Archives from January 2014

A Hat That Looks Good on Everyone

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, January 31st in Contest, Pattern Links

Skeppa-Hat-Side-The-Loopy-EweLast week, Julia (aka Knitting Daughter) whipped up a great looking hat out of Wollmeise DK. She wore it in to work, and we all thought it was so cute. That turned into everyone wanting to try it on, and that turned into the first Loopy Elf Knit-a-Long, because the style looked great on everyone and they all wanted to make their own. The pattern is Skeppa by Sarah Jo Burch, and it’s just $2.00, so hop on over to Ravelry and get a copy. It’s a quick knit and would make a fun hat for yourself (or a nice Valentine gift for someone special, or a finished Christmas gift for 2014 already)!

Skeppa-Hat-Back-The-Loopy-EweIt would be beautiful out of: Blue Sky Alpaca Silk (2 skeins), Cascade Superwash Sport (2 skeins), Jade Sapphire Cashmere (1.5 skeins), Lorna’s Laces Sportmate (1 skein), Manos del Uruguay Serena (2 skeins), Shalimar Breathless DK (1 skein), Skein DK (1 skein), or Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool DK (2 skeins). You’ll need about 250 yards for the pattern.

Several of the Elves came to Knit Night last night to start the hats. (Aren’t they cute? We had fun getting this hat going. Although when we left Knit Night it was snowing and we all wished that our hats were DONE so we could wear them home.) I’ll be sure to share a picture of them modeling all of their finished hats at some point, too! I wasn’t going to start a hat (because of all the other projects that I’m Skeppa-Hat-Elf-Knit-a-Long-The-Loopy-Eweworking on that are on a deadline), but I’m being swayed over to the dark side. Or the hat side. I might have even picked out a skein of Breathless DK already. I think it will be my first completed Christmas project for 2014, as I have just the recipient in mind for it.

Thanks for all of your blog comments on the “What’s in your knitting bag or on your sewing table” contest! I had fun reading through them. Most of you said “Which bag?” or “You mean we’re only supposed to have one bag??”, which always makes me feel better. I’m going to do a bag blog post soon, because it’s something that I seem to have a problem with delight in collecting. Besides lots of projects, some of you keep Advil, chocolate, and gymnastic leotards in your bag. (Ok, one person on the leotard. And it’s for a first grader.) It was also fun to read about those of you who are knitting for your little ones, daughter or daughter in laws for weddings, or expecting new grandkids!

We used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner from the 1200+ entries, and the cute Taste of Wollmeise bag is being shipped off to Penny M. in Indiana. Congratulations, Penny!

We’ll have another blog contest in February, so watch for that and enter again. Have a great weekend!

Sheri determinedtokeepbuyingknittingbagsandfillingthemup
(Ihaveatalentforthat)

Loopy Cakes, Rasta, Batiks and More!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Thursday, January 30th in Pattern Links, Shop News

The Thursday Update is ready for you! Perfect timing, as it’s supposed to start snowing here again today and who wants to go out in that mess? Stay inside, stoke up the fire, and order some fun new things. It will make you happy today, and it will make you happy again in a few days when your Box of Fun arrives at your house! Today we added in:

Malabrigo Rasta – more colors re-stocked! Now is the time to make my favorite mittens. If you make them for everyone on your Christmas list (yes, Christmas of 2014!), you could be done with your gift-making in the month of February. Can you imagine? Each pair of mittens takes under one skein, and you can finish the pair in an evening. Other great patterns for Rasta? Try Big Chunky Comfy Hat, Drop Stitch Cowl, Rainbow Twist Cowl, or the Howling Winds Cowl. Shown below in Oxido, Lettuce and Violetta.

Rasta-the-loopy-ewe

Loopy Cakes – re-stocked in Shakespeare’s Garden, Starry Night and The Abbey, shown below.

Loopy-Cakes-The-Loopy-Ewe

Spillyjane Kits – re-stocked in Mittens with Pints and Socks with Pints

Spillyjane-Kits-The-Loopy-Ewe

Dream in Color Tulip Baby Sweater Kits – re-stocked in Girl and Boy/Multi-sex versions.

