Inner Zimmerman: 3 Bits of Knitting Wisdom

I was fortunate to learn some important things early on when I picked knitting back up.  I learned to knit from my grandmother (Maw) when I was 9.  She helped me knit my baby brother a blanket (though I’m thinking she knit a lot of it) and started knitting something else that I never finished.  I only learned the knit stitch.  After she died I often wished I had learned more from her.  I loved the idea of creating something for someone else.  

Then about 15 years ago I saw a learn to knit DVD that came with yarn and straight needles.  I watched it over and over and got casting on, knitting and purling, and casting off down.  I LOVED it!  But finding patterns then was still difficult.  I joined an online knitting group called KnittingHelp.com.  This is where I learned about Elizabeth Zimmerman (aka EZ).  Many of the other knitters highly recommended her Knitting Workshop DVD.  So for Christmas I asked for the DVD set.  I was so excited when I got it.

I watched it over and over.  I’d watch it while I was cooking even.  It really made what she was teaching stick and her voice just has such a calming effect.  I learned a lot watching her.  I’m going to share 3 of those things with you today

 

Confidence and Perseverance

First was I learned that I can learn to do any knitting technique if I put my mind to it.  I’ve often heard people say they don’t have the patience to learn to knit and I always tell them, it doesn’t really take patience, it takes perseverance.  You have to be determined to learn and willing to practice just like any other new thing you want to learn.  Part of what helped me learn this was she starts off teaching how to knit a stranded colorwork hat.  She teaches it like it’s not hard, just how to do it.  She also teaches how to make your own colorwork pattern.  This was so much fun and when I showed everyone what I had made everyone was so surprised I made it that I realized knitting really isn’t hard, just takes time to learn.

Sweater Construction

She teaches how a sweater is made.  How to use measurements and a gauge swatch (which is actually a hat) to make a sweater.  She teaches the proportions to use and gives a base for a basic sweater, in fact for a bunch of different sweaters with different construction.  This lead me to learning how to make a top down sweater too.

To Ignore Naysayers

Lastly she taught me if you are creating stitches and enjoying it, there is no wrong way to knit.  It doesn’t matter if you knit English or Continental, it doesn’t matter if you hate one cast on and never use it, what matters is that you are making something.  Many knitters mostly make items for other people because they value that person and want to express that with their knitting.  We should value that in ourselves and in each other.

I was lucky to find her DVD early on in learning to knit.  The positive influence it’s had on me allowed me to grow as a knitter in ways I wouldn’t have without it. 

 

Fairy Tale Knits at the Beach

One of my favorite things about my job is the fiber shows I get to go to and my first one for 2017 is coming up!  I’ll be in Ocean City, MD at the Delmarva Wool and Fiber Expo.  I’m excited to announce a new kit I’ll have at this show!

 

Fairy Tale Knits, Ocean City Fiber Festival

 

Super Secret Ninja Sweater

This pattern is so much fun!  It uses illusion knitting to hide a ninja in plain sight.  I’ll have kits for this in lots of fun colors.  The chest sizes fro this fun pattern are 21-31 inches.  

Ninja Sweater, That Metzbower Girl Designs, Super Secret Ninja Sweater
Super Secret Ninja Sweater (c) That Metzbower Girl Designs

New Colorways

Next I’m excited about my new colorways!

Vader’s Underwear

Pink Yarn, Star Wars Yarn, Dawn Craig

Dark Side Cookies

Dark Side Cookies, Yarn, Sport weight yarn, Speckle Yarn

There is No Try

Green Yarn, Star Wars Yarn, Fairy Tale Knits

That’s Not How the Force Works

Indie Dyed Yarn, Fairy Tale Knits

You’re My Only Hope

Dawn Craig, Fairy Tale Knits, Indie Dyed Yarn

And I’m offering a special to all my email subscribers.  So be sure to join Fairy Tale Yarnies so you don’t miss out!

I hope to see you in Ocean City!

Knitting Hacks, Making Your Stitching More Enjoyable

We can all use tips and tricks to make knitting and crocheting more enjoyable so here’s some I’ve found.

Safety Pin

A safety pin attached inside each of your project bags can keep stitch marker handy whenever you need them.

