Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiber Feature -- Yak

Today's featured fiber is Yak! I'm pretty excited about this one because it is one of the softest, yummiest fibers for knitting and we now carry three Yak yarns!!!
 
Yak down is a fairly new fiber to the western knitting market but has been used for thousands of years by the nomadic peoples in the heart of Asia.

Photo from Reywa Fibers
So, what are Yak? Yak are a type of wild cattle native to the high Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau of the central Asia. The average altitude of this huge plateau is over 14,800 ft. It is a harsh, cold environment of mainly grasses and rocks with few if any shrubs or trees. Yet people and animals have lived there for tens of thousands of years. The largest creatures living there are Yak. Wild Yak are huge creatures, with males weighing in up to around 2000 lbs! They are few in number and are a protected species. Beginning somewhere around 10,000 years ago, the native peoples of the plateau began to domesticate yak. One source I read says that the yak trade in China began as far back as 4500 years ago. Domestic Yak are hybrids between yak & other types of cattle. They are typically about half to two thirds the size of their wild brethern. Domestic yak, also called "grunting oxen," are said to be friendly and easily tamed. They are an important animal to the native populations supplying not only food (meat, milk, butter, & cheese), fibers and hide but also provide as transportation (riding), hauling, and plowing. Even their dung is highly valued as the main source of fuel for household fires in a land without trees.

Yak produce two fibers, a soft downy undercoat and a long, course outer coat. The yak outer coat is much like the hair of a horses tail, shorter on the body and growing into a long "skirt" on the lower parts of the bodies. This hair is used for weaving things like belts and rope.

From International Yak Association
Yak down is what we're mostly interested in. Yak down is short, about 1 1/2 inches long and very fine - ranging from 15-20 microns, so it's very similar to the very finest merino wool, qiviut, angora, alpaca, and cashmere. The fewer the microns, the finer the fiber. It has no lanolin and no odor, is non-allergenic, and quite warm. The down is shed out each year and can be combed off the animal or collected after being shed. Once collected the long guard hairs are removed and the down is carded into batts for spinning into yarn.

In researching for this post I found several website with tons of interesting information. The most comprehensive is a publication by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the U.N., The Yak Second Edition. Pretty much anything you want to know about yak can be found in this paper.

Another interesting site is The International Yak Association. After reading this one I'm all for finding some pasture land and raising yak! Having raised fiber animals in the past the yak looks perfect for a low input, sustainable, niche farm!

Bijou Basin Photo
Which is just what the folks at Bijou Basin Ranch are doing! Bijou Basin is a small family owned farm in the plains east of Denver, Colorado. They raise full blooded Tibetan Yaks and produce lovely soft yarns which are then dyed by Lorna's Laces. We are currently carrying Bijou Bliss,a beautiful 50% Yak and 50% Cormo sheeps wool yarn. Bijou Bliss has a suggested gauge of 6 stitches to the inch on US #4 (3.5mm) to US #5 (3.75) needles putting on the heavier side of sport weight/light side of DK weight. It has a nice lofty twist with a bit of elasticity so it's perfect for projects that need some memory like hats, gloves/mitts, and sweaters.

Our newest yak yarn is 100% yak from a fairly new company Reywa Fibers. Please go read the 'About' section on their website, it's very exciting what they are doing. It is another small, family operated business. The income from the sales of their products is reinvested directly into the Tibetan communities that raise the animals, providing education and environmental preservation to the nomadic peoples that raise the yak. Their first yarn is called Embrace. This yarn is also right between a sport & dk weight. I wish I could adequately describe how this yarn feels! Think soft like baby alpaca but smooth like cool butter. This is the perfect yarn for next to the skin! Think cowls, turtleneck sweaters, camisoles, and luxury mitts. You simply must touch this yarn!!!!

The third yak yarn we carry is Tibetan Cloud Fingering by Lotus Yarns. It is also 100% yak. The name is a bit deceptive as I would call this a 2 ply lace weight rather than fingering. The colors are lovely, it's wonderful for knitting light and lofty lace shawls.

