Secret to Knitting, the Yarniverse & Everything

 

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I spent Sunday sitting across from my friend at her dining room table as her husband multi-tasked. He prepared Sunday dinner, played with their wee boy and topped up our wine glasses like some kind of Autumnal Lord of the Dance. It was the Sunday after the clocks went back and the daylight felt almost surreal. Also, despite the weather being quite chilly outside, the late afternoon sun cascaded in through the window and warmed us up quite a bit. The table was strewn with mad skeins of yarn and WIPs. Nearly a week later, I reflect on that day almost in poignant nostalgia as one does over old Polaroid pictures of decades past. I did not want those hours to end. This kind of emotion only happens to me at this time of year.

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The Autumn equinox is celebrated by the spiritual as a celebration to honour the change in seasons. From September onwards, the beginning of the season poses a massive challenge to our human survival. The days get shorter, the nights grow colder and we start to reflect, harvest and prepare for the harder, leaner times of winter. It is a time where we develop the urge to stay warm and be comforted by soft, woolly things. As the days grow shorter, so many of us find we begin to tune into our inner voices, slow down a bit and even look for things that we can ponder over.

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I usually ponder over a bunch of good poetry, some lovely Tibetan singing bowl ambient music and a good strong cup of coffee. Resident Designer Jen gets into her podcasts! Although she did turn me on to a lovely bit of poetry that incorporates knitting and state of mind. The subject matter also resonates with the feeling of this time of year. She said “I just… love the idea of one loop, one stitch, one row, one skein – progression, hope, healing, coming back to ourselves; renewal and regrowth.” It is not difficult to see why this time of year has inspired so many poets to write about it.

 

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Rico Creative Bonbon Super Chunky at Yankee Yarns!

 

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Resident Designer Jen listening to podcasts & getting into the brioche

For those of us in crafty circles, the season inspires us to create and experiment with browns, muted greens, oranges, gold and reds. We look at different, chunkier textures in patterns and stitches. We even start to hoard more supplies and collect new items for the colder months.
The experiment for this season is Brioche. Not the bread (which is actually a good idea at this time of year with a nice warm cup of cocoa). Knitting brioche is a stitch that involves yarn overs that are knitted together with a slipped stitch from a previous row giving it a “tucked in” look that is cosy and warm. Brioche creates a uniquely beautiful fabric —thick, reversible and stylish—perfect for winter woollies. Coupled with Rico’s super chunky bonbon yarn, this makes for a truly gorgeous beanie.

Yankee Yarns newest will be offering a workshop to teach you how to knit the Bonbon Brioche Beanie. We convinced Resident Designer Jen to step away from her Green Man Dishcloths and give us a sneak peek at the beanie knitted up using the super lush Rico Creative Bonbon Super Chunky. This yarn is a win because it knits up or crochets up super quick. This means you can get all the hats, scarves and boot toppers made up for the season!

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Here are the Yankee Yarns series of Saturday workshops on different brioche techniques:

· Knitting brioche on 2 needles: 18th November

· Brioche in the round: 25th November

· Two colour brioche: 9th December

If you fancy reading some poetry on brioche, click here. If you fancy baking some brioche, click here and bring us some. We’ll put the kettle on!

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Let Them Knit Cake!!!

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There is not much I take seriously. What I do take seriously is cake. These days the cake has taken our shop by storm in the form of Caron Cakes.

The colours are so rich, you just want to eat them up. The best bit is there are no calories in this kind of cake.

Let me shoot you some stats on this multipurpose yarn:

  • Can be used for knitting, crocheting
  • Multi-Project Versatile that grows quite fast!
  • Variegated (five vibrant colours in each ball)
  • Weight: Medium Worsted ( like 10 ply, Aran)
  • Contents: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
  • Skein Weight: 7.1 oz./ 200g
  • Yardage: 383 yds. / 350 m
  • Knitting Gauge: 18 sts – 24 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Crochet Gauge: 13 sc – 14 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Suggested Knitting Needle: 5 mm, US – 8
  • Suggested Crochet Hook: 5 mm, US – H/8

You can find lots of ideas and patterns to crochet or knit on Ravelry. Alternatively, you can just come into the shop and our Resident Designer, Jenny, will be happy to help you out.

Before I heard of this yarn, I had no idea that the term “cake” was in reference to the yarn ball type. Every day is, indeed, a school day! I found out on Interweave that yarn comes wound up in one of  11 + 1 ways! I had to look them up but here is a list with my take on each one.

YARN BALL TYPES 1

Hank– Sounds like a cowboy with a lasso. It’s basically just yarn wrapped around and tied. This is the best way to use it when you are using hand looms.

Folded Hank- a neater version of the cowboy. This cowboy is going courtin’. But when you need to use it, you will need a partner who will hold it for you looped on their arms while you gossip and wind it into a ball.

Twisted Hank or Skein the cowboy with his knickers in a twist because he needs the bathroom and has crossed his legs… Skein is the generic term we all seem to call any ball of yarn. But I especially like it when it is twistd up like this. The wizards who hand-dye sell their works in this manner. It really captures the colours and how they blend and work into

Pull Skein- Basically, these are ready to use as you pull the yarn from the centre and just knit. But they do get a little sloppy towards the end so you end up winding it into a ball.

Bullet Skien- quite possibly the most common way we see our yarn for sale. Incidentally, this is the best way to stash them in a pillow cushion so your husband has no idea how much yarn you actually stash…. shhh

 

 

YARN BALL TYPES 2

Ball-  In the words of William Butler Yeats from his poem The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” So you wind this sucker up tight, plop it in a lovely in a yarn bowl in a decorative part of your living room near your Yarniverse!

Donut Ball- I just got a mental image of two cops in their patrol car parked behind a billboard knitting away with fluffy cashmere doughnut balls in a box between them. Oh, the joy!

Hard Core Ball- So this type of yarn ball has nothing to do with Basketball’s Goon Squad like Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman or Philly 76ers Charles Barkley. It has to do with skinny yarn like the kind used for making nets and wound up tight. Booyeah.

Cone- this is often associated with cheap granny yarn that you find up in the loft. You get lots and lots of yardage on this bad boy. It’s not old-fashioned anymore, however. Sugar ‘n’ Cream has lots of its cotton yarn in fresh new colours on cones with names like Ahoy or Faded Denim.

Cake- Ah ha!!! Remember those Hanks? Well, you get cakes from them when you wind them up. Click to see a video HERE!

 

These are the 11 types of balls. According to Interweave, there is one more that lurks at the bottom of your stash called the ***Hankenstien***

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New Year Muse — A Poem by A.E. Wallace

 

I cast on a New Year’s knit;

Although I work grounded in tradition,

My dreams whirl ’round as I sit.

 

Head Over Heels, to this quest I submit

Colour looping needle notes like a jazz musician,

I cast on a New Year’s knit!

 

And how many times might I want to quit?

What duty might I neglect when I slip into my perdition?

My dreams whirl ’round as I sit.

 

Heaven is a comfy chair in a room sunlit

With hours to hone my skill ambition.

I cast on a New Year’s knit.

 

The peril presents when I decide to flit

To a new project, a new pattern, a new yarn temptation.

My dreams whirl ’round as I sit.

 

My dearest hope is that the piece will fit;

I’ve made no test square to check my tension.

I cast on a New Year’s knit.

 

My dreams whirl ’round as I sit.