Knitted Knockers of Canada

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we think there is no better time to remind you about an organization we are proud to sponsor, Knitted Knockers of Canada. It is likely that we all have a mother, sister, aunt, friend or other loved one who has been affected by breast cancer which is why we know that this cause is just as important to you as it is to all of us at Estelle Yarns.

Knitted knockers are special handmade breast prostheses that are available for free to women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional prostheses are expensive, uncomfortable and heavy, and often can’t be worn for weeks after surgery. Made with Cascade Ultra Pima, knitted knockers are soft and gentle on the skin, sculpt easily and truly take on the look and feel of a real breast.

Estelle Yarns has worked with Knitted Knockers of Canada since its inception in March, 2015. In 2017, over five thousand pairs of knockers were sent out to each and every province in Canada, and it looks like there will be even more than that sent out this year.

We asked Nancy at Knitted Knockers of Canada if she felt that teaming up with Estelle has been beneficial and here’s what she had to say, “Estelle has helped us in so many ways…….spreading the word to local yarn stores, providing patterns pads with the crochet and knitted patterns right across the country to local yarn shops. You guys have also picked up completed knitted knockers from local yarn stores and sent them to us, and you have provided skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima that we use as prizes at different events……..so I would say that we are definitely a TEAM……we could not do what we do without you guys!”

And Estelle couldn’t do it without you and local yarn shops! We can’t thank you enough for helping spread the word. Featuring the free patterns in yarn shops for customers to see helps bring awareness. When your LYS accepts completed knockers dropped off by you and other customers and forwards them on, this provides donations. It’s because of this amazing team work that Knitted Knockers of Canada has been able to provide so many knockers from coast to coast. Feel proud Knitters and Crocheters, you are making a difference!

Knitted Knockers of Canada suggest using Cascade Ultra Pima, but any soft cotton or baby weight yarn can also be used provided it is washable and contains no wool. Remember, these are going to be up against delicate skin so the key word is SOFT! While all efforts are very much appreciated, coarse acrylics and crafting cottons should be avoided as they are just a bit too rough on sensitive skin.

 

Knitted Knockers of Canada is not exclusive to knitting, there are also patterns for crocheted knockers. Because crochet produces a stiffer fabric, these are used as Aqua knockers for swimming. A soft acrylic yarn like Cascade North Shore is recommended as it dries quickly and is machine washable.

We would like to encourage you to continue your support of Knitted Knockers of Canada by hosting a Knitted Knocker Night this month. Whether you organize something with your knitting group, attend an event at your LYS, or just hang out with some pals at a coffee shop and work on knockers, every little effort counts. There are free knit and crochet patterns available on our website, as well as video tutorials on the Knitted Knockers of Canada website. Be sure to take pictures and send them to us, or tag Estelle Yarns in your social media posts. The more we share the more we spread the word about this fabulous organization.

This weekend, dig your out needles and hooks, dear Knitters and Crocheters.
Let’s show the country that with our sticks and strings we will make a difference!

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” — Mother Teresa

Brittany Needles and Hooks

It’s no secret that knitters and crocheters are looking for ethically produced products as we are all becoming more and more conscious of our carbon footprint. Brittany prides itself in being an ecologically-minded company that strives to minimize its environmental impact at every stage of production.

As fibre artists look to source their supplies as close to home as possible, we can happily say that Brittany Needles and Hooks are made in California from sustainably harvested birch and walnut trees. The warmth and smoothness of hardwood nurtures sensitive fingers and provides natural strength and consistency for a lasting product. The tensile strength and stability of birch means it maintains size, resists warping and allows for an extremely smooth surface. Birch is lightweight so the needles won’t fall out of your knitting yet Brittany‘s exclusive finish provides for one of the slickest needles on the market.

