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EXPLORE THE KNITTING STYLES

5 MOST COMMON KNITTING STYLES

With so many ways to knit, it is likely that you have adapted your own styles and techniques that work well for you. Maybe you wrap your yarn around your neck or knit left-handed. Like anything else, knitters develop unique habits that make their knitting personal to them. At the core of knitting, there are five commonly accepted styles and that is what we are going to talk about today.

CONTINENTAL

Also known as “picking,” Continental knitting is popular because it is a quick way to knit up a garment. Knitters hold the yarn in their left hand and then the yarn doesn’t move much at all as your needle does all the work.

PORTUGUESE

A unique style of knitting, Portuguese knitting requires knitters to provide tension in the yarn by wrapping it around the back of their necks. Knitters who love this style of knitting especially love how fast projects stitch up when your hands are free. If you experience knitting pain or arthritis in your fingers, give Portuguese knitting a try.

FLICKING

Also known as lever knitting, flicking is a knitting style where the working yarn is held in the dominant hand and then looped around the needle while the hand is still holding the needle. The result is a back and forth flicking type movement. Many knitters who use this technique hold the needle like a pencil and can “flick” stitches quicker than when using other techniques.

ENGLISH

When knitters knit using the English style, they hold the yarn in their dominant hand along with the working needle. This is the most common style of knitting- more than 60% of knitters report using the English style most often. 

 

SHETLAND

Shetland knitting is a newer form of knitting that is loved mostly because it can be used while standing. The working needle is held against the knitter’s body so that the dominant hand doesn’t have to hold the yarn tension and the needle at the same time. This style allows knitters to work up projects quickly. 

Different Types of Luxury Yarn?

Different Types of Luxury Yarn

Luxury yarn is a type of yarn that is usually all-natural and known for its high quality and soft texture. Most types of luxury yarn are derived from animal sources. Luxury yarns that are spun from animal fibers include cashmere, mohair, angora, silk, camel, alpaca, llama, and qiviut, as well as blends that include any of these fibers. Yarns made from exotic plant fibers, such as sugar cane, may also be considered luxury yarns. Some other types of luxury yarn may be adorned with precious metals or stones, such as silver or pearls. These yarns are more commonly found in stores that specialize in yarn and fiber, and come in a variety of colors and yarn weights, or strand thicknesses.

Cashmere : Cashmere and mohair are both types of luxury yarn that are spun using fiber from goats, the Cashmere and Angora goat, respectively. Yarns made from cashmere wool are spun from fibers taken from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat. They are known for their exceptional softness and warmth, and garments made from cashmere tend to be fine and lightweight despite their great warmth.

Angora:  Another type of luxury yarn is angora yarn, which is not spun from the fiber of Angora goats, but from the fiber of Angora rabbits. Angora rabbits are a breed of domestic rabbit known for their long, soft coats. The rabbits often have a somewhat comical appearance, as many breeds strongly resemble large furballs. Fiber is gathered from Angora rabbits by plucking, shearing, or collecting molted fur. Most angora yarns are soft, airy blends that often include sheep’s wool or other animal fibers.

Silk: Silk yarn is a soft luxury yarn spun from the cocoons of silkworm larvae, with the best quality silk yarns usually produced by the species Bombyx mori, commonly known as a mulberry silkworm. Silkworm caterpillars form cocoons around their bodies when they are ready to become moths. Silk cultivators kill most of the caterpillars by applying heat, and then remove their cocoons and place them in boiling water. The boiling water softens the silk fibers, which can then be drawn out of the cocoon in threads that can spun into yarn. Due to the fact that silkworm larvae must die to produce silk fiber, many animal rights organizations are opposed to the cultivation of silkworms.

Qiviut  : One of the most expensive types of luxury fiber available is qiviut fiber. Qiviut is the soft, warm undercoat of the muskox. Most qiviut is collected after muskoxen have their annual molt in the spring months. Yarns spun from qiviut are very warm, soft, and fine. Bleaching and dyeing often negatively affects the softness of qiviut fiber, so most types of qiviut yarn are undyed.

