Friday, December 30, 2016

Sublime Bamboo/Silk Yarn Review

I received a couple of orders of yarn last week, and overall I am very pleased with what I purchased. The first yarn I pulled out was a bamboo/silk blend by Sublime. I had never heard of this company before shopping on DBNY.com, but I am so glad I took a chance on it! I decided to try a lacy spring shawl on my infinity loom, in the Key Lime colorway. The feel and texture is similar to that of Yarn Bee Hint of Silk, however I don't think that Sublime Bamboo/Silk blend is as prone to fraying as much as Hint of Silk is. The Sublime Bamboo/Silk blend is prone to splitting thought; I have to keep an eye out or I will lose threads. If you are loom knitting, be careful because it is easy to not remove all of the yarn from a peg because it is so soft and smooth.

The Sublime Yarn Company was started in 2006, and they strive to produce only the best in luxurious natural fibers in beautiful soft colors. Their website also has a lot of designs for knitting and crochet, but of course, not loom knitting. You cannot purchase yarn directly from the site; as I said, I got mine from DBNY.com.

My initial impressions of the yarn suggest that it will give a lovely sheen and drape to any project you choose to use it for. With this Key Lime color, it will be perfect to wear through spring and summer, since it is a bamboo/silk blend. I know it seems a bit early to be considering things to knit and wear for summer, but the Spring Equinox in is March, and April will be here before we know it. Typical of bamboo and silk yarns, I wouldn't suggest using it for anything that requires a good yarn memory, like anything with cuffs and such. A cotton silk might be better for that. If you were planning a long sleeve top that doesn't need to be snug, you could definitely still use this yarn for that, as long as you planned for a relaxed fit.

I will, of course, do a separate post for the spring shawl, but it is going to take me awhile to finish. I bought 4 balls of the Sublime Key Lime, so hopefully it is enough. On my infinity loom, I cast on 60 pegs (classic knit cast on), did 3 rows of garter stitch (6 rows altogether), and then started my lace pattern.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Coveted Yarn Review

The first site I ordered from and have actually received the yarn is Coveted Yarn.com. First of all I give them 5 stars for shipping costs, and 5 stars for delivery time. I was charged $5 for shipping, and it was only 5 days from the time I placed my ordered to the time I received it. Wow! Cheap and fast is the way I like my shipping! Coveted Yarn took me awhile to find online, I’ll be honest. I was looking for good wholesale and discontinued yarn sites for a few days when what must have been a slight quirk in my search query brought up Coveted Yarn. They should work on their SEO (meaning Search Engine Optimization) to bring the joy of Coveted Yarn to more people!

From what I can tell, Coveted Yarn doesn’t have quite as large of a selection as some of the other sites, but they do appear to add new inventory at least once per week. It is hard to tell; they have a new items page, but it is alphabetical order. Their website itself leaves a few things to be desired. I would love it if they added how many of each yarn colorway that they had in stock as part of the item listing. You don’t know if they have the number you want until you try and put it in your cart. Then the site tells you “Sorry we edited the number in your cart” or something to that effect. So if you wanted 5, and they only have 3, there is a warning about that in your cart item list.

They have a great clearance tab, where you can see all of the clearance items, but there are a ton of items that are on sale, that are not on clearance, which you won’t see. I remedy this by using their “Yarn by Fiber” page to look for natural fibers and blends that I am interested in purchasing. You also cannot see the yarn’s price until you click on that yarn and look at the color options. Sometimes certain options for the yarn (i.e. single skein versus bag of 10) are on sale while others are not, so I understand why they don’t list the price. I think this could be fixed by listing the lowest price, or a price range for the yarn, so you know if that yarn is even in your price range before clicking on it.

I was excited to see there was a blog, and then immediately disappointed to discover that the last post was in 2014. The blog could be utilized for featuring a particular yarn company, yarn type, yarn fiber, new inventory, etc. I would love to read yarn reviews and about some of the lesser known yarn companies sold by Coveted Yarn. Some of the yarn sold on the site comes from companies I have never heard of. By having a blog post on a company’s history, it would inform buyers and give them confidence when purchasing the yarn. I give the site itself 3 stars.


The site is the only thing I am not a fan of for Coveted Yarn, that being said, if they are putting more into customer service as a result, then I’m fine with it since it is usable. Coveted Yarn is a site I would definitely recommend you check on a regular basis to stock up on hard to find fibers that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Overall, my rating is 4 stars, with a note that despite the website, I will be purchasing more yarn in the near future!

Shopping Online for Luxury Yarn

How to Buy Luxury Yarn Online
Silk. Bamboo. Cashmere. Angora. Mohair. Llama. All of these, among many others, are considered luxury fibers. Most manmade fibers are designed to feel like a natural fiber of some kind. This usually makes manmade fibers cheaper to make and sell. As a knitter, I love natural fibers. The normally breath better, absorb moisture, or keep you warmer that manmade fibers. You know what I don’t love? Luxury fiber prices!

Don’t get me wrong. I do not begrudge these hard working fiber creators their profit. It is a product I’m willing to buy. It is hard, expensive work taking care of the animals or plants that produce the fibers I love to knit with. That being said, anywhere I can get my luxury fiber fix for cheap is something I’m going to look into.