Brittany Birch Single Point Needles are available in 10″ and 14″ lengths, from 3.25mm (US3) to 20mm (US20). The beautifully rounded tips ensure your yarn won’t split and the sleek finish allows your stitches to slide easily. These warm and lightweight needles also reduce hand and wrist strain associated with large needles, making bulky knitting a breeze.

Brittany Birch Double Pointed Needles come in sets of five, perfect for knitters who prefer to use five needles when knitting in the round and come in three lengths, 5”, 7.5” and 10”. With sizes ranging from 2.00mm (US0) to 12mm (US17), there is nothing you can’t knit with these. From fine socks to chunky sweaters, the possibilities are endless!

Brittany Black Walnut 10″ Single Point needles are hand crafted in small batches with extreme care which means they are the finest needle available. Featuring an heirloom quality all natural finish, these smooth and exquisite needles are a must have for any serious knitter.

Brittany Crochet Hooks are meticulously cut and polished by hand and feature a lovely Victorian turned end. Brittany Crochet Hook sizes range from D to M and include the size 7 step between G and H. This size is often useful for accurate gauge.

Brittany Cable Needles have a unique design that knitters truly love. They come in a set of three different diameters and have a matte finish. We’ve all had that moment when you’re halfway through knitting a cable and your cable needle falls to the ground. With Brittany Cable Needles your stitches remain safely in place allowing you to knit cables with confidence.

Brittany Shawl Pins have the same matte finish as their cable needles, have a 5mm diameter and are six inches long. The perfect closure for shawls and sweaters, these also make a perfect gift for the knitter on your list, or as an add on to a knitted gift for a special someone.

Brittany Needle Wax is the best choice for cleaning and maintaining the finish of all your fine wooden tools. It contains high quality natural waxes and just a drop of organic vanilla oil. Take the very best care of your tools with this all-natural needle wax.

One thing you will notice about Brittany Needles and Hooks is that you will never see them in any chain or big box store. A small business themselves, the folks at Brittany understand the importance of supporting small businesses and only sell to LYS. They know the best customer service comes from small, local yarn shops and that their needles will be best represented there.

Be sure to ask about Brittany Needles on your next trip to your LYS. You will want to add a set in every size to your wish list this year!

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Knit the Knitterati Squares with Marsha and Trish

With ten blocks down and six to go we feel like we are cruising quickly toward the end of the Cascade Knitterati KAL and our feelings are mixed at this point. We’re happy to soon wrap up in the fruits of our labour, but sad at the same time that we are coming to an end to this fun and educational knit along. We can honestly say that we have learned a lot of new techniques as well as some helpful tricks of the trade.

Marsha tells us that Block #10 was one of her favourite squares to knit so far. “A quick and fun knit, none of the stitches were difficult but together they give the impression that this might be a more complicated knit”. Considering Marsha has done all of the tricky blocks so far, we can totally understand why she enjoyed this one so much!This week we are featuring Marsha’s photo of her square during the blocking process in an effort to emphasize the importance of blocking your knitting. Blocking is a crucial final step when completing a project, it opens up your knitting and allows your yarn to bloom. If you are taking the time to make something by hand, take the time to block, it’s always worth the extra effort.

Block #11 was released this week and Team Estelle member Trish volunteered to do the honours. A self proclaimed cable lover, Trish was more than happy to get started on this block.

Talented knitting instructor and designer Amy Herzog cleverly designed Block #11. Amy’s sweater designs have been featured in Twist Collective, Knitscene, Interweave Knits, Knitty, and more. This simple combination of seed stitch and cables make for an impressive block that will stand out nicely among the others once assembled.

Having completed her current wip’s and with nothing on the needles, Trish was keen to get Block #11 started as soon as it was released. Not a fan of using a cable needle, Trish was pleased to find that even with an eight stitch cable, Cascade 220 Superwash Merino didn’t split when working the cables without a cable needle.

