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Blankety Blanks Sock Blanks

Charity van der Meer felting workshop

I have been chatting with Charity Van Der Meer who lives in the Netherlands and is a world re-known felter and fashion designer.

Her felted dresses and jackets are amazing, textural and fabulous!

We are working out a location to run a 3 or 4 day workshop in Picton with Charity June 15th to the 18th. No other details are ready at this time regarding this workshop.

More info will be coming so watch Facebook or the website. If you want to receive our newsletter to keep up on the latest workshops or retreats email us at the shop and we will add you to our newsletter list.

First Socks, First Heel!!

Sock knitting was something I have been intimidated by for years and years. I also have never been a fan of the thin fingering yarns and any pattern calling for a 2.25 mm or less than 3 mm I usually run far far away from.

The whole heel gusset sounded painful and confusing. When I watch all these people and podcasters that LOVE knitting socks I did start to wonder about trying it. Of course owning a yarn shop and having to admit to never knitting a pair of socks can be a weeeee bit embarrassing.

There is of course almost always a pair of socks on someone’s needles at the Knit Night at the shop. Also more than a few discussions about favourite ways to make socks and approach the heels. Lynnie who is a regular in the Knit Night crew offered to teach a few of us the technique of Two-At-A-Time Toe-Up socks. A number of us jumped at the chance. I have said every year at New Year’s that sock knitting will be one of my resolutions to accomplish in the following 12 months. Yet the months and years have slid by and I’ve just never attempted them, but this was going to be the year!!

I think we started our first class with the Turkish cast on for the two toes and we were working on 2 circular needles. I love that when you start from the toes you can just knit as long a sock as you like or until the ball of yarn runs out. I hate having little scrappy balls of yarn kicking around because I never want to throw them out. That just seems so wrong!

Well when it came to the time to work on the heel I was in the middle of an East Coast family vacation so I just kept knitting and figured that I would come back and do an afterthought heel. That way I would be back and have the emotional support of my fellow knitters when I had to cut into my knitted sock to add in the heel.

I continued to knit and knit and knit, not really getting much of a love for the knitting of the sock. I mean it is great to take along for those times when there will be lots of chatting while knitting and I don’t have to concentrate at all. I kept knitting off and on for months and finally got to working on the ribbing . Then I realized I was doing crazy long ribbing on the socks because I was once again avoiding finishing because that meant I had to deal with the heel.

Finally I bound off and then the poor socks sat for another month or more of avoidance. Finally I decided it was time to suck up some courage and sit with a video and just do it!! I decided on the Kirby Wirby afterthought heel that I had heard good things about.

Well I did it! I sat down with all my tools and picked up my sharpest snips and attacked that first sock. Once again the intimidation was for nothing! It was easy! I had both heels done correctly and looking grand in 30 mins! Plus the socks fit fantastic!!

Why do we get intimidated by these terms that we read and avoid trying things? It always turns out that once you try the step by step instructions it is fairly easy. Thank goodness for all those fabulous people that create all those tutorials on YouTube. The fact that now we have a bunch of video tutorials to choose from to show us the same technique is amazing!

Thank you to all you smart, brilliant, patient people that take the time to help all us needy knitters!

Here is my first sock I have ever knit in my hand dyed Baa’d Girl sock yarn.

 

 

 

Blankety Blanks – Sock Blanks are Here!

Blankety Blanks

Blankety Blanks sock blanks are a fun and exciting way to knit socks! Each blank is hand painted, and often silkscreened with an illustrated pattern. The unique nature of these blanks means that you never know exactly what your socks will look like. The colour story of each blank will determine the overall colour of your finished socks, but it’s impossible to know how the colours will translate to your finished project’s pattern, which is what makes knitting with Blankety Blanks so much fun!

Lumberjack Beaver Sock Blank

Blankety Blanks are a family effort. Rosehaven Yarn Shop owner Lesley Snyder paints all the blanks, and her husband Tim of Ton-up Creative creates the illustrations and screen prints each blank by hand. Sometimes the kids help too!

Sock Blank Printing in Progress
Sock Blank Printing in Progress
Piles of Sock Blanks
Mounds of Sock Blanks
Drying Sock Blanks
Drying Sock Blanks
Birds of a Feather Sock Blanks
Hand Painting Sock Blanks

Browse our current selection of Blankety Blanks. We’re always making new ones, so check back often!

Blankety Blanks are part of Lesley Snyder’s personal line of yarn products, called Baaa’d Girl Yarns. Baaa’d is always better!

