Makers’ Mercantile® is pleased to bring you the second Curious Knit-Along with Franklin Habit: the Mermaid Walk Scarf. Mermaid Walk is a simple lace scarf that makes a big splash. Knit with Hikoo®’s intriguing Concentric Cotton, it’s gloriously abundant–a full eight feet long! The dramatic length is suited to a variety of occasions: as a bathing suit cover-up, as a summer wrap for day or evening, even as a statement piece at a beach wedding. But at five stitches to the inch, it knits up far more quickly than you might imagine...
And because this is a Curious Knit-Along, we’ll do more than just knit something pretty together.
Mermaid Walk was inspired by knitting history, and begins with motifs from Tudor England and Belle Époque France. As the pattern progresses, you’ll experience first-hand how simple changes cause the lace to gradually transform under your fingers, and come to understand the fundamentals of how knitted lace motifs are created. As always, Franklin will be here to cheer you on, offer advice, answer questions, and chat about the history behind the design. The pattern includes both charted and written instructions; and the KAL will be supported with video tutorials for key techniques. Knitters with a good working knowledge of the basics of lace knitting should find this pattern readily accessible.
The KAL is complete; our adventure ran the entire month of October, 2019 ... but you can certainly dive in and experience this fun project anytime!
Thank you! The limited edition kits sold out in less than 24 hours!
Join the Knit-Along and spend time with other mermaids in the forum:
Sylvie designed these lovely Fan Dance socks, featuring wool-free HiKoo® CoBaSi. Shown in both a solid and tonal colorway of CoBaSi, you could customize them even further by using a contrasting color for the toes and heels (optional).
While this project is not a mystery, the pattern will be released in parts over 4 consecutive weeks, beginning September 5, 2019. Sylvie will also be releasing helpful video tutorials along the way.
HiKoo® CoBaSi is a wool-free sock yarn - a cotton, viscose from bamboo and silk blend with elastic nylon for a gentle on the hands wool-like stretch. Soft and machine washable, this is a go-to for a variety of hardy garments.
You love to knit. I love to knit. We all love to Knit! Join Kyle Kunnecke for the Knit Knit Cowl Knit-Along the entire month of August! This project is worked using two hanks of HiKoo® Sueño, a lovely yarn made of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Viscose from Bamboo.
1. Download the pattern on Ravelry 2. The Knit-Along begins on August 8th 3. Join the discussion on Ravelry 4. Enter the contest through skacel
Proclaim your love for the craft with the Knit Knit cowl. Designed with an easy-to-follow chart, follow the letters as each row repeats the in-the-round mantra of knitters everywhere!
Once in a while, the letters line up for a vertical “Knit” as well! This project requires knitting knowledge including: provisional cast on , knit/purl, reading charts, increase/decrease, and simple finishing; all on circular needles.
HiKoo® Sueñois a DK weight Peruvian yarn is a blend of soft superwash merino and bamboo, and is made with strength and wearability in mind. The perfect amount of spring makes knitting with it a pleasure, and allows for a variety of suitable gauges.
80% Superwash Merino Wool, 20% Viscose from Bamboo
With all that’s happening in our community, we believe it is the perfect time to resurrect the Sisterhood Sweater from 2016. This project was developed to help spread self-love, inclusion, and diversity within our industry, something that is needed now more than ever.
We stand together. We are close knit and will not unravel. This is the message we have always strived to achieve and will continue to pursue.
It happens every day. You see a new pattern in a magazine or online and think something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t look like the model, so I can’t make that.”
That sentiment became the inspiration for this experiment. The “Sisterhood of the Sweater” was designed with many body types in mind to prove that, yes, you can make it!
We found 8 women ranging in age from their 20’s-60’s in different shapes, sizes, and heights to prove this point, a dream for many years for Karin Skacel! Once they chose their desired color combo, they knit the same sweater in their respective sizes. Once completed, we went on a shopping spree to help them pair the perfect outfit to wear with their new sweater.
Join me as I break down each project by person. You’ll find out why it works, along with tips you can use for yourself!
Katie – Designated Knitter for 12 years Mixing distressed jeans with a polished boho style top is a great match for this color scheme.
Kim – Designated Knitter for 18 years A fun top with classic black capris. This look is easy to dress up or down on the fly!
Betsey – Designated Knitter for 11 years A pop of color from her plaid tie accentuates the colors of the sweater. A classic white button-down and faded jeans complete this look that could take her almost anywhere.
Liz – Designated Knitter for 50 years You can’t go wrong with a classic Little Black Dress and a great statement piece necklace.
Pat – Designated Knitter for 35 years Pat is tall and this maxi print skirt flatters and compliments her brightly colored top.
Dena – Designated Knitter for 28 years Sophisticated separates are easy to pair with other tops/bottoms and make for a flattering look.