 How to Choose the Right Type and Size of Crochet Hooks

Crochet Hooks - How to Choose the Right Type and Size

A crochet hook is a tool consisting of a slender handle with a hook at one (or both) ends, which is used to pull thread or yarn through loops to create crochet stitches. You can also use a crochet hook to create hairpin lace, to pick up dropped knitting stitches, or thread beads onto string. Sizes, handles, and materials that make up crochet hooks can vary. Each type has specific benefits and drawbacks from the ease of use, price, and comfort.

Types of Crochet Hooks

Steel : Steel are for the smallest sizes and are often used in fine thread crochet such as in doilies.

Aluminum:  Aluminum  are available a large range of sizes. Aluminum hooks allow you to crochet smoothly and quickly.

Plastic :  Plastic are available in all the common sizes as well as jumbo hooks. They are very large and are usually made of hollow plastic, because it is lightweight.

Bamboo : Bamboo  are lightweight and warm in the hand and are available in all but the smallest and jumbo sizes.

Tunisian : Tunisian  are longer than regular hooks, and sometimes have a hook on each end. A crochet hook with a hook on both ends is also called a cro hook. Like a knitting needle, you keep your stitches on a tunisian crochet hook as you create the fabric. Tunisian crochet is also called afghan crochet, and the fabric looks different from normal crochet, and a little like knitting.

Ergonomic : Ergonomic  have larger soft handles or handles you can insert a regular hook into. They are designed to reduce the strain in your hands as you grip a small hook for an extended period of time. There are also stress relief gloves that can also help to ease hand soreness or pain.

Knook : Knook  is a long crochet hook with a hole running through one end. You thread a piece of yarn through the hole in the knook needle, and you can create stitches that look like knitting, but with a single crochet hook rather than with knitting needles.

Crochet Hook Sizes

  • Crochet Hook sizes vary based on the material, brand, and country that the hook was produced in.
  • The size of a crochet hook is determined by the diameter of the shaft, or the part of the hook between the point and the handle. The shaft determines how large your stitches will be.
  • Steel hooks are also known as “thread hooks” and should only be used for fine lace thread. They come in numbered sizes that get larger as the number gets smaller. The sizes vary from the 0.6 mm thickness of the size 14 to the 3 mm thickness of the size 00.
  • Crochet hooks made and sold in the USA use a lettering system for their sizes. As the letter gets further into the alphabet, the hook gets larger. These sizes vary from the 2.25 mm size B to the 16 mm size Q.

How to Choose the Right Size Hook

If you look at the label of any skein of yarn, there will be a suggested hook size listed, and an estimated number of stitches per inch (or 4 inches). Crochet a swatch with the stitch pattern you are going to use for your project, wash your yarn, let is dry, and then measure your stitches. You may need to swatch again with a larger or smaller size hook, depending on if you are a loose or tight needle.

Here is a link to a helpful chart from the Craft Yarn Council which tells you the recommended hook size for each weight of yarn, and an approximate number of stitches per four inches in single crochet.

Victory Over Cold

Victory Over Cold

There’s no denying it’s been a tad nippy of late! Well, actually it’s been flippin’ freezing! Winter has dug its heels in, and it looks as if the cold is sticking around for the foreseeable, so now is the time to get seriously cosy!

Winter warmth is easier to achieve that you perhaps first think, and no, it doesn’t involve booking an exotic holiday and jetting off into the sun! It also doesn’t involve relying upon costly central heating 24/7, which can actually be bad for your health.

So, instead of breaking the bank with a fantastically expensive, foreign holiday, or turning up your radiators full whack, why not have a go at keeping warm using these handy tips?

Lay it on thick!

It’s easier, quicker and cheaper to warm yourself up than it is to warm up a room, so swaddle yourself in lots of lovely, cosy layers for instant, long-lasting warmth. Both our pure cashmere Chunky Roll Neck Jumper and Polo Neck Jumper will feel fantastic against your skin, and they will make light work of making you feel lovely and toasty when the temperature drops.

Winter-ready your windows!