I think a project made from one of these exotic yarns would make a fantastic holiday gift for someone special! I'm off to start planning mine!

Please send any comments or questions to askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Terry






 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Second Block of the Sew Red Sew-a-long from Me and My Sister Designs


It's that time again! We are happy to announce the second block in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long. This round comes from the talented ladies behind Me and My Sister Designs.

All About Barb and Mary

Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson of Me and My Sister Designs really are sisters who have been designing fabrics for Moda for 8 years. They are currently working on their 26th fabric line. If their past collections are anything to go by, it will be chock full of bright, vibrant colors! Barb and Mary are based in Tempe, Arizona, where they design their beautiful fabric lines and the amazing quilting and sewing patterns that show off their colorful fabrics.

In addition to designing and sewing, these multi-talented ladies are also beginning to dabble in knitting. Barb is a self-described “knitter wannabe”. While she doesn't knit, she does like to crochet because the mistakes can be easily removed. She makes a mean chevron afghan! Barb hopes to one day finish a scarf from one of the many knitted scarf patterns that she has collected along with the yarn from her budding yarn collection. Mary also likes the idea of knitting and someday hopes to advance past making knitted dish cloths. She also collects balls of yarn just because she likes them—who here can't relate to that!

When these two are not quilting or wishing they could knit they love being with family and their many pets. Barb married the boy next door, and Mary married his best friend! Barb's house is ruled by her two dogs: a Jack Russell terrorist named Bella and a neurotic miniature schnauzer named Frazier. Mary shares her space with two rescue cats: Mia, a blind cat who is her constant companion and Earl, the man of the house.

Barb and Mary and Sew Red

Barb and Mary wanted to be a part of Sew Red because it is a cause that is close to their hearts. Their grand mother on their mothers side of the family died of heart problems and Barb just recently went through a procedure to correct an irregular heart beat. Barb and Mary have yearly checkups, keep a close eye on their blood pressure, make smart food decisions, eat small portions, and walk as frequently as they can. The gals from Me and My Sister Designs contributed the Village Bag, which is perfect for toting around everything you need for your active—and stylish!—lifestyle.

Barb and Mary and the Sew-a-long

We met Barb and Mary at Quilt Market in Portland this spring. These ladies had us in stitches the whole time! When we asked them to participate in the Mystery Sew Red Sew-a-long, they were excited to get started! Mary used to sew all her girls clothes when they were small. Most things she made them were in Mary's favorite color pink. To this day, her daughters get a nervous tick when they see a pink shirt in the stores.  So it won't come as a surprise that their block features lots of pink!




Barb and Mary's block

Without further ado, follow the link to their blog, Me and My Sister Designs, to get the instructions and get started!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Mountain Design Contest- Help Support Stitch Red with Your Vote!!!

The Sugar Bowl Hat
Some of you may have heard that I am one of 18 semi-finalists in Schachenmayr's My Mountain Hat Design Contest. My design, the Sugar Bowl Hat knit in Schachenmayr original's new Lova yarn, also doubles as a cowl for extra versatility in all of your activities. 

I love items that have multiple uses, which was why I thought this design would be a great entry for the contest. I've already sent the sample (shown here in gray and teal on Amanda) to Schachenmayr since they are going to publish the design on their website, but I decided I needed one for myself too! Last night I cast on to make my own in a different color of Schachenmayr original Lova! It's already turning out really cute and I can't wait to wear it! 
Version #2 WIP

Being a semi-finalist is honor enough, but if by some small chance I happened to be the finalist with the most votes, my hat pattern would be published as a paid download to support the charitable organization of my choice! For me, there is no question over which one to choose...

The Stitch Red campaign in support of The Heart Truth would be my pick! so I am hoping all of you could help me out and go vote! I would love to have a pattern out there that is contributing to heart disease research and prevention for women. 
You can also wear it as a cowl!


