Archive | Yarn RSS feed for this section

Free Knitted Shawl Pattern

We have a free knitted shawl pattern, courtesy of my friend Kate!

Kate created this shawl from the Meduseld Romney yarn that we dyed together for the dyeing wool with food coloring article a few weeks ago.  In these pictures, you’ll recognize the green and teal yarn that she dyed and subsequently swatched. 

Kate's Boomerang Shawl

Kate’s Boomerang Shawl

 

Here is a close-up of the border:

Close-up of Border

Close-up of Border

And this picture shows its boomerang shape and the subtle pattern in the dyed yarn as it moves across the shawl.

Kate's Boomerang Shawl

Kate’s Boomerang Shawl

 Here is Kate with the pattern:

Easy Boomerang shawl

This is an easy garter stitch shawl, knit sideways from one point to the long edge opposite. It can be very simple with no border, or fancy with a sideways knitted lace edge of your choice. If you continue the edging around the other side, you will only have to bind off a few stitches at the end. I’ve done two different versions, one with the Doris edging, the other with the Wave Lace edging, which I modified slightly to come to a point at the end. Both are from Heirloom Knitting by Shannon Miller.

Cast on three stitches (I used the long tail cast on), plus the number needed for the border. (For the Doris edging I cast on nine more stitches; for the Wave edging, eight.)

Knit across.

First row: k2, m1, k1, pm. Knit the first row of your chosen edging.

Second row: Knit the second row of the edging. Sm, k2tog, m1, k2.

Third row: k2, m1, k to marker. Sm, knit next edging row.

Fourth row: knit next edging row. Sm, k2tog, k to last two stitches, m1, k2.

Repeat the third and fourth row until your shawl is the size you like, or until you are running out of yarn. You can just keep going until you have just enough to bind off, or leave enough to continue the border around the other side.

I ended the shawl when I came to an inward point in the edging. I then knit one more row on the edging from the edge to the body of the shawl, and turned, knitting back down to the edge. I then continued the edging, knitting the last stitch of the edging together with the next stitch of the body, to finish off all the live stitches on the body. I then had to bind off only nine stitches at the end.

Kate

 

Two New Dyed Yarns

We have added two new dyed yarn pairs in our store!  Both are Meduseld’s Dorset Down/Friesian blend in worsted weight.  Each pair weighs 6.7 oz. and has approximately 340 yards.

The first color pair is called Caribbean Reef.

Caribbean Reef

Caribbean Reef

 

The second is called Brazil, named after one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.  It has vibrant shades including the gold and green from their national flag.

Brazil

Brazil

Meduseld Yarn Give-Away Winners!

We are pleased to announce the winners of Meduseld’s FIRST yarn give-away!

Two numbers were drawn at random from the posts to Meduseld’s Ravelry group.

The second place winner, for the Lanna Gato Alpaca, was #9 - apple380 – she posted that she’d make lace mitts.

The first prize winner for the skeins of Meduseld’s Dorset Down/Friesian, was #3 rosebob, who indicated she would make a lace cowl.

Congratulations to both winners!

Yarn Give-Away! Reminder

If you have not already, remember to go over to Meduseld’s group on ravelry.com and enter the Group discussion thread for the free yarn give-away.  Two yarns will be given away – Meduseld’s Dorset Down Friesian blend, and the other is Lanna Gato alpaca in natural grey.  All you have to do to enter is to post in the thread what you would do with the yarn.  The winners will be selected at random on May 15. 

Dorset Down X Friesian Wool

Crocheted Pineapple Shawl

Lace Shawl

Lace Shawl

 

Generously sized Lace Pineapple Shawl made from Meduseld’s romney yarn in the fingering/lace weight.  This shawl has approximately 600 yards of yarn.  It was inspired by a pattern in a Japanese crochet book, but the border is entirely changed to emphasize the pineapples on the edge, and each ends with a small cluster of glass beads.

Close-up of "pineapples"

Close-up of “pineapples”

The shawl is available in our store.

