Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Royal Baby Quilt SAL- Piecing together the top!

Welcome back to the Royal Baby Sew Along!  Now that you've got all 16 blocks that you'll need to make the quilt, we'll show you how to assemble the quilt top and add the bias tape details. 

Block Orientation

You're going to first want to lay out your blocks like they will be in the quilt top.  Make sure you have plenty of space!


Stripe Orientation
Once you have the blocks laid out in their correct positions, you're going to want to ensure that the stripes within each block are oriented correctly.  Use the following to diagram to help you.   If you're blocks are laid out correctly, there should be a continuous line around the outside of the quilt and the stripes should point inward.  Also, each Block C's stripes should be visually continued by Block D's stripes in the middle of the quilt.

If you are concerned about the appearance of the shot cottons all being the same, pay extra attention to the way that you have each Block A laid out.  Since the warp and the weft of the shot cottons are different colors, the way that you orient the block will show off one color more than another.  With the other blocks, you don't really have a choice about how it's laid out (matching up the stripes forces each block into position), but with Block A you can rotate it 90 degrees and the stripes will all still match up.  If, like me, you aren't too concerned about them matching, you can always wing it and leave it to chance.

Have you got it all laid out to your liking?  Good!  Let's get sewing! 

 As you sew, be sure to line up the seams and take extra care to keep the seams together so that the stripes don't jog from one block to the next.  Pin them if needed while you sew.  If they're not exactly right, we have a fix to hide most of them so they aren't noticeable!


Step 1
Step 1: We're going to start by sewing the blocks from Columns 1 and 2 together by rows. So, grab Block A and Block C from Row 1 and sew them together.  Make sure that as you grab blocks to sew together that you keep them oriented correctly so that the stripes line up like they are supposed to!  Continue by sewing Block B and Block D from Row 2 together, Block C and Block D together from Row 3 and Block A and Block B together from Row 4. 

You can either press the seams open or to one side.  Personally, I like to press them to the side and alternate between rows so that Row 1 is pressed to the left, Row 2 is pressed to the right, and so on.  I find this helpful when it's time to sew the rows together because I can lock those seams together by fitting one seam right next to the other and it helps them not move as much when I'm sewing, which keeps the seams lined up.

Step 2

 Step 2: Next, we'll sew the blocks from Column 3 onto their appropriate rows.  Again, be sure to keep the blocks oriented the right way as you grab them to sew them onto the rows you've already completed!  This is the spot in the quilt top that the seams between blocks won't be hidden, so take extra care to line them up and pin if needed.  Sew Block B from Row 1 to the other side of Block C from row 1.  Continue by sewing Block D and from Row 2 to the other side of Block D from Row 2, Block D from row 3 to the other side of Block D from Row 3, and Block C from Row 4 to the other side of Block B from row 4.  Press the seams however you like. 

Step 3

Step 3: Now we'll need to sew the blocks from column 4 onto their appropriate rows.  So, grab Block A from row 1 and sew it to the other side of Block B from row 1.  Then continue in this fashion by sewing Block C from row 2 to the other side of block D from row 2, sew Block B from row 3 to the other side of Block D from row 3, and finally sew Block A from row 4 to the other side of Block C from row 4.

Let's just take a moment and appreciate that the rows are done! Hurray! 




Step 4 


Step 4: All that's left is to sew the rows together, taking extra care to make sure that the seams line up.  Sew Row 1 to Row 2. 

Step 5




Step 5: Then Sew Row 3 to the other side of Row 2, taking extra care to make sure that the seams line up since this is one of the seams that is not hidden by our bias tape cheat. 

Step 6




Step 6: Then sew Row 4 to the other side of Row 3.


La Voila!

Okay, so we've mentioned a detail in our quilt top that hides the seams in case yours don't come to perfect 90 degree angles and your stripes don't match up exactly from one block to the next.  Of course, even if your blocks match up perfectly (like Gus's quilt!), you may want to include the bias detailing since it really enhances the tartan plaid effect of the quilt top and helps to tie all the blocks together visually. 

In your quilt kit, (or on its way to you since we had you cut it to complete the stripes for Block C), you'll find a piece of Kaffe Fassett's Caterpillar Stripe fabric in Earth (the same one you used for the stripes from Block C), that measures 6” by the width of the fabric.  If you didn't buy a kit from us, you'll need 1/4 yard of fabric to make the bias strips for the quilt top.  You'll need 4 strips of 1/4” bias tape that are 40” long.  We didn't fuss with making them 40” long; we just made them the width of the fabric, sewed them on and then chopped off the extra.  It's up to you!

