New to Estelle Yarns- Urth

Imagine a yarn that is incredibly soft to touch, available in an irresistibly bold self-striping palette, supports unemployed local woman as well as comes from a company that makes a commitment to helping the environment whenever possible.

Does this all sound too good to be true?

Well, it isn’t.

Urth is a company located in Turkey, that we are so happy to welcome into the Estelle Yarns family, and we are certain that once you get a skein of their yarn into those hands of yours, you will agree with us. It is simply gorgeous! All of the community work and environmental initiatives that they are involved in, are just the cherry on the already delicious cake!

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Uneek is a yarn that is produced by Urth, available in three different weights; fingering, worsted and chunky. Composed of 100% Superwash Extrafine Merino, the Uneek collection of yarn is available in a range of alluring self striping shades. With some colourways being tonal, some subtle, and some vivid and loud, there is a colourway for every knitter, every crocheter, and every winter coat out there

Uneek Fingering contains 400 meters of Superwash Merino Wool, and is available in 14 gorgeous shades. Since there is no nylon in this yarn, we advise you to be careful if attempting to knit socks in it, as it may wear out quickly! However, socks are not entirely out of the question. Nor are shawls, lightweight mitten liners, slouchy hats, baby sweaters… the list goes on!

Still not sure what to knit with it? Also available from Urth, using the Uneek Fingering is a free pattern for this Swing Tank Top. Simply click this link to get your hands on it today!

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Uneek Swing Tank Top, designed by Juan R. Alcantar and Lois Horychata for Urth yarns

Uneek Worsted is a 100 gram skein of yarn, containing 200 meters. Also available in 14 shades, this yarn is perfect for winter accessories, cardigans and pullovers. Or maybe you’re feeling inspired to knit a pair of mittens for everyone in your family this Christmas! One skein will produce one pair- so you had better get cracking! The holidays will be here before you know it.

And finally, the Uneek Chunky knits up at 8 sts / 10 cm, and has 60 meters on a 100 gram skein. Once again available in fourteen beautiful self striping shades, it is tempting to want to knit a pair of socks in the fingering weight, with a matching hat in the worsted weight and a coordinated cowl in the chunky. Wouldn’t you agree?

Urth yarns will be available at fine local yarn shops across Canada by mid-October 2017, so be sure to call your LYS to place your order today!

And to read more about Urth yarns, and what they are doing for their community, as well as the environment, click here to read their “About Us” page. 

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Making Sense of Crochet Terminology- with Beth Major

Try as we might, we just don’t talk about crochet on this blog as much as we would like to. Admittedly, our lack of crochet chatter would be because none of us are really all that well versed in crochet around the Estelle Yarns offices. (Embarrassing- but true!) Fortunately for us however, we recently met up with Beth Major, a prolific crochet designer who can be found on Ravelry and other social media outlets as TheCrochetGypsy. 

Having been an avid crocheter for over forty years, and a certified crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council of America for over ten years, Beth is someone we felt confident in asking for a little crochet help. Wouldn’t you?

Beth has also been publishing crochet designs for over eight years now, and we are excited to announce that she will be launching a few designs for Estelle Yarns in the coming months, so be sure to stay tuned for that!

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Beth has been kind enough to write a blog post for us today, explaining the difference between North American and UK crochet terminology, as it can certainly be confusing for newbie crocheters out there- especially since there is some overlap between the terms. (Same term- different stitch!)

We hope that by the end of this post, any uncertainties that you may have will be cleared up- and you can finally get to hooking!

But before we get startd, we would like to extend a big Thank You to you Beth for clearing up some of our crocheting queries. We look forward to getting started with our hooks!


What’s in a Stitch?

