Make a custom gradient yarn

Tutorial: Make a custom Gradient Yarn

I have a little secret to tell you- you can make your own gradient yarn by holding two thicknesses of solids, together!

Here’s the tutorial!

First, gather up the yarns you’d like to compose your gradient. You can go as subtle or as crazy with your line-up of colors as you want!

Rainbow of Louet Gems colors

Here’s the ‘formula’ for making your gradient. Label your colors in order (let’s call them ‘color 1’, ‘color 2’, etc.)

Knit with 2 strands of color 1.
Knit with 1 strand of color 1 and 1 strand of color 2.
Knit with 2 strands of color 2.
Knit with 1 strand of color 2 and 1 strand of color 3.
and so on!

Yup, it’s really that easy!

If you’re a ‘planner’, you’ll want to knit the first section (with the same color doubled) for about 2/3 of the skein of yarn, leaving 1/3 for you to use singly with the next color. This results in color sections of equal length.

Knitting with 2 colors of yarn at once

I find it easiest to do if I’ve wound my yarn into a center-pull ball, and pull 1 strand from the inside and a second strand from the outside. (but there are many ways to work with 2 strands of yarn at once!)

When you’re ready to switch, cut one strand of color 1 (leaving one strand attached), and knit the desired number of rows holding 1 strand of color 1 and one strand of color 2 (you may naturally find yourself finishing color 1):

Knitting with 2 different colors of yarn, held together

And continue!

Make a custom gradient yarn

Isn’t this lovely? Shown in Gems Worsted in Cherry, Petunia, Lilac and Aqua. Knit on a 10.5 needle (working as a bulky yarn)
It’s that easy! And if you have a lot of the same weight of yarn (for example, if you’re a sock knitter and have a lot of fingering weight skeins), this is an amazing stash-busting technique!

Following a Pattern

You can use this technique in any pattern that calls for a solid or gradient yarn! For inspiration, check out this Pinterest board of Rainbow and Ombre items!

How do you calculate the thickness of yarn you’ll need? Check the recommended weight in the pattern. Since you’ll be holding 2 strands of yarn together, so you want to use yarn that is approximately 2 weights smaller than your pattern calls for, that totals twice as much yardage. (For example, 2 strands of lace-weight knit up to about a sport-weight gauge).

Of course, do a gauge swatch with two strands of yarn so that you get the right gauge!

Gradient Flair

The pattern, Gradient Flair by Gwen Bortner uses this technique, and it’s gorgeous! So, if you want to try making your own gradient yarn but want more step-by-step instructions, this skirt could be right for you!

Gwen used Cottolin (which is traditionally a ‘weaving yarn’ because of it’s thinness), but holds 3 strands together and knits it up on a size 6 needle.

And with 70 colors? I bet you’ll find your dream gradient!

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Mark your Calendars: Registration for Spinzilla is September 1st

Spinzilla

Spinzilla is an annual (friendly) spinning competition where teams compete to see who can spin the most! Are you in?

Team Louet has won the past two years in a row! Whoa, go team!

Want to spin with us? Registration is September 1st at 9am. To register, hop on over to the registration page (be on time!) and sign up.

If being part of a team isn’t for you (or if your fave team fills up), you can ‘Spin Rogue’! It’s a great time to set your own personal goals and have fun!

So, let’s get ready for that MONSTER week of spinning!

Book Review: Handwoven Home by Liz Gipson

Rigid-Heddle Loom weaving is a great gateway into Loom weaving: it has the ability to create much larger fabrics than a simple frame loom, without the complexity of managing a number of shafts. In Handwoven Home: Weaving Techniques, Tips and Projects for the Rigid-Heddle Loom, Liz Gipson shows us that you needn’t think of this ‘simple’ loom as simple at all. She creates a lovely array of woven items (and patterns!) for the home using a rigid-heddle with weaving widths as small as 8″.
Book - Handwoven Home by Liz Gipson

Who the Book is For

The introduction of the book says that the book is for anyone who has completed weaving one project on a rigid heddle.

The book, however, contains detailed instructions (with step-by-step photos) about how to warp your rigid-heddle loom, how to finish your weaving and a review of basic know-how for the beginner weaver. While it’s always easier to learn a new craft by taking an in-person class, I’d venture to say that an adventurous newbie who learns well from books could learn to weave for the first time from this book.

It’s a joy to see a project-based book that dedicates significant effort into the introductory how-to steps. In today’s publishing world, these sorts of instructions are often shaved off for a thinner (and quicker) book.

A more advanced weaver will still find plenty of variety in this book. The projects are lovely and the patterns present a fresh and modern spin on ‘classics’ like the linen tea towel. This book came out of Liz’s 2015 New Year’s Resolution to weave fabric for all of the rooms of her home, and I think any weaver who picks up this book will be similarly inspired to do the same.

Topics Covered in this Book

The main chapters are organized by room of the house, and are as follows:

  • Yarn for Interiors
  • Know-How For the Rigid-Heddle
  • Following the Patterns
  • The Kitchen
  • The Dining Room
  • The Living Room
  • The Bathroom
  • Warp your Rigid-Heddle Loom
  • Finishing your Weaving

These titles don’t quite reveal how much this book is a blend between a project book and a reference guide for weaving. The introduction contains a considerable discussion of choosing yarn for your projects (think of a miniature The Knitter’s Book of Yarn for weavers) and detailed step-by-step photos of many of the techniques demonstrated.

Short insets on selecting colors that work well together, interesting weaving patterns and fun variations of fringes convey useful information that readers can apply to any of their weaving projects.

