Saturday, December 31, 2011

Summer Knitting in Winter!

Knit One Crochet Too is a great company. Years ago I carried this line. Well I'm back! Starting off with 2 of their lines. 100% cotton Ty-Dy in the multi and in the dots.  Everytime I see garments made from this yarn, it always takes my breath away.  Also their luscious Croc-o-Dye, 65% Superwash Wool,  20% Nylon and  15% Silk.

I know it is winter, and while I'm craving hot summer weather, I'm wrapped in 4 layers on my way to work.  I'm working on a garment out of Ty-Dy yarn. Something simple with the goal that I actually get it finished before summer. Download the free Lucia Tee pattern here.

Now is the time to plan those summer garments and gifts. Knit One Crochet Too's Ty-Dy Cotton Yarn has a summery array of colors for the perfect summer fiber. This smooth and soft, pure cotton yarn reminds us here at the Yarn Store of ice cream. Delicious!
Fiber Content: 100% cotton , Yardage: 196 yards
Sts per 4": 20 sts, Needles: US size 7 (4.5mm)

Take a look at the shades, and the fun-fun-fun "Dots" shades.
Get this cotton yarn now, while stock is good!

You might think baby blankets are for babies, but everyone loves a cozy throw to curl up with at night. They can be for children, but college students love them too. Angelika's has a great selection of "cozy cuddly afghans" and a great selection of reasonably priced yarns to go with them.

Cascade's Pacific Worsted is super priced, but knit something cozy in Cascade's Pacific Bulky
Using a bulky yarn for a DK or Worsted weight cozy throw, and you get a bigger, squishy, cozy cuddle!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crochet! Beautiful Crochet!

We have Open House Knitting & Crochet every Saturday from 11-ish to 1-ish.  Our customers work never fails to amaze us.  Our last featured project from one of our Saturday knitters was a project by a very ambitious beginner knitter. This time we present to you a scarf done by an extremely advanced and thorough crocheter. Although she had no problem breezing through this simple gift, the finished item shows her dedication to her craft. The yarn she chose was Cascade's Cherub Aran and the crocheted fabric shows off the yarn the best we've ever seen. Laura is one of our regulars here at the Yarn Store on Saturdays and she's a constant inspiration to pick up more crochet ourselves.

Lorna's Laces Heaven is 30% off! Yep, you read that right. All skeins of Lorna's Laces Heaven is $59 right now. Type in "I'm your fan!" in the comment line and we'll give you an additional $10 of each skein of Heaven you order. The photo I've included with this post is a close-up of the Easy Pie Shawl which is included on the back of every label of Heaven. (Angelika added the beads herself.)

Henry this great idea after seeing a customer walk in with a crocheted scarf. She had done it out of Lorna's Laces Bulky in Zombie BBQ (yes, that's a color, its pictured above.) It just so happened that the multi-colored yarn ended up in a varied checkerboard pattern! Oh Shepherd wool, what will you do next? Anyway, I found a remnant of some Zombie BBQ we had left over and set it out to do a small crochet sample... then Angelika steals it out from under Henry.  WOW does this hand-dyed yarn do the most interesting things with such simple projects. Another example of the amazing things this color does with small projects is found in a hat in this gallery. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock through Bulky is fully stocked here at the Yarn Store. We've even got 7 colors no other store can sell!

Friday, December 16, 2011

All About Knitting Machines

All About Knitting Machines

Machine knitting has leaped in popularity over the last year.  Since 1987, when I became a Brother and Studio (Silver Reed) knitting machine dealer, I have seen the rise and fall of machine knitters and manufacturers. I briefly sold Passap and Artisan.  Passap and Brother both, have not manufactured machines for over 10 years.     Today I sell Silver Reed knitting machines.  And truly, machine knitting is where my passion is.  

Machine knitting is a challenge many have enjoyed.  The knitted garment that comes off a machine, verses hand knit, has a different personality to it.  My hand knits are casual and I hand knit in the evening after a long day.  There is no deadline.  But when the impulse is creation and I want it now, the machine is my #1 tool.  The exactness of not only stitches, but measurements is what draws me back time and again.  The machine and I mesh together well, and the creations that come off it are precise and beautiful.

The reasons someone machine knits over hand knitting are various.  The calls that come in cite reasons such as hand pain from long hours of hand knitting, requests for items that cannot be hand knit fast enough, wanting to use of stashes of yarns, and simply an enjoyment of knitwear that cannot be satisfied by hand knitting alone.  Machine and hand knitting happily co-exist side-by-side.

The search for information on knitting machines can be a frustrating one.  It's a very small industry with a relatively small number of retailers.  Everyone has an opinion, from the new machine knitter to an experienced retailer of 20 some years.  Machine knitting is not for everyone.  Just like cell phone and today's technology is not for everyone.  But within the field of machines, there are models that are ideal for the simpler knitter, and models for the techy-bound knitter.

For me, I am drawn to the simpler models, such as the LK150, SK280 and the SK155.  My day consists of hours of computer work and processing. These knitting machines do not require that I be connected to electricity or a computer.  My patterns are either drafted out with paper and pencil, or I will use a design software, such as DesignaKnit.  

There is no such thing as "knitting machine yarn".  
  • When someone refers to knitting machine yarn, usually they are thinking of coned yarns.  All yarns, came off a cone sometime in their process.  Hand knitters prefer small amounts of yarn, so yarns are removed, balled or hanked into smaller amounts.  This also allows the yarn to breath and relax.  Coned yarns, because there is so much on a cone, are often somewhat flattened.  I prefer the hand knit smaller sizes, because I don't end up with partial cones in my stash.  Most all hand knitting yarns will work on a knitting machine.

