POSTPONED: Whidbey Pullover Design Contest

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POSTPONED

Whidbey Pullover Design Contest

 

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your interest in our Whidbey Pullover Design Contest in collaboration with Bellish. After much in-house discussion, we have decided to postpone this design contest indefinitely.

With Stay At Home orders still in effect for much of the country, and the world, we want to ensure everyone who has the desire to participate would also have the ability to obtain the yarn. This is not currently possible for everyone, and we are aware of this.

We look forward to re-introducing an event like this in the future and hope you will join us then.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please reach out to Kyle at Kyle@makersmercantile.com for assistance.

We appreciate your understanding and wish you well,

  • The Makers’ Team

April 2020 Knit Along with Franklin Habit

 

The Temple of Flora Wrap, knit with Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Crazy Cotton, was inspired by time spent wandering along among the ancient Roman ruins of Ostia and Herculaneum. Brilliant colors shimmer, shatter, and disappear across a field of geometric mosaic knitting. The pattern includes several other skill-building techniques such as chart reading, short rowing, and a simple (but optional) crochet edge detail. The piece is designed to sit comfortably on the shoulders through a shaped neck edge and an unusual bat-wing construction. If you’re a knitter who enjoys a bit of a challenge in pursuit of a beautiful finished object, join Franklin Habit in making your own Temple of Flora. As always, Curious Knit-Along with Makers’ Mercantile offers online support including videos; extended illustrated discussions of technique, history, and design; plus the fellowship of a supportive and enthusiastic community.

Project

flora-06-r

Get the Kit

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 April 10th, and the adventure will continue through May 8, 2020.

flora-08-r
Shown in Version A Colorway

Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other makers in the forum. Franklin will add witty instruction and guidance as the KAL progresses. 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

Zauberball Crazy Cotton100% Organic Cotton 230 yds / 100g ball

Version A (Sample) Sold Out C1: 2368, 2 balls; C2: 2367, 3 balls

Version B C1: 2367, 2 balls; C2: 2368, 3 balls

Version C C1: 2392, 2 balls; C2: 2366, 3 balls

Version D C1: 2390, 2 balls; C2: 2366, 3 balls

Version E C1: 2391, 2 balls; C2: 2392, 3 balls

Finished Size

74″ Wingspan x 34″ High

Needles

addi® 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

24 Locking-Ring Stitch Markers

About 8 yards of plain, light-colored worsted-weight scrap yarn

Measuring Tape

Scissors

Tapestry Needle

Yarn

PLEASE NOTE: 

Every ball is unique.Not all colors shown will be found in all balls.

Zauberball Crazy Cotton

Fiber Content

100% Organic Cotton

Yardage / Weight

230 yards / 210 meters per 100 gram ball

Gauge

US 2 – 6 (3.00 – 4.00 mm) needles6 stitches per inch

Care Instructions

Hand wash, dry flat

 

Q&A with Bellish!

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Hello Makers!

If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new app for iOS that generates sweater patterns for free called Bellish!

Bellish App Preview.jpg

This revolutionary app allows the user to feel like a designer by offering multiple points for customization! Choose from different necklines, sleeve lengths, body lengths, and textures – all available in a variety of gauges with new options added regularly!

Ready to learn more? Check out our Q&A with Bellish Knitting below!

Makers’ Q&A: Bellish!


Q)
 How did the idea for Bellish come to be? 

A) Bellish began with the idea of creating digital tools for knitters. These days we use our smartphones and tablets for so many of our daily tasks, and it was a natural next step for us to ask if there might be a way to make those devices more useful for knitting. As knitters, ourselves, we wanted to create a dynamic, personalized knitting experience that went beyond what was possible with a PDF. 

 

Q) We love knitting sweaters, which is why Bellish is so appealing! Are there plans to eventually expand the offerings beyond the realm of sweaters?

A) For the time being, the focus is on enhancing the sweater knitting experience to the fullest. We’re building a robust library of options, with new sweater styles, yarn weights and embellishments underway (we add new features almost every week).  It’s certainly a possibility that we’ll add other kinds of knitting projects down the road as Bellish grows and evolves with the feedback of our users. 

