Archive for March, 2010

Little Feet

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

With blue skies, a balmy breeze, and temperatures hovering well above the seasonal norm for this weekend, egg hunters will be in full pursuit, sniffing out their sugary treats in the great outdoors.  Keep those little feet extra warm with a pair of candy coloured socks to knit up in Online Supersocke 100.  One ball makes at least three pairs of baby size socks, and in just an evening or two.

Online Supersocke 100

Supersocke 100 in Tropic- Colour and Candy- Colour rivals even the most creative array of decorated Easter eggs with cheerful colourways that appeal to all ages.

Little Feet in Supersocke 100

 Supersocke 100 Baby Socks

Size:  6 – 12 months 

Yarn:  1 ball Online Supersocke 100 (shade no. 925 and 926 featured)

Needles:  2.75 mm double pointed set

Tension:  28 sts and 40 rows = 4 in/10 cm in st st

Cast on 36 sts.  Divide sts evenly onto three needles.  Join in round.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 6 rounds.  Cont to work in K rounds only, until work measures 4 in/10 cm.

Make Heel:  K9, turn, P18, leave rem sts on spare needles and cont on these 18 sts only for Heel as follows-

Next Row- *SL1, K1*, rep *to* across row, turn

Next Row- SL1, P17, turn

Rep last 2 rows until Heel meas 1.25 in/ 3 cm, ending with 1st row-

Shape Heel: 

SL1, P10, P2tog, P1, turn

SL1, K5, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

SL1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn

SL1, K7, SL1, K1, PSSO, K1, turn

SL1, P8, P2tog, P1, turn

SL1, K9, SL1, PSSO, K1 = 12 sts

Instep:  With right side facing, pick up and K8 sts along side of heel, K across 18 sts on spare needles, pick up and K8 sts along opposite side of heel, K across 6 sts from top of Heel, slip rem 6 sts onto 1st needle and divide sts as follows- 14 sts on 1st needle, 18 sts on 2nd needle, 14 sts on 3rd needle = 46 sts.  Work as follows-

1st Rnd- (1st needle) K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1, (2nd needle) K across, (3rd needle) K1, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to end

2nd Rnd- K across

Rep these 2 rnds until 36 sts remain.  Cont even until foot meas 3 in/7.5 cm from picked up sts. 

Shape Toe: 

1st Rnd- (1st needle) K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1, (2nd needle) K1, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1, (3rd needle) K1, SL1, K1, PSSO, K to end of rnd

2nd Rnd- K across

Rep these 2 rnds until 16 sts remain.  Cut yarn and graft sts together.

(design by:  Michele Meadows)

 

 

Fresh Fibres

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

There is something invigorating about the arrival of Spring, a lightness in the air, that draws a knitter out of winter’s snug cocoon, in search of fresh fibres.  Before heading out the door to try some of the newest offerings at your LYS, take a minute or two and familiarize yourself with a few well-blended ingredients in the current collection of knitting yarns. 

Yarn is spun from fibre, which falls into one of three categories:  plant-based, animal-based or man-made.  While some yarns are a pure fibre, others are a chemist’s harmonious concoction of two or three categories.  By reading the ball band or wrapper on your favorite new yarn, what fibres were spun together to create a texture that appeals to you?  In celebration of the first week of Spring and all things fresh and green, here is a brief rundown on some of the most popular plant-based fibres. 

Viscose and Rayon cover a broad range of natural plant fibres originating from different types of wood pulp.  This plant matter is processed into a complex carbohydrate known as cellulose, and then spun into yarn.  With characteristics similar to cotton and silk, these fibres breath easily, and have lovely drape and sheen.  

Ester Bitran- Canela (Cotton and Viscose)

Bamboo is a type of viscose, derived from the leaves and inner stalk of the plant.  The pulp is extracted by steam, mechanically crushed, and soaked to produce a lustrous fibre, for spinning and rolling onto spools for yarn.  Bamboo sourced viscose yarn wicks away moisture from the skin, stays cool and comfortable and is hypoallergenic and odour resistant.  Its a renewable fibre that blends exceptionally well with cotton, wool, and silk.

Sirdar Flirt (bamboo sourced viscose and wool)

Modal is a cellulose type fibre, created from Beech trees.  This is a fascinating fibre, in the way that it absorbs much more readily than cotton, accepting dye and remaining colour-fast when washed in warm water.  Modal is extremely soft and smooth, a great additional ingredient spun with cotton, hemp and linen fibres.

Elsebeth Lavold- Hempathy (Cotton, Hemp and Modal)

Lenpur comes from the white Fir tree and is part of the viscose family.  Very much like Modal in its absorbent properties, it is extremely tactile with the softness of cashmere and the durability of cotton.

Louisa Harding-Albero (Cotton with Lenpur)

Linen is a fibre that has been around for centuries, originating from the Flax plant.  Known to be one of the strongest and most durable fibres, linen has a loose organic structure, and keeps the wearer extra cool in the summer heat.  Sometimes overlooked for its rough texture, it actually softens as it is handled.