Trying to decide what machine you want?  
Are you trying to use up your stash?  
  • The most common size yarn in your stash will lead to the machine you want.  The SK280 uses fingering weight and lace weight yarns.  These yarns usually call for a US#0-3 needle.  The LK150 uses mid-range yarns most commonly used by hand knitters.  Those are sport, DK and it does a great job with worsted weight yarn. These yarns are hand knit on US#4-9. I have used bulky on the LK150, and it does work, but you need to be careful.  The SK155 is for worsted and bulky yarns.  Those yarns calling for US#7 and up.
or are you planning on knitting thousands of patterned hats?
  • Selecting a machine based on project is a lesson common way to select a machine.  These are home hobby machines and are not designed for mass production work.  None the less, there are small designers out there that do exactly that.  Some for the actual production, sometimes just for the prototype design work. The SK280 and the SK155 both have punchcard pattern abilities.  The SK840 (same gauge as the SK280) is computer ready.  It uses the DesignaKnit software to feed it and you data.  DesignaKnit is a full blown design program that downloads into this machine.  (a topic for a later blog.)
The cost of knitting machines are a real steal.  In over 10 years the price of the Silver Reed line has barely increased.  Whereas the price of sewing machines . . . . omg . . .   wow!  The quality of this line shows true when you see how some models of 15 yrs are still running like new.  How many people have their refrigerator from 15 yrs ago.  and cell phones?  What is the average age of a cell phone . . . like maybe 3 years?  If you average the price of a metal bed machine over 15 yrs (they do last much longer then that), then it averages out to $67 a year.  Wow!!!   Sweet Deal!!

Have more questions?  email me at 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

WOW! That's a lot of new needles and yarn!!

WOW! That's a lot of inventory! 
We progressing along remodeling the web pages and adding new yarns!

All 631 circular needles are accounted for on the completely remodeled circular needle pages. That's not even all we'll have, believe it or not. There are lengths of the new Knitter's Pride that we haven't even received yet. So which needle were you missing in your collection? I bet we have it or a more than suitable replacement. Wood, metal, bamboo, birch, and plastic with all sizes and all lengths.  Take a look at the super easy to follow pages.  Need that needle fast?  Order it online, and receive it in 2-3 days.  We process orders in less than 24-hour processing time if all your items are in stock.

Cascade Pacific Chunky
The very popular Cascade Pacific Worsted has a chunky new sister. The affordable perfection of Pacific can now be knit up quick in its new bulky incarnation. Completely washable, 40% wool, and 60% acrylic, Pacific was at first designed last year for babies because its so cuddly soft and cheap. Well us adults need pampering too and Pacific has exploded into so many new colors! This is a fantastic yarn for brand new knitters.

New Noni Felted Back Pattern
Your bag is a personal and vital accessory to your wardrobe and life. As a knitter you have the unique ability to create exactly what you or your friends need to carry their things in comfort, style, and eye-grabbing elegance. Noni offers some of the best quality in patterns and hardware for all your sack and accessory needs. The newest addition is the New York Bag. A medium sized, felted bag which is big enough to carry your netbook, current project, or hide away a small umbrella for the season. Felted bags are a category all their own when it comes to fiber arts and are just as rewarding. Luckily, the Yarn Store has everything you need to plan your next bag and with ALL the colors felt-able Cascade 220 here there's no reason not to get on it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Newest Felted Bag Patterns from Noni Bags

The New York Bag -- Noni Pattern No. 151

The Cornucopia Bag -- Noni Pattern No. 152

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crochet Hook Sizes are confusing!

If you have have trouble with your crochet gauge, it probably isn't you.  What the US calls a hook is not always the same from company to company.

millimeterAddi-SkacelKAKnitters PrideCloverBrittanyCrystalites


And this became even more evident as I tried to create a table for those hooks that I stock.  

I suggest looking closer at your crochet hooks.  If your projects are not coming out to gauge, check the millimeter size of your hook.  But in all cases, it does not matter what hook you use, only that you are getting the gauge that the pattern calls for.

NOTE:  Handknitters! Beware.....there is also some discrepancy in US knitting needle sizes as well.  It is for this reason than my circular knitting needle pages are sort by mm sizes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hooks and News

Newsletter went out today!  If you aren't signed up to receive it, you can read it on my Newsletter Page.  This newsletter only goes out 4 times a year.

Also new is the Knitters Pride Line of knitting needles and crochet hooks.  Henry has finished the Knitters Pride Crochet hook page. The Symfonie Dreamz is a luxurious color-coded wood set. These hooks, while dyed, keep the natural grain look of the wood they were made out of for a sophisticated, yet distinct look. To further the detailing several decorative rivets have been engraved on the ends of these needles.

And their price is really good!!

All the knitting needles, both the Dreamz and the Nova line will be in stock and added to the web as fast as our fingers can fly!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A couple New Infant Patterns-Quick projects!

Mealtime Set

#BB222 from Oat Couture
Bib, Bunny and Washcloth for Baby
Bib & Washcloth need 125 yds of DK or Lt Worsted Cotton yarn. I recommend Universal's Cotton Supreme. US#6
36" needles and 13 ring markers
Bunny requires 35yds of white or natural dk weight yarn. US#5 needle.

Newborn Layette
Knitting Pure and Simple #121

Jacket, Hat and Booties done in size appropriate weight yarn. I mean, the fabric that fingering weight yarn creates is perfect for these tiny sweethearts! I recommend Catania. Catania is a 100% cotton, washable, in fingering weight. Comes in Solids and multis. Or if you prefer wool. Of my wool yarns my Shepherd Sock or Solemate is my softest, and is very washable!
Sizes: Preemie, Newborn, 3, 6, and 12 months.
Materials: Fingering weight yarn approx 258, 376, 402, 427, 475 yds. 24" circular and double points US#3 and 1. Scrap yarn, stitch markers, safety pin, blunt darning needle.
Gauge: 6.75 sts per inch on US#3 or size needed for this gauge.

See and Order both of these patterns and more at

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DesigaKnit 8 and OMG, the manuals!

I snapped this picture of my DesignaKnit 8 manuals with my phone this morning.  6.2 lbs of paper, printed double sided.  5 manuals. This program is amazing and super powerful.  With so many features, I'm overwhelmed!  

