Blog

Whidbey Design Contest Inspiration!

Makers+Bellish.png

Hello Makers!

Have you heard about our Whidbey Pullover Design Contest in collaboration with Bellish? 

IMG_20200311_100732

We are so excited for this contest that we wanted to share an example of one we made in-house to help get those creative juices flowing! Below are the details on how we generated the pattern initially, and then customized it.

Initial Bellish Pattern Details

To start, we created a pattern in Bellish with the following criteria:

Pattern Section
Body: Cropped
Neck: Crew
Sleeves: Full Length

Embellish
Body: Wild Oats stitch
Sleeve: Plain

Yarn
‘Worsted Weight’ for Whidbey 
47% Bamboo, 37% Superwash Merino, 16% Nylon

Size
32 in/81 cm – Knowing 2-4 inches of positive ease will be built-in

Color
Navy was the closest color to #05 – Puget (optional)

Here’s how the pattern looks in the mock-up at this point:

Bellish Widbey_1.pngBellish Widbey_2.png

Next, it’s time to click Generate Pattern Instructions and begin your journey into customization!

Pattern Customization Details

After preparing the pattern through the app, these are the changes we made to make it our own:

Wild Oats Stitch Pattern

The pattern outlined using the stitch pattern for most of the body section. However, we decided to pair down how much was used on the body to just two repeats before starting the ribbing.

For added visual interest, the stitch pattern was also used on the sleeves. Placement for  the stitch pattern was carefully considered. Ultimately, we decided to line it up so that, when your arms are down, the pattern lines up on the body and sleeves in the same place!

The trick to doing this on the sleeve was waiting until the stitch count was a multiple of 4 which was the stitch pattern repeat. We then followed the same directions for knitting the stitch pattern on the body to apply to the sleeves.

Contrasting Color

Another fun way to spice things up is by adding a contrasting color. We wanted just a hint of contrast in this design, so we opted to bind off everything with the CC. This used a very small amount of yarn, so we have plenty leftover to make a matching hat with inverse colors (i.e. white hat with blue trim!)

NOTE: We are aware that mixing a dark blue and white yarn in the same project may lead to the dark blue tinting the white over time and washing. We’ve swatched and tested this and are totally OK with the results! Always be sure to test your yarn for colorfastness on a swatch before blocking or laundering a project for the first time. 

Custom Length

We decided to alter the length of the body as well. While the pattern recommended a ‘cropped’ length, we found it to still be pretty long, so we nixed a couple inches off.

Reveal Time!

Now that we’ve shared our design process, it’s time to reveal the finished object!

Dark Blue Coffee Plain Collage Facebook Post (1)

Ta-da! Thanks to the Bellish app providing the ‘grunt work’ of creating the pattern template, it was easy to customize from there!

We hope our pullover has inspired you to cast on and try one for yourself!

Remember, there are four prize opportunities for the Whidbey Pullover Design Contest, and in the end, you’ll also have a custom pullover! What’s not to love?

Ready to download the app and give it a try?

B.png

CLICK HERE to download the Bellish app for iOS

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

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

 

Whidbey Design Contest!

Makers+Bellish.png

Whidbey Pullover Design Contest

Hello Makers!

Announcing our Whidbey Pullover Design Contest featuring Makers’ Whidbey yarn in collaboration with Bellish Knitting!

With Whidbey as your medium and color palette, and Bellish as your pullover pattern template-generator, we set forth the challenge of combining them to make a truly unique-to-you pullover!

whidbey_logo.png

Four total winners will be chosen, based on the following categories:

Color Outside the Lines
Prize: $200 Makers’ Mercantile Gift Card

Go On, Embellish
Prize: $200 Makers’ Mercantile Gift Card

Ad-Lib: Make it Your Own
Prize: $200 Makers’ Mercantile Gift Card

Stitch Pattern Explorer
Prize: Collaborate with the folks at Bellish to release a new stitch pattern for the app, featuring your name!

Bellish’s free pullover pattern generator offers knitters the opportunity to customize, modify and embellish their sweaters without the guesswork. With just a few taps in the Bellish app, knitters can choose their silhouette, yarn weight, neckline, sleeve length and decorative embellishments. The customized pattern generates in seconds and you can cast on right away. Bellish has been designed with clear, useful tools to make it easier than ever to keep track of your progress along the way, including a row highlighter, stitch/row counters, and – our crowd favorite – clickable stitch checkpoints that help you stay on track. Knitters using Bellish love seeing only the instructions for their own size, and really enjoy being able to customize their own designs quickly and easily.

Learn more about Bellish in our Q&A post, linked here!

