Crochet versus Knitting

Crocheters often gets the short stick ( or is that hook?). People often assume that all yarn work is knitting. Those who know, can see there is a big difference between knitting and crochet. It can drive a crocheter crazy if you call her handiwork knitting. Most of us have a preference for one over the other, although many can do both. Both crafts have their pros and cons.

Crocheting tends to create a denser fabric so it tends not to be as nice as a knit garment, but it makes crocheting great for toys. Crocheting, some say is much faster, so it is great for making larger items like afghans which can take a long time to knit. Crocheting is great for making lacy items which is why it is often seem as a trim on knit items. With crocheting it is much easier to change the direction of your work. In knitting, to change direction means having to pick up stitches or attaching separate pieces after you are done knitting.

As far as equipment goes, crocheting has knitting beat as far as not needing as many accoutrements. If you take a look at our stock of needles and hooks, far more real estate is devoted to knitting needles than there is to crochet hooks. Knitting needles come in double points of various lengths, straight needles in different lengths, circular needles in various lengths, interchangeable and fixed and metal, carbon, wood or plastic. Crochet hooks on the hand come in wood or metal and Tunisian or regular. To crochet in the round you only need the basic crochet hook unlike knitting where you either need double points or circulars. Most crocheted items can be made with only the simple crochet hook unless you want your crocheting to look more like knitting when you would need a Tunisian or afghan hook. Knitters tend to have multiples of their favourite size needle because if you are knitting more than one project at a time you need multiple needles. Crocheter can just put a stitch marker in their last loop and take their hook and start a new project.

When you make a mistake in knitting you may need to rip out multiple rows which may mean taking all your stitches off the needle and then having to make sure you get then all back on properly. In crochet you rip back to the mistake and pick up 1 loop and you are on your way again. In knitting it is possible to fix some mistakes by just dropping the stitch down to the mistake and correcting it. This is not possible with crochet.

There are definitely a lot more commercially available patterns for knitting than there are for crochet. I think in Canada, knitting is much more popular than crocheting. In the States, there seems to be more interest in crocheting than there is in Canada. If you are not comfortable working without a pattern then maybe knitting is the more practical choice for you. I think in the end it comes down to personal preference. Some prefer the look of crochet and some the look of knitting. Whichever you prefer, there are so many beautiful yarns in so many colourways that you will never have to worry about not finding something wonderful to knit or crochet.


Cestari Yarn for Spring

We have just received our new shipment of cotton yarn from Cestari yarns. We have two different cotton yarns – Ashland which is a 75% cotton and 25% wool blend. It is made exclusively with Virginia-grown cotton and blended with Cestari’s Natural White Traditional Wool. This yarn is very soft feeling. It is marked as a DK yarn but the gauge given on the ball band is more consistent with a worsted weight. We have it in grey and white.

Cestari Ashland

The second yarn we have from Cestari is their Monticello. It is a 75% cotton and 25% linen blend. The cotton grown in Virginia and the linen is imported from France.  The yarn is kettle dyed so each skein has subtle colour changes within the ball making for a more interesting knit. We have a rainbow of colours to choose from in the Monticello yarn. We have 10 colours in stock, from red to purple but also in cream and grey for the not so adventurous. The yarn will hold its shape well, making it well suited for garments such as summer tees. It would also be beautiful as a summer shawl.

Cestari Monticello

Both yarns can be machine washed in cold water but make sure to lay flat to dry. Cotton does not have any elasticity so it is important not to hang a wet cotton garment or it will stretch. The Ashland has wool in which the lanolin has not been removed so you do not want dry clean it as this would remove the lanolin.

If you have not tried any of the Cestari yarns ( yet, these would be perfect yarns to try. We also have two wool yarns from Cestari – the Tradition and Mount Vernon collections. The Mount Vernon is 100% merino which has not had the lanolin removed so it retains all those qualities that we love in wool while also being soft. The Tradition is a Targhee Columbia so it is not as soft as a merino but it makes great hats and has great stitch definition.