You wouldn’t dream of taking on the cold in your warm-weather wardrobe, would you, so don’t expect your windows to?! You need to dress your windows in winter-appropriate attire if you expect them to ward off those winter-evening chills. Replace thin curtains with heavier window coverings, and draw them as soon as the last of the daylight disappears. Just make sure you leave them open on warmer days to heat your rooms with natural sunlight.

Make bed the best!

There’s nothing like getting into a lovely soft, wonderfully warm bed at the end of a long day. During the cold, winter months, your bed is your sanctuary; your happy place! Invest in a hot water bottle and make sure you don’t scrimp on the blankets. Try layering your fluffy blankets against your skin and you thinner blankets on top. This warm-bed technique will prevent convective heat loss. All you’ll need to worry about is dragging yourself from your warm and happy bed-haven on cold mornings!

Sock it to the cold!

Treat your tootsies to some serious winter-TLC with a lovely and luxurious pair of house socks. Our cashmere & merino blend socks are a fantastic shout when it comes to beating cold-morning and chilly-evening feet. After all, everyone knows, warm feet are happy feet!

How Does Wool Keep You Cool?

HOW WOOL KEEPS YOU COOL

Winter, wool, warmth – these words fit well together making you feel all warm and snuggly.

So you may be surprised to discover that the reason wool keeps you WARM also clarifies how wool keeps you COOL.

It’s all in the crimp and curl, which creates air pockets giving wool its unique ability to absorb moisture and transport it away from the body. This remarkable insulation factor works to keep you both warm and cool.

Typically, you wouldn’t think of summer or workout clothes as being made of wool, but in fact, its fibre qualities are exactly what you need to stay comfortable and dry.

Wool’s range of desirable properties make it a valuable material for many different purposes, from high-end fashion to fire-resistant products and heavy-duty carpet. The cuticle cells provide a tough exterior, protecting the fiber from damage. The cells have a waxy coating, making wool water repellent, but still allowing absorption of water vapor. When wool absorbs moisture, it produces heat, keeping you warm. The reverse occurs as well. If you are hot, the wool wicks the moisture away from your body keeping you cool. Tiny pores in the cuticle cells allow water vapor to pass through the wool fiber. This makes wool comfortable in both warm and cool conditions.

Working with the body, this natural, eco-friendly and biodegradable material provides breathable performance and unmatched moisture management.

Innovations in the wool industry mean wool is increasingly being used in the production of warm weather clothing. Today, you’ll find it in activewear apparel as well as suits, dresses, and t.shirts.

We’re not talking about the type of yarn used to knit your chunky winter woollies, but rather wool in the less than 20 micron range. The micron refers to the fibre diameter. Microns around 18 to 19 are best for superfine yarn. These microns produce wool fabric that is lightweight, drapes beautifully, and doesn’t hold wrinkles. As an added bonus, wool fabrics also provide increased protection from the sun as they absorb UV radiation.

The Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) evaluated the odour intensity of 13 different fabric samples. The results showed that: “Wool and cotton smelled significantly less intense than both odour-control and polyester when the samples were sweaty or aired.”

In other research from The University of Otago in New Zealand, where 10 male athletes were tested wearing three different fabrics across a range of temperatures, the garment in single jersey wool fabric came out top for both hot and cold conditions.

Using wool to keep cool can also lead to a better night’s rest. It’s not just about the nightwear we choose to wear, but our bedding too. Everything from mattresses, to mattress protectors, pillows and duvets can help to keep you cool through the night. Snuggly under a wool duvet will regulate your temperature and manage moisture better than ones made from polyester, feather or down.

Extraction of Wool from Sheep

Extraction of Wool from Sheep

The steps involved in wool production are as follows.