Playing with Nuno Felting

blueberry swirlEvery year there is a juried art show called Art In The County that is open to all artists living in Prince Edward County. I have entered a fibre art piece each year for, I think, 5 or 6 years now.

This is the piece I entered for the 2016 Art In The County and it actually won an Honourary Mention Award! This came as a complete surprise since usually the judges are painter, photographers, sculpters, graphic designer. They don’t usually have a whole lot of exposure to the Fibre Arts so to be recognized as my piece being a quality piece of art was wonderful!

Fibre Arts are sometimes a bit frowned on by people that admire high end art work. Fibre Arts are many times considered a craft and not an art form. This designation I have been working on breaking through for a decade now. I’m a knitter and a felter and so far the felting pieces get much more respect than the knitting, though in reality the knitting is way more complicated in many cases!

One of juror’s comments that was posted on the wall beside my piece was this:

“The technical ability of this work is remarkable. Silk and felt blend together in areas that are mesmerizing.” 

I have to say this made me feel really good that someone figured out how tricky it was to lay the wool the way I did and keep it from wiggling around while I felted it all!

Also I did sell the shawl at the show as well so I did an extra happy dance when that phone call came in!

IMG_8396 (200x300)IMG_8397 (200x300)I did have a free form knit & crochet shawl that was accepted in 2013 to Art In The County. This was a surprise to me since I thought for sure that one would be not accepted into a gallery of high end art. I always put my pieces on a lovely mannequin and let’s face it display can make a big difference in whether a piece looks high end or not. This shawl I got obsessed with finishing and since it is completely free form it was so hard to know when it was done! I was up until 3 am the night before the piece was to be taken in to be juried!

I did sell this piece to a lovely lady that looked spectacular in it and hopefully she still loves it as much today as when she walked out of the shop with it!

The Blueberry Swirl shawl shown above I tried something I have wanted to do for a while. I love swirls and curls and use them constantly in my art work and I wanted to do swirls on the edge but allowing the curls to have open areas around them. The tricky part was keeping the areas open that I wanted to stay open and not letting them get too big so that the shawl would not drape properly.

Felting is obviously a technique that shrinks wool and when you have a hole or opening as the wool shrinks it pulls away from the hole which then becomes larger. The other issue that occurs is all the tiny hairs from the wool that still sneak over top of the hole opening. Each hole has to be worked individually with fingers and your thumb rubbing around each holes edge to push all those fibres out of the way and clear and shape the hole properly.

IMG_1126

Each colour of wool was laid down individually and most of the openings between the colours I had to keep working separately to them open.

I want to keep working at creating negative space or openings around the wool. I have a couple of other ideas to help make this work closer to what I have rolling around in my brain.

Never a dull moment in working with wool!

Yarn Swap

April 9th, 2016 at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn

2 pm to 4:30 pm

Jackson’s Falls Country Inn

1768 County Road 17 Milford

This is a free event for the whole community!

Bring along full balls or skeins of yarn that you are interested in trading with someone. We will be doing the swap in a way that you will be swapping yarns of equal value with the yarn that you bring in.

Any yarns that are leftover after the swap will be going to a group of charity knitters.

Also bring along any knitting magazines, books or patterns that you are tired of and want to trade as well!

Yarn-Swap-Horizontal

Bursting With Colour!

It seems that every February I become so irritated with the grey weather and cold that I feel the need to create a very colourful new project.

I crave lots of bright colour, a dash of texture and some simple but interesting stitches to keep my brain happy.
rosehaven poncho
The fresh colours seem to bring in spring so much faster since I know that usually by the time I finish the project spring might well be on my doorstep. This also makes me stay on task and knit faster!! Oh the silly games we play with our brain to make the winter end as quickly as possible.

IMG_0947I made the “Summer Breeze” triangular shawl last year and my “Wonder Vest” the year before that so I decided on creating a poncho this year. I knew I wanted it to be a generous size that would cover down to at least my waist and I wanted it to be a rectangle that I would sew up to make the poncho.

This is my Wonder Vest that I used Malabrigo Worsted yarn a bit of Nuna (green) and every 3rd row is Fiesta Yarn’s Boucle in Rainforest.

summer breeze shawlThis is my “Summer Breeze” shawl that I actually did write down as a pattern and we have available in the shop. It’s a free pattern if you buy the yarn to make it. I made it with all cotton and linen yarns. Rowan Handknit Cotton (2 balls @ $7 each), Baby Bamboo by Sirdar (1 ball @ $7), Quince & Co.’s Sparrow (1 skein @ $12) and Katia’s Tahiti Spray (1ball @ $10) , which is a varigated cotton ribbon yarn.

