LOKO: Life of a Knitting Office / Notions

We crafters love our notions! They are the tiny tools of our trade and make our projects infinitely better. And because we use them constantly, we like them to look cool. On the flipside, we only use the notions that actually work well, no matter how pretty they are. 

We designed our stitch marker packets to reflect what we actually need: an end-of-round marker and plenty of markers for all those special stitches we need to remember. And, of course, we wanted them to be in our favorite color: teal. We added a dash of gold for good measure. 

Our Keychain Needle Gauge is a tool that I constantly reach for as I don't have a sorted circular needle carrier. This tool, along with the large Knit Check and the Ruler, were designed in-house by Leah McGlone.

After compiling the notions that we use the most often, we decided they should be packed together as a pack. The Crafter's Supply Pack is an easy grab-and-go kit that fits in your bag and contains the essentials.

The notions that go into our Crafter's Supply Packs are pretty obvious. What may not be so obvious is the work that goes into both producing and assembling all of our custom branded notions. As most of you are well-aware, we are a small company with less than 5 full-time employees. And when a company is that small, teamwork is everything. As I mentioned before, Leah designed all of the laser cut wood pieces based on her experience as a seasoned knitter and recent graduate of design school. For all the notions, we had meetings and went over the prototypes, correcting small errors and finding ways to improve the notion's functionality. Kate applied her design sense to the packaging and branding.

Once all of the items are in-house, some assembly is still required: we count and stuff all of the stitch markers and darning needles and we hand stamp the Crafter's Supply bags per order. We even attach the small metal carabiners to the keychain gauges by hand. Unsurprisingly, this is pleasant work. It's been a creative outlet to think about ways in which we use our tools and how we can improve that experience. The activity of stuffing tiny envelopes and stamping small muslin bags is kind of zen-like and gives us a chance to step away from the computer screen and work with our hands. It's also another way to remind ourselves of our love of craft and the community of crafters.  

Who knows, maybe I have stuffed the envelope full of stitch markers and maybe Courtney stamped the Crafter's Supply Pack that is in your knitting bag right now?  

Happy Crafting! -MK  

Weekend Wraps / Cecily Glowick MacDonald & Melissa LaBarre

Knitwear designers Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre have released yet another fabulous book with Interweave Press! It's full of lovely projects you could knit over a weekend, with patterns for knitters of all skill levels. 

We are excited to have two of The Fibre Co. yarns showcased in the book, with designs by Bristol Ivy and our very own Kate Gagnon Osborn. 

Bristol Ivy designed the Nonotuck Wrap using The Fibre Co.'s Tundra. Described in the book as 'a generous wrap which uses the classic stitch Vine Lace in an interesting way', this accessory would make for a perfect project for those new to lace patterning.

Yarn: The Fibre Co. Tundra: Taiga, 6 skeins.
Gauge: 13.5 sts + 16 rows = 4" (10 cm) in reverse st st, after blocking.
Needles: US 10 (6 mm) straights or 24" (60 cm) circular.
Size: 20.5" (52 cm) width, 67" (170 cm) length.

Below is the Gansey Shawl, inspired by traditional fishermen's gansey sweaters. Designed by Kate Gagnon Osborn, using The Fiber Co.'s Cumbria, this is a classic shawl shape worked up in a worsted weight yarn. 

The shawl begins at the center neck, and increases are worked in a traditional fashion to the point. The four stripes of knit/purl patterning alternate down the garter stitch edge, finished using the Channel Island bind-off

The Fibre Co. Cumbria: Scaffel Pike, 3 skeins.
Gauge: 16 sts + 33 rows = 4" (10 cm) in chart pattern, after blocking.
Needles: US 6 (4 mm) 60" (150 cm) circular.
Size: 56" (142 cm) width, 25.5" (65 cm) length at center.

While it is still quite hot here in Philadelphia, fall is just around the corner, and these pieces would make a lovely addition to any cold-weather wardrobe! 

