About a month ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something with Louet Gems yarn. Gems is Louet’s 100% Superwash Merino yarn that is both machine washable and dryable, making it a great choice for easy care knits. I had a choice of the sport or worsted weight, and I selected two skeins of the worsted weight in the colorway Peacock. The worsted skeins come in 100g skeins with 175 yards per skein.
With two skeins, I decided to knit a scarf for my nephew for Christmas. I wanted something simple because he’s almost 12, and I figured he might not like anything fussy. I settled on the Wheat pattern by Tin Can Knits. Wheat is a garter stitch scarf with a simple ribbed panel throughout.
The Gems yarn was very nice to work with. It was very squishy and not at all splitty. I really liked the hand of the fabric and it only got softer and more enjoyable with a washing and blocking. I will definitely be using Gems in the future for knits for my nieces and nephews. The colors offered are vivid and fresh, and I can imagine any number of sweaters or winter accessories. I will be interested to see how the Gems yarn wears over time, but so far I am completely pleased with it.
If you’re interested in purchasing some Gems yarn you can do so at the Louet website. As a special bonus, if you spend over $100 you can get a free copy of the new Fall 2016 pattern book, She Made them Her Own featuring patterns by Trudy Van Stralen.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet North America who sent me the Gems yarn (retail: $31.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Welcome to episode 111! This was a long week with lots of ups and downs, and I’m talking about my knitting. Lots of projects on the needles and deadlines are looming.
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- Orange Chai Spice mix
- Finished: Fairy Snowcap by Romi Hill, Woolfolk Far in Dove Grey
- Finished: Handpockets for Miles, Dream in Color Classy in Spring Tickle and TreasureGoddess Treasure Toes in Walk the Plank
- In progress: Lady Marple by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne, Spirit Trail Fiberworks Zalti in Hydrangea Blue
- In progress: Antler Hat by Tin Can Knits, in Lion Brand Heartland in Olympic
- In progress: Vanilla hat in Martin’s Lab Bounce in Applejack
- On deck: Review of Louet Gems Worsted in Peacock
- Finished: Southern Cross Fibre South African Superfine Merino in Organic Greens
- On deck: Hello Yarn Shetland/Silk in Peak Color
- The Gift-a-long is back! Knit something for someone else (Christmas gift or otherwise) between November 1st and December 31st and enter it in the FO thread to potentially win prizes. Why not have a chance at prizes for something you’re doing anyway? WIPs count if you do at least some amount of work on them in the time frame specified (sorry just weaving in ends or sewing on buttons doesn’t count!). Check out the Ravelry group for details!
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in knitting something from the Louet Spring 2016 Collection featuring their Euroflax yarn. I browsed the collection and requested to knit either Zambra by Susanna IC or Tallahassee by Kristen TenDyke.
Louet generously sent me the Zambra pattern and my choice of Euroflax colors to knit the pattern. I selected Crabapple, Soft Coral and Champagne.
Zambra is actually two shawl patterns by Susanna IC. The first is a crescent shawl that is knit using three colors/three skeins. The second is a rectangular stole knit using similar pattern stitches and two skeins of one color. I opted to knit the crescent version.
The pattern is impeccably written including written instructions and charts. The format took a bit of getting used to as the patterns of stitches needed for both the crescent and the stole are in the middle of the instructions, but once I figured it out it was clear sailing. The crescent shawl makes use of a number of needle sizes, starting with smaller needles, and switching to larger needles as you move to the lace sections. This means that the outer edges of the shawl are nice and open and airy.
The Euroflax itself was very nice to work with. Although it isn’t super soft, it is well spun and not too splitty. I was most intrigued by the finishing directions: the labels instruct that once you finish your garment you should put it in the washer, and if you so desire, the dryer to soften the linen. I do know that linen gets softer with each wash and wear over time. After running a test swatch through the washer and dryer, I went ahead and ran my shawl through the whole cycle twice and the shawl is indeed much softer and has more drape after the treatment. I finished with a spray block to open the lacework.
I couldn’t be more pleased with this item and look forward to shopping for Tallahassee for a summer knit. The only question is, with so many great colors, how will I choose which to use?
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet who sent me the pattern and accompanying yarn (retail: $85.35) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
Welcome to episode 78! This week I have one FO and a lot of cast-ons. I also chat about my week and a few spins!
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- Bigelow, Organic Moroccan Mint – Apparently this is no longer available but they recommend a variety of other mint teas
- Anna Wright, The Knitting Circle cup
- Finished: Test knit by Leftsideknits, my handspun and Miss Babs Yowza in Tulipa
- In progress: Hylda by Bristol Ivy, Wollmeise Merino DK in Moses
- In progress: Cozy memories blanket, Memory Blanket by Georgie Hallam
- In progress: Foolproof Cowl by Louise Zass-Bangham, my handspun
- In progress: Louet Spring 2006 Collection, Zambra by Susanna IC, Louet Euroflax in Crabapple, Soft Coral and Champagne
- Have an idea for a KAL? I’m still mulling over ideas for April/May 2016. Please send me your ideas!
