Direct from the Japan, as well, these needles are tough but a little more springy than their Clover cousins. While Crystal Palace offers two DPN lengths, the 8" needles aren't feasible for sock knitting in my experience. Maybe Christmas stockings... Anyway, I really like the fact that these are slicker and have a more tapered point than the Clovers. I'd have to recommend these for intermediate sock knitters, just because of how slippery they can be.
Kinki Amibari Bamboo 6" DPNs
KA needles are different from the Crystal Palace and Clover lines. These are definitely my favorite bamboo needles of all time. But, be warned, they're very slick and incredibly pointy. I've gotten wounded from these things. They come in 3 lengths but, like the Crystal Palace DPNs, only one length (6") is useful to sock knitters. They're made from 3 select breeds of Japanese bamboo that don't have to be polished or varnished, and for good reason since varnish would probably slow these speed-demons down. My only complaint with them is how bendy these are and, for tight knitter, easy to permanently warp.
Knit Picks Nickel-plated 6" DPNs
Shiny and sharp. Specially designed for sock knitters at 6" long, these are niiice. There are 8" DPNs available, but only in larger gauges. Very much like a metal version of the KA's, these are great for speedy knitters who don't worry about dropping stitches. Still, I'd recommend a point protector for these, so they don't poke holes in your knitting bag!
Elegant and stylish, these are the luxury needles of the knitting world. Handmade by a Vietnamese co-op, using only the finest materials, Sox Stix are more than worth their elevated price. I've met many a knitter who has sworn off all other DPNs but their Lantern Moon beauties. The only concern I can relate is for tight knitters, these lovelies can and will snap. Luckily, Lantern Moon guarantees all their products and will exchange any faulty merchandise, free of charge. These needles will always be worthwhile, when one considers the quality and economic factors of the company that makes them.
As you can see, there are many, many options available to sock knitters. In fact, I only touched on the more common and popular needles intentionally. If I hadn't... well, just imagine how long this review would have been! Rest assured, each of these needles is a good buy and they will serve you well - so long as you take into consideration your wants and needs.
Next week?, I'll let you know how I'm liking a Very Special Yarn.
Labels: DPNs, needles, review, True Plies
Gratis Knits: Winter 2008
Intended for incipient designers, Gratis Knits will be a platform for knitters to submit original and unpublished patterns (featuring a yarns and products available for sale at Knit Purl). A selected pattern will be featured in the next season's newsletter and the designer will receive a $50 gift card to the store. The deadline for the Spring 2008 Newsletter will be March 1, 2008. Please submit patterns to info (AT) knit-purl (DOT) com.
By Sara Morris
Women’s XS (S, M, L, XL)
6.5 (7, 7.5, 8, 8.5)” foot circumference
- 1 ball Noro Kureyon Sock (shown in color S180)
- set of 5 US 1.5/ 2.5mm 6” DPNs
- tapestry needle
- tape measurer
- 2 stitch markers
8 sts & 12 rows/ 1” in stockinette
This sock is knit from the toe-up.
SNOWDROP LACE INSERT: (worked over 11 sts)
Row 1: YO, SL2K, YO, K5, YO, SL2K, YO
- Row 2 & all even rows: K11
- Row 3: YO, SL2K, YO, K5, YO, SL2K, YO
- Row 5: K3, YO, SSK, K1, K2TOG, YO, K3
- Row 7: YO, SL2K, YO, K1, YO, SL2K, YO, K1, YO, SL2K, YO
- Row 8: K11
Using Turkish CO method; CO 22 sts over 2 DPNS (11 sts per needle) and knit one round. Redistribute stitches as follows: 5 sts on N1, 6 on N2, 5 on N3, and 6 on N4.
Row 1: *K1, YO, K9, YO, K1* twice
- Row 2: *K1, K1 tbl, K9, K1 tbl, K1* twice
- Row 3: *K1, YO, K11, YO, K1* twice
- Row 4: *K1, K1 tbl, K11, K1 tbl, K1* twice
Continue increasing in this manner (4 sts every other row) until there are 34 sts TOTAL (17 on instep, 17 on sole). On next increase round (odd #’d row):
K1, YO, K2, PM, work ‘Row 7’ of Snowdrop Lace insert, PM, K2, YO, K2, YO, K15, YO, K1.
On all even rows to follow: *K1, K1 tbl, K to last 2 sts on instep/ sole, K1 tbl, K1* twice. After this row start with Row 1 of Snowdrop Lace insert between the stitch markers.
Continue increasing the toe while working the Snowdrop Lace insert between stitch markers, until there are 50 (54, 58, 62, 66) stitches TOTAL.