There are two ways to make bias tape: the traditional way and the gadgety way.  We'll walk you through both methods.  Either way you choose, you'll need to start by cutting your fabric into strips that are 1/2” wide by the length of the fabric (about 42”).  You'll need 4 of them. 

Note that we are using the term 'bias tape' loosely.  For this project, the strips don't need to be cut on the bias; cutting them with the grain of the fabric will do just fine. 

For the traditional method, you'll start with one of your strips with the wrong side facing you (and the right side down on your workspace).  Fold each of the sides of the fabric.   

Bias Fold

Iron it so that it stays that way and that's it!  You'll need to make 4 of these bias tape strips.  The next step is to place it on the quilt and sew it in place, which we'll show you after we go through the gadgety way to make bias tape.

Since it can be really hard to fold consistently down a strip that long (not to mention getting the strip to stay perfectly in place while you sew), there is also a way to make fusible bias tape that is a consistent size and has the added benefit of being able to fuse it lightly to your quilt top so that it stays where you want it while you sew.  If you use this method, be sure that you fuse it where you want it since it can't be pretty tough to remove once you've fused it. 

For this method, you'll need a 1/4” fusible bias tape maker (we use the one from Clover) and some fusible web made for that bias tape maker.  There are instructions that come with the fusible bias tape maker, but we'll repeat them here so that you have them all in one place.  You just insert the fusible web into the upper groove of the bias tape maker with the adhesive side down.  Insert your bias strip fabric into the lower groove and pull the bias strip fabric and the fusible web through the maker.  You can use an awl to get it started so that you can pull it through.  While you pull it through the bias tape maker, it fold your ends over for you and attach the adhesive fusible web.  Once the fabric has passed through the bias tape maker, iron the webbing in place.  Once you've made the whole strip, you just peel off the backer of the fusible web and stick it where you want it.  Then all that's left is to sew it into place!


Fusible web link:

We attached our bias tape along the seam between Column 1 and 2, and another piece between Column  3 and 4.  That way, it hides a lot of our seams so you can't see if they don't match.  Top stitch them into place, using a thread that complements the overall look of the quilt. 

Bias Columns

Once those are in place, attach bias tape between Rows 1 and 2 and another strip between Rows 3 and 4.  Again, top stitch them into place. 

Bias Rows

Now, just sit back and admire your beautiful quilt top! 

Your homework for next week is to acquire the batting of your choice.  You'll need a piece that is at least 2-4 inches larger than your quilt top on each side.  So, if your quilt top measures 40” by 40” right now, you'll need a piece of batting that is 44-48” square.  Check out our selection of Warm & Natural precut batting if you're at a loss for what to use. 

Warm and Natural link:



Next week we'll show you how to make the crown applique detail and give you some ideas for quilting.  We hope to see you then!

Happy Sewing!
Gus and Jenn


Monday, July 29, 2013

Royal Baby KAL/CAL- Square #5

Thanks for joining us for Week 5 of the Royal Baby KAL/CAL!  As many of you may know, the Royal Baby, George Alexander Louis, is here and we can officially say, "it's a boy"!  We still think both of our Royal Baby colors are beautiful, though, and hope you are enjoying working with them as well!


Knit Square: The week 5 knit square features a traditional English Mesh Lace pattern in honor of the arrival of the Royal Baby Boy!


Knit Square #5

Materials:
-100 yds of Worsted Weight yarn
-US 7 knitting needles
-darning needle
-2 stitch markers

Gauge:
17 sts = 4" in garter stitch

Directions:

CO 47 sts

Knit every row for 6 rows

On last row, place stitch markers as follows:
             -K5, pm, K to last 5 sts, pm, K5

Set up row (WS):

K5, P to last 5 sts, K5

Begin working English Mesh Lace pattern as follows:


English Mesh Lace 

(Worked over a multiple of 6 sts + 1 with a 5 stitch border on each side):

Knit Square close-up

Row 1 [RS]: K6, *yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1; repeat from * to marker, K5.

Even-Numbered Rows 2-8 [WS]: K5, P to last 5 sts, K5.

Row 3 [RS]: K6, *yo, k1, SK2P, k1, yo, k1; repeat from * to marker, K5.

Row 5 [RS]: K6, *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1; repeat from * to marker, K5.

