Socks for Everyone on Your List!

Lynda Rossetti, who worked with Trudy Van Stralen designing for years, just showed us a pair of worsted weight GEMS socks she made. We were so excited about these quick-knitting socks, we asked Lynda to share her thoughts on sock knitting in today’s guest post. We’ve also created five affordable kits  for this fun new design!  

“I don’t do socks.”

“By the time I get the first one finished, I don’t want to repeat myself and knit a second one.”

“Hand knit socks wear out to quickly, and I am not about to start darning socks.”

It is true, up until about a month ago, I rarely; if ever knit a pair of socks. I admired hand knit socks, but I always felt that knitting them were a waste of my time. Living in Eastern Ontario, socks knit with a fingering weight yarn were just not going to keep my feet warm, and would likely wear out long before the snow disappeared.

But all that has changed.

One of the benefits of working with Louet North America  for over 15 years is that you accumulate a wonderful stash of GEMS superwash merino, and I needed to knit something to send to England for my daughter’s boyfriend for Christmas.

I opened my “yarn cupboard” and out poured my bags of GEMS: not enough of any one color for a sweater and I knit him a scarf last year…but do I really want to knit socks?!

After a short debate and some quick calculations, I cast on and away I went. In a matter of hours, one sock was finished. It felt wonderful, so soft and warm! The expertise of Trudy Van Stralen (click here for more info from our September 2013 blog post) when designing this yarn really shines through. Knitting socks with other worsted weight yarn would not feel this good.

In just over 3 weeks, I have knit 3 pairs of these socks, as well as 3 pairs of thrummed mittens and 5 pairs of children’s socks in GEMS Sport on a 2.5 mm needle. They feel as great as the worsted socks!

Sock kits are available in the following color combinations (click each image for more information):

Pewter & Fern

Caribou & Terra Cotta

Navy & White

Teal & Golden Rod

Candy Apple Red & White

Click here to purchase GEMS worsted sock kits for only $19.95 each!

GEMS Pattern Round-up + Holiday Fiber Pack

Our GEMS yarn is an excellent choice for handmade holiday gifts: not only is it resistant to pilling, but it is durable and machine-washable without sacrificing softness. The countdown is already under way for those of you knitting or crocheting your holiday gifts this year, and we’re here to help with some great accessories designs to knit and crochet with our GEMS yarn!

L-R: Mint Chocolate Mitts by Sarah Jordan, pattern appears in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013 issue and uses 2 skeins of GEMS fingering; Rosehip Scarf by Robin Melanson, pattern appears in the Louet Fall 2012 Collection and uses 4 skeins of GEMS fingering; TARDIS Socks by Kelandry B, pattern is available as a free Ravelry download and uses 2-3 skeins of GEMS fingering for the main color; Cimarron Shawl by Alexis Winslow, pattern appears in the Free Spirit Shawls book and uses 4 skeins of GEMS sport.

L-R: Picea Hat by Sue Perez, pattern appears in the Interweave Crochet Accessories 2014 issue and uses 2 skeins of GEMS fingering weight; Basic Mitten Recipe by Karen Whooley, pattern appears in the Interweave Crochet Winter 2013 issue and uses 2-4 skeins of GEMS sport weight; Morticia Chevron Cowl by Erin Chastain-Harris, pattern is available as a free Ravelry download and uses 1 skein of GEMS worsted; Emma Stole by Amy Depew, pattern appears in the Inside Crochet March 2013 issue and uses GEMS worsted.

Our 2013 Holiday Fiber Pack is sure to spoil the spinner in your life! Our Silk for Christmas fiber pack features the most luxurious silk spinning fibers: cultivated silk, tussah silk, blue faced leicester/silk, camel/silk, muga silk and eri silk.

 

Ask for it at your preferred Louet retailer this holiday season!  

Holiday Weaving Inspiration

We’re gearing up for the holiday season and have handmade gifting on our minds. In today’s post, we’ll share some of our favorite weaving patterns for gift projects, many of which are available for free! 

Colorful towels using our Organic Cotton will certainly be a welcome gift, as pretty as they are practical:

 

From L-R: Spring Stripes Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free), Kitchen Kitsch by Liz Gipson, Cornucopia Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free). 

