Stitch Exchange: New Knitting Pattern! Walk in the Woods Cowl

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 18, 2014 1 Comment

I love working with stripes - as they require using two yarns and lead to endless possibilities for customization.

I wanted to create a cowl that would be striped, easy to make and pretty to wear - so I have a new pattern for you - Walk in the Woods Cowl. Use two different colors, two different textures through choice of yarn, or get really wild and do both!

This would make a great gift!

In the sample shown, I decided to focus on textural differences. I used one skein of Verb's very slick, smooth, and soft Floating (alpaca / cashmere / silk) and combined it with Verb's newest yarn, Clover (targhee wool / silk), which is rustic, woolly, and fluffy. I used yarn in the the same color, Hawk's Feather.

A Walk in the Woods Cowl

A simple, stylish cowl pattern that demonstrates two ways of working in-the-round with stripes: plain and jogless. When knitting the stripes plain, the stripes will be slightly staggered. When knitting the stripes jogless, the stripes will match from one row to the next.

Sizes
Small (Medium)

Finished Measurements
21” (35”) circumference
13 ½” (13 ½”) from cast-on to bind-off

Yarn
A Verb for Keeping Warm Floating (70% alpaca – 20% cashmere - 10% silk; 400 yards / 100g), Hawk’s Feather or color of your choice, 1 skein (color A)

A Verb for Keeping Warm Clover (80% Montana Targhee wool - 20% silk; 200 yards / 50 grams), Hawk’s Feather or color of your choice, 1 skein (color B)

Needles
Size Small: One 16in US 10 (6.0 mm) circular needle
Size Medium: One 24in US 10 (6.0 mm) circular needle

Gauge
3 stitches and 8 rows / 1" in garter stitch pattern

Notions
Stitch Markers, Tapestry needle

Directions

Cast on 63 (105) stitches with A and join for knitting in the round, being careful that the join is not twisted. Place marker to indicate the beginning of the round.

To knit stripes plainly:

Round 1: Knit with A to marker at end of round.
Round 2: Purl with A to marker at end of round.
Round 3: Knit with B to marker at end of round.
Round 4: Purl with B to marker at end of round.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 until until piece measures approximately 13 ½”, ending with Round 1. 

Bind-off loosely.

To knit stripes using the jogless stripe method:

Set up rounds:

Round 1: Knit with A to marker at end of round.
Round 2: Purl with A to marker at end of round.

Pattern is as follows:

Round 3: Knit with B to marker at end of round.
Round 4: Slip the first stitch purlwise. Purl with B. When you get to the marker at the end of the round, take it off the needle, purl the next stitch and replace the marker. (This moves your marker one stitch to the left.)
Round 5: Knit with A to marker at end of round.
Round 6: Slip the first stitch purlwise. Purl with A. When you get to the marker at the end of the round, take it off the needle, purl the next stitch and replace the marker. (This moves your marker one stitch to the left.)

Repeat rounds 3 through 6 until your piece measures approximately 12 ½”.

Then work rounds 3 through 5 once more.

Bind off loosely. Weave in ends.

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Here are some other color combinations that would make a pretty Walk in the Woods cowl. Feel free to share your ideas too!

From left to right: Old Vine, Sangria, Supernova, Hyacinth, Petroglyph, Bandana, Serpentine, Barnacle.

p.s. The Thirteen Mile yarn came in - stop by the shop to check out the naturally dyed beauty. To read about Thirteen Mile Mill and Farm, click here.

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Textile Byways: Montana 2014 Wrap-Up

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 14, 2014 0 Comments

Thanks for joining us on our first edition of Textile Byways - and for coming along on this journey through Montana. If you have been on a journey recently, which took you off the beaten path, where you have found textiles and met the people who have made them, get in touch, we would love to feature your story!

We have dyed more of Clover - which is now available on our website. Also, in the next couple of weeks, we will release another Montana Targhee yarn - stay tuned for details.

Next week on the blog, it is back to life in the big city. We have a new cowl pattern to share with you.

I will leave you with this. The town Big Timber is the gateway to Sweet Grass County. Here is a mural found in the center of town.

 

So much love for Montana and wool.

