Posts filed under 'Yarns'
The frugal college kid in me will always have a soft spot for acrylic yarn – it’s cheap, it comes in loads of colors, there are soft blends available, and it’s almost indestructible. The eco-savvy world-saver in me cringes at the pollution emitted and toxins created through acrylic yarn production. And herein lies the problem: is it worth it to quit acrylic cold turkey to save the environment?
As a petroleum-based fiber, acrylic’s carbon footprint is massive compared to those yarns created by more natural means (e.g. wool from animals or plant-based yarns). In this way, Red Heart Super Saver could be more of a scourge than we thought (it’s not just tacky, it’s also kinda sorta lethal). I understand that many don’t have the economic means to be so wary of the ramifications of their knitting, but the simple fact that this is a hobby would imply that it is not absolutely necessary to daily life (whatever knitters may say). That being said, it’s worth considering the effects of acrylic yarn.
If you look at some of the various commentary on the acrylic debate, many bloggers will urge you to completely purge yourself of your Carron, Red Heart, and whatever other craft store brands you can find. They suggest instead deconstructing sweaters from thrift shops to recycle the yarn. Or, better yet, they encourage you to invest in the various “vegan” yarns that are out there. Some of these animal-free yarns are so clever in their recycling – like soy yarn or the various bamboo blends that are out there (look here for more “vegan” yarns). They’re beautiful and unique in texture and appearance. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite within the budget of the frequent acrylic user. And, to be honest, as quaint as upcycling sweater yarn sounds, I don’t really like the idea of using ratty, old yarn to make things for my loved ones.
So, that brings us back to the first question: what do we do about acrylic? Personally, ruling out acrylic completely makes knitting way too expensive for my tastes. I simply can’t afford to whip out wool for every project. I consider myself conscientious enough, though, to make some effort towards removing acrylic from my stash. Therefore, the only thing I can suggest is to reduce the amount of acrylic you buy. That’s what I’m doing. It’s working pretty well – I take a bit more time to save up for nice wool, my projects make better gifts for all the time and the better quality yarn, and the environment is a tiny bit better off (or not worse off for the sake of my yarn). It’s a pretty good deal.
August 6th, 2012
We just finished our Noni Knitalong for the Ella jacket! Check out the new Ella Coat (picture above and also available in children sizes) by Nora J. Bellows. Knitters dropped by and knit this jacket with Sudha, who knit this jacket for Saloni. There were many, many different versions of this jacket and you really should check out Nora’s blog for more ideas on this jacket.
We at the store love this structured sweater. We think it’s perfect for the end of winter and beginning of spring. The ruffles add a sense of whimsy and the pattern is basic enough it almost invites experimentation with colors. For the icing on the cake, the A-line cut and slightly lifted waist on the jacket means it’s flattering for most body types.
The pattern is ranked at intermediate to advanced, but we reckon any daring knitter could manage it.
The children’s pattern is just as charming with the bobbles and striping. Nora herself says it was inspired by the story of the Princess and the Pea. We think it’s the perfect amount of girly without being garish.
This coat, unlike the women’s size, is felted. This adds durability and warmth.
And here is the result of the one Sudha made:
The jacket was knit in Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool. Come welcome spring with this great jacket!
March 30th, 2012
This has just come in, and we just LOVE this stuff! 100% merino wool, worsted weight, 250yds/skein, 20 wonderful colors…what more can you ask for? This is one of the softest 100% wool yarns you will touch. Each color is very subtly heathered, which adds a nice touch to all projects created from it.
Debbie McDermott is the woman behind this small company. Located in northern lower Michigan, Stonehedge Fiber Mills operates out of a 150 year old farm. They do all their animal raising, carding, spinning, and dying. We love supporting small fiber businesses – especially those with stunning, high quality products like those that Ms. McDermott puts out.
Now, whatever shall you do with this yarn once you fall in love with it, take a bunch of skeins home, without an idea of a project in mind? We’re here to help! The following are some suggestions that will really show off the Shepherd’s Wool:
Escher’s Oriental Poppy Cowl will really show the yarn off! This cowl is really stunning in person, and it’s great fun to knit, too!
Try the French Press Felted Slippers, a cute design by Melynda Bernardi. The Shepherd’s Wool felts beautifully, and many people on Ravelry have already had the fantastic idea of using this yarn with this pattern!
How about going for a full-blown sweater with the Shepherd’s Wool? Girl Friday by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark is a tried and true (free!) pattern from Knitty! This will be great for a fall sweater (or all-year outerwear, if you live in the Bay Area)!
September 20th, 2011
Here at Nine Rubies, we’re delighted to be carrying a new bulky yarn from Swans Island. It’s something special and we are one of the first shops to carry it.