  • Shearing – The process of removal of the woollen coat or fleece from the animal is called shearing. This is done without harming the animal by using shearing tools such as scissors, hand blades and electric shears. Shearing is usually done during the hot season. This allows them to grow back hair by the time winter arrives. The amount of wool produced by one sheep varies from 1 to 3 kg.
  • Scouring – Wool taken directly from the sheep is called raw or grease wool. The raw sheared wool is washed with detergent and alkali in tanks to remove grease, dust and dirt. This is called scouring. Nowadays it is done by machine.
  • Sorting and grading – After scouring the damaged or inferior wool is removed. This process is called sorting. The process of sorting the wool according to the length, colour and texture of fibres is called grading.
  • Carding – Before wool can be used for making fabric it is disentangled and cleaned. The intermixed fibres are separated to form continuous fibres. This process is called carding, the wood fibres are passed through a series of metal teeth to straighten the fibres.
  • Making yarn – Carded wool is twisted into a rope called silver. The silver is stretched and twisted into a thin yarn. Spinning for woollen yarns is typically done on a mule spinning machine.
  • Washing and finishing – Woollen yarn is woven or knitted into fabric which is then used to make finished products such as clothes, table cloths and bags.

Animals Yielding Wool

  • Wool fibres are obtained from sheep, goat, angora rabbits, goats, alpaca and even camels.

    • Sheep – Most sheep have two types of hair from which the wool is obtained. The outer coarse hair is known as Kemp. The fine, soft undercoat close to the skin is the true wool from which wool fibre is obtained.
    • Cashmere goat – The fine soft fibre obtained from the undercoat of the cashmere goat is called cashmere. The outer coat hair fibres are quite coarse and high quality cashmere is obtained by “dehairing” or combing. Cashmere goats are found only in mountain regions of china.
    • Yak – Yaks are found in Tibet and Ladakh. Their coats consist of outer long coat hair and an undercoat of soft and silky wool. The colour usually ranges from brown to black.
    • Camel – Camel fleece consists of a soft, fine undercoat and an overcoat of long coarse hair that grows up to 15 inches long. Camel wool is considered a healthy natural product. It has excellent thermal insulation properties.
    • Angora rabbit – Soft white fibre called a goraw wool is obtained from the angora rabbit. Stiff, long, guard hair growing through the soft coat has to be removed before the fur from these rabbits is combed out. The soft white fur obtained is then spun into yarn that is used to make sweaters.

BENEFITS OF WOOL

Benefits of wool

Natural, renewable fiber- Wool comes from sheep and is a renewable source of material! Using wool in clothing is great for the environment

Highly Breathable:

Wool garments are naturally breathable down to the fiber level. While synthetics only breathe through pores in between the fibers in the fabric, wool fibers naturally allow air to flow. The breathability of wool will not feel clammy when you sweat and will prevent you from overheating.

Wool keeps you dry:

Wool fibers wick moisture away from your skin and can absorb around 30% of their weight before you feel wet. This moisture is then released from the fabric through evaporation.

Both absorbs and repels water:

The cortex of the fiber absorbs moisture, while the epicuticle scales on the outside of the fiber are hydrophobic. This allows wool to simultaneously absorb moisture from your skin while resisting external moisture like rain or snow. The scales also give a wool garment a dry skin-feel even after it has absorbed moisture.

Soft skin feel, not itchy:

Wool fibers are treated to reduce the prominence of natural scales, which cause the rough, itchy feel of old wool products. Vardhaman wool is also made up of small diameter fibers that are not prickly or irritating.

Excellent temperature regulation:

 Thin fibers allow tiny air pockets in the fabric to trap your body heat, which provides superb insulation. As moisture evaporates on hot days, the air in these pockets cools and keeps you feeling comfortable.

Warm even when wet:

When fibers absorb moisture, they also release small amounts of heat, which can help you stay warm on a cool, wet day.

Both absorbs and repels water:

The cortex of the fiber absorbs moisture, while the epicuticle scales on the outside of the fiber are hydrophobic. This allows wool to simultaneously absorb moisture from your skin while resisting external moisture like rain or snow. The scales also give a wool garment a dry skin-feel even after it has absorbed moisture.

Very low flammability:

Wool naturally extinguishes itself and will not catch on fire. It will also not melt or stick to your skin like synthetics will.

Convinced to wear merino wool now for all your adventures? Us too. Browse our selection of wool clothing here on our website, or come into our shop to check out all we have to offer!