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Textile Byways: Thirteen Mile Farm - Montana 2014

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 13, 2014 1 Comment

Our visit to Thirteen Mile Farm was certainly a highlight of our trip. I first read about Thirteen Mile in the book Shear Spirit. The owner, Becky Weed, raises her own sheep and has built a mill where she makes yarn from her wool. There are two outstanding reasons I am particularly fascinated with her work: she is a natural dyer and she uses solar power to run her mill. Before working at Verb, Adrienne worked for a solar electrical company, and she still has a lot of interest in solar power. Add in our love of fiber and natural dyes, and this was pretty much a dream to see in person.

Becky raises two types of sheep: Romney and South African Merino.

She makes mainly three types of yarn from their wool: a sport weight, a worsted weight, and an irregularly spun bulky.

She creates yarn that has been naturally-dyed and is naturally colored. She also makes large wool batts and has a felting machine which enables her to make large pieces of wool felt.

Becky was kind enough to take a break and show us the mill.

The mill pretty much runs 100% on solar power due to the two solar panels found on the top and to the left of the mill.

This is the washing station for the wool. All the water used in the washing cycle is saved as grey water and used to water the fields. 

Once the wool has been washed it goes through a carding machine.

If Becky is going to make a yarn that is naturally dyed, rather than a naturally colored yarn, she takes the washed fleece and dyes it. She then combines colors in the carding process resulting in yarn that has a heathered look.

And then is stripped into roving.

Becky takes extra time in this part of the process. While it is possible for her to move to the next step in the process, the spinning, she puts the roving through a second pass on the carder. She takes three pieces of roving and combines them into one larger piece of roving. This helps the yarn spin more uniformly and results in a fabric, when made from the yarn, wear more uniformly.

Then, the roving is spun into yarn.

Becky has a small showroom where she sells her finished yarn. She also sells her yarn online.

In the next few days, we will receive a shipment of Becky's beautiful yarn. We are so excited! I hope you will stop by the shop to squish this yarn for yourself! Her work and her mill are absolutely amazing and inspiring and we are so grateful to her for showing us around.

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Textile Byways: A Handmade Wardrobe - Montana 2014

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 06, 2014 0 Comments

This Fall, the Bay Area has been exceptionally warm with only a few days here and there to wear a heavy wool sweater. So, pretty much the first thing I did when deciding to visit Montana was to think about what warm and woolly things I would get to wear. My good friend Julie has a vast collection of hand-knit sweaters. She kindly allowed me to bring along Nieve knit in Pioneer.

Stephen had given me a long-term loan of his Iberian Discovery. I felt it was time to knit my own. So I cast-on using Pioneer in Grizzly Peak.

And then Tasa, Verb's pattern drafter and sewing teacher, and I got to talking. The Uptown Top is Tasa's personal favorite of the Verb sewing patterns. She has at least 4 variations that she has made for herself! She has one as the pattern is written, one without the hip band but with a vintage lace inset, one out of Alabama Chanin organic cotton jersey, and one out of a delicious wool jersey. She loves this pattern. And when she has a pattern that she loves she finds ways to alter it and expand on it. 

So let me introduce to you the Uptown Jacket! From here, Tasa is going to step in and tell you a little bit about how she transformed the Uptown Top into this amazing jacket.

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We had already started talking about hacking this pattern into a jacket when Kristine got the news about Sweet Grass and started planning her trip to Montana. I don't know about you guys, but my wardrobe is the next thing I start thinking of when I have my travel dates! So when Kristine said she would like to take the jacket on her trip north I grabbed some of the amazing Pendleton washable shirt weight wool we have in the store and went to work. 

I knew I wanted this to be a pretty accessible pattern hack because we wanted to structure a class around it later. The silhouette of this garment is already perfectly suited to be a jacket. It's simple, loose in the arms and torso so you can wear anything under it, and fitted at the hip so the jacket won't get in the way of movement. So I really didn't have to play with anything besides the front pieces.

The first thing I did was to split the front panel of the shirt down the center. Then I drafted a facing piece for the new front neckline/center front opening. 

