What to Look For When Shopping for Interchangeable Knitting Needles

In the knitting world, there are a couple of things all beginners will realize quickly:

  • The quality of your needles matter,
  • Your needles seem to multiply overnight.

Regardless of your skill level, investing in a set of high-quality interchangeable knitting needles from Louet North America will help reduce this knitting basket clutter. Continue reading

Prevent Hand and Wrist Injuries with Ergonomic Knitting Supplies

Knit with Kollage Knitting Needles
There is something about knitting that
soothes and relaxes, in fact, more and more crafty Millennials are turning to the hobby because of the comforting repetition and satisfying results. However, this repetition can also lead to wrist and hand problems, particularly in those who are at a higher risk of repetitive motion injuries.

All too often, we hear about someone abandoning their passion for knitting because they experience hand or wrist pain. The very nature of the past time and required hand motions can cause carpal tunnel, which causes pain, numbness, and loss of dexterity . Those who have arthritis may also experience greater hand and wrist pain during or after knitting.

Tips to Prevent Injury

Wrist pain should not stop you from enjoying your passion. Prevent problems before they arise, or help reduce further damage by taking frequent breaks and resting your hands often. As a rule, give your hands a break every half hour or so. If you already have pain and numbness problems, besides speaking with your doctor, you can try these wrist exercises for carpal tunnel to help reduce discomfort.

Your knitting supplies also play a significant role in preventing pain, particularly your knitting needles.

Ergonomic Kollage Square Knitting Needles

The repetitive motion of knitting can potentially place you at risk of carpal tunnel, and while taking regular breaks and doing targeted exercises can help prevent this, investing in ergonomic needles can further reduce your risks.

Louet North America has a line of square shaped needles, Kollage Squares, that are specially designed to reduce the stress placed on the hands without compromising workmanship. Their unique square shape allows the knitter to hold the needles in a way that alleviates stress and pain and also helps create more uniform stitches. The superior joins and precise points make them a high-quality knitting needle that is a joy to use.

Made from a high quality, lightweight aluminum alloy, Kollage Square Knitting Needles help you to knit faster with less stress on your hands and wrists. Every stage of manufacturing, from the raw materials to the final packaging, are produced in Canada to Louet North America’s high standards. In fact, each of their needles, which are etched with the size, are guaranteed to be of the highest quality.

Too often, people are forced to abandon their passion for knitting due to hand pain. However, the right knitting tools can make an enormous difference.

“I wouldn’t be knitting if I didn’t have my Squares!” ~ Gale

Try them for yourself! Browse the full selection of Kollage Square needles, which include straights, circulars, double points and interchangeables at Louet North America today!

Spinning Wheels from Louet North America Offer Precision Handling for Fine Yarns

April 4, 0217- Prescott, ON-based Louet North America are now inviting clients to review their latest spinning wheels. Included within the company’s selection is the S17 Spinning Wheel – Unfinished, which is designed with turned wood for a classical appeal and durable performance in all spinning applications. The S17 offers the same exceptional quality of the leading wheels on the market, and is now offered through Louet North America at entry-level pricing. Continue reading

Save on the Latest Knitting Patterns from the Experts at Louet North America

April 4, 2017 – Prescott, ON-based Louet North America has announced it’s now offering a sale on the latest pattern book from Trudy Van Stralen. Through this latest company sale, knitters can save on the She Made Them Her Own pattern book, which features expertly crafted designs that fit all sizes. The book includes 10 high-quality patterns, each of which assures the ideal results and a high-quality garment. Continue reading

Yarnitecture Winner

Congratulations to Talia S., the winner for our January blog giveaway for a copy of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want by Jillian Moreno! We will get in touch with you shortly to arrange for the delivery of your prize. If you missed it, be sure to check out Jillian’s recent guest post about exploring sheep breeds with Louet spinning fiber here on our blog!

Sheep Breed Exploration & Yarnitecture Giveaway

Jillian Moreno is the author of Yarnitecture & shares a guest post on the Louet blog!We’re pleased to welcome spinner, author, and instructor Jillian Moreno a guest blogger here on the Louet blog.

