Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on techniques that people frequently ask about.
Have you ever thrown a wool sweater into the wash by accident and ended up with a matted, miniature version? That’s called felting. Ordinarily you don’t want to shrink your handmade creations, but sometimes we do it on purpose to create a dense, strong fabric.
|Unfelted Knit Branching Out Bag||Felted Branching Out Bag|
Animal hair fibers felt because there are microscopic scales on them. The scales open up when exposed to hot water and detergent; friction or agitation tangles up these scales, resulting in felt. The result is thick and sturdy, making it ideal for purses and other projects.
Only yarn that is spun from animals or is protein-based will felt such as wool, alpaca, and mohair. Superwash wool won’t felt because, after all, the point is that it’s treated to safely throw it in the washer; the treatment either mattes down the scales or removes them so that they cannot lock together. Man-made fibers like acrylic won’t felt and neither will yarn that is spun from plants such as cotton or hemp.
Today, you can felt in the washer; historically people would first place it in boiling water (hence the term “boiled wool”) and then create friction with an old fashioned wash board or even rocks.
Super Bowl XLVII is this coming Sunday, have you gotten your craft supplies ready? A great way to support your favorite team is by sporting accessories or clothing with the team’s colors; it’s even better when the item is handmade.
There are 3 days left to make an item to show your team pride on Sunday, but you still have some time! All you need is a super bulky yarn like Hometown USA, or, a small project with a worsted weight yarn like Vanna’s Choice. Besides, if you don’t get to finish it in time, you can always use it for the next football season (or wear the item on Monday!). You can knit or crochet something as easy as a cozy for your canned beverages, or a simple hat or scarf to show your team spirit.
I thought it would be fun to share a few easy patterns that could be completed in time for the game, and colors in Hometown USA and Vanna’s Choice that match the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens colors – check them out below!
4 easy knit & crochet patterns to show your pride:
Crochet School Colors Hat
and Scarf Set
Knit Hat and Scarf Set
Knit Geaux Tigers Hat
Crochet Can Cozy
|These tips will come in especially handy when doing a stranded knitting project like this Fair Isle Capelet! You can see the pattern here.|
Once in a while I will search the social media universe to find out what yarncrafting techniques our customers could use help with. During my search I came across this suggestion on Twitter:
Kelly Black @ShortysSutures: Best ways to join yarn when knitting would be helpful. I don’t use a lot of wool, felted join is my fave but not always an option.
I thought this would be a great idea for a blog post and wanted to include tips for crocheters as well. My personal preference when joining yarn for knit and crochet is just to pick up the new strand if yarn. I like to do it this way because I don’t have to wait until I get to the end of a row and it’s optimal for when I am working in the round. Now the question is, “What do I do with those yarn tails and how do I keep my tension even?”. Well there are a couple tricks:
Jessica, one of our sales support associates in our NJ office, worked on a Tweed Stripes cowl for her cousin at the recent Craft & Hobby Association trade show, where Lion Brand exhibited earlier this month. She shared her inspiration for the cowl. As told to Zontee.
When I was home during Hurricane Sandy, I had made myself an infinity scarf, a long scarf that you can double around your neck, for myself out of the Mixed Berries color of Tweed Stripes. It’s very warm and I get compliments (or requests!) every time I wear mine. In fact, it was so popular that all of my family members asked me to make them scarves too–I’ve already made seven, but the most requested color has been Mixed Berries.
It’s double-crocheted long-ways back and forth through the back loop only, which creates a ridged look. It only takes about a ball-and-a-half of yarn to make. Then at the end, I seam up the two shorter ends to create the cowl.
It’s a really easy project, and it doesn’t take much time to finish. I finished this one here at the trade show over 3 days! I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick gift to make. I can’t wait to give it to my cousin!
Editor’s Note: If you want to make your own version of Jessica’s cowl, chain about 180 with a K hook (adjust larger or smaller depending on how tight or loose a crocheter you are), double-crochet into the 3rd crochet from your hook and into each stitch thereafter, chain 3 and turn. In each of the subsequent rows, crochet into the back loops only, chain 3 and turn. Work about 6 rows (more or less depending on your preference for width). Seam the ends together. Voilà cowl!
Today I want to share a great DIY craft with you by Randi from the blog Dukes and Duchesses; a bright, sparkly white wreath inspired by the beauty that comes with snow and winter.
Click here for more pictures and instructions to make the wreath!
We’ve seen a lot of different creative wreaths lately, made in various styles; have you been inspired to make a yarn wreath? Share with us in the comments!