Row 7 [RS]: K5, k2tog, *(k1, yo) twice, k1, SK2P; repeat from * to 5 sts before marker, [k1, yo] twice, k1, ssk, K5.

Repeat Rows 1–8 for English Mesh Lace pattern 6 more times (a total of 7 times).

**If you prefer to work lace from a chart, here is a link to the one I used from this Knitty Pattern. It should work just fine but please note the additional instructions I provided above.

Finishing:

Knit 6 rows

BO all sts.

Block to 10"x10" measurement.


Crochet Square:


Materials:
Week 5 Crochet Square
Size H/8 crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge:
9 tr sts and 6 rows = 4"




Stitches:
-ch (chain):  Yarn over hook, pull through loop on hook.
-slip stitch (sl st): Insert hook in next stitch, yarn over hook, pull through both loops on hook.
 -dc (double crochet): Yarn over hook, insert hook under both loops of next stitch, yarn over hook and draw loop through stitch; yarn over hook and pull through two loops on hook; yarn over hook again and pull through 2 remaining loops on hook.
-tr (treble crochet):  Yarn over hook twice, insert hook under both loops of next stitch, yarn over hook and draw loop through stitch; [yarn over hook and pull through two loops on hook] 3 times.
 -tbl (through back loop): Work in back loop of stitch only.


Directions:

Row 1 (WS): With size H/8 crochet hook, ch 40.  Tr in 4th ch from hook; *ch 1, skip 1 ch, tr in next ch; repeat from * across.  Turn.

Week 5 Crochet Square Detail
Row 2 (RS): Ch 3; tr in 1st ch-1 st from row below; *ch 1, skip 1 st, tr in next st; repeat from *across.  (Your treble crochet sts in each row should fall in between the treble crochet st from the last row).

Repeat row 2 until piece measures approximately 8" by 8".  Fasten off yarn and weave in ends.


Border:  Rejoin yarn to work with right side facing and work border as follows, working corners as described in note below:

Border Row 1: sc in each stitch all the way around work. 

*Work corners as follows: work in pattern to corner stitch, ch 1, work pattern stitch in corner stitch, ch 1, work pattern stitch in next stitch and following stitches, to next corner stitch.



Border Row 2: tr tbl in each stitch all the way around work. 


*Work corners as follows: work in pattern to corner stitch, ch 2, work pattern stitch in corner stitch, ch 2, work pattern stitch in next stitch and following stitches, to next corner stitch.

After working border rows, fasten off yarn and weave in end.  If needed, block gently to 10” by 10” dimensions.

Feel free to join in the Ravelry discussion board under the Jimmy Beans Wool Ravelry group and let us know how your squares are coming along!

~Kristen and Heather

Friday, July 26, 2013

No Worries - Knits All Done!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE finding tools and tidbits on the Interwebs that help make my life easier, especially when it comes to knitting.  Whether it's digital graph paper for plotting designs, a website where I can order as much undyed yarn as I want (for Kool-Aid dyeing experiments, of course!), or a formula for planning the perfect stripe sequence for my next pair of socks, I’m thrilled that there’s so much interesting information out there about my craft!

That’s why I was stoked to find out about Knits All Done, a professional knitwear finishing service started by Keith Leonard, who realized that he was one of the few knitters out there who really enjoyed that aspect of project-making that many of us dread: finishing!  I will admit that I have at least one sweater in my stash that’s still in pieces – only because I’ve been putting off the hours-long process of blocking, seaming, and weaving in all those ends.  I’m also guilty of rejecting patterns with too many pieces or color changes (I’ve only ever done ONE project that used intarsia…shh, don’t tell anyone!), for the same reason, and I know I’m not the only one.
  
Naturally, I wanted to find out more about Keith and his company, so I called him up and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, and provide me with pictures of some of the work he’s done. 



Keith (and a pile of yarn!)
1.      What started you knitting?  How long have you been knitting/crafting?

I started knitting at age 11 when I joined a lunchtime knitting program in my public school. I was the only boy to participate in the program, and I definitely paid the price in terms of bullying, but ultimately, that didn’t matter. I had always loved crafting projects, in all forms, whether it was drawing, painting, ceramics, sculptures--anything.  But I knew I had found my niche with knitting. When I went away to college I was known as “that kid who knits during class,” and even better, in college (unlike in grade school) I was widely accepted and the students and faculty were always interested (as opposed to confused by) what I had on my needles.

