november 2014

CLAUDIA'S TEN TEN COWL MYSTERY KNIT ALONG

Well, word about Claudia's Mystery Knit Along caused a flurry in our shop! About 15 days ago, I received notice that Claudia’s Hand Painted Yarns was putting out kits for a mystery knit.  I don’t really like the idea of a mystery knit (I like to see what I am knitting, be able to read the pattern, know where I am going), but I have the highest regard for Claudia’s yarn and color sense, and brought the idea to our customers via Facebook. Several people were interested, but the bad news came that Claudia had sold out her kits.  Intrepid as she is, Claudia scrambled to put more kits together for our shop and others and we were off!

Twelve intrepid knitters bought into the program and last week we began.

   

The first discovery of this mystery was the yarn: 8 skeins of the most beautiful tightly plied merino wool in fingering weight in 8 different colors.  The second discovery last week was Clue #1:  miles and miles and miles of garter stitch on 32 stitches.  Hmm, not really miles and miles -- only 480 rows.  More than a few ughs.

This week, Clue #2 brought us … you guessed it, more garter stitch on the same 32 stitches, another 240 rows.  Will we have a rebellion on our hands?  But Clue #2 also tells us to join our now very long strip of garter stitch in the round, pick up stitches and begin a pattern. Hurrah! 

I will continue to let you all know what we Mystery Knit knitters have let ourselves into in our next newsletter.  But who knows what this will look like in the end?  Who knows if we will ever have another mystery knit-along!

KNITTERS' NIGHT OUT - OCTOBER

Knitters' Night Out is held the last Saturday of every month and is scheduled for knitters who are unable to come to our Wednesday and Friday Knitters Anonymous mid-day groups.  October's date is October 25, from 6pm to 9pm.  November's date is November 29.  Knitters' Night Out gives knitters to meet other knitters, to get new ideas, and to have a couple of hours of great conversation (usually about knitting!)  Bring your knitting and a snack to share.         

                  

SUPERBULKY KNITTING AND CROCHETING

Mel has been having a lot of fun knitting with the new super-bulky yarns we have in the shop this year.  The needles are pretty wild too – last week we finally got our delivery of needles in US sizes 17, 19, 35 and 50!  These are perfect for knitting with our big fat yarns, or putting many strands of yarns together to create your very own superbulky yarn fantasy.

Back to the knitting though:  you’ll see several cowls and hats together in the superbulky yarn.  Some cowls are simple, others have a challenging but basic cable pattern, some are lined with a soft fuzzy yarn called Caribou.  The hats also range in complexity, but most can be knit by a beginner yarn.  In fact, one hat I knit with a single 50 gram ball of yarn in less than 45 minutes!

  

Come to our Novemberclasses to learn how to make some of these cowls and hats – perfect for gifts and for keeping yourself warm.

       

FRESCO - FROM CLASSIC ELITE YARNS

*60% Wool, 30% Baby Alpaca, 10% Angora 

*6.5 spi on US 5

*50gms, 164 yds 

*from Peru


This yarn is like a good rollerball pen. It's widely available, doesn't cost a fortune, feels great in your hands, and flatters your handwriting no matter what you write. In yarnspeak, this means Fresco is affordable, available, and willing to accommodate pretty much anything your needles may want to try.

Fresco is a fine three-ply blend of 60% wool, 30% baby alpaca, and 10% angora. The soft yet durable wool (most likely Peruvian Highland) gives the yarn a strong yet lofty and elastic foundation. The baby alpaca gives the yarn greater softness, a slightly glassy halo, and a somewhat slippery, dense hand. And the angora adds a wee hint of fluff to the whole thing.

     

Fresco's tight twist and nearly perpendicularthree-ply structure makes it a very well-wearing yarn. The fact that the wool is most likely from a longer-staple Highland, rather than the shorter, more delicate Merino, adds to its durability. For those who see the word "angora" and immediately start to sneeze, take heart—these angora fibers don't go anywhere.

To the label's recommendation that you hand-wash Fresco in cold water, I can only say, "Bah humbug." You wantto treat this yarn to a warm-water bath. First, you want to rid the yarn of any residual oils from the spinning process—the mill needs to use oil when working with finer, flyaway fibers such as angora and baby alpaca. And second, you really want to give the fibers a chance to relax, come together, and bloom. Warm water will do that.

Fresco crosses several lines.  First, as a worsted-spun yarn, it delivers strength and cohesion.  But the discreetly unifying halo from the angora and baby alpaca also delivers a softer look usually seen only in woolen-spun yarns.  And second, it can perform equally well in stockinette, colorwork, textured stitchwork, and even lace.  Although it is technically a workhorse, its baby alpaca and angora elevate it from the potentially mundane to the special.