Picture2.png

DESIGN CATEGORIES

  1. Color Outside the Lines!
    • Expand upon the Bellish instructions by developing your own creative colorwork into your design! Combine multiple colors using stripes, intarsia, fair isle, duplicate stitch, and more! Let your imagination take the wheel!
  2. Go On, Embellish!
    • Embellishments can add a lot of personality to a garment. Go nuts! Surprise us by using buttons, embroidery, fringe, patches or whatever else inspires you to bring your Bellish sweater to the next level with embellishments!
  3. Ad-Lib: Make it Your Own!
    • Let Bellish get you going, then follow your own path! This is a great opportunity to go beyond the boundaries. Create your own hem options, length, or transform the pattern from a sweater to a tunic/dress, or other wearable top! It just needs to include a sleeve of some kind. Introduce new or additional stitch patterns, anything you want to make it truly unique from where the pattern started.
  4. Stitch Pattern Explorer
    • Experiment with additional stitch patterns outside of the options currently provided by Bellish to work into your pullover. After reviewing all design entries, Bellish will choose one winner to collaborate with on a new stitch pattern (like the examples shown below) to be released on the app and to be named after the winner!

Dew Drop Lace - Makers' Mercantile 1200.jpgThorn Stitch - Makers' Mercantile.jpg

CONTEST DETAILS & ELIGIBILITY

This contest is open from 3/9/2020 – 5/29/2020.

To be eligible to enter the contest, contestants must:

  • Use the featured yarn: Whidbey from Makers’ Mercantile
  • Start with a Bellish pattern to create their pullover
    • A ‘pullover’ in this contest constitutes a top which includes a sleeve of some kind. (i.e. no sleeveless tops)
  • Submit a finished photo of their pullover design by May 29, 2020
  • Submit a completed Entry Form (available starting May 1st)
  • Aged 18 or older
  • The Bellish app is currently only available for iOS.
    • An Android version is in the works, but will likely not be released before the contest ends.
  • Makers’ Mercantile, skacel Collection, inc., and Bellish employees and family members are not eligible to enter.

JUDGING

Designs will be judged based on the criteria above by a panel of Makers’ Mercantile employees and Bellish Knitting. Winners will be contacted and announced the week of June 6, 2020.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

Bellish App
Click here to download the Bellish app. Currently available on iOS.
Use the hashtag #MakersBellish to show us your progress on social media!

Yarn
Whidbey from Makers’ Mercantile
#WhidbeyYarn

 

QUESTIONS

Have a question regarding the contest, yarn or app?
Email Hello@makersmercantile.com and we’ll be happy to assist!

We can wait to see what you come up with! Happy Making!

The Makers’ Crew

 

Sabrina Rainbow Explosion

Eat, Knit and Dye

My very first post was all the way back in May 2019 and featured a beautiful rainbow long gradient. It's time to return to my roots! I’ve done a few fade sets, but this time I’m going for gold and making a 5-skein set at the same time.

My base yarn is Sabrina, an 80% Merino Extrafine SW Wool and 20% Nylon blend.

For blue, I used a 50/50 mix of Jacquard Sky Blue and Turquoise. For red, I used a 50/50 mix of Jacquard Fire Red and Hot Fuchsia. And for yellow, straight Jacquard Sun Yellow. In 3 condiment squeeze bottles, I added 1 tsp of citric acid. I mixed up 1/8 tsp of powdered dye with 3 ounces of warm water. For the blue and the red dyes, I used 1/16 tsp of each color to get the total 1/8 tsp of powder. Then, holding my finger over the opening, I lightly shook the dye and water until it mixed. That took care of my primary colors.

To get my secondary colors, I used three more empty squeeze bottles. To get green, I started with yellow and slowly added blue until I got the green color that I liked, which was approximately .5 ounces of the blue. I repeated that for orange and purple. To each bottle, I added water until it was full.

I soaked all yarn in water for 30 minutes before starting. Each hank was placed on a shower hook. I folded the hank in half and put it into a turkey roaster.

That was repeated until all 5 hanks were in the same pan. Water was added so about half of the yarn was submerged.

I wanted to make sure my strips of color were equal size. I could have marked the ends of the pan, so I knew where that was, but I’m an eyeball-it kind of person. I started with the yellow and laid down a strip of dye.

And then I laid down strips of blue and pink. This allows me to see where my primaries go and helped make the sections fairly uniform.

Afterward, I followed with the secondary colors. With the pan across two burners, I turned on the heat to before simmering and let the dye exhaust.

I did notice that the dye wasn’t penetrating too far in, so I used my prong to gently move around the yarn and inject color into the hank. And I let the dye exhaust (this is a time-consuming method. You’re going to hear that a lot.)

Using the shower hooks, I picked up the yarn and turned it over. This is where the shower hooks really come in handy. I like not burning my fingers.

As you can see, the other side was pretty bare. Clearly, that had to change.

Once again, I laid on my primary colors in the same placement as before.

And I laid on the secondary colors too. Then, I let it exhaust. Again.

Using the prong, I wiggled the yarn around some more and if I found bare spots, I added more dye until all my dye was gone and it had all FINALLY exhausted. I let the yarn and the pan cool overnight before rinsing and hanging up all that glorious yarn to dry.

And oh my gosh! I am in such love with this yarn. It’s such a stunning rainbow (if I do say so myself) and I cannot wait to make this into a sweater! Since this is a hand-dyed set, obviously each hank is a bit different, so when I knit it up, I’ll alternate rows between the hanks.