 

 

 

I always start by going through tonnes of free patterns on ravelry to see if I can find something along the lines of what I want to make. I check on what needle size they are using and how many stitches they are casting on. After that I do my own thing.

Then I run around looking for colours that call out to me and textures as well. I try to start looking for yarn in my own stash but as you can imagine owning a yarn shop is sooooo hard! All those yarns calling out, “Take me! Take me!”, “I’m so pretty, you really must use me!”, “Look at me, I’m new and gorgeous and you know you need a sample of ME!”

IMG_0981I grabbed all my balls and piled them on my desk and then look at how well they will work together if I used the same needle size throughout the project. This usually cancels out a few balls. Then I look at colours and which ones look best next to each other. The colours to me are very, very important. They need to compliment each other and in this case I wasn’t looking for any background colours. I wanted all the colours to have equal prominence. Sometimes you want the fancy yarn to stand out and therefore need any other yarn to just be more of a framework or background.

This project I wanted all the colours to equally pop so they all had to have an equal intensity of chroma or brightness and clear colour. Lower chroma colours are usually a bit greyer. As if grey or a dash of black has been mixed into the colour to dull or quiet it’s intensity.

grey bluebright blueThese are two blues that show a good example of what I mean. The bright turquoise has a very high chroma while the more denim blue has a much quieter, more grey tone to it.

 

I found a poncho design that cast on 225 stitches and I was using 6.5 mm needles with a 60″. I started with a heavy cotton boucle yarn so that the bottom edge wouldn’t constantly try to curl on me. I also did few rows of garter stitch to also help it want to lay flat.

After that I just played with rows of K2tog and YO so it would create some eyelets in rows. I also added an occasional row of  K1, YO x 2, K1 repeat then on the next row I dropped all the yarn overs so that the stitches became nice and long and stretched out. This is a great way to make a row wider quicker too!

Every 6 rows or so I would switch yarns to change up the colours and textures. I always try and make any rows of one yarn a different number of rows to the next new yarn colour. Keeping the rows different widths keeps the design interesting to look at and doesn’t bog you down with having to be symmetrical. The human eye will look for symmetry in a design of colour so good design need to stick with good symmetry or go completely away from it or there will be something about the design that will bother you when you look at it. I like to pick asymmetrical since I then don’t have to do so much counting!!

I bound off the rectangle the other night and realized pretty fast it was way longer than I thought it was going to be. Now the question is do I keep it as a rectangular shawl using a pin or buttons to wear it or sew up the front edges like the image below?

front seam poncho wrap with button

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to play with some buttons and see if anything talks to me otherwise I’ll be sewing up of the edges. Also I’m not sure if one button will be enough to hold the shawl together well. It’s fairly heavy and it might just pull the whole thing a bit wiggy.

Well it turns out the button size I need for the weight of the shawl don’t fit through the fabric well and smaller buttons don’t hold the weight well so a sewing we will go.

IMG_0986Well sewing up the seam was definitely the way to go and it turned out fabulously!! It’s going to be a keeper for myself for a change, to actually wear!

I sewed the front seam but I didn’t start the seam at the edge but up about 6 inches. This leaves a bit of an opening which works great for your right arm to be able to easily come out from the edge of the poncho.

I love how it turned out, so bright and cheerful. I can’t wait for the weather to actually warm up enough to wear it out!

IMG_0983

New Cool Tools!

I’ve been working on this cable sweater for my husband for a while now and working with the chart has been a bit of a highlighterheadache at times.

I have tried to knit this sweater at Knit Night but usually have to put it away because there are too many interesting conversations and distractions for me to keep track of where I’m at!

I knit everywhere I go; the movies, a restaurant, the doctors office, the kids school functions where ever I’m sitting down. Some projects work fine for this but boy this sweater is not one of them!

knit chart keeper

 

Knitting on the run doesn’t work when you have to track each and every stitch and row. I know there are the magnetized chart holders with the long magnet bars holding them in place. I’m always moving too fast and I know I would end up shoving it into my bag and those magnets would move and I would be lost as to where I left off!

I like having my patterns in a plastic holder keeping them away from the inevitable tea stains and such.

Then the day came that someone whipped out of her knitting bag her highlighter tape and slapped a piece onto my pattern and I was hooked!

The highlighter tape is inexpensive ($5.75), repositionable on paper or a plastic cover and covers three to four lines of your chart so you know where you are and where you left off. I can run around with it clutched in my hands and have no worries about magnets slipping or sliding.

