Estelle Yarns Blog

A blog to excite and inspire knitters and crocheters from around the world.

Month: September 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Knitting For a Cure

With October being the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness, we thought that our next few blog posts should be tied into that theme. Especially due to the fact that unfortunately, every single knitter and crocheter on this earth has been affected by cancer in some way or another. And while there are fewer realities more troubling than that, knowing that we can make even the smallest amount of difference through our craft can help- if even only just a little bit.

Diane from Diane’s Creative Elements in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario recently sent us some photos of her store’s second annual ‘Knit To Find A Cure’ event that her store hosted this past July. Tents were set up, snacks, drinks and entertainment were provided, yarn was donated… and local knitters gathered together to KNIT!

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Two blankets were made using Cascade Pacific, and dozens of pairs of slippers were knit and crocheted in King Cole’s Big Value Super Chunky in support of the local hospital’s oncology unit.

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Last year was Diane’s first year hosting the event, and she had twelve knitters gather. Together they managed to raise $1200.00 in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This year Diane managed to rally 20 knitters, and $3600.00 was collected- that’s triple the amount raised last year!

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To read more about this event, click here to read the article posted in the West Nipissing Tribune this past July. And for those of you who live in the Sturgeon Falls area, be sure to follow Diane’s Creative Elements on Facebook to find out how you can get involved in next year’s event!

Congratulations on a job VERY well done ladies!

Knitting and Crocheting for Good Health

A good friend of ours sent us a link to an article that she said had been circulating amongst her Facebook friends this past weekend.

The theme of the article? ‘Health Benefits for Those Who Stick To Their Knitting’.

Naturally, this headline didn’t surprise any of us at Estelle Yarns one bit. All knitters and crocheters know how great our craft can make us feel (aside from the odd project that fails miserably on us…) However, being that the article was written for The Sacramento Bee’s website (and not an online knitting publication), we are sure that a few eyebrows were raised and hopefully, a few eyes were opened.

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Knitting for health. Now that’s a concept we can get behind…

The article states that working with yarn can improve one’s mental health, cognitive function and hand health, keeping arthritis and tendinitis at bay.

Those of us who already knit or crochet know how knitting can impact our lives in a positive way, but stumbling upon articles like this one just confirm what we already know. And sometimes… that feels pretty darned good!

So for those of you out there who have family members and friends who love to give you a hard time when you pull out your latest project at a dinner party- be sure to send them this link! 

Before you know it… they just might be asking you to teach them how to knit.

Isis by Jan Henley- Free Pattern Friday

The theme of today’s free pattern is ‘versatility’. One quick look, and you will see what we mean! This piece can not only be worn in a wide variety of ways, but it is knit in a beautiful self-striping yarn by King Cole called Riot Chunky. When an accessory is as colourful as this one is, it can be worn with pretty much anything that you might have in your closet!

This garment is knit as a rectangle, and can be worn as a wrap, a scarf, or buttoned up as a cowl or a snood. Click here to view the Ravelry page for this pattern, which includes further details on how you can wear this multi-use piece.

This pattern was originally printed in the Christmas 2013 edition of a British knitting magazine called Let’s Knit! The good news is that it is now being offered for free through their website. The only catch? You must simply sign up for their newsletter to access the pattern.

So if you ask us- that’s a double win! A fantastic free pattern, with a newsletter to boot!

So enjoy today’s free pattern knitters! Have some fun playing with colour combinations, and if you do decide to knit this pattern up-  be sure to share your finished project with us!

Happy knitting everyone!

Giant Wooden Knitting Needles

Way back in May, we gave all of you lovely knitters and readers a sneak peek at a new yarn called Estelle Big Time. We were really excited about this hugely chunky, soft yarn, and the good news is- it should be arriving on our doorstep any day now! This (of course) translates to mean that it will be arriving on the doorstep of your favourite local yarn shop any day after that!

The thing with the Estelle Big Time however, is that you will find you might need unusually large needles to knit it- and it would seem as though those are often very difficult to come by.