DesignaKnit 8 is a powerful computer-aided knitwear program for PCs.  It is available in 4 packages (Standard (for machine knitters), Professional (for machine knitters), HandKnit (NEW!! for hand knitters) and Complete (contains both Professional and HandKnit).

With only a few hours a week to spend learning the features and the steps of DesignaKnit 8, I knew I needed paper to read and write on.  As you can see, I'm already sticking post-it notes out the top.  Found the section on printing out hand knit instructions.  And I'm very pleased with what was shown.  

DAK 8  has 7 garment print options.  
Garment Notation is the garment outline with the shaping notations (i.e. 24: +1s19x6. which means at row 24, increase 1 stitch, then knit 19 rows, for a total of 6 times).
Garment Text is a row by row desciption of both shapiing and stitch pattern.  This option is for the hand knitters and you will have to have either the HandKnit package or the Complete package (which includes the HandKnit).
Knit Leader and KnitRadar are two machine knit printouts. This are printouts that are either full scale or half scale.  Tape them together and you use them for the knitting machine accessory that helps to shape garment pieces.  I've printed out the full scale and used it as a blocking guideline.  Cut out the garment pieces, tape them together, pin around the edges on the blocking board, lift off the paper shape, lay my garment piece down between the pins and no measuring is needed!
Shaping as X's.  This is where each stitch is represented by an "x".  I've not used this much in the past, but if you are really particular about each stitch, this layout shows it very well.  I'm sure there are more uses for this, and this printout is on my  "to research more" list.  If color is used in this design, the x's will also be the corresponding color that you set it to be.  In other words, if you have a row of hearts, this layout will show the x's in boxes of different colors.  You can not only see the exact stitch shape, but also what color it is.  The perfectionist will love this as a proofing tool!
Print Text Summary would be like the cover sheet of your pattern.  It is information that was entered in your Options/Tensions window when the garment is being planned.  If the garment was created in DAK Standard Garment Styling originally, then this summary will also include body measurements + the add'l ease.  No guesswork here!

Authors note:  I'm still learning, so there may be a few omissions and misunderstandings as I go thru the Designaknit manuals.  With only a few hours a week, progress will be slow.  Please share you progress with me as well!!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Designaknit 8 is here!

With 3 new options for knitters, Designaknit will meet all your designing needs.

The greatest change is the HandKnit feature. The Handknit feature is included in the Designaknit 8 Complete Package, or if you only want the HandKnit Package, it is available as a stand alone program. My software is on its way, and I am excited to learn all that it offers.
The Handknit Package is a complete design and charting system for hand knitters. It includes an extensive collection of stitch cables, 200 new hand knitting stitch symbols, abbreviations and instructions. Use as they are, or alter them to suite your needs.

Packages available are the HandKnit Package, the Knitting Machine Standard Package, the Knitting Machine Professional Package and the Designaknit8 Complete (Professional and HandKnit combined).

See What's New in DAK8.
Download the Designaknit 8 NEW FEATURES pdf.

Go to my Designaknit 8 page to order upgrades and full packages.

Friday, September 16, 2011



Cascade's Pacific has tooooo many colors! I can never decide which one I want to use. I'm stocking them all. Those not in stock feel free to order anyway!
the details aaarrree . . .
Fiber: 40% Superwash Merino Wool / 60% Acrylic VERY SOFT!
Yardage: 100gr / 213 yds SUPER PRICE AT ONLY 6.50/solids $7/multis
Gauge: 4.5 -5.0 sts=1" / #7 - #8
go to my Cascade PACIFIC Yarn page to check it out!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Do you seriously believe I CAN'T do that?? Just try me!!

Welcome to Part III in my ongoing series about the comparisons between hand knitting and machine knitting.

In this section, I will explain a bit about some stitches that are are easier by hand and other stitches that are easier on a knitting machine. 


This is one of the hardest things to explain to a knitter whose background is hand knitting. This is where using 2 knitting needles defaults to a somewhat different fabric than a bed full of latch hooks. In hand knitting, when you knit every row you get garter stitch. That is because at the end of every row, you turn the fabric before you start knitting back (circular knitting and knitting backwards are the exceptions). Now the fabric is reversed and you knit another row. In flat bed machine knitting the fabric is never reversed. The latch hooks pull loops away from you in every row. Therefore flat bed knitting machines default to a stockinet stitch fabric.


As previously stated, flat bed knitting machines default to stockinet fabric. So any design requiring stockinet fabric is easy.  Knitting great amounts of stockinet fabric can be tedious by hand.  This is an area where the knitting machine shines.

Garter Stitch

Garter stitch is a reversible fabric that alternate rows of knit and purl on both sides. In hand knitting, this is done by knitting every row and turning the fabric before starting back. This is popular for new knitters as only 1 stitch, the knit stitch, is all they need to know. While this is the easiest hand knitting stitch, this stitch cannot be done simply on a flat bed knitting machine. There are a few ways to reproduce garter stitch on a knitting machine, none of them fast.

  1. Remove the fabric from the knitting machine onto waste yarn, turn and rehang after each row. This is extremely tedious.
  2. It can also be done with a garter bar tool. The garter bar hooked onto the main bed needles and the fabric is pulled onto the fingers of the garter bar. Turn the bar, (the purl side that you could see is turned around and the knit side is now facing you) and hook back onto the knitting machine needles and remove the bar. This can be quite fast, but you must be accurate or stitches will be dropped.
  3. Brother used to make an accessory called a garter carriage. The garter carriage worked on a standard gauge knitting machine (uses yarns calling for US#0-3 needles, which are lace and fingering weight yarns). The garter carriage was automatic, it was slow and it was noisy, as it would walk across the bed either knitting or purling as per the electronics or punch card dictates.  Brother no longer makes machines, and no longer makes parts for machines that are still out there. 
  4. If there is a ribber accessory available for your flat bed knitting machine, you can transfer all the stitches to the ribber, knit 1 row and transfer back to the main bed and knit 1 row. Again, this is an extremely tedious task.
  5. Using the latch tool that comes with the knitting machine, drop one stitch and latch it back up. Because the latch hook is in your hand and facing the opposite direction from the latch hooks on the bed of the knitting machine, you are pulling the stitches through the opposite way. This is fine, if you have only a few stitches to reform, but tedious across a complete row.