2.      What’s your favorite thing to knit?
Sweaters! I love knitting sweaters, from complex cables and color work, to a classic stockinette stitch sweater with a beautiful hand-dyed yarn. You can never have enough sweaters, and with all the new yarns and patterns on the market, the possibilities of creation and fashion are endless!

3.      How would you describe your business?  What’s its place in the knitting/fiber arts world?
I would first of all describe my business as a labor of love. I genuinely enjoy the hard work and time I put into each and every project. In the fiber arts world, my business is the only official company for professional knitwear finishing. My love for finishing combined with the average knitter’s abhorrence for finishing culminate in the perfect match.  I hope my business inspires knitters to enjoy knitting, without having to struggle through the tedious finishing stages. 

4.      What was the inspiration for Knits All Done, and how did you make that into an actual business?

Knitwear finishing is a specialized type of work I have done locally for a long time. During the holiday season of 2012, I was extremely busy working in the city when a customer called me to inquire about a finishing project. Our schedules prevented us from meeting in-person, so instead, she mailed me a beautiful sweater to finish and send back to her. When I shipped the finished sweater back to her, it occurred to me:  “Why not offer my services to the rest of America?”
As for turning Knits All Done into an actual business, it has been the singular biggest learning experience of my life. I knew I needed a premier logo that would be a crisp, clean reflection of the work I do. I multi-tasked, hiring a first-rate graphic designer to bring my vision to life while reading guides on HTML-coding in order to construct my website. After all that, the Facebook page was born and I began making many new friends, connections, and customers.

5.      Why do you like finishing knitwear – a task that so many other people avoid like the plague?
Swallowtail Shawl
It’s true; the majority of knitters would say they hate finishing. It is very labor-intensive, yet I believe that the finishing aspect of knitting/crocheting marks the very important difference between handmade and homemade knitwear.  While working in yarn stores for six years, I have had experience finishing over 100 garments. This provided me with the practice I needed in order to perfect my finishing skills. I love the finishing aspect of knitwear because I am able to see the process through from conception to completion. I truly believe I have perfected the finishing aspect of knitwear.  Finishing is a completely different skill set that is often mistaken for sewing.
            
Perfecting any skill is a wonderfully rewarding experience. Do you remember when you knit your first project? At first, your tension was most likely uneven and you dropped stitches left and right, but as you progressed, you were able to see vast improvements in your work.  This applies to finishing as well. 

6.      What aspect/type of project (if any!) do YOU avoid like the plague?
Yikes! This is indeed a hard question. Do I get any lifelines? Can I phone a friend? Okay, in terms of finishing, there is no project I would avoid. When it comes to my personal knitting, I do avoid putting zippers in my knits, simply because I love the look and feel of buttons on hand-knit sweaters.

7.      What would you say is the most exciting part of your job/aspect of your business?
Hands down, the most exciting part of my job is when a customer phones in after receiving their finished project in the mail. One customer elatedly exclaimed, ”You are a human machine! Your work is meticulous and I couldn’t be happier.” There is nothing more rewarding than doing what you love, and making others happy at the same time. I also appreciate the opportunity to see the individuality of each person’s product when they send it to me for finishing. 

8.      What’s been your favorite finishing project so far?
Lizard Ridge
I have two favorites!  The Lizard Ridge afghan knit using Noro Kureyon has always been a favorite to finish. I love how no two squares are alike and therefore each and every afghan comes out different. The Lizard Ridge is an explosion of color, and you can’t help but to feel joyful when you get a chance to see it as a finished and polished piece of work.  
On a more personal note, a month before I graduated college, one of my most beloved professors passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was always known for wearing a purple sweater, and as part of a collage that my classmates and I put together, I knit and performed the finishing on a miniature purple sweater to replicate his signature style. I could have been working on my senior thesis assignment, but to me, this was a way more important endeavor. This sweater was my absolute favorite item to finish. I knit it just like a real sweater, complete with a front, a back, and two sleeves. I then seamed, blocked, and picked up stitches to knit the collar. I will never forget the amount of love that went into that project, nor will I forget the brilliance of the man who inspired its creation.     

9.      Any really interesting or off-the-wall requests you’ve received?
Well, recently, a customer sent me a cotton sweater to be assembled. She had run out of yarn, and told me the sweater was about three inches too short. I assured her that due to the content of the cotton, I would certainly still able to block it to her measurements. When she received the finished project, she was so impressed with the fit of the sweater that she asked is if I could block her body about a foot or two,“ to even out about 20 pounds.”  I said, “Sure, why not?" and thought to myself, "I better add that to my list of available services!" 

