FiberStories: CoBaSi

  • 55% Cotton, 16% Viscose from Bamboo, 8% Silk, 21% Elastic
  • 220 yards (201 meters) per 50 gram hank
  • Available in Sock, DK and Plus weights
  • Made in Taiwan

In 2007, skacel collection, inc. , the wholesale distributor of  addi, Schoppel Wolle, and Zitron Yarns in the USA, found that despite representing over 150 yarns, there were still products that customers wanted that were not available on the market.  With this in mind, they decided to create their own line – and the Hikoo® brand was born. 

One of the first goals for this new brand was to create a wool-free sock yarn. The design team got together (they are all avid knitters and crocheters) and began to build a prototype on paper on what would be the perfect sock yarn – without any animal fibers.  Of course the biggest concern was what is referred to in the industry as "memory".  Sheep’s wool, as well as most other animal fibers, have good memory, meaning after being stretched out the fibers will return to their original shape. Other natural fibers, such as plant based fibers, do not do this.  Making a pair of socks out of plant based fibers usually leaves one disappointed, as the socks continuously fall down the leg and stretch out.

UNLESS, of course, you add in elastic. 

So there was a start – a plant based fiber mixed with elastic. Hemp, Flax and Linen were all considered, and although these fibers are  strong, none of them are really soft on the skin. The team wanted durable and comfortable. That left cotton, as a synthetic was out of the question. So, cotton was specified, and a sample of a 90% cotton and 10% elastic yarn was requested. One would think this would be perfect, as most socks  purchased at the store are a cotton and elastic mix, usually around 95% cotton and 5% elastic, but it was not. Socks were knit from the sample, and unfortunately, the blend ended up not only being a bit rough on the foot, but the 10% elastic did not keep the sock up on the calf for very long!

Back to the drawing board.

The next go around, the elastic percentage was raised to 15%, and bamboo was added for softness. Once more, when the sample arrived,  socks were knitted – and they were better – but not good enough. They still pooled around the ankle after a few hours. So it was back to the drawing board.

Again.

The next sample had 20% elastic in it, 60% cotton, and 20% bamboo.  When it was delivered, socks were knit. And, they actually stayed up on the leg! They were not stretching out! But, the socks lacked luster, and seemed rather dull. Shine was needed. Where do you find shine?  The team already felt they had too much synthetic in the blend with the 20% elastic, so it had to be a natural fiber.

Enter Silk!

Silk is strong and has a glossy sheen, so the cotton content was reduced to 50%, the bamboo and elastic remained at 20%, and 10% silk was added.

When the yarn got to Skacel, the team got to knitting socks.  And this time they felt great on the foot, they didn’t slouch at the ankle, and they had just enough sheen to reflect a little light. The team thought they had it.

But no.  The silk was making the yarn too expensive.  So they lowered the silk content to 8%, lowered the bamboo to 16%, and raised the percentages of the cotton and elastic, to 55% and 21% respectively. 

The samples arrived, socks were knit, and they were perfect!  A new yarn had been developed. 

Now – came the tough part – what to name it. After a few weeks of deliberation, it was decided to that since the yarn has so many different components in it, to shorten them all, sort of like abbreviations used on a chemistry chart – and call it Cobasi Cotton (co), Bamboo (ba) and Silk (si).  The elastic part was not mentioned in the name, but no one seemed to miss it... although if it wasn't there, we'd be back to square one. 

So there you have it. The story of CoBaSi and how it came to be. Who knew that developing yarns took that much effort and research! And now that it has been a while since CoBaSi first came out, there are DK and Plus weights as well.

The weather here is cold and snowy, so we decided to share this fun photo from the Socks Appeal Boxers pattern. Want to make some amazingly comfy boxers? We know the perfect yarn. 