Before ordering yarn online, I would try visiting your local yarn store (Google it, you probably have one near you). By local yarn store, or LYS, I don’t mean Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I mean a small locally owned craft store. They often have a huge amount of natural yarn and natural blends. Go there, and look around. Touch the yarns, so you know what they feel like. Buy some if you find some you like; I love supporting small businesses.

If you don’t have a LYS to visit, or if you find a yarn online that intrigues you that you cannot find in a store, I recommend looking for reviews of that yarn, either on the yarn producer’s site or in an online crafting community like Ravelry.com. On Ravelry.com, you can find the yarn, and see projects in which that yarn was used, and see reviews for most yarns. When you can at least see the sorts of projects people used the yarn for, it can shape your expectation for what you will receive if you purchase it. If you cannot find that specific yarn anywhere (meaning it could be from a very small producer), then look for yarns with a similar make up. For example, I found a yarn on Numei.com that is cotton/bamboo blend that I cannot find reviews for. I went on Ravelry and looked at yarns with similar fiber profiles to get an idea for how this yarn might knit up.

A lot of discontinued yarn sites will have yarn from producers you have never heard of. If this is your first time looking outside places like large chain stores for your yarn, this isn't a huge surprise. So look up these yarn producers. Just because you haven't heard of them, doesn't mean that they aren't putting a quality product out there. Be wary of any off label yarn. It might look nice, but I have heard of people getting balls or hanks full of knots, and yarn that snags on EVERYTHING. Do your research if you aren't confident in the producer. 


With this new knowledge, you have a better chance at choosing yarn that will meet your hopes for a project’s final appearance. The sites I have found that have the best prices for yarn are discontinued yarn sites. These sites by leftover yarn from stores, and in some cases, from individuals who need to destash their personal collections. The benefits of shopping on these sites are the extremely low prices. The main detractor I have come across so far with this sort of sourcing is limited quantities. You find a yarn normally out of your price range that you would love to have, and it would be ideal for a blanket, for example. The site you found this dream yarn on only has 3 balls. Definitely not enough for a blanket. If you need or particularly want a certain fiber or type of yarn though, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay full price. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holes in My Loom Knit Cables

Wow, so I tried to get started on a black cable scarf for my husband a couple nights ago, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to make these cable without giant holes in them! I was trying to do a four stitch cable, and I tried everything to get rid of these holes. I must have restarted the project from the beginning at least four times over the last couple days. I would be okay with small holes, but these holes are huge! The point of the scarf is to keep his neck warm. It won’t do that if it is full of holes (I know, I am being dramatic, but I can stick my fingers through them!).
I did some searching online, and I followed a few different sets of instructions, and I still end up with holes. After reading some forum posts, it sounds like some people just accepted that there will be holes with their cables, and I cannot believe this to be true. I am going to continue searching for a way to make cables on my loom. A way that does not involve pretending that there are not holes in my knitting.
 

If you know of a way, please share it! If I find a way, I will update this post. Check out the size of these holes!



Friday, December 16, 2016

Lace Stitch Loom Knit Legwarmers

It has been a long time since I have written anything for my blog! To be honest, once the baby was born, I didn’t pick any of my knitting back up for a long time. The weather turned colder however, and my boys wanted me to knit hats for them again this year. Once I picked my one of my round looms to make a couple of hats, I decided to finish the 10 stitch blanket I had been languishing over for more than a year. Once I completed that project, I used some Hometown USA yarn I found on sale at WalMart ($2.49 a ball!) to knit myself a pair of leg warmers.

Those leg warmers are what I want to write to you about today. I didn’t want to only knit in knit stitch; I wanted to do something interesting. Small projects are a great way to practice or learn new techniques, and I have quite a few that need dusting off. So I decided to look up loom lace patterns. Sadly, I didn’t find too many. Keep in mind, when I say “lace”, I am referring to the pattern, not the yarn weight.

After reading through a couple of patterns, I could see that one of the primary ways to get a see through pattern was through Yarn Overs (YO), Slip Slip Knits (ssk), Knit 2 Together (k2tog), and Purl 2 Together (p2tog). I plotted out my design, and decided to see how a lace style pattern would turn out with a super chunky yarn on my 24 peg blue large gauge loom.

I did a chain cast on, and then 8 rows of 2x2 ribbing. My lace pattern is based on garter stitch, with all of the YO, ssk, k2tog, etc. thrown in. Take a look:


Pattern completed in multiples of 6 stitches.

Cast on: Chain cast on
Row 1-8: k2, p2* until done with row 8
Row 9: YO, ssk, YO, ssk, k2* repeat to the end of the row
Row 10: p2tog, YO, p2tog, YO, p2* repeat to the end of the row
Repeat rows 9 & 10 until you have 30-35 rows. (I did 30)
Do 8 more rows of 2x2 ribbed stitch.

Cast off: Double Crochet Cast Off LOOSELY, or else it might be too snug around your calf.


If you wanted to make these legwarmers for someone with bigger calves (mine are about 13.5" around), use a large gauge 31 peg round loom (next loom size up out of the usual 4 pack). Change the last repeat of row 9 to :YO, ssk, YO, ssk, k3*, and change the last repeat of row 10 to: p2tog, YO, p2tog, YO, p3*.

My legwarmers look great! I plan on trying this pattern again with a bulky (size 5) yarn to see how it turns out.