Shannon – Designated Knitter for 8 years Just because your sweater is colorful doesn’t mean your outfit can’t be too. Pick out a print that matches!
Hannah – Designated Knitter for 5 years Young and cool. This sweater works equally well with this vintage inspired top, sunglasses and colored jeans.
Things we learned along the way:
Pick your outfit first, then the colors to make your sweater in.
You really can’t pick a bad color combination for this project. They all work!
When you design a jacket in the fall, your models will have to wear the finished product in the hot spring sunshine!
Having a great support group is the key to any successful idea!
We hope that you feel inspired to join the Sisterhood (or Brotherhood!) of the Sweater. You can find the free pattern at Makers' Mercantile®.
Franklin Habit's Counterpane Pillow Knit-Along Featuring Zitron Herbstwind
Join us for Franklin Habit’s Counterpane Pillow Knit-Along featuring Zitron Herbstwind, a fantastically soft extrafine Merino wool from Tasmania. We know you love Franklin's patterns as much as we do, and joining this knit-along is easy:
1.) Purchase the pattern on Ravelry HERE, and join along using existing stash, or handspun yarn.
2.) Purchase a minimum of 3 balls of Zitron Herbstwind in the color(s) of your choice, from Makers' Mercantile, now through the end of July. Enter your Ravelry ID at the time of purchase and automatically receive your digital copy of the pattern when the KAL kicks off on July 5th.
The Counterpane Knit-Along starts Friday July 5, 2019. Get your supplies now!
The Counterpane Pillow is worked in pieces, and then joined together with simple finishing. Five buttons complete the cover.
This project requires knitting knowledge including: knit/purl, simple increasing/decreasing, and finishing; all on straight or circular needles.
Need buttons? Enter code COUNTERPANE at checkout to receive 15% off buttons for your Counterpane Pillow!
BeLinda Creech is hosting June’s Makers’ Mercantile KAL
Join educator and toy-maker BeLinda Creech for the June Makers' Mercantile Monster-Along! Using Kinky Yarn, she will provide ideas and encouragement as you craft your very own monsters. All it takes is 1/2 of a coil of Kinky Yarn, a little felt, some buttons, and your inner child! We can't wait to see everyone's creations!
Want the pattern for free? Purchase Kinky Yarn now through 6/30, and receive a download code for the pattern for free!
The Line Drawing Knit-Along starts Saturday June 1st, 2019. Get your supplies now!
Toymaker BeLinda Creech handcrafts fiberarts “creechures” in her Kentucky studio. When showing her work at craft fairs and galleries, patrons comment “wow!” or “This is so amazing.. can I take a photo?” They love the imagination involved in crafting a toy but not many realize that the “making” of a toy is almost as magical as the giving it away.
In this Monster-Along, we're going to make a toy and talk about why it matters.
BeLinda took her little Sharpie monster to knitting class yesterday and her students loved him. They talked about how cute he was and how he fit in their hands just perfectly and how he felt so good to hold. Guess what? All that stuff really matters to her. She loves seeing smiles, and making people laugh, and having a moment of joy. The size of the monster and its simplified features are part of what help it to be an ideal first toy for you to make (either alone, or with your little one).
For her, the most ideal toys come from imagination, and aren’t tied to culture or television shows. These special creatures provide the chance to create an identity as well. What name might you choose? Does he like popcorn? Beets? Does he live in the air conditioner because he likes how the wind blows through his fluffy body?
The best part? It's not just kid stuff. While BeLinda teaches children both in schools and at an art studio, many of her favorite customers are grown-ups who look at something she made and it sparks interest in their inner child.
Let’s make a new friend. Maybe it's for you, or a kid...or a grown-up friend that needs a little joy. BeLinda will be on Ravelry all June long to cheer you on in your project so come join the conversation there and feel free to ask questions.
Kinky Yarn - 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. It's easy to dye this yarn, AND it's easy to get professional results, no matter your level of experience.
100% Superwash Wool
Yardage / Weight
200 grams 133 meters / 147 yards
12-16 sts and 20-22 rows = 4" on US 10-13 (6-9.0 mm) needles
And so I undertook to do something further with my second cake of Kinky Yarn, which didn’t look to be too interesting since the painted bits that were so cute on the cake…
…didn’t penetrate past the exterior. Most of the strand remained untouched, as was immediately apparent when I uncoiled the cake.
Keep in mind that I am neither an experienced nor an enthusiastic dyer. My next move, therefore, was based on convenience rather than wisdom. I had used up my supplies of Textil Marabu fabric paint and Fashion Spray Marabu. So I bought the least expensive, most readily available dye I knew of.
You’ve probably heard about Kool-Aid’s potential use as a dye; but in case you haven’t, here are some of points in its favor:
• It’s non-toxic. • It’s cheap. • It’s easy to find. • It’s easy to use. • It doesn’t require the use of additional acids.