FiberStories: Das Paar

  • 75% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
  • 459 Yards per 100 grams
  • set of two identical 50 gram hanks
  • Self Patterning
  • Made in Germany
  • Featured yarn in the January  Sock of the Month box!
Image of Katie Rempe

I cannot wait to share with you the reasons why I love Das Paar by Schoppel-Wolle! Oh, by the way, my name is Katie and I designed the January Sock of the Month for Maker’s Mercantile!

My Wintertime Socks were a perfect pairing for Das Paar. I, like many others, love it when my socks actually match, but it’s not always that easy! Since I don’t have a fancy 

meter machine at home, and love to make two-at-a-time socks, splitting one ball into two can be a challenge! The same goes for trying to start your second sock in the exact same place where you began the first one, ugh! Luckily, Das Paar does all the work for you!!

Packaged in an unassuming hank, Das Paar becomes TWO 50 gram hanks when taken apart! Plus, there’s no mystery as to where to begin as the starting points are knotted together, ensuring you’re off to a perfect start (and finish!)

This sock yarn is tough, built to withstand the washing machine and the dryer. Best of all, it comes in 7 amazing colorways. Yes, please!! I hope you will enjoy knitting with this yarn as much as I did!

-Katie

The Unboxing Video

Contents of the Sock of the Month Subscription Box January 2020
Wintertime Socks

FiberStories: Zitron Filigran

  • 100% Superwash Merino Wool
  • 656 Yards (600 meters) per 100 gram hank
  • Single Ply
  • Made in Germany

First... where'd the name come from? Filigran translates roughly to "filigree" which is a term that describes the delicate threads used to decorate the garments of royalty in years past. Often crafted of gold or precious metals, these fine threads created the timeless motifs we now view in museums. 

Keeping the delicacy of the thread in mind, Atelier Zitron developed a yarn that is strong, supple, and lightweight. The super soft merino promises to stand the test of time; holding intricate lace stitches in place and creating heirloom garments.

Let's take a moment to chat about the manufacturer of this gorgeous yarn. The process Zitron uses to craft their products are environmentally friendly, and dyed in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100. That means their processes were tested by Oeko-Tex for harmful substances and every component (from the dyes, to the fibers) were found harmless in human ecological terms. Tests are conducted by independent partners, and the criteria for certification is updated annually.

Want to try your hand at lace knitting with some of the highest-quality yarn available? Try Zitron Filigran. We have selected three patterns (above) to offer inspiration. Want more project suggestions? We invite you to visit the work of renowned European lace designer Monika Eckert HERE.

Maker Spotlight: John Crane

When John Crane announced his retirement from academic librarian of Dartmouth College, co-workers started taking him out for celebratory lunches. When one such colleague arrived at his office for their scheduled lunch, she told John they weren’t actually going to lunch, but instead, she intended to teach him how to knit. Little did John know, that “lunch” would forever change his retirement years.

John quickly became obsessed with knitting and started creating patterns for items he knit for himself and his friends. John’s attention to detail and classic designs have since made him a favorite knitwear of many people, and those who are lucky enough to know him profess that he is one of the best hug-givers in the universe. 

John’s public knitting frequently leads to his meeting new people and making new fiber friends. Many of the guys pictured here with John in Provincetown, Massachusetts noticed him knitting and started joining him daily at 3PM at the “knitting table” in front of Joe Coffee when he is staying at his Provincetown home.

More than just a retired knitter, John continues to impress. He developed an Sheep Breeds: A World of Difference as an exhibit to celebrate the differences (and similarities!) of over 71 breeds divided into 5 categories. The hands-on exhibit allows the viewer to touch and feel fiber and yarn samples from each species. Yup. John doesn't "retire" like other people. 

Still one of our favorites, his Johanna Vest is the epitome of classic simplicity. Worked in HiKoo® Sueno, it is a knee length vest (pictured), and is also available as a shorter version.