Jillian is the author of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Wantpublished by Storey Publishing in 2016. She is also the editor ofKnittyspin and is on the editorial board of Ply Magazine. She frequently contributes to Spin-Off and PLY Magazine and teaches all over North America. Be warned, she is a morning person and frequently breaks into song before 9am. Keep track of all of her crafty and other pursuits starting April at www.jillianmoreno.comShe lives buried in a monumental stash of fiber and books in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A wonderful thing that happened along with the rise of spinners and dyers is the availability of different breeds commercially prepped, ready to spin. It used to be if you wanted something beyond merino or BFL or the ubiquitous ‘wool’ you had to buy a fleece and process the whole thing yourself. If you wanted less than pounds of this new to you fiber you’d have to find spinner friends to share the fleece with.

I love spinning wool, but I don’t like processing it myself. That left me without a huge amount of options for a long time. Along with individual dyers who are having their own selected fibers made into top and roving there is one company that has a great selection of really interesting breeds to spin, Louet. Yes the same Louet that makes the wonderful wheels and my favorite handcards. I first knew about Louet as a knitter, their Gems merino and Euroflax linen are yarns that I’ve happily knit for years. But it’s only been recently that I’ve discovered the depth of their fiber selection.

Louet has a fantastic range of commercially processed spinning fibers, some you won’t find anywhere else in the US. Many shops, carry their fibers or you can order directly if you like.  I’m still learning about different sheep breeds, how they feel and spin and what I might use them for, so I turned to Louet to further my education.

Breed Specific spinning fiber from Louet - click to read Jillian Moreno's guest post!

Clockwise from the top – Swalesdale, Finn, Coopworth.

Out of their long list of different fibers and blends, I went straight for their wool breeds. I hunted for things I’ve haven’t spun or haven’t spun a lot. I chose three breeds: Finn top, Swalesdale top and Coopworth roving. I’ve spun a bit of Finn, but have never spun Swalesdale or Coopworth.

I did a quick sample of each, spinning two 2-ply yarns, one with a woolen draft and one with a worsted draft, just to get the feel of each. Boy were they different from each other!

Breed Specific spinning fiber from Louet - click to read Jillian Moreno's guest post!

Swalesdale front to back, top, 2-ply drafted worsted, 2-ply drafted woolen.

I first spun the Swalesdale. I chose this fiber because I’ve not seen it offered anywhere else. The fiber is a mix of a coarse outer and softer under fiber. There were some stray black hairs and a little kemp. This is not a fiber I could wear as a garment; it was prickly to my hands while I was Andean plying it.  Even though it was a mix of longer outer fiber and shorten under fiber it was easy to spin both woolen and worsted without he two coats separating. This fiber would be great for rugs or bags, something that need strength and durability. It would be cool to use it in tapestry or frame weaving because of the unusual surface texture because of the mix of coats.

Breed Specific spinning fiber from Louet - click to read Jillian Moreno's guest post!

Finn, front to back, top, 2-ply drafted worsted, 2-ply drafted woolen (there are two of these).

Finn was next; this is a great middle of the road fiber. I’m not surprised that I’m seeing it more and more from dyers. This is a fiber that could be used in place of Corriedale for basic spins and for new spinners. In fact while it was as easy to spin as Corrie, it was softer than a lot that I’ve spun. I draped my yarn around my neck and only got a slight prickle. Finn is not very crimpy but got lofty when spun woolen. The surface of the spun yarn feels like suede, a matte texture. I am fascinated by this fiber. I want to experiment more with it, it may have the sweet spot for softness and durability for sweaters that I’m looking for. I just need to play with it to see what kind of stitch definition it has knit in stitch patterns.

Breed Specific spinning fiber from Louet - click to read Jillian Moreno's guest post!

Coopworth, front to back, top, 2-ply drafted worsted, 2-ply drafted woolen.