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

Q&A with Bellish!

Makers+Bellish.png
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!

Fannie Twisted Stripes

Eat, Knit and Dye

I had a vision for this one. I really did. I wanted something bright and sunny, with beautiful fades of pink, red and orange. That isn’t what I got. But I got to use the crockpot, so that’s a win! 

Once again, I am using Fannie, a 100% Merino Superwash Wool for my base. And I’m also using food coloring for my dye.

To start, I immersion dyed the entire hank with yellow dye. I don’t have a picture of that, but all I did was fill the crockpot with water, yellow food coloring and citric acid. I turned on the heat for 30 minutes on high and let the food coloring exhaust. This left me with a lovely semi-tonal yellow base.

I twisted the wet yarn into a hank and put it back into the crockpot (Bonus! I used the same water.)

On one side of the hank, I dropped in three drops of red food coloring.

On the other side, I put in a few drops of pink food coloring. I put on the lid and let it set in the crockpot for 30 minutes (the temperature on high). The food coloring exhausted, the yarn cooled, and I hung it up to dry.

As you can see, there is no discernible difference between the pink or the red. I think all the color just blended into one color. The twisting also left the yarn with stripes of color. Not what I was going for, but sometimes serendipity just takes over.

Stay tuned for next week for a rainbow explosion!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

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!

Fannie and the Mad Scientist

Eat, Knit and Dye

I fully admit it. I have no idea what I’m doing with this one. I’m just going to poke around and see what happens. If it’s great, awesome, if it sucks, awesome. As long as I had fun! 

I grabbed a hank of Fannie, 100% Merino Wool Superwash, and got to work! I soaked it in water for 30 minutes and contemplated my dyeing options.

I decided to give food coloring another go. I filled up a pot with water up to about an inch. I added yellow food color.

I scrunched up the yarn and literally dropped it into the pot. The accompanying splash was not impressive.

Using the Green, Yellow and just a touch of the Neon Blue food coloring, I just dribbled random drops everywhere.

To make things more interesting, I smushed the yarn and dye around until it started blending.

Happy with my mad scientist concoction, I turned on the heat to just before simmering and let the dye exhaust. And naturally, I let it cool, rinsed it and hung it up to dry.

It’s an interesting concoction of random blurs of color. I like it. It's random and weird. I’m glad I tried out this technique!

Stay tuned for next week for something bright and sunny!

Ready to make your unique colorway? Hop on over to Makers' Mercantile® and pick up your undyed yarn and supplies. We can’t wait to see what you make, so tag us on social media with #makersmercantile!

About Tara
Tara Warburton is the former graphic designer for Makers' Mercantile® and a fine artist. She specializes in watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. She lives with her two cats, who are not helpful when knitting.

Tara Warburton's Frost Fairy

February Sock of the Month

Howdy Ya'll!

Is it just me or was January 872 days long? But now you probably got your February sock box, and since we are inching towards Valentines Day we're celebrating all things love and sweets... so perhaps February will scoot a long a little better. (January seriously. It was not pretty!)

First of all, isn't the yarn just yummy? I loved watching it change as I knit these socks and I love how squooshy it is. I am a loose knitter and almost every sock I knit is done on US1s. I knit these on size US2 FlipSticks. That sharper tip was so perfect for the yarnover stitch in the pattern.

And speaking of that little stitch, loosen up on that...I ripped back more than once because I just kept pulling it too tight and it looked funny and made little holes. Once I loosened up, the arrows started to pop and they were so much fun. Creating them made the pattern go faster, and it was such fun watching them take shape. (I realize now that in progress pictures would have been so helpful for you guys and I just didn't think of it but I will do better next month, I promise!)

The other thing I wanted to mention was the size of the sock. I worried that it wasn't as adjustable like a lot of patterns I use or create.... And with that stitch count.. how's this going to fit my fat foot?! It fit me great (also I love the ribbing on the ankle) but then! In some sort of sock magic! It also fit my teen daughter with a slimmer and smaller foot. So go for it. There's a lot of give in the fit!

If you didn't get this month's box, or you're curious what's inside, you can watch Karin reveal the February Sock of the Month box in this video:

I hope you like your stitch marker. CeeCee and I really wanted to capture how deep and beautiful the red of the yarn was. We love making stitch markers and playing in beads. In a future month we might create a stitch marker tutorial for you...they make great gifts and are so fun for sharing and swapping.

I'm in the Ravelry group (I'm Knittybe over there) so please hop over there and join the conversation. If you get stuck, or something doesn't make sense, please ask! I know you will enjoy knitting these cozy socks and I'm glad to help you if you need it. I love knitting socks and if you're new to it, it really doesn't need to be scary.

I may have already had a peek at the yarn for next month...in fact, it *might* be on my needles right now. It's beautiful yarn. The pattern is fun. It is different from anything I've done before and I don't want you to miss it! Please sign up for March before they sell out!

Your sock knitting pal,

BeLinda