 

Aran Crochet Sweater Details and Pattern

One of Meduseld’s most frequently viewed blog posts is the Aran Crocheted Men’s Sweater.  The sweater is described, including the Romney wool used, but no patterns were included.

Aran Crocheted Sweater

The sweater was actually not difficult, and can be adapted to any size or neck line.  What I’d like to do is provide the patterns for the components that make up the sweater, leaving the final design and size up to individual adaptation.  There are only three different stitch patterns in this sweater, making it easy and versatile.

aran sweater closeup

Starting the swatch, we’ll begin with the cuff portion or hem.  In knitting this would be done with a knit, purl, knit, purl or even knit 2 purl 2.  In crochet there is an excellent way to simulate this but the direction of the construction is turned, so it is created in short rows up and down instead of across.

For the  “ribbing” chain 13 stitches.  Skip the first stitch and sc in the next 12 stitches.  Turn.  Chain one (counts as first stitch), and sc in the back loop of the next 11 stitches. Turn and repeat for the width of cuff or of the sweater section. 

For the swatch, I created 24 rows.  Turn the section so that the side edge is up.  The next section will be crocheted along this edge.  Chain one (counts as first stitch) and sc in the next 23 row ends, so that you have 24 stitches.  Turn.

aran crochet ribbing and cable

Now we are going to start the cable pattern.  It is straightforward and all the “cables’ occur on front side rows, making this very easy.

FRONT SIDE – Chain 3 (this counts as first stitch)  DC in the next three sc.  Skip two sc, tr in next two sc, tr around front post of both skipped stitches.   *dc in next four sc, skip two sc, tr in next 2 sc, tr around front post of both skipped sc.  Repeat from * to end of row.  Turn.

BACK SIDE – Chain 3 (counts as first stitch) and dc in all spaces (24 stitches)

If you repeat this several rows you will see the cable pattern developing.

To start the cable chain pattern, start on the back side.  On the swatch we are making this means working in the back of a cable. 

ROW 1 – BACK SIDE –  Chain 3 (counts as frist stitch) dc in next tr.  skip 2 tr.  tr in next 2 dc.  tr around back post of two skipped tr.   Skip 2 tr.  tr in next two tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped dc.  *Skip 2 tr.  tr in next two dc.  tr around back post of skipped tr.  Skip 2 dc.  tr in next 2 tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped dc.  repeat from * to end of row, dc in last two stitches.  Turn.

ROW 2 – FRONT SIDE – Chain 3, dc in next dc.  tr front post of next 2 tr.  *dc in next 4 tr.  Skip 2 tr.  tr around front post of  next 2 tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped tr.  Repeat from *  Turn.

ROW 3 – BACK SIDE – Chain 3, dc in next 3 dc.  *Back post dc in next 4 tr. dc in next 4 dc. Repeat from * Turn.

ROW 4 – FRONT SIDE – Chain 3, dc in next dc.  tr front post of next 2 tr.  *dc in next 4 tr.  Skip 2 tr.  tr around front post of  next 2 tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped tr.  Repeat from *  Turn.

ROW 5 – BACK SIDE – Chain 3, dc in next dc.  Skip 2 dc.  tr in back post of next 2 tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped tr.  *Skip 2 tr.  tr in next 2 dc.  tr around back post of 2 skipped tr.  Skip 2 dc.  tr around back post of next 2 tr.  tr around front post of 2 skipped dc.  Repeat from * dc in last 2 dc. Turn.

ROW 6 – FRONT SIDE – Chain 3. dc in the next three dc.  Skip two tr, tr in next two tr, tr around front post of both skipped stitches.   *dc in next four tr, skip two tr, tr in next 2 tr, tr around front post of both skipped tr.  Repeat from * to end of row.  Turn.

Repeat Rows 1- 6 for the length you require.

