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.

Meet Stacey Trock of FreshStitches

Hi there, Louet readers! I’m Stacey, and I’m the designer behind FreshStitches and the new FreshStitches Yarn line with Louet! I’m so excited to share it with you!

all yarns

I love designing, knitting and crocheting with bright colors that are amazing for kid’s items as well as adults.

I began fantasizing about starting a new yarn line a few years ago, and I knew my yarns would have to be a few things:

  • Available in gorgeous colors
  • Made from a super-soft, high-quality wool
  • Have great stitch definition
  • Be machine washable
  • Reasonably priced

Do those characteristics ring a bell to you?

Stacey Trock of FreshStitches.com.

Stacey Trock of FreshStitches.com.

They scream Louet Gems to me! Imagine my delight when I chatted with Dave at Louet and he was just as keen to collaborate with me as I was with him, making this set of 7 fabulously bright colors available on the already stellar Louet Gems yarn base.

The result is a collection that you are going to love!

Machine Washable

A lot of people think that superwash (machine washable) yarn is only important when making children’s clothes or for people who aren’t interested in handwashing.

That couldn’t be further from the truth! And let me tell you why.

Wool loves to felt. All it needs is a little moisture and friction, and it’ll felt pretty quickly. One way to do that is by accidentally throwing your sweater in the washing machine. Ooops.

But… have you ever… sweated? Or worn your sweater under a coat (causing the coat to rub against the sweater)? Or spilled something on your piece and tried to wipe up the spill? I’ve done all of those things. And I can tell you how it ends up. Felting.

A few years ago, I knit a dress from a lace-weight yarn. I wore it twice before it began to felt. After all of that work! It was then that I swore that if I was going to put so many hours into making something amazing to wear, I was only going to do it with machine washable yarn. It’s not just for kids… it’s for normal people!

Try a fun color… I dare you!

I personally don’t need any convincing to make something with a couple (or several!) bold colors. My wardrobe is pretty basic, and throwing on a bright shawl or hat completely revitalizes my look.

If you feel like a bright aqua is a little out of your comfort zone, I suggest you try pairing it with a neutral (Cloud Grey, Pewter and of course, White and Black are some of my favorite Louet Neutrals) and I think you’ll find that bright color no longer seems so out of your zone after all!

Grab your skeins, today!

These delightful colors are rolling out into your LYSs and are also available here on Louet.com. Grab your favorite colors (or the whole rainbow!) and keep your eye on this blog for tips and features!

Kollage Needles Update

Bringing Kollage Knitting Needles North

Louet North America has brought fibers, yarns, dyes, and spinning and weaving equipment to handcrafters in Canada and the United States for years. 2016 marks the beginning of including Kollage Knitting Needles to the Louet line of products. Today we’re sharing a bit more information about these needles and their journey north!

Louet Moves Kollage Needles North

The process began in June, after the TNNA Summer Show. First, Dave Van Stralen and his son Brett packed up the Birmingham, Alabama Kollage office, then went to Jacksonville pack up the machines for transport to Prescott, Ontario. It took two weeks to set up the machines in their new location, and the month of July was spent learning how to use them for needle production. On July 11, we made 250 needles – our first official day of production in the new space! – and are continuing at that pace.

Kollage dpns

We are proud to offer these high-quality tools beloved by knitters; Kollage needles are made from a lightweight, aluminum alloy with the needle size etched onto the needle shaft, eliminating the need to keep a needle gauge nearby. You’ll find that the circular needles have smooth joins (the best in the industry!) and the needle tips are sharp. Now that we have operations up and running, Sonix, Square circulars, and dpns are being made daily, and we are also updating our online inventory daily. In the coming weeks, we expect to have a nearly full inventory at the ready. Larger needle sizes, including US8 and US9, and the Interchangeables will be available in mid-September.