If you are anything like me, you have found the PERFECT yarn, scoured Ravelry for the PERFECT pattern and have excitedly dove into your new project, only to realize about halfway through that something isn’t quite right. Your work doesn’t look anything like the picture, or the size is just wrong- very wrong. Unless you are one of the very few of us that diligently work up the gauge swatch for EVERY pattern, you have likely been caught in this situation. What the heck is going on? The pattern is saying DC (double crochet) why is your work HUGE compared to the pic?

Congratulations/condolences! You have fallen into the UK/US terminology trap.

Just a few of Beth’s designs

Okay. Admittedly, talking about crochet stitches is boring for most people. A real snooze-fest in fact! I mean really, unless you are an avid crochet geek like me, who cares? Well, download one pattern written in English … but not English … at least not the English you understand, and it might as well be in Russian.

In crochet terms, depending on which side of the pond you hail from, different crochet stitches have the same term and abbreviation and it is wonderfully confusing especially for the novice crocheter.

In the chart below, I have illustrated the comparisons.

Type of stitch Name of Stitch US Name of stitch UK Number or wraps on hook before starting the stitch
Foundation Chain (CH) Chain (CH) 0
Smallest Slip Stitch (SL ST) Slip Stitch (SL ST) 0
Shortest Single Crochet (SC) Double Crochet (DC) 0
Medium Half Double Crochet (HDC) Half Treble Crochet (HTR) 1
Tall Double Crochet (DC) Treble Crochet (TR) 1
Tallest Treble Crochet (TR) Double Treble 2

In UK terms, there is no such thing as a ‘single crochet’. They do create that stitch but they call it ‘double crochet’. This stitch is where the divergence begins. I have thought often about why that may be and I have realized that there are simply different ways to describe how to create the shortest of the crochet stitches.

To create the shortest stitch, the steps are as follows:
Step 1: Insert your hook into the stitch
Step 2: Yarn over
Step 3: Pull up that loop through the stitch
Step 4: Yarn over again
Step 5: Pull yarn through two loops on the hook.

For the taller stitches: you repeat steps 4 and 5 until there is one loop left on the hook.

The difference comes from where you start counting the creation of the stitch.
In US terms, the stitch name comes from the number of ‘yarn overs’ you do AFTER you pull the loop up through the stitch (step 3). So, in US terms, for single crochet there is only one ‘yarn over’ after step 3 therefore the term single crochet. For double crochet, there are two ‘yarn overs’ after step 3 therefore the term double crochet.

In UK terms, ALL ‘yarn overs’ are considered in the naming of the stitch. So, because the
shortest stitch has a yarn over in step 2 and one in step 4, the stitch is called ‘double crochet’.

Clear as mud? I thought so! So … now what? You know why, but the question remains “How do I fix it?”

Tip #1: Be diligent with making sure the pattern you want is in the terms you understand! Ravelry has become quite good with labeling crochet patterns with UK or US terms. (Thanks Ravelry!! You Rock!)

Tip #2: If you are finding patterns on a yarn website (ex. Estelle, King Cole, etc.) try to determine where the company is located as this will determine which terms are used. Same thing goes for magazines! Try to figure out where they are published.

Tip #3: Email the pattern designer and ask!! They always love to hear from people who love their patterns and are usually quite happy to help if they can.

Tip #4: When you already have a pattern and need it translated, try this trick in your word processor.

  • Copy and paste the pattern into a word processing program.
  • Then perform the “Find and Replace” function to quickly change all the terms from one method of terminology to another.
  • For example, for a UK pattern to US terms, ‘find’ the ‘DC’ and ‘replace’ with ‘SC’ and select ‘Replace All’ to quickly convert it to a US pattern so that you can crochet it.beth sock final sideview

So there you have it. Easy Peasy! Now you know how to get out of the US/UK term trap. Or, at least avoid it in the first place!

Happy crocheting everyone!