If you are a fast hand knitter, none of the techniques above are options. If you are not a hand knitter, or a very slow hand knitter, the options above become much more feasible.  So for most, this stitch is easier done by hand.

Moss / Seed Stitch

Alternating knit and purl stitches in a row is easy by hand. On the second row, the knit stitches are purled and the purl stitches are knit. Rather a checkerboard type of look if you can visualize it in a grid format. Like garter stitch, this can be done much faster by hand.

  1. Brother used to make an accessory called a garter carriage. The garter carriage worked on a standard gauge knitting machine (uses yarns calling for US#0-3 needles, which are lace and fingering weight yarns). The garter carriage was automatic, it was slow and it was noisy, as it would walk across the bed either knitting or purling as per the electronics or punch card dictates. Brother no longer makes machines, and no longer makes parts for machines that are still out there.  
  2. If there is a ribber accessory available for your flat bed knitting machine, you can transfer stitches back and forth, each row (or 2 rows, as the stitch requires) between rows. This is fine, if you have only a few stitches to reform, but tedious across a complete row.
  3. Using the latch tool that comes with the knitting machine, drop one stitch and latch it back up. Because the latch hook is in your hand and facing the opposite direction from the latch hooks on the bed of the knitting machine, you are pulling the stitches through the opposite way. This is fine, if you have only a few stitches to reform, but tedious across a complete row.
  4. As a substitute, you can get a “mock” seed stitch by using a machine knit stitch called a tuck stitch. The stitch gauge isn’t the same, and there is a knit side and a purl side, so it isn’t reversible. Tuck stitch (hand knitters call it Brioche), is very fast on a knitting machine, and produces a similar high-low texture. If you are planning a project with a large area of seed stitch, I strongly urge you look at tuck stitch.  You can get a fairly similar texture of seediness, and it is very fast on the machine.  As fast as stockinet for the machines that pattern.  For the manual machines, it is fairly fast as well.


Cables are done manually on all knitting machines.  But it is very quick.  Using tools that come with the machine, stitches are transfered to two tools.  Switch hands, and hang the stitches back on.  I love cables, but I enjoy them really well on the mid-gauge and bulky machines.  In hand knitting, the first set of stitches are transfered off to a cable needle.  The next set are knit, then the ones on the cable needle are knit.  Again, fairly equal points to both techniques on creating cables.


When I hand knit lace, I need A LOT of stitch markers.  I easily loose track.  Particularly if the project gets put down.  But I see beautiful lace work done, all by hand, so that's not a problem for everyone.  What helps me on the knitting machine is that the needles are numbered.  The fabric is spread open and I can watch the lace unfold in their rows.  In hand knitting, stitches are combined, and yarn overs are done in a preplanned fashion.  The yarn overs and the knit 2 togethers (or other combined method) are all done in the same row.  In machine knitting, using a tool that comes with the machine, stitches are moved from one need to the next one.  Two (or three stitches) are on one needle, with a matching empty needle.  When the carriage passes across, those combined stitches are knit together, and the empty needle has yarn placed "over" it, thus the "yarn over".  Both hand and machine knit methods for lace receive equal points.  Individuals will certainly have favorites.  Mine is to do lace on the machine. 
The Silver Reed standard gauge machines (SK280 & SK840) have an optional lace carriage.  The lace carriage transfers stitches and knits the row, in the same pass.  The lace carriage receives its instructions from a prepunched pattern card, or electronically via your computer and knitting machine design software.  Delicate, lace weight fabric is one of the most beautiful pieces of fabric that comes of this combination.  And . . . . it is very fast.

The challenges and the successes of machine knitting are endless.  This article could go on for volumes.  But I will leave those challenges for your enjoyment!

Recently I attended a Cat Bordhi class.  One of the projects was puzzling out a piece of manufactured knit fabric.  Then reproducing it on your knitting needles.  Having a background in machine knitting put me ahead of the game, yet, there still was at least 1 sample that was totally beyond me.   On a trip to Germany years ago, I picked up a couple short sleeved knit tunics.  Absolutely fell in love with them.  Recognized the stitch right off.  Plated Tuck Lace.  This is a technique easy on the knitting machine.  While it can be done by hand, it would be a fussy one!

Thanks for reading on . . . .  in a few days, I will talk about gauges.  I promise Part IV will be short, but you will find it interesting.....

Monday, August 15, 2011


Now these are just toooo cute to believe.  And we've got clips so the flowers can be moved from coat, to bag, to scarf, anywhere!!

Roxy's Favorite Flower
Noni Pattern No. 224
Sunset Over Chaco Canyon Cactus Flowers
Noni Pattern No. 223
Les Tuileries Evening Bag
Noni Pattern No. 150
Tablet Bags
Noni Pattern No. 149


Thursday, August 11, 2011

What IS it about those knitting machines!

Thinking of buying a knitting machine?

Machine knitting is fun and extremely creative. But it is necessary to educate yourself of what a knitting machine can do for you. While both hand and machine knitting produce knitting garments, the path to the result is quite a bit different.

This is another part in my series about knitting machines.

This particular article is focused on the differences and similarities between machine knitting and hand knitting.
(Please do not copy for use on your website, commercial or noncommercial
nor for use in any printed materials, but feel free to link to it.)

If in doubt, email me. I'm pretty easy to get along with. Angelika's Yarn Store, Angelika Burles

What Every Hand Knitter Should Know Before Buying a Knitting Machine
Is Machine Knitting Cheating?
Hand and Machine Knitting: The differences and similarities.

As you can tell, as I wrote this article many kinds of titles came to mind. Over the years I have worked with hand knitters who wanted to start machine knitting to increase their speed. Sometimes it was because they had a buying market for their hand knits, sometimes it was because of pain caused by hand knitting and sometimes it was because the family was just so large they wanted to increase their output. Not thoroughly checking into the abilities of a knitting machine, they often find to their dismay that machine knitting will not produce as fast and easily all of the stitches they love to use in their designs, as they thought.