Kollage Circular Square needles

The square needle shape may take a bit of getting used to, but it is worth it: the square shape is more ergonomic, making it easier on the knitter’s hands to keep on knitting! You may find that your gauge is different using these needles, so be sure to swatch for your project! If arthritis has caused you to put down your needles, you’ll want to give these a try. Now through August 31, 2016, we have a special promotion on Kollage Knitting Needles. Enter KLNA1 when you order 3 or more knitting needles and receive a 33% discount on your order.  

Sonix, are in the style you typically think of for knitting needles – with a circular shaft. Also made with a lightweight aluminum alloy, these feature smooth joins, sharp tips, and has the size etched on each needle.

We’re looking forward to seeing what our friends & fans knit with these needles – be sure to share your posts with us in our Ravelry group, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Use #KollageNeedles on your project photos and we’ll be sure to see them!

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s crunch time! The clock is ticking for holiday shoppers, and we know the gifts that fiber lovers want! Whether you knit, spin, crochet or weave, Louet has you covered this year with gifts you’ll love to give & receive!

1. SOAK Wash: this premium no-rinse formula is ideal for washing just about any hand-made project, and it comes in four fresh fragrances (shown here in Yuzu) as well as an unscented option. If you’ve made gifts for those on your list this year, we recommend a SOAK travel pack so that you can include a sample of SOAK with your gift, ensuring that the recipient cares for it properly!

Louet Drop Spindle Kit - Great for Beginners

2. Spinning Kits: We have developed a variety of kits geared towards handspinning enthusiasts! Beginners will love our Drop Spindle Kit (shown above in the dyed fiber option; click here for our natural fiber kit), which has everything you need to begin your handspinning journey. Intermediate and advanced spinners will love our Saranac and Pippi project kits which feature luxurious Louet Fibers and gorgeous knit shawl designs from Kirsten Kapur.

3. Blending Board: Fiber artists will love our portable, user-friendly blending board for creating unique batts and rolags; click here to read more about this versatile tool from our blog archive! Louet’s Blending Board is an affordable addition to any spinners’ toolkit.

4. Yarn: There aren’t many knitters, crocheters or weavers who would object to being gifted yarn. So long as you have a good idea of what colors they prefer and what types of projects they like to make, you should be able to successfully make a yarn selection:

5. Gaywool Dyes Bush Blends Starter Kit: This handy set is ideal for first-time dyers as well as those who are interested in exploring color and experimenting with auxiliary chemicals to produce beautifully intense colors. Each set includes easy-to-follow instructions and safety information which will allow dyers of all capabilities to achieve a variety of shades and intensities which can all be easily reproduced again and again. A starter set is a great way to send yarn and fiber lovers on a colorful journey!

Meet the Roving Drum Carder + See It Spun

Meet our affordable Roving Drum Carder! This pint-sized powerhouse allows you to create an extra-long, narrow batt that is ready to spin the moment you pull it off of the carder! You can watch the short video below for an overview of its unique features,  then click here to view on our website!  

With the Tour de Fleece just around the corner, now is a great time to evaluate your fiber stash and plan your spinning projects for July. If you’ve been curious to try some of our spin-worthy fibers, you might want to check out some of these recent reviews featuring Louet spinning fiber:

On the Knitting Sarah blog, get a closer look at how two different fiber preparations affect the finished handspun yarn in her side-by-side comparison of Louet Jacob Sliver and Topclick here to read more!

You can read more about Knitting Sarah‘s spinning adventures with Louet fibers such as Shetland, Wensleydale, Finn and more here on her breed-specific recap post!

If you’re thinking about trying your hand at dyeing fiber at home, you won’t want to miss out on this two-part series featuring Gaywool Dyes and our Tussah Silk Top on the Dustbunnies Under My Loom blog; click here to read part one and here to read part two!

Four of our Canterbury Prize Fibers (Dorset, Perendale, Leicester and Shetland) were also spun & reviewed on the KnottyGnome blog – click here to read more!

 

 

Get Blending!