I left the Coopworth for last because I was the most excited by it. The roving was so well prepared I jumped right in and drafted with a looooong long draw. It was easy to spin and the yarn was springy and softer than I expected and the color, my favorite natural color, somewhere between grey and brown.  This fiber showed the most difference between the two type of drafts. I was surprised at how defined the plies were with the worsted draft on roving!

This is another fiber I can’t wear on my neck though it is nowhere near as prickly as the Swaledale. I could wear this Coopworth as a hat or mittens or a sweater. It is a durable fiber and would be fantastic woven into throw pillows. Coopworth might find it’s way onto my loom this year.

These three fibers just scratch the surface of what Louet has, and many are only available through Louet in this country. I’m definitely going back for more. 

Win a copy of Yarnitecture on the Louet blog!

GIVEAWAY

Want to learn more about how I spin and sample for knitting? Storey Publishing and Louet North America are giving away a copy of my book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want.

To enter, email info@louet.com with “Yarnitecture Giveaway” in the subject line and tell us what breeds you want to spin in 2017 in the body of your email. We’ll randomly select a winner to announce on January 11, 2017. Good luck! 

A New Year Looms: Weaving Resolutions for 2017

At the start of a new year, many of us pledge to change our habits for the better: losing weight, eating healthier, decluttering the house, etc. etc. Sometimes, these resolutions are easier to break than they are to make, but if you have determination and make them habitual, then you can actually make a change in your life!

The same rules apply when it comes to weaving! Let’s look at 5 weaving resolutions you can make for 2017:

1: Weave for 15 minutes every day.

This one may seem daunting, but 15 minutes daily is totally doable! Whether it’s measuring a warp, threading your loom, or weaving on a project, just take 15 minutes as a weaving break. You will start becoming a more efficient weaver, and increase your skills as each week progresses.

2: Weave the full width of your loom.

Many of us have looms that can accommodate much more width than we use. Do you find yourself weaving a lot of scarves but you have a Jane 70/8? Find a weave structure and some yarn you love, and warp up the whole loom!

3: Push your color boundaries.

If you are like most people, you probably have a color scheme that you tend to gravitate towards project after project. Choose some colors that you still like but don’t use that often and start a project. You can also turn to Pinterest for color inspiration, or visit the Design Seeds and Pantone websites for color palette ideas. Or, have a friend choose colors THEY like for a gift of napkins!

4: Work on those selvedges.

Most weavers will tell you that selvedges are a personal thing, and that you have to figure out your tension on your own to perfect those pesky edges. Try weaving different widths, or try different shuttles and see what techniques work best to keep your edges straight!Give dyeing a try in 2017! Find more great weaving resolutions on the Louet blog.

5: Try dyeing your handwoven fabric.

This could be a fun experiment to try: start with weaving in a natural color of yarn and then dyeing the resulting fabric to get the exact shade or shades you want using our user-friendly Gaywool dye range

Do you have any weaving resolutions? Let us know in the comments!

Why You Need An Interchangeable Needle Set

The right tools are important to get the job done. For a knitter, the important tools include a means to make measurements, a good pair of scissors, quality yarn like Gems or Euroflax, and knitting needles. Don’t limit yourself as a knitter with just one needle! Consider a set, like the Kollage Interchangeables, as an investment in a lifetime of knitting happiness!

What Comes in an Interchangeable Set?

Mini Interchangeable Set

There are two options of Kollage interchangeable sets: Mini and Full. Each has an assortment of tips, cables, cable ends, the tool to change tips, instructions, and a storage case. The Mini has 7 tips (Us4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10) and 3 firm cables. The Full has 10 tips (US2 through US11), 3 firm cables and 3 soft cables.

Why use an Interchangeable Set?

Full Interchangeable SetA set can save time and help you stay organized with your supplies. The assortment of tip sizes and cord lengths are ready when you need them. Consider a time when you had to change needle sizes for a sleeve cuff or to keep your gauge even. Are you a knitter who finds that your knitting is tighter than your purling? With a Kollage interchangeable needle set, you can have two different size needle tips on one cord – so you could do your knits with a US5 and the purls with a US4!

