Testing Cotton Yarn

There are so many different brands 100% cotton yarns out there. I thought I’d get a few together to see what they are all about. All of these yarns I got from either Amazon or from a craft store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.

The plan is to knit up a washcloth in each yarn. Every week all of the washcloths will be thrown in the wash along with all the towels like I normally do. During the week they will be the primary washcloths we use from bath time to the toddler throwing them around! I’m looking to see if there is any color change, if the yarn holds up, and how washing will affect the yarn.

To start, my favorite has been “I love this cotton” from Hobby Lobby. This yarn is really soft and very affordable. There are a TON of different colors available, from solids to variegated. The colorway I picked was Sunshiney. It came in a 85g skein with 153 yards for $3.79, made in Turkey.

14 WPI (wraps per inch)

Next up we have Bernat Handicrafter. This was my first time working with it and I was kind of disappointed in the size of the skein. I used colorway ‘blueberry’. It came in a 50g skein with 80 yds, made in Canada from USA cotton. I ordered this one from Amazon for $5.94

12 WPI

Crafter’s Secret in “lime” colorway is another Hobby Lobby brand. For 71 g you get 120 yds for $2.2, made in Turkey.

13 WPI

An all time favorite- Peaches and Cream! I picked up this ball of yarn from Walmart for $1.77. I used colorway ‘forest’. In 70.9 g you’ll get 120 yds. It is made in Canada from USA cotton.

14 WPI

Red Heart’s Scrubby smoothie in “aqua” was really nice to work with plus you get so much yarn. For 100g you’ll get 153 yds. I ordered this from Amazon for $4.49. This yarn is made in China.

13 WPI

Finally we have a random yarn off of Amazon. I have never heard of it before but decided to give it a go. Its Darice in ”ecru”. For $2.99 you’ll get 70.8 g 120 yds worth. This yarn is made in China.

11 WPI

Overall these yarns are pretty inexpensive. I added the WPI because it shows how thick the yarn is. These are all worsted weights but I always thought that the ‘I love this cotton’ felt smaller then an acrylic worsted weight.

My first impressions: I couldn’t really tell a difference between Peaches and Cream and the Crafter’s Secret. The Darice skein really surprised me with how much I liked it. It’s the thickest of the bunch and definitely in the run for the softest. My least favorite would be the Bernat Handicrafter as it is the roughest and the smallest skein.

When the going gets tough, the tough get knitting

So far 2020 has been trauma and disaster one after another. Many people have turned to their hobbies to cope.

When I was a teenager I worked at the community pool. I had a supervisor there whose favorite chore was to clean the wall length windows. She said the repetitive motion and seeing a task completed was relaxing and fulfilling. Sound familiar?

I found a great article that goes deeper. “Knitting as Therapy” by Daniel Natalo-Lifton discusses the reasons why knitting is so therapeutic. The one I most relate to is the sense of accomplishment. No matter how complex the piece might be, you’ve finished and have something to show!

Seaming up my French Macaroon by The Noble Thread

There have been several studies using textile arts as occupational therapy. It can help with depression, chronic pain, managing stress, and anxiety. I think one of the reason why it helps so much is because your brain is active yet inactive at the same time. Typically you aren’t circling some negative thought over and over again while you are knitting. It’s counting stitches or reading what’ll happen next in the pattern. Even if you are doing the same stitch repetitively you are concentrating on not dropping a stitch or splitting the yarn. It allows you to let your mind go but still be grounded.

Choosing your background sounds can help even more lower your stress. You can listen to uplifting books or podcasts, catch that new tv show, or sit outside and listen to the bugs and birds. Whatever you choose, you get to choose it! Being able to choose our surroundings is really important when there are so many things we don’t have control over.

There is a ton of crafting communities out there. On every social media outlet there is a group or a person that would love to have you. From beginners to experts there is something out there for you. New to knitting? Find a YouTube channel to step by step teach you how. Are you an experienced knitter already? Try doing a test knit and help out a new designer. yarnpond.com has open calls for knitting and crocheting for all skill levels! During this time of social distancing there are a lot of people turning to zoom calls to knit and chat.

Textile arts may not solve all the world’s problems, but it can help. Stay safe out there. Wash your hands and don’t be a dick.

Happy knitting!

“I Wanna Make A blankie” Review

When I first saw this yarn I fell in love with it. I impulsed bought it and thought I’d give my opinion!

The skein is a massive 437 yard cake. It says it is a super bulky weight and can make either a knitted 42″x 42″ or a crochet 33″x 33″ blanket. The label came with a corner to corner pattern to make both.