10.   Any type of finishing/project you WON’T do?
Simple answer: No. I will perform finishing on any knitted or crocheted item. The more challenging, the better!

Nespelem Cardigan

11.   Any advice you’d like to share with budding entrepreneurs out there in the fiber arts world?  
Like any skill, knitwear finishing takes time and years of experience. Before starting Knits All Done, I worked at a variety of yarn shops in different locations with a large variety of customers and colleagues. Being patient, open-minded and honest are the three most important factors that I would associate with my business. I would advise others in the fiber arts world to build a foundation of trust with their customers. I trust my customers. My customers trust me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 


So, there you have it – one more helpful service to have in your back pocket in case you come across that project that you’d love to knit, but would hate to finish.  Visit http://www.knitsalldone.com/ to find out more!

~Heather

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Royal Baby Quilt SAL Block D

Hi, Everybody!

The Royal Baby is here!  Good thing we're on to the last block in the Royal Baby Sew Along.  Last week, we showed you how to make the 4 Block C blocks for this quilt (phew, aren't you glad those are done?).  Now, it's on to Block D, the last block of the quilt and an easy peasy design to boot!

Finished Block D
    
The first thing you'll need to do is cut the pieces for Block D  If you purchased a kit from us (which includes all the fabric you need for the quilt top, binding, and backing!), you'll find a piece of purple Shot Cotton that measures 13” by 44” and a 13.5” by 22” piece of  Shot Cotton in the color Curry.  These are the pieces that you'll need to make Block D.  If you didn't purchase a kit from us, you'll need a 1/3 yd piece of fabric for the background of the block and a fat quarter for the stripes. 

For each Block D (there are 4 total in the quilt), you will need:
 -  2 blocks DA 1-1/2” by 11”
 - 2 blocks  DB 3-1/4” by 11”
 - 3 strips DC 1.5” by 11”

Each cut gives you a 1/4” seam allowance on the pieced edges and a 1/2” allowance on the outside edges to assist with squaring up the finished block.

Make your cuts according to these diagrams so that you get the most of your piece of fabric!

To cut your blocks:

Block D Squares





To cut the stripes:
Block D Strips

Now that we have all the pieces cut, it's time to assemble them!  We recommend that after you cut all your fabrics, you lay them in stacks and label one of each cut in separate piles so that you can keep them all organized. 

Take your first DA square and sew it to a DC fabric strip, using a ¼ inch seam.  All seams should be ¼ inch throughout the this project. As with the previous blocks, you can chain all 8 DA/DC combos or you can make only the 2 that you'll need for one block and then repeat all the steps to make the other blocks.  When you've finished, you can either press your seams open or to either side.  It's up to you!

Block D Step 1
  
Now that you have a DA/DC combo, sew a DB strip to the other side. You'll need 2 of these for one block or you can complete all 8 if you are chaining your pieces.  We recommend that you press towards the DB strip.

Block D Step 2

All that's left to do is to sew these combos to either side of the last loose DC strip.  Press towards the combos.

Step 3 - final block


Piece of cake compared to last week!  Repeat these steps so that you have 4 blocks for this design. 

If your blocks aren't quite square, you should square them up to 10-1/2”.   With the sizes of the squares and strips that we cut, we left an extra 1/4” around the outside of the block to help you square it up to the needed size. The finished block will be 10” by 10”.  The extra 1/2” is the seam allowance on each side for sewing the blocks together!


Now that all the blocks are done, next week we'll be moving on to bias details and finishing touches!

**Please note that if you bought the kit from us, you may have noticed that there was not enough fabric in the kit to cut all of the pieces.  Please contact us (fabric@jimmybeanswool.com or 877-529-5648) so that we can send you an fat quarter to complete your project.  Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention!**

Happy Quilting,

Gus and Jenn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal Baby KAL/CAL Week #4

Crochet Square 4 Front
Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! We are really excited about this week's squares. Heather explores a ribbing pattern with the crochet square giving it a different look on either side. For the knit square, we will work a modified diagonal lace that is knit from one corner out, and then back into a point. Lets get started!

Crochet Square:

Materials:
-100 yds of Worsted weight yarn (we've used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted.)