Ravelry Spotlight- Estelle Eco Andean Projects

Our Estelle Eco Andean DK is a yarn that has been a part of the Estelle Yarns range for a few years now. Available in a range of eight, warm, natural tones, and more recently in fifteen Heather shades (known as Andean DK Heathers), this non-superwash, DK weight, 100% wool is wonderful for those of us who love the feeling of working with (and wearing!) real wool. Softly spun, but durable enough for hard wearing garments and accessories, the Eco Andean DK is available in a 100 gram skein, with a whopping 350 meters worth of yardage.

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As we tend to do from time to time, we recently did a search on Ravelry to see what people have been making with this yarn. It should come as no surprise to you all, that what we found knocked our socks off! You people are an incredibly talented bunch! And you certainly know how to make our yarn sing. After contacting a few talented knitters and crocheters, all of whom had put the Eco Andean DK to good use, we requested their permission to share their work with you. Without a doubt, these ladies and their work are an inspiration, and we hope that you enjoy admiring their finished projects as much as we have!

Upon our initial Ravelry search, we came across the talented crocheter,  Gemma, otherwise known as imgonnastitch on Ravelry. Gemma crocheted her Acute Sweater using just four skeins of Eco Andean Wool DK in the colourway Dark Grey.

 

This sweater is simply gorgeous! We love the ultra flattering lines, in particular, the subtle textured V that is worked into the waistline. The cozy funnel neck is perfect for staying warm, but is not so restrictive, that one could not easily wrap a scarf around their neck. And finally, crocheting an adult sized sweater in only four skeins of yarn is incredible value if you ask us. No matter the yarn!

Laurie V knit her project titled Gansey Hoodie using five skeins of our Eco Andean DK wool, in the shade Light Grey. While we are all about embracing the warmer weather that is slowly coming upon us in this part of the country, this sweater is enough to make us almost find ourselves actually craving the cooler months once again. With a gorgeous textured pattern running down the front of the sweater, flanked by some pure and simple stocking stitch, the stitchwork can take centre stage.

 

With a handy kangaroo pocket, allowing for the stealthy storage of tissues, lip balm and a cell phone, this sweater would be a very difficult one to peel off, once on! And to top it all off- it has a hood! Who doesn’t love pulling on a hood while curled up on the couch, binge watching their favourite series on TV?

Josée knit her own design, Monica (named after the neurotic but oh-so-stylish character on the hit TV series Friends), using our Eco Adean DK in the Natural colourway. Classic, timeless, absolutely gorgeous, this sweater would look perfect with your favourite pair of jeans, or even dressed up with a pencil skirt and heels! Monica certainly wouldn’t hesitate to switch it up, so why should you?

 

As it happens, Josée is a rather prolific pattern designer, and we strongly encourage you to check out her full collection of designs on her Ravelry pattern page. Thank you for using our yarn to create this design Josée! It truly is a classic.

Amy Jane/thejasperpatch knit her Portland Pullover using only 3 skeins of Eco Andean DK Wool in shade 8, Milk Chocolate.

A couple of modifications were made to the pattern by Amy Jane, such as adding a faux seam along the sides by adding a single purl stitch, along with some subtle waist shaping. She added some garter repeats on the hemline, in order to match the cuffs, and knit the neck just until she ran out of yarn. Take any sweater pattern, add some subtle tweaks, and it becomes uniquely yours! And Amy has done just that. It looks fantastic on her! And we love that she took it out for a spin on the snowshoes, to put it to the ultimate test.

 

Since hand knitting or crocheting a DK weight pullover is not something that generally takes place over a weekend, you may be looking to cast on one of these sweaters as your Summer project!  That way, you will have something to keep you cozy from the crisp Fall air when it finally arrives. Our hope that these sweaters have served as a bit of inspiration to you all, much as they did for us.

We would like to thank each one of the talented ladies who gave us permission to use their photos, and gush over their work with you today. Be sure to check out their Ravelry pages, leave comments and ask questions about their work! They really are a truly talented bunch.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Twist Fibre Festival- August 19-20

For those of you in the Ottawa/Montreal region, there is a fibre festival coming near you, that we are pretty certain you will not want to miss.