Ask Hank: Holiday Edition

Hi everyone and Happy Holidays! Of course, every day is a holiday for me because I get to spend it with my family, but this time of year seems to have extra toys and treats. And lights. And happy people. And stress. Well, fear not. Helpful Hank is here with answers to some more of your questions. Read on, wonderful humans:

 Q: I’ve had several requests this year for hand knit socks, but not everyone is local to me. Do you have any tricks on how to size a sock for someone who isn’t around to try them on as you go?
Sock it to Me in Seattle

A: Isn't it getting close to the big day where you open presents? If you can't finish them in time for gift giving, you could send a card with a photo of the yarn and instructions for a tracing of their foot. Have them stand on a piece of paper, trace around the foot, cut it out, and send it to you. From there you can transfer the drawing to a piece of cardboard. Then you’ll be able to measure the entire length of the foot, note specifics like the person’s name and shoe size, and even mark certain areas where you know you like to begin your heel, toe, etc. That way, you can try the sock right on the cardboard template as you knit to see how you’re progressing! When you're done with the gift, you can keep the template for next year's socks (if you want to make it a tradition).


Q: I love giving gift cards but would like to include something small and handmade. Any suggestions? 
Gift Guesser in Georgia

A: How about making a gift card holder? This could be knit, crocheted, or sewn! Or, include something complimentary to accompany it, like a knitted coffee cozy to go with a coffeehouse gift card! Just be sure it’s made from an easily washable yarn! When wrapping gift cards, try putting them in larger boxes to confuse the recipient. A gift card in a shoebox with some marbles to rattle around makes for great and confusing fun until the wrapping is gone and the gift is revealed.


 Q: This is the last year I’m making gifts for everyone in the family. It’s too overwhelming! What can I do to avoid this in the future without having to start crafting in January? 
Fed Up in Florida

A: If you love making gifts, but hate the huge workload, consider holding a yearly drawing with slips of paper for everyone who wants a handmade gift. Each year pull out the number of slips you’re willing to make gifts for. Keep drawing each year until you’ve gone through the names! Once you’re through them entirely, enter everyone back in again.

Another idea is to purchase handmade items from other artists. Collect items through the year and as the holidays approach you'll have a gathering of goodies to share with those most important to you.


Q: I want to knit my cat a sweater for Christmas, but every time I try to put clothes on her she freaks out. Should I go for it anyway? She's so adorable in her little sweater...
-Purrfectly Happy in Samamish

A: If your cat doesn't like wearing sweaters, why force her? She might be too warm, or perhaps she has a style that's totally different from whatever you've provided her. Since she doesn't seem to love clothes, how about making her a little blanket for her bed? That way you get to give a hand made item, and your cat isn't traumatized. 

Also, since you mentioned your kitty, remember some plants are dangerous to pets. Pointsettia and pine are both health risks, so if kitty likes to chew on greenery, this thoughtful pup suggests avoiding live plants to keep them safe.


Q: I can’t stop snacking on all the holiday cookies I made for other people! HELP!
- Cookie Monster in Michigan

A: Every cookie should be taste tested to ensure it would pass Quality Control. I see this as an excellent service you’re offering your friends and family! If you want me to help, I love eating cookies and treats. Keep me healthy though, and remember no chocolate. I'm told it's bad for me. Peanut butter can be a delicious goodie though. OH! and while pets might keep asking for more, more, more, help me stay healthy by limiting treats during the holidays. 

And while the contents of a nicely wrapped present are a mystery to you, I have a keen sense of smell and might be tempted to tear into presents to find edible goodies. Keep edible gifts out of my reach until it's time to open them. 

---------

Our friendly mascot, Hank, loves to fetch answers to all kinds of crafting related questions. He's awesome at digging up facts and helps us help our customers. Have a question for Hank?  Click the button below!

