Learn about cables, handspinning, fingerless gloves, take control of that yarn, and knit in the round with circular needles.
As a consummate do-it-yourselfer I’ve been a handspinner for many years. Although there are a lot of challenges in learning to create the types of yarn needed for different projects, the satisfaction and creativity of handspinning is more than worth it.
One other advantage of handspun yarn is that you not only save a ton of money, but over time end up with so much yarn that you are never short for starting a new project! I love the colors and textures that are possible with blending different types of fibers and dye batches.
So I was very excited to find a nice beginning video on handspinnng by Patti the Garden Girl. If you have been thinking about learning to spin, this is a great inspirational clip. It’s not long, doesn’t go deep into the how-to, but is enough to help a beginner get motivated.
Click here for: How to Hand Spin Wool and Fibers
My computer program on Knitknitting.com has found some great new tidbits for us this week:
Circular needles take the hassle out of hats, leg warmers, and sweaters. They are fabulous for knitting in the round, and are also great for knitting large things that would not fit on a traditional straight needle. In case anyone has not started using circular needles, we’ve found a nice tutorial. Click here for a video on: How to Knit on Circular Needles.
One problem with circular needles is that you need so many of them! Not only do projects call for different thicknesses of circular needles, but they also require different lengths. You can’t knit a project smaller than the diameter of the needles you are working with. We found a nice set of bamboo circular needles that will help add to your collection: Bamboo Circular Needles.
Yarn Holder Tube: Here’s a great idea, a jar you can keep your yarn in to prevent tangles. We are showing one from Amazon.com, but this certainly wouldn’t be hard to make from a jar or plastic container with a lid. In fact, I was inspired by the picture and grabbed an old Tupperware cereal container from my shelf, stuck my center-pull ball in it, with the yarn threaded out the top hole, and started knitting away. It was very nice to have the yarn off the floor.
Okay, I’ll admit I look pretty silly knitting out of a cereal container, and the store-bought one would look much nicer, but what the heck! It was free and instant. Click here for the Yarn Holder Tube.
Socks: I love knitting socks. Turning heels are not scary, they just aren’t! Once you get through your first one you’ll be hooked forever. A heel is nothing more than a spot in a tube where you add more stitches to create a bump. A well formed heel will also be thicker down the backside where it rubs on the shoe. Watch your hands do it one time and it will make total sense.
This week I’d like to point you to two resources for knitting socks. One is my traditional pattern over at SpinCraftPatterns.com, and the other is a comprehensive book on socks.
Best Socks Knitting Pattern: This pattern walks you through, step-by-step, breath-by-breath, in starting a sock that fits, working through the heel, and finishing up that toe. Many knitting stores use this pattern to teach sock classes, because of the friendly, easy to follow instructions.
Book of Socks: This is the ultimate guide to creating socks that fit well and feel great. This book guides you through yarn selection, needle size, and the ultimate in heel turning. A great guide for sock lovers of all ages!
Fingerless Gloves: I love these! Although fingerless gloves leave your fingers out in the cold, and wouldn’t be all that great for chopping wood or ice fishing, they are fabulous for wearing around a chilly house and even as a fashion accessory. It’s amazing how comfortable they are, and how keeping your wrists warm heats up your body core. We have a video and free pattern for a set of fingerless gloves from the Casing On Coach. This set has a nice Trinity St pattern detail that sets off the beautiful shape when worn. Click here for the video: Fingerless Glove Pattern
Learn How to Knit a Basic Cable: This is a how-to video on how to grab those cable sts and knit them out of sequence to create the cable twist. Some cables can be incredibly complex, but if you learn the basic cable technique (and how to read the patterns!) you can knit any cable. Click here for: Knit a Basic Cable
Youtube is turning out to be a needed tool for cultural preservation. It is full of so many videos on traditional fiber arts, and that is a very very good thing. This week we are featuring a video with a Navajo woman teaching her son to weave. Although weaving is often a woman’s job, it is having a resurgence and all can participate.
Click here for: Navajo Weaving (You will also find this video cataloged in our Traditional category.)
Yes. I’m a big jokester, so I couldn’t help putting in a video for a punchline at Funnyformoney.com.
This is for the punchline: Jon Stewart has declared war on Christmas…
I mean, really? Does he think he can beat Christmas?
Click here for a laugh
Till We Meet Again
Once again, the newsletter got a bit long! But I can’t help it. There is so much amazing stuff to keep us inspired as knitters. We can’t do it all, and take advantage of it all, but knitting is a visual sport as much as a doing sport. I love looking at all the variety of textures, colors and project ideas that can be created, even if I can’t do them all in my lifetime.
It seems to be a basic rule of handspinners and knitters that we always have a 110 year backlog of projects. Keeps us young I guess!
So until next time, Happy Knitting
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