Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April News, Designs, a Spring Discount

Today’s Tip:

Working with lace weight yarn
I recently completed a project using HABU Stainless Steel yarn, a lace-weight yarn with a core of actual stainless steel. I’ll address the steel aspect in a future post, but for now I’ll just talk about working with lace-weight. It was my first time using yarn barely as wide as a hair, and here’s what I have found.

Needles: I used my favorite, size 5 Signature needles, which come in blue. Oh-oh, the yarn was blue and I literally COULD NOT SEE IT. I had to switch to another set of needles for this project. 
Also, if your yarn is the slippery kind, try bamboo or other wood needles or some metal ones that are not too slick. You don’t want to lose your stitches!

Surface: Knitting with dark blue yarn while wearing (blue) jeans is just harder than it needs to be! Place a light colored pillow, pillow case, towel, or cloth napkin on your lap – makes a huge difference! If your yarn is a light color, try a dark colored towel or cloth.

Lighting: If you can knit during the daylight hours, hallelujah!  If you do your knitting in the evening, please, save your eyesight and get good lighting in the room. If a good work light isn’t possible – say if you’re watching TV with the family and they object to lights bright enough to film a Hollywood movie with, try a portable light such as the Stitch Light from Buffy Ann Designs. 
Yes, it’s kind of dorky, hanging around your neck, but it really works, and it has saved my eyes! 

Markers: Since it can be hard to read your knitting, use removable markers where you can – either the plastic kind, or pieces of contrasting yarn. Any time you need to “increase every 6th row” or anything like that, use a marker to help you keep track. Use them for lace repeats as well.

Yarn Handling: If your yarn has a tendency to tangle, just pull a little off the ball at a time. My yarn comes on cardboard cones and I actually created a spool for my yarn, as follows. 
Take an empty shoebox. Run a skewer or straight knitting needle (at last, a use for my old skinny metal straights!) through one side and out the other to make holes. Now withdraw the needle from the second hole (it’s still sticking through the first one) and push it through your cone or ball or cake, then through the second hole. Now the yarn will spool off the skewer or needle without tangles. I was working with the yarn held double so I used 2 skewers.

copyright Brenda Castiel

My project became much less frustrating once I used these techniques.They saved my sanity, although there are some that might disagree with that ;-)

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New Designs

It’s been a while since I blogged, so there is a lot that’s new! 

I’m really proud of the Richmond Mitts. These pretty fingerless mitts use an unusual zigzag rib combined with a single cable on the top of the hand. The palm is subtly decorated with two sets of zigzag stitches with a stockinette stitch background. They come in two sizes for a perfect fit.
The test knitters thought the zigzag stitch was great fun!

The yarn is the wonderful Luxe Sock yarn from Dana at the Unwind Yarn Company – hand dyed and soft and luscious!
Richmond Mitts - copyright Brenda Castiel
Luxe Sock Yarn - copyright Brenda Castiel

The next one is the Intarsia Cowl  published in Knit Noro 1 2 3 by Sixth and Spring Books. The book is full of lovely designs using Noro yarn. It will be published in June 2014.
This attractive cowl is comprised of 2 rectangles, each bisected into two triangles. It uses intarsia to create the design. Increases and decreases keep the intarsia border straight and even. A ribbed edge provides a neat finish. There is short-row shaping so that the lower edge is wider than the top edge.
Choose two pretty colors and cast on!
Intarsia Cowl by Brenda Castiel from Knit Noro 1 2 3 Skeins, published by Sixth&Spring Books. Photography by Rose Callahan - copyright © 2014 by Sixth&Spring Books. Used by permission.


Yes we have discounts! Just because it’s spring.

When I lived in Canada, spring was my favorite season. The winters were so long, and it was such a relief to stop wearing coats, boots, and hats. Even now I dislike wearing boots. Can’t see the point of wearing them for fashion when I had to wear them out of necessity ;-)  But I digress.

From now until May 15, get  40% off all my patterns, using the coupon code “spring”. See my designs on Ravelry here. There are summer tops, hats, shawls, kids’ clothes, and more.  Please take advantage!     


Next time I will be doing a book review and a giveaway so stay tuned!