January 2020 Knit Along with Franklin Habit

Winter Sapphire: A New Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit 

Makers’ Mercantile is pleased to announce the next Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit: Winter Sapphire. This simple but fascinating piece was inspired by the unusual construction of a bordered, triangular scarf first published in the 1840s. It’s worked neither from the top down nor from the bottom up–but from tip to tip. And in one piece! But this is no copy from the antique. Franklin has added not only texture–but color, blending two colorways of yarn for added depth. Closely related colorways will shimmer. More radical pairings will positively vibrate. Makers’ Mercantile will provide the perfect yarn–Zitron’s La Vie, a dazzlingly variegated blend of extrafine Merino, silk, and Tencel. It drapes and drapes and drapes; and when knit on the bias, as in the Winter Sapphire, it drapes even more. It’s soft enough to warm and comfort even a sensitive neck.  

Project

As always, our Curious Knit-Alongs are designed for the knitter who is looking to learn a little bit more about the history of knitting, the structure of knitted fabrics, and techniques they may not yet have encountered. All this, plus the fellowship of a friendly and supportive group moderated by the designer.

The KAL begins January 3rd, and the adventure will continue for the entire month of January, 2020.

Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other makers in the forum. Franklin will add witty instruction and guideance as the KAL progresses through the month of January. If the kits have sold out, or if you'd like to use different colors or yarn, use the links below to purchase kit components (while supplies last).

Materials

Materials

Zitron La Vie -

Color A - 3 balls

Color B - 2 balls

Finished Size

50" across long edge, 38" on each short side

Needles

addi® Rocket US 4 (3.50mm) 24” (60cm) long circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Gauge

20 sts and 40 rows = 4” in garter stitch

Notions

Yarn

Fiber Content

30% Extrafine Merino Wool

30% Silk

40% Tencel

Yardage / Weight

136 yards / 125 meters per 5- gram ball

Gauge

3.0-3.5 mm needles

7.5-8 sts per inch

Care Instructions

Hand wash, dry flat

2019 Holiday Wishlist

We know that buying gifts can sometimes be a daunting task... especially when the gift is for a crafty maker. You might have no idea what to get for them, and that leaves you with options like "bath robe" or "blender"...

Here's a list of some of our favorites of this season. 


Sock of the month club

This one is a gift that gives all year long. Starting in January, we send out a monthly subscription box that includes yarn and pattern to make a pair of socks. More than that, we host a KAL group for the projects in Ravelry.

Oh! We also will be including other goodies in the packages... each month it's something different! 

The subscription box can be canceled at any time with a simple email to hello@makersmercantile.com - click "Learn more" to learn all the details about this club. 



addi FlexiFlips 8 inch set

We crafted a full set of addi® FlexiFlips for the much-loved maker in your life. Made specifically for North America, these specially designed 21cm circulars (3.5" tips with 1" cord) rest comfortably in the hand, and act as flexible double pointed needles. Easy to use, stitches are simply distributed over two needles, and then knit with the third - resulting in only two needle changes per row. ​

This full set includes all 11 sizes, so you'll never be without the perfect needles, and when you order the full set at our great low price, you get the fabulous FlexiRoll … the only needle case designed specifically for the addi® FlexiFlips, free!


Makers' Apothecary Candles

Our 8oz. candles are hand-poured by a small business in Kentucky and feature pure, natural soy wax, clean-burning cotton wicks, and non-toxic scents.

More than just a candle, each Makers' Apothecary candle features a secret hidden deep inside. After the candle has burned enough to reveal the package, Carefully retrieve, and then open the foil to reveal a handmade stitch marker!

Each candle will burn approximately 40-50 hours. Consider making a gift package with candle, yarn, needles, and some treats for a well-rounded gift!


Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: “What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?” “Will I get hurt again?” “Will I have to stop knitting forever to make this pain go away?” Maybe you’d like to be a faster, more efficient knitter, or a knitter who produces more projects, but you’re not sure what’s getting in the way.

This book will help you understand the ergonomics of knitting so you can improve your safety, efficiency, and productivity in knitting. You’ll learn to identify ergonomic risks that contribute to injury and reduce knitting efficiency. Throughout the book, you’ll be provided with activities and guidance to improve your knitting ergonomics so you can knit more confidently and comfortably. Through instruction in stretches, exercise, and self-care, you’ll also learn how to manage the discomfort common to knitters before it becomes an injury, and how to recognize when it’s time to seek help from a health-care professional.