Nestled approximately halfway between Ottawa and Montreal in St-André-Avellin, Quebec, Twist Fibre Festival claims to be the largest of it’s kind in Canada. With an extensive class list, offering a wide variety of workshops in both French and English, this festival is not to be missed!

What sets the Twist Fibre Festival apart from all other fibre festivals, is that it’s not just about knitting and crocheting- rather, it is about everything fibre related! With a selection of classes and vendors covering everything from knitting to beading to weaving to felting to rug hooking to dying to arrowsash (something we would love to know more about!) to embroidery to spinning, there is truly something to interest everyone in your family and social circle!

So why not gather up a few of your favourite people and make a road trip of it? Head up to the Ottawa/Montreal region to buy some fibre craft related supplies from fantastic vendors and take a few classes from a wildly talented roster of people.

Well known yarn dyer Julie Asselin (pictured above) will be teaching several workshops, including one on colour theory, as well as Hand Dying yarn: The Hand Painted Method. Designer extraordinaire Bristol Ivy will be found teaching a few Brioche classes, and Alana Wilcox, a truly talented spinner will be teaching four different classes, Novelty Yarn, Fibre Prep/Carding, 12+ Ways to Spin a Hand Painted Top for Colour, and Spin for a Project.

Not only is the class selection varied, there is also a selection of classes aimed at the younger crowd!  So bring your best knitting buddy, and bring your teenagers! This is truly an event that will appeal to all walks of life.

So if you are looking for something a little different to keep you out of trouble over the latter days of Summer break, book yourself some accommodationssave some dollars for the marketplace of over 140  fantastic vendors, and let the countdown begin!

For more information on this exciting event, please click here to explore the Twist Fibre Festival website. And be sure to let us know if you plan on going! Maybe, we just might see you there!

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

New Yarn- Manos Serpentina

Manos del Uruguay is well known for their vibrant colours and truly unbelievably soft fibre blends. It is impossible to imagine knitting or crocheting anything in a Manos yarn, that is not absolutely gorgeous.

And while Manos has never been afraid of colour or texture, they are pulling out all the stops with their latest yarn, Serpentina.

Serpentina is hand spun in Uruguay, using 100% Superwash Merino wool. With a thick and thin texture, and subtle blips of colour popped throughout, this yarn will be an absolute pleasure to both knit, and wear.

Everyone here at the Estelle office has already been plotting what we will each knit with the Serpentina once we get a skein or two of it into our hands. One of us wants mittens with a contrasting cuff (maybe using some Cascade 220?), one of us wants to knit a squishy cowl, and one of us is dreaming of incorporating a few rows of it it into an afghan for the living room.

Unsure of what to do with a single skein of handspun? We cruised some images on Pinterest, and came up with some incredibly inspiring ideas! So don’t be scared to purchase that skein- even if you are unsure what to do with it. There are plenty of projects that can a single skein of handspun can be easily incorporated into. And besides, no one said that you could only purchase just one!

Manos Serpentina will be available in local yarn shops across Canada as of mid-August 2017, and like all good things, we promise that it will be well worth the wait.

To view the full range of colours available, please click here to view them on our website.

Happy knitting everyone!

New Yarn- Estelle Worsted Heather and Estelle Chunky Heather

In celebration of our fortieth anniversary last year, we launched two yarns that we had hoped would become staples in every knitter and crocheter’s stash. Available in a wide range of colours, and at a great price point, we introduced Estelle Worsted and Estelle Chunky to you all.

Based on the response that we have received since the launch, it is safe to say that these two yarns have both fulfilled the role that we were hoping they would, they both make great ‘go-to’ yarns, no matter what your knitting/crochet style may be! Both yarns are composed of 50% acrylic, 40% wool and 10% nylon, making them soft to wear, a pleasure to knit, and easy to wash.