It’s never too late to join in on the fun! Even though we are eleven blocks in, if you follow the Ravelry thread for the Cascade Knitterati KAL you will see that knitters are still signing up to participate. All you need to do is enter your email address here to register to receive the pattern installments every three weeks. There are no rules, you can knit at your own pace and enjoy learning new techniques while you create this show-stopping lapghan.

We love seeing all the photos of your wip’s and finished blocks so please keep sending them to cascadegradientlapghan@estelledesigns.ca.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

 

King Cole Yarns Vlog

Many of you remember the days when the only way you got to see new yarns was on the pages of your favourite knitting magazine or when new stock came in at your LYS. Now that new products can be viewed quickly and conveniently online, King Cole is taking a different approach to the launch of their new lines.

Vlogs, or video blogs, are King Cole’s brilliant new way to show you in great detail, their new and upcoming yarns and patterns in a series of fun and informative YouTube videos.

Join charming hosts, Susan and Joanne, as they walk you through every little detail of the featured yarn. They describe each colourway with great precision, something we find really helpful considering computer monitors don’t always give us a true representation of colour. If you’re unsure about a certain colourway, these vlogs are the best way to find out. On top of that, they give all the products specs, fibre content and care instructions.

Have a look at this great video for Comfort Cheeky Chunky, a new yarn from King Cole this Fall. After Joanne gives the colour rundown, they take turns showing off the corresponding patterns, again in great detail. Pattern numbers are clearly indicated and there are samples for almost every pattern they feature.

 

It can be difficult to visualize what printed yarns like Comfort Cheeky Chunky will look like once they are knit up. These vlogs are an excellent tool that will allow you to view a finished product immediately. Say goodbye to guessing how a patterned yarn will look, now you can know for sure before you even leave your LYS.

Also new from King Cole, Twirly Tweed Chunky is a self-striping tweed that makes for fast projects that will appeal to everyone. The variety of samples that are shown in the vlog really show off the slow shift of colours and demonstrate Twirly Tweed Chunky‘s versatility. See what Joanne and Susan have to say about Twirly Tweed Chunky here.

 

Another great benefit of the vlog is being able to view all the other patterns included in each leaflet. For example, Pattern 5242 has four other crochet designs on the back of the leaflet, and Pattern 5241 has another three. Joanne and Susan offer useful tips on working with Twirly Tweed Chunky and answer all the questions you might have about colour matching.

In addition to product information videos, King Cole also offers video tutorials for some of the yarns that differ slightly from the norm. A perfect example is Tufty, a fur like yarn that is perfect for toys and stuffies. It can be hard to know how to get started with Tufty so being able to watch a quick, handy how-to video might just be the boost of confidence you need to try out a new yarn. Watch the quick video for Tufty here.

King Cole is always one step ahead when it comes to innovative ways to assist you in choosing the yarn and pattern for your next project. Why not make yourself a nice hot cuppa and join Susan and Joanne to find your next inspiration? We know you will be delighted by Susan’s infectious laugh and inspired by Joanne’s wealth of knowledge. Who knows, it may even motivate you to knit a jumper of your very own!

To view all of the King Cole videos, have a look at their YouTube channel here.

 

Estelle Lumiere

Last Fall we introduced Estelle Lumiere, our very own worsted weight, self-striping, wool and acrylic blend yarn. There was a lot of excitement around Lumiere – our Reps were eager to show off this great new addition to the Estelle line-up and stores were chomping at the bit to get it on their shelves.

Fast forward one year and Lumiere is still a huge hit in yarn shops all across the country. One might even go so far as to say that Lumiere is about as close to perfection as you can get – the perfect blend of 50% wool and 50% acrylic, perfect stitch definition and memory, and perfect the way the colours blend from one to the next.

While we know we can’t improve on perfection, we do think we can introduce it in a few new colourways.

Like all the shades in Lumiere, these three new luminescent variegated colourways are both enchanting and mesmerizing. Knitters and crocheters alike will get lost for hours with the hypnotic hues and the soft and delicate hand of Lumiere.