What Is the Most Expensive Type of Wool?

What Is the Most Expensive Type of Wool?

Wearing a wool sweater or scarf can be really appealing. It’s natural, soft, and warming. The price of wool can vary greatly depending on the process used to create it. While wool is well worth the investment, it’s critical to understand why it’s so costly. Wool is widely sought after, and many people are aware that it is a high-end material.

Wool is actually quite costly for a variety of reasons.

Wool is a term that refers to natural fibers derived from a variety of animals, not simply sheep. Merino, Alpaca, Mohair, Angora, Cashmere, and Camel Hair are some of the most common ones you’ll notice on clothing tags. Other, less common wools are more difficult to come by and can be rather costly.

What is the most expensive wool?

Vicuña wool is the finest and rarest wool in the world. It comes from the vicuña, a small llama-like animal native to the Andes Mountains in Peru.

What Is Vicuña Wool?

Vicuña wool comes from vicuñas, which are South American camelids that live in the high alpine areas of the Andes mountains in Peru. Vicuñas grow a very fine wool cherished for its softness, lightness, and natural color. The vicuña’s wool is exceptionally warm, which helps to regulate the animal’s body heat in freezing Andean temperatures. Vicuña wool is harvested by shearing the animal’s coat, and spinning it into fibers used to make garments like socks, sweaters, scarves, insulation for coats and suits, blankets, throws, and other homewares.

5 Characteristics of Vicuña Wool
Here are a few things that make vicuña wool exceptional:

1. Long production time:   Vicuña coats grow very slowly, and sometimes they take as long as three years to grow back after being sheared. A single vicuña produces about 0.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds) of wool per year, which makes vicuña wool very rare and valuable.
2. Extremely fine:  Vicuña wool is one of the finest natural growing fibers in the world. One vicuña fiber measures about 12 microns, or 12 thousandths of a millimeter. This makes vicuña wool incredibly soft.
3. Warmth:  Vicuñas live in the Andes, a very high mountain range where temperatures regularly drop below freezing. In order to insulate the vicuña and help regulate its body temperature, the wool fibers have tiny scales, allowing the fibers to interlock to trap air and heat. This makes vicuña wool exceptionally warm.
4. Natural color:  Vicuña wool is typically cinnamon-colored or pale white, making it very easy to integrate in one’s wardrobe.
5. Comfort:  Vicuña wool is 10 percent lighter than cashmere and is also hypoallergenic.

How to Knit Mug Rugs?

These easy knit coasters are so cute and super simple to make! These “rugs” make the perfect stash buster and you can use all those little scraps of yarn you don’t want to throw in the trash. I only used the knit stitch for these guys, so beginners can make them too.

Traditionally a quilted mat, a mug rug is a combination of a coaster and a placemat that is large enough to hold a cup and a snack. It can also be called a mug mat or snack mat. Although mug rugs are most often quilted, other fabric ideas have been used.

Process

You are going to do is cast on 22 stitches and knit away. I used left over scrap yarn from my Eco Market String Bag, but you can use any worsted weight yarn that you have on hand. You can make these as large or small as you’d like as well. Cast on more or fewer stitches, in any stitch count, to make them into your perfect size. Definitely use this pattern as inspiration for your own tastes and design ideas!

One More Process

All you need for this pattern are several skeins of the same yarn weight. I used 5 skeins of #3 yarn and chose shades of blue, tan and ivory, with some white furry yarn thrown in there too.

After I choose my yarn, I simply crocheted rows of SC, fastening off and changing colors every row. I added fringe to the sides, pulling the row ends through with the added fringe to keep everything secure. Then I trimmed the fringe. Done!

What are the advantages of knitting?

What are the advantages of knitting?

Knitting is one of those sleeper activities which most often seems like an utter waste of time. It sounds like an activity for couch potatoes or those individuals who cannot possibly do anything productive in their life. Wrong!

You will be surprised to realize that knitting is remotely none of those. Not only is it a super fun activity but it also has benefits beyond the reach of common knowledge. It has been known to kickstart literacy, stimulate your mind, beat stress and much more.