Weaving in Ends as you Knit or Crochet

I’m an odd knitter and don’t mind weaving in ends so I don’t usually use this one, but I know most knitters and crocheters don’t so here’s a tip to help with that. 

Crocheting

Knitting

Felted Join

This is another way to not have to weave in ends.  It only works with feltable yarns.  No plant fibers, no manmade fibers, and no superwash, these will NOT felt.

With Hot Water

With Spit

Bread Tie Yarn Spools

This is great for intarsia knitting especially if you have a small picture you are adding to your work and for crochet when you have small sections of color.

Copyright Webs

Long Tail Cast On Help

To help you estimate how much yarn you need for the long tail cast on, simply wrap the yarn around the needle for however many stitches you need.  Be sure you leave a long enough tail to weave in ends.

I hope these help to make knitting and crocheting more enjoyable for you.  To be sure to never miss a blog post be sure to add Fairy Tale Knits blog to your favorite blog reader.  Here is my the url for my RSS feed. 

New Yarn bases and Colorways! What’s not to love?

I’ve added lots of new things in my shop lately so get ready for a big update!  I’m going to start with the new yarn bases and then share my new colorways.

New Yarn Bases

Fingering Weight Yarn

Dobby Sock

Dobby Sock is my merino cashmere sock yarn.  It’s a blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon.  It’s so incredibly soft!  I’m making myself a shawl with this yarn and I can’t wait to wear it!

Dark & Rare

Dark & Rare has the lovely addition of yak and silk in it.  Because the yak fiber starts off a beautiful rich grey, the colors are quite different than other bases with the same yarn.  It’s also exceptionally soft. In addition the silk adds a lovely sheen. This blend is 60% Superwash Merino, 20 % Yak, 20% Silk.

Fairy Circle

Fairy Circle is a fun unique blend of BLF and bamboo.  The bamboo doesn’t take acid dyes so it remains white but because it’s blended with the BFL it adds sheen.  It also allows the dye to travel more because the bamboo wicks the liquid.  This means there’s more blend of the colors.

Excalibur 

Excalibur is my giant hank!  It’s a full 600 yard of merino silk!  Plenty of yarn to make a nice size shawl.  And of course the blend of 80% Superwash Merino 20% Silk is a dream to work with and wear.  

Sport Weight Yarn

Thor’s Hammer

Thor’s Hammer is my sport weight sock yarn.  It is SOOOOO soft!  Sport weight socks are nice because they are a little warmer and faster to make.

Athena

Athena is a lovely blend of Alpaca and Silk (80/20).   It’s the perfect blend of soft and warm.  There’s nothing quite like alpaca and silk blend.

DK Weight Yarn

Prancing Pony

Prancing Pony is a fun yarn.  It’s 100% BFL.  It has a halo to it giving it soft look.  BFL has beautiful drape and it wonderful for shawls and scarves.

Worsted Weight Yarn

Poseidon’s Watercolors

Poseidon’s Watercolors looks like you’d expect if you put a watercolor painting on yarn.  It’s 50/50 Merino/Bamboo.  Because it’s not made with superwash merino dye doesn’t strike it like it does with superwash and the bamboo doesn’t take the dye at all.  This gives the yarn a beautiful muted look.  The bamboo also wicks the water causing the dye to travel more creating more mixing of colors.

Cyclops’ Specialty

Cyclops’ Specialty is 100% Targee wool.  Targee wool is a matte wool, giving it a soft look.  It’s soft and warm has good loft and elasticity. It’s a newer breed of sheep and is becoming more and more loved by knitters, crocheters, spinners, and weavers.

Goldilocks Ringlets

Goldilocks Ringlets is a unique blend of 80% Superwash Targee, 20% Silk.  The silk gives this yarn a sheen and of course softness.  This adds to the beautiful look that Targee brings.

Colorways

And here’s my new colorways

These are from top to bottom:

Left column

Merlin’s Experiment 11

Void Stuff

Hello Sweetie

Right Column

Merlin’s Experiment 8

Merlin’s Experiment 10

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimy

Half Pint

Which new yarn base or colorway would you want to try the most?