An important part of the process was pattern matching the plaid when I was cutting out all the pieces for the shell of the jacket. Pattern matching is something that beginning sewists are often overwhelmed (dare I say frightened?) by, but its bark is much worse than its bite, I promise! It's more time consuming than hard, and the extra time is well worth it if you are working with plaids or stripes. It can really elevate your garment to the next level to have things line up nicely.

After cutting out my shell pieces, I moved on to the lining. I used a solid color cotton voile for the lining. It's a really tight weave so despite the fact that it's thin it should hold up fine as a lining fabric. It's also nice and smooth which is the other main consideration for a lining fabric, you don't want your jacket to stick to whatever you are wearing under it! Also I snuck a patch pocket on the inside of the jacket, because pockets are a must have for almost every garment. 

The assembly for the jacket is basically the same as it is for the top, except you are making two instead of one and then connecting them at the arm openings, neck opening, hip band and center front. The only other thing I really altered was to cut a deeper hip band out of the wool and fold it over, as opposed to lining it with the voile. I think it will make a sturdier hip band and hold up better over the life of the jacket. Installing the separating zipper is the final step for this jacket.

I love how this pattern hack turned out. It works great as an extra layer in the temperate Bay Area climate and I plan on making one for myself in the very near future. The hardest part is picking which lovely fabric to make it out of! 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and that this project inspires you to re-envision one of your favorite pattens! 

Happy sewing!

Tasa

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I am very grateful to Tasa for making this incredible jacket. If you would like to learn how to make your own, Tasa is teaching a class. Click here to learn more.

I hope you are having a wonderful Fall season. Thanks for reading! 

Kristine

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Textile Byways - Dyeing with Curly Dock - Montana 2014

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 10, 2014 0 Comments

Once we walked the land surrounding the cabin, we noticed that there was quite a bit of Curly Dock also known as Rumex crispus. This plant is native to Europe and North Africa and now grows wild in many states across the U.S. It blends into its surroundings when fresh, but when it dries out it is easily spotted by its bright rust colored stalk. After the plants sends up a tall shoot of flowers, it dries to a beautiful red/brown color. This is the prime time to pick for dyeing.

The plant can be toxic to sheep, cattle, and poultry. It is also known to be an invasive species in numerous states. However, it is said the plants have nutritional value for humans and the leaves can be eaten cooked. So reflecting on the previous post, given the criteria that I like to choose plants which are invasive and are known to make good dye plants, Adrienne and I decided to harvest curly dock and to dye a bit of Clover. We thought it would be fun to dye Montana wool with Montana plants.

We pre-mordanted the yarn with aluminum potassium sulfate before leaving California. That way, we could just jump into the dyeing process.

Here is the recipe we used:

Mordanting

1 tablespoon of aluminum potassium sulfate (aps) per 100g of yarn

Fill a pot with enough water for the yarn to float freely. Dissolve the aps in hot water. Add the dissolved aps to the pot of water. Add the yarn. Slowly over the course of a half hour bring the pot to 190 degrees. Keep at 190 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool.

Dyeing

We did not bring a scale to Montana. In an ideal world, I would weigh the dyestuff, in this case, curly dock, before using it. I would record the weight of yarn I want to dye. Divide this number in half - gather and use this amount of curly dock. In dye-speak, I would use half the weight-of-the-goods (50%) in dyestuff.

Though in reality, not having a scale, I grabbed a few, large, hand fulls of curly dock.

Fill a pot with water. Chop the curly dock using clippers and add it to the pot.

Put the pot on the stove for 3 hours at a low simmer to extract the dye from the plant.

Strain the dyebath into a bucket. Then, put the strained dyebath back into the pot.

Add the yarn to the dyebath. Put the pot on the stove, slowly over the course of half an hour, bring the pot to 190 degrees, Keep at 190 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool.

Wash. Hang to dry.

We have a few skeins of this yarn available for purchase. Email if you are interested.

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As you may have noticed, I am a bit behind schedule - sorry! This past weekend Verb had it's 4th Anniversary Party and it was my birthday yesterday. We went to Alcatraz to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit @Large. It was very good. If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit. Tomorrow on the blog, I resume our schedule and discuss clothing created for the trip. And, I talk with Tasa about how she made one of the very special pieces worn on the trip.

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