Dream-in-color-tulip-kits-the-loopy-ewe

Timeless Treasures Fabric – Tonga Batiks in blues, aquas, teals and navies. (A sampling shown below. We have it in 14 different fabrics.)

timeless-tonga-neptune-the-loopy-ewe

Timeless Treasures Fabric – Sketch. Oh, these are pretty. They have a subtle woven-type pattern which gives them depth and an appearance of a bit of a semi-solid color, but they come off as looking more like a solid when viewed from a ways back. Wonderful blender fabrics for quilts and accessories. (A sampling shown below. We have it in 26 different colors.)

timeless-treasures-sketch-the-loopy-ewe

Moda Fabric – Front Porch. This line designed by Jan Patek is full of reds, tans, sage greens, slates, browns, and peaches. You’ll find big prints, small prints and solids. We have also done up two Loopy Short Stacks for you from the line. (A sampling shown below. We have it in 40 different fabrics.)

moda-front-porch- the-loopy-ewe

Have fun shopping, stay warm, and we’ll get your Boxes of Fun on their way to your house!

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

Does Gauge Matter?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 29th in Good to Know

People joke about gauge swatches (in fact, I’ve seen a button that says “Swatching is for sissies!”), but let’s talk about  it. Does gauge really matter? Do you need to do a gauge swatch with each new project? The answer is yes. And no. Yes it really does matter. No, you don’t necessarily need to do one for each new project, depending on what you’re knitting.

I had 12 people around here do a swatch using the same instructions, the same ball of yarn, and the same pair of needles. I washed and blocked the squares and here they are. Twelve people, twelve different results:

Swatches-The-Loopy-Ewe-1

And here is the largest next to the smallest:

Swatches-The-Loopy-Ewe-2

No one had the same sized swatch in both stitches plus rows per 4″. Small and Large Swatch The Loopy EweHere are the stats:

Wendy     17 st,        26 rows
Roberta   16.5 st,     26.5 rows
Sheryl      17.5 st,     26 rows
Jenny       18 st,        27 rows
Rebecca   18.5 st,     29 rows
Jody         20 st,        28 rows
Lynn        20 st,        30 rows
Michael    20.5 st,     31 rows
Cathy       21.5 st,     30 rows
Sheri        22 st,        29 rows
Julia         21 st,        32 rows
Anne        22 st,        30 rows

We used Cascade 220 Superwash in the recommended needle size (size 7). They say the gauge will be 20-22 stitches per 4″. Our gauge ranged from 17 – 22. Our row gauge ranged from 26 – 32. Those few stitches and few rows can make the difference between a sweater fitting or not.

How? Let’s say you’re getting a gauge of 20 stitches per 4 inches (which is 5 per 1 inch), and the pattern calls for 18 stitches per 4 inches (4.5 per 1 inch). You think, “Half a stitch difference – that’s good enough.” But you have to remember that it’s half a stitch for each inch. If you are making a 30″ sweater and your pattern tells you to cast on 135 stitches, that will give you 30″ at the 4.5  st/inch gauge that the pattern calls for. If you are knitting at a 5 st/in gauge and cast on 135 stitches (as the pattern calls for), that will give you 27″. Your sweater will be 3″ smaller than you were expecting.

How do you adjust your stitch gauge? Generally, if you’re getting more stitches per inch than the pattern calls for, then your stitches are too small. Try going up a needle size. Bigger needles equal bigger stitches equal less stitches per inch.

If you’re getting less stitches per inch than the pattern calls for, then your stitches are too big. Try going down a needle size. Smaller needles equal smaller stitches equal more stitches per inch.

Sometimes you might have to go up or down more than one size. And remember, the same size needle but from a different company (or out of a different material) can also affect the gauge. You may find that using Addi Turbo’s instead of ChiaoGoo’s in the same size, will change your gauge. Or using bamboo needles instead of metal needles. For our Elf Test, we all used the exact same set of needles so our differences come just from tension and the way we all knit.