For those of you who aren't familiar with Stitch Red, it's a campaign that JBW started almost 3 years ago to get the whole needle arts industry involved in spreading the word about heart disease and how it affect women. Knit Red and Sew Red are the two books we've created as our Stitch Red product along with tons of other industry vendors who have created Stitch Red products as well. Each has pledged 5% or more of the gross profits to go to The Heart Truth. On a side note we are excited to announce that Crochet Red will be released in February of 2014 and we are currently working on acquiring celebrity chefs to participate in Cook Red which will be out in 2015. 

Heart disease is something that is personal to many of us. It runs in my family, and is something I know that I need to be aware of and watch out for in my own life. My father has had two heart surgeries and my family constantly lives with the reminder that every day with him is a gift. My grandfather (my father's father) died of a heart attack at a very young age, before I was born. It is my hope that my father is around to meet and enjoy his grandchildren, as his father never was.

I really hope you'll take a moment to go and vote for my design! It would really mean a lot to me, and all of us here at Jimmy Beans Wool that have worked so hard on the Stitch Red Campaign over the years. We appreciate your help!

There are two ways to vote. Use this link if you are on a computer:

https://www.facebook.com/mymountain.us/app_451684954848385

And this shorter link if you are on any mobile device:

http://woobox.com/jt3ju3

You can vote once per day, per ip address. Thank you so, so much for helping me support Stitch Red and literally stick it to heart disease! (Get it? You knit with sticks? Hee hee!)

Happy knitting!
Kristen


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

TGAAA KAL Helpful hints & Square Three


First let me say Welcome! to all those who have joined in since we've started this knit-a-long!  We're so pleased that you could join us!

Everyday someone posts a photo of a finished square over in our Raverly group! These Square 1's were finished and photo posted since last weeks blog!

Square #1 by Carol Adams on page 22 of The Great American Aran Afghan book. In this square we learned a basic cable but with a little twist, it's a reversible cable! So the square looks pretty much the same on both sides. Not all of our squares will.
 
Carol's Square 1
Sherri's Square 1

Terry's Square 1
Gwen's Square 1



So it seems that my choice for Square 2 contradicted everything I said about chart reading in my hints for Square 1, week before last! Square 2 (Barbara Selesnick's design on page 16) is a perfect example of a pattern that specifically states that you are to read the charts the opposite of the norm. Despite that, several people have already completed their squares.

Square #2 by Barbara Selesnick on page 16. In this square we are learning twists and traveling stitches, stitches that move across the work instead of staying in vertical columns.

Tanya's Square 2
Carol's Square 2
  
Karen's Square 2



















I'm only about 4 rows into the charted patterns, and I do have to say that it took me a while to get the row layout fastened in my head in the proper order. What has really helped is to remember that most of the time cables are only done on the right side rows.  In this pattern, row 19 is the exception with a cross on the wrong side. It has to be this way to close up the top of the lobes of the heart.

One question that has come up repeatedly is how to work the M1s.  M1 stands for Make One which is a nearly invisible increase. There are two kinds of M1s; make 1 left (M1L) and make 1 right (M1R). In many patterns the designer will not specify which one to use because unless they are repeated row upon row, the way the stitch twists makes little difference in the way the finished fabric looks and performs. When it does matter the designer will specify.

Make One Left (M1L)
  • To do a M1L increase you will need to have at least one stitch on your right hand needle.
  • Look at your knitting between the two needles. See the little bar between the two stitches? With your left needle pick up this bar going from front to back.
  • Next, knit the loop you now have on your left needle through the back loop just as you would a normal knit through the back loop.
  • By knitting through the back loop you are adding a left twist to the increase, making it invisible. Without the twist you will get an eyelet much like a small yarnover instead of an invisible increase.
Make One Right (M1R)
This increase is the same as a M1L except:
  • with your left needle you will pick up the bar between the stitches from back to front
  • knit it through the front loop, adding a right twist.
Perhaps an easy way to remember this is:
  • M1L - pick up front to back, knit in the back - front, back, back
  • M1R - pick up back to front, knit in the front - back, front, front

I usually find that M1L is easier to do, so I tend to work my M1 this way most of the time. When the instructions indicate a M1P follow these same instruction and instead of knitting into the back or front loop, purl instead. Make sure to maintain the twist or you will have a hole slightly smaller than a yarn over.

