Dye Lots Matter!

Proteus Pro Crack

You may have heard that dye lots don’t matter because everything is computerized now. It is not true. Dye lots matter! There are quite a few factors in how the yarn takes up the dye, so even when exactly the same formulation is used the colour will change slightly ( or drastically) between dye lots.

When yarn is dyed, there are many things that will affect how the dye is taken up by the yarn.

First of all if the yarn is an natural fibre, the amount of sun the animal or plant was exposed to will affect the colour of the fibre. Just as our hair gets lighter in the sun so too do animal fibres. If the season was a rainy season the fibre will be darker than if it was a sunny season. The slight variation in colour in the base yarn will also show up in the dyed yarn.

The temperature of the water in the dye bath as well as how long the yarn stays in the dye bath will also affect the colour of the yarn. The longer and the hotter the water the more dye wil taken up by the fibre affecting the final colour of the yarn.

The amount of moisture in the fibre will also affect how much dye is taken up. The dryer the fibre the more dye that will be absorbed. The more dye taken up the more intense the colour.

Below is a picture of 3 different dye lots of the the same colour on the same yarn base. This is a more extreme variation than what is normally seen, but it illustrates how different dye lots can be.

3 Different dye lots of Biscotte and Cie Bis Sock in Apple Core.

The moral of the story is to buy enough yarn for your project and check that they are all of the same dye lot. Even better buy 1 extra just in case and if you don’t need it for your project bring it back and exchange it for another ball of yarn for your new project.

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.

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. http://www.rosesfineyarns.com/classes/

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….

Knitting Resolutions

It’s that time of year when you resolve to make changes in your life.  So what knitting resolutions could you make?  One thing I tried to do in the past year is to actually finish some of my UFOs ( unfinished objects).  I put all my half-completed ( some were more like 95% completed) projects in one drawer and then when I am looking for a new project I would see the incomplete ones and finish one of those before I let myself start a new project.  I was able to finish off some socks that had been sitting for quite a while unfinished. I like to have a few different things on the go so I can have some variety.  Sometimes you just don’t want to think about what you are knitting or have to count you stitches and that is when I choose to work on socks. If you finish something and then move onto something new you get variety, the spice of life,

This year I want to try some new techniques.  So far I have learnt a new provisional cast on.  I like it so much I have already used it on 4 different projects and we aren’t even half way through January yet.  It is great for the Burberry cowl, the 1898 hat (both patterns are on www.ravelry.com) and another hat I am working on that has a cabled brim.  I had always hated the provisional cast on that uses a crocheted chain ( the most common provisional cast on) and so I would skip those patterns or figure out a different way to do the cast on. Now that I have learnt a new  provisional cast on I am trying it on all different projects.  I want to keep trying new techniques.   You never know when you find some new way to do something that you have always avoided doing. I wonder what technique or stitch I should try next?  I am thinking I want to try the stitch that looks like you have smocked your knitting.  Now I just have to remember where I saw the pattern that I admired.

To go along with trying new things, why not take a class to learn a new technique that you have shied away from because you thought it was too difficult.  You will learn something new and meet other knitters at the same time. Check out the classes page on the website to see what classes we are offering. What will your knitting resolutions be this year?phd

Socks – try it, you’ll like it!

For many people, socks are the go to project.  For others, socks are too scary- the yarn too fine, turning the heel seems a mystery and the whole process a little daunting. But socks really are one of the simpler things to knit,  Because they are knit in the round there is a lot knitting and not very much purling.

Another excuse non-sock knitters have is that they can’t wear wool or the person doesn’t want to have to lay  the socks flat to let them dry.  There are quite a few non-wool options for sock knitters.  Berroco carries a yarn called Comfort Sock which is a 50% acrylic, 50% nylon combination and come in self-striping, self-patterning and plain colours.  Plymouth has a yarn called Diversity which stripes in long colour runs which is 93% acrylic and 7% elasthane which is a stretchy fibre.  If you come into the store I have a shawl called wingspan knit in the Diversity ( sock yarn doesn’t have to be used just for socks). Wisdom yarns has just come out with a new non-wool sock yarn called Naked Sock which is 93% acrylic and 7 % PBT ( a multi-filament yarn designed for applications that require excellent stretch and recovery properties). All of these sock yarns can be machine washed and dried.

Sock yarn comes in all kinds of great colour combinations that you don’t find in other gauge yarns.  There are self-striping yarns, self-patterning yarns, marls, and heathers as well as plain colours. There is everything from the Nova Sock Plus line which is $8.99 for a 100 gm ball ( which makes a pair of socks ) all the way up to the hand dyed merino and silk or merino and cashmere sock lines which are worth the splurge, as well as lots of options in between.

When you are travelling, sock yarn is a great souvenir to pick up.  You only need one ball to make a pair of socks or a shawl and it is small enough to squish into your suitcase or you can always pull the needles out as you travel and knit it up right away.  That solves two problems – what to do when you have all that waiting in airports, train stations or in the car ( when someone else is driving) and not having to worry about whether your souvenir will fit in your suitcase. Another added benefit is getting to go to a yarn store.

When you need a colour fix, sock yarn is defiinitely the way to go.  Plymouth has a sock yarn out now called Neon Now which is combinations of neon orange, pink, green and yellow.  If you want a crazy pair of socks, this is the yarn. Brightly coloured and funky patterned socks are in fashion right now especially for men under a suit.  You can find sock yarn in just about any colour and combination of colours.

For those who think that socks are too hard, sign up for our sock class and we will teach how to knit socks.  All you have to be able to do is knit, purl, cast on and cast off.  Classes run for four weeks and at the end of the four weeks you will have a fingering weight sock completed if you you do your weekly homework.  Many get both socks done as they find the process quite relaxing.

Socks are small enough to have in a bag that you can take anywhere with you and most of the sock is plain knitting so you can pick it up and put it down without worrying where you are in the pattern.  If you want to try out new a new stitch, a sock is a great place to try it without having to commit to a big project such as a  sweater.

So for those of you who haven’t tried sock knitting yet, come in and get a ball of sock yarn and give it a try.  You’ll like it!

Travel knitting

Do you spend more time deciding what knitting project to pack or what clothes to pack when you go away?  For me it is easier to choose what knitting to bring than what else to pack.  I usually take socks for knitting in the car or on the plane and something more complicated for when I feel like knitting and yarn that I have been wanting to make something with.  I usually take more than I could possible need but I don’t want to run out of things to knit.  I like to buy yarn as a souvenir of where I have travelled so end up with more than I left with.  Yarn is squishy and doesn’t weigh that much so it is easy to pack making it a great souvenir. It also means you get to go check out other yarn stores so that makes it an even better reason to make yarn your souvenir of your travels


Knitting on the Road – Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter  by Nancy Bush is a great little book to take along on your travels.  There are 17 sock patterns representing different places around the world.  There is even a Canada sock pattern. Some are lace some have cables and some are colour work  so there is something for all your knitting fancies.