 

Q) What is your favorite feature that’s included with the Bellish app?

A) There’s a real sense of immediate gratification when you’re able to customize your design in real time and see the textures and colors transform right before your eyes. Of course, we love the digital tools in the app: the row highlighter, stitch/row counters and clickable stitch checkpoints, but we think the absolute best thing about Bellish is that it makes it easy for any knitter to bring their sweater ideas to life. We’ve loved watching knitters use Bellish as a starting point and then add their own creativity to the mix.


Q)
We love how the Bellish app can allow knitters to fall in love with a yarn, then make a pattern around it. Based on your testers, what’s been the most exciting pairing of yarn and pattern you’ve seen so far? 

A) Knitters loved having the ability to create their sweaters based on the yarn they already wanted to use (rather than trying to find the perfect pattern, and then looking for the right yarn to go with it). One of our testers said that she had yarn in her stash from a friend of a friend’s mom, and it had been sitting dormant since the 1980s. The Bellish app made it possible to finally turn that yarn into the exact sweater she wanted it to be – she said that her friends were very impressed that she finally found a use for it.

One of the other things our testers have really liked about Bellish is being able to open the app while they’re at the yarn shop. They can stand right there in front of the yarn they fell in love with, and – with a few clicks – design a sweater to go with it, and know exactly how much they’re going to need.

 

Q) With any idea that blooms into reality, there’s always something to discover along the way. What’s been the most surprising feedback you’ve received from the beta testers and users so far?

A) Two things really stood out for us. First, we wondered how knitters would feel about seeing an illustration of their pattern rather than a finished photo. But when you think of each knitter as an individual designer of their own project, it makes sense that they would start with an illustration and then bring the sweater to life on their needles – our beta testers loved that process. Second, we were very curious about the skill level of the knitters who would find Bellish most useful. Would it resonate more with beginners? Experienced knitters? We had thousands of beta testers and the feedback was so interesting: it was almost exactly a 50/50 split between those who felt Bellish was perfect for beginners, and those who felt it was designed especially for experienced knitters. We were thrilled to see that Bellish is providing an inspiring and worthwhile experience for knitters, regardless of their skill level. It’s a fun, creative resource for any knitter!

 

Ready to download the app and give it a try?

CLICK HERE to download Bellish

Use the hashtag #MakersBellish to show us your progress on social media!

Czech Buttons

One would presume that Czech Glass buttons are made in the Czech Republic, but doing so would be a mistake. You see, after WWII, many Czech families who had been making glass buttons for centuries in the traditional Czech way, moved to Southern Germany. And with them, they brought their button-making knowledge. Although thousands of button making families migrated to Germany after the war, less than 100 of these families are still making buttons. With cheaper labor available just about anywhere in the world, this time-honored tradition is now limited to less than 100 families in Germany. However, the families that remain, still make these buttons using the same techniques their ancestors used, and in some cases, even the same equipment!

It all begins with very large rods of glass.  These rods are heated in a furnace with an open flame.  The temperature of the furnace needs to be anywhere between 1500 and 1800 degrees to melt the glass, depending on what kind of glass is being used.  Once the glass is beginning to melt, the buttons can be formed.  


This is done with a special tool, that holds a mold in it.  The mold can be interchanged so that you can create different shapes and impressions with the glass.  

This is actually a very quick process, and dozens are made every minute – even by hand. BUT, this is just the beginning of the process! Once the buttons are formed, they need to be annealed properly – this is the process of cooling down the glass at a very slow speed, so that it will not easily break in the future. This is one step that is not usually performed properly in countries where imitation Czech Glass buttons are made.  Thus, the cheaper buttons tend to break far more than a button properly annealed in the trained hands of a professional.  

Once cooled, the buttons need to be separated – this is done with a two small, round, very sharp circular blades – think of a can-opener, it is similar to that.  After being separated, each individual button will need to have the edges smoothed out, which is done on a grinder.  Not until the button is perfectly smooth, is it ready to sell.