Swans Island yarns start out as certified organic Merino fleeces. This fine, soft wool is then spun by the Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont before returning to a 1790′s farmhouse off the coast of Maine to be dyed. Each color is hand-dyed in small batches, with dyestuffs like Osage orange, cochineal, and indigo. Swans Island uses only natural dyes, ensuring that each color is subtle, yet vibrant, with a tonal variegation that imparts a beautiful hand-crafted look to anything you wish to create.
Swans Island was founded in the 1990s as a hand-woven blanket company. The owners, seeking an authentic product that honored northeastern textile traditions in its beauty and utility, learned to dye and weave. They began to be recognized for the quality of their blankets, and expanded the business to a variety of woven items and the hand knitting yarns we love.
For a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes at Swans Island, be sure to check out their blog. The photography is beautiful.
Okay, you say, so now what can I make? The Swans Island Bulky is a soft yarn with subtle variegation. It knits at about 3.5 stitches to the inch on a 10.5 needle. Each skein has 130 yards and the yarn is spun with many plies – which helps the yarn keep its structure and reduces pilling. Right now we have nine different colors.
It would be perfect for a luxurious accessory like Alana Dakos’ Shawl Collared Cowl. Maybe you’d like a warm hat or fingerless mitts. This yarn will show off beautiful stitch details like seed stitch and cables. Come on by and see for yourself just how lovely it is!
September 3rd, 2011
For many months, Saloni has been searching high and low for an indie dyer with both impeccable color sense and a nice yarn base. This magic combination has been found in Karin Maag-Tanchak’s yarns: The Periwinkle Sheep. Karin dyes her wonderful yarns in her own kitchen in Albany, NY. We love having the chance to support this small-business owner and talented dyer! Her color combinations are truly a feast for the eyes.
Sock Dream is a lovely, machine-washable combination of 80% Merino Wool, 10% Nylon, and 10% Cashmere. While this is a nice yarn for socks, it’s also absolutely lovely knit up as shawls, scarves, hats, and mitts.
Here are some nice mitts knit up in the colorway “Memories of Summer.” The image was taken from the Periwinkle Sheep blog.
Ms. Maag-Tanchak has a great philanthropic streak as well! $3 out of each skein of yarn sales in the color Cranberry will go to Doctors Without Boarders. Come into the store to see all the colors up close!
August 23rd, 2011
When I’m at school, I stick to a very simple schedule: mild-mannered University student by day, crime-fighting, record-spinning, Bollywood-blasting DJ by night. That’s right, I use my super cool and hip job to play Bollywood music all the time. At school I get teased about my addiction to the sequin city, but I have no regrets; there’s nothing quite like the throbbing rhythms and liquid bass of a good item number. There is such a range to Bollywood – from the classic black-and-white pictures, to the Dirty Harry-esque Amitabh Bachchan 70s, to the big-haired and Madhuri Dixit dancing 90s, to the Karan Johar-driven 2000s – and it’s all completely glamorous. And while the hype around Slumdog Millionaire has dissipated, I know you still love the golds and reds and greens of the Indian Subcontinent. Believe me, it’s a love that never really goes away.
Occasionally, when I’m sitting down for a long (and boring) knitting project, usually accompanied by basic yarns or neutral colors, I wish I was working with something intricate and bright. You know, something rani-esque, like a sari or a headscarf or something else exciting and exotic. My mother has an entire closet of saris, all hung up, color-coded, and cared-for. When I was a kid, I loved running my hands over the beadwork, so minute and exact it didn’t seem human-made. And, even now, at the age of 20, I still love opening her closet to see the lines of magentas, deep greens, striking yellows, and grapey purples. Saris are always richly colored and dripping in beading, sequins, ribbons, or embroidery. To me, there is no disconnect between my mom’s closet full of saris and the shining, smiling, singing world of Bollywood – everything is full of color. It’s enough to make me throw my half-made scarf to the side and long for (like Simran for her Raj) a project that’s challenging and exotic, something that makes me think of monsoons, mangoes, and dance sequences.
And if you’re like me (intrepid, creative, dazzlingly beautiful, etc.), you’ll be interested to know that Nine Rubies has you and your Bollywood fantasies covered! Below are some of my favorite sari-esque yarns and Indian-ish patterns:
Artyarns Mohair Splash – Red with Gold
This stuff is so pretty! With it’s silk-mohair blend, sprinkled with gold sequins and beads, this yarn is absolutely perfect for the Bollywood-inspired knitter. It’s warm and soft and shiny – what else could a Bollywood dreamer ask for?