Well, the good news is that giant wooden knitting needles have arrived at Estelle Yarns this week, and we have been shipping them out as quickly as we can unpack them!

Giant Wood Needles

Available in seven chunky sizes ranging from 12mm to 25mm, they are all 60cm in length, making them perfect for any large scale project that you might have in mind.

If you are a local yarn shop reading this, and don’t happen to have any on order, click here to view them on our website and place your order today.

And if you are a knitter who is simply itching to get their hands on a set of these, click here to find a local yarn shop near you.  Be sure to give them a call to see when they might be in stock!

Happy knitting everyone!

Another Finished KAL Sweater!

We were absolutely delighted to find an email in our inbox recently from a knitter named Amanda who just recently finished her KAL sweater. What a fantastic surprise that was!

The colours she chose are so sweet, her workmanship impeccible, and to top it all off… it’s her first sweater! Congratulations on a sweater well done Amanda! You should be so incredibly proud of this! Whoever ends up wearing this is one very lucky little person!

And to the rest of you who may still be knitting away on your KAL sweaters (we know you’re out there…) Don’t be shy! Make sure that you send us some photos of your finished sweater to lynn@estelledesigns.ca or marsha@estelleyarns.com.

Seeing other knitter’s finished projects is such an inspiring thing for yarn lovers like us, so don’t be shy! It is food for our soul.

Thank you again Amanda! We look forward to seeing your next completed sweater in our inbox soon! (No pressure though…)

Cables and Lace Cardigan by Melissa Leapman- Free Pattern Friday

It has been a while since we posted a sweater pattern on the blog, so being that it’s the middle of September, it feels as though the time has come. All of us knitters are dreaming of cooler days and crunchy leaves (some quite happily, some might consider these dreams to have more of a nightmare-ish quality to them), but perhaps the thought of a new knitting pattern might help ease the pain, for those that are mourning the loss of Summer.

This cardigan is a new release from Cascade Yarns, and is knit using their popular worsted weight yarn, Cascade 220 Superwash. The range of colours that the 220 Superwash is available in is truly mind-boggling, and it is readily available in local yarn shops across the country. (Heck… it’s available in shops across the WORLD for that matter!)

Should you not be such a fan of wool, worry not! Cascade has got you covered. Have a look at the Cascade Pacific, or Cascade Cherub Aran. All of these yarns will work to the same gauge as the sweater requires, are well priced, and also have a great selection of colours to choose from. Just remember however, that no matter what yarn you decide to go with- make sure you SWATCH!

Cascade 220 SW Sweater

Cables and Lace Cardigan, designed by Melissa Leapman

This cardigan is a classic, and will hold the interest of most any knitter. It is a great pattern for early intermediate knitters to jump into to learn a few new techniques, and is also great for the more advanced knitter, looking for a little something to hold their interest, but not hurt their brain.

To get your hands on this fabulous pattern, click here.

Happy knitting everyone!

Borgo de Pazzi Baby Surprise Jacket

The wonderful thing about knitting is that you can give a group of knitters the same pattern, and be absolutely certain that each project will turn out entirely different from the next. Take our KAL for example! We provided a pattern, and then you all dug deep into your creative selves, and knit up some truly one-of-a-kind pieces! It was such a joy to see.

One pattern that has been knit over and over and OVER again, but never ceases to delight and ‘surprise’ us each time it is re-knit, is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket. According to the BSJ project page on Ravelry, over 25,000 knitters have made this! And surely, many more will continue to do so in the years to come. This pattern is a classic!

Our friend Chiara over at Borgo de Pazzi sent us these photos last week of two versions of this popular pattern. Not only does the jacket look ‘surprisingly’ different in the two different yarns, but the two sweet models have also brought their very own personal touch to each garment.

Version number one was knit using Borgo’s Naturalia Degrade. The multi-coloured yarn really highlights the unique construction of this garment, as the eye is drawn in the various directions that the pattern has taken the knitter.  The way the colours have worked out in this version, it looks colour blocked!