-Size H/8 crochet hook

-Tapestry needle

Gauge:

17 dcs over 4”; 10 rows = 3”

New Stitches Used:

dc (double crochet): Yarn over hook, insert hook under both loops of next stitch, yarn over hook and draw loop through stitch; yarn over hook and pull through two loops on hook; yarn over hook again and pull through 2 remaining loops on hook.

tbl: through the back loop – instead of making the stitch under both loops of the row you’re working on, make it through the loop toward the back of the work only (the loop farthest from you as you are currently holding the work)
Crochet Square 4 Back

Directions:

Row 1:  With H/8 hook, ch 35.  Starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc tbl in each ch across (34 sc).  Turn work. 

Row 2:  Ch 2; starting in 3rd ch from hook, dc tbl in each ch across.  Turn work.

Row 3:  Ch 1; starting in 2nd ch from hook, sc tbl in each ch across.  Turn work.

*Repeat rows 2 and 3 until work measures approximately 8” by 8”.  Fasten off yarn and weave in ends.




Border:  Rejoin yarn to work with right side facing and work two rows of double crochet as follows, working corners as described in note below:


Front closeup
Border Row 1: dc tbl in each stitch on vertical ends of work and in space at end of each row on horizontal sides of work. 
Back closeup (side to side)


Border Row 2: dc tbl in each stitch all the way around work. 

*Work corners as follows: dc to corner stitch, ch 1, dc in corner stitch, ch 1, dc in next stitch and following stitches, to next corner stitch.


After working border rows, fasten off yarn and weave in end.  If needed, block gently to 10” by 10” dimensions.


Knit:
Knit Square Week 4


Materials:

-Approximately 100 yds of a worsted weight yarn (We are using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted)

-US 7- 24 or 32" circular needle.

-Tapestry needle

-1 stitch marker (Ring is fine but a locking/removable marker is better)

Gauge:

22 sts and 24 rows = 4" in stitch pattern

Abbreviations:
k- knit
p- purl
ssk- slip slip knit (I slip my first stitch knit wise and second stitch purl wise)
k2tog- knit 2 together
yo- yarn over
sk2p- slip 1 stitch, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over
pm- place marker
sl m- slip marker
co- cast on
bo- bind off
st(s)- stitch(es)
m1r- make 1 right
m1l- make 1 left


Close up (straight view)
Directions:

Set up:

co 3 sts
Row 1: knit
Row 2: k1, m1l, k1, m1r, k1 (5 sts)
Row 3: knit
Row 4: k2, m1l, k1, m1r, k2 (7 sts)
Row 5: knit
Row 6: k3, yo, pm (to mark center stitch), k1, yo, k3 (9 sts)
Row 7: knit (sl m as you come to it)

**Errata** 

Addition of Row 8 & 9:
Row 8: k3, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, k3 (13 sts)
Row 9: Knit

Begin working increasing stitch pattern as follows:


**Please Note: A regular ring stitch marker may get in the way during the decreases. You may choose to switch to marking the center stitch with a removable marker instead to make this easier. Either way, it still helps to mark the center stitch somehow. Do what works for you. :)

Row 1: k3, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to 1 stitch before marker, yo, k3, yo, **ssk, yo; repeat from ** to last 3 sts, k 3.
Close up (diagonal view)

Row 2: k3, p to last 3 sts, k3

Row 3: k3, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, yo, k1, yo, **ssk, yo; repeat from ** to last 3 sts, k3.

Row 4: same as row 2.

*Repeat these 4 rows until there are 61 sts on the needles.

Begin working decrease stitch pattern as follows:

Row 1: k2, ssk, *yo, ssk; repeat from * to marker, k1, k2tog, **yo k2tog; repeat from ** to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 2: k3, p to last 3 sts, k3

Row 3: k2, ssk, *yo, ssk; repeat from * to 1 st before marker, yo, sk2p, **yo, k2tog; repeat from ** to last 2 sts, k 2.

Row 4: same as row 2

*repeat these 4 rows until there are 7 sts left on the needles and you have just finished an even row.

Finishing:

Row 1: k2, sk2p, k2 (5 sts)

Row 2: knit

Row 3: k1, sk2p, k1 (3 sts)

Row 4: BO all remaining 3 sts and weave in ends. Block to 10"x10"


There you have it folks, week #4! We hope you've enjoyed these squares and of course if you have questions, be sure to post them to the group on Ravelry!

I hope you all have a great week!