This week, we have a special guest on the Louet Blog: Constance Hall of Dyeology! Constance shared her thoughts on one of our newest products for fiber artists, the Louet Blending Board

The Louet Blending Board

Louet has a long tradition of making tools for spinners: their new blending board is an updated version of one they produced about 25 years ago. Back then, it was called a carding board, and it had coarse teeth and a rolling pin which made it almost more of a drum carder. Today they have created a new blending board which is very user-friendly; it’s a fun tool for spinners and felters!

Louet’s original blending board, on which our new Blending Board is based!

The Louet Blending Board has an attractive birch plywood base. It has a working surface of about 12 x 12 inches and a total size of 12 1/2 by 15 inches. There is a carry handle on top, and it comes with two dowel rods and a soft bristle brush. The carding cloth is 72 teeth per inch, which is a good moderate teeth per inch ratio that allows the board to be used with a wide variety of fibers. You can pack quite a good amount of fiber onto the teeth, which are 3/8″ deep. I have used everything from angora to romney on the board and the 72 tip has worked quite well!

A great feature is the adjustable keel, for which there are many possible adjustments. There are rubber feet on the back so that if it is flat, without the keel attached, it won’t shift around and on the table. If using the keel, there are three spots for the bolt to screw into and a long bolt that goes through the keel into the board. I really like the easy-to-use bolt with a finger-friendly loop on the top. No tools are needed to loosen the bolt and allow the keel to move, and the keel can rotate so the board can be set at any angle.

The keel can be placed into the three different spots depending on how you want to use it: If I am using it to prop on a table, I move the keel to the top spot. Sometimes I want the carding teeth to go sideways so that I can blend the fiber from side to side instead of top to bottom. It is easy to loosen the bolt and turn the keel sideways and move it to the center hole. This is also the spot where I put the keel if I am using it on my lap. Usually I have the keel in the center hole and turned sideways. Then the keel can go between my legs and I can easily blend the fiber side to side.

The board can be used for blending fibers to make rolags, making batts and preparing different fibers for spinning. This tool is a boon for felters also: due to the size, it provides a big canvas to make batts for use as felting base or to make pre-felts. While the board will not replace my hand cards, I think it is a great addition to my tool box!

 

Fiber Processing Made Easy

Processing fiber as you prepare to start spinning can be a time-consuming endeavor, but with the right tools, it can not only be a little bit easier – it can also be fun!

Our new XL Drum Carder gives you a whole new way to Make it Your Own! The wide drum, loosely-spaced extra-long teeth and high surface speed ratio allow you to create lovely, lofty blended batts. In the video below, we’ll show you how to create a batt while giving you a tour of the XL Drum Carder, which shares many of Louet’s standard features: it is specially designed so that you never need to make adjustments; the gear box is completely enclosed to keep fiber out of the chain drive; and the large drum sports a wooden groove which makes batt removal a breeze. It includes table clamps a doffer brush, and a doffer pin. Set your creativity on fire with this essential fiber prep tool!

Another new arrival to our fiber preparation line is our Blending Board, which allows you to produce rolags and batts consistently with one handy tool! The board has 72 teeth per inch (not sharpened) and is made of laquered laminated birch measuring 30 x 30 cm. There is a rotating keel with 3 locations for locking into place; it also comes with two dowels and a blending brush for easy fiber removal.

Why spin from a batt or rolag? If you have been hoarding fibers, they are a great way to make unique color and fiber combinations while using up your stash – here is a fantastic article about building a batt from your stash from KnittySpin to inspire you! Batts are rather versatile: from the blanket of fiber you create, you can use it in a variety of ways to make either a worsted or woolen yarn; you can spin from one end of the whole shebang, predraft strips of the batt, pull off chunks of fiber as you go, or even roll it up as though it were a rolag as we saw in this clever photo tutorial! If you would like to try your hand at spinning a true woolen yarn, rolags are the way to go (though you can also spin a worsted-style yarn from rolags).

Both preparations are a great way to explore color and texture in your handspun yarns. We look forward to seeing your creations here in our Ravelry group!