I am beyond excited today to announce the release of my first pattern design, Lost at Sea.
Lost at Sea is a 2-color shawl designed to be knit with handspun yarn. The shawl is knit on the bias with alternating sections of squishy garter stitch designed to show off variegated handspun yarns and a lace section designed to show off solid color handspun skeins. If you want to stretch a single precious skein of handspun, simply pair it with a complementary colored commercial yarn.
Louet North America graciously offer to provide fiber support for this pattern. I spun some Louet Northern Lights Wool top in Ocean Waves and Louet Merino in Quoddy Bay Grey to knit the sample. A special thank you to Ana Reinert of the Well Appointed Desk for taking such wonderful photos.
Lost at Sea is available as a free Ravelry download.
Louet North America also graciously provided me with enough fiber to spin some up as a kit to give away to one lucky winner. You can enter the contest to win this kit on Ravelry, in The Corner of Knit & Tea group.
If you would like to spin and knit a shawl for yourself, Louet North America has put together kits with the fibers I used and a hard copy of the pattern. It’s super discounted and available here!
I have also produced a short podcast about Lost at Sea.
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet who sent me fiber (retail: $63.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this pattern. All opinions and photos are my own, except where indicated.
This year I decided to join The National NeedleArts Association‘s huge spinning event, Spinzilla. Basically the goal is to spin as much as you can in a week, this year from October 5 to October 11. I eagerly joined Team Louet North America and pulled out my fiber to spin!
On Day 1, October 5, I eagerly dug into the second half of the Louet Northern Lights in Ocean Waves that I used for my shawl design.
On Day 2, October 6, I plied up the Northern Lights and started on the Louet Merino in Quoddy Bay Grey.
My first finished yarn was the Northern Lights in Ocean Waves. I ended up with 375 yards of a 2-ply yarn which yielded 1,125 “Spinzilla” yards (the yardage of the singles and the plied yarn).
I plied these singles on Day 4, yielding my second finished yarn. This is 103 yards of a 2-ply yarn (309 “Spinzilla” yards).
On day 4 I also finished spinning the singles of the Quoddy Bay Grey merino.
On day 5, I plied the Quoddy Bay Grey and started spinning Southern Cross Fibre Bond/Silk in Lady Grey.
My third finished yarn, the Quoddy Bay Grey ended up as 305 yards of 2-ply, or 915 more “Spinzilla” yards.
On the 6th day I finished the singles and plied the Lady Grey. I ended up with 376 yards of a 2-ply yarn, or 1128 “Spinzilla” yards.
Unfortunately, I traveled on Sunday so I was unable to spin the final day of Spinzilla. Overall I’m pleased with my amount (12.8oz/363g) and yardage spun (3477 total Spinzilla yards).
I can’t wait until next year!
Welcome to episode 55! Today I have Roxy’s first winter set done. I’ve also added more blanket squares and have a few new projects to discuss. Is it fall yet?
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- The Tea: Newby, Masala Chai
- Finished: Tubey by Wooly Wormhead, Miss Babs Yowza in Tulipa
- Finished: Maize by Tin Can Knits, Miss Babs Yowza in Tulipa
- In Progress: Memory Blanket by Georgie Hallam
- In Progress: Bluberry Waffle Socks by Sandy Turner, Hedgehog Fibers BFL Sock in Pistachio
- On Deck: I Heart Cables by Justyna Lorkowska, Knit Picks Swish in Gulf Stream and Canary
- In Progress: Two if by Hand Superwash Merino in I’m Sorry
- Finished: Louet Northern Lights in Ocean Waves
- In Progress: Louet Merino Quoddy Bay Grey
Welcome to episode 49! I’ve got a few knits and spins to show you today, I announce the winners of the Podaversary giveaways and I do my first review on Louet’s Spinzilla July 2015 box. I hope you enjoy!
Please come and join the Ravelry group.
- The Tea: Bigelow, Organic Moroccan Mint
- Finished: Love Wins project, Zick Zack Scarf by Christy Kamm in Noro Silk Garden Sock
- In Progress: Rose City Rollers by Mara Brynder in Knitpicks Stroll in Dove Heather and another fingering weight in Melon
- In Progress: A mashup of Mary Jane by Sarah Moore and Wonderland Tank by Nicole Montgomery, Wollmeise Twin in Fuchsia and Ebenholtz
- In Progress: Spunky Eclectic Falkland in Octarine and Gingko
- On Deck: Into the Whirled BFL in Aurora Borealis
- A review of the Louet Spinzilla July 2015 box! (blog post here)
- The winners of the Podaversary prizes: Pokdej won the Wollmeise, Lmecoll won the Two if by Hand fiber. Please contact me to claim your prizes!
- Knitty Tutorial on How to Spin Flax
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in doing some product reviews for them. Of course I said yes!
Less than a week later, I received a generous box of fiber from the folks at Louet. They sent me their Spinzilla July 2015 box (there are a few left here) filled to the brim with different types of fiber for me to try. The idea is simple: Louet puts together big boxes of fiber and hopes that spinners will purchase and then spin them during Spinzilla, TNNA’s spinning event held in October.