I decided to go outside my comfort zone and learn how to crochet a C2C blanket. Crochet abbreviation makes about as much sense to me as nuclear fusion so I YouTube’d how. There are a lot to choose from and just pick one that makes the most sense to you! Corner to corner blankets are really awesome because they start slow with the increases on each row but once the decreases start, you are finished.

The yarn is so soft to work with. It was difficult and tense on my hands to hold it the normal way looped through my pinky and over my pointer. I found it easiest to just hold it over my pointer finger. Using a size N hook, you use the yarn fast!

Once I got halfway-ish I realized that one cake was not enough. I wanted a big squishy couch throw. One skein would be great for kids or babies but not so much for an adult. My blanket ended up being 50″x 53″.

Now lets talk about price. I bought my two skeins from Walmart and they were $19.98. On the Walmart website they are $19.58. If you go to the Lion Brand website they are $24.99.

There are only six colors to choose from – three variegated and three solid colors. I think more options would be awesome. Good news though, since it’s 100% polyester it is machine wash and dry.

Overall I really enjoyed working with this I Wanna Make a Blankie yarn. It was fun to do something a bit out of my normal. I would definitely use again!

Dyeing with Kool Aid

I think almost every knitter has thought about dyeing some yarn. I’ve always heard that you can dye yarn with Kool Aid so I thought I’d give it a go. I found some really great tutorials on YouTube. The best ones I found were by ChemKnit Tutorials. She’s got probably 10 videos just on Kool Aid dyeing.

One of the benefits of using Kool Aid is that it’s safe. You don’t need anything special outside of what you have in your kitchen.

You’ll need:

  • plastic wrap
  • cups
  • Kool Aid
  • squirt bottle/spoon (you really want something that can hold and control liquid. I actually used baby Tylenol syringes)
  • undyed wool yarn
  • microwave

I split my 100 grams hank into 25 grams to try out different techniques. After separating them up I put them in a big pot of water to soak overnight. I added a bit of vinegar but it isn’t needed. The Kool Aid has citric acid in it which helps with the dyeing process.

To get set up I put two layers of plastic wrap onto my counter. One layer was meant to protect the counter and the second layer was so I can wrap up the dyed yarn without having to move stuff around.

For the Kool Aid I put two packets into each cup with only a small bit of water about 1/3 cup. If you want a stronger/lighter color you can dilute it more or add more powder. In one of ChemKnit’s tutorials she used a loose leaf tea strainer to shake out dry Kool Aid to add speckles to the yarn. The darkest color I used was black cherry and one packet went to the tea strainer and one into a cup.

My attempt at speckling.
Added other colors and the speckles kinda disappeared. Plus too many speckles.

Less is more! It might have been just because I didn’t know what I was doing but the darker colors really took over the lighter colors. The yellow and pink aren’t as prominent as I intended but I think there was some bleeding and just user error. The skein that has the best light colors is the one where we just dipped the yarn into the cup of dye.

Once you are satisfied with your dyed yarn you just roll it up in the plastic wrap and pop it in the microwave, one minute at a time til it is hot to the touch. The 25 grams skeins only took one minute. You pull it out of the microwave and let it sit until it is cool.

After its cool then you rinse and wash the yarn. I was so surprised to take the yarn out of the plastic wrap and see no color coming off. Even rinsing the skein, no color was washed away. My drying rack was super classy. I just clipped some chip clips onto a wine rack and slipped it onto the play slide.

I really loved how it turned out. I’m waiting for my 40 inch size 1 needles to come in so I can try out some two at a time socks. I had so much fun dyeing this yarn. The outcome was better then I expected and I can’t wait to do it again with different colors!

Stay happy and healthy!

Happy Knitting.

I’m a finisher!

This past week my goal has been to finish off my WIP’s. Even though I did cast on the “My Little Secret Crop” by Jessie Maed Designs, I did get some socks completed!

The first finished pair of socks is the “Rose City Rollers Littles Edition” by Mara Catherine Bryner. These are a simple sock with a rolled cuff making it even faster since there is no ribbing. This was my first time changing colors for the heel and toe and I think it came out awesome! My mom sends me her sock bits to make baby socks so I’m not sure what yarn was used. I used Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPN 5″ size 1. I really like using the smaller length double pointed needles.

My goal this year is knit all the different methods for adult socks. I just finished up my pair using a 9″ circular needle. I used ChaioGoo in size 2. The yarn is Premier Yarns Wool-Free Sock in colorway Pueblo. It’s an acrylic yarn but works up so soft and nice. This was my first time using a self-patterning yarn and it adds so much class to a simple sock. I think this method is a distinct love ’em or hate ’em. The first couple of rows are pretty finicky. If you are working with a small sock the stitches can get pretty spread out. I’ve heard that dropping to an Addi 8″ can help out a lot with that issue. Its also a bit more taxing on your hands. Your hands are so close together you kind of feel like a giant knitting and can be really tense. If you are doing a basic stockinette sock I think these small circulars are the way to go. It’s so fast since you aren’t switching needles so much. For the heel I tucked the top of the foot stitches still on the circular into the cuff and used a couple DPN’s to do the heel flap and to pick up stitches. I added a stitch marker to keep the top of foot stitches together and worked all the stitches back onto the circular for the gusset. For this pair I added some ribbing on the instep. Once I got to the toe I did the decreases til I was too small to work with and then I split them one side stayed on the circular and the other side I used DPN’s to finish.