And some points against it:
• It’s neither very strong nor very brilliant. • It works only with animal fibers (it will not dye cotton, linen, or synthetics). • Others may drink it before you can use it. • It may tempt an enormous, anthropomorphic jug to bust through your kitchen wall.
As I stood in line at the supermarket, I realized I hadn’t made or consumed Kool-Aid since leaving home to go to college. Prior to that, I must have drunk hundreds of millions of gallons during a childhood that straddled the 1970s and 1980s.
Ours was not a progressive household where food was concerned. My mother thought whole wheat bread was un-American and my father refused to eat it. He still does. We had dinner with the kitchen television on. All our vegetables–such as there were–came from cans. My school lunches always included a gooey, unnatural cake of some kind from Hostess, and on fancy days the standard entrée of a peanut butter sandwich was replaced by the ultimate culinary luxury–a thermos full of Spaghetti-Os.
We were not, in short, the sort of family in which one turned up one’s nose at Kool-Aid. We drank it by the gallon. It was the first thing I ever made in the kitchen, and there was a violently orange Tupperware pitcher devoted to it. It was the only beverage to which we children had free access, the only thing we could take from the fridge without permission. Thirsty? Drink some Kool-Aid. Drink as much Kool-Aid as you want, was my mother’s policy–just please stay outside during all daylight hours and don’t bother me unless somebody is broken or bleeding.
This may shock younger readers. I hasten to reassure them that my mother was not uncaring or unfeeling–quite the opposite. This is just how it used to be in America, especially during the summer. Every house in our neighborhood had a Kool-Aid pitcher, and every house had a mother who wanted to be left alone from June to September.
Out of loyalty to my longtime favorite flavor, I bought two packs of Orange. I always preferred Orange. Grape was a distant second. Fruit Punch was tolerated but never loved; to me it tasted like birthday parties. The more exotic options like Lime and Apple weren’t even on my radar. I didn’t know anyone who drank those. Maybe people who ate whole wheat bread.
Enough about drinking Kool-Aid. How do you dye with it?
Kool Aid Dyeing: A Brief and Inexpert Guide
First, if your yarn is brand new, I’d give it a wash. Nothing fancy, just wash the skein–following the manufacturer’s guidelines for fiber content–with a little soap. Then rinse out absolutely all the soap. Your water should run clear.
Then soak the yarn in clean water while you prepare your dye pot.
If you are going to work with “real” chemical dyes, that’s a big undertaking and among many other precautions, you need to use pots and spoons dedicated solely to dyeing.
With Kool-Aid, however, just grab a deepish pot that looks like it will comfortably hold your yarn.
(You can do Kool-Aid dyeing in the microwave, but my microwave is on the blink and so I’m only going to talk about the stove top.)
Dump your Kool-Aid powder into the pot. The general principle, which is not difficult to grasp, is that more powder gives deeper color. There’s a practical limit, though, so don’t go nuts. That’s all I got for you. If you’d like an extended treatise on the subject, I refer you to this splendid article from Knitty.
Pour in some water–don’t fill the pot–and stir until the powder dissolves.
Put in your yarn.
Add enough water to cover the yarn.
Put the pot over the flame and heat it until the water is just shy of boiling. Then turn off the flame, cover the pot, and let it sit for a good half hour. Stir it from time to time, if you can remember. I forgot.
In a half hour, maybe a bit more, you should hope to see that the water is clear–that means your yarn has absorbed the dye.
If the water isn’t clear, try heating up the pot again, and letting the yarn sit until the water cools.
Then rinse the yarn thoroughly and let it dry. Use warm water to rinse, as shocking hot wool with cold water may encourage felting.
I was deeply alarmed to see that when removed from the bath, my yarn was a dead ringer for Cheetohs. I hate Cheetohs.
Kinky is knit into a tight strip, which inevitably prevents dye from reaching every spot on the strand equally. So I hoped the lurid glow of the exterior fiber would probably be moderated by some paleness in the interior.
I wound my Kinky into a hank on my niddy noddy so that it would dry more quickly…
…and then hung the tied hank in the shower to let it dry.
You do not, of course, want to wind yarn that is even a little wet into a ball.
Sure enough, the wound yarn was only moderately Cheetoh-esque. It was actually rather closer to Spaghetti-Os, of which I have only fond memories Quite a relief. And in spite of the thorough soakings and washings, much of the kink remained as gentle waves.
Now, as to what to make with it? I can’t decide. I’m still swatching.
But I’ve have had fun playing with dye, and I plan to do it again. That Kinky has encouraged me to try dyeing (not a favorite thing) and knit with bulky (also not a favorite thing) and helped me to enjoy both is nothing short of remarkable.
Next time, we’ll revisit a project I’ve set aside for a while–and talk about an exciting new direction for “Fridays with Franklin.” See you in two weeks!
He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).
Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.