A lovely woven scarf using our Cottolin (cotton/linen) yarn is a great choice for your style-conscious friends:

L-R: Pretty in Pink Scarf by Jane Stafford (free),  Lace Lined Scarf by Deborah Jarchow (free), Linda’s Scarf by Jane Stafford.

For those who love to entertain, Organic Cotton or Cottolin placemats and table runners are an excellent choice:

L-R: Placemats – Summer & Christmas Versions by Jane Stafford, Elegant Placemats by Suzie Liles (free), Claire’s Table Runner by Jane Stafford (free), Two on Two Log Cabin Table Runner by Jane Patrick (free).

For the yogi on your list, this handwoven yoga mat bag is sure to delight, especially when you use our eco-friendly Organic Cotton!

Yoga Mat Carrier by Sue Bleiweiss (free)

Here’s a shot of Dave with the Warping Mill in action from last month’s SOAR event.

Finally, don’t forget yourself this holiday season: our new Warping Mill makes a great gift! Eliminate shoulder strain from the warping process with this easy-to-use mill allowing you to create a warp that is approximately 18 yards in length.

The horizontal cross members that hold your cross can be re-positioned on any quarter of the mill. The pegs that hold the cross are attached to the cross members with wing nuts which ensure that your pegs will never wiggle loose. To remove the warp from the mill all you have to do is undo the wing nut on your last peg and the peg will slip free. It also folds flat for easy storage.  

With its strong stable base and smooth action,  you will love making all your warps with our new Warping Mill, which is available at your nearest Louet Retailer or via our online store

Make sure Santa knows it’s on your wishlist! 

Handspun Holiday

If you’ve been spinning all year long but have neglected to knit, crochet or weave with your handspun creations, now is a great time to do a little inventory and make plans for some extra-special handspun holiday gifts!  Last month’s Spinzilla blog featured many great projects to knit, crochet, and weave with handspun yarn, and we’ve got a few more suggestions to share with you today.

Knittyspin is an excellent source for patterns which are written specifically for handspun yarns, and best of all, they’re free! The Whorled Hat from the most recent issue would be an excellent gift for just about anyone on your list.

Don’t be afraid to use your handspun for patterns calling for commercial yarns (just be sure to check gauge)! Look for patterns that are easy to customize, such as the Wasabi Cowl (left) or The Age of Brass and Steam scarf (right). Both of these patterns are available as free Ravelry downloads and would look stunning in your handspun!

 

 For last-minute woven gifts, a simple scarf can be extra-spectacular with handspun yarn at center stage! Serialspinner’s Collapse Weave Scarf project on Craftsy is a great example from which to draw your inspiration:

 

Handspun also makes fantastic pom poms – the loftier the yarn, the better! You can top any hat with a handpun pom pom for the perfect finishing touch, or use your poms to adorn gifts. When it comes time to wrap presents, leftover singles or other small bits and bobs of handspun yarn can be used as festive (and reusable) ribbons and bows for an extra handmade touch!

 Whatever you decide to do with your handspun, we hope you’ll share your projects ideas and inspirations with us here in our Ravelry group!

Commence Spinzilla Recovery!

The spinning wheels stopped at Midnight EST this past Sunday, October 13 as the first-ever Spinzilla drew to a close. Members of Team Louet have all submitted their finished yarn photos and yardage totals for the week, and we have tallied up the results and sent them off to Spinzilla HQ!

Alexis said she spun through over eight pounds of fiber!

We were incredibly impressed with the variety of fibers, techniques and skills our teammates exhibited. We’re proud to have each and every spinner who signed up for Team Louet in our ranks, and would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who spun with us last week. Your contribution allowed our team to spin a grand total of 63,964 yards! That’s the equivalent to 36.3 miles – more than a marathon!

Many of you are probably wondering who won our 3 fiber prize packs for spinning the most yardage for Team Louet, so without further ado, we’d like to congratulate the following spinners:

First Place: Alexis B. spun an impressive 11,219 yards and will be receiving a Fiber Prize Pack valued at $400!