Featured Yarns

We are delighted to have our yarns featured in over half a dozen projects in this book! Our Organic Cotton and Cottolin are always popular with weavers, but we were also very excited to see that Euroflax (a delicious, but usually knitting, yarn) scored a feature!

Knitters will find this book a welcome introduction to weaving. As Liz is also a knitter, a number of projects use ‘knitting yarn’ in a way that is not traditionally found abundantly in weaving patterns. This presents a fun opportunity to dive through your stash to create fun new projects.

I love the ‘give it a try’ spirit that Liz presents throughout the book. She gives you the tools, it’s up to you to go and make something fun!

Other resources

* 25% off the full retail price of any Craftsy class. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Link is a Craftsy affiliate link. Expires November 19, 2017.

How to Wind Yarn into a hank/skein from a cone by hand!

Cottolin Louet 100g cones

Cottolin 100 gr cones from Louet North America, shown in an array of blues

Have you ever looked at yarn on cones and thought, ‘what am I going to do with that?’ Buying yarn on cones can be a great cost-savings (since you’re buying in a large quantity), and you can easily wind the yarn into an easier-to-manage format yourself!

You can wind yarn straight from a cone into a ball using a ball-winder. But today I’m going to show you how to put yarn into a hank!

Beautiful hank of yarn- skein

Are you confused about all of the yarn names? What’s a hank? Skein? Ball? I am too! Check out this post on types of yarn packaging (also called “put-ups” in the yarn industry).

How to use a Niddy Noddy

To make one of these beautiful hanks, you’ll need a wooden device called a Niddy Noddy. If you’re handy, you can even make one yourself!

Watch this video to see how to wind yarn using a Niddy Noddy:

Once you’ve made your skein, you’ll want to tie the ends around the yarn (this keeps the yarn tidy, and you’ll cut them when you’re ready to wind the yarn). Once your yarn is all tied up, you’re ready to put it into a hank!

Why is yarn in hanks?

There are a few advantages to storing yarn in hanks: they are less likely to get tangled (than a ball that can easily unwind), they sit nicely on your shelf and they just look pretty!

Additionally, hanks are preferred by dyers because dye can easily touch all parts of the yarn, and dry quickly. (Try dyeing a ball of yarn… that center won’t dry very easily!)

Have you ever tried dyeing yarn yourself? It’s easy! You can get started with Kool-Aid (really!) Louet Gems is a great yarn to dye because wool absorbs dye really easily… try it!

How to Knit with 2 Strands of Yarn

Guest Post by Debbie Trainor, http://stitchesbydebbie.com

Knitting dish cloths and wash cloths is a favorite of myself and many knitters.  It’s a relaxing way to try a new stitch pattern and create something useful at the same time.  For me, taking these hand knit gems a step further to Spa Cloth quality is achieved by knitting them with Euroflax Sport.  The linen becomes soft and luxurious when washed and dried and the fabric leaves the user feeling pampered.

I have found that knitting with 2 strands of Euroflax Sport on a U.S. Size 6 knitting needle creates a fabric that is the ideal thickness for a spa cloth.  The gauge is approximately 5 stitches to an inch similar to using a worsted weight cotton.  Thus, many of the wash cloth patterns can be knit using 2 strands on a U.S. size 6 needle with a similar result in size.

Measuring Gauge

Knitting with 2 strands of Euroflax requires a little practice and I have found that the Kollage Square knitting needles makes the knitting easy on your hands and enjoyable.  Euroflax on the skein prior to washing is not as pliable as a cotton yarn.  Your tension holding the yarn is important.

There are two methods of knitting with 2 strands of yarn.  They both work and it just depends on the one that you’re most comfortable using.  For those that wind their skein of yarn into a ball, just wind 2 balls from the skein each about half of the skein.  This method allows you to pull the yarn from the outside of the balls freely although if you don’t keep it in a small project bag, it will be rolling all over the place.

The other is to wind your skein into a center pull cake and use both the center pull and the outside end to knit with.  Go carefully with this method.  Since Euroflax is not as pliable as cotton, it may get tangled coming off the cake.  I have used both methods successfully and it just depends of how the yarn is wound.  There is less waste using the cake method since you’ll be left with one continuous strand of Euroflax when you finish your spa cloth.  Since each skein is 270 yards, there is usually enough left to use a single strand for another cloth.  I combine it with a complimentary color to knit another cloth.

Casting on with two strands of yarn

I have gifted these spa cloths wrapped in a pretty ribbon with bath products.  My house guests are always greeted with a basket in their room with several cloths and an assortment of bath products to use during their visit.  The cloths are theirs to take home when they leave.

2 strands of Euroflax will also create a wonderful scarf or shawl.  It is the ideal weight for warmer weather when you just need a bit of cover on your neck and shoulders.

The colors of Euroflax are varied.  Different stitch patterns work better on some colors than others.  The stitch definition of Euroflax is terrific especially after it is washed and dried.  As the yarn relaxes, the stitches come together even if your tension varied when you were knitting.

 

Liquid Gold Shawl

Liquid Gold + Fave Links

I spotted Liquid Gold by Lisa Hannes and instantly loved the cables and thought of making it in Louet Gems Fingering because of the excellent stitch definition!

Isn’t it beautiful?!?

What a beauty!

The pattern calls for 820 yards of fingering weight yarn (so 5 skeins of Gems Fingering is plenty!) and a size 6 needle. You can purchase the pattern for download on Ravelry!


Buttercup is the color to keep it close to the sample… but I think this shawl would look great in any color! Like oooh… Burgundy!

You tell me your fave!

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