Thus the title "What Every Hand Knitter Should Know Before Buying a Knitting Machine".

The common thought is that machine knitting is cheating, or that it is easy. Just throw yarn at the knitting machine, right? But the fact is that machine knitting is much more complicated and difficult than hand knitting. When a hand knitter moves into the field of machine knitting, it is often a shock to the creative side. Machine knitting takes perseverance and a stubborn constitution not to quit. But when you pass that first hurdle, look out!!  A whole new design world of creativity opens up!

Before you can cast on, you have to make sure you are using a knitting machine that is appropriate to the size of the yarn you are working with. Even with the appropriate yarn size, you still need to learn the rules of the knitting machine. Like driving a car, there is so much going on that you have to watch out for. After you are comfortable with your yarn and knitting machine, you need to have a large swatch done and have the stitches and rows per inch figured. A complete knit plan (schematics or pattern) needs to be preplanned.

A knitting machine is like NO OTHER piece of equipment you have ever used. It can behave in some of the oddest ways, and our logical minds have no experience to draw upon. When the yarn gets caught up around the wheels, when stitches fall off the needles, when the carriage jams or is so hard to move you need to hook it to the tow truck, do you know where to begin to look for the problem? In the beginning of this learning curve, you will be in situations where you are learning, and you are learning a lot. Machine knitting is a totally different way of producing knitwear.
Give yourself weeks to learn machine knitting techniques. And don't ever tell anyone machine knitting is cheating. When you have mastered machine knitting, I bow down to your dedication and perseverance. You deserve it!
Thus the title "Is Machine Knitting Cheating"

and finally

Hand and Machine Knitting: The differences and similarities.

Not all hand knit stitches and techniques can be reproduce identically on the knitting machine. Some are not possible and some are tedious. On the same hand, there are some machine knit stitches that are not very doable by hand either.  Below I have addressed some of the more commonly asked questions and misconceptions regarding adapting hand knitting to machine knitting.


The most common request I get from hand knitters is “I want a knitting machine that will knit socks, blankets and baby clothes”, or “I want a knitting machine that will knit cashmere, alpaca and merino wool.”

Would you go into a yarn shop and say “I want a knitting needle that will knit wool.”?

It isn’t the type of yarn, nor is it the type of garment that determines the needle or knitting machine you need, but instead, it is the SIZE of the yarn that determines the needle or the knitting machine required.

The latch hooks on a knitting machine are locked into position in slots of the bed of the knitting machine. So the stitches, no matter the size of the yarn, are locked this distance apart. This is one reason that one knitting machine cannot knit ALL sizes of yarns.

The other reason that there are different gauges of knitting machines is the size of the latch hook. On a knitting machine, it is a row of latch hooks. If you attempt to knit with a yarn that is too large, the latch hook will split through the middle of the yarn. Try to imagine crocheting a bulky yarn with a crochet hook designed for thin crochet cotton. All the hook will grab is a few hairs or strands of the yarn, just splitting it and making the next row impossible to knit.

For lace weight, fingering weight and some sport weight the standard guage SK280 knitting machine is your best choice.  For sport weight, DK, worsted and some bulky weight yarns, the mid-gague machine is perfect.  My personal favorite is my little buddy the LK150.  If you knit a lot of worsted and bulky weight yarn, you will want the bulky SK155 knitting machine.  The SK280 and the SK155 have a built in, mechanical, pattern feature that is easy to learn and understand.    This feature allows you to knit 2 colors in a row and many varied types of textured stitches automatically.

Stay tuned,  in a day or two, I will post about some hand knit verses machine knit stitches  . . . . 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Felted Poppies & More sales specials

Just arrived (and more styles coming) is Nora's newest flower Oriental Poppy.
Poppies created all in one piece and are beautiful works of art that look lovely decorating most any surface: such as the top of a gift box, a felted hat, and the ends of a conventional scarf. . . oh, yes, and even on your bag.
See more details and order information at:

Cascade Pure Alpaca 100% Baby Alpaca

Fiber: 100% Baby Alpaca
Yardage: 100gr / 220 yds
Gauge: 5 sts=1" / #7
Super nice! You just must try one ball to believe this!
Wonderful for baby wear and fine quality garments.
Wash: Hand Wash, Lay Flat to dry.

Alchemy Yarns Silk Purse  
100% Silk, 163 yds per 50 gram hank. Gauge is 5.5 sts per inch on 4mm needles (US#6).
A top quality silk yarn that wears great, and feels like silk should feel!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are you a designer?

Using a knitting machine to enhance your design time is a good thing. Two things come to mind immediately when I think of this. One, the machine will speed up the knitting of stockinette and ribbed items, allowing you to hand knit the more complex pieces. Two, there are some machine knit stitches that are just very difficult to duplicate by hand. Add these stitches to your design catalog to broaden your creativity.

But what machine will work for your design line???
That is the question . . . . and I have your answer!

Machine Knitting Education: The Best Decision is an Educated Decision

Don't know what machine you want?? Learn about the different machines, which yarns go to which machine, and how hand and machine knitting are different.

"What is the best machine?" is a question I hear daily. The best machine is the machine that knits the yarn weights you need to knit, with features you desire, with the minimum of fuss, in the most enjoyable manner, in the time frame you need. And since none of us do the same thing, think the same way or have the same budget, we won't all agree on the same machine. So to find out what is the best machine, we need to learn as much as possible about what knitting machines can do for us, what we want them to do for us and what their limitations are. Much information to learn, but then, the machines are not cheap either! So read on!

One more note. Recently I have been getting inquiries about machine knitting. One question that keeps coming up I'd like to clear up now. Machine Knitting is a hobby. Being a hobby the knitter is involved in the process every step of the way. You cannot set up the machine, yarn, software, then go away and have all the pieces knit when you return. It would not be a hobby if you could. I do not know of any machines that do this.