Last Monday’s start point.
A late Sunday night finish!

I have a sweater that is about 75% done. After taking a good luck at it I realize that it is ginormous! I made it in a size large with intentions on giving it to my husband. He would drown in it! I have just really fallen out of love with it but with the back, and sleeves done, I’m too close to give up on it! One of these days I’ll get tired of seeing the project bag in the living room and get busy with it.

I hope ya’ll are staying happy and healthy!

Happy Knitting!

Quarantine Knitting

I have been carelessly casting on. If I’ve got the needles and the yarn I’ve just been going for it. My family will be moving to Washington state the end of the year so the more knitwear the better!

I’ve started and completed my first shawl! The only reason I chose this pattern was because I had the recommended yarn. Here is the asymmetrical shawl pattern by Yarnspirations. It uses one cake of the Caron Latte Cake. I really enjoy working with this yarn. It is fuzzy and is really soft. Knitting with it is so smooth and fast.

Last week I challenged myself to make one washcloth a day. I learned the garter slip stitch and kinda fell in love with the way it worked up. The last day I tried to do a mitered square and let’s just say that’ll go into the ‘messed up but usable’ pile. Its not the best but it’ll work. With Hobby Lobby being closed I’ve had to chose different cotton yarn. There is a big difference between them. The Lily’s Sugar N Cream yarn is coarser then the Hobby Lobby brand I’ve been using. It is still really great yarn that you can find at Walmart and Amazon.

I’ve actually done something out of my queue! The Sideways Sweater by Adella Dutra has been so fast and easy to do. Unfortunately I’ve run out of yarn with just one sleeve to go! Luckily I have time to complete it. This is another sweater to add to next winters wardrobe for my little miss. I’m using my favorite needles by Knitters Pride.

I had an impulse purchase. I’ve eyed this yarn at Walmart for awhile now and decided why not. This is the “I wanna make a blankie” yarn by Lion Brand. It is so thick and squishy to work with. I took a break from the needles and figured out how to do corner to corner with crochet. I think it took me three days to make this monster.

Seeing all that I’ve finished I think that I’ve needed to just do some mindless knitting. The days are so out of the ordinary that the easy patterns are really comforting. Hopefully I can get some of my mojo back and do some more challenging knits!

This week my goal is to be a finisher! I’ve got two socks, a blanket, and a sweater to finish. I’ve only thought about starting a new project like five times today. 🙂

Stay safe and Happy Knitting!

Stayin’ Home and Knittin’

Whew! The last couple of weeks have been intense. It doesn’t look like it’ll be getting back to normal anytime soon.

With so much time at home now how are you filling it? Are y’all starting new projects or getting all those projects finished up?

This week I’ll finish up my first test knit! I am so excited to start doing some testing. This is a 0-14 year old pattern called Calendula by Agasalhos e Bugalhos. Its a simple raglan down kids sweater. The designer has added so many graphs and pictures that it’d make for a great beginner project. The yarn is Yarn Bee Chloe colorway breezy sunrise. I’ve made this a size too big for my kid now that way she’ll have it for next winter!

Calendula sweater by Agasolhos e Bugalhos

I have gone down a rabbit hole for making socks. I didn’t realize how many different ways there were. There is magic loop, double pointed needles, 9” circular, and flexiflips.

Magic loop is the long cable way to do things. These Addi turbo needles are on my wishlist! I want to try this way so I can do two at a time to see if that’s my thing. I think it’d be so fast to knock out a pair and have them match perfectly!

You either love double pointed needles, or you hate them. I love them. I didn’t know though that there are short teeny tiny needles that are great for doing baby socks. It kinda feels like you are knitting with toothpicks but its nice not having so much needle and so few stitches.

Rose City Rollers Littles with some scrap yarn

I’ve also started using a 9 in circular pair of socks. These so far are in the middle of the sock game. The beginning is really fiddly to work with and if you are doing a smaller sock its a bit stretched. But it does go by really fast. This has sat in the car so whenever my husband drives me around I can get a couple of rows in. I think on this sock I’m going to use some DPN’s to make the heel but the next sock I”ll try and do the heel on the circular. I’m doing a plain Jane cuff down sock pattern.