Happy knitting and crocheting,
Kristen (and Heather)

Friday, July 19, 2013

What to Make With Silk Yarn!

A comment on my last blog post suggested that I post some patterns using silk.  This is such a wonderful idea that I can't let it go by without doing so!  So here are a few patterns that I think would look great in some of our silk and silk blend yarns.

Let's start with patterns for our 100% silk yarns!

Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk DK (solids) and Silk Print (variegated) are 100% bombyx silk spun into two soft, thick plies.  The softly spun and plied construction of this yarn gives it a truly luxurious feel, like warm butter!


As a quick aside, many people ask me what DK means, it stands for double knit.  On the thickness scale it is a #3, just a bit thinner than worsted (#4) yarn.  I always think of it as about 5 stitches to the inch on a US #6 needle.  The range is more like 5 to 5.5 stitches per inch on a US #5 - #7 needle.

Use this yarn when you want soft drape, higher sheen, and traditional knitted or crocheted look.  This yarn will give soft to medium stitch definition in cables and some elasticity to ribbing.

Debbie Bliss has a book devoted to patterns for this particular yarn, Luxury Silk DK.  We've put together a few kits on our website from this book, you can see them here through our Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk search.

In addition to these kits I we have several individual patterns that would work wonderfully with this yarn.  Knitting Pure & Simple Top Down V Neck Pullover #1303, Neckdown scoop Neck T-Shirt #283, and Basic Shell #997 are all great, simple knits that would let the yarn really shine but are also simple enough that an adventurous knitter could add the lace and/or a cable pattern of their own.
Knitting Pure & Simple #1303

Artyarns also makes a 100% silk yarn called Regal Silk.  This is also a DK weight spun up into a single ply. We have put together a kit for this one too Regal Silk Jewel Kit.  Use this yarn for similar effects as the Luxury Silk but it will have less elasticity and may pill some due to being a single strand, there is less twist to hold the fibers in place.  On the other hand it will block beautifully, maintaining an open work lace pattern.
lovely single strand yarn then hand dyed in one of the gorgeous colorways that Artyarns is so well known for creating. Wendy Bernard designed a fun and easy sleeveless top in Regal Silk that was published in her awesome book, Custom Knits.

Shibui Heichi is probably my favorite of our pure silk yarns.  I tend to like an odd combination of rustic and delicate, the raw silk and silk noil tweed of Heichi fits the bill nicely.  In fact the word heichi we're told means "juxtaposition" in Japanese. This yarn has a rougher texture than Luxury Silk or Regal Silk and a drape more like linen. These two facts allows Heichi to be substituted in many patterns written for worsted weight linen, rayon or some of the cottons that have more drape.

Heichi lends itself to being knit up loosely as a sheer over-top or at a more conventional stitch gauge for sweaters and tops.  Cocoknits pattern Anna was written for Heichi.  This one is near the top of my knitting queue.  It's a sideways, seamless knit with an asymmetrical hemline. Beyond basic knitting skills you only need to know a provisional cast on and how to kitchener.  This would be a fabulous quick summer knit!


Shibui has patterns that use Heichi held double with Shibui Silk Cloud to give the projects a nice soft halo and to add shine.  Shibui Mix 1 is an elegant classic, wide, crew neck pullover and Shibui Mix 5 is a seamless, lightweight cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, done in garter stitch with some short row shaping.  Both are excellent summer projects that can be worn from spring through fall.

And to not leave crocheters out of the picture, you can follow the same guidelines for substituting yarns.  When you want more drape and less spring silk is a perfect choice. For softer textures use the Luxury Silk or Regal Silk.  For firmer textures and better structure choose Heichi. There are many great patterns available!  Ravelry.com is a great place to find them.  Here is a search I did for you Crochet Sweater & Tops in silk, linen or rayon - dk & worsted weight.  If you've never used Ravelry before, please check it out.  I can't recommend it highly enough as a pattern resource!

I hope this has given you some ideas, if you need more ideas or help please don't hesitate to contact us! Call us on our toll free number 877- 529-5648 or email your questions to us at info (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com or askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Terry

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Royal Baby QUilt SAL- Block C

Welcome back to the Royal Baby Sew-a-long. Last week, we showed you how to make the four "Block B" blocks for this quilt. This week, we'll pick up where we left off-- with Block C!