Stay tuned, there is more to come!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'Nother NEW YARN

Plymouth Juli Alpaca Blend Yarn

Julie is a new yarn, just arrived.
Juli is an Italian yarn. A loosely corded yarn with silver wraps, which look like beads from a distance. This soft alpaca blend yarn is very drapy and would be ideal for short vests, and wraps. This yarn is perfect in a knit or crochet scarf, with a matching hat.

Fiber: 63% Alpaca, 32% Nylon, 5% Polyester
Yardage: 50g - 101 yds
Gauge: 3.5 sts = 1"/ US 10 needle
Care: Hand Wash, Dry Flat

Take a look at this awesome yarn on my Juli Yarn Page.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just had to share!!

This is a quick shot of the new ball winder. When I opened up the box I found the yarn winder comes with its own screwdriver. Sometimes it is the little stuff that tickles us all day long. I just had to share this with you. This just isn't any screwdriver! It is quite nice and a woman's dream as it is magnetized. Sure made putting the yarn winder together so much easier!

This is greatly needed size ball winder, at a reasonable price. Your can order yours now on my Yarn Winder & Swifts Page.

Henry (much to his disgruntlement) was drafted into moving yarn yesterday. He is much more comfortable glued to the computer. And he has been as he's been remodeling the web site. But I've been groaning how the Cascade 220 Superwash Wool Yarn is overflowing to total distraction! at 5:30 last night, I said "I'm doing it". "Bet it takes 1 hr". He just rolled his eyes. By 6:30 it was done with only the new Cascade Yarns freight that came in yesterday to be put away.

So now, when you come into the store the 220 Superwash Yarn is in a much happier, brighter lit spot, with lots of elbow room.

Saturday will be a special day, as I will be attending (finally!) the Metropolitan Machine Knitters Guild's monthly meeting. I'm so looking forward to seeing what everyone has been doing. One of the topics we will be discussing is the planning of next years knitting machine seminar here in Portland. As "headmaster" of this event, and new to Portland, I've a lot of information to gather then research. The biggest is finding a location that meets my criteria, followed by selecting a small group of teachers. I'm looking forward to finding teachers that feature younger styles, but styles that can easily be modified for a more conservative look as well. So exciting!

If you would like to stay on top of the progress for this seminar, you can sign up for Notification News at

We'll talk soon!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cat Bordhi Class--here in Portland

Hello Knitters--

Please see the attached PDF re Cat’s Bordhi’s 2-day workshop – Forensic Knitting.

The class is being sponsored by Lisa @ HandWorks NW, LLC and is being held in SW Portland in Multnomah Village.

Please contact Lisa via e-mail-- if you are interested in attending.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cherry Chocolate!!

Yarn Store has a new look!
In an attempt to stay current, and to keep "house" clean, Henry has created a new look. It will be months before all the hundreds of pages are remodeled, but we are rolling things out daily. Always thinking in terms of food (the sweeter, the better) I've been referring to my new look as the Cherry Chocolate version. We are adding what Henry calls "breadcrumbs". That's a trail of where you are. This has already helped me jump around the site.

Let me know what you think!

New Colors in Cascade Sierra Yarn are arriving into stock. All the shopping scripts (along with the new Cherry Chocolate look) are up. Took me about 4 nights and 2 mornings to get all the yarn scripts done. But the way Henry showed me to do it, makes it simple for future additions and removals. Take a peak at my new Sierra Yarn pages.

My newsletter went out last week. If you aren't signed up for it, you can read it online on my YARN BLOGS & NEWSLETTERS page.

If you are a machine knitter, you may want to sign up for my Seminar notification letter. The research is afoot for a 2012 Biennial Knitting Machine Seminar. I've a couple meetings to attend, then I hit the ground running hoping to procure a location. Sign up here: This is a opt-in and opt-out newsletter purely and totally for letting machine knitters know the progress, dates and locations of my knitting machine events.

sorry no pics today!! Just information! Keep in touch (and those of you in the hot hot weather.....send some my way....I'm tired of wearing sweatshirts! )

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Large Ball Winder

Just arrived, a new large ball winder, at a great price!

I saw this winder at the June trade show, and loved the quality, loved the price. They just arrived into the US last week, and I have them in stock, ready to ship today!!

FREE SHIPPING on it too!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Yarn

Plymouth Yarn Stiletto Sock Yarn
Yarn Content: 70% Merino Superwash Yarn, 23% Nylon, 7% Lurex
Yarn Gauge: 7.5 sts = 1"/US2 needle
Yarn Weight: DK
Yarn Length: 384 yds/110g ball

Stiletto yarn is a fingering weight yarn. Knit mainly for socks, it would also knit or crochet up beautifully in a lightweight scarf, top or baby's garment. I can see it crocheted in a lacy wrap. This would make it a perfect Gift for the holidays coming up. The 7% Lurex puts a bit of sparkle into your piece. The summer sun or the evening lights would make it sparkle.

Block it heavily with a hot steamy iron (or kill it by pressing it) to make a whispy flowing fabric.

I stock ALL colors of Plymouth Yarn Stiletto Sock Yarn! It is online and ready to for your hooks and needles.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

NEW Knitting Pure & Simple

These are the newest patterns from Knitting Pure and Simple. Start early with gift knitting. Two of these projects are perfect for summer knitting. Small, easy to tote when traveling, or onto your patio, finish up fast, and take up only a small space while waiting to be given as gifts.
Neckdown Swing Cardigan #118 An easy to knit and wear cardigan, flattering to all in DK weight yarn at a gauge of 20 sts to 4 inches. The v neck is deep, and the sleeves are kimono style. Sizes x-small through xx-large.

Mukluk Slippers #116 A thick warm shipper for men and women, knitted tightly in bulky yarn for long wear. Sizes to fit women’s size 6 to men’s 14. Knitted from the bottom up, you can make the tops as long as you wish.

Chemo Caps for My Sister #119 A group of fast to knit hats, with shaping to flatter and comfort women who have hair loss from chemotherapy. They do look good on women with hair also! Bulky and worsted yarns.