Once cooled, the buttons need to be separated – this is done with a two small, round, very sharp circular blades – think of a can-opener, it is similar to that.  (photo) After being separated, each individual button will need to have the edges smoothed out, which is done on a grinder.  Not until the button is perfectly smooth, is it ready to sell.

Makers’ Mercantile carries Czech Glass buttons – made in Germany, just like this. 

Make Along Update

THE WEEKENDER

JANUARY 3 - FEBRUARY 28, 2020

We are giving ourselves until the end of the month to finish The Weekender sweater by Andrea Mowry. While we have a suggested time frame for the knit along it's never to late to join in and finish at your own pace.  We recommend using HiKoo® Trenzado or any other worsted weight wool.

Believe it or not, we already have two completed sweaters!

And we've got a third sweater working on the last few rows of the first sleeve!

Knit using

HiKoo® Kenzie 1026 Kea

We are so excited to finish up our sweaters and wear them in March!
If you've been knitting along from afar, share it with us on social media by tagging us @makersmercantile.

THE WITCHING HOUR KAL
FEBRUARY 7TH - MARCH 27TH

Knit Using HiKoo® Sueno

Knit using HiKoo® Simplicity Spray and HiKoo® Sueno 

Join in the Fun!

It's still early in the knit along and because we are so excited to have you knit along with us we are offering the pattern FREE with the purchase of the yarn!

FiberStories: Concentric

  • 100% Baby Alpaca
  • 437 yards per 200 gram cake
  • Four non-plied strands held together
  • Worsted Weight
  • Made in Peru

Concentric has been a hit since it entered the HiKoo® line a few short years ago. With each cake boasting a 200-gram put-up and 437 yards, this worsted weight yarn makes a big impact with just one cake.

Do you love Alpaca? We do, too! Concentric is made from 100% Baby Alpaca by the alpaca experts in Peru. It’s soft, supple, and perfect to wear against the skin. It's also stronger than sheep wool, lighter weight, is hypo allergenic, and does not pill.

Concentric got its name thanks to its slow color change which, when presented in a cake, look like the concentric rings on a tree. Consisting of four non-plied strands, each strand gradually changes color as you work thru the cake until you’ve completely transitioned from one color to the next. This helps keep otherwise boring projects exciting and quick to finish! 

Check out all the available colors of HiKoo® Concentric HERE!

March 2020 Knit Along with Kyle Kunnecke

The key to what, you ask? Success? Change? Happiness? Love? 

Choose your goal and move forward stitch by stitch as you create the repeating large-scale skeleton key motif in the Unlocked cowl. 


In this KAL sponsored by skacel, Kyle Kunnecke guides you with helpful video instruction that clearly demonstrates two-handed knitting, working with two colors at once, and his favorite technique, locking floats. 

HiKoo® Concentric is used in this project because not only does it shift in color, but it is also made of luxurious 100% Baby Alpaca. The resulting fabric is soft, lightweight, and cozy.

Project

We will venture into the world of large expanses of negative space within the motif of this cowl. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn (and master!) locked floats in the round.


The Unlocked cowl is worked from the bottom up and requires knitting knowledge including: cast-on/bind-off, knit/purl, reading charts, securing/locking floats; all on circular needles. 

Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other makers in the forum. Kyle also designed a very limited edition project bag for this KAL. Want one? The first customers to purchase two cakes of HiKoo® Concentric will receive the bag and a custom stitch marker in addition to  a download code for the pattern as a thank you for signing up early.

Now through March 31, 2020, any customer who purchases two cakes of HiKoo® Concentric will receive the pattern as a free gift.

In the forum, Kyle will check in and offer information and support as you craft your way to completing this beautiful cowl. 

Materials

Materials

HiKoo® Concentric

MC - 1 cake

CC - 1 cake

Finished Size

9.25" high

54" circumference

Needles

addi®  US 7 (4.50mm) 32” (80cm) long circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Gauge

22 sts and 24 rounds

= 4” in pattern after steam blocking

Notions

Yarn

Fiber Content

100% Baby Alpaca

Yardage / Weight

437 yards

per 200 gram cake

Gauge

5 stitches per inch

US 8 (5.00 mm) needles

Care Instructions

Hand wash, dry flat

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