10 Fingerless Mitt Patterns Perfect for Indie Dyed Yarn

We all have gone to a show or been online and fallen in love with a hank of yarn because the colors are just PERFECT and of course we HAVE to buy it even if we have no idea what to make with it.  Well here’s some ideas!  I’ll have future blog posts with other pattern ideas.  For today I’m going to focus on fingerless mitts.  These are perfect because you can wear them for a lot of the year so you get to show off your awesome color choices and your handy work more! 

Fingerless Mitt Indie Dyed Yarn

Knitting Patterns

Here are some of my favorite fingerless mitt knitting patterns.

Stitch Up Mitts

by Sunshine Stewart

Stitch Up Mitts
© Sunshine Stewart

I love the fun slip stitch pattern on these! They are just enough to break up any pooling that might happen yet not so much that they would compete with colors.

Circle Mitts

by Sybil R

Circle Mitts
© sybilra

These have such a fun, unique construction!  They would like great with a gradient, self striping or any indie dyed yarn even a variegated one.  The circles won’t be as noticeable with a variegated but they won’t really compete with the colors, more work with them.  I think these are going on my list to make myself.

Hidden Gusset

by Mone Dräger

Hidden Gusset Fingerless Mitts
© GuapaM

These mitts have just enough pattern to them to keep your interested but not so much that they won’t work with variegated yarn.  Also as their name suggests they hide the thumb gusset.  I think they would be perfect for my daughter!

 

Maize

by tincanknits

Maize Mitt Pattern
© Tin Can Knits

Tin Can Knits patterns are so well written they are great for all level knitters.  If you are a beginner and not sure which pattern to choose, you can’t go wrong with this one.

A River Runs Through Mitt

by Aimee Pelletier

A River Runs Through Mitt
© Darn Knit Anyway

If you love cables but also love variegated indie dyed yarn then this pattern is for you!  The traveling stitches still let the colors of the yarn shine through and give just enough variation to be fun to knit and to wear.

Long Flap Fingerless Mitts

by Lisa Dove

Long Flap Fingerless Mitts
© Lisa Dove

This is the simplest pattern I’ve included but it’s perfect if you want more coverage on your fingers but need to sometimes be able to use them.  The flap easily folds back so you can type or whatever work you you need to do with your fingers.  Then when you are done you can unfold it and keep those fingers toasty warm.

Crochet Patterns

That’s right, I didn’t forget you crocheters out there!

Crocodile Fingerless Gloves

by Meladoras Creations

Crocodile Fingerless Gloves
© Meladoras Creations

I love this stitch pattern!  Love it!  It reminds me of dragon scales and I so love dragons!  It works great with so much yarn too.  

 

Easy Wrist Warmers

by Danyel Pink

Easy Wrist Warmers
© jennmomto4

When you want something simple to crochet these are a great choice.  They will also let the great colors in your yarn be the spotlight.  They are worked sideways too to give a different look and nice lines.

 

Kvick

by Yarn-Madness

Kvick
© cec79

I’m not very good at crocheting, but these are calling my name!  I love the simplicity and that it doesn’t have a thumb because I think I might be able to knit wearing these.

 

Idony Fingerless Gloves

by Sarah Francis

Idony Fingerless Gloves
by lowenek

And we come to my last pattern.  This one caught my eye because of the detail near the wrist and the beads.  Beads can be the perfect addition to your favorite yarn.  And remember you don’t have to choose a color in your yarn.  Something in the same color family or something neutral always looks great.

So that’s my list.  Which was your favorite?

 

Mojo’s Gone? Here’s What I Do!

It’s rough when you love something but don’t have the desire to do it, but this happens to everyone from time to time.  I’ve found a few things that help.

First

When it goes I’ve found it better to just let it.  Don’t try to force yourself to work on projects. Knitting should be enjoyable and not something you are forced to do.  I’ve found trying to force it just make my mojo run farther away.  Often times a break is just what I need.

Second

Browse knitting patterns and projects.  Go clean up your queue and favorites.  Add new ones that you’d like to do.  Flip through your pattern books and magazines.  Sometimes this is what I need, that inspiration hits when I see what others have made.  Don’t forget to look on places like Instagram and check out the projects tab on the pattern page on Ravelry.