Join me in this unique knit-along that will help make a more comfortable, lifelong knitter out of you.


Sheep Herd Tote

Hand printed on 100% Cotton w/ cotton handles
13"x15"

Machine Wash Cold/Warm inside out, Hang to dry, Iron on Back

Each bag is printed by hand and may have slight variations which adds to the charm and beauty. The handmade nature of the bag assures that each one is individually unique.
Use at the grocery store, farmers market, library, or anywhere! Great as gifts for others and yourself!


Hanging Circular Needle Organizer

Double sided hanging circular needle organizer with 17 available slots. Each slot includes a clear window for your custom size. One side is denim, and the other side is natural. Measures approximately 8" wide x 32" long. Made exclusively for Makers' Mercantile by DellaQ. At the base of the organizer is a zippered pouch, plus one more bonus slot for oversized needles!


addi click turbo interchangeable needle set

addi Click Interchangeable Turbo Needle Set is one of the most popular interchangeable knitting needle sets on the market. They feature some of the best joins out there with a lifetime warranty! We love the addi Click Sets and know them inside and out. If you have questions on anything addi make sure to contact us, we are happy to help you figure out which set is right for you. The addi Click Interchangeable Turbo Needle Set system provides 10 different sizes of addi Turbo® tips (3.50 mm, 3.75 mm, 4.00 mm, 4.50 mm, 5.00 mm, 5.50 mm, 6.00 mm, 8.00 mm, 9.00 mm, and 10.00 mm), three different lengths of our new, extremely pliable blue cords (24”, 32” and 40”), and one connector piece which helps to either store stitches or combine your cords. The Click tips require no tools to change; simply insert the cord deep into the tip, twist and release. The tips will remain secure until you change them, thanks to the Clicks' revolutionary locking mechanism!


Kinky Yarn

100% Superwash Wool
200g / 133 meters / 147 yards
12-16 sts and 20-22 rows = 4" on US 10-13 (6-9.0 mm) needles

... but why is it in a coil? This fun yarn comes pre-knit in a 12 stitch tube (not an i-cord) and is ready to dye. Keep it coiled and place it in dye for an unusual effect, or open the coil and dip it all the way in a dyebath. Depending on your process, the yarn might have light spots where the fibers are compacted in the knitting. We think the undyed spots are super cool.  After the yarn is rinsed and dry, you'll pull the tail and work right from the coil. The kinky texture will add dimension to your work. Want a smoother finished project? Block the project and it'll relax just for you. 

It's easy to dye this yarn, AND it's easy to get professional results, no matter your level of experience. 




Schacht Cricket 10" Loom

The Schacht Cricket Loom is compact, capable, and cute! The Cricket is made of high-quality, unfinished apple plywood and hard maple, and each comes with an 8-dent reed (sorry, no substitutions). Included are a threading hook, warping peg, table clamps, two shuttles, and two balls of yarn. At only 11 in x 18 in x 6 in and just under four pounds, it is truly portable. The 10 inch weaving width gives plenty of room to make a variety of projects without sacrificing portability. This loom is an ideal size for a new weaver of any age. As of April 2010, the Cricket has been redesigned with the ratchet gear and dog on the outside of the loom to make it even easier to adjust tension. Additional reeds, pick up sticks, and other accessories for the Cricket are available.

The Cricket series looms are a great way to get started weaving. Don't let their small size fool you! These looms are fun and versatile to use, and all Schacht looms are made with pride in the USA with high quality craftsmanship and materials in Boulder, Colorado.  These portable looms are great for teaching weaving classes for adults and children. They are fairly simple to setup and are small and inexpensive enough that students can take the looms home between classes.