See our Art Yarn Flyer in Action!

Our new YouTube video is a great way to see the  Louet Art Yarn Flyer in action. Just imagine the possibilities you can explore with this add-on which fits both old and new versions of the S10, S15, S31 and S7 series spinning wheels.

The large orifice, jumbo bobbin and low spinning ratios allow you to spin bulky, novelty and art yarns with ease. It’s also fantastic for plying; you’ll love how much yarn you can ply without changing the bobbin!

Watch our video below to see what all the buzz is about, or  click here to view on our YouTube Channel; you can find your nearest Louet dealer by visiting our website.

Guest Blogger: Jane Stafford Reviews the Octado Loom

We recently asked Jane Stafford to review our Octado Loom, a dobby loom that  is easy on the weaver because it eliminates the need for tie-ups.  The Octado can be operated with a mechanical dobby, or with an electronic interface, giving the end user endless possibilities. The electronic interface works with most popular computer weaving software, including Fiberworks PCW, Patternland, PixieLoom, Weavemaker, Proweave and Weave It. Jane shared the following comments from her customers with us, along with her final thoughts when it comes to this user-friendly floor loom.

“The Octado has revived my passion for weaving! The loom allows me to warp and weave in comfort. From the raddle on the castle, to the single wide pedal, to the elegant tension mechanism and the smooth shuttle race, every part of the loom works together to provide a joyful weaving experience for me. I am grateful each time I am at my Octado. It is perfect for me! And it is beautiful too!”  
Linda, Vancouver Island, B.C.

“I am almost 71 and have some ‘hip’ issues.  My Octado has allowed me to keep weaving with minimal wear and tear on my body.  I love the fact that I can play around and experiment without having to crawl around on the floor changing the tie-up.  No more yelling for Nick to help me get up off the floor.  It has been incredibly helpful both physically and emotionally, perhaps even saved our marriage!”
Tanis, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

 

In the end, my review of the Octado sums it all up like this: what a fabulous, easy loom to work on.  There are 10 million things you can do with 8 shafts and it is so easy to try them all out without having to change the tie-ups under the loom.  A simple click or two on the computer and everything is changed.  It is so liberating as I get older.  I will also add that I am not a computer person; I have come kicking and screaming to this but I have found the loom so simple and easy to use that I am not intimidated by any part of it!

-Jane Stafford, Lifetime Weaver

What’s New for 2013 from Louet North America

Happy New Year! There are lots of exciting new Louet products to look forward to in 2013. Last month, we gave you a sneak peek at our XL Standard Drum Carder which will be making its debut in stores in March. There are many more things to look forward to this year, such as:

SPINNING

ART YARN FLYER: This new art yarn flyer for the S10 wheel will make it a breeze to spin creative, unique yarns . Look for it in early 2013!

VICTORIA BAG: Make sure your spinning wheel is protected with our new bag made especially for the Victoria wheel. Spinning on-the-go is now easier than ever!

LIMITED-EDITION S90 ULTIMATE: Available for a limited time only! If you haven’t ordered one yet from your nearest Louet retailer, time is running out!

 

WEAVING

The new beater for the David loom is now in stores and will come with every new David loom! A retrofit is available for those of you who already own this versatile floor loom.

The advantage of the new beater is that it will give you a shuttle race, as well as improve your weaving area since the beater moves closer to the harnesses than the previous over head beater did. Additionally, the height of the loom can be reduced, making the loom easier to transport.

Coming soon: A new vertical warping mill – stay tuned for more details!

 

 

KNIT & CROCHET

The GEMS coupon program has been extended into 2013 – now is a great time to stock up on this easy-care yarn. Perhaps you can treat yourself to a sweater-quantity and indulge in a little ‘selfish’ knitting this month! Click here to download a PDF version of the GEMS coupon.

The Paige and Pamela patterns, which were originally designed for MerLin yarn, have been updated and are converted to knit with Euroflax yarn.