Katia- Lino (Linen)

Corn is one of the new ‘foodie fibres’.  This plant is easily grown, and has a very high level of natural starch that can be broken down and fermented into sugar,  forming a paste that becomes suitable for spinning into silken strands of yarn.  

Queensland Collection- Haze (Corn and Cotton)

Soya is manufactured from the soybean plant.  Its the oil of the bean that is used to create a supple and luxurious yarn, with the drape and softness of bamboo sourced viscose yarn.  Soya is highly absorbent, and resistant to certain bacteria.  It blends well with other plant-based and animal-based fibres.

Diamond Luxury Collection- Zen (Soya, Bamboo Sourced Viscose and Cotton)

Cotton remains the most popular of all plant fibres.  Obtained from the seed pod, which splits open at maturity, this soft and fluffy fibre has its own natural twist, making it much stronger than wool.  Known for its plush texture and super absorbency, it lacks only one thing- the elasticity and memory of wool.  For that reason it is often spun with wool or man-made fibres to correct its imbalance.  Egyptian cotton is regarded as the highest grade quality with extra long fibres and luxurious sheen.  

Diamond Luxury Collection- Superfine Egyptian Cotton

Sugar Cane is another member of the ‘foodie fibre’ generation.  It is a type of viscose, extracted from the pulp of sugar cane.  A very smooth and supple fibre with superior strength and silky sheen. 

Araucania- Ruca Multi (Sugar Cane Viscose)

Kapok is another natural cellulose fibre originating from the Kapok Tree, the tallest tree in Africa, growing well over one hundred feet in height.  The seed pods protect the silky down that is used in the yarn manufacturing process.  Kapok is the lightest and thinnest of all cellulose types, it has a hollow core and spins together smoothly with cotton and other natural fibres. 

Sublime Baby Cotton Kapok DK

Malabrigo March

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The name Malabrigo rolls off the tongue as soft and eloquently as it slides across the knitting needles.  Kettle dyed and spun from the finest quality merino wool, Malabrigo yarn is produced in a rural region of  Uruguay by a family-owned company with assistance from a local women’s co op.  Its difficult to pinpoint the single attribute of this yarn that makes knitters swoon at the slightest mention of it.  Is it the vibrancy of the colours, the subtle transition from one shade into the next, or is it the incredible buttery softness that makes you want to sink your fingers into each skein?  Fifty-six hundred (and growing daily) members of the Ravelry Malabrigo Group describe it with just one word- squishy.  It is the ‘total package’, a yarn that has to be touched to be believed. 

This month is fondly named MalMar by members of the Ravelry group, or Malabrigo March to the rest of us.  Its a time to enjoy all things Malabrigo with projects to share, knitalongs to join, and contests to take part in. Thirty-one days of devotion to a yarn and all the impressive qualities that it possesses.  To join in the fun of MalMar, here is a new project and some of the most coveted shades of Malabrigo Silky Merino to choose from-

Amorosa Silky Merino

Atardecer Silky Merino

Archangel Silky Merino

Indiecita Silky Merino

Ravelry Red Silky Merino

As we transition from one season into the next, welcome Spring in style with a lightweight beret knit in Silky Merino

Silky Merino Beret in Amorosa

Silky Merino Beret in Indiecita

SILKY MERINO BERET

Size:  Womens Medium (12 in/31 cm diameter)

Needles:  3.25 mm and 4.00 mm

Yarn:  2 skeins Malabrigo Silky Merino

Tension:  22 sts and 28 rows = 4 in/ 10 cm in st st on larger needles

Cast on 102 sts with smaller needles.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 12 rows.  Inc 35 sts evenly spaced across last row of ribbing = 137 sts.  Change to larger needles and cont in Pattern as follows-

Row 1- K1, *K1, YO, K2, SL1, K2tog, PSSO, K2, YO, K1*, rep *to*, end, K1

Row 2- P

Row 3- K1, *K2, YO, K1, SL1, K2tog, PSSO, K1, YO, K2*, rep *to*, end, K1

Row 4- P

Row 5- K1, *K3, YO, SL1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K3*, rep *to*, end, K1

Row 6- P

Rep these 6 rows 5 times in total.

Shape Top: 

Next Row- K1, *K7, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  Work in st st for 3 rows.

Next Row- K1, *K6, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  Work in st st for 3 rows.

Next Row- K1, *K5, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  Work in st st for 3 rows.

Next Row- K1, *K4, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  Work in st st for 3 rows.

Next Row- K1, *K3, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  Work in st st for 3 rows.

Next Row- K1, *K2, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  P 1 row.

Next Row- K1, *K1, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1.  P 1 row.

Next Row- K1, *K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1 = 17 sts.  P 1 row.

Next Row- K1, *K2tog*, rep *to* = 8 sts.  Cut yarn and thread through rem sts.  Tighten and secure.  Sew side seam.  Block overnight with a damp towel. 

Knitters Tip:  To blend colours evenly when knitting with kettle dyed yarns – work with two skeins, alternating every two or four rows, carrying yarn up side of work when not in use.

Design by:  Michele Meadows