     

*This review can be found at knittersreview.com along with many others.

ECOLOGOICAL WOOL - FROM CASCADE YARNS

*100% Highland Peruvian Wool

*3.5 spi on US 10

*250 gms, 478 yds

* from Peru

The first major difference you'll notice with Ecological Wool is that it is composed of smooth, relatively long-staple fibers that have been worsted-spun. This means you have a very smooth, "unjumbled" yarn with a flatness and drape reminiscent of alpaca.  It comes in enormous 478-yard hanks in four natural, undyed shades ranging from white to brown.  

     
(Please Note: since this review was published in Knitter's Review, Ecological Wool now has dyed yarns in luscious colors – this is known as Eco+).

Ecological Wool knit up quickly and effortlessly. The two plies are relaxed and seemingly loose on the hank, but when held under tension, they stayed tightly together and did not snag on my needles. Stitches appeared even and consistent. The stitch definition with this yarn is  lovely.

                             

The general rule is the longer the fiber staple, the more durable the yarn. But the longer the staple, the rougher the fiber tends to be.  This yarn walks the line and remains soft to the touch, with only a faint hint of scratchiness around sensitive areas such as the neck. It's no merino, but it's close. From a durability standpoint, Ecological Wool was a trooper. Standard wear and tear produced very little visible signs of distress in the swatches.  Fibers remained intact, with only faint signs of pilling on the fabric surface. A few seemingly thinned areas popped back into perfect form with one or two tugs. With more friction, the swatches gradually did cross the line into blurrdom, but it seemed somehow fitting with the yarn's already soft, unadorned nature.

     

We have many choices out there for straightforward wool yarns. This one is soft, relaxed, and slightly unusual, having had no chemical processing and no dyes. At $15.75 – $22.99 per 478-yard yank, the yarn is an excellent value. You'll probably end up buying three hanks for any medium-sized project with stitchwork, giving yourself leftovers for a hat or mittens—all for under $65.

*These reviews and more can be found at http://www.knittersreview.com.  I will be printing out reviews periodically so you can get an indepth understanding of our yarns.

HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM MILLICENT'S YARNS & MORE

Are you beginning to think about holiday gifts for friends – or for yourself?  If your Santa is like my Santa, you’ll need to give lots of hints.  Here are some ideas:

·        Interchangeable needle sets in Dreamz needles from Knitter’s Pride are the best.  The joining of needle to cord is simple and the join is smooth and will not snag your yarn.   There are three kinds of Dreamz sets: Dreamz Deluxe with longer needles (US 4 - 11) begin with 4 cords beginning to make 24”, 32” and 40” circulars and Dreamz Special with shorter needles (US 4 – 10) and two cords to make 16” circulars.  The third Dreamz interchangeable set is a Chunkywith needle tips in US 13, 15 and 17 sizes and two cords for 24” and 32” circulars.

                                         
                                                              

·        Interchangeable needle sets in Cubics from Knitter’s Pride.  I personally love the cubics needles.  Made square instead of round, they sit comfortably in the hand and create evenly sized stitches.  These are particularly good for knitters with arthritis in the hands.  Cubics Deluxeset has needle tips from US 6 through US 11 and 4 cords to make 24”, 32” and 40” circulars.  Cubics Special interchangeable sets have needle tips from US 6 through US 10 and two cords to make 16” circulars.

                                

·        Interchangeable needle sets in Addi Turbos.  These German needles are the Mercedes of knitting needles. They run quickly and smoothly. Actually these sets are available through the WCBC Auction starting now ­­-- get in on the good times!

 

·        New to us for the holiday are sets of double pointed Dreamz needles sets in smaller sock knitting sizes – sizes 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3.  The needles are 5” in length. 

                                                    

·        Also in the shop now are several swifts and yarn winders. 

 

All of the above items are available now.  If you would like a special order, such as a Karbonz Interchangeable set or a set of Karbonz double pointed needles, please let me know as soon as possible, as even our vendors will be running out soon.

BLACK SATURDAY SALE

We usually celebrate Millicent's Anniversary just before Thanksgiving, but this is our 13th anniversary and we feel a bit skittish about it.  So instead, we'll celebrate "Black Saturday" or Saturday, November 29.  Throughout the shop, all yarn and accessories will be reduced by 12.99%.  We'll be open until 9pm as this is our Knitters Night Out.  Plan your trip, join the fun.

                                   

JOANNA'S WEDDING DAY, NOV. 9

Joanna is getting married to Jonathan on Sunday, November 9.  Millicent's Yarns & More will be closed to celebrate this wonderful event with them.