Tips + Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

On Friday, we announced the Year of Mittens, a year-long Knit Along featuring Cumbria Fingering. (You can read more about it here.) By subscribing to the full year, participants receive a bonus Basic Mitten pattern featuring three different mitten thumb constructions. One of the methods has you knit the thumb stitches with waste yarn and pick them up afterwards. Below is a tutorial for working this technique. Enjoy! - KGO

This technique is most commonly used when knitting thumbs on mittens or gloves using the Afterthought or Gusseted styles. It is worked by first knitting the future thumb stitches with waste yarn. Once the mitten is complete, you’ll remove the waste yarn and place the live stitches onto double pointed needles to work the thumb. If a pattern has you cast on stitches over your thumb stitches (as in the Gusseted Thumb in our Basic Mittens pattern), you can elect to use this technique instead (and vice versa).

The great thing about this kind of thumb is its versatility. It can be easily placed anywhere, and it’s perfect for not interrupting the flow of mittens with colorwork knit/purl or cable patterning.

The trick with this technique is to be sure to pick up the right “leg” of each stitch above and below your contrast yarn. Once you’ve done it, it makes total sense, but it can be an intimidating process.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 1 / Using the same size double pointed needle you used for the mitten hand, start to unpick the first stitch of waste yarn.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 2 / Insert the tip of one double pointed needle into the first stitch that the waste yarn releases.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 3 / Repeat Step 2 for the bottom stitch, using one double pointed needle for the top row of stitches, and one for the bottom row of stitches.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 4 / Continue to unpick the waste yarn, one half stitch at a time.  Each time a new stitch is released from the waste yarn, place it on your double pointed needle. 

Step 5 / Once all stitches are released, you should have equal numbers on the top and the bottom needles.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 6 / Divide these stitches evenly onto double pointed needles. In the image above, the stitches were divided onto 4 needles, and the 5th will be used for knitting. You may also divide the stitches onto 3 needles, and use the 4th for knitting. 

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 7 / Using your additional dpn and working yarn, pick up and knit one stitch in the vertical space between the top and bottom rows of stitches. In the image above, the yarn is joined at the hand side of the thumb, with the top row of stitches on the left and the bottom row on the right.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 8 / Continue and knit across the first row of stitches. (In the image above, since the yarn was joined at the hand side of the thumb, the top row will be the first row worked.) After knitting across, pick up and knit one stitch in the vertical space between the top and bottom on the opposite side.

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Step 9 / Continue and knit across to the beginning of the round. You now have all your thumb stitches ready to work!

KW Tips and Tricks: Picking Up Stitches From Waste Yarn

Year of Mittens

We're delighted to introduce Year of Mittens, a year-long knit-along featuring The Fibre Co. Cumbria Fingering!

We love knitting mittens, and with the introduction of The Fibre Co. Cumbria Fingering, we have a mitten yarn we can really stand behind and believe in. 

Launching August 1st, we will be releasing a new mitten pattern on the first of each month through July 2017!

While the mitten released each month will be a surprise, you won't see anything that you haven't already come to expect from Kelbourne Woolens patterns. There will be classic cables, interesting colorwork, and unique lace applications, all with a heavy dose of classic inspiration and historical information. Any new techniques will come with detailed photographs and clear step-by-step instructions conveniently linked in the pattern to our Tips and Tricks page.

Option 1: à La Carte
Purchase only the patterns you want from our website or Ravelry, for $7 each. On the 1st of the month we'll announce the new mitten on the blog, along with some helpful info about the construction of each design.

Option 2: Subscribe to the Year of Mittens
Subscribe to the full Year of Mittens and you'll receive a special bonus pattern, a basic mitten with three different thumb constructions, right away! Subscribers will receive each month's pattern as a Ravelry Pattern Update. At the end of the year, you'll receive an eBook of all of the Year of Mittens compiled into one document, along with an exclusive gift as our way of saying "Thank you!"

Option 3: LYSO Subscription
Host a year-long knit along at your local shop! Yarn shop owners who are Fibre Co. stockists can sign up for the Year of Mittens subscription through Ravelry In-Store Sales, enabling them to utilize the valuable exclusive content to host KALs and teach classes in conjunction with the Year of Mittens. LYSO's will be able to purchase both individual patterns and subscriptions through In-Store Sales for participating customers. Shop owners will also receive all of the color and skein requirements in advance via our Stockist Newsletter in order to prepare kits if they so choose. Each month we'll also be hosting a LYS Instagram contest, so if you're a stockist be sure to follow us on Instagram! For more information on how the Year of Mittens can be a success for your shop, be sure to sign up for our Stockist Newsletter!

