Abundance

Life with Fiber and Fiber Arts

Will Seam for Love January 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 1:58 pm

You’d think that I would have learned by now to avoid phrases like “will post very, very soon”, which inevitably turn me into a liar.  Well, I will console myself that “rather soon” is good enough.

For anyone who did not read my last post, we at Abundant Yarn are conducting a Square Drive. A what? A fun way for all you yarn crafters out there to contribute to the warmth and comfort of a child in need without having to commit to knitting/crocheting an entire afghan. You don’t even have to sew any squares together. All the afghans we put together will be donated to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that donates handmade blankets to children in crisis situations. This is one of our very favorite knitting-for-good activities, and we would love for you to play along!

The Squares (guidelines):

  1. Squares can be either 12″ or 7″; we will hopefully be making many blankets!
  2. Squares should be machine washable (superwash wool or acrylic blend- please make note of which you used so we can keep like fibers together).
  3. Squares should not be too lacy, so little fingers don’t get caught.
  4. You do not have to weave in your ends! Leave a 15-25″ end and we will use it for seaming.
  5. All squares should be made with love!

Inspiration and Ideas

Not sure where to go from here? Well, we have ideas!

12″ Squares:

We are huge fans of the Great American Afghan series from XRX publishing.

Each book contains about 25 unique and interesting squares to knit, ranging in difficulty from basic stockinette with a few embellishments to off-the-wall constructions with complex cables. My mother, especially has a fondness for these. She has just finished her third and is starting another (more on that at some as yet unspecified time).

12" Squares from The Great American Aran Afghan

One of the best parts is that, by the time you are totally sick of one pattern, you’re done!

7″ Squares:

This size square is the perfect medium for playing around with new stitch patterns and interesting textures or using up left-over yarn. Pull out your stitch dictionaries and go exploring!

These squares are the perfect stuff-in-your-purse/bag-and-whip-out-while-waiting-in-line size project.

7" Squares in Knit and Crochet

Just think how many of these you could get done while watching a single movie. And talk about instant gratification!

Where to send them:

You can send the squares to us at-

Abundant Yarn Online

PO Box 8093

Spokane, Wa 99203

Once we have an afghan or two put together, we will be setting up a page on our website where we can recognize all our wonderful square makers (“blanketeers”, as the Project Linus folks call them). We will post pictures of the finished afghans with the first name and city/state of the knitter or crocheter. If you would prefer us not to, please let us know.

Thank you all in advance. I just can’t wait to get seaming!

 

Short Rows, in Short November 21, 2010

Filed under: how to,knitting theory,Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 5:34 pm

Apparently, it has been a while since I had time to post anything. I’m so ashamed.

Wait! I have an excuse. You see, I’ve been doing some knitting. Lots of knitting. Top Secret knitting.

Finally, I can share some of it with you all.

First, I spent some time working on this:

The “Saxony Scarf” for the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue. It is knit here out of Nashua Creative Focus Chunky, but I’m working on a second one in Cascade’s 128 Superwash and it’s coming out quite lovely (pics to come).

Then, I spent rather a lot of time (well a month, I guess) working on this:

The Scavenger Skirt, knit out of Sanguine Gryphon’s beautiful Codex yarn (silk and BFL wool), was part of their recent Steampunk inspired pattern line.  So there we go. I have also been working on some Secret Knitting that will not be revealed until the end of December, and then some other stuff. What I mean to say is that I have been having all sorts of fiber fun.

  Yes, I know that I still owe some installments of the Ways of Knitting series of post, but, in my defense, I never claimed to be good at staying focussed on a single thing for a long time. In fact, I think that I clearly stated that I am quite easily and frequently distracted by shiny things.

Right now, Short Rows are particularly shiny. I have been doing rather a lot of knitting with short rows lately and have fallen quite in love with them. I know what you’re thinking: “I hate short rows; they’re dumb and futzy and not worth the trouble”.  I once thought as you do (if you weren’t thinking that, good for you; you’re already drinking the short row koolaid). Now, however, I recognize that short rows are in fact not dumb, not that futzy (almost all of the time) and really, really worth the trouble (not that they’re really any trouble). Please observe the list of things that short rows do well:

1. Make curve hugging contours in your knitting.

2.  Make circular objects without knitting in the round.

3. Make edgings go around corners.

4. Make fun squiggles and shapes in all sorts of interesting places.

5. Make socks!

And that’s just the beginning.

Today, I am going to write a little bit about the different flavors of short row treatments. First, though, the theory:

When knitting short rows, you work to almost the end of your row, then turn your knitting, leaving the remaining stitches unworked. When you first started knitting, you probably did this a lot on accident. The result is that there is a portion of your knitting that is longer (has more rows) than another portion of your knitting.  This is useful when you are trying to knit fabric to cover something that goes out in some places and not in others.

