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!

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

What’s New For Fall from Louet!

Fair Isle Peacock Hat by Tanis Gray in Gems Fingering

In the fiber arts world, autumn is an eagerly-anticipated time of year: after hibernating all summer long, it’s time for your handmade items to come out to play! Additionally, the cooler air reminds us that winter is coming and it’s time to make even more hats, mittens, scarves, and sweaters.

Our favorite yarn for fall, superwash superstar Gems, is just what the doctor ordered! Available in several different weights and an array of color choices, you’re sure to find the perfect yarn for your next project. We’d like to sweeten the deal for those of you who’d like to enhance their stash, make a sweater, or gear up for holiday knitting: click here to download a PDF coupon to print and redeem at select retailers.

This special offer is good on fingering, sport, and worsted weights of Gems yarn – simply purchase 5 skeins of yarn in your preferred weight of yarn and receive a sixth skein free! Please note that all six skeins purchased must be the same weight of yarn, and of course, you must present this coupon at time of purchase!
Our brand-new PolarKnit kits to make Froggy, Ladybug or Piggy slippers are sure to delight the little ones in your life. For those of you who are young at heart, the pattern is sized up to adult, too! Each kit contains enough yarn to make the largest-sized slippers. Click here to see more easy-to-knit kits using this ultra-warm machine-washable yarn!

Handspinners will rejoice to see the latest fibers from our Canterbury Prize Wool Group; for those of you who are new to spinning or just getting started, we heartily recommend Drucilla Pettibone’s Spindling: From Fluff to Stuff video class on Craftsy.com! Once you’ve mastered the basics using an easy-to-spin fiber such as our Blue Faced Leicester, give something more exotic a try with our soon-to-be-out Canterbury Prize Wool Sampler Pack. Look for this fiberlicious survey of sheep breeds in stores later this fall; each pack will include the following breeds: Blue-Faced Leicester, Cotswold, Jacob, Leicester, Romney, and Wensleydale!

We’re looking forward to Stitches East in Hartford, Connecticut this October 11th -14th; Louet is proud to sponsor this fun-filled event! Please enjoy 50% off the price of marketplace admission with our compliments – click here for an easy-to-print coupon to bring with you to the convention center. We look forward to seeing you in booth 511!

Our next event for October will be SOAR, the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat in Tahoe City, California October 21-27. This week-long offering of workshops and retreat sessions was created by the editorial team behind Spin-Off and Spinning Daily and is celebrating its 30th year! Louet is a proud sponsor this year, and Dave Van Stralen himself will be there to help fix your Louet  spinning wheels. Stop by and say hi!

Welcome to the Louet Family!

We would like to take you on a little journey through the inner workings of our company, from where we are today to where we started years ago. In the months to come, you’ll be given an inside look into our processes, from designing the perfect loom to carefully selecting a yarn or fiber based on a refined set of criteria. We hope you’ll enjoy reading these bits of knitting, weaving, & spinning history from Louet North America.

Dave Van Stralen, photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds’ Blog

Louet North America was originally founded in 1983. Dave’s parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen began managing the company in 1989 and bought LNA in 1992. It’s been family owned and operated since that time.

Today, Dave and his wife Pam own and operate Louet North America. They have 3 kids; a daughter who is 24 has blessed them with their first grandchild eight months ago, as well as two boys who are in their late teens. Pam and Dave are dedicated to growing and cultivating strong relationships in the industry for many years to come.

Creativity from a product and design standpoint is paramount for a company in the fiber industry. Dave and Pam recognize the strong ties people have built with Louet over the years and know that it is because of high quality and great service. They strive to continue these characteristics, and only expand the product line if the quality is right, such as our latest addition to the Euroflax family of yarns, Euroflax Lace.

Stay tuned for future installments, where we’ll share even more fibery stories from our storied past here at Louet North America!

Learn Online With Craftsy.com

Craftsy is the next big thing in the crafting world! Craftsy’s online classes range from cake decorating to crochet to spinning your own yarn (and everything crafty in-between). Taught by some of the best instructors and available 24-7 with no expiration date, you can watch each video lesson at your own pace as many times as you’d like. We’re pleased that several Louet products have been featured in the Craftsy classroom!

Look for our Bottom Whirl Drop Spindle and a range of Louet fibers in Drucilla Pettibone’s Spindling from Fluff to Stuff.  If you want to spin the yarn you have always dreamed about, check out this course! You’ll learn carding, drafting and plying as you create yarn on a drop spindle.  Small enough to pack in a handbag, you can take your spinning on-the-go just as you would any knitting or crochet project!

In the bonus lesson from Felicia Lo’s Spinning Dyed Fibers Class, you’ll get to see Louet’s Roving Carder in action! This class explains the ins and outs of spinning with hand-dyed fibers to create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind yarns.  Not only will you learn about fiber preparation and learn several spinning and plying techniques such as fractal spinning and Navajo plying, you’ll also learn Color Theory to ensure your fiber doesn’t spin out of control!

Last but not least, Krisin Omdahl’s Sweetheart Shawls class features three romantic designs using Louet KidLin Lace (ETA: this yarn has been discontinued; we recommend Euroflax lace to make these projects!). For those of you who are new to knitting lace, Kristin in there every step of the way! Experienced knitters will also enjoy Kristin’s signature geometric designs found in nature. Each shawl was designed to build your knitting skills and explores a different construction or technique, such as top-down, bottom-up, knit edging, motifs, tiers, picots and more. Let Kristin chase away your lace-knitting fears!