Third

Find some pretty yarn.  This could be you pet it in your stash or look online or go visit your Local Yarn Shop. You can buy new yarn or not.  All the colors and textures of the yarn can help that mojo come right back!

Fourth

Find other knitters.  That could be in a local group or on a podcast or blog.  When you see more personally what others are making can get your mojo fired right back up!

 

Most of all just give yourself a break.  Your mojo will come back, I promise.  

My Current WIPs and HOTN

I love seeing what everyone is working on and so I thought I’d start share what I’m working on.  Like many others I trying to finish a bunch of Christmas stuff.

WIPs

Boot Socks for Hubby

These are sock for my hubby.  I’m hoping to finish them before Christmas but not sure this will happen.  I don’t have a pattern I’m using.  I just cast on, increase and ribbed until I was done increasing and then started cables.  I’ll either use the Sweet Tomato Heel or an Afterthought Heel.

 

A Monster for my Monster

This is a cute stuffed monster I’m making for my son.  The pattern is Quincy Quade Quentin a Very Memorable Monster.  And the yarn is Jedi on Pinnacle Sock by Wild Hare Fiber Studio.  When I first started knitting it it was pooling in a very ugly way so I ended up adding 16 stitches to make it look better.  Now there’s a spiral that’s much better than the stacking I was getting.  You can kind of see the stacking in that dark spot in the corner of my 2 needles.  I hope he loves it!  He picked the yarn out when he came to “help” (which since he was just 5 really mean sit in the hotel room, eat Doritos and watch Star Wars Rebels).

 

Over the Moon for My Monkey

This is a sweater I cast on over a year ago for my older son.  It sat for a very long time but I’m getting very close to finishing now.  I need to move the spot for the pocket up 2 or 3 rows.  He’s very excited about it and so am I.  The pattern I used is call Over the Moon.

 

HOTN (Hot off the Needles)

Doll Booties for Munchkin

These doll booties for my daughter.  I’ve made this pattern before and love it because it’s so simple and yet so cute!

Calorimetry For Pooka

My oldest loves things for her hair so I thought something that will look cute AND keep her warm would a win win!  I’ve also wanted to make one for a long time.  Next time I think I’ll go down to a size 7 needles and not work the short rows as long.

Mouse Christmas Ornament 

I made this ornament because it’s sooooo cute!

 

Now it’s your turn!  Share what you are working on because I love to see them!

How I Name My Yarn Bases

I thought it would be fun to talk about how I name by yarn bases.

yarn-base-names-1-pin-blog

Lace Weight Yarn

I’ll start with my lace weight yarn.

Queen’s Lace:

The flowers Queen Anne’s Lace kept coming to mind with this one.  I also wanted it to be something that I could use in other weights because it’s 100% Superwash Merino.  So this yarn was named after this flower.

Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace

Fairy Whisper’s Lace:

This one is such a smooth and soft that it made me think of a whisper and of fairy wings, so the name Fairy Whispers just come.  It’s 60% Suri Alpaca 40% Merino.  The Suri Alpacas have a very long smooth coat so their fiber doesn’t have the halo that you get with huacaya.  This yarn feels almost slick sometimes.

In my next post about yarn base names I’ll talk about my Fingering/ Sock Weight yarn

Michelle’s Assortment~ Shawl Pins and Patterns You Will Love!

I don’t wear much jewelry, but I love shawl pins!  Like I can’t have enough of them and my favorites are from Michelle’s Assortment.

Michelle’s Assortment

Michelle Pin blog

There’s some artisan that you meet and see their work and can really see the skill and craftsmanship that goes into each item.  Michelle’s work is like that, both her shawl pins and her patterns.

Shawl Pins

Michelle’s shawl pins let you express yourself even more than just your knitting or crocheting does.  She has ones with charms like the TARDIS, the Deathly Hallows, dragons, paw prints, owls, robots, dragon flies, Game of Thrones, and so much more!  Check them out!

most charms variety

She also has lovely pins with beads that you can coordinate with your shawl.  The beads on their own are so pretty them when paired with her wire work you end up with a work of art that you can wear.

june new week listing 1

And she has new spiral pins that I can’t wait to try!

spiral 8 12

As you can see her work is exquisite.  You can see the years she has put into her craft.  And her pattern writing shows the same level or care.