Example: Ladies, take a tape measure and measure from the top front of your shoulder to your belt, in line with where your shoulder seam (if you are wearing set-in sleeves) is. Now, measure down your front, starting at a parallel point, but making sure to measure over the bosom and keeping the tape measure next to your body. (Fellows, you can find a lady to try this on, but make sure to ask for permission first). There is probably a different in the measurements. The height from shoulder to belt is the same, but there is more surface area over the bosom than at the side. Many sweaters and shirts ride up in the front because there is not a comparable difference in the amount of fabric used to cover the surfaces. We use short rows (on purpose) to make more fabric in the areas that go out more. Isn’t that Awesome?!

   When you were a beginning knitter and did this on accident, you probably observed a hole in your knitting once you worked back across the place where the short row happened. The trick to doing short rows on purpose is finding a way to avoid the holes. This is especially important when the short rows are someplace conspicuous, like the bust of  a sweater. That is what we are talking about today.

    OK. Too much text and not enough pictures! I thought this was a yarn blog!

First, I will address what has been (I believe) the most common way to treat short rows: The Wrap and Turn.

 Many patterns that require short rows will say something like this:

“Work to 2 stitches before the end of the row ‘Wrap and Turn’ leaving remaining stitch unworked”. Shown above, the Wrap and Turn is the reason why many knitters avoid short rows (it’s OK, I have two alternatives below). In the last picture above, I have wrapped every stitch on the row, creating a pretty severe angle. I have used this technique to make slantwise pocket fronts on bottom up sweaters. Notice that each of the stitches in that row has a bit of yarn wrapped around its base (like a tiny scarf keeping its little stitch neck warm). When working back across these stitches, you will have to knit that wrap together with the stitch it is wrapping. Observe:

That’s not so bad, right? OK, I know, it’s one thing to work in wraps on the right side of the piece when they are positioned in the direction you are knitting anyway. I promise that there will be a post on what to do when things get more hairy. This post is supposed to be “Short rows in Short”, and I am doing my very best to keep it to the basics (as much as I ever do, anyway).

Moving on. The next flavor of short row, which got quite a bit of attention a couple of years ago with regard to toe up socks, is the Yarn Over Short Row. This involves no wrapping at all and is much favored by those who would rather eat nails than wrap and turn.

While there is less slipping back and forth of stitches, this method is a little futzy in its own way. That is, yarning over on the right hand needle at the beginning of the row is not what we are used to. Once all your short rows are complete, you should have what looks like lots and lots of stitches on your needle. Really, it is just pairs of stitch and yarn over.

The working in part is just as simple here as it was for the wrap and turns. You knit the YOs together with the following stitch.

Finally, we have the Minimalist Approach, so called because it involves no wrapping and no YOs. All you do is turn, then slip the next stitch and work across the wrong side to the end. If you want a steep angle (as in the swatches above) you just work to one stitch before the last turning point every right side  row. If you do this for every stitch, you will end up with this:

To avoid holes, you…well, it’s better to look at it:

 The trickiest part to this is identifying the third stitch down from the needle. Cat Bordhi (a knitting genius and one of my knitting idols) calls this stitch the “grandmother stitch”. That is, the stitch on the needle is the “daughter stitch”, the one below it is the “mother stitch” and the one below that is the “grandmother stitch”. In step two, you insert the tip of the left hand needle, from back to front, into the grandmother stitch and then knit it together with the next stitch on the needle. I may be biased (this is my short row method of choice) but I really think that this one looks the best. Of course, I might just be better at it.

So there we go. In a later post (later just like those other “Ways of Knitting” posts are coming later) I will go into doing short rows from the wrong side. Fun times! Note, the short rows in these swatches are pretty noticeable because I have worked them on every row, which drastically changes the direction of the knitting. Worked every two or four (or more) stitches, they would be far more subtle.

Of course these are not the only short row methods out there. The Japanese Short Row method is quite popular and produces lovely results. It requires the use of a safety pin, however, and once there a whole other tool involved, I’m pretty much out.

So, we go to all this trouble to prevent holes where the shore rows end. Sometimes, however, it’s just not such a big deal. For example, in the “Bathtime Blossoms” washcloth pattern set by Evelyn A. Clark.

Each of these decidedly round washcloths is actually knit back and forth using short rows. There are no wraps, however, and no YOs. There is no special picking up of stitches. It is so cleverly written, in fact, that you hardly realize you are knitting short rows at all. If all of the above futziness makes you a little nervous, this is actually a pretty good place to start (plus they make great gifts!).

So there you go. Short Rows. More on that later, until then, go get started on your holiday projects!