What if you match on stitch gauge but not row gauge? Generally, matching stitch gauge is more important. Many sweater patterns will tell you to knit x-amount of inches (or centimeters), and that’s easy to measure. It can become more of an issue if you’re knitting a very fitted sweater, or raglan sleeves, or doing a lot of increasing or decreasing and the directions are given row by row. Many times the pattern will come with schematics (a diagram with measurements of the different sections) so you can adjust accordingly. You can also do the math – see what the length would be at their row gauge, and translate the into your row gauge.

Which projects don’t need a gauge swatch? I don’t usually swatch for socks. I swatched the first few times, and now I know that when I use most regular fingering weight yarns, I will need to do 64 stitches on a size 1 needle. If it’s a little thinner fingering weight, I’ll do 68-72 stitches. I try to knit at a gauge of 8 stitches to the inch for socks in fingering weight yarn.

I also don’t swatch for scarves, shawls, mitts, mittens and gloves. Most mitten and glove patterns have enough “give” in the pattern, that using the recommended size needle and yarn ends up being about right for me. Scarves and shawls are wrap-ables and don’t have to fit specifically. If you know you’re a tight knitter, you might just plan to go up a needle size or two on these projects. If you know you’re a loose knitter, you might just plan to go down a needle size or two on these projects. (If you find it hard to go with the “good enough” philosophy, you might just need to swatch it all!) The more you knit, the more you’ll get to know your own tension, and the easier it will work with and adjust the results.

So – how often to you swatch?

Coming next week - how to correctly knit and measure a gauge swatch.

Coming on Friday – the winner from this blog contest. Be sure to get in on it.

Sheri I’llalsotellyouaboutthepattern
thatalloftheLoopyElvesdecidedtomake

Valentine Kits, Fibernymph, Birch, and More!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, January 27th in Shop News

Happy Monday! We have a blustery, snowy day going on here in Colorado. (But on Saturday it was sunny and warm and I had the windows open. I love living here!) We’ve been enjoying the snowfall outside, while working on the update for you on the inside. Just up, you’ll find:

Valentine Kits! We have Spud and Chloe’s adorable Valentine Mug Kits for you. Each kit comes in a stoneware mug with enough yarn to make the included pattern. We have 3 different options for you: Venus Mitts (comes with the Popsicle color in Spud and Chloe Sweater), Cupid Cowl (comes with the Manatee color in Spud and Chloe Sweater), and the Aphrodite Hat (comes with the Watermelon color in Spud and Chloe Sweater). Makes a cute gift for yourself or your friend.

Spud-Kits-the-loopy-ewe

Fibernymph Dye Works Bounce - Lisa has sent us more of her beautiful colors, done up on the Bounce base, which is 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Nylon – perfect for socks. (But also lovely for shawls.) Shown below in Dragonfly, Northern Lights, and Total Eclipse. Need a few pattern suggestions? Try Birth of the Waves, Diverted, Hermione’s Everyday Socks, Winesap Mitts, or Charade.

Fibernymph-the-loopy-ewe

Timeless Treasures Fabric’s Willow Basics - subtle leafy prints on a variety of beautiful colors. Perfect blender fabrics. (A sampling shown below.)

Timeless-Willow-the-loopy-ewe

Timeless Treasures Fabric’s Tonga Batiks - we are constantly adding to our Batiks section, as new collections come out. We have several Batik quilts in the works around here, and we love how the colors pop (in some cases) and blend (in other cases). Such unique fabric!

Birch Fabric’s Ipanema - fun birds, dots, geometrics and more in teals, limes, yellows and oranges. All of the Birch fabrcis are produced from 100% organic cotton and printed with low impact dyes. (A sampling shown below.)

birch-ipanema-the-loopy-ewe

Free Spirit Fabric’s Bontanique - flowers, checks, dots, mosaics, and more in this pretty spring-looking line. You’ll find apricots, teals, butternuts, blues, reds, and greens here. (A sampling shown below.)

free-spirit-botanique-the-loopy-ewe

Did you catch last Thursday’s Update? We have The Verdant Grphon in Bugga!Stonehedge Fiber Mill’s Shepherd’s Wool in Worsted and DK, more Loopy CakesAmy Butler Fabric’s Hapi line, and Timeless Treasures Fabric’s Tonga BatiksYou can find pattern ideas and photos on this blog post.

Have fun shopping and we’ll get your orders right out!

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

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