Here's a video I did last winter on how to do M1s.



Please let me know if there are other issues with Square 2 you need help with!

Now on to Square #3 by Julie Levy on page 4 of the book.

In this square we will practice our cables, add some fill stitches and learn how to make bobbles!  Bobbles aren't hard. There are many variations of to work bobbles so be sure to check the patterns instructions on what this designer wants in a bobble. Basically, to create a bobble you will be working all in one stitch:

Step 1: increase a few stitches
Step 2: work back and forth over these stitches for as many rows as indicated
Step 3: decrease back to one stitch
Step 4: resume working your row as directed

These steps create a excess fabric that will stick out 3-dimensionally from your fabric. Sometimes, you have to make the bobble lay on the correct side of the fabric by poking it into place. Knit the stitch immediately after the bobble very tightly. Yes, there will be a bit of a hole on the side of the bobble. This is normal, don't worry.

Have fun, and if you haven't already, I hope you join us for this low stress, work at your own pace project!

Please send comments, feedback, questions to me at askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Happy Bobbling!!!

Terry




Friday, September 13, 2013

Fiber Feature - Possum, Knitting Apps, and TGAAA KAL update

We are in our third week of the Great American Aran Afghan KAL and more people have been finishing up their first squares while others are just getting started! We have new people joining in everyday and I am so pleased to be helping people get started or restarted making these lovely afghan squares.

Next week I'll reveal my choice for square #3 along with helpful hints for knitting square #2. In the meantime, should some of you finish with square #2 and wish to start on #3, scoot on over to our Ravelry group and I'll mention it in the thread there a little early!

Here are some of the squares that have been completed this week.

Karen's 1st square
Sylvie's Square 1

Sylvie's 2nd square

Great work everyone!!!

Do any of you smartphone and tablet users have favorite knitting apps you use regularly? I just recently became a smartphone owner and started using the BeeCount Knitting Counter free app for Android. I'm finding it very helpful to keep track of which row of each chart I'm on because it allows you to have multiple counts. I'm tracking only charts C & B/D by row and beginning again from zero when I start a new repeat. I haven't completely figured out all the functions of this app yet but this works for me so far. Please share your favorite knitting apps and how you use them! I'd love to hear!

Now onto today's feature fiber...

The hardest part of writing these posts is deciding which fiber to talk about at any given time. I've tried to put most things in some sort of logical order but, for protein fibers, other than keeping type/species of fibers together I haven't come up with a logical order. So today, on a whimsy, I'm going to talk about possum fiber!

Possum is one of the newest fibers available to handcrafters. When we say possum in the context of yarn we are talking about the undercoat from the Common Brushtail Possum, a cat sized marsupial native to Australia, Tasmania, a few offshore islands, and a human introduced species in New Zealand. 

Here are some fun facts about possum fiber:

1) It is lightweight and warm. Because individual possum fibers are hollow, they don't weigh much at all, but are able to retain an exceptional amount of heat.
2) Yarn with possum is soft, not prickly. The unbelievable softness of possum is a combination of the microscopic scales of the fibers themselves and the finishing process used when creating possum yarns.
3) Possum is resistant to pilling! That's right! Unlike many other natural fibers, possum does not have a tendency to pill, which makes it an excellent choice for those heirloom projects you lovingly make and hope your loved ones will enjoy for many years to come.
4) It absorbs moisture. Possum absorbs a reasonable amount of moisture without feeling damp, which allows the fibers to buffer the body's micro-climate in changing temperatures.
5) It blends well with merino, silk, cashmere, and other fibers when spun properly and comes in beautiful natural colors which can also be dyed. It’s washable and very durable.
6) Possum fiber has many of the qualities of fine cashmere, such as lightness, softness and warmth
7) It’s absolutely heavenly to knit with and to wear!
8) Most of the possum fiber yarn on the market today comes from New Zealand where this possum is an invasive species.

The story behind possum fiber is both inspiring and a bit sad. It's the story of human expansion, ignorance and the current struggle to bring a new but different balance to a beautiful part of our planet, rectifying blunders, now that we better understand our past follies. 

