Category Archives: freebies

KNIT HACK Sweater Lab Prep

 

 

Sweater Lab TONIGHT

Our inaugural Sweater Lab ( in collaboration with Your Fiber Intake) starts TONIGHT! Since it’s a bit of an experiment for us, we don’t know what the result will be, but I think everyone will have fun, so it should be a success. For those of you who have already made a sweater, you don’t really need any prep, but for the uninitiated, I’d like to offer a bit of guidance. For more info on Sweater Lab, follow this MAGIC LINK (or click on the picture or any of the other links).

So You’ve Never Made a Sweater Before ….

DON’T PANIC … You don’t need to be afraid. It’s just a garment, and the pattern tells you how to do it, step by step. When you don’t know what a term or abbreviation means you can look it up on the internet. If you are old skool, you can look it up in a book, like The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, The Knitter’s Companion by Vicky Square, or The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue Knitting.

Choose a Pattern

You need a pattern. I suggest going for something basic, something vetted, and something worked in the round.

BASIC … seems obvious, and yet many people make their lives difficult by taking on something more involved. Why do they do this, they get caught up in the *idea* of the finished product; they want it to be perfect and ideal for their taste. Let go of that, it’s your first sweater, not your last. It doesn’t need to be ideal, it just needs to be a sweater. Moreover, I have found that people are less likely to complete their projects when they contain a lot of barriers. Newbies with simpler projects tend to learn faster, have more success with their project and ENJOY THE PROCESS.

VETTED … this means a pattern that is written by a professional designer and has already been made by many people. For the following example, I’ll use FLAX by Tin Can Knits.  You can find the latter on Ravelry; go to a pattern, and click on the PROJECTS tab at the top of the page. It will show you all the projects people have made with the pattern. If you go to the drop-down menu that ways FILTER THESE PROJECTS you can refine your search to ALL HELPFUL PROJECTS. The little life preserver at the top right of each project indicates the number of people who found this project helpful. Presently, it is not possible to sort the projects by ‘Most Helpful’, so you have to troll through the projects to find one that is useful.

IN THE ROUND … I primarily prefer sweaters worked in the round (top-down) for newbies because they usually have minimal finishing, especially seaming. For newbies, seaming tends to be a barrier to actually finishing a project, and a bad seaming job decreases satisfaction with the project. Now, I’m not saying *never* make a seamed sweater, quite the opposite, there’s nothing sexier than old-fashioned set-in sleeves. You do not need to be afraid of or avoid seaming, but on your first sweater making a project in one piece tends to end with more Joy and less frustration. This goes back to our first principle, go for Basic andENJOY THE PROCESS.

TENSION … choose a pattern that is worked with a yarn that is a worsted to chunky weight (between 20 to 14 stitches over 4 inches/10cm). Going thinner or thicker seems to make life difficult, and decreases the success of the project.

Suggested Patterns

The following are all basic garments, are written by professionals, have clear instructions, and are worked in the round, from the top-down.

 

Choose a Yarn

A few considerations on choosing the yarn for your first sweater …

TENSION … make sure your yarn matches the stitch tension in your pattern or is close (within one stitch over 4″/10cm).

DURABILITY … you may be ripping back your work a few times, DO choose a yarn that has some durability and won’t get mucky with a lot of handling. Single ply yarns do not tend to wear well, no matter the price-point, they end up looking mungy very quickly. Multi-ply yarns tend to fare better. Super scratchy wool yarns tend to be very durable, super soft yarns tend to start pilling WHILE you are knitting. My best advice is to find something in-between. By the way, durability is also beneficial once you’re finished and will add to the longevity of the garment.

FIBRE …DO choose a fibre you enjoy, but DO NOT choose a fibre that is hard to work with. A 100% wool like Cascade 220 Superwash or Cascade Eco are ideal; they work up easily, wear well, and are cost effective. Wool blends are also suitable, like Berroco Vintage or Berroco Vintage Chunky; both knit well, wear well, and are machine washable, and people are rarely allergic to it. If you need a cooler yarn, try a cotton/synthetic blend like Cascade Avalon.  Fibres that are unpredictable or hard to work with include alpaca (and other camelids), linen, pure cotton, mohair, viscose (and other cellulose plant-based fibres like bamboo), and 100% synthetic yarns.

COLOUR … choose whatever colour makes you happy (solid, heathered, tweed, variegated, self-striping), but don’t choose something that is very dark. Dark colours will make it hard to see what you are doing, and this could prove to be a very bad thing on a project where you don’t really know what to expect.