Second Place: Susanne B. spun 8,749 yards and will be receiving a Fiber Prize Pack valued at $100!

Third Place: Debra O. spun 7,474 yards and will also be receiving a Fiber Prize Pack valued at $100!

Are you in fiber withdrawal now that Spinzilla has drawn to a close? Is your fiber stash depleted, but your urge to spin hasn’t? We created a special fiber pack to soothe your spinning senses and replenish your stash. The Recovery pack is loaded with Exotic fibers: 4 oz Camel/Silk Top, 4 oz Angora/Lambswool Top, 4 oz Baby Llama Top, 100g Red Eri Silk, 100g Eri Silk, and 250g Wool/Mohair/Bamboo Top.

Regular retail of these products is $174; we’re offering this fiber pack for only $85.

Click here to purchase online!

Spinners At Your Marks!

Make sure those bobbins are ready to go!

Spinzilla kicks off at Midnight this Monday, October 7, and we’ve pleased to say that we’ve got a great team assembled!

Many of you have spent this week taking stock of your fiber stash, clearing out bobbins, and making any necessary repairs to your wheels to ensure you are ready for a monstrous amount of spinning next week. Don’t forget, those of you with Louet spinning wheels have our Support Center at your service 24/7 – and if you need more ideas on how to prepare for next week’s spinning extravanaza, you can read more here on our Team Captain’s blog.

One of our team members reminded us that it’s important to make time for self-care: whether it’s a nice bubble bath, some gentle stretches, or a walk in the park after your daily spinning session, remember to keep yourself in top spinning form throughout Spinzilla (and always!).

If you’re worried about running out of spinning fiber (or would just like to replenish your stash), we’ve created a limited-edition fiber pack in honour of Spinzilla!   The Spinzilla Special Fiber Pack includes: 1 lb Eastport Alpaca (70/30 Alpaca/Merino blend), 1/2lb Northern lights, 2lb Carded Alpaca Sliver, and 1lb Dorper Top, and it’s an excellent deal, too – over $200 worth of quality fiber for just $69!

Click here to purchase.

 

Happy spinning!

Why Louet Gems is a Great Choice for your 30 Day Sweater

Louet GEMS & Soak Wash

Have you ever wished for a wool yarn that didn’t pill as much? So did Trudy Van Stralen. But she also wanted a yarn that was easy to care for. After much experimentation with spinning and twist, she come up with what we know today as Louet GEMS, an incredibly soft superwash wool that is resistant to pilling. Lets take a look at why you should get your hands on GEMS yarn to knit your 30 Day Sweater!

When choosing yarn for your next sweater project, you always want to make sure that it will be properly taken care of by the person you are making it for. While many knitters enjoy taking the time to hand wash their handknits, using superwash yarns can certainly make life easier. Also, using a superwash yarn makes your project more versatile: just knowing that you can throw it in the washer makes it a great choice for knitting children’s sweaters or sweaters for people who might not remember to hand wash.

Louet GEMS has incredible stitch definition: after the yarn is tightly spun, it is lightly steamed, which means that the resulting yarn will really show off your stitch pattern! This yarn would be great to try a simple eyelet pattern, cables or even just a nice texture stitch for your next sweater.

In addition to having great stitch definition, GEMS comes in 31 beautiful colors. When you’re choosing a color for your 30 Day Sweater, make sure that you pick something that will work with the clothes you already have. When I knit sweaters to coordinate with my wardrobe, I find that they get

Hazel Cardigan by Robin Melanson: look at those lovely cables!

worn much more often. If you are a dyer (or just feeling adventurous), GEMS is particularly well suited to accept dyes. Trudy Van Stralen, the creator of this yarn was actually a very successful hand dyer, so she found it essential to create a yarn that was also great for dyeing!

Finally, one of the very best reasons to use Louet GEMS for your next sweater is because it feels amazing! The yarn is spun using a 22 micron fiber with a long staple to give it a wonderful bounce and elasticity. When the yarn is plied together, they actually use less twist in order to make the yarn feel extra soft to the touch. The softness and feel of the yarn was so important to Trudy that she would actually tell her staff “not to twist the skeins too tightly as it would make the yarn seem hard and unappealing.”