Around the 1850s, European settlers introduced the Brushtail possum into New Zealand as a source of food and fiber.  Over the years, we've repeatedly learned that this casual introduction of non-native species into new environments has had devastating results, particularly in island eco-systems.  And this is just what has happened with the Brushtail possum in New Zealand. There are no native predators of the possum in New Zealand and excellent food sources as the native plants have not evolved any of the usual protections from mammals that eat plants. By the 1980s, it was estimated that there were 60-70 million possums in New Zealand. The exploding population of possums has caused serious damage to native forests. Because of competition for food and shelter in addition to predation on their eggs by possums, there has been great reductions in native bird populations as well, including some very endangered species. And if this weren't enough, the Brushtail possum is also a primary vector for bovine tuberculosis, a serious and costly disease of cattle and deer which threats the human food supply of the islands.

Zealana Rimu DK
Out of the unpleasant battle to humanely control the numbers of Brushtail possum a craft industry has arisen! Possum fiber yarns!!! The fur of the animals is dehaired to remove the bristly outer coat then the soft, short, luxurious under coat is blended with wool, silk, cashmere and other fibers to create lovely yarns.  The purchase of these yarns helps an industry help its country by creating beauty from tragedy.

We as handcrafters can now participate in the preservation of the wondrous beauty of New Zealand (that many of us have only glimpsed in our favorite Tolkien movies and nature documentaries and long to visit in person!) by purchasing this wonderful yarn!  Check out all of the awesome Zealana yarns we carry!

I realize that some of what I've shared with you is unpleasant to think about, little in life is without its unpleasant side. Only you can decide what is right for you. Here are the facts to consider:

  • Brushtail Possums have no natural predators on the islands of New Zealand.
  • They breed twice a year, so their numbers grow rapidly. It is estimated there are now between 70 and 90 million of them in NZ!
  • They eat around 21,000 tons of vegetation every night, destroying entire forests and habitat for native species.
  • They destroy the eggs of the Kiwi and Kakapo, flightless birds that are close to extinction.
  • They are a hazard on the roads.
  • The New Zealand government has spent many millions to humanely eradicate this pest from wildlife preserves and control the explosive population.
  • Possum Fiber is a unique and beneficial byproduct of the efforts to save the stunning beauty and delicate ecosystems of New Zealand.
With all this in mind, should you make the choice to purchase yarns containing possum fiber you will be helping to bring some balance back to disrupted ecosystems and perhaps help to ensure the survival of some very intriguing creatures!

Save a Kiwi... Knit with Possum
 Please send you comments, questions, thoughts, suggestions and any photos of afghan squares (with permission to post them along with your first name) to me at askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Terry



Monday, September 9, 2013

The My Mountain Campaign and Design Contest!

Have you heard of the My Mountain Campaign from Schachenmayr yarns yet?!?! It's so much fun, we couldn't wait to tell you about it!

Richard and John from Westminster Fibers created the
My Mountain campaign. We couldn't help but snag this
photo of them modeling the reflective Lumio yarn
when they visited us last month!
Not to be confused with our own Stitch Mountain campaign, which we created to support the US Freeskiing and US Snowboarding teams, My Mountain has a slightly different purpose. Geared towards active knitters and crocheters, the My Mountain campaign seeks to get you excited about creating gear for your active pursuits whatever they may be. Schachenmayr is hoping to do just that with My Mountain by combining awesome yarn with fabulous design to inspire active people everywhere!

Side Note: In case you were wondering, Stitch Mountain is also the name of our upcoming book of gorgeous designs inspired by our favorite winter sports athletes. We can't wait until we can share all of these designs with you in November, but we can tell you that they are awesome! More on this later, but if you are interested, you can pre-order Stitch Mountain and we'll ship it as soon as it arrives to our shop.