Because the right side is the edge, the cable is going to travel straight up, which is what you see in the swatch below.

aran swatch chain

Additional tips

  • For the sweater made in my example, I made it with a button front V-neck.  I had to pay close attention to making the two fronts mirror  each other, so watch for this. 
  • I used 6 rows of single crochet for the band around the front and neck, and placed the button holes in the third row of this band by skipping 3 sc, chain 3, and resume sc.  That will depend, of course, on the size of your buttons.
  • I also wound the cables up along the V-neck, so I reduced stitches four stitches in instead of at the edge. 

I will provide stitch diagrams when I can create the symbols on desktop publishing.  More soon. 

 If you have any questions, please email me and I will do my best to answer.

 

 

 

New Yarn and Prize Give-away! Read Below!

Meduseld is delighted to release a new yarn.  This is a two-ply worsted weight yarn of our Friesian and Dorset Down sheep.

Dorset Down Wool

We have profiled both of these breeds in a past blog article.  The Dorset Downs, in particular, are known and bred for their very soft wool – wool soft enough to be used in apparel against the skin.  These skeins won’t disappoint, as they have all the characteristic softness of these breeds.  This yarn is springy, and feels like it had cotton blended with it.

 Dorset/Friesian Closeup

We have a limited supply of these skeins.  We are selling these 3.2-3.3 oz skeins very affordably for only $13.50 each.  The color is natural white, and they would be excellent for dying. 

We will be holding a give-away of one approximately 3 oz. skein on May 15, 2013 through our Ravelry group, Meduseld.   Post on the forum’s give-away thread that you would like to enter the give-away, and let us know what you’d like to do with the yarn if you win it.  Second runner-up will receive a 1 3/4 oz skein of Lana Gatto’s Alpaca in a dark natural grey.   We will pick both winners at random on May 15. 

Lana Gatto Alpaca

 Make sure to join the Give-Away!

Birth

Sheep are often private when they give birth.  This ewe, however, was bottle raised and did not mind a little company, and a little help.

At lunch yesterday I found Agatha, a Jacob X Friesian ewe, just beginning to give birth.  When I approached her the lamb’s front feet and nose were just emerging.

At this point she seemed to be having some difficulty passing the head, so I had to assist by pulling gently to get the head cleared.  From that point, delivery proceeds quickly.  It is important to slide the chest out quickly so that the lamb can take its first breath.

agathagivesbirth

The lamb, another ewe, has been delivered, and is placed next to her mother, who starts to clean her.  The two are beginning to bond.

agathbonding

Within minutes, the lamb is alert and soon it will attempt to stand. 

agathababyalert

Hand Dying Yarn with Food Coloring

This weekend we had another fun visit from my skilled knitter friend, Kate.  She had a couple gorgeous WIPs with her, and I hope to convince her to let me take pictures of them.  She was making stunning knitted lace with some silk lace yarn she had acquired at last year’s Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, and I can’t want to see what they look like when she’s finished.

While she was here, we thought it would be fun to dye some yarn.  We took some skeins of  romney worsted weight yarn and proceeded to the kitchen.

Using standard kitchen food colors, Kate decided to make her yarns in shades of blues and greens.  I selected autumn colors.   In order to begin, the yarn has to be soaked in water with white vinegar.  We used about 6 cups water with two tablespoons white vinegar.  The acid is what makes the colors bind to the natural wool fibers.  Some dyers also use citric acid to achieve the same result.  We allowed the yarn to soak in this solution for over 30 minutes. 

While this was soaking, we started to prepare our dying solutions and the work area.  To make the dyes, we used small dishes with 1/4 cup water.  To these we added between 5- 12 drops of food coloring, depending on the intensity that we wanted with each color.  This is fun to experiment with. 

To protect the counter we placed clear plastic wrap in a large hollow rectangle on the counter.  The rectangle has to be large enough to accommodate the dimensions of the yarn skein.  It is hollow so that it can be wrapped up around the skein once it is dyed.