Bulky Neckdown Pullover for Men #1110 Fast to knit and very warm, this pullover can have ribbed or rolled edges. Men’s sizes x-small through xx-large using bulky weight yarn at a gauge of 12 sts to 4 inches.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Good Deal !

Out with the old, In with the New!

Cascade has reformulated, redesigned, updated and improved lace weight Kid Seta Yarn. And I've moved the old style (but still ever so delicate!) to the clearance cabinet. Kid Seta retails for $11.60. But I have Cascade Kid Seta (older version) for $8.95. Better yet, I have some Knit One Crochet Too (same stuff!) for $4.95.

Check it out....when it's gone, IT'S GONE!

Check out all the new colors on my Cascade Kid Seta NEW page.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Xerox Phaser 8560 MFP - FOR SALE

My day yesterday was a busy, but satisfying. Fire Marshall wants my boxes cleared away from the switch box, and yesterday was that day for me. Much to my dismay I have 2 switch boxes in my unit. Obviously I've got someone elses as well as mine. So I had to clear out substantial floor space. But it is done. It's always a good feeling to sort and toss! In the process, one of my printers is now ready to be sold.

It's a super-duper printer. I've got two, and I only need one these days. If you are local, and can pick up, call me!!! (see more details at bottom of this posting)

Also, a big box of brand new yarns from Plymouth arrived today. They are all in the computer, but will take a few days to get online. Stiletto is a striping sock yarn with gold and silver in the strands. 3 bright colors in Baby Alpaca Grande that were just too uplifting not to stock. Juli is a soft wool blend with flicks of silver. and more! Come in and see them now. They are in my new "newest arrivals" rack!
$1,000.00 Xerox Phaser 8560mfp (multifunction printer: Scan, Copy, Fax and printer. Full Beautiful Color).
Have used these for years for full color catalogs, faxing, color copying and scanning too. Great Printers!!

Includes installed 40gb hard drive to save files to (for walk-up printing). Makes for fast printing.
Also includes this beefy xerox stand with drawer (new $299.00)

Phaser 8560MFP: 30ppm Color Multifunction System, 2-Sided Print And Scan, Fax, Auto Doc Feeder, Networking, 2400 Finepoint Image Quality, 512MB Memory, 40GB HD, 2X525 Letter/Legal Input Tray, System Cart, Na Pwr Cord. (New $2700.00)/em>

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tom's Knitting Prank

Access Hollywood had a piece on the trick that Tom Hank's knitting prank on Julia Roberts. Did you see it?? As many of us already know, Julia is a devoted knitter. Knitting between scenes is something I've been away of for, gosh, 10 years now?

Charmie of Elegant Heirlooms has two new Christmas Stocking Designs in her line of Googleheim Christmas Stockings. It always amazes me that her stockings sell consistantly all year round. I always get a surge in November, but it continues to surge through January. And all year round. This June, another big surge of kits being shipped occurred. And that was even before I was able to get her newest kits up!

This one above is called Through the Woods. Santa with his bag of gifts on his back, a reindeer and a sheepie, fluffy lamb.

Noah's Ark is the name of her 2nd design. What a cutie! Note the cute fluffly sheep, and wait, is that a pink flamingo? OMG! How much fun is that!

Look at all the Googleheim Christmas Stocking designs at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Keeping things in line!

This past weekend, it took me 3 times to stitch in a sleeve cap, capturing all the excess fabric at the top of the sleeve. Yesterday these clips arrived....sure could have used them this weekend!!

Knit Klips from Susan Bates.

10 Knit Klips per package.

Aligns edges for quick seaming! Comes in assorted colors.

Clover Wonder Clips

These clips were designed with the seamstress in mind. But they spoke to me!
- - They have a strong grip and will hold the edges of my knitting together so I can seam evenly. (where were these when I struggled to stitch my mohair sleeve cap into the armhole!).
- - I've also grabbed a few to "bull-dog" clip some papers together. Sweet!
- - and Finally, I've been using them with my knitting machine, to hold down my yarn until I get a few rows knit.
- - There's 50 clips...enough to last pretty much forever, and they store in this strong hinged box that won't come open even if it is stored in your knitting supply bag.

Clover says: Clip and hold, Clip and Sew right where you need it!
Open wide for holding multiple layers of fabric. It won't damage or distort the fabric. Great Holding capacity for different types of crafts. 1/4" and 1/2" seam allowance markings on on the base of clip of clip. Clip base is flat for easy feeding to presser foot.
The Wonder Clips are great alternative to pins, especially when working with heavy weight fabrics, piles, and vinyls. It can hold layered sections of sewing projects such as handle connectors to handbags and piping without distortion. It holds quilt binding while sewing and it's easy to see and easy to find when dropped on the floor. Works well with sergers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Such a good feeling!

It's always a good feeling when a project is completed, and you are truly satified with the end result !! Knit on my Silver Reed LK150 using Feza Fanatic yarn. Pattern was designed and hand drafted by me.

Some people think machine knitting is cheating. But is it truly?? Beside the obvious . . . . "do you sew without a sewing machine?" . . . and my all time favorite "do you mow the lawn with your teeth?" (never fails to make a man laugh.) there is quite a lot of time in the planning of a machine knit garment. 100% of my "winging it" machine knit projects failed. But I've learn to enjoy it Preplanning can be inspirational. It's like when you are planning on a home remodel. So many choices, so many ideas.

In the case of this project, I ended up knitting both sleeves twice. Discovered this AFTER I put the sleeves in. Had to remove the button band once and put it on the correct, female, side of jacket. In a few spots, the machine split the yarn. I was really pushing the LK150 to knit bulky weight yarn. I knit it slightly firmer than a hand knit garment. I wanted a bit more body so it would hold its shape. Where the yarn was split I had to graft it back together.