To get people excited about the My Mountain Campaign, Schachenmayr is hosting a hat design contest and asked each entrant to share what their mountain is whether it be a metaphor for something personal, or an actual mountain. I (Kristen) was one of the lucky 18 designers to be selected as a semi-finalist! I am so honored to have had my design selected along with designers like Susan B. Anderson, Alasdair Post-Quinn, Kersti Landra (from Koigu yarns), and Rohn Strong. All 18 of these designs will be featured soon on the My Mountain website as free patterns so stay tuned for that!

My design for the contest is called the Sugar Bowl hat (modeled here by the lovely Amanda who is one of our purchasers here at JBW.) It's actually a hat that opens up at the top and can be worn as a cowl too! How's that for multi-tasking?!?! I love items that serve dual purpose so I tried to think back on my days as a snowboarder at what kind of an item I would have liked to have with me on the slopes. This definitely fits all of those needs for me. Even though I would always wear a helmet when I rode, a neck gaiter was a must for me but when it was time to hit the lodge, a hat was definitely a must which is why the Sugar Bowl Hat/Cowl is the perfect blend of accessories for me!

I chose the SMC Lova yarn because of it's fun blend of neutrals with pops of bright color, easy care blend of wool and acrylic, and light and lofty chainette construction. It was a really nice yarn to work with, and I'm already planning a second version of the Sugar Bowl Hat/Cowl for myself to wear this coming winter!

Sugar Bowl is inspired by one of our local ski resorts here in the Reno/Tahoe area and it's one of my all-time favorite mountains! The resort itself has tons of great back-country and a laid-back attitude is what made it one of my favorite places to ride each winter. I don't ride much anymore due to a knee injury, but I still love getting out my snowshoes each winter and enjoying the mountains in a different way.

Now that the semi-finalists have been announced, the winning designs are up to you! Between now and September 23rd, you can vote for your favorites on Facebook, once per day. The system is actually set up so that you can vote for multiple designs too, which is nice because you don't have to choose just one. Although I would love if you voted for my Sugar Bowl Hat/Cowl design, I encourage you to go look at all of them and vote for your favorites. There are some truly awesome ones to choose from. :)

If you are on a computer, use this link: https://www.facebook.com/mymountain.us/app_45168495484838

However, if you are on a mobile device (phone, Kindle, iPad, etc), you'll need to use this link to vote: http://woobox.com/jt3ju3

In order to vote, you will need to "like" the My Mountain page, but that just takes a quick second! You can also vote once per day so be sure to vote often for your favorites!

Also, if you'd like to check out the yarns featured in the My Mountain campaign, you can see them all on our website. Here are the links to each of them.

Boston: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/Boston.asp
Boston Style: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/BostonStyle.asp
Lova: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/Lova.asp
Lumio: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/Lumio.asp
Bravo Big: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/BravoBig.asp
Bravo Big Color: http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/SMC/BravoBigColor.asp

I will say, these yarns are awesome! We really love the Lumio with it's reflective thread which is great for nighttime activities. Also, the Boston comes in fabulous colors, including lots of neon brights! I think the best part of all of these yarns is that they are super easy to care for, all of them are machine washable, which makes them really great for the active people in your life or for gift giving season.

We hope you'll get as excited about My Mountain as we have!

Happy knitting and crocheting!
Kristen

Friday, September 6, 2013

TGAAA KAL - Helpful Hints & Square Two and September Classes


Not to make anyone feel rushed but it's time to choose the second square for The Great American Aran Afghan KAL (TGAAA KAL)!  I haven't made a lot of progress on my first square this week either so don't feel behind! Remember this is a low stress, work at your own pace project.  There will most likely be months when you can whip out two or more squares!


Please do send me photos of your finished squares and I'll post them up here on the blog with your permission!!! Here is a finished and blocked square from on of our Ravelry members, Tanya.



While the first square I chose for us to work on is not listed as one of the five easiest, I felt it was a good one to start with because of the garter stitch back ground, simple opposing cables and simple lace eyelet heart pattern center for interest. For those of you just joining us, the square is the one on page 22 designed by Carol Adams. I hope my choice has been a good one for most of you and that you're not experiencing too much frustration. If so, please let me know and I'll do my best to help you through the difficult part.