Patterns

Michelle’s patterns are so well written and they are tested and tech edited and worth every penny because the directions are so clear and easy to follow.  Also the patterns are so much fun!  I love how she plays with texture and color in her patterns.

25 patterns

I especially love this one because she designed it with my own Mountain Meadow Laramie and Mermaid’s Hair.

DT

You can find her patterns on her Ravelry shop.

Michelle’s Assortment Story

I asked Michelle the story behind her shop and here is what she said

When I was a little girl my mom took me to Christmas craft fairs at churches every year. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be when to work full time with children and as a little extra sell things I made at these small local craft fairs. A few years ago I discovered the joy of knitting shawls and making shawl pins. I sold a collection of shawl pins, sewn bags, tea cup cozies, and other odds n ends at small church craft shows. Some items sold but barely enough to be profitable. At these small shows I chatted with other vendors and discovered knitters fiber festivals and knitting conventions. After attending my first knitting convention, A Knitter’s Fantasy, I quickly learned to dream even bigger. Young little me had never thought it was possible to make a living off of crafts. Here I am 4 years later a stay at home mom, business owner, and crafter able to support my family through the year that my husband has been without employment. I truly enjoy traveling the country to be surrounded by other fiber arts enthusiasts for a weekend. It is beyond a dream come true to have so many fans who love to wear what my hands create!

~Michelle Stead of Michelle’s Assortment

Be sure to follow Michelle on Facebook  and Instagram.

What’s in My Bag?

I don’t know about you all but my purse and my knitting bag are the same thing.  I love this bag. It’s by Tom Bihn and it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten an expensive bag and I’m glad I did.  I’ve been using it everyday for over 4 years and it’s still in great shape.  So now what’s in my bag…

What’s in my bag?

What's in my bag Pin Blog

I like to carry the items I use a lot in knitting and just day to day in my bag, rather than having to remember them for specific trips or projects.

So here’s my bag

IMG_3465

And here is inside of it

IMG_3466

IMG_3467

Project bags

I shared why I love Star Knits bags with you before so it no surprise that I have one of her project bags in my knitting bag.  I love keeping my projects in these bags.  They are fun and they do an awesome job protecting my work.  The plastic bags just didn’t hold up well for me at all and this is a better solution.

IMG_3468

Knitting Necessities

So I like to keep things I know I’m going to need in my bag all the time.  The red tin is where I hold my stitch markers, darning needles, row counters, tightening pins and gripper pad, and needle tips when I don’t have my needle roll with me.  This tin was what a wallet I got my husband for Christmas at least 9 years ago.  The tin has out lasted the wallet at this point.  It’s quite beat up but I love it, it’s perfect.  I do need to get another one though because the bottom is looking like it’s not going to hold up much longer.

The zipper pouch is also from Star Knits and I have a project bag in this print because I love it.  I usually holds my scissors (which have disappeared), but also one of those little crochet hooks for correcting mistakes, a lucet (the wooden U shaped thing with the hole, these make great drawsting cords!), ruler, tape measure, and chap stick.  Now this zipper pouch is cleaned out.  It usually has a lot more stuff in it.  The silver tin holds my lotion bar, which is important for knitting so my skin feels nice while I’m knitting.  And ok the wallet really isn’t a knitting necessity, but it’s really cool.

IMG_3469

 

Side Pockets

I love the side pockets because they are clear and so deep they hold a lot.  Being clear makes every quick and easy to find.  Some of these are knitting related and some aren’t.  I’ll start at the top.  Wooden heart needle gauge that my daughter bought me for Christmas, Sock ruler because they are awesome.  There’s also a pink tape measure, my battery back up, one of my Nostepinnes, another tube of chap stick, another rubber gripper on top of a plastic container.  The container holds my Pyure sweetener packets, some tea bags, and my daughter’s dairy pills.  Then there’s some toy cars for my sons at restaurants and such,  more stitch markers, needle size ID tags, some My Little Ponies, and a purple tape measure.

IMG_3470

So there you have it!  That’s what I carry in my bag.  I don’t always have this many tape measures, usually one or 2 or sometimes all 3 are lost.

So what do you carry in your bag?

Fairy Tale Knits Yarnies

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