Tilli Tomas Disco Lights – Jade
The yarn here is completely silk in a gorgeous dark green-blue color. The sequins are tiny and frequent, catching the light in way reminiscent of the tiny mirrors sewn on to Indian dresses. Jade is easy to work with as the recommended needle size is #7 – so this is definitely for the knitter looking for quicker project gratification.
Lemon Squeezy Silk Wrap - by Haley Waxberg
This wrap can be easily done in sari silk yarns or colorful silk blends. With simple stitches and construction that shows of a variety of colors, it screams “filmi!”
Tilli Tomas Disco Lights – Coral Sap
I adore these colors! So happy and cheerful, they remind me the dresses my baby cousins would wear at Indian weddings. This yarn, with its silk make, is great for the high-quality knit, and the pretty orange and pink combination makes it perfect for child knits.
Artyarns Mohair Splash – Burnt Orange with Gold
Like its sister, Artyarns Mohair Splash Red and Gold, Burnt Orange and Gold is gorgeous (must run in the family)! Also invoking South Asian visions of sunsets on the Ganges, this yarn is India incarnate. It’s a silk-mohair blend, and the beads and sequins add a very pretty shine.
Rani Wristwarmers by Katherine Matthews
Actually inspired by Hindi cinema, Rani is a gorgeous pattern with in-built sari-esque beadwork and shine. These would be the perfect compliment for an evening gown or for a touch of extra glitz during the day.
Tilli Tomas Disco Lights – Atmosphere
So elegant and soft, this is exactly the type of color the heroine would wear to an upscale party. I love the silk, and the sequins are small and complimentary. So shiny.
Artyarns Mohair Splash – Emerald City with Silver
Traditional Indian designs are chock-full of greens. So, here’s my favorite sari silk yarn in green! Just like the other two Mohair Splashes, this one is a silk and mohair blend with beads and sequins – this time in silver. This jewel color is perfect for darker skin tones and the silver in the yarn picks up light well.
Gypsy’s Shoulder Bag by Stephanie Shiman
Whenever I visit India, I always pick up a few recycled sari bags. I wear them with everything and I usually get my fair share of compliments for them. This pattern is reminiscent of those bags – a must have for every honorary Desi.
Noro Silk Garden 311
For the knitter who wants a little less busyness in her work, this silk Noro color combination will give you the rich sari dyes and shine without the sequins or beads. I love the blend of greens and reds – almost traditional Indian.
I hope this helps! And to get you in the mood: Laung da Lashkara
- Nadya the Intern
July 12th, 2011
We just love our newest edition to the sock yarn shelves – Frog Tree Pediboo. It’s a blend of 80% washable merino wool and 20% bamboo that has a wonderful sheen – similar to a silk blend. While a wonderful choice for socks, this yarn is also great for baby and kids knits! Sudha experimented with combining the gorgeous colors in this log cabin blanket pictured. The pattern inspiration came from a great book called Mason-Dixon Knitting, by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne.
We’ve put all of the colors we carry up on our site, but feel free to give us a call for help putting your own colors together (as we are all aware of the difficulty of seeing true color on a computer monitor).
-Written by Samantha
July 2nd, 2011
If you didn’t already know, the final Harry Potter movie is premiering in about a month. As the Battle of Hogwarts rages on the screen, I can assure you that I’ll be bawling my eyes out in the fourth row. No matter how corny that sounds, it definitely feels like the end of an era. I grew up on the books, and the movies were the way my parents could get involved with my fascination with the “Boy Who Lived.” I credit J.K. Rowling and her wonderful imagination with my subsequent love of reading. As the perpetual bookworm, I wish I could thank her properly for making books and reading cool. I also wish I could thank her for the multiple times I used a Harry Potter-based example in class discussions to effectively prove my point (try it, kids, it works).
To be honest, I was never much for the movies (as an English major I have to maintain that the book is always better than the movie, lest some secret society of literati hunt me down) and I found it frustrating how different each one was from the others. There were so many amazing subplots ignored in the pursuit of making a blockbuster that, as an avid and almost zealous fan, it felt sacrilegious that so much would be left out.
Despite this, there was one thing I could completely appreciate about the film series: the FABULOUS sweaters, hats, and mittens worn by the characters. From the various Weasley knits to Hermione’s fantastic stitched style, the producers (or whoever was in charge of securing these handmade beauties) got their stuff right. Not only were the designs perfect for the characters and the chilly Scotland setting of Hogwarts, they were positively delicious. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite movie Potter Knits as well as a couple of whimsies:
1. Hermione’s Bobble Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Super super cute. Knit it in Cascade 220 Superwash color Ruby , so it’s bright, warm, and cozy.