Finished Block C

The first thing you'll need to do is cut the pieces for Block C. If you purchased a kit from us (which includes all the fabric you need for the quilt top, binding, and backing!), you'll find a piece of scarlet Shot Cotton that measures 24” by 22” and a 13.5” by 14” piece of Woven Stripes in Earth. These are the pieces that you'll need to make Block C. If you didn't purchase a kit from us, you'll need a 2/3 yd piece of fabric for the background of the block and a fat quarter for the stripes. 

For each Block C (there are 4 total in the quilt), you will need:
 - 4 blocks CA 1-1/2” by 5-1/4”
 - 4 blocks CB 3-1/4” by 5-1/4”
 - 3 strips CC 1-1/2” by 11”
 - 2 strips CD 1-1/2” by 1-1/2”
 - 2 strips CE 1.5” by 3-1/4”

Each cut gives you a 1/4” seam allowance on the pieced edges and a 1/2” allowance on the outside edges to assist with squaring up the finished block.

Make your cuts according to these diagrams so that you get the most of your piece of fabric!

To cut your blocks:



To cut the stripes:


Now that we have all the pieces cut, it's time to assemble them! We recommend that after you cut all your fabrics, you lay them in stacks and label one of each cut in separate piles so that you can keep them all organized. 

Step 1: Take your first CA square and sew it to a CD fabric strip, using a ¼ inch seam. All seams should be ¼ inch throughout the this project. As with the previous blocks, you can chain all 8 CA/CD combos or you can make only the 2 that you'll need for one block and then repeat all the steps to make the other blocks. 

Step 1
This will be the top left side of the complete C block. As with the previous blocks, you can chain all 8 CA/CD combos or you can make only the 2 that you'll need for one block and then repeat all the steps to make the other blocks. Whatever you choose, press the seams toward the CA square when you've finished sewing the CA squares and CD strips together. 

Step 2: Then, take the remaining CA squares and sew them to the other side of the CA/CD combo. You'll need 2 CA/CD/CA combos to make one block or you can chain all 8 strips. Press towards the CA square.
Step 2
Step 3: Now, Take a CB strip and sew it to a CE strip. Make one more CB/CE combo if you are making one block at a time or make a total of 8 if you are chaining your pieces. Press towards the CB square.
Step 3

Step 4: Then, take the remaining CB squares and sew them to the other side of the CB/CE combo.  You'll need 2 CB/CE/CB combos to make one block or you can chain all 8 strips. Press towards the CB square.

Step 4


Step 5: Take your CA/CD/CA strip and sew it to a CC strip. Again, you'll need two of these right away to finish one block or you can chain all 8 that you'll need to do all 4 blocks. Press toward the CC strip.

Step 5

Step 6: I'm sure you can see where we're heading with this: take your other CB/CE/CB combo and sew a loose CC strip to it.  Press toward the CC strip.

Step 6
Step 7: We're almost there, I promise! Sew the other loose CB/CE/CB combo to the other side of the strip you just sewed. Press toward the CC strip. 



All that's left to be done is to sew the CC side of the CA/CD/CA combos to each edge of the piece you just put together. 

Finished Block C

Voila!

If you sew a little wonky (like I do!), you might have a block that isn't entirely square. With the sizes of the squares and strips that we cut, we left an extra 1/4” around the outside of the block to help you square it up to the needed size.  You need a block that is 10-1/2” by 10-1/2”. The finished block will be 10” by 10”. The extra 1/2” is the seam allowance on each side for sewing the blocks together!

Repeat these steps so that you have 4 blocks for this design. Now that you have this one done, next week's Block D will be a piece of cake!

**Also, please note, you may have noticed that we messed up! We are SO sorry for our typo the last two weeks! We originally posted that you are to square-up your blocks to 10- 1/4" x 10-1/4" but we meant for you to actually size them to 10-1/2"x10-1/2". If you've already done your initial squares to 10-1/4"x10-1/4", no worries! Continue to use that size for the remainder of your quilt. It will not affect the overall size by much at all and your result will still look the same as the original. If we've caught you before you've cut down your squares, be sure to make note of the changes. We'll be correcting the PDF's shortly. Again, we apologize profusely for the typo!**

For a PDF printable version of this pattern, please be sure to check out the Royal Baby Quilt SAL super special secret page on our website. We'll be adding Block C shortly! :)

Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to post them here and Jenn or Gus will answer as quickly as possible. Otherwise, please feel free to send an e-mail to: 

Fabric (at) jimmybeanswool.com

Happy sewing!
Jenn & Gus