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The second version of the BSJ that Chiara knit was done using the Borgo de Pazzi Cedro. See what we mean? Same pattern, different yarn, completely different end effect. This time around, Chiara used three contrasting colours, and striped them throughout, once again highlighting the unique construction of this sweater, but in an entirely different way.

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As mentioned up above, if you want to see the same sweater take on yet another life of it’s own- get someone else to model it! While it looks fantastic on this sweet little boy, paired with those fabulous red boots- look at it being modelled by his older sister!

So stylish!

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And what would a photo shoot be without a group shot?

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We love this picture!

Thank you once again for sharing these photos with us Chiara!

To view Chiara’s Ravelry project page, click here.

Happy knitting everyone!

Baby Alpaca DK by Estelle Yarns

A new yarn just rolled into the Estelle Yarns warehouse, and it has us all incredibly excited! It’s alpaca, it’s incredibly soft, the colours are classic and heathered, and it is a DK weight.  Basically… it’s pretty much exactly what every knitter is looking for this time of year as we start to think of the cooler weather.

The yarn is by Estelle, and it is called Baby Alpaca DK.  We really didn’t want to beat around the bush with this one, so the name tells you everything you need to know! The fibre, the gauge… it’s all right there on the ball band.

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And as for the quality… Well, that’s a tricky thing to convince you of, unless you touch it yourself. Which we urge you to do! Because once you give a ball of this beautiful yarn a little squeeze, you’ll be sold.

Just like we were.

So give your local yarn shop a call to see when they will be receiving their shipment of this yarn (it’s in stock now!), and then be prepared to buy a ball or two (or twenty).

Happy knitting everyone!

1-Skein Cable Cowl Amendment- Free Pattern Friday

Today we are going to feature a free pattern that is a new addition to the Estelle Pad Pattern collection, and we chose this pattern to share with you today for two reasons.

Reason 1- It’s a really great pattern! We love it! And we are quite certain that you will also love it. It’s quick, it’s simple, but there is also some room to learn a new technique or two, depending on your knitting skill set. (But isn’t that always the case?)

Reason 2- A possible amendment to the pattern has been brought to our attention, so we thought that we would also bring it to yours.

But first things first- the pattern! The pattern is called 1-Skein Cable Cowl by the talented Helen Firing, and uses only one skein (as the name of the pattern suggests) of a new yarn from Estelle- Big Alpaca Bulky. This yarn is soft, this yarn is chunky, and this yarn is available in yarn shops across the country, making it the PERFECT addition to your stash. Not to mention, this cowl also makes the PERFECT addition to your WIP (Works In Progress) pile!

Estelle Big Alpaca Bulky

In addition to one skein of Big Alpaca Bulky, this pattern also calls for the use of 12mm/40cm circular needles, which is where the pattern amendment comes in.

It has been brought to our attention that unfortunately, these needles are not the easiest to come by. So we have come up with two suggestions for you, and hopefully they will help you out some.

If finding those elusive 12mm/40cm needles is making you crazy (or discouraging you from knitting this cowl!), then worry not, because you can always use double pointed needles! While the thought of knitting with four (and sometimes five!) needles at a time is enough to scare many knitters away from a project entirely- don’t let it! It is really not as difficult as it sounds. If you have never used this technique before, this cowl might just be the perfect first project to test the ‘double-pointed-needles water’ with. It’s chunky, it’s quick, and you will feel such a sense of accomplishment when you cast off your first project using double pointed needles.

For a great YouTube video on how this technique is achieved, be sure to check out Very Pink Knit’s tutorial by clicking on this link.  (As a sidenote, her videos are fantastic, so be sure to check out her YouTube channel in its entirety!)

Another great option for knitting in the round is Magic Loop. This technique requires a circular needle, but one much longer than you would typically use when knitting a snug fitting cowl in the round.

In this case, the 1-Skein Cable Cowl calls for needles that are 40cm in length. However, should you choose to knit this project using the Magic Loop technique,  you would want to get your hands on some needles that are still 12mm, but that are at least 80cm in length.

The reason for this is that your stitches will be divided in half, and the excess cord will be pulled through your stitches at the halfway point. You will still be knitting in the round, and when you get to the end of the stitches, you will simply pull the cord through the other side, and carry on.

