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Thursday, August 31, 2017

New Knitter Tips from a Pro

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Are you excited? I am. Because I decided to put forward my top 4 tips for new knitters. These are the 4 things to keep in mind going forward for any new knitter or even someone who just wants to knock it up a notch. 

So let's get going!!

1) Yarn

   I know, I know. Seriously? Of course you need yarn! But not just any yarn. If you are going to enjoy what you are doing, get yarn that is soft to the touch, that you enjoy handling. 
   Budget is an issue, I get that way more than you know, I really do. But even on a budget, you can still get nice yarn! Shop at knitpicks.com, Joann's, Michael's, and use those coupons! :) But you can do it! If all you can afford is acrylic, knitpicks.com has 210 yards of worsted weight acrylic for 1.99.
   Some of my favorite worsted weight yarns that are pretty affordable?


   Brava Worsted (knitpicks)
   Red Heart Softy (I know, but seriously, it is soft)
   Simply Soft 
   Premier Worsted is pretty good.
   Wool-ease is a nice introduction into wool too.

2) Needles
   
  Oh the weapons of the trade, yes, last minute self-defense in your bag, be aware haha (kind of joking). 
   Anyone who knows me will admit, I am a fan of circular needles, and let me tell you why. I like to stuff my project in my bag sometimes and the circular needles make it so that all I have to is slide the project up the cable and away from the needle tips. Bam, all done.
  If you have migraines, you may want to stay away from metal needles, they trigger my visual issues with any reflection. 
  I do suggest knitpicks needles, any of them. Also Karbonz and Knitters Pride Dreamz

  Now these get expensive, but if you buy one at a time you can save up slowly.
   Having said that, you really can get a set of circulars from even Walmart sometimes and definitely Joann's or Michaels.

3) Blocking tools

    Yes I know, I said blocking tools. Knitting should really be blocked out. It is not like crocheting and it makes a HUGE difference (which is also why you should swatch before you attempt a sweater lol). 
   Blocking mats are best if thick, that way you aren't sticking the surface under your mats with the needles you need to block things out with. I recently found these FANTASTIC blocking mats from amazon (LINK) and used them to finish off my Joji Starting Point Shawl (though I had to fold it in half to block). I was actually able to lift the interlocked mats OFF of the floor without them coming apart. Brilliant!!
    The only other item you need to block your knitting out is the pins! I recently invested in the knitter's pride blocking pins, and they are fantastic, but you need t-pins as well. Wires are nice, but not immediately needed. 
4) Fear

    Here is where I get a little more esoteric.
    This is just yarn and needles, so you need to relax!! Even pro's have to start projects over a few times. It's not a big deal! And sometimes, the pattern is WRONG and it isn't you. This is a craft that you are learning, it is in your genetics to create. As human beings, we have done so for a millenia and we will continue to do so. Nothing in life is perfect and neither will your knitting be, especially as you start out. 


  So take a deep breath and marvel at the fact that you are doing it. You are creating new connections in your brain and nervous system. You are creating something with two sticks and yarn!! :)



Take a deep breath and dive in!
Be Well!
Jen
Tangledmania


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dyeing Yarn Tips: Or What I've Learned

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Just this summer, I dived into the wide world of dyeing. Before I started, I did a ton of research and watched a lot of videos (sometimes over and again). 

After dyeing 30 skeins of yarn (so far, I have 20 more to start on this weekend), this is what I've come up with for tips.

1) If you are going to dye in a pot, get a HUGE pot. Seriously. I started out with this little pot, and I ended up with white spots because the yarn needs to be able to move around and soak up the dye. 



2) Keep the color wheel in hand on your phone. There a dozen pics of one available online, just save the pic. It will help you immensely with trying to decide what colors to use.



3) Pictures are a great source of inspiration, use them for color inspiration, I am a fan of the skylines.



4) Be fearless. The worst that will happen is that you hate what you did and you can simply dye the yarn black, it isn't the end of the world.

5) Take classes, watch videos, buy dyeing books. Educate yourself on techniques and ask questions. 

Some of what I've worked on this summer:






So get out there and dye that yarn!!!

Be Well!
Jen
Tangledmania