PRICE … this is a touchy subject, especially since I’m the one selling the yarn and you are the one who has to actually shell out your hard earned cash. You don’t need to lay out a ton of money for a good yarn, but when it comes to cheap yarns, you get what you pay for. Actually, you often get less than what you paid for. The retail garment industry has decreased our awareness of (and exposure to) good textiles, and as a consequence, many people aren’t familiar with quality textiles or their market prices. Quality textiles are more expensive than you expect, you’re might experience a little bit of sticker shock. From my perspective, I’ve found that people who use a decent yarn enjoy their project more, it is more successful, they actually finish it, they like and use the finished product, and they enjoy the process.

Suggested Yarns

 

I think that’s about all I can handle writing (and you can read) right now, but I promise to follow this post up with a very exciting discussion on SWATCHING! (No, seriously, it’s REALLY important. You need to swatch, and you need to swatch properly).

FREEBIES Last Minute Gifts

 Believe it or not, you’ve still got a little bit of time to get a project done.   I suggest making something small and simple, knit with super bulky yarn, and your last minute gift’s in the bag!

Photo: dandiliongrl

Avery Slouch Hat

 Keep it simple silly! Hats are fast & easy last minute gifts, and this one is almost brainless – no purling!

Yarn Options

If you want a marled look like in the photo, use 2 strands of different coloured bulky weight yarn held together:

Materials

  • FREE Pattern
  • 10mm/US15-16″ circular needles
  • 10mm/US15 double pointed needles
  • jumbo tapestry/darning needle
  • jumbo stitch marker

 

Twistin the Night Away

Headbands are fast & easy, and always well received (especially by people with big hair).

Yarn Options

Materials

 

 

Red Hot Neckwarmer

A neckwarmer is a perfect gift for men and women, in a cold climate everyone can use one – and on those blustery days that you do need one, they’ll be thanking you!

Yarn Options

Materials

  • FREE Pattern
  • 10mm/US15-16″ circular needles
  • tapestry needle

FREEBIES Last Minute Cowls

loose cabled cowl rasta COMBO.jpg

Easy Loose Cabled Cowl

Our loose cabled cowl is a last minute knits that work up FAST! We made ours light and airy on 15mm/US19 needles and two skeins of Malabrigo Rasta, but you can also you one Cascade Spuntaneous.

Yarn Options

Other Materials

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bulky Mobius Cowl

Our Bulky Mobius Cowl is a great little last minute gift. It works up fast on 10mm/US15 needles and the mobius technique makes it entertaining. The yarn, Malabrigo Rasta, is stunning: it’s buttery soft and I’ve never seen a skein that didn’t knit up like a Monet painting. Plus, it’s a one-skein project!

Materials

 

 

 

Aujourd’hui

This cute & simple little cowl is a cinch to knit up and looks incredibly impressive in hand-dyed Malabrigo Rasta.

Materials

 

 

FREEBIE Galilee

 

 

Galilee-1_medium2

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Galilee

As soon as I saw this FREE pattern I knew I wanted to share it, but I figured I’d better wait until the heat settled down, and all the best yarn options had arrived. I love the elegant shape and texture in this “swancho” (it’s like a poncho, but with little sweater sleeves). If the textured panel seems a little daunting you can omit it and just knit the front panel like the same as the back, in stocking stitch.

You can use any chunky weight yarn (something that knits up on a 6mm/US10 needle). Berroco Vintage Chunky is soft, machine washable, and comes in a spectrum of great colours. Cascade Eco is made with 100% Peruvian wool that comes in both dyed and undyed natural colours, and is the most cost-effective choice, especially as the sizes grow). For a stunning statment, use Malabrigo Mecha, a gorgeous hand-dyed, machine washable, buttery soft single ply merino wool.

Size

  • Small (Medium, Large, X-Large, 2X, 3X)
  • Bottom edge – 55 (59, 64, 68, 71, 76)”
  • Length – 24½ (25, 25½, 26, 26½, 27)”

Yarn Options

Berroco Vintage Chunky: 9(10, 11, 13, 14, 15) skeins

Cascade Eco: 3(3, 3, 4, 4, 5) skeins

Malabrigo Mecha: 9(10, 11, 13, 14, 15) skeins

Other Materials

  • FREE Pattern
  • 5.5mm/US9-16″ circular needles
  • 5.5mm/US9-29″ circular needles
  • 6mm/US9-29″ circular needles
  • 2 stitch markers
  • tapestry or darning needle

 

 

 

FREEBIES in Store

free magazines

FREE Magazines & Patterns

Along with yarns for donation, people drop off knitting & crochet magazines and pattern booklets, which are often left behind after our Yarn Swap. Since they tend to pile up and they get a bit heavy and unwieldy to store, we are going to start offering them in store for FREE. We will not be offering these freebies in our online store, but when you come and visit us in person please feel free to browse them and take what you like – GRATIS.