Overall, GEMS is a great option for your next sweater project. It is soft, has incredible color options, great stitch definition and is easy-care, too!

To find your nearest GEMS stockist, click here.

If you’d like to learn more about choosing the perfect yarn for your sweater download our free Sweater Planning Guide. It will walk you through choosing a sweater style, checking gauge, buying yarn and everything else that goes into preparing to knit a sweater that you will love!

Click to Download

This guest post is a part of the 30 Day Sweater Challenge promo tour. Join us this October as we help 5,000 knitters around the world knit a sweater they’ll love in 30 days. To sign up just visit 30daysweater.com/louet and download your free Sweater Planning Guide. It will help you get started on the right foot! See you in October!

New Prizes for Spinzilla: Team Louet

We’re still looking for a few good spinners to join the ranks of Team Louet! We’d like to open our doors to all spinners who have what it takes to spin like the wind during Spinzilla next month. In other words….you are free to use any spindle, wheel or fibers of your choosing during the event!

Have we mentioned there are prizes involved? Besides a TON of chances to win gift certificates to a number of fibery online retailers from the Spinzilla prize pool, we’ve got a few more reasons for you to take up your spindles and wheels in the name of Team Louet:

  • Prize Drawing for September: We’ll randomly select one member of Team Louet to win a 1/2lb. bag of carded alpaca fiber!
  • Prize Drawings for October: The teammate who spins the most yarn during the competition will win a $400 fiber prize pack! Two runners-up will win $100 fiber prize packs!

Each team is limited to 25 spinners, so you have pretty good odds of winning a fibery prize! Click here to join Team Louet – registration closes September 23, so don’t delay. We’re glad to have you aboard!

Spinzilla is Coming!

Calling all spinners! We need YOU to join Team Louet for a monster of a spinning event, Spinzilla!  Mark your calendars for October 7-13, 2013 and start gathering your favorite Louet spinning fibre…we need all hands on deck to bring home the trophy!

Members of Team Louet should be using Louet spinning wheels; while you are not limited to using only Louet spinning fibre, we do request that team members spin at least two singles of Louet fibre during the course of the event. If you have any questions about the event or how to join Team Louet, please feel free to ask them here in our dedicated Ravelry thread.

Spinzilla is a community-wide event where competing teams challenge each other to see who can spin the most yarn in one week. There will be lots of great prizes!

Registration opens today and costs $10. Click here to join the Louet Spinzilla team, but don’t wait too long – space is limited and registration closes on September 23. 

Grand Re-Opening Celebration!

Our new website launched today, and we’re thrilled to share it with you! Louet.com has a brand-new look and user-friendly interface. Plus, it’s easier than ever to purchase your favorite Louet products while browsing our site!

We’ll be giving away LOTS of prizes on Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow our social media accounts linked below for the latest updates and details on how to be eligible.

Here is a calendar of giveaways we’ll be running this month:

August 1-2: One Facebook fan will win a copy of the Britany Scarf pattern and a cone of Euroflax lace in winner’s choice of colors.

August 5-6: Two Twitter nest members will win 1/2 pound bags of White Romney and Leicester fiber.

August 7-9: Two Ravelry group members will win 1/2 pound bags of BFL and White Coopworth fiber.

August 12-13: Two Facebook fans will win 1/2 pound bags of Light Grey Coopworth and Medium Coopworth fiber.

Coopworth fiber color spectrum.

August 14-15: Two Twitter nest members will win 1/2 pound bags of Dark Coopworth fiber.

August  16-20: One Ravelry group member will win a copy of the Britany Scarf pattern and a cone of Euroflax lace in winner’s choice of colors.

August 22-23: Two Twitter nest members will win 1/2 pound bags of  Wensleydale and Perendale fiber.

August 26-28: One Ravelry group emember will win a 1/2 pound bag of Shetland fiber.

August 28-30: One Facebook fan will win a copy of the Britany Scarf pattern and a cone of Euroflax lace in winner’s choice of colors.

Britany Scarf & Just a Few Color Options in Euroflax!