Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Socks Review: Yarn Enabler

March had us saying, "let them knit cake" with cakes of beautifully hand dyed yarn from Yarn Enabler!

Yarn Enabler dyer Amanda Barg hand dyes each of her skeins in blanks first before unwinding them into these gorgeous cakes.  A blank is a flat, machine knit piece that is then either hand painted or hand dyed.  Many times, yarns dyed this way are in beautiful gradients.  Amanda was gracious in giving us some additional pictures about her process.

Here, Amanda shows us the blanks being prepped before they get into the colors.

Then setting the color... for a bath...

...hung to dry...

...and ready to cake!

Amanda dyes her Fingering Wool in a double gradient meaning that you can pull from both the center of the cake and around to make a near-matching pair of socks two at a time.  Each cake is 390 yards (100 grams) of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Nylon in beautiful, bright colorways.

Left to Right: Paradise, Sunset, Water, Torando

As if her colors weren't incredible enough, Amanda also designed for us the fabulous Winter Tornado sock pattern that celebrates the color changes in each cake.

It's been so much fun watching our members knit these up! Share your projects with us in our Ravelry group, on Instagram @yarnbox, Facebook and Twitter!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

February Classic Review: Baa Ram Ewe

February had us venturing to Britain where there are more than 60 different sheep breeds, more than any other country in the world!  And it is there that we find Baa Ram Ewe and their Dovestone DK.

Yorkshire has a rich wool history tracing back for centuries, so having this fully produced British yarn is quite a treat! The Dovestone DK is a delicate blend of 50% Bluefaced Leicester, 25% Wensleydale Longwool and 25% Dark Brown Masham, dyed to perfection in solid colors. With two skeins of this luscious yarn, you’ll enjoy the fullness of all 504 yards.

Brights: Rhubarb, Lotherton, Parkin
Muted: Goathland, Endeavor, Bramley Baths

Each sheep breed brings different qualities to their wool and combining them together makes for a yarn experience like no other. The Dovestone DK gets its great drape from the Wensleydale Longwool, its softness from the Bluefaced Leicester and its robust fullness from the Masham. This combination opens up a world of project possibilities!

With this box, we featured two exciting patterns from Baa Ram Ewe’s latest pattern book, Dovestone Smallholding.

The Moggy pattern by Ella Austin is a sweet stuffed kitty worked in the round with just a touch of cabling. Perfect for a little home decoration or a special gift for a special someone.  As one of our members put it on Ravelry, this month, Yarnbox sent out yarn and kitties :)

For our crocheters, we have the Patina Clutch by Sophie Wire featuring a textured shell pattern and also worked in the round until you do the flap closure. It’s shown here in the brand new colorway, Lotherton, and would be a gorgeous accessory in any colorway.

Baa Ram Ewe's Dovestone DK has been such a wooly delight!  Join us on Ravelry where our members are working these and other patterns. 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Thick & Thin

When you sign up for your Yarnbox Classic subscription, we ask for your yarn weight preference.  Do you prefer nothing too big?  Nothing too small?  Can you handle them all?  We want to make sure the yarn we send to you is just right!

This Free Pattern Friday, we're celebrating yarns that are both big and small, thick and thin!

A colorwork cowl?  Yes please!  Just love the look of the Rasking Cowl by Sarah Ocepek with colored yarn peeking through the natural.  Grab those size 11 needles to cast on this weekend!

Yarn Suggestions:  Farmhouse Yarns Andy's Merino II, Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica

Time to start stitching up those summer shawls!  The Josy shawl by DieKlee is crocheted with fingering weight yarn for a light yet large wrap.  This pattern is written in German but it is awesomely charted for those who speak crochet!

Yarn Suggestions:  Ewetopia Kickapoo Sock

Cast on and start chaining these projects this weekend with any of your Yarnbox yarns mentioned above or hit up our Overstock Shop and begin dreaming about your next WIP!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: MJ Yarns Bonus Crochet Pattern

From the first moment I held the MJ Yarns Peruvian Dream Worsted in my hands, I was head-over-heels in love with it.  The color...the texture...the fiber...the softy oh so yummy squish it has.  And then I started working on the stitch pattern for our curator card and fell even harder for this yarn! 

The beautiful colors Jonathan Berner chooses for yarns are something to be celebrated.  It's an ideal yarn for both open, lacey projects and tightly stitched projects.  The crochet pattern includes with this box (the Wyvern Warmer by Denise Lavoie) is open and lacey, I thought it would be great to put together a bonus crochet pattern that shows this beautiful yarn in a tighter stitch.

For this pattern, I used the Crunch Stitch, a basic back and forth half double crochet and slip stitch pattern.  Alternating between the two allows that free loop of the half double crochet to give your piece texture and a little ridge through your pattern, almost like a tight, loopy ridge throughout.  Not only did I think this stitch highlight the great points of this yarn but I also thought it would be a great pattern for those participating in our Beginning Crochet Learn-A-Long on Ravelry.   