Another reason I chose this square is that it does plunge you into learning the two types of charts utilized in Aran patterns. The first chart everyone should learn, whether you are working from the written instructions or the pattern charts is the Pattern Arrangement chart. This little chart tells you in which order to work the pattern instructions or charts. Since we are working flat and not in the round, the pattern arrangement chart is worked from right to left on odd rows and left to right for even rows. It's a good habit to always read charts this way because not all charts are symmetrical and it's way too easy to make assumptions, then knit away only to later realize that half the pattern is backwards.Yes, some patterns are symmetrical but don't assume they are. You know what "they" say about assumptions!

The second type of chart for each of these squares is a very typical chart.  Again, these charts are read beginning at the bottom right hand corner, working each odd row right to left and each even row left to right. Unless the pattern specifically says otherwise.

So for this first square the pattern arrangement chart says to work three garter stitch edge stitches, row 1 of chart A, row 1 of chart B, row 1 of chart A, row 1 of chart C, row 1 of chart A, row 1 of chart D, and finally one last repeat of row 1 of chart A and the last three garter stitch edge stitches.

You'll notice that each of the four pattern charts have a different numbers of rows. This is where Aran knitting becomes a bit interesting. Keeping a tally or using one of the stitch counting apps that allows multi-counts are very handy. You'll see that chart C has 24 rows, so you will go back to row 1 of chart A on every odd row of Chart C. For charts B & D you start with row 1 and continue through the first eight rows matching row for row with chart C. Then, when you begin your second and subsequent repeats of charts B & D you will treat row 3 as if it were row 1. Following the instructions in the Square paragraph you'll keep working these charts in order and ending after working row 1 of charts A & C and row 7 of charts B & D. In other words, you will not be completing all charts.

One final note before moving on. When the instructions say to CO and work three ridges this means to cast on and knit six rows. Since we're working in garter stitch, in order to get three ridges on each side of the work you must work six rows. Two rows in garter stitch = one garter stitch ridge. If you didn't knit six rows, don't sweat it and please don't go ripping back to start over. Just keep going and then do all of you're squares the same way through out, so that they are consistent. Or alternatively, we could look at adding a little bit of single crochet to this one square to make it work. 

I hope this clears up some of the confusions I've been seeing. If I can give further explanations please let me know.

Now, for square two! We will officially start the second square on Monday Sept. 9th. For this one we will be working the square on page 16, designed by Barbara Selesnick. This one will give us more practice working some simple twist type cables as well as introducing us to traveling stitches. What are traveling stitches you ask? Basically, traveling stitches are stitches that "move" across the work instead of staying in columns. This square starts with a simple four stitch cable for the base of each heart then the two sets of stitches will gradually move outward, away from each other, finally diverging into single stitches to form the lobes at the top.

Materials:
1 hank/skein of your chosen yarn
US #8 needle (straight or circular)
cable needle
stitch markers

The two in-store classes for working on this KAL are scheduled for Monday Sept 9th and Monday Sept 23rd at 1:30 to 3:30 pm both days. The fee for these classes is $20. Please sign up in advance if possible. Our regular JBW Knit Night will be as usual the 4th Thursday of the month, Sept. 26th at 6 to 8 pm. Everyone is welcome and this is a great time to sit, chat and work on your squares!

If you're participating in this KAL but haven't yet joined the thread in the Jimmy Beans Wool Group on Ravelry please do! There is a lot of helpful information from others who are working on this project as well as the possibility of chatting and getting to make new knitting friends! If anyone is interested in a live chat time on the Ravelry board let me know and we'll set one up!

For other classes please check out and bookmark our classes page! And a heads up! Beginning October 1st we will return to scheduling a full quarter's classes at a time so you'll have plenty of time to plan and sign up. If you aren't local but are planning a visit to Reno you are most welcome to join us for a class during your visit! If you have particular class requests please let me know at my email below.

I hadn't intended for this part of today's post to get so long! I was hoping to feature a protein fiber too but I will leave that for next weeks post. Any particular fiber you want to hear about first?

As always, if you have any question, want to sign up for or schedule a class, or need help please let me know at askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Happy cabling!!!
Terry