Here Kate is almost done applying the colors to her skeins.  She has two skeins side by side so that each will have the same colorway.  She has been applying the dyes with a small syringe.  Please also note her gloves…this can be pretty messy business.

painting yarn

When finishes applying the dyes, Kate starts rolling the plastic around the skein from the outside it.  You want to enclose the skein so that one side does not touch the other and have color leaking into other parts.  You end up with a large hollow doughnut shape.  Kate placed this in a Pyrex dish, and put it in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  The heat is necessary to “fix” the dyes.  (You can also microwave the yarn in two minute increments until it is steaming hot and the dye it set.)   After checking it, we decided another ten would help fix the colors.

 baking yarn

After removing the yarn and allowing it to cool, Kate has washed the yarn in warm water and a mild soap.  Wash until the water runs clear and be gentle so that the yarn does not felt.  Here she is showing the completed, yet still wet, product.

wet yarn

The two skeins turned out beautifully!  Some of the blue dyes separated and created spots of purple that add interest to the yarn. 

finished yarn

 

Kate has already swatched it.

kate yarn swatched

Here are the two skeins made in the autumn shades.  These two are available in our store.

 autumn romney

 

Shearing Day 2013

Happy Easter!

Thursday we had our sheep shorn, an annual event.  Our front porch is covered with labeled bags of wool, each containing the name of the sheep that provided  it.  This year, we were able to have Rachel Summers of the Crowfoot Farm come out and shear and I have never been as happy before with the professionalism of the shearer! 

Romney Fleece

Romney Fleece

Rachel and her husband, Kevin, run Crowfoot Farm, and I encourage you to go to the link.  They raise quality GMO-free broiler chickens and free-range heritage turkeys.  We had the privilege of being able to visit their farm and we were totally impressed with the way that they raise the animals.  They raise several breeds of endangered heritage breeds and their blog is filled with information on their farm.  The turkeys truly were free-range, and the chickens are in moveable pens so that they are in fresh forage areas.  In addition, Rachel and Kevin go to great lengths to make certain that the feed is GMO-free.  If you are in the area, its worth a trip in order to stock up your freezer.

Rachel learned her shearing skills from a great shearer, and since she is also a spinner, she understands the importance of ending up with a nice fleece.  She left us with no second cuttings.  Second cuttings come from where the shearer passes over the same area twice, and this leaves short pieces of wool that cannot be spun and that tend to leave little nubs or bumps if inadvertently spun into the yarn.  The second cuttings have to be meticulously removed from the fleece, but in this case there are virtually none. 

As a true professional, she cut the fleeces away from each sheep and it fell away in one large fleece.  This makes for easy  “skirting,” a process where we lay the fleece out and remove sections of the wool that are dirty, or that do not yield nice yarn, such as the legs and neck.  By the time a fleece is skirted, only the best parts of it are ready for processing, whether it be for roving, yarn, batts, etc.  The portions that are removed can be used for mulching garden beds or just thrown away.  I have read that these pieces used to be used for insulation, but I seriously doubt that would pass building code these days.

Jacob Sheep

Jacob Sheep

 

As each fleece peels away from the sheep I judge it for the type of yarn that it will make.  Factors that influence this decision include crimp, fiber length, sheen, and fineness.  I have sheep whose fleeces I always designate for the same type of yarn, especially if I have found good results in the past.  Royal, for example, is the source of those shiny skeins of Romney fingerling, and Clarabelle is the source of the buttery soft wool that I blend with Alpaca to make the brown bulky yarn that I can’t keep in stock. 

Clarabelle and her Fleece

Clarabelle and her Fleece

In the last twenty-four hours we have had more baby lambs, including from our largest ewe, Henrietta.  Here is a picture of one of our dorset down ewes with twins she had.  This photo was taken just after she had them and they have still not been completely cleaned off by their mother.

Dorset Down Ewe and Lambs

Dorset Down Ewe and Lambs

 I have also finished another shawl for our store, this time made out of Meduseld’s Romney Fingerling weight yarn.  It is a reversible shawl with a beaded crocheted fringe.  You can find it in our store here.

 

Romney Yarn Shawl

Romney Yarn Shawl