While it sounds incredibly tricky in writing, watching it on YouTube is a great way to make this technique ring clear in your mind.

Click here to see how Very Pink Knits shows us how to knit using the Magic Loop technique.

So, there you have it dear knitters! Not only do we have a free pattern for you, we also have some new techniques for you to explore!

We hope that you all enjoy your knitting- and your weekend!

Fall Trends in Knitwear

Fall is happening. It’s September, the kids are back at school, and there is simply no escaping it!  And while so many of us groan at the thought of cooler days and crunchy leaves, it is nice to know that pretty soon, our handknits are going to come in VERY handy.

Which brings us to… Fall trends! What is the rest of the non-knitting world wearing this Fall? And how can we carry those trends over to our craft?

After browsing through some of the hottest fashion sites, we stumbled upon a few trends that any knitter or crocheter could easily incorporate into their knitting/crochet basket (should they be the type to follow trends that is…)

First up- the faux fur stole.  It’s a known fact that there are a lot of furry yarns out there these days… and it seems that a lot of yarn lovers don’t know what on earth to do with them! And yet, many of us find ourselves gravitating towards those ‘fur balls’ at our local yarn shop, each and every time we walk in. With so many of the faux fur yarns being made so well these days, (they would have any furrier fooled!) it is a great way to incorporate a little ‘fluff’ into your wardrobe, without hurting any of our four-legged friends.

Some yarn suggestions? Why King Cole Luxe Fur of course! What a great yarn! Available in a range of multi-textured shades, it has the look and feel of real fur- but it isn’t.  And should you want to go really over the top? Why not add some sparkle? King Cole Tinsel is certainly sparkly, and makes no bones about the fact that it is ‘faux’.  In fact.. it embraces it!

If knitting an entire stole out of fur isn’t for you, then maybe you will want to just throw in a row or two in a scarf, or perhaps as some trim around a button band. A little fur can make a garment ‘a lot’ glam, so don’t be shy to add a touch of it to your next project!

Another trend that has been lingering for a while now, but that we just cannot get enough of is neon! And we’re not talking about the neon of the eighties and nineties, where it was the brighter, the better… We are talking about adding little bits and pops to an otherwise very neutral (and dare we say, ‘tame’?) outfit.

When it comes to your knitting, add a neon pompom to your toque, add a stripe of something shocking to a scarf or maybe even knit the cuffs of a sweater in some bright, bold shade all whilst keeping the rest somewhat tame and neutral. It’s up to you! If bright and bold all over is more your style, then what’s stopping you?

As far as neon yarns go- Lang has got you covered. Their latest range of sock yarns certainly do glow, so maybe a pair of neon socks, paired with some classic pants and shoes is right up your alley. Mille Colori is also a great choice when it comes to neon and brights (as the name suggests), so why not whip up a scarf to add some POP to your otherwise plain black winter ensemble? That way, you can invest in a fantastic, classic winter coat that will carry you through the years, but follow the trends with your evolving winter accessories.

And lastly, some chunky knits. Big sweaters, big cables… What more could you want come the cooler months??? Not only are these on trend- they’re classic! It seems that ‘chunky knits’ hits the Fall Trends  shortlist every year. So think of a chunky sweater as  an investment in your wardrobe!

Lucky for all of us knitters and crocheters, we have some really great chunky yarns at Estelle these days. Cascade Magnum is a classic fave- and an EXTRA chunky option. If you are looking for something that’s not quite so chunky, Cascade Eco Wool is a great yarn. It is chunky enough to knit up quickly, and wooly enough to keep you warm, even on the coldest of days.  If you aren’t so into the feeling of ‘wooly-wool’ however, King Cole has a great alternative- Big Value Super Chunky. It is 100% acrylic, and as the name suggests, it is available at a great price point!

So there you have it dear knitters. Lots of inspiration for when you feel ready to cast on your next project. Whether it’s furry, neon, chunky, or something completely of your own imagination! It’s sure to provide you with hours of entertainment, and years of wear!

Happy creating!

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