Despite the success of this yarn, we have been hearing some rumblings that people have been hoping for some heathered shades to round out the existing vast, solid palette. Well, when the people speak- we listen! And we are so happy to report that we have just added twelve shades of heathered tones to the Estelle Worsted and the Estelle Chunky collections.

These new shades are beautifully subtle, and classic. After playing around with all of the twelve colours, we felt as though no matter which two (or three!) skeins we paired together, any combination will look simply stellar. This collection of heathers will make perfect accessories for your man’s leather jacket, a cozy cardigan for your sister whose laundering habits might require something on the slightly more ‘forgiving’ side, or fingerless gloves for your neighbour who has offered to blow out your driveway more than once this year. It is truly a versatile yarn- and available in two gauges!

Available to ship to your local yarn store by mid-February, the Estelle Worsted Heather and Estelle Chunky Heather are on our website for viewing and ordering as of today.

Should you be keen for some further ‘yarnspiration’, be sure to check out what people have been making with our yarn on Ravelry! Simply click the ‘yarn’ tab, and type in Estelle Worsted or Estelle Chunky for lots more great ideas!

Happy knitting everyone!

Canadian Fall Fibre Festivals 2016

Even for those of us that love Summer above all other seasons, anyone who knits is bound to find themselves feeling tiny pangs of excitement at the prospect of Fall being just around the corner. The upcoming cooler days mean that we are finally being able to wear some of our wooly accessories that have been buried away in storage all Summer long.

Autumn also means another thing in Canada- Fiber Festival season is upon us! No matter where you live in this vast country, there is sure to be a Fiber Festival near you. Three in particular come to mind, which we would love to share with you, but should you happen to know of a Fiber Festival near you that we have missed, please let us know!

Located just an hour outside of Ottawa in St. André-Avellin, Quebec, Twist Fibre Festival takes place from August 20-21, 2016.

f2f54d34691001.56d9cf8d7818dWith over 150 vendors, demonstrations, lectures and classes (which begin as of August 18), a fantastic selection of food vendors and free activities for kids, this event is one that the whole family can truly enjoy! Learn about how milkweed is otherwise known as “Quebec’s Silk”, learn how to spindle spin, dye wool, or operate a knitting machine. Get the kids making some ‘felted sushi’ or a yarn skipping rope! There is so much to learn, see and do at Twist. Admission is only $10.00 per day, $15.00 for a weekend pass, and kids under 12 are free! (Classes are subject to further fees). To learn more about Twist Fibre Festival, please click here.

Photos courtesy of Twist Fibre Festival

The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitting Guild is host to the Knitter’s Fair on September 10th, 2016, located at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

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With over 70 knitting related vendors, be sure to come ready to do some damage! Complete with a “Knitter’s Spa”, those with exhausted hands (from both knitting AND shopping, of course) can relax and recharge with a hand massage. Knitter Extraordinaire Anne Hanson of Knitspot fame is this year’s guest speaker, and she is sure to inspire and educate with her story of success within the world of knitwear design. The Knitter’s Fair also plays host to the ‘Micro Market’, which features smaller scale designers and knitting related businesses that are new to the scene. Be sure to stop by the Micro Market when visiting the Knitter’s Fair, to discover new-to-you knitting products and ideas. Entry is only $7.00, and children under 12 are free. To find out more details relating to this event, please click here for more information.

In it’s fourth year, the Manitoba Fibre Festival will take place on September 30 and October 1.MBFibreFestival_Logo8

With lots of activities, vendors, competitions, fibre shows, an art exhibit, even a knitter’s relay (!), this festival has countless ways of getting involved. Whether you want to simply attend the festival and shop the booths, enter your latest hand spun skein for judging, or participate in the knitting relay (which is exactly what it sounds like- individuals walk while knitting, points go for speed and quantity of knitting accomplished while walking), there is something for everyone to enjoy. To read more about the Manitoba Fibre Festival, please click here.