 

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Yarn Swap

Sunday, April 23rd from 1 to 3 pm

Speaking of Yarn Swaps, I’m just getting ready for our next swap, this weekend! Just a gentle reminder, when you drop off yarn for donation *please* make sure it is in a SEALED plastic bag (either Ziplock or garbage bag) – this protocol is to help protect us against infestation, and it also helps to re-home your yarns by keeping them clean and tidy. (Please note, donors who are disabled or infirm do not need to go to all this trouble to hermetically seal their yarns – don’t do yourself in running around trying to get your yarn ready to be to repatriated,  we’re happy to handle it.)

  • Natural Fibres are best stored in separate Ziplock bags (group like yarns in each bag)
  • Synthetics are good in a garbage or recycling bag that is tied at the top

Swap Hacks

  • Try to bag your yarns that are being donated. If you are feeling organizey you can label them too.
  • ALWAYS bag and freeze yarns you bring home from a swap.
  • Be gentle and play nice with other swappers; relationships are more important than string!

Spring … Grignasco Sahara 25% Off


Grignasco Sahara


Grignasco Sahara looks lovely, it’s easy + feels great to knit with, and it looks amazing knitted up. Sahara is a soft, luscious fibre blend for Spring + Summer: 20% silk, 40% bamboo, 40% linen. It has a lovely semi-matte sheen and uneven texture that gives it a very modern, very urban texture. It’s also discounted (Squee!) because it has been discontinued (Boooo-urns!). 


The Deets

  • 50g-100m
  • 4.5 to 5mm needles
  • 18 sts + 24R = 4″/10cm
  • 20% silk, 40% bamboo, 40% linen
  • Hand wash in cold water, lay flat to dry
  • Made in Italy
  • SALE $7.50 (regularly $10)



Dropped Stitch Spring Cowl

This project is my favourite combination of simple, fast, easy, and deceptively impressive looking. For a snug fit cast on 75 to 80 sts, for something longer that can be wrapped twice cast on 140 to 150 sts (you’ll need 4 balls). 

Notes
Initially we started making the Easy 1-Ball Cowl pattern (much cred to the designer!) but made changes to make the most of this very pretty yarn and to make it easy for you to make one too. 

Size
17” wide x 12” high (unstretched)

Materials

2 balls Grignasco Sahara colour 1195 (50g/100m)
5mm-24″ circular needles
stitch marker

Abbreviations
K            knit
R            row or round
Rep         repeat
St/s         stitch(es)
YO          yarn over: bring yarn over the needle

Techniques

YO 2 Times (Double Yarn Over)

Directions
Cast on 100 stitches. Join in the round being careful not to twist the stitches, place marker on right needle.

R1 + 2: knit. 

R3: YO 2 times, K1; rep from to end of round.


R4: drop 2 yarn overs, k1; rep from to end of round.

R5 to 7:knit.

Repeat R3 to 7 nine more times.

Repeat R3 to 6 one time.

Bind off loosely. Weave in ends. 


New Madeline Tosh DK

Tosh Merino DK 58 Citrus

Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino DK
Delicious is the best way to describe Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino DK. It is a seriously sexy yarn. It is a 100% superwash merino wool, with a generous 225 yards per skein. This single ply yarn is the thicker cousin of tosh merino light using the same fiber to create a hand-dyed skein with rich depth of colour and tone. It knits up at a versatile dk to worsted gauge, perfect for sweater and accessory projects. Each squishy soft skein is hand-dyed in small dye lots and machine washable.

  • 100% superwash merino wool, single ply
  • 206m/225yds
  • machine wash in cold water, air dry
  • fibre base from South Africa, hand dyed in Texas
  • see pattern ideas





Rikke Hat

  • FREE pattern via Ravelry
  • 170 projects made with this yarn
  • 1 skein Tosh Merino DK
  • 3.5mm-16″ circular needles
  • 4.5mm-16″ circular and double pointed needles





Honey Cowl

  • FREE pattern via Ravelry
  • 330 projects made with this yarn
  • 2 sizes, 22(44)” length
  • 1(2) skeins Tosh Merino DK
  • 5mm-24(36)” circular needles





Age of Brass & Steam





Mara





Eternity Scarf

  • pattern via Ravelry
  • 19 projects made with this yarn
  • 3 sizes available
  • 1(2,2) skeins Tosh Merino DK
  • 5mm-24(29)” circular needles (see pattern for size)





Effortless Cardigan




  • pattern via Ravelry
  • size 12mos to 12 yrs
  • 2 to 4 skeins Tosh Merino DK
  • 3.75mm needles
  • see pattern for amount of yarn required