We are confident that you will fall for Lumiere as soon as you see it on the shelf of your LYS, but just to seal the deal, we’ve also got a great selection of superb free patterns for Lumiere on our website.

The timing couldn’t be better to knit any of these warm weather projects. Cowls, hats and mittens are fast and fun to knit, and are something we’ll all be needing soon enough.

Confetti Cowl is an excellent pattern for those looking to learn how to knit in the round, or for seasoned knitters who want a super trendy cowl without a lot of thinking. Simple stocking stitch with an occasional offset purl stitch make this one ball cowl an attractive addition to any winter wardrobe.

Slip-Stitch Hat & Double Cuff Mitts makes for a great weekend project and will guarantee you will be warm, comfortable and stylish. The hat knits up with just one ball of Lumiere, while the mittens take two balls. Mix up the colours for a fun and funky set, or keep it classic with a matching set.

Spring Garden Shawl is a refreshing break from the standard top-down shawl. Knit side-to-side in stocking stitch with vertical eyelets, this shawl really highlights the subtle striping of Lumiere.

If you’re looking for a fun, self striping yarn at an unbeatable price, look no further than Lumiere. And be sure to check out all our free patterns on our website. We’re pleased to say that there are many of them, so why not make yourself a nice hot cuppa and sit back and enjoy.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Knit the Knitterati Squares with Marsha & Trish – Block #10

On Wednesday the tenth block in the Cascade Knitterati Knit Along was released and we are really feeling like we’re on the home stretch. There is a great sense of accomplishment that comes with passing the halfway mark and knowing that the end is in sight. Not that we aren’t enjoying the journey, trust us, we’re loving every stitch, but knowing that we’re that much closer to enjoying the fruits of our labour makes it that much more exciting.

Block #9 was a refreshing break from cables and lace and knit up super quickly due to the easy to memorize pattern. Slipped stitches on a background of stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch made the pattern easy to see after just a few rows.Our volunteer knitter Trish, who is giving Marsha a chance to catch up on some of her other projects, was thrilled to step in with such an intuitive block. And since the release of Block #9 just happened to coincide with the release of the second season of Ozark on Netflix, Trish was even happier to have a block that didn’t require quite as much concentration as some of the others. There was one small errata in the cast off instructions for Block #9 that was caught early on and has since been updated. We knitters can certainly appreciate that mistakes do happen, and thankfully this minor detail was at the very end of the block.

Block #10 was designed by one of the most prolific and renowned designers, Sandi Prosser. You have probably seen some of Sandi’s patterns in just about every knitting magazine on the market including Vogue, Knit Simple and Creative Knitting. With over four hundred designs on Ravelry, you may have even used one of Sandi’s patterns in the past.

Marsha has stepped back in to knit Block #10 and tells us that it is starting off well with a fun mix of stitches – seed stitch, stocking stitch and cables. The wrong-side rows are simply knit the knits and purl the purls which gives a nice breather from the right-side rows.

With nine blocks completed we can still say with absolute certainty that every stitch with Cascade 220 Superwash Merino is a joy. It’s easy on the hands, glides effortlessly across the needles and shows off all the different stitches to perfection.

If you’re not yet participating in the Cascade Knitterati Knit Along, it’s not too late to sign up. Simply click here to register to receive the pattern installments every three weeks. There is no deadline to finish which means you can take your time and work away at your own pace.

Keep sending us the photos of your progress to cascadegradientlapghan@estelledesigns.ca, we love seeing your work!

 

Cascade Anthem and New Anthem Chunky

With Fall in full swing, it’s not just kids that are heading back to school, it’s knitters and crocheters as well! This is the time of year when many of you are busy signing up for classes in your LYS which often means you’re looking for an economical, easy care yarn that is available in a wide range of colours. Cascade Yarns has just the thing! Read on for all the details of a long standing favourite and a newcomer from Cascade that you won’t want to miss out on!

