Friday, November 17, 2017

Free Pattern Friday: Coziest Cardigans

Sweater weather is officially here! Whether you need a new snuggly cardigan for yourself or you're getting a jump on holiday gifts, here are 4 gorgeous free patterns to inspire you:

Lace Rib Cardigan by Katrine Hammer

Movie Night Cocoon Cardi by Alexandra Tavel

Join us on Ravelry where our members are working on these and other patterns.  

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dyer Spotlight: Bellatrista

Bellatrista owner Dale Washburn launched his business from an interest in yarn manufacturing. He was interested in alternative and exotic fibers, and wanted to try his hand at dyeing.

"I'd been very interested in natural alternative fibers and exotic fibers, and that was the nexus of my yarn dyeing business," he said. "I was aware of milk yarn and milk fiber, and eager to experiment with it in the dye studio."

In an effort to discover un-dyed yarns, Dale began connecting with manufacturers in the industry. He began to work closely with a small spinning mill in particular.

"I worked...with their technicians to prototype the weights and plies that I was interested in, and from there I began custom manufacturing yarns that I designed," he said. "We prototyped many yarns in several weights and plies over three or four years, and arrived at the yarns we sell now."

Sustainable Creations

Today, Bellatrista is focused on introducing natural, alternative fibers to the hand-knitting market. Dale stays on top of fabric and textile manufacturing trends and watches for new natural and plant-based fibers that might work well as heavier yarns.

"We end up talking to small mills all over the world, and it’s important to me that all of our partners are both socially conscious and ecologically responsible," he said.

Specifically, Bellatrista looks for fibers from sustainable, low-impact crops (e.g., soy, bamboo, and mint), and for processes that are environmentally safe. 

Dale said everyone can enjoy Bellatrista yarns, but they appeal especially to certain groups, including:

  • People who are averse to wool, for any reason: allergies, itchiness, animal rights, veganism, etc.
  • People who are knitting for someone else who won't wear wool
  • People who just need something soft and washable (e.g. for a baby blanket)
  • Experienced knitters who are looking for something new and interesting. 

"Our yarns are sort of exotic in that not a lot of people have knit with them, and they’re pretty unique," he said. "The milk, in particular, behaves more like silk than wool, so it can be a fun challenge for designers and knitters need to consider the stitch pattern and garment construction, at least in fitted pieces, to best feature the yarn."

Knitted Knockers

Bellatrista is also unique in that its milk yarn is on the approved list for Knitted Knockers, an organization that creates soft, knit prosthetics for breast cancer survivors.

"I ran into (founder Barbara Demorest) at a regional yarn show," he said. "They were looking for new yarns to list, and I gave them a few samples to try. They liked the milk yarn for its washability, durability, and of course the softness."

From there, Bellatrista offered some of the un-dyed yarn at a discount for people knitting the knockers.

"It’s given us some decent exposure, and I’m happy to support their efforts," he said.

For more information on Bellatrista, visit their website.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

September Classic Review: Shelridge Yarns

Something New Just For You!

We travel around the country throughout the year on the hunt for new yarns we know you’ll fall in love with. This winter, we met Lyn Gemmell of Shelridge Yarns at TNNA, who hand dyes plush merino blends in a wide range of lush colors at her rural home in Ontario, Canada.

You’ll receive one of their 80% merino/ 20% nylon yarns, depending on your weight preference. The 80/20 Fingering comes in 50 gram skeins of 185 yards so you’ll have 740 yards to play with! Windmere is a brand new bulky weight blend you get to try before anyone else! You'll get to test out this extremely silky new base before it's retail release in October. Your custom-sized skein has 185 grams of super bouncy yarn with 225 yards.

Top (Bright): Thistleflower, Green Apple, Lapis
Bottom (Muted): Rust, Iris, Silver

Gabrielle Vézina’s knit designs take advantage of crisp stitch definition in both yarns. Viridis showcases lace and cables combined with lots of texture using 80/20 Fingering. Bark N’ Tree is a cozy cowl full of chunky cables worked with Windmere.

Angèle Lumière created two crochet designs inspired by 1930s abstract artist Sonia Delaunay: a lacy asymmetrical shawl with 80/20 Fingering and a soft and warm hat and mitt set in Windmere.

Total Value of this Box: $70
Shelridge Yarns 80/20 Fingering or Windmere: $50
Knit Patterns: $10
Crochet Patterns: $10

Your Cost: $36.95

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Yarnbox Sweater 2017!

Sweater season is here! Autumn has finally arrived which means it's time for the newest edition of Yarnbox Sweater. As we pull out our favorite knits, there's nothing like a brand new sweater to ring in the season.

Sometimes, you know a yarn is destined to become a great sweater. We love the texture and body of Cormo Worsted from Elemental Affects. Cormo sheep produce a long staple, crimpy wool- perfect for sweaters that hug the body with natural ease. Each skein has 100% 3-ply Cormo breed wool in a generous four ounce size giving you 250 yards. With a lustrous finish and beautiful stitch definition, this will quickly become your favorite sweater!

Top (left to right): Clove, Cornflower, Sage, Storm
Bottom (left to right): Cerise, Royale, Pacific, Raspberry Ice

Available in a range of colors ranging from soft earth tones and classic neutrals to super saturated brights, we've got a shade for every taste! For something super special, Elemental Affects has dyed up a Yarnbox exclusive color, Raspberry Ice, as seen in the sample.

We're joined by Emma Welford, one of our favorite Yarnbox-featured designers. Her knit pattern Romex is a raglan pullover featuring an off-set panel of cable twists against a field of ribbing on both front and back. With a slight A-line shape, v-neck collar and ribbed sleeves, Romex is the perfect comfortable yet flattering sweater.

Ready to get started? Yarnbox Sweater is available starting at $89.95. Quantities are limited so order your's today!