WIP Wednesday: Zelda’s Distant Shores Pullover

Zelda is working on a Distant Shores Pullover in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport for the main color and shades of Bare Naked Wool Stone Soup Fingering for the accents. Both of these yarns are grown and milled in the western United States!

Zelda brown sheep sweater zelda brown sheep

 

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“What Do With?” A New Monthly Column About Spinning Fiber

Welcome to Christiana’s  new once a month column designed to show off one of our fibers and give you some ideas of techniques to prep and spin the different fibers and what you might do with the finished yarn (other than just put it in the yarn museum).

Manos Del Uruguay Merino Fiber

When I was traveling to Philadelphia on an archive trip this past April, I made it a point to stop by a shop that was currently carrying the Manos del Uruguay Merino fiber, to see if it would be worth recommending that we carry it here at the shop. I’d been admiring all of the gorgeous colorways that we already carry in the different yarn bases of Manos, and I really like the company mission.

Manos del Uruguay, if you didn’t know, is line of fiber products from the women’s collective Manos Cooperative founded in 1968. When you buy this product you are supporting a coop that provides “health insurance, retirement pensions, paid vacations and paid maternity leave for their members”(Fairmountfibers.com/aboutManos). Each product you buy helps a woman in Uruguay support her family with hand craft traditions.
About the Fiber

manos spinning fiber at natural stitches (2)

Most important thing first. THIS FIBER IS SO SOFT. It’s like the down of a baby kitten and it spins like butter. As I was writing this a child came into the store touched the fiber and said “It is like the softest cloud”.

I’m not always the biggest fan of merino, I tend to like a longer fiber staple length and I’ve found other brands of merino to be frustrating to spin. That was not the case for me with this yarn. It was a fantastic spin that I enjoyed every second of. I can’t wait to knit with it now that I have it.

But how to spin it?

Merino (like polwarth, and corriedale) poofs after it’s spun. It is a lofty fiber base and it wants to be spun in a way that reflects it. I personally really love a thick spun Merino, and it works well in both two plys and three plys (most commercial yarn is merino, so it’s a very versatile fiber base).

I picked out the Mermaid colorway of this delicious merino to spin, and I choose to spin this as an energized single for reasons I’ll get to later.

manos fiber at natural stitches

When you unbraid (and it is actually braided, not chained like some other roving) Manos fiber, you’ll notice that the colors are actually in blocks. This is what made me decide to spin it as a single, I wanted LONG colorways.

The color blocks mean that if you wanted to experiment with drafting and blending the fiber into a gradient, it’s really easy to separate it by color. This would be a great fiber to do a fractal 2 ply.

Let’s be honest. It’s delicious and it would be great to do anything with it. Here’s my finished yarn!

manos spinning fiber at natural stitches (3)

SO! The Big Question- What do you do with that?

Finding the perfect project for handspun is a challenge. Sometimes I just say “YARN MUSEUM” and leave it at that.

But this I want to knit with immediately.

And I’m going to make a Metalouse by Stephen West [FREE pattern on Knitty!] and I’m going to pair my handspun with some delicious Manos del Uruguay Fino for the solid color.

manos spinning fiber at natural stitches (8)

I can’t wait to knit it, and I can’t wait to wear it.

Stay tuned for next month’s column, and remember Spinner’s Central is every Monday night!

ED. note: the title of this column comes from my older son, who at the age of three would pick up random things (including yarn) and ask “What do with?”

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FO Friday: Jen W’s Handspun

Jen W recently came in to show us some of her handspun yarns. All of these were spun and plied on a spindle!

Yarn Hollow Merino Tussah in Dove Gray:

Yarn Hollow Merino Tussah in Dove Gray at Natural Stitches

Yarn Hollow Panda Top in Galaxy:

Yarn Hollow Panda Top in Galaxy at Natural Stitches

Mauch Chunky in Blue Raspberry:

Mauch Chunky in Blue Raspberry at Natural Stitches

Interested in learning how to spin? We have two classes appropriate for beginners coming up in July: Intro to Wheel Spinning on July 2 and Spinning 101 on July 20. Our calendar is here and you can register over the phone at 412-441-4410.

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WIP Wednesday: Yvonne’s Foyle’s Pullover

When Amy Herzog’s new design, Foyle’s Pullover, came out, Yvonne immediately began swatching. After testing three different yarns, she settled on Mountain Meadow Jackson in Brick and put her swatch and measurements into CustomFit.

Foyle in Mountain Meadow 2

When she’s done, it will look like this (only, of course, with Yvonne’s Happy Sweater Face instead of Amy’s):

foyle-pullover-candidate-finals-2_medium2

Thanks to Amy Herzog and the gang at CustomFit for permission to share their beautiful photos!

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On Your Mark! (Yarn Crawl Bags Are Here!)

If you’ve been waiting for the yarn crawl bags to go on sale, wait no more!  Your day is here!  We have the 2015 Steel Valley Yarn Crawl bags, including your passport and 11 tickets for door prizes, ready for you!