Before we sign off, we have just a few tips for all of you ‘Fiber Festival Newbies’. It can be overwhelming to walk into an exhibition hall filled with gorgeous yarn and fibers! So here are a few things that help us keep our head in the game upon entering a hall filled with yarn and fibre.

  • Go with a plan- even if it is just a loose one. Take notes beforehand with pattern information (ie: needle sizes, gauge, quantities) so that vendors can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Or better yet, bring your patterns with you! Then there will be less room for error. It can be difficult to track down ‘just one more skein’ if you realize that you are short one once it’s too late. Better yet? Just buy the extra skein.
  • Bring cash- not only will the merchants thank you for saving them the pesky fee owed to the big credit card companies, it will also help keep you on budget. Bring out the cards midday if you decide that you weren’t generous enough with yourself. (We promise we won’t tell).
  • And finally- bring your own bag. While this not only helps out Mother Earth, vendors can start to run out by the end of the day, as they likely wanted to keep the room in their truck to haul yarn- not bags! This will make shopping easier for everyone involved.

So, Happy Fibre Festival Season dear knitters and crocheters! If you have a Fiber Festival happening in your area soon, or more information on any of the festivals mentioned above, please let us know!

 

 

Introducing Estelle Chunky

Being that Estelle Yarns is celebrating 40 years of business this year, we wanted to introduce a timeless yarn to our Estelle range, as a way of marking this very special occasion. We were aiming for the kind of yarn that could be a staple in any knitter’s stash, knitting bag or local yarn store. A yarn that knitters and crocheters will continue to ask for in their local yarn store forty years down the road from now. The kind of yarn that will produce blankets, sweaters and mittens that will continue to be worn, loved and cared for another forty years after that.

Estelle Chunky is a yarn that is vast in it’s colour palette, easy to care for, soft to the touch, and available at a price point that is accessible to everyone. It is the kind of yarn that someone with even the mildest of yarn habits may feel so inclined to pick up multiples of, ‘just in case’. One never knows when a last minute hat may need to be knit up to match a nephew’s new snowsuit! Or when a friend may ask for a pair of striped mittens to be knit for their husband to celebrate a looming anniversary. It is always best that one be prepared, and having a few skeins of some staple yarns on hand is never a bad idea!

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Composed of 50% Acrylic, 40% Wool and 10% Nylon, this yarn is easy to launder- which is key when knitting or crocheting for other people as gifts. With Estelle Chunky, there will be no dreaded phone calls from your loved ones to declare “You will never guess what happened to that throw you made us for our wedding… Donny tossed it into the dryer, and now it’s the size of a place mat!” You can gift projects made with this yarn with confidence, knowing that they will remain (more or less) the same size as the years go by. (Sidenote: We recommend ALWAYS avoiding the dryer with anything that is hand knit or crocheted, but should Estelle Chunky somehow find it’s way into the dryer by accident, it won’t shrink into something unusable- just to be clear!)

As a fibre, wool gets a bad rap as a result of too many pairs of really itchy mittens having been made for people over the years from relatives near and far. However, 100% synthetic yarns do not allow our skin to breath in the same way that natural fibres do, which can leave us feeling clammy and chilled. But when natural fibres are combined with synthetic fibres, magic happens! The end result is an incredibly soft, wonderfully breathable garment that holds it’s shape over years of being loved. When natural and unnatural are mixed, we are presented with the best of both worlds. The wool is no longer itchy, and the acrylic is now breathable, keeping us cozier, and warmer in the end. In this country, isn’t that exactly what we look for in a yarn?

And lastly, the gauge! Chunky yarn is what one needs when time is of the essence! Estelle Chunky knits up quickly on a 6mm needle, giving 14 stitches over 4″. With lots of patterns available online, and at your local yarn store, the project possibilities are endless.

Should you prefer to work with something a little thinner? Not a problem! We have you covered. Estelle Worsted is available in the same great range of forty colours, and at the same great price- only thinner!