Another thing I like about this stitch is how the edge looks.  Sometimes when you have your turning chains act as the first stitch of the row, it can be a little loose.  Because the next stitch you do is a slip stitch, everything stays pretty tight and you get this lovely straight edge.  Now, with that said, the first two stitches of each row are pretty tight.  I found it helpful to mark theses stitches so I could easily find them when they needed to be worked into.

This design is really ideal for any length cowl or scarf that you'd like.  I made it to be more of a cowl but you could keep going to make a longer infinity scarf to loop around your neck twice.  Or, make it shorter for a tighter cowl.  Or, make it longer and make it a scarf.  So this is kind of a choose your own adventure pattern!  No matter which way you choose to go, it's truly a dream to work up with the Peruvian Dream Worsted.

Bessie Cowl
by Aimee Hansen

Size H crochet hook
2 skeins MJ Yarns Peruvian Dream Worsted (you will use 1 1/2 for the pattern as written)
4 stitch markers (optional but trust me on this)

Pattern Notes:
The chain 2 at the beginning of each row counts as the first half double crochet.

Because this stitch pattern is tight, mark the top chain of the turning chain and the first slip stitch of the row.  You may also wish to mark the last half double crochet of the row as well so you know where to put the first slip stitch on the next row.  This will help you better understand where to work the first and last stitches of each row.

I worked the first row into the back ridge of the beginning chain because I find seaming easier that way.  You could choose to do the same or work into the beginning chain as you normally do.

20 stitches of this pattern x 22 rows = 4" x 4" square.  However, gauge is not super important for this pattern.  I have about 1/2 a skein left over of this yarn for the pattern as written.

To make the cowl wider, increase beginning chain by a multiple of 2.

Finished Measurements:  Approximately 32" long x 6 1/2" wide before seaming; 6 1/2" wide x 16" long when seamed.

ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
hdc - half double crochet


With H hook, ch 33. 

Row 1:  Sl st in the 3rd ch from hook (the first 2 skipped chains counts as the first hdc).  Mark the top ch of the skipped ch 2 and the sl st you just made.  *hdc in the next ch.  Sl st in the next ch.  Repeat from * across.  Mark the last hdc you made.  Turn.

Row 2:  Ch 2 (counts as 1st hdc).  Mark the top ch of this turning ch.  Sl st in the next st.  Move the stitch marker up to this stitch.  *Hdc in the next st.  Sl st in the next st.  Repeat from * across moving the stitch markers up as you stitch.  Turn.

Repeat row 2 till you reach your desired length.

Rows 3-180 (or desired length):   Repeat row 2.  Finish off. 

Seam the two ends of the cowl together in your preferred method and weave in ends.  I seamed using a mattress stitch.  Here's the link to a handy showing you how the mattress stitch is done. 

There are still some skeins of Peruvian dream worsted in stock in our Overstock Shop.  Buy your skeins before their gone!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

February Socks Review: Holiday Yarns

There was a twinkle in our eye the entire month of February with skeins of Silver Sock from Holiday Yarns.  A lot of softness and a little bling made our knitting needles sing!

Silver Sock is a blend of 63% Superwash Merino Wool, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon and 2% Metallic Silver Thread.  Our members received a total of 420 yummy yards to create their next favorite pair of socks.

From Left to Right: Amethyst, Athena, Evergreen, Key Lime, Black Widow

Knit designer Ariel Altaras looked at this fun yarn and saw cables!  Her Silverplait socks pattern is a sweet combination of plain and plaited cables with ribbing. Great for solid and tonal colorways!

It's been so much fun watching our members knit these up! Share your projects with us in our Ravelry group, on Instagram @yarnbox, Facebook and Twitter!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Fun with Fingering Yarn

While socks are the first project that comes to mind for many when thinking of fingering yarn, they aren't the only projects designed for this weight.  Shawls, wraps, scarves, hats, mitts and mittens and more can all be stitched up!  Here are a few members who are WIPing it up right now.

Some sock yarns are just too pretty to be socks!  That was the case when member EverythingFibre on Ravelry began working with her Birch Medium Twist Fingering from Mosaic Moon.  She's working on the Geology Shawl from verybusymonkey.  Love how the pattern is picking up the variegation!

Check out the gorgeous stitch work on our member Sandi's Downton Abbey MKAL shawl using her Ewetopia Kickapoo from our November 2015 Yarnbox Classic.  Just love how the colors and stitches compliment each other!  We can't wait to see how this looks all blocked.

What are you WIPping up on your hooks and needles this week?  Share your projects with us in our Ravelry group, onInstagram @yarnboxFacebook and Twitter!  You never know...yours may be the next project we share!