 

Update February 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 5:46 am

OK, so the update is a little late, but here is the final score:
Life To-Do List- 5
Fiber To-Do List- 0
Ouch!
What can I say? The fog burned off early. There will, however, be another useful and informative post coming up very soon…

 

Knitting Weather February 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 6:21 am

It is this kind of day outside:

Something about fog makes me think that I can accomplish anything fiber related. The stillness, the quiet, the fuzziness around the edges make me feel removed from the timeline. In my new limitless span of fog time, here is what I intend to accomplish:
-Finish all the swatching for the pattern I’m working on.
-Spin up a pound of fiber.
-Write a blog post about stitch orientation and how it affects decreases and increases.
-Finish my stinkin’ mitten pattern.

That sounds reasonable, right? Forget that my Real Life jobs for today include: clean the house, take care of grandma, meet with a yarn rep, prepare the new Clearance section of our website and cook dinner. As long as the fog doesn’t burn off before noon I should be golden, right? I will report back at the end of the day with my results.
Note to readers: The person who wrote this blog is an easily distractable dreamer with a notoriously bad sense of time requirements.

 

Dear Newbie Sock Knitters… January 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 7:11 am
Tags: , , ,

I just wanted you to know that even people who have been knitting socks for years and years can still make silly mistakes. For example, they may cast on their top down socks too tightly, such that, when the sock is completely finished, the beloved recipient cannot get it over her foot, much less up her leg. Stay tuned for a picture tutorial about how to fix this.

 

Next Up… November 10, 2009

Filed under: designs,New pattern,Uncategorized,Yarn Pics — Hannah Cuviello @ 4:35 am
Tags: , , ,

I have finished a pattern. It’s done. seedling hat

I typed it up, added pictures, made a chart (with much technical help), put it all together and converted it to a pdf. I have now officially exhausted my technical abilities. That’s all I’ve got- it’s guess-work from here on out.

I am going to try uploading it to my blog. Here goes (remember…guess work).

hmm.

See the empty space? Yeah.

Well, luckily, I have access to someone who has much more computery knowledge than I have. My father has successfully uploaded the pattern to the store website, where it is now available for free download!

seedling side

Click here to go to Download Page

With all this awful computer nonsense accomplished, I think I’ve earned some knitting time! “What’s next?”, you may ask…

Some of you may remember the 5 beautiful, naturally dyed colors that Stevanie at Abundant Yarn (now at Pico Accuardi dyeworks) developed for Cascade.  Cascade colorsWe hosted a color naming contest for these during Sock Summit, and Cascade chose the names a month or so ago.  From left to right, we have Seattle Blues, Sage Honey, Wild Honey, Desert Adobe, and Briar Rose.

I am working on sock patterns for each of these colorways, inspired by the names.

As you can see, I’ve been hard at work.

sock plans

Clearly, I tend towards the technical in my pattern development.

It can’t all be work, work, work, though (go ahead and feel jealous that I call drawing pictures of socks “work”). I actually have some personally fulfilling projects started, the most exciting of which is a new pair of slippers. Now, to understand what this means, you have to realize that slippers are an institution in my family.

Let us start at the beginning, though. I had a knitting Grammy. She was the foundation of all the fiber experiences of my life. Among the many patterns that were her signature creations (well, I don’t know if she really came up with the patterns- they could be everywhere- but she sure knit a lot of them) were a particular pair of slippers.  These slippers were simple and quick to knit, and were among my own first projects.

Grammy slippers

Every year at Christmas, every member of our family would receive a pair of knitted slippers. Such was the voracity of Grammy’s slipper knitting. Pictured above are perhaps the last extant pair of Grammy-knit slippers. I love them, but I want more. Now, of course I could just knit another pair of slippers and have them done in a relative snap. When I say “more”, though, I don’t just mean more pairs of slippers, I mean more slipper in each pair.

I’m going to make Slipper Boots! Sloots! Sloops? sbippers? Whatever.

You see, it is ridiculously cold in Spokane, and I am not used to this. The more of my body is covered with wool, the better. If the wool just happens to be knit in a ridiculous, puffy stitch, well even better still. I’m so excited! I’m knitting them right now, in between letters (is that why my blog posts take so long?).

New slippers

The choice of yarn here was, of course, key. I knew I wanted a worsted weight wool. Working from my stash naturally narrowed the options (OK, so it didn’t actually narrow them that much). I had to choose between Cascade 220 in Green and Gold, Lorna’s Laces Shepherds Worsted (my favorite yarn to knit with- yes, I have a favorite) in some dark variegateds and Imperial Stock Ranch 2Ply in “Black Cherry” and “Heathered Teal”.

