Jumbo – A New Yarn Weight

News hit last week that the Craft Yarn Council is amending their standard yarn weight classifications to include the new, larger category of jumbo. Apparently this is in response to newer, larger-than-bulky yarns that are coming on the market.

CYCA new yarn symbol and category

CYCA new yarn symbol and category

Americans have a reputation for going for bulkier yarns over the thinner stuff, and it’s easy to feel like we get looked down on a bit because of this. Ok, maybe not outright made fun of, but I definitely feel like there’s someone out there making a face over this.

I would've expected this reaction from Aunt Violet, but never you, Tom.

I would’ve expected this reaction from Aunt Violet, but never you, Tom.

While I do love a good fingering weight yarn or dk, there is something fantastic about working with bigger yarns. They tend to be high on the cooshy quotient, and give (nearly) immediate gratification. A hat or full length scarf in an afternoon? Yes please.

In celebration of welcoming Jumbo to the yarn family, I’ve put together a playlist of 3 videos that celebrate being big. Enjoy.

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Book Review: Knitting Fresh Brioche

Book: Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns

Author: Nancy Marchant

Publisher: Sixth & Spring Books

I was very excited to receive my reviewer’s copy of Nancy Marchant’s newest book, Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns. It’s equal parts brioche step-by-step guide and stitch dictionary, with a focus on two-color designs.

Knitting Fresh Brioche is packed with information. There are step-by-step photo guides for the basic brioche stitches, increase, decrease, cast-on, and bind-off. Marchant even shares her trick for maintaining tidy edges on brioche fabric as well as help on how to handle mistakes. I love Marchant’s note calling a brioche knit stitch (abbreviated brk) a “bark” and a brioche purl stitch (abbreviate brp) a “burp”. I’m adding those to my list of favorite knitting slang. After explaining how to read two-color brioche charts, the book moves into the stitch patterns.

Knitting Fresh Brioche has 75 unique stitch patterns, written and charted, that use only basic two-color brioche fabric with increases and decreases. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lovely variations that can be made with just these stitches. While Marchant encourages you to use these stitch patterns in your own creations, you can wet your palate by trying out one of the lovely scarf or wrap designs included in the book. I love Sister Janie and the light and airy Miss B.

brioche knitting book

© Sixth&Spring Books/Nancy Marchant

brioche knitting book

© Sixth&Spring Books/Nancy Marchant

Overall, Knitting Fresh Brioche is a great book for Brioche newbies and enthusiasts alike. Beginners will find that using two colors makes it easier to tell if they’re doing things right, while experienced brioche knitters will enjoy exploring the stitch patterns as a spring board to their own designs. I definitely recommend it.

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Travel Knitting and Mickey Mouse Bling

One of my favorite parts of traveling is picking out a knit or crochet project to take with me. Traveling gives me some time to focus on a selfish project- something just for me. After making a Rickenbacker over our Thanksgiving trip I was eager to pick out a project for our longer family trip we took this past month. We managed to escape the snow (So. Much. Snow.) for two weeks in Florida. It was fantastic being in warm weather again.

Outside without a coat!

Outside without a coat!

For this trip I picked Ambah O’Brien’s Shawl of Destiny pattern. The two color pattern is so pretty. When I was debating what colors to use I thought back to the knit Ravenclaw scarf I started ages ago. Long story short: I started the knit scarf 1 week before the opening of the last Harry Potter film. I knit through 1.5 skeins of Cascade 220, went to see the movie, and quit. It’s been sitting in a bag ever since. The idea of picking it back up again didn’t appeal to me, but as I looked at the Shawl of Destiny, I kind of thought of it as a grown-up Ravenclaw- you know, something Luna Lovegood would wear in school colors as a mature adult, showing some house pride AND awesome style sense.

Photo courtesy Ambah O'brien.

Photo courtesy Ambah O’brien.

For the yarn I went with Holiday Yarns Flock Sock in mitternacht and Silver Sock in grey. (I’ve used Holiday Yarns a lot and it’s a consistently good yarn. I’m happy to spend my money on it.) The Silver Sock yarn has a strand of silver sparkle going through it- perfect for that magical touch.
holiday yarns flock sock

I finished 2 pattern repeats on the trip. The garter stitch portions were great for all the waiting in lines at theme park attractions, plus the two times the attraction we were on (Carousel of Progress) got stuck. (Yes, I got stuck on the Carousel of Progress twice. I’m sure there is some message the universe is trying to send me, but I still don’t get it.)

The various Disney World parks were selling these little charms for girl’s bracelets, but when I first saw them my instant thought was “Stitch Marker!”. I have blinged out my knitting with Mickey Mouse. That’s how I roll.

mickey mouse stitch marker

In addition to the Disney Parks I snuck out to Universal Studios and got to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was a perfect place to take my knitting.
wizarding world harry potter

wizarding world harry potter gringotts

Stopping at the bank.

I’m sad that I have to put this aside now to focus on some work projects, but I’m definitely going to pick it up again soon!

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On Vacation

Everyone needs a vacation and vacation knitting sometimes…


I’ll be back next week with new news and updates. In the meantime, all PDF patterns are automatic downloads, so even though I’m away you can still enjoy a new pattern almost immediately.

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Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves Giveaway

51d841RRU+L._AC_SR98,95_Book: Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More

Author: Pam Powers

Publisher: Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Sometimes you need a project that will be quick, giving  you nearly immediate satisfaction, and just look stunning. Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves is full of such patterns.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

This isn’t just another scarf book. The patterns showcase interesting design elements and constructions. These are real statement pieces that can make an outfit.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

I love that the author includes written instructions and charts- it’s the best of both worlds. The book is full of helpful diagrams and pictures for finishing as well. It even has step by step photos for techniques such as a 3-needle bind-off and working short rows.

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Photo courtesy Stackpole Books

Thanks to Stackpole Books, you have a chance to win your own copy of Dress-to-Impress. Just leave a comment here by Wednesday, January 28th (11:59pm ET) telling me what you like about scarves, cowls, and/or ascots. Open to US residents only.


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2014 Year in Review

Looking back at 2014….

1 Crochet-a-long for Autumn Leaves Shawlette.

autumn leaves shawl crochet pattern

More than 20 prizes and giveaways.

caroline scarf crochet pattern yarn kit

10 new patterns in the Poetry in Yarn pattern line.


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Day 7 Giveaway: Tunisian!

Day 7 and we’re giving away TWO Tunisian crochet books:

One lucky winner will get signed copies of Get Hooked on Tunisian Crochet: Learn How with 13 Projects and Tunisian Crochet Encore: New Stitches, New Techniques, New Patterns

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Day 6 Giveaway – Diagonally Crochet Pattern

Win a pdf copy of the Diagonally crocheted scarf and shawl pattern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Day 5 Giveaway – ChiaoGoo Blue Flower Knitting Needles

knitting needles chiaogooChiaoGoo Limited Edition Blue Flower Knitting Needles – Size 10 (6mm)

Quick! You’ve only got 24hrs to enter!

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Double Crochet Giveaway Day!

There won’t be a Saturday giveaway so today we’re going to have two prizes, one each for two different winners!

Prize 1: A signed copy of Susan Lowman’s Jewelry to Crochet (Annie’s Crochet) crochet pattern book.51JmSAo7XjL__AA160_


Prize 2: Spry Twist Mitts and Ear Warmer PDF Crochet Pattern

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

photo copyright Vivian Aubrey photography

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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