Purchase a subscription to Year of Mittens via our website here, or on Ravelry here

You'll automatically be added to our Year of Mittens mailing list, and will receive your free bonus pattern right away.

If you're not quite ready to jump into a year long subscription, no worries, just wait until August 1st for the first mitten to be released. You can always purchase the patterns individually, or subscribe at any time throughout the year.

We hope you'll join us for a crazy year of mitten knittin'!

Independent Designer Feature: Two Grey Hills by Bonnie Dean

Bonnie Dean has designed a lovely new shawl, Two Grey Hills, a garter stitch shawl with a geometric edging inspired by New Mexico tapestries. The shawl has two yarn options-you can knit it in Road to China Light or Meadow held double. 

We love the clean geometric lines and the added flair of the picot edging. It's perfect for summer knitting with its big sections of garter, and a few new techniques that give the opportunity to pick up a new trick or two. 

Yarn: Road to China Light in Carnelian, 5 skeins, or Meadow in Aster, 3 skeins. 
Gauge: 19 sts and 38 rows = 4" (10 cm) in Garter Stitch
Needle: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 7 (4.5 mm) 40" circular
Size: 37 (41.75)" [94 (106) cm] motif edge, 45 (49.5)” [114 (126) cm]. longest edge.

For more information about the Two Grey Hills Shawl, visit the Ravelry Page here.

Crochet Summer 2016: Instagram Round-Up!

We're in the heat of Crochet Summer 2016, and we've been loving the attention everyone has been lavishing on our sister craft this summer. As knitters, first and foremost, Crochet Summer is our way of giving crochet her moment in the sun, if you will. We all (well, many of us) tend to knit a bit less in the summer, and crochet lends itself so well to working with lighter yarns, and is also great in breezy openwork stitches, perfect for summertime crafting.

Let's see what some #crochetsummer2016 participants have been crocheting this summer!

Cal Patch is known for her amazing crochet work, and her crochet-yoked smocks are a particular favorite of mine. During Crochet Summer 2014, she visited us on the blog with a tutorial for a crochet yoke tee. Check it out here.

From Haus of Yarn in Nashville, TN we have a wonderful assortment of crocheted (and knit!) washcloths. These small cotton accessories are perfect for warm weather knitting, and make great gifts. 

These crochet earrings by Nez Jewelry were made by Linette, our new KW staff member! She made these at the shore while on vacation with her family. Lovely!

This adorable filet crochet pillow is from PeacockKaren on Instagram. Definitely check out her IG feed, it's absolutely inspiring! 

And from artist Bonnie Sennott we have this Posey Necklace, designed by Cal Patch! It all comes full circle. 

We hope these projects have inspired you to grab some yarn and a hook and get crocheting! Please tag your Instagram posts with #crochetsummer2016, we love to see what you create. 

Love of Knitting Fall 2016 / Allison Jane

Handsome!  It's not often we get to show unisex garments being modelled by a man! The Wishbone Sweater is a fresh example of a pullover for the rugged yet classy* man or woman in your life. (*Feel free to substitute "cute yet nerdy", "sweet yet saucy", "kind yet hilarious"  etc, as you see fit).

Allison Jane designed a gorgeous sweater in Acadia in the color Sand.  It features wishbone cables up the front and rope cables at the sides for subtle interest.  The back and sleeves are reverse stockinette making this sweater both interesting and easy to knit.

Finished Size 39½ (42, 46, 49¼ , 54½ , 58)” chest circumference. Pullover measures 46”; modeled with 6” of positive ease.

Yarn: The Fibre Co Acadia (60% merino wool, 20% baby alpaca, 20% silk; 145 yd 132 m/1¾ oz 50 g): sand, 10 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14) skeins.

Find the digital copy Love of Knitting Fall 2016 here or at your local LYS!  Plan on making this sweater?  Tag it with #madewiththefibreco and #kelbournewoolens so we can see it!

All Photos © Carmel Zucker