Tag Archives: lace

Independent’s Celebration – Malabrigo

It’s time for the next featured company for our Independent’s Celebration!

This week’s featured company is Malabrigo!

I first discovered Malabrigo several years ago, before Alpaca Direct opened here.  I was still pretty new to quality wools and luxury yarns at the time, having spent most of my knitting life getting cheap acrylic from big box stores.  By this time there was one local yarn store (LYS) in the area, and a new one was opening.  My mom (who is also a knitter) and I went to check it out.  Now, as I’m sure you know, when visiting an LYS you must go around and pet all the yarns that strike your fancy.

We came upon a stack of what would turn out to be Malabrigo Lace.  I instantly fell in love.  I think it was the softest yarn I had ever touched up to then, and it’s still in the top five.  The softness combined with the rich colors keep it in my list of favorite yarns.

My mom bought a hank and knitted me an Estonian lace scarf with it for Christmas.  I still wear that scarf all these years later.

Hats made from Malabrigo Twist and Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

Malabrigo is a family owned company based in Uruguay.  They started in a kitchen in 2005 with small batches of hand dyed yarns.  They slowly grew and now distribute their yarns worldwide.  They have added new yarn lines to their original Malabrigo Merino Worsted and Malabrigo Lace over the years, and long ago outgrew their first kitchen workshop.

They have maintained their commitment to producing one of a kind colorways and high quality hand dyed yarns.  Their commitment extends to using local (to them) wool producers, and all of their yarns are made with wool from Uruguayan farms who allow their sheep to range freely and care for them in humane ways.  For their yarns that use other fibers, they source their silk and alpaca from farms that show the same commitment to their animals and the environment as the Uruguayan sheep farms.

Their environmental commitment extends beyond their yarn sources to their manufacturing.  Their superwash process now meets Oeko-Tex standards, which means the yarns are free from harmful agents like formaldehyde, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals.  Since I often recommend Malabrigo yarns for baby things, knowing this makes them an even better choice in my opinion.  They also use solar energy to heat the water used in their dyeing process.

 

At Alpaca Direct we carry Malabrigo Rios, Arroyo, Chunky, Finito, Lace, Worsted, Rasta, Silkpaca, Silky Merino, Sock, and Twist.

Malabrigo Rios Purpuras

Malabrigo Rios is a worsted weight superwash yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 210 yards.  It is a 4-ply yarn, making it great for sweaters, hats, scarves, and baby things.

Malabrigo Arroyo Indiecita

Malabrigo Arroyo is a sport weight superwash yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 335 yards.  Like Rios, it is a 4-ply yarn, so it is great for lighter weight garments and accessories.

Malabrigo Chunky Ravelry Red

Malabrigo Chunky is a bulky weight yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 104 yards.  The bulky weight makes it great for quick knits and warm, thick sweaters, scarves, and hats.

Malabrigo Finito Arco Iris

Malabrigo Finito is a fingering weight yarn.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 200 yards, with five hanks per dye lot.  It is a plied yarn suitable for fine gauge garments and accessories.

Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino Whales Road

Malabrigo Lace is a lace weight yarn made from super soft baby Merino.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 470 yards.  It is a single ply and makes beautiful lace scarves, stoles, and shawls.

Malabrigo Merino Worsted Polvoriento

Malabrigo Merino Worsted is a worsted weight yarn of super soft Merino.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 205 yards.  It is a single, and is great for accessories that don’t see hard wear.

Malabrigo Rasta Baya Electrica

Malabrigo Rasta is a super bulky yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 90 yards.  It is a soft, slightly felted single ply, making it great for quick knits and accessories.

Malabrigo Silkpaca Archangel

Malabrigo Silkpaca is a lace weight yarn spun from a 70/30 alpaca/silk blend.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 420 yards.  It makes beautiful lace shawls, scarves, and stoles.

Malabrigo Silky Merino Mares

Malabrigo Silky Merino is a DK weight yarn spun from a 50/50 silk/baby Merino blend.  It is a single ply that comes in 50 gram hanks of 150 yards.  It is great for lightweight but warm accessories.

Malabrigo Sock Ivy

Malabrigo Sock is a fingering weight yarn made from 100% superwash Merino.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 440 yards.  It is great for socks as well as other lightweight garments, accessories, and baby things.

Malabrigo Twist Stonechat

Malabrigo Twist is an Aran weight yarn made from 100% Merino wool.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 150 yards.  It is a plied yarn, making it great for sweaters, hats, and other accessories.