This next way I just learned about! I was talking to my mom and she recommended them. These are double pointed flexible needles. Addi has been the first to make them and call them Flexiflips but there are other brands out there now. It looks like magic loop and double pointed mixed together.

One of these days I’m going to try out adding some thread in the toes and heels to make a heavy duty sock. Now to knit all the socks to find out which way is the best!

I think as soon as I bind off I’m casting on. There is just so much that I want to do!

Be safe out there and wash your hands.

Happy Knitting!

Stitch of the Week: 4

Cartridge Stitch

This week’s stitch is an easy one. It is a 6 row repeat. Adding a purl row in makes the fabric look like a horizontal rib pattern. The wrong side and right side look the same.

Cartridge Stitch

Row 1: knit

Row 2: purl

Row 3: knit

Row 4: knit

Row 5: purl

Row 6: knit

Cast on as many stitches as you need and repeat the 6 rows for as long as you need.

Happy knitting!

App vs Paper

At any given time I’m thinking of at least three things. There is always so much planning and organizing to do. The chore list is never ending and taking care of a toddler and two dogs, plus a spouse can keep anyone busy busy busy. All this mental tasking means that I forget what row I’m on all the time. Or you know, something juicy happening on tv.

I try and keep a project on the counter. In order for a project to make it to this high level it has to be easy. Its going to be a simple pattern or one that I don’t have to think too hard about. That way when my kid has knocked down the bathroom shelving or my golden pup is sneaking away with some socks I am able to just drop what I’m doing and fix the situation.

But what about all the other WIP’s? How do you like to follow along with a chart or a row repeat?

There are so many great apps out there that can do so much. You are able to import patterns from your Ravelry library or from your pdf files. Its awesome. You are able to count rows and can make separate row counters for whatever you need. I think one of the best things about using an app is that you always have it nearby. Your phone or tablet is not easily lost or broken.

Paper though. There is something special about using a pen and paper. I feel like it’s becoming more and more outdated. I think paper patterns are able to be personalized easier. Notes can be scribbled alongside with ease. If there are multiple pages you can look at all pages at one time. Pen and paper is great too because you don’t have figure out how that one specific app works. Most apps out there have a highlighter or note taking feature but you have to learn how to do that. I like using little notebooks like this. I have a couple of them that way I can put them in my project bags and it isn’t too bulky and won’t damage anything.

I use both. It really depends on the project. If the pattern has a lot of sizes I like to print it out so that way I can highlight and really make the size I’m doing stand out. I use an app the rest of the time. My phone has a special spot next to me on the couch so I can follow along.

Which do you prefer?

Happy Knitting!

Dream Knits

If you are anything like me as you are working up one project you have the next one in mind, and the next, and the next. I can get lost for hours perusing different knitting sites and planning what’ll be next on my needles. Here are a couple of things that are on my queue. Whether it’ll be what I’ll cast on next or a project for down the road these guys have my attention.

First off, I have accepted that I am a sock knitter. I think that socks should always be in your WIP collection. Rose City Roller Littles Edition by Mara Catherine Bryner are next on my needles. They are the cutest little socks that seem like you could knit them up in an hour. My mom has collected some of her ends and bits from her sock making for me that’ll make up some awesome socks for a toddler. ‘Cuz who needs matching socks? Not a 1.5 year old… or me for that matter.

© Mara Catherine Bryner

To go along with my sock obsession I really want to try the different methods for knitting them. Most people go with the magic loop or the double pointed needles method. I have heard that these 9 in needles can really speed up the process. It won’t work well for baby socks but I want to give it a go for some adult tootsies.

When I saw this pattern I knew that I had to have it. The Witching Hour by Dear Ingenue is one of the coolest colorwork sweaters. This is definitely not your grandmammy’s sweater. It makes me want to binge watch ’21 Monkeys’ tv series.

© Dear Ingenue

I have recently fallen for cropped sweaters. They are so versatile. You can dress it up or dress it down. That makes Ursa by Jacqueline Cieslak on my list. Its a simple raglan construction top with great detailing and with bulky yarn it’ll knit up in a jiffy. I think it’ll be a good sweater to do for when you need a relaxing, tv watching project.

© Jacqueline Cieslak

© Jacqueline Cieslak

Split Back Tank
© Samantha Stadter

I love all of Samantha Stadler’s patterns. Most of them are free too if you go to her blog https://samsweaterz.com/. I can’t decide which I like more the Split Back Tank or the Calion. Either one would be great and airy for summertime!

Calion
© Samantha Stadter

This is really just the readers digest version of my ever growing ‘want to knit’ list. There are so many creative designers out there that keep my list never ending. What’s one of your dream knits?

Happy knitting!