Plus you get a whole role of the stuff so you will have plenty for all those charts in your knitting future!!

 

Free Knitted Skirt Pattern

This free pattern for a simple knitted skirt is made with Berroco’s Vintage yarn. Berroco has a lot of great free patterns for their yarn that are well tested before released to you and I to knit up.

This pattern uses Vintage which is a pretty standard worsted weight yarn so it offers lots of possibilities to be created to a variety of different yarns.

Click here to download the pattern.

KNit skirt

Pam De Groot’s Felting Workshops

Well our week with Pam De Groot certainly flew by!

We had full classes of enthusiastic women that got to play with colour and fibre and what could make you happier than that!!

dying techniques The first day we made pre-felt using natural white merino and silk. The next day we got to play with all the different ways we could come up with to do resist dying on the fabric.

It was fascinating watching how the colours would change, blend and bleed to different colours from the points were there was pressure clamped onto the fabric.

We had all raided the hardware stores for everything from pvc pipes, clamps, screws and scraps of wood to create our designs. Even a few wine bottles were put to good use.

The results were varied and even the colours were different from fabric to rich coloursfabric. It depended on how long they stayed in the pot to how much dye had been already absorbed by the first fabric pieces to go into the pot. There was no disappointment just lots of ooohs and aaahs as we opened up and laid out the fabric to dry.

We all kept an eye on each other’s discoveries and borrowed ideas and dye pots to try to get similar colours that we liked. Each piece of fabric was like a snowflake and very unique.

The next part of the creation of our garments was the hard part. Now began the planning of where each piece would lay in the design of the tunic. It was like more planningcreating a large puzzle of colours and shapes but without a wasting a scrap!

Cutting into the beautiful fabric was a bit scary since once you cut you were offically commited to what you were doing. At least when it comes to felting you can save every scrap to be used another time in another garment.

There was also a bit of bartering going on between some of the ladies. A few bits of fabric that didn’t work for one person but worked for someone else were happily exchanged.

Most of the ladies didn’t finish fully felting their tunics but we did get a few photos and I’ll add more as I get photos sent to me.

Esther tunic dress Esther tunic back dress back Leah tunic's beginning

 

 

The Sock Diva is in the House!!!

Socks from “THE SOCK DIVA” are in the house!!!!!.

Each pair is lovingly created by our very own SOCK DIVA – Amy.

Come on in and take home yours today!

Sizes and styles may vary.

Sock Diva Socks

The Sock Diva Card

 

Knitting in the Round the Magic Loop Way

Knitting in the round is one of those things that comes up often in the shop when chatting to customers. There begins a discussion about favourite approaches and tools of choice and the Magic Loop method usually comes up. Lots of people don’t know exactly what this method is or in the case of new knitters they look apprehensive and just want to avoid the thought of trying to figure out another new thing. After all learning how to simply hold the yarn in your hand and how to knit and purl without dropping it is a bit daunting!

Isn’t it funny how simply giving a technique a fancy sounding name can make it seem like it will be scary and complicated? I was always intimidated when I would come across some new stitch in a pattern or horrors of horrors the dreaded bobble/pop corn stitch! I would tense up and then start the search online with our dear friend google and then off I go to see which of these links will actually explain clearly and give visuals so I can do it right. Then as I go through the steps and do it myself I find that I am surprised that it wasn’t nearly as scary as I though.

This definitely holds true with the Magic Loop method. I discovered I was already doing the magic loop method when I was determined to make a hat but couldn’t find my usual needles that are the correct length. The trick was that you use an extra long cable needle so that the excess cable can sneak out between two stitches on the far side of where you are knitting. Well duh! My cable has popped out through my stitches plenty of time when I was decreasing on my hat and hadn’t bothered to switch to my DPN’s.

Many new knitters when wanting to take on the next challenge after the creation of a rectangle, also known as the scarf, want to try creating a hat or socks or some other tube like creation. This of course means you are stepping into the unknown of “Knitting in the Round”!! (que scary music!). Cheryl Toy is our go to knitting guru in the shop and has classes on this exact thing so if you need a hand to hold while you try this then sign up! Cheryl is a fabulously patient teacher and knows all the ways to learn this easily.

Of course for those of you that can’t squeeze into your busy lives a class on this we have to rely on the good old internet! While crashing through various web searches (surfing is way too smooth and cool to describe my way of finding what I want on the web!) I came across a very decent and clear video of knitting in the round. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was done by our favourite knitting needle makers KnitPicks, all the more reason to trust it!

So without further ado here is the link to the “Magic Loop” video tutorial.

Happy knitting!