All Malabrigo yarns (except Silkpaca) feature the same super soft Merino wool for which Malabrigo is known.  All yarns come in the full spectrum of colorways offered by Malabrigo.  They are hand dyed in small batches of rich jewel tones and one of a kind colorways.

Malabrigo Nube Lavanda

In addition to the lines of Malabrigo yarns, we also carry Malabrigo Nube, Malabrigo’s line of spinning fiber.  Using the same super soft Merino as the yarns, these braids are hand dyed in the same colorways, too.  Hand spinners will enjoy the rich colors as well as the soft Merino wool while creating their own unique yarns.

All Malabrigo yarns are on sale July 24 – July 30.

 

Check back next week to see our next featured independent – Palouse Yarn Company!

 

Independent’s Celebration – Sweet Georgia Yarns

It’s time for the next featured company for our Independent’s Celebration!

This week’s featured company is SweetGeorgia Yarns!

Since the shop got re-merchandised a few weeks ago, the SweetGeorgia Yarns display has been calling my name.  The jewel tone colors always catch my eye first.  And their hanks of sock yarn are big and squooshy, drawing me in and inviting petting.

So far none of them have jumped in my bag and come home with me.  With two little kids at home, I don’t get a lot of knitting done and I have a sizable stash, including lots of sock yarn.  But they look so pretty and feel so nice, I’m not sure my resistance will be able to last much longer.  Especially since sock yarn doesn’t count as stash.  (Remember?  We talked about that earlier this year.)

SweetGeorgia Yarns is a Vancouver based company that Felicia Lo started in 2005.  It began life as an Etsy shop with three hanks of yarn.  Over the course of the next year, Felicia expanded SweetGeorgia Yarns, and began distributing in shops and online to knitters worldwide.

They produce a wide variety of hand dyed yarns and fibers in unique colorways and rich solids.  Their yarns and fibers are dyed in batches of four to twelve hanks.  They focus on using luxury fibers, including merino, cashmere, and silk, and creating colors that inspire and engage knitters and spinners.

At Alpaca Direct we carry SweetGeorgia Yarns Merino Silk Lace and Tough Love Sock.

Merino Silk Lace Glacier.

Merino Silk Lace is a 50/50 blend of merino and silk.  This is a is a slightly heavier lace weight 2 ply yarn.  The silk adds a shimmer to the finished yarn that will make your lace projects extra special.  If you’re wanting to knit a beautiful lace shawl or stole to dress up your wardrobe, this is the perfect yarn for the project. It comes in big 100 gram hanks of 765 yards.

Tough Love Sock Raspberry

Tough Love Sock is an 80/20 superwash merino nylon blend.  This yarn is soft and squooshy.  Knit at a tight gauge, it makes long lasting socks.  But, like all sock yarns, you can use it for a wide variety of other projects.  Soft enough for next to skin wear, you can use it for shawls and scarves, mittens and gloves, and even things for a baby.  The superwash merino means it can be machine washed, which is ideal for socks and baby things.  It comes in big 115 gram hanks of 425 yards, meaning you only need one hank for a pair of socks.  If you have small feet or knit ankle socks you might even be able to get two pairs.  Or you could knit a pair of socks and a pair of fingerless mitts.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

All SweetGeorgia Yarns are on sale July 17 – July 23.

Check back next week to see our next featured independent – Malabrigo!

 

Ice Queen Cowl

Learn to knit a beautiful lacey cowl knit in lace weight yarn. Pattern features a beaded cast-on and beads placed throughout using the crochet hook method.

 icequeen1icequeen2

Instructor: Debbie Drake

Materials are purchased separately

Ice Queen Cowl

Learn to knit a beautiful lacey cowl knit in lace weight yarn. Pattern features a beaded cast-on and beads placed throughout using the crochet hook method.

 icequeen1 icequeen2

Instructor: Debbie Drake

Materials are purchased separately

Ice Queen Cowl

Learn to knit a beautiful lacey cowl knit in lace weight yarn. Pattern features a beaded cast-on and beads placed throughout using the crochet hook method.

 icequeen1icequeen2

Instructor: Debbie Drake

Materials are purchased separately

Ice Queen Cowl

Learn to knit a beautiful lacey cowl knit in lace weight yarn. Pattern features a beaded cast-on and beads placed throughout using the crochet hook method.