Estelle Chunky is now available in stores across Canada, so call your local yarn shop to have a few skeins set aside for you today. And be sure to let us know what you are planning to make with it. Our biggest inspiration is all of you- so keep us posted!

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

 

Introducing Estelle Alpaca Merino Fine

Even though this may be the the first official week of Summer, in the yarn industry, we always have to be one step ahead of Mother Nature- which means that we are already welcoming tonnes of new yarns for Fall 2016 into the Estelle warehouse! This season we have put a strong focus on creating classic, staple yarns of the highest quality, that will produce exceptional garments and accessories to be worn for years to come!
One new yarn that we are particularly excited about this Fall is our Alpaca Merino Fine, a blend of 55% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon and 20% Alpaca. Made in Bolivia, this fingering weight yarn is warm, breathable, hard-wearing, and it only gets softer, the more it gets washed, worn and loved.

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Being that this yarn is so new, we haven’t yet had a chance to publish any new patterns for it. But fortunately for us, the World Wide Web provides us with plenty of pattern ideas, options, and inspiration. So without further ado, allow us to share with you a few patterns that we think would be simply stunning knit in our new Alpaca Merino Fine. 

The nice thing about fingering weight yarn is that it has absolutely incredible yardage. One skein often will get you a very generous sized scarf! Which is why we thought that the Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronique Avery would be beautiful knit in the Alpaca Merino Fine. With a gentle lace pattern that zigs and zags throughout the entire length of the scarf, this project is compact enough to take anywhere with you, easy enough to work on while socializing, but challenging enough to satisfy your inner lace knitter. Want to make it longer? Or wider? No problem! Just be sure to pick up an extra skein (or two!)

And while we are on the topic of one-skein-projects, this hat is perfect if you’re new to knitting in the round- or if you are new to knitting generally! Using only one skein of Estelle’s Alpaca Merino Fine, the Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure is the absolute perfect “cottage knit”. Pick up an extra skein in a contrasting colour and knit some stripes! Or maybe even use up those pesky little balls of left over sock yarn to throw in a few pops of colour along the way.

For those of you who really like knitting with the finer gauge yarns, then the Boxy Sweater by Joji Locatelli is just the project for you. While it is not overly challenging as far as sweater patterns go, it could be considered a bit time consuming due to the thinner nature of this yarn. However, this sweater (much like the yarn) is a classic, and you will be able to wear it for years to come. Since the majority of this project is stocking stitch, it will make for an ideal Summer project- perfect for knitting on your porch with a drink! And by the time you are about ready to cast off, it will be just the time of year that you will find yourself wanting to wear it.

Since so many knitters automatically think “socks” when they see a 100 gram skein of fingering weight yarn (especially one with a dash of nylon thrown into the mix!), it would be remiss of us not to share our sock pattern with you once again. One skein of the Estelle Alpaca Merino Fine would knit you a pair of the warmest socks imaginable. Know someone who works outside in work boots all winter long? Then what are you waiting for? Cast a pair on! Absolutely nothing will keep their feet warmer. With that 25% nylon thrown in for good measure, these socks will withstand some pretty heavy duty wear and tear before they find themselves in need of a mending job. To get your hands on our sock pattern, click the link below.

Estelle Sock Pattern

And of course, we would not (and could not!) forget the crocheters in the crowd, so here is a pattern for all of you that are keen to get hooking. Purl Soho’s Granny Stripe Blanket is simple, classic and irresistibly snuggly. This project would make the perfect wedding gift, cuddly Christmas present, or addition to your very own corner of the couch. While many of us don’t tend to think of working on big blankets in the warmer weather, the lightweight nature of the fingering weight yarn won’t bog you down during those warm weather crochet sessions.

Should you be on the hunt for even more ideas and inspiration for our new Alpaca Merino Fine yarn, then be sure to sign up for a Ravelry account (if you haven’t already), click on the ‘Patterns’ tab, and search through fingering weight pattern ideas. But watch out! Doing so will severely impact the amount of time left that you actually have to knit.