Work the stitches as established: K7 (8, 9, 10, 11), SM, work Snowdrop Lace insert, SM, K to end of round. Continue in this manner until sock measures 2” less than total foot length OR 7 (7.25, 7.5, 7.75, 8)” from the CO edge. End with an even row.
Work across the instep, keeping the Snowdrop Lace insert in pattern. The directions below are for the 25 (27, 29, 31, 33) heel sts on N3 & N4:
- Row 1: K 24 (26, 28, 30, 32), W&T
- Row 2: P 23 (25, 27, 29, 31), W&T
- Row 3: K to next unwrapped st, W&K
- Row 4: P to next unwrapped st, W&T.
Repeat Rows 3 & 4 until there are 11 sts that have not been wrapped. On the next row:
- K11, PU&K the wrap and stitch together, W&T (next st)
- P12, PU&P the wrap and stitch together, W&T
- RS: K to next wrapped st, PU&K the 2 wraps and stitch together, W&T
- WS: P to next wrapped st, PU&P the 2 wraps and stitch together, W&T
Continue in this manner until all stitches and their wraps have been worked. End with a WS row. Turn. K across 25 (27, 29, 31, 33) heel sts. New row starts here.
Resume pattern as established in the foot:
- K7 (8, 9, 10, 11), SM, work Snowdrop Lace insert, SM, K to end of round.
Continue in this manner until piece measures approximately 9 (8.75, 8.5, 8.25, 8)" from the base of the heel. By this point the second repeat of the colorway should be close.
Rows 1 - 12: *K1, P1* across.
BO loosely. Work second sock as for first, starting it at the same point in the color repeats as the first if desired. Weave in ends and block.
Knit stitch through the back of the loop
Slip, slip, knit
Slip one stitch, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over
Knit 2 together
Wrap the next stitch and turn work
PU & K
Pick up and knit
Labels: free, Gratis Knits, Kureyon Sock, Noro, pattern, socks
True Plies: From the Inside
Note to last column's readers: the needles I'm using are size US 1/ 2.5mm 6" DPNs (Knit Picks brand, actually). The yarn is fine but not too fine, I think, for socks and knits up comfortably at 8 sts/ inch like many other sock yarns.
True Plies: ShibuiKnits SockThey say you should write what you know, and I do know about knitting socks (next week: the needles). I have knitted with this sock yarn almost incessantly, since we keep ShibuiKnits yarn in stock as much as we can. Who can resist? So, here it goes...The specs? Well, I was amazed to find out earlier this week that the yarn base is NOT, in fact, Louet Gems. Yes, read that again. Despite having been told by many people that it was, it isn't. I was pleased to find out that the yarn is specially milled in Peru (ultra-fine merino superwash) and then hand-dyed in Peru (ETA: Silk Cloud and Silk Puff are dyed in the US). Wow, I knew I liked this stuff for a reason. Anyway, back to the yarn specs:
Now, I don't agree with the recommended gauge or needle size - but I'm a sock freak who thinks sock yarn should always be knit tighter than what the ball-band calls for. Religiously, I aim for 8 sts and 12 rows/ inch with Sock on size US 1/ 2.5 mm needles.It would probably take me hours to track down all the projects I've knit (or received) with ShibuiKnits Sock, so here's just a taste:
- Fiber: 100% superwash merino wool
- Skein weight: 1.75 oz / 50 g
- Yardage: 191 yd / 175 m
- Yarn weight: fingering weight
- Recommended gauge: 30 sts = 4"
- Recommended needle size: 2 (2.75 mm) (US)
Jaywalkers knit with "Spectrum"
Baudelaire knit with "Orchid"My most recent Sock FO was a pair of Autumnal Socks that I would wear everyday, if I could. I have a stash of this stuff that is slightly frightening and that demands attention frequently. It's nearly as bad as the Smooshy in that regard (but that's another post).All in all, I have to recommend this stuff for quite a few reasons. It's:
I have to admit that I was a bit annoyed about 6 months ago, as the demand for Sock exceeded production and I couldn't get certain favorite colors. Since they've fixed that problem now...the more Sock addicts in the world, the merrier.And before you ask: yes, I do have a pair of ShibuiKnits socks in progress - my January Mystery Socks. Loving the Pagoda, which is odd for me since I tend to hate orange.
- Hand-dyed, in a world of machine-dyed yarns
- Specially-milled and super-soft
- Machine washable AND dryable (ask me how I know this)
- Fantastic for colorwork
- Doesn't have to be used for just socks, because it's 100% superwash merino wool with no nylon.
Next week: DPNs for socks.