Be sure to visit Natural Stitches on the Steel City Yarn Crawl July 31-August 9

Be sure to visit Natural Stitches on the Steel City Yarn Crawl July 31-August 9

If you’ve missed previous posts on the details, or need more information, here’s the nitty gritty:

1.  Purchase a bag, which contains your passport and tickets for door prizes.
2.  Between July 31 and August 9, visit as many of the 11 participating shops as you can.  Have your passport stamped at each store (no purchase necessary!), and turn in your completed passport at the last shop you visit to be eligible for the grand prize.
3.  Each shop you visit will have 3 door prizes available.  Use your door ticket prizes as you wish — all of them in one shop, or spread them out over all the shops!
4.  Making purchases at the participating shops will earn you extra tickets for use in that particular shop.  $25 purchase = 4 tickets, $50 purchase = 10 tickets, $100 purchase = 25 tickets.

BE WARNED:  BAG QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED!

 

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FO Friday: Diane’s Sandra’s Shawl

Marine Silk Fingering is one of our favorite yarns, and Diane’s meticulous knitting showcases it perfectly. Sandra’s Shawl is available as a Ravelry in-store download purchase.

Diane shawl (4)

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WIP Wednesday: Jenn’s Antarktis

Jenn's Antarktis in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 at Natural Stitches, Pittsburgh PA

Jenn is knitting an Antarktis out of Zen Yarn Garden’s Serenity 20 in one of her one-of-a-kind colorways. When I saw Jenn’s, I ran to wind some Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere to make one of my own. Jenn says this is an addictive and fun knit, and it’s available as a Ravelry in-store download purchase.

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Jack’s Year of Knitting Dangerously: June

Greetings Dangerous Knitter,

Who loves an easy lace pattern? I do, I do! June is my favorite month. It not only brings June 13, the most important day of the year (my birthday!), but also the start of summer and my return to lace knitting projects. They usually start out fairly mindless since I knit while catching up on all of the binge watching that I missed during the school year. Eventually, I end up choosing 1 or 2 of the brain-burners that have been crowding my favorites list. Lace patterns inevitably add that certain breathtaking charm to any project, upgrading your work from pretty to spectacular.

I had so much fun knitting the Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts by Susie Rogers last month that I decided to go with the lace theme again. Simple lace patterns are an easy way to get a lot of bang for your knitting buck. I hope you liked that yarn over knit 2 together pattern, because you are about to become very familiar with it. Make yourself the beverage of your choice, add binge-worthy television series, and away you go!

Dangerously yours,
Jack

June Pattern:
Quirky construction techniques are abounding this year, and this month’s pattern is no exception. I have chosen the Ilene Bag by Hannah Ingalls.

dangerously june2

This market bag starts with a simple stockinette stitch rectangle for the base of the bag. Next, stitches are picked up around the sides and cast-on edge to join for knitting the lace pattern in the round (see photo below). The pattern doesn’t call for it, but I might suggest using two circular needles or magic loop at this point, because it gets a little tricky to work this part until several round of the lace pattern have been completed. Then comes our favorite yarn over knit 2 together lace pattern for the majority of the bag. Finally, a 1×1 rib handle completes the project, ending with the three-needle bind off (see photo below) that we did with the Camp-Out Fingerless Mitts.

Stitches are picked up along the sides and bottom.

Stitches are picked up along the sides and bottom.

Three-needle bind off

Three-needle bind off

I used 1 skein of Euroflax from Louet. This plant-based fiber is perfect for a market bag. It is washable and doesn’t have a lot of stretch, letting the handle maintain its shape and you avoid having a knee-length market bag! Euroflax is an interesting yarn; it is 100% wet spun linen. Initially, your knitted fabric will feel rough and may be a bit unruly, but just wait until you machine wash and dry the finished bag. This is when the magic happens!! You will absolutely not recognize the post-laundry yarn as the original. All of the stitches even out and the yarn becomes amazingly soft and smooth to the touch. You have to experience it to get the full effect. As always, stop in to the shop to see and feel this month’s project and all of the others so far.

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FO Friday: Robin’s Laight Street

When Kirsten Kapur’s Shawl Book One hit our shelves, Robin snapped up her copy and then ran to the Mountain Meadow Laramie shelves to make a selection for Laight Street. Laight Street is available as a Ravelry in-store download purchase, or we have the entire print book here in the store for $21.00, which includes a complimentary download code for a digital copy as well. We think it pairs wonderfully with the lofty bounce of Mountain Meadow’s Wyoming-sourced and spun Laramie.

robin (3)

robin (5)

robin (6)

 

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WIP Wednesday: Emily’s Flying Fish

Emily is our Queen of Colorwork, and this Tiling Flying Fish she has in progress is no exception! Emily is working with Dream in Color Smooshy in Miami Red and Amber Glass, and the pattern is available as a Ravelry in-store download purchase.

Emilywip

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