When I came down to it, though, the choice really made itself. I already have a couple of projects in Cascade 220 green and gold (one of which happens to be slippers), so that was out.  I have a weird, covety thing about the Lorna’s in my stash (saving it for the perfect sweater), and I just couldn’t let it go, even for such a worthy project.  It came down to the ISR.  Really, this is a perfect wool for the project. It is remarkably light and lofty, while still holding its shape, the colors are lovely, and it come in rather large put-ups. Plus, ISR is an amazing company and I enjoy supporting them.

That said, I have a warm cup of coffee and some knitting waiting for me…

Spokane Cup

Cute novelty cup that I found in Seattle, of all places. It only holds about 4oz of coffee, but it is one of my favorite possessions. Plus extra getting up for refills just means that I work off another slice of pie, right?

 

Baby Steps November 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 11:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

Well, I have a confession to make.  In all my life, I have never kept a journal, diary or penpal for more than two weeks. I feel that this doesn’t bode well for my blogging career.  I’m willing to give it a go, though.

Here is what I have been doing while not writing my blog:

I have been making a cable chart…Vine chart

and knitting it.Vine cableThen tearing it out.Green Yarn

I tried inserting it into a hat…Pretty but...

Then tore it out again.Green yarn 2

I repeated this process about 5 times, each time getting a little farther along on the hat.  Ironically, the goal of this exercise was to create a simple, one skein hat pattern to share with all my wonderful friends out there and to celebrate the arrival of the new Cascade 128 Superwash (that is, a bulky weight superwash wool).  Well, the yarn is no longer newly arrived, but I did finally come up with a simple, cabled, one skein hat pattern.  I liked it so much, in fact, that I knit it up again in another color. Now, I have only to write it up and put it in a sharable format.  I have complete faith that I can accomplish this at least in the time it takes me to write another blog post. Hmm…

Seedling hat As for the yarn, I have to commend, above all,  its sturdiness.  As I said above, this hat was knit and unknit numerous times while retaining its structural integrity and pleasing texture. I love it. Plus, it comes in all my favorite colors (at the top-Turtle and immediately above-Pacific).

In between drafts of my hat, I found myself in dire need of a feeling of accomplishment. Thankfully, there were several skeins of yarn that had escaped my detection during the initial packing stages.  One of these sneaky beasts became a scarf.Quickie Scarf

Ok. So it’s not my best work. The yarn was originally an attempt at self-striping handspun, however it turned out that these particular stripes were totally lacking in subtlety or harmony. It was very quick, though.  In the future, I intend to spend some portion of my “immense amounts of free time” improving my spinning and fiber blendig skills. Don’t worry, you will all hear about it.

Coming up next…A hat pattern.

 

Abundance, Indeed! September 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 7:22 am

…in which we meet a new blogger, find out where she has been hiding all this time, and what on earth she intends to accomplish with this new endeavor.

So this is the blogosphere.  It feels very empty and demanding. Oh wait-that might just be the weight of the empty screen in front of me and the as yet unwritten but long promised blog post that is waiting for me to make it a real thing.  I’ll do my best.

First, I will address the foremost questions I imagine any blog reader should want answered: Who am I and why do you care what I have to say?

My name is Hannah.  I am the manager of the online yarn store AbundantYarn.com, an avid knitter, a newbie spinner, an aspiring designer, and a dedicated teacher (of knitting, incidentally). I love my cat and the fall (I’ll be talking a lot about that, what with it being Fall and all).

Fall Leaves

I didn't have any pictures of my cat handy, but here are some Fall leaves. Colorway, anyone?

For the past several years, I have had the joy of working at the physical Abundant Yarn store in Portland, OR. I am used to spending my days deep in conversation about knitting techniques, favorite patterns, yarn/pattern pairings, fiber attributes, new arrivals to the store, etc.  Since the physical store closed in August, I have frankly been going through something like Knit-Talk Withdrawal. I intend for this blog to be an outlet for all the knitty things I have to say.  Hopefully, some of those things will be of interest to other knitters (of course it will; we’re all junkies for knitting info, right?). There we go.

Now, those of you who heard me promise back in August that I would be putting out a blog might wonder where on earth I have  been for the past two months.  I’ve been packing. It turns out that we have rather a lot of yarn in the store. All that yarn had to be inventoried, packaged, labeled and made ready to ship to our new space.

Counted, tagged, boxed

That’s pretty much done now.  Of course, there is still loading and unloading.

We are actually packing the truck tomorrow, and for those who are interested, I will post a couple of pics to show our process/progress.

At the same time, there is my home to pack.  It turns out that I also have rather a lot of yarn in my home. Thankfully, that yarn did not have to be counted, or clearly labeled. It did, however, have to be spread out in my living room and admired and petted for a bit.

Sock Yarn

Alas...it is locked away in a box now.