Anthem Worsted

Anthem is a soft, affordable 100% acrylic yarn that is machine washable and dryable. This worsted weight yarn is perfect for everything from afghans to kids’ clothes to sweaters, accessories and home decor!

Anthem is available in a palette of forty-two mouth-watering solid shades so there is certain to be something to please everyone!

Cascade Yarns has a terrific selection of free patterns available on their website for Anthem like this adorable Penguin Sweater or the super stylish Rushmore Jacket.

Anthem is available in 100-gram balls with 170 meters per ball. If that doesn’t get you whistling a tune the incredible selection of colours to choose from certainly will!

NEW Anthem Chunky

Anthem Chunky is a chunky version of our popular Anthem yarn. Anthem Chunky is just as soft, equally as affordable and is absolutely perfect for all your chunky needs. Great for quick knit gifts, warm blanket and charity knitting this acrylic yarn feels great and is a joy to work with on the needles.

Anthem Chunky is available in 200-gram balls and each ball packs an impressive 200 meters! A fast search on Ravelry yielded over sixty pattern options for baby items with just one ball! You know those precious sleep sacks everyone is making? That’s right, one ball of Anthem Chunky and presto, instant baby gift!

Anthem Chunky comes in twenty-four solid shades. Mix and match them for a fun striped blanket or keep it classic with one solid colour for a gorgeous cabled hat and mitten set. Whatever you decide to make, you simply can’t go wrong with Anthem or Anthem Chunky.

Check out Anthem and all the other great yarns from Cascade Yarns at your LYS today.

King Cole Flowers In Window Crochet-Along

In this industry it sometimes feels like crochet gets the short end of the stick, no pun intended. It seems like there are all kinds of Knit-Alongs going on, but we don’t see nearly as many Crochet-Alongs. Our good friends at King Cole are here to change that!! On September 24th, King Cole is launching the Flowers In The Window CAL and we don’t think there could be a better way to kick off Fall than with this fun and informative Crochet Along. Geared towards new crocheters or those with little experience, this sensational afghan CAL is sure to inspire you to try your hand at something new.

Every two weeks, King Cole will release a free pattern on their blog. This CAL is aimed at those who haven’t had much practice with crochet, as King Cole will demonstrate step-by-step how to complete each section using written instructions, as well as pictures and charts. If you ever wanted to hone your crochet skills, this sounds like the project for you!

King Cole has chosen the ever popular, Big Value DK 50g for this dramatic afghan. Washer and dryer friendly, Big Value DK 50g is the perfect choice in case of a spill while curled up under this cuddly throw. 

Many of you may already be familiar with Big Value DK as the 100 gram balls have been a long standing staple in fine yarn shops. This 100% premium acrylic is buttery soft to the touch and is perfect for anything from baby blankets to stuffies, socks and sweaters. But King Cole know that you don’t always need a big ball of yarn for every project and they are now offering Big Value DK in 50 gram balls and the response has been astounding. With over thirty shades to choose from you’re sure to find every colour you wanted and even some you didn’t know you wanted!

Because we know just how popular the Flowers In The Window CAL is going to be, we’ve put together kits with the required number of balls in each of the eight impressive shades. Each kit contains thirty-four balls of Big Value DK 50g, enough to complete this impressive throw. Ask the helpful staff at your LYS if they have the kits for the Flowers In The Window CAL and be sure to visit the King Cole blog on September 24th for the first pattern installment. We’re fairly sure that once you try crochet you’ll be hooked!

 

 

New from Cascade – Melilla Fingering

Cascade Melilla is a favourite here at Estelle. There’s just something about its warm, soft coziness and its incredible colour transitions, there really is nothing like it. Well, there wasn’t – until Cascade introduced Melilla Fingering.

Like its big sister, Melilla Fingering is comprised of 45% silk, 35% wool and 20% nylon, an ideal blend for drape, durability and breathability. The rich silk content is lusciously apparent in Melilla making it the perfect choice for fibre enthusiasts who love the nubby, thick and thin qualities of raw silk. Knitters and crocheters alike will relish each and every stitch.