I started this jacket on April 15th. Today, 5 weeks later, I am putting the finishing touches on it. Cheating? Many hand knitters could do this project in less time, others could not. A machine is just another tool. Some people like riding mowers, others prefer the walk behind. Some like big trucks, others like BMW convertibles. Some like to quilt, others like to crochet. Knowing you have choices is a wonderful thing!! When it comes to crafts, you need to do what brings you the greatest satisfaction. (While I might get the greatest joy from riding in a BMW convertible, I think that choice might be out of my hands! (hahahaha) )

Stay tuned! Another project is already on the machine. This time it is the Athena Tank from Knit One Crochet Too. This Tank is in the June issue of Knit n' Style. The magazine included machine knit instructions (by Mary Anne Oger). This one should go much faster as I'm not drafting from scratch. But things do go awry! Wish me luck!

Have you notice our new logo??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Summer Cardigan Package Deal

It is rare for me to knit a pattern twice. But Knitting Pure and Simple's Summer Cardigan # 221 I did knit twice a few years ago. Comfortable over a shell, or even just fully buttoned up like a top. Perfect for cool summer mornings.

One of my cardigans is done out of Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. Today, for a limited time, depending on existing stock availability, I am packaging up a Summer Cardigan Deal for you.

In finished chest measurements of 36, (40, 44, 48, 52)", knit it fairly close to your bust measurement or just barely above. The knit will ease to fit without looking oversized and clumsy.

For a limited time, I will offer prices of
$120 (value $175.50) for 36";
$120 (value $175.50) for 40";
$144 (value $209.50) for 44";
$144 (value $209.50) for 48";
$168 (value $243.50) for 52".

This includes the yarn and the pattern, and free shipping within the U.S. (International orders will have a shipping charge).
Many colors are deeply stocked, so your color selection is excellent. Check my Lion and Lamb page for stock availability, and then call (503-200-5991) Henry or I right away to place your order. If you are a current customer, it may only be necessary to email us ( to get your order placed. But don't hesitate! This offer only applies to the stock on my shelves, and it first come first shipped!

The continueing saga of my Fanatic Jacket. . . .
. . . you have all probably heard of the 2nd sock syndrome? Well, it has been verified that I have 2nd sleeve syndrome!

I'm always gun-ho on sweaters beginning with the backs, then to the fronts, slowing on the 1st sleeve, and stopping before the 2nd sleeve. I've two sweaters in progress. One by hand and one in Feza Fanatic on the Silver Reed LK150 knitting machine , both which came to a dead stop after the first sleeve. But the prognosis is good and the issue has been addressed and cured (for the moment!) The hand knit cardigan is in the bands stage. And my machine knit jacket (shown here) is now in the hood stage.

The wonderful thing about machine knit garments is the ease at which you can reknit pieces. After I completed both sleeves and had them sewn in, I had an uneasy pit in my stomach. After trying on, it was confirmed. Darn sleeves were way too short. I should have know better! I've long arms for my size! After removing the sleeves, I unraveled back to the armhole bind off and rehung on the machine, knit an add'l two inches, reshaped the cap, and reblocked the sleeve. Repeated for 2nd sleeve, and by the end of the afternoon, both sleeves were back into the garment and their length is perfect! Hood will be in garter stitch, a stitch that is a bit tedious on the machine, so will take longer. Plus the row gauge will be slightly off, so there is a good chance the hood will need to be knit twice. But I'm on a roll again!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Newest Noni Patterns!

This just arrived today! I dumped the box, tried to make it casually attractive and took a quick photo.

The newest Noni Pattern, the Bettie Boop bag, is now in stock!

Nora says "Inspired by the beloved, alluringly feminine icon of the 1930's, this bag is both flirty and straightforward, delicate yet ever so comfortable. Just as the original Miss B. practically purred with the romantic gleam of the jazz age and the revolutionary confidence of the Flappers, The Bettie Boop will give you the irresistible urge to flaunt your feminine side while still staying perfectly put together. Elegant underpinnings, including a clever, fully assembled (USA-made) hex frame and a totally innovative blossom-shaped turn-lock, create the ideal silhouette to show off sculpted blooms and the sparkle of crystals and beads."

The flowers and their sparkly crystals are just adorable!! and you can order the flower pattern on its own to apply to your own bags and garments.

And check out that patent leather handle. It's the handle on the left of the handles. OMG!! I love patent leather. and Laura (JUL Silver) tells me it is REAL patent leather! The bag is designed to open and close with a purse frame. And I have those in stock too. It's those metal things in the top right of the photo. I have most all of the hardware in stock, except a few items that were backordered.

They are on my desk, they are in inventory, and by end of tomorrow I should have them online. But if you just cannot wait, email me at .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gadget Sack Plus

Gadget Sack Plus
Just arrived! Exclusive to us, the Gadget Sack Plus. (Style #20)
A 7.5" square vinyl bag. The prototype went immediately into my bag to hold my comb, lip gloss, mirror, all those essentials you know! But originally it was designed to hold a bit more and larger knitting tools than the basic gadget bag.

This is a perfect organizer for purses, travel bags, school bags, knitting bags and more.

Also check out these add'l sizes!

Ashland Sky Project Pouch, Clear front - clear back with aqua zipper (9.5 x 12") (Style #10)
Will hold small projects such as infant, sock and small scarves, as well as most needles and your pattern and magazine!
I also use one to hold my ipod docking station when traveling.
Ashland Sky 6" Gadget Sack. (Style #9)
6" gadget bag, clear front and back, with aqua zipper.
Perfect for corralling those ring markers that like to disappear, as well as measuring tapes, cable needles and lots of other small items.
I use one for my contact solution and supplies when traveling!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Short Term Spring Special on Lorna's Laces Yarns!

Lion and Lamb: Normally $34.00, rolled back prices to $29.00
Elegant! Used in the Clapotis pattern in

Angel: Normally $15.50, rolled back prices to $9.00
Baby soft. Used for baby booties and chemo hats. Very warm, very soft, very rich!

Heaven: Normally $71.00, rolled backprices to $59.00
Beautiful soft silky mohair. Slightly heavier than lace weight. HUGE hanks of 975 yads.