The Schacht Cricket was a craft finalist in the prestigious 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards. When you purchase a Schacht loom you know you're getting a well-designed tool built by craftsman who are dedicated to weaving.


artfelt kit - holey scarf

Even with holes, this scarf will keep you warm. The holes give this scarf an eclectic look while the multi-colored roving add in a pop of color that will go with a lot of different wardrobes.


addi Rocket 2 [Squared] circular knitting needle

Meet the addi® Rocket2 Squared, a line of square shaped circular needles with the same speedy addi® Turbo finish and featuring the beloved addi® Rocket tapered tips. 


Sizes are listed in approximate US sizes -AND- exact metric sizes for your convenience. All addi® needles are manufactured to exact metric sizes.


Hexalicious Cushion

Finished Size
22” diameter and stands 16” tall.

Gauge
Since this will be felted, you needn't really worry about gauge (Hooray!)​​

Yarn
Schoppel® Reggae Ombre; 100% Merino Wool,  109 yards per 50 gram ball

Color 1874, 2 balls
Color 1965, 1 ball
Color 1963, 1 ball

addi® Turbo Needles
Size US 10 (12 mm) needle

Notions
6 stitch markers, one to mark beginning of round
Tapestry needle
5 standard pillows or poly-fill for stuffing

Instructions
Make 12 hexagons in color #1874 and one in #1965 as follows: 

Cast on 13 stitches.

Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: Knit 1, *knit into front and back of the next stitch*, knit to last stitch and slip, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until you have 25 stitches. 

Continue with the following decrease rows:

Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to last stitch, slip last stitch, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until 13 stitches remain.

Bind off all sts. Sew the 13 hexagons together in different directions to create a random pattern as shown in photo, remembering to put the unique hexagon in color 1965 in the center.

To remove the stepped edge and create a complete round, you will need to knit 6 oversized half hexagons in color #1963 as follows:

Cast on 13 stitches (or pick up 13 stitches in the voids between the outer hexagons).
Row 1: Knit across row to last stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn to front.
Row 2: knit 1, *knit into front and back of the next stitch*, knit to last stitch and slip, holding yarn to front.
Row 3: Repeat row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-3 until you have 25 stitches.

Next Row: Knit 1, knit into front and back of next stitch, knit across row until 2 stitches remain, knit into front and back of next stitch, slip last stitch,holding yarn in the front.Repeat this row until you have 59 stitches. Bind off all sts. Sew the edges of the oversized half hexagons into place – creating a complete circle. If you’d prefer not to seam anything, you can work the hexagons modularly, picking up stitches from a just-worked hexagon. Wash to felt. Stuff and back as desired. Enjoy!

Upcycled Pillow Backs

Karin recommends seeking out large, colorful shirts without pockets. Look for fun buttons, or snaps. Most of these are found in the women’s department, in the extra large sizes. “Men’s shirts are excellent as well, but they frequently have pockets – which I generally avoid. However, pockets can be worked into a pillow back if you are making a gift, simply put a little message in the pocket for the recipient, and it will look like you did it on purpose!”

Avoid shirts with darts; you’re looking for square or rectangular pieces.In general, the width of the shirt, from seam to seam should be no smaller than the width of the pillow, and the length from the armpit to the hem should be no shorter than the length of the pillow. The larger the shirt, the larger your pillow can be. Cut the front body of your shirt away from the sleeves and the back. Lay it flat on a table, with the buttons closed and facing up. Lay your felted panel flat on the front of the shirt, right side facing down, touching the buttons. If there is room, align the shirt buttons so that they are centered on the panel.

Pin the panel to the shirt front, then use the panel as if it were a pattern piece and cut the shirt even to the panel. Keeping the panel and the shirt pinned together, use a sewing machine to stitch around the entire panel. Use a basic stitch,and keep the felt on the bottom while stitching. After you’ve stitched around the piece, open the button panel (it’s a little tricky, as the buttons are now on the inside) and turn inside out. Stuff it with a pre-made pillow form or poly-fill. You can easily create a custom-sized pillow form if you find an almost perfect zippered form: unzip it,remove some stuffing, sew a seam to make the case smaller,and you have a custom sized insert without a lot of work!