Many of you have already worked with Melilla and have developed the same fondness for it that we have and we know you will be delighted to see it in a finer weight. Let’s face it, fingering weight yarns with a long colour transition are coveted in the fibre world, and the rustic nature of Melilla Fingering just adds to the charm.

And speaking of charming, Team Estelle member Trish, sent us this picture of a lovely shawl she knit using only one ball of Melilla Fingering which not only highlights the distinct colourways but the amazing yardage as well!

Both Melilla and Melilla Fingering are a single ply yarn that transition through eight colours per colourway. One thing is for sure, the knitting never gets dull with this yarn! The vibrant shades and rapid colour progression make for a very addictive knitting experience.

Melilla Fingering is available in seven kaleidoscopic shades that will catch your eyes the minute you walk in to your LYS. With these tempting colourways we think you’ll be hard pressed to leave with just one!

Melilla is available in twenty-one colours, and seven of those are the new colourways featured above. The long colour transition is appealing to new knitters who want wide stripes but are often intimidated by joining new yarns, as well as seasoned knitters who simply don’t want to have to think about changing colours. We think Melilla would be a great way to get your knitting group back on track this Fall with a fast and fun Knit Along, and Cascade has a ton of free patterns on their website for inspiration such as the Plum Crazy Wrap and Rusadir Scarf.

If you’re looking for a long transition yarn that is affordable and delectable, stop in to your LYS and ask to see Melilla and Melilla Fingering. With Cascade Yarns we always know we are getting the best!

 

Knit the Knitterati Squares with Marsha – Block #9

Block #9 in the Cascade Knitterati KAL was released on Wednesday and if you’ve been keeping up with the knitting this means you are now halfway done! What a great feeling, knowing that you are halfway to completing your masterpiece, knowing that your hands have created this amazing stack of blocks that will soon become something you will treasure forever. Congratulations knitters! Give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it!

Block #8, what can we say? We love you, but we’re happy to be done with you. This one required a lot of concentration, not for Netflix and knitting that’s for sure! Fortunately, our star knitter Marsha loves a challenge, and lace and cables, so the combination of all three was irresistible.

Marsha said that once she got a rhythm going with Block #8 it was smooth sailing. Isn’t that just the best part about knitting? That initial apprehension, the “can I do this”? And then that amazing realization that yes, I can do this! Knitting is so much more than just making something, it promotes confidence and motivates us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. It really is no wonder that we see so many articles today on the benefits of knitting.

Block #9 features slip stitch ribs that span the horizontal knit and purl ridges in an alternating basketweave pattern. The slipped stitches and horizontal welts create a pillowy texture that will pleasantly compliment the more intricate blocks.

Marsha wanted to get caught up on her shawl knitting so Team Estelle member, Trish, stepped in for Block #9. Mari Lynn Patrick cleverly designed this intuitive pattern with a simple repeat that is easy to see and a breeze to knit. Upon reading the pattern in full, the best part was that little line at the end under finishing that read “Do not block”! You won’t have to tell us that twice! While we all understand the importance of blocking, we sure love not having to do it from time to time!

We are into our ninth ball of Cascade 220 Superwash Merino and we simply can’t say enough about it. The stitch definition is second to none and the colour selection is out of this world. Not just for afghans, Cascade 220 Superwash Merino is a fantastic choice for sweaters, hats and mittens too. Let’s not forget baby knits either, this buttery soft machine washable merino is number one for all things baby.

It’s never too late to join in on the Cascade Knitterati KAL. There is no pressure to keep up or to knit each and every block. It’s all about having fun and learning new techniques along the way. Sign up here to receive the patterns via email every three weeks.

We love seeing all the pictures you’ve shared with us so please keep sending them to cascadegradientlapghan@estelledesigns.ca.