Labels: review, ShibuiKnits, sock, True Plies, yarn
Gratis Knits Submission Guidelines
Intended for nascent designers, Gratis Knits will be a platform to submit original and unpublished patterns (featuring yarns and products available for sale on the Knit Purl website
), to be noted in our store newsletter and featured on our blog. Plus, we will award a $100 gift card to the featured designer for use online or in our brick and mortar store.
We're looking for all types of patterns: the sky is the limit. Patterns that are fashion-forward and seasonally appropriate will be given preference. Please look through previous Gratis Knits
patterns to become familiar with our pattern formating and language.
Publication dates and deadlines:
January (Winter), deadline: January 15, 2010
April (Spring), deadline: April 1, 2010
July (Summer), deadline: June 15, 2010
October (Fall), deadline: September 15, 2010
Holiday (Winter), deadline: November 1, 2010
- Only submissions received by the relevant deadline (listed above) will be considered. Please do not submit patterns more than one month before the deadline.
- All submissions must be sent to info (AT) knit-purl (DOT) com with "Gratis Knits: Submission" in the subject line.
- The pattern must be attached to the email in one of three formats: Word (.DOC), Rich Text Format (.RTF), or Adobe (.PDF). No other formats will be considered.
- Patterns may be for either knitting or crochet projects.
- We can only accept patterns that are original ideas and haven't been submitted/ published elsewhere.
- The designer will receive a confirmation email once the pattern is chosen and payment upon publication.
- We will award a $100 gift card to the featured designer for use online or in our brick and mortar store.
The pattern must include the following information to be considered:
- Multiple photos of the finished object are a bonus, however only one photo per submission is required, and each photo must be at least 72 dpi.
- Sizing must follow the sizing standards of the Craft Yarn Council of America.
- A list of supplemental materials (waste yarn, stitch markers, etc.) must be included in the pattern requirements.
- Needles/ hooks must be given in metric and US standards.
- Contact details -- please include:
- Your name as you wish it to be publishedWe reserve the right to edit and change patterns and photographs to fit our needs. Please direct any questions to info(AT)knit-purl(DOT) com.
- an e-mail address where we can send questions or feedback
- the URL to your website or blog, if you wish us to link to you
- the name of any models featured in photographs you submit
- the photographer's name
Labels: Gratis Knits
True Plies: The Set-up
After some lengthy
plotting brainstorming, the Blogger and I have decided to organize the blog. From now on, once a week every week (note to self), I shall present to you a very special review column, "True Plies".
About?, you ask. Knitting. Books, yarns, needles, and patterns. And now, without further "adieu", let's get started...
True Plies: New Kureyon Steps Up
by Sara Morris
Like many sock knitters before me, I had vowed not to knit with the Kureyon sock yarn. Previous encounters with Noro had left me a little disappointed. Until I saw the yarn in person, that is. You may recall that the yarn arrived on the day of the very first meeting of Knit/ Purl's Sock Knitters. The stars must have aligned or the Knitting Muse simply has a wicked sense of humor.While receiving and displaying the new yarn, the prospect of Kureyon-colored socks wore me down. I snuck over to the display and quickly sqooshed it, the yarn didn't feel too scratchy. Thus defeated, I took home a ball that night and CO a swatch a couple of days later. The swatch went quickly and soon I was looking for a pattern and a recipient - handwash ONLY socks don't fit within my lifestyle, unfortunately. But both were found and a new pair of socks was started.My review? I can't tell you yet how well the yarn will wear, but I have my suspicions. 30% nylon sounds promising. In many ways Kureyon sock reminds me of our old friend, Trekking. Durable, vibrant, and a little rough. I don't mind the slight roughness too much, but some knitters or wearers might. The fact that the yarn is single-ply doesn't worry me either. This yarn, like other Noro yarns, has been fulled a bit to keep it in shape. It shouldn't cause any problems on that account.
And, of course, the colorways are enough to make most knitters drool. The color repeats are a little longer than Trekking, but maybe about the same length as some Opal or Regal sock yarns. Just as you're about to get bored with one color, another one starts.All in all, I'm quite pleasantly surprised by the yarn. My only, minor, complaint would be the occasional VM (vegetable matter) spun in with the ply. But that's common with in many brands of yarn and, well, it tells you that there was actually a sheep involved in the making of this yarn at some point in time. As much as it annoyed me at first, I have to admit that it is comforting in a way. And I can tug the rare twig or leaf out as I go, in any case.Sooo, in this humble sock knitter's opinion, Noro Kureyon Sock gets 8 out of 10 happy toes. Not bad for a yarn I refused to touch at first!
Labels: Kureyon Sock, Noro, True Plies, yarn