Many people do not associate spring and summer with knitting but with these cotton and blend yarns you can make some beautiful summer garments. Who doesn’t need a gorgeous wrap for those cool summer evenings? Come in and try a skein or two of these great yarns!

Last Minute Knitting Ideas

How is it that every year I plan to knit ahead of time so that I am not feeling rushed in December but here it is December again and I haven’t finished any of my Christmas knitting? Heck I haven’t even finished the shawl I started in July. Does that mean I won’t be giving any knitted items this Christmas? Nope, it just means I have to plan all my hours and modify my knitting plans. I have 2 pairs of socks that I am giving as presents both of which are almost finished – one needs a toe and the other a heel and leg. No problem to get those done. I promised my husband in September I would make him a cowl so that will now be his Christmas present. Luckily it is a chunky yarn. I still haven’t decided what pattern to use but I am not too worried about that. The other pair of socks I thought I would give I think has now been put off and will be a February birthday present. I found some super chunky ( like knit on a 25mm needle chunky) that I will make into a cowl for someone else – sorry, not the gloves I had thought I was giving. I did find a couple almost finished hats while looking through my stash so maybe those will be presents too. There see it is not so bad as I thought.

So what are some good last minute items that you might still have time to fit in? We have a couple super chunky yarns – Hygge and Lalala which could be used to whip up a superchunky blanket in no time. Or use it to make a cat mat or seat cushion that would only take 1 skein.If super chunky yarn isn’t your thing, try a pair of fingerless gloves. You can make a pair out of worsted weight yarn and you only need about 80 m to make a pair. They are great for texting. I like to wear mine with a pair of dollar store gloves underneath. You can use coordinating coloured gloves to go with the fingerless gloves so they will match any coat.

With pompoms being all the rage, you could knit a hat with a pompom. We have a yarn called Lady that is a chunky yarn that comes with the pattern for a hat and the matching pompom. It is knit in the round with 16″ 8 mm needles so you could easily knit a hat in an evening.If you were thinking of knitting someone a sweater but ran out of time, why not knit them a miniature sweater with a note saying you will knit them a full size one. The miniature could them be used as a Christmas ornament. I did this one year for my husband.You could also drop hints that you would love to receive that special luxury skein of yarn. A skein of beautiful Biscotte and Cie or Sweet Georgia yarn is always nice. Or Manos Alegria or Malabrigo are both beautiful yarns. Maybe you have been longing to try a couple of skeins of Shibui. If you don’t trust them to pick the right colour, a new set of needles or a yarn bowl is another nice idea. Let your friends and family know that they can find the perfect gift for you at Rose’s Fine Yarns!

I Finished!

So those of you who read my blog know that I have a problem finishing what I start.  I see a new yarn or project and I am off in another direction. Squirrel! Well, you will be happy to know that I have actually finished a few projects.

I took a few things on vacation with me to knit. Okay, I think I took 7 or 8 projects that I thought I might work on. Of those I finished only one. Sorry market bag and socks I will finish you soon but I had all this pretty other yarn.

I finished my helical hat. That is probably because I needed to see how it worked up because I am teaching a helical hat class in the fall.

I made good progress on the baby blanket I am knitting using Juniper Moon Farm Cumulus.  I am pretty sure I will have that one done by the end of the month.  The yarn is so soft.  I think I will be able to get a blanket out of 2 skeins. That will be a sample for the store. It always help to see how the yarn knits up.

I started a hat but didn’t get too far but I think it will only take a few more hours to finish. Maybe if I knew who I was going to give it to, I might work a little faster.

My Find Your Fade is taking forever. I spent 20 hours working on it and I think I may only be a third of the way done. I added a new colour but I hate it and am going to rip it out but I have figured out which yarns I will use instead.I started to crochet a dish cloth but hated it and ripped it out. I thought about giving it another try but I had this really pretty sock yarn I wanted to try out. I never got to it either.

When I got back my husband asked me to knit a pair of baby booties for his hairdresser who had a baby at the beginning of the summer. Actually he asked me two nights before his hair appointment at dinner.  After dinner we went shopping for a birthday present for our son so I didn’t get any knitting done that night. That left me with one evening to knit the booties. Sorry Dougan, no walk for you. I have to knit. The booties turned out really cute and I might do a class on them because there are no seams and you can make them in an evening!