Interchangeables are Easy to Use


Kollage Interchangeable Sets are unique for the square needle tips. The smooth finish, pointy tips, and ergonomic design will certainly be a go-to trusted knitting tool. They are also so easy to change out the tips. See for yourself in the video above.

Gifts for Knitters

The holiday season is upon us! Make sure that your wish list has lots of options to help your loved ones find the perfect gift you’ll use again and again this year. Many non-knitters have a hard time picking things out for their crafty friends & family members, so we’ve made things easy by sharing some universal advice and creating this handy gift guide featuring some of our most popular products. All you have to do is the share this link as a subtle hint!

Louet Gift Guide

Idea #1: Pattern Books

Most knitters already have plenty of yarn, so an interesting book of patterns can help them put all of it to good use! This year, we published She Made Them Her Own: The Best of Trudy Van Stralen as an homage to the founder of Louet North America. Trudy’s timeless garments are sure to keep them knitting all year long!

We also have many more patterns available to purchase individually; we recommend checking out our collection of Gems patterns for wearable garments and accessories using our easy-care Gems superwash Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver, distributed by Louet North America.yarn!

Idea #2: Purl & Loop Weaving Looms

These user-friendly looms are a great introduction to weaving! As previously mentioned, most knitters have a LOT of yarn in their stash, and weaving is a great way to use up that stash to make room for more pretty skeins. Purl & Loop looms are the perfect way for knitters to give this craft a try. Check out this post on our blog which shares a few project ideas using these clever little looms!

a11f6140aae2a5ce_mediumIdea #3: Kollage Needle Sets

A well-crafted set of knitting needles can provide a lifetime of pleasurable knitting. Kollage needles (and crochet hooks!) come in a variety of options, from Double Pointed Needle (DPN) sets to Mini and Full Interchangeable sets, which ensure that they always have the size of needles they need for their next project.

For that special someone, you can go the extra mile by treating them to our Needle of the Month Club, which allows you to personalize their needles with their name or a special saying. Each month, a new pair of interchangeable tips will be delivered to their doorstep for their knitting pleasure. Click here to learn more about our 2017 Needle of the Month Club – but hurry, spots are limited!

Kollage Needle of the Month Club

Idea #4: A Little Spa Treatment

Soak Wool WashEvery crafter has use for a good wool wash, and Soak‘s no-rinse formula comes in a variety of wonderful-smelling scents to delight their senses! Handknits shouldn’t be the only thing enjoying the spa treatment, though: go the extra mile with Soak’s Heel and Handmaid to provide luxurious care for hardworking hands and feet.

From all of us at Louet North America, we wish you a happy holiday season!

 

Guest Post: Wee Weaving with Knitting Sarah

Knitting SarahOur guest blogger this month is Sarah Chy, a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. In today’s post, she shares her recent experiences weaving with Gems yarn on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver, which Louet North America distributes throughout Canada. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog, knittingsarah.com.

I first started looking for small looms as a gift idea for my daughter’s 9th birthday. She knits & knows how to spin, however she has an impatient streak that often works against her. She still really wanted to join me in the fiber arts in some way, but we both recognized that at this stage knitting and spinning just weren’t quite the right fit for her. Having heard a lot of spinning friends talk about how speedy weaving is, I thought it was worth a shot to steer my girl toward a loom.

There are a lot of options out there on the market and as I was not a weaver myself, I did a lot of research. I was loath to spend a lot just for a taste of the craft, but it was important to me that the tools be good quality. I also knew that my very independent daughter might have a lukewarm reception for a complex warping process that required help from me. The ideal loom was one for which my daughter could just hit the ground running, that would allow her to do small projects, and that would insure that she could start and finish easily so her attention wouldn’t wane.

Purl & Loop Wee Weaver comes with everything you see here - distributed by Louet North America.Ultimately where I landed was with Purl & Loop’s Wee Weaver. It’s just 4” x 4.5” across and it comes in a kit that includes everything you need to get going (except the yarn).  A wood tapestry needle, pick up stick, comb, and metal tapestry needle are all included as is a handy little cotton carrying bag to keep everything together. As someone new to weaving, I really appreciate that I could get everything I needed in one spot. Even more importantly, though, the instructions are concise and well-written and accompanied by clear color photos. Simply put, it is a fantastic introductory loom.