To view the full range of Alpaca Merino Fine shades, please click here. And to find a yarn store near you that stocks this yarn, click here.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Tool Time- Stitch Markers

As with many hobbies out there, it is easy to get sucked into all of the tools and toys that go along with that hobby. If you are into motorcycles, you try to get your hands on the latest boots, gloves or carrier bags. If you are into fishing, you want to fill your tackle box with all of the latest and greatest in fishing tackle. If you cook, you probably can’t seem to get enough kitchen gadgets, no matter how small your kitchen is!

Don’t worry. We get it.

We love tools too! And the nice thing about knitting and crochet, is that the bulkiest part of these hobbies is the yarn! (Which we all know can be packed down pretty small. So no big deal- right?).

One tool that no knitter can ever have enough of, is stitch markers! They seem to have a way of disappearing, or often not being near your knitting chair when you need them most. We suspect that each time we change out our vacuum bag, we unknowingly bid a final farewell to at least a dozen of them. They have such a sneaky way of finding themselves under the ottoman, between the couch cushions and even behind the fridge. Before we know it, we are clean out of them!

Our solution to this problem? Buy more! Stitch markers rarely break the bank, so everyone can afford to stash them in all corners of the house. The more, the merrier! And the fun thing is, there is such a huge variety of stitch markers available to us knitters, that we can go crazy trying out all of the different styles that are available until we find one that works for us.

The most common style of stitch marker is the simple plastic ring style. They work well as they do not snag on your yarn, and easily pop over from one needle to the next, making a smooth transition. When a knitter is flying through the rounds of knitting, they don’t want something such as a pesky stitch marker slowing them down! Just remember though, you can’t drop a stitch marker right around a stitch itself, without having to break the marker to get it off once your project is complete. Unless of course, you feel like knitting some stitch markers in as a design feature… that decision is entirely up to you.

ring-markers

                      Stitch Marker Rings

Speaking of marking stitches, these split ring markers are great for that as they are removable! Not only will they easily slide right off your stitches when you are finished, they can also be added to your knitting half way up the back! For example, if you want to mark every tenth row- use a split ring marker! That way you can easily just count your markers, rather than straining your eyes to count every last row. They’re fantastic!

split-ring-markers

                      Split Ring Markers

And speaking of love, our ultimate favorite are the stitch markers that resemble safety pins. They are SO versatile! Use them to mark the right and wrong side of your work (which sounds crazy… but some stitches such as garter stitch can make it difficult to decipher which side is which!), use them while crocheting, use them as a stitch marker, use them to count rows… they are simply FANTASTIC. And while they may cost a touch more than plain ol’ ring markers, we promise you that it is well worth the extra change.

locking-stitch-marker

                     Lock Ring Markers

If you like your tools to look just as pretty as the knitting you are working on, do be sure to cruise the never-ending selection of stitch markers on Etsy! On this crafters marketplace website, there are lots of creative people who are more than happy to provide you with stitch markers that aren’t only functional, but a pleasure to look at as well! Anything you purchase through Etsy is sure to never end up in the vacuum bag- there’s just no way you would ever allow one slip between your fingers!

If DIY is more your style, then check out this tutorial we found online that walks you through some simple steps to make your own rainbow stitch markers. We love them! And not only do we love the finished product… we love how easy they are to make!

And speaking of DIY, of course there is nothing wrong with just taking a piece of yarn a few inches in length, and tying it into a loop to use as a marker. Every knitter has likely found themselves doing this in a pinch at some point in their knitting career, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! It really is the cheapest and easiest way to ensure you will always have a stitch marker within arms reach- no matter where you may find yourself knitting!

So what do you think? Do you have a preferred style of stitch marker? Or do you just grab the closest thing to you?

Happy Knitting everyone!