So I guess I better get back to the market bag, socks, shawl….

All my pretty ones

Do you have beautiful yarn that you are saving for that special project? You don’t know what that project is, but you are sure you will know it when you see it. Do you, like Gollum in Lord of the Rings, keep that precious skein hidden waiting for that some day when inspiration strikes you. Well, I have lots of those skeins of yarn.  They are too special to just make something ordinary with. I need just the right project.

I was trying to sort through my yarn stash to pick out what yarn I am going to take with me on vacation. I am thinking I want to make Windshield, a slouchy hat using a DK weight yarn. Well, first of all, I thought it was a worsted weight yarn and went through all my special worsted weight yarn and I could not find one that seemed right.  If I have two balls of a yarn, I don’t want to use one and not the other, so those went back into storage. Do I really want a brown hat, even though it is a beautiful smooshy yarn?

I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to use.  Once I realized I was looking for the wrong gauge, it was on to my DK stash.  Nothing there felt right either.  Am I going to have to buy another special ball of yarn?  Surely I have some yarn that would look beautiful in this hat. Should I pick another pattern?

Well, then I got side tracked by all my beautiful fingering weight yarn- and there is a lot of it! I want to make a skirt for my daughter.  I like the Take two skirt by Ann Budd, but I want to shorten it. Not sure how that will work.  It is a lot of fingering weight knitting, so not sure whether I want to start that one, but I think I have the perfect yarn for it.

So I am no farther ahead, an hour later and no yarn picked out. I did find the helical hat that I am mostly done knitting and will take to finish off. I found a few balls of sock yarn I had forgotten about and might take to try some new variations on toe up socks.



But what about those special balls I still have in my stash? Should I take a couple with me just in case I get some inspiration? It would be two less balls in my stash if I actually do something with them. Or I could just set them on my dresser at the cottage and admire them until I take them home and put them away again.

How Do I Get Rid of All Those UFO’s?

I have finished knitting a bunch of my knitting projects – my husband’s scarf that took almost 2 years to knit ( 4 different patterns, each ripped out when part way through the scarf until my husband and I finally both liked the pattern), Irena’s cat mittens and a couple of ribbed scarves. I made a bunch of cowls and some hats  – all quick projects.  I have gone through the house and put my UFO’s (unfinished objects) into bags so that I can just pick up the bag with one project in it. I, of course, have also started a few more projects as well. I have a shawl that is basically 2/2 ribbing and is about 24 inches wide which is more than half way done.  It is a little boring but I am sure it will be done before the end of the summer.  I have a summer short sleeved sweater that I put down probably more than 5 years ago and I only have from the arm holes up to do so it is more than half finished too. I am hoping to get that done so I can actually wear it this summer. I have a bunch of single socks waiting for mates but so many new sock yarns that I am not very motivated to do the matching socks. There are also a few smaller projects that I can pick up and finish fairly quickly. I will try to finish one UFO for every new project I start.

Working in a yarn store, I see new yarn all the time so it is hard sometimes not to start knitting with whatever yarn is the newest.  It is always nice when someone come in with a project that they have knit with yarn they purchased. It is almost like I had the experience of knitting it myself.  Sometimes you just want to see how the yarn knits up and seeing other people’s projects satisfies that urge.  Even helping someone pick out yarn for a project is almost as satisfying as picking it out for my own project.

Some yarns just call out to me to knit them and seeing others knit with them is not enough. One of those yarns is the Shibui line,  I have knit a cowl in the Drift, which is a worsted weight Merino and Cashmere blend. I am also knitting a scarf with their Lunar, which is a lace weight Merino and silk blend and their Twig which is a linen, silk  and wool blend.  You hold the two yarns together to give a fabric with wonderful texture and drape.I hope to finish it in the next week or so and then work some more on my UFO’s.  I am sure there will be some new yarn that will catch my eye and will have me casting on something new before I finish all my UFO’s.