Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blocking Shawls - Ivy Brambles New Hydrangea Shawl - We saw it first!

We blocked the new Hydrangea Romantica Shawl today. The pattern will be launched in a week or so by Ivy Brambles. The shawl was designed by Jocre Arts and is quite beautiful, and not too difficult (at least by their standards). Jocre arts deigns a lot of the fantastic shawls carried by Ivy Brambles in both their Silk and Romantica Yarn lines. This one is a triumph and uses just one skein!

When you block a shawl it is important to make sure everything lays out straight. We placed a set of wires down the spine and then centered everything, taking careful measurements. This shawl features curved edges so we were careful to match up the two sides with flexible wires pinned every few inches. The shawl measures about 40 by 60 inches blocked and is knit in Superwash Merino (Romantica). One advantage of using superwash lace is that after blocking it will stay blocked for a very long time, even if the humidity gets high or you get caught out in a light shower. after pinning the shawl out we damp it down with a spray bottle and let it dry. So simple!

I have been asked before "Can you block Superwash Yarn?" The simple answer is yes. However you might have tried making a shawl or similar garment with sock yarn and not been so lucky. So how is Ivy Brambles Romantica Superwash Lace different? Well the answer is that this isn't a sock yarn being reused for lace, this is yarn designed to Ivy's specifications specifically for lace work. The twist is different to sock yarn and the fiber is a finer grade of merino (and lace weight not fingering). The result is a yarn that is amazingly soft and yet lacks the degree of springyness required for sock yarns that use a much tighter twist. Does it feel like sock yarn? Absolutely not. This yarn feels softer than the super expensive European twist yarns while being easy to use for lace projects. How does Jocre Arts feel about it? They love it! Each skein is 1000 yards, plenty for a triangular shawl, larger shawls use two skeins.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Knitting with Friends

Welcome to Knitting with Friends where we invite fiber fanatics to share their opinions on fiber related and not so fiber related matters. We have a number of fiber related products on sale in our on-line store which will be available soon, these include "Knitting with Friends" T shirts at special prices, and a selection of knitting, crochet and felting notions, plus yarns from Ivy Brambles Hand Dyes and other local artists.

Well enough invitation. I both knit and crochet, although not as often as probably many of you. The question for today is "Why do you knit/crochet and what inspires you?" If you have an answer we would love to hear from you, just reply to this post by clicking on the "Comments" button below.