Quite literally I did not have to lift a finger to help my daughter get started. Like many moms,  a little part of me wanted to be needed, but she read through the directions and then informed me she could handle it. She went on to warp her Wee Weaver easily in just a few minutes and was weaving effortlessly in no time. She couldn’t have been more proud and I felt like we’d made a great choice.

Start weaving right out of the bag!

Start weaving right out of the bag!

Of course I was happy to see my girl succeed and fall in love with weaving. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I fell in love, too. The Wee Weaver, it turns out, is the perfect loom to introduce anyone to weaving. As I watched my daughter whiz through her little squares and make fun plans as to how to use them, a whole new world opened before my eyes. Along with my loads of knitterly yarn scraps, the spinner in me saw unlimited potential for handspun yarns. The fiber artist in me knew I had to get my hands on a loom.

Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver, distributed by Louet North America.With the Wee Weaver such a hit, shortly after acquiring it we added a Purl & Loop Placemat Weaver to our collection. Getting the Placemat Weaver was primarily to give my daughter some more options in her craft. She was having a blast and I really wanted to encourage her. I’ll confess though that there might have been the slightest hint of selfish motivation. It wasn’t lost on me that her devoting attention to a new loom would free up the Wee Weaver for me and I definitely wanted a turn to play with it.

With my daughter busy with the Placemat Weaver, I thought it would be very fun to put this little loom through its paces and at the same time create some fun Christmas gifts. Louet’s Gems Worsted is a great fit for the Wee Weaver – the worsted weight insures projects will be quick and there are loads of colors to pick from to personalize your projects. I picked Brick Red, Fern Green, and Cobalt Blue, thinking these colors would have a Christmas feel that wasn’t so overpowering that they couldn’t be used all year round. And then I got weaving!

Mug Rugs woven on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver with Louet's Gems Worsted yarn.

I started with some very basic fringed mug rugs. The instruction manual includes directions both for squares with fringe and without, so doing this was a snap. For fun, I made one mug rug with a green warp & red weft and one with a red warp & green weft. I think a set of four would make a great little handmade hostess gift or stocking stuffer. I could also see making individual, personalized ones for co-workers or even having kids make them themselves for their teachers. There are so many ways you could go!

Mug Rugs woven on the Purl & Loop Wee Weaver with Louet's Gems Worsted yarn.

I learned very quickly the not-too-loose and not-too-tight place that was just right for my warp. I discovered that weaving my weft in at a slight angle before combing it down helped to keep my edges nice and neat and that taking a little time to check on my edges throughout was well worth it. I also found it fun to experiment with how tightly you ‘beat’ the weft as it can really change the feel of the fabric. And that’s the great thing about the Wee Weaver, it’s a fantastic tool to just play & observe & try things out.

It's easy to make a mug rug with Purl & Loop's Wee Weaver!

With my mug rugs complete, I had another idea in mind to test. What about a coffee sleeve? I whipped up three identical fringeless squares, sewed them together, and voilá! A quick & easy coffee sleeve! I used my sewing machine to sew the squares together, but you could just as easily hand sew them. I especially love that thanks to the fact that Gems Worsted is machine washable & dryable, this sleeve is reusable and easy to care for – always an added bonus, especially when you’re making gifts.

Turn your Wee Weaver Squares into a useful coffee sleeve - visit the Louet blog for more project inspiration from Knitting Sarah!

I’m so very impressed with the mighty Wee Weaver. This loom that fits in the palm of my hand and is very reasonably priced has turned both my daughter and me into fully fledged weavers. Whether you just want a new tool to play with, you want an easy and fun way to make unique gifts, or you want to get a taste for weaving, young or old, the Wee Weaver is for you. Be prepared to fall in love with weaving – I think you will!