The July 2015 box included the following:
- 1 lb of Grey Gotland Sliver
- 1/2 lb Optim Top
- 1/2 lb Dark Coopworth
- 1/2 lb of Super Fine Flax Top
- 1/2 lb of Wool/Flax Top
- 1/2 of Dyed Merino Top
- 2oz of Brown Cashmere Top
The box retails for $75.00 and the website states:
Start stocking up on fiber to prepare for Spinzilla 2015! These fiber packs are great deals – up to 50% off regular retail prices. (Regular retail of these products is $196.50.)
I will admit that I didn’t go and check out what the box contained before it arrived at my house, so when it got there I was overwhelmed with more than 3.5 pounds of fiber to spin!
I quickly decided that the best way to go would be to sample a bit of each fiber. I’m listing the fibers below in the order I spun them, with some pictures and general impressions.
I decided to start with the Dark Coopworth because it was such a lovely chocolate brown. Coopworth is a coarser, more rustic wool, though this wasn’t super rough. I’m not sure it would be for next to the skin wear, but it would make a lovely, warm sweater. I found the Dark Coopworth relatively easy to spin, with only a bit of vegetable matter left in. I ended up spinning a bit over an ounce and got about 70 yards of a 2-ply sport/DK weight.
2. Wool/Flax Top (60% Wool/40% Flax)
For my second spin, I decided to try a new to me fiber, the Wool/Flax top. This blend was interesting – I could definitely feel the difference between the softer wool and the coarser flax. I wasn’t entirely sure how to spin this blend, and in retrospect I think I overspun it a bit (it feels closer to twine than I would like!). I did love the tan/golden color and I think a wool/linen blend would be excellent for warmer weather wear. I ended up with 1.5 ounces and 60 yards of 2-ply DK/worsted weight.
For my third spin, I decided to try the Grey Gotland Sliver. I had heard from another spinner that this was wonderful, and it certainly felt soft when I pulled it out of the bag. I found this blend very easy to spin, although it shed a bit on my clothes. If I spin it again I’d definitely use a towel in my lap. I ended up producing 1.3 ounces and 69 yards of a 2-ply DK weight yarn. The finished product was definitely a little rustic, but I think would make a wonderful wooly sweater.
I would say that other than the Flax, the Cashmere was the fiber that I was most nervous about spinning. When I opened the package it was so so soft and lovely (seriously kitten soft!). Cashmere is a short stapled fiber, often blended with something slightly longer stapled, and I was a little worried that I would break my singles while spinning. It spun up much easier than I had expected it to, and despite requiring a bit of extra twist, the yarn I was able to produce was so soft and lovely. I would definitely consider spinning more of this one! I ended up with just under an ounce and 40 yards of a squishy worsted weight.
Fresh from my successful Cashmere spin, I decided to dive into the Flax. I’d never spun Flax before and I relied heavily on this excellent Knitty tutorial. I opted to spin the Flax from the fold, pulling off a staple length at a time. I kept a small bowl of water handy and tried to keep my fingertips wet as I added twist to the fiber. The flax itself was both coarse (as in broad) and smooth. It felt a little like spinning some of the longer stapled wools (Wensleydale, etc.), but it wasn’t crimped like animal fibers are. I spun approximately an ounce and ended up with 63 of a 2-ply DK weight yarn. Unfortunately I think I overspun it a bit, because again my results feel somewhat like twine. I did follow Knitty’s advice and boil the yarn to set the twist (instead of a regular wash and a thwack), but I might try it again to see if I can’t get it to soften up some more. I also know that linen improves with each wash and wear.
I saved the Merino for the tail end because I knew it would be an easier spin. It did indeed draft beautifully and yielded a nice, soft yarn. I do wish there were a bit of variation in the color (either kettle dyed or semi-solid) but the top itself was very nice to spin and comes in so many colors – it would be great for colorwork. I ended up with 1.5 ounces and 86 yards of a sport/fingering weight yarn.
The final fiber in the box was Optim. I had never spun Optim before so this was a treat. It was super soft and silky and drafted beautifully. I spun my thinnest yarn on this one – Optim just begged to be spun thin. It reminded me a little bit of silk the way it drafted with its lustrous beautiful shine. I ended up with almost 1.5 ounces and 112 yards of a fingering weight yarn. This was the perfect way to end the spinning adventure.
Overall I loved spinning this box of fiber. I think it’s a great option for any one who wants to experiment with different kinds of fiber. If you’re a lover of natural colors and well processed fiber, I think you’d really enjoy this. And what better way to make sure you’re appropriately stashed up for Spinzilla?
If you’re interested there are still a few of the July 2015 boxes left, and there’s also an August 2015 box which includes:
- 1/2 lb of Dyed Northern Lights Top
- 2oz of Camel/Silk Top
- 1 lb BFL Top
- 1/2 lb of Manx Loaghtan Wool Top
- 1/2 lb of White Masham Top
- 1/2 lb Grey Gotland Sliver
I’m tempted even though I still have almost 3 pounds of my July box left to spin!
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet who sent me this box of fiber (retail: $75.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.