 icequeen1 icequeen2

Instructor: Debbie Drake

Materials are purchased separately

meghan123

Project tutorial: Cristaria Shrug with Cascade Ultra Pima

Named for a pearl mussel that produces freshwater pearls, the Cristaria shrug is a quick, pretty knit shrug that complements formal summer ensembles or casual looks alike. Add beads or pearls for a piece that is truly your own!back of christaria shrug

Materials:

Stitch abbreviations:

  • yo— yarn over
  • k2tog— knit 2 stitches together

Directions &  Hints:

Cast on 108 stitches, leaving at least a 12˝ tail. This will seem longer than it needs to be, but don’t fret! Take a look at the picture to the right. Imagine taking your straight cast-on edge & bending it into the wavy bottom edge of the shrug. That’s why your finished piece won’t be anywhere near as wide as it seems now.

  • Row 1: knit across
  • Row 2: purl across

Here comes the exciting part: the lace row. This sequence of increases & decreases is what turns a fairly ordinary stitch pattern into something visually interesting (and, in this case, wavy!). During each repeat, you are going to decrease a total of 6 times (the k2tog stitches) and increase a total of 6 times (the yarn overs). So, even though you’re subtracting stitches in some places & adding them in others, your total stitch count at the end of each row should always be the same (108, to be precise).

  • Row 3: k2tog 3 times, *k1, yo* 6 times, k2tog 3 times. Place stitch marker. Repeat across row 5 more times.

Phew! Take a step back & congratulate yourself— you just finished the tricky part & I bet it looks like a rat’s nest, doesn’t it? Just remember: you’re taking a wavy row & straightening it out onto your needle, so it really should look a bit confused.

  • Row 4: knit across

And that’s really all there is to it! You’ll repeat those 4 rows about 14 more times, depending on how big around you’d like your armholes. To finish, bind off & break yarn, leaving at least a 12˝ tail.

ontheneedles
Don’t panic when your work-in-progress looks bunchy!

Diving in Deeper:

The lace row sure does have a lot of counting— wouldn’t it be a lot easier to use more markers?

A tempting proposition, no? Normally, I prefer to use markers like big red flags to remind me when it’s time to change stitches. In this pattern, though, the markers are smack dab in the middle of a bunch of k2togs! There is method to my madness (well, this time, at least…). This is an atypical lace pattern in that the increases are all bundled together & the decreases are all bundled together. A more regular (rectangular) pattern usually peppers them across the row in pairs. Because of this, if you plunk down markers willy-nilly, they will actually migrate across the row & mess you up! So, the short answer is that markers are only useful to a point on this pattern. Think of them more as error correction tools— if you end up with anything other than 18 stitches between markers, you know something has gone wrong in that section.

The “short answer?” That didn’t seem very short at all. Out of morbid curiosity, what was the long answer?

Plate tectonics!

Excuse me?

No, really! The stitch markers show you the center of a double-sided stitch “subduction” zone— basically a stitch gobbler. It’s like the stitch markers are hovering over very aggressive black holes that pull stitches in & make them disappear. Conversely, in the middle of each increase section (right after the 3rd yarn over, to be precise) is a “mid-ocean ridge” of stitches— a place where new stitches bubble up to the surface & spread out. If you placed a stitch marker at each of these spots,  you could imagine them hovering over tiny stitch factories, creating new stitches & pumping them outward. The whole row would look something like this:

pacman1

Which, to me, looks a whole lot like this:

red-yellow

Wow, this is really getting out of hand. Anything else you’ve been dying to get off your chest?

Well, since you asked… The idea for how & where to use stitch markers (as a way to catch & isolate mistakes instead of to tell you when to change stitches) came from the mathematical basis for error-correcting code. Also, the function y(x) = 2.5 cos (2π x/13), with x & y in centimeters, describes each row of this pattern. Whee!

Finishing:

String a single freshwater pearl onto each of about 25 head pins. Trim pin ends & bend into loops. Attach pins at the bottom of the soft U-shaped rows of the center 3 columns of stitches (see picture), or use whatever arrangement strikes your fancy.

closeup

Use reserved yarn tails to attach corners of finished piece to create armholes. Weave in ends & trim.

Now throw it over a sundress & go put Audrey Hepburn to shame.

meghan123

Ready to turn your screen off & start knitting?

Download Cristaria Shrug tutorial  for a printable version of this post, or

Download Cristaria Shrug pattern for a no-nonsense, 1-page printable pattern.

XOXOXOXO, Meg :)

This shrug was knitted with Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima in Heathered Pansy #3705.

© 2011 Meghan Bosanko