2. Ron’s Animal Crackers Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
It’s a pretty chunky knit and I recommend Cascade 128 Superwash, which is 100% wool and completely luscious, in Army Green, Daffodil, Ecru, and Ruby.I think the green color scheme is closer to the movie hat.
3. Hermione’s Fair Isle Turtleneck (Goblet of Fire)
I think Cascade Heritage Silk is great for this because of its sweet blend of wool and silk – it’s warm with just a hint of shine, perfect for that cute pink. Try Camel, Cotton Candy, Raspberry, and Natural.
4. Hermione’s Godric’s Hollow Hat (Deathly Hallows, Part 1)
For this one, I like Cascade 220 in Dark Plum it’s super warm and such a pretty color!
5. Mad-Eye’s Eye (Goblet of Fire)
This one’s just fun! It’s a pretty cool design, and I recommend using some stash yarn on this one. Make it for the kid at heart (it’s so much better than a pirate eyepatch).
6. Sorting Hat (Sorcerer’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets)
It’s the Sorting Hat! Either use Brown or Camel Cascade 220
7. Hermione’s Fair Isle Scarf & Mittens (Half-Blood Prince)
I adore Fair Isle. Cascade Heritage Silk would be great for this – with its blend of wool and silk it’ll be warm with a little fuzz. Use Silver , lilac,Pine, Camel, and Blue Horizon.
8. Ann Kingstone’s House Socks
These socks are beautifully designed by a fan. Even though the pattern has to be purchased, the intricate patterns and motifs look great. I’m especially fond of the Slytherin and Gryffindor ones.
9. Weasley Twins’ Ski Hat (Prisoner of Azkaban)
This is such a cute pattern. Make the pompom at the top huge for some extra Weasley fun (double your pleasure á la Fred and George). The designer says do it in Cascade Eco Plus in Navy and White.
10. The Leaky Cauldron’s Harry Potter Doll
Make your own Chosen One in Cascade 220 Superwash Charcoal, Gray, Ruby, Lemon, Aran, White, Chocolate, and Mocha
11. And finally, the item that no Harry Potter fan should be without, the House Scarf!
Use the following Cascade 220 colors:
Happy Knitting! And be sure to wear your warm knits while you wait in line at midnight on July 15th!
-Nadya the Intern
June 28th, 2011
Earlier this week, we received a whopping 50 bags (that’s 10 balls of yarn per bag) of Plymouth Encore Worsted and Colorspun! That’s a lot, even for us! It took us half a day to label and rearrange the fun new (and old) colors!
We are just so proud of our bursting-with-yarn-goodness shelves that we had to snap a picture! Come by to check out the new colors, or visit our site if you’d rather couch-surf!
June 24th, 2011
As the holidays approach (whether we are ready or not), more and more customers are coming in with that “What am I going to knit for (insert gift recipient’s name here)?”
You might call this a report from the front. Jocelyn’s house has started to look like a war zone. The guns have been replaced by yarn, with projects battling for a front-line position. They must get done somehow.
Here’s what she’s working on for some key family members. Hopefully it will inspire you to press on (or get started?) on your holiday gift knitting.
The Log Cabin Socks from Melanie Falick’s classic book Handknit Holidays are a beautiful gift for anyone in a cold-weather climate (or chronically cold feet). The original pattern calls for Cascade Pastaza, a warm wool/llama yarn. You can also knit them in anything from Cascade 220 to Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. We have slipper soles that can be sewn to the bottoms for protection against slippery wood or tile floors. An added bonus: the heavy gauge of the yarn makes these a weekend project.
Mel Clark and Tracey Ullman’s book Knit 2 Together has some wonderful projects, and the Grownup Bonnet is one of the quickest! It’s a straightforward knit that’s perfect for TV watching. Not only that, you can use one of yummiest yarns. Malabrigo Worsted has gorgeous colors and is definitely one of the softest yarns we carry. Two skeins are enough to complete this project and it’ll cost you under $25.
What would holiday knitting be without a couple of hats? Jocelyn’s sister and brother-in-law live in Northern Vermont (brrr). Woody is getting a hat designed by Pam Allen. It’s a free pattern called Ryan’s Hat that can be found here. (This PDF file has several great hat patterns.) This example is knit up in Cascade 220, but the pattern actually calls for Pastaza, which we have in lots of colors. Either way, it’s a great introduction to the Fair Isle knitting technique.
Last but not least, Jocelyn’s nephew is spending the winter in Wyoming (double brrr). Since he’ll be outside most of the time, he’s getting a double knit hat in Cascade 220. This is also a free pattern from Alison Hansel of The Blue Blog and author of Charmed Knits. We have over 100 colors of Cascade 220, and for less than $15, you can knit one up something super-warm in almost any color combination you can think of.
November 13th, 2007