It is a seemingly innocuous artwork that enkindles many positive changes in your body. According to us, it is the ultimate activity you can take up, to nourish both your mind and body. It is the ultimate pastime that is both joyous and utilitarian at the same time.

For many, activities like meditation or yoga have become life-changing habits that help to bring calm both to mind and body in times of stress, anxiety or pain. But did you know that knitting can also help you cope with mental health challenges? At Love Knitting, the home of knitting yarns, patterns and a global community of makers, we’re big believers that knitting not only brings you joy, it has physical and mental health benefits too.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • Slowed onset of dementia
  • Distraction from chronic pain
  • Increased sense of wellbeing
  • Reduced loneliness and isolation

Stress relieving:

In a stressful life, we all must accustom ourselves to one or many stress relieving activities. It can help us feel relieved and enable us to carry on our day-to-day activities with much more energy. Knitting has been proven to have therapeutic elements that can effectively reduce stress and help beat the negative elements of stress.

Makes us feel productive

If you are knitting, it is highly likely that you will end up with some piece of clothing or article that can serve a utilitarian purpose. The activity will leave you with an award that you can proudly claim for the rest of your life. You can hang it on a wall showcasing your talent, use it for its purpose or gift it to your loved ones. Whatever you do, you will be left in amazement upon yourself which will make you feel productive.

Improves memory and concentration

The act of knitting stimulates your mind in such a way that you are forced to retain memory and carefully exercise your next knit. For example, you need to vitally keep check of what color comes next and the number of rows your pattern requires during the time of knitting. The craft of knitting forces your mind to rely on its memory centers for processing.

Reduces anxiety

Knitting as a craft contains several rhythmic and repetitive motions which sort of help you achieve a meditation like state while you are knitting. It sends you into a tranquil state where you are simply existing and not thinking about the past or fretting about the future. It is a great activity for someone suffering from anxiety or other mental illnesses like depression.

key health benefits of knitting

The health benefits of knitting are mostly linked to mental health. But since mind and body are closely connected, the health benefits of knitting could also extend to physical well-being. Here are six potential advantages.

1. Reduce stress and anxiety
This is one of the greatest health benefits of knitting and the first to be noticed. Once you get “in the zone” (and you will know when this happens!), knitting grabs all your attention and you become so absorbed in working row after row, that it takes your mind away from other worries. For me, knitting is synonymous with serenity, reducing both my anxiety and stress.

2. Improved cognitive function
At first sight, it may seem that knitting is a simple and repetitive activity. But alternating your knit and purl stitches stimulates brain function. Studies carried out in older adults have shown that this type of productive mental engagement can benefit cognitive skills, including memory and reasoning.

3. Boost self-confidence and help with depression
Knitting means creating something, and it’s empowering to go from being a consumer to being a producer. This gives knitters a boost of confidence and a feeling of accomplishment when seeing their work progress. Indeed, there’s a feeling of fulfilment involved in being able to wear or use what you made – doing something with your hands has healing power!

And while we all know clinical depression requires professional support, studies have shown that knitting has can take negative thoughts off the mind and release serotonin, which helps fight depressive states.

4. A different type of mindfulness practice
Knitting requires focus and concentration in the present, one stitch at the time. This craft has been called “the new yoga”, since every knitting session is a great opportunity to disconnect from the outside world, slow down, and focus. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it’s very similar to mindfulness, and so the health benefits of knitting are also similar.

5. The feel-good effect
Knitting can be frustrating when you’re a beginner. It took me a while to figure out how to undo mistakes, and until that happened, I was annoyed every time I got a stitch wrong. But it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Seeing the progress of your work, gaining self-confidence, and being relaxed are all states that trigger dopamine. This substance is known as the feel-good hormone, and it has a beneficial effect on body and mind. The release of dopamine can help regulate mood, sleep, digestion, blood flow, and many other important functions that contribute to the fabulous health benefits of knitting.

6. Sense of control
Most of us have felt things getting out of control over the past year or so. Instead of dwelling on the negative state of things, choosing to spend time doing something over which you do have control can help improve your well-being.