FiberStories: Kimono

An ideal yarn for between-season garments, Kimono by Zitron is made of  3 plies of Mulberry silk wrapped around a core of Merino wool. It is available in a number of wonderful colors, and works up to reveal gorgeous textures in both knitted and crocheted projects.

More than just a pretty yarn, Kimono is also manufactured in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100, product class 1. That means it tests free of harmful substances, and is ideal for next-to-skin projects for anyone (including babies!)

All Zitron yarns are:
  • Manufactured in Germany
  • Guaranteed mulesing-free (that is, no wool-bearing skin is removed)
  • Yarns and dyes are certified in accordance with Oko-Tex Standard 100 Product Class 1
  • Baby saliva resistant
  • Absolute top quality in their segment
  • Manufactured in accordance with the most stringent environmental and social standards
These statements are confirmed and vouched for by:
Marita & Klemens Zitron, Atelier Zitron
Michael Thierling, Textilfarberei Hischhorn

  • 54% Merino New Wool, 46% Mulberry Silk
  • 328 yards per 100 gram hank
  • Sport Weight
  • Made in Germany
  • Hand wash cold, lay flat to dry

Pattern Inspiration





Discover the full color range of Kimono by Zitron HERE.

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. 

FiberStories: CoBaSi

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. 

  • 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

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

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

  • 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!

The Unboxing Video

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

FiberStories: Zitron Filigran

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.

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

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.

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.


Ergonomics of Knitting – Carson Demers

"I’ve been a knitter much longer than I’ve been a physical therapist or an ergonomist, but I still remember my first addi experience.  I was knitting an afghan with let’s say “rustic” wool, and (horrors) bamboo needles.  Ah, the ergonomically unenlightened knitter that I was.   More time spent than one would hope for the amount of fabric produced, I confess my forearms were positively sore.  Then one evening while working on that project in a knitting circle at a local yarn shop I spied them.  Shiny, sleek, and downright sexy (yes, a knitting needle can be sexy!), someone across the table was working with an addi Turbo®.  I can’t lie - I was indeed first impressed by how beautiful those needles looked.  But, it didn’t take much observation to see how effortless they made that knitter’s work.  Stitches were soaring.  So then and there I bought a circular to replace the bamboo needle I was using.  Smooth, fluid, and best of all comfortable, my knitting experience was transformed.  

That was my first addi Turbo® and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I’m a lot more ergonomically savvy now than I was at that time and I still love my Turbos.  They pair perfectly with yarns that offer resistance on other needles, reducing the work of forearm and hand muscles. Their cables are strong, smooth, well behaved and support even a heavy afghan without fuss.  I love how the reflective surface of the needle creates value contrast with nearly any yarn - which makes using them easy on the eyes in more ways than one.  Comfort is always an ergonomic priority and addi Turbos® help me knit comfortably."

It's no secret that we are fans of Carson Demers and his work to help fiber artists continue making with less opportunity for injuries. his book, Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting contains all the information you could need to help ensure a long life of comfortable crafting. We are also delighted to offer this book for purchase in our shop and online. 

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.

Want to knit comfortably? Get your very own copy of Carson's book here:

About Carson Demers:
By day, Carson is a physical therapist who runs an ergonomics program for a San Francisco Bay Area medical center. Every other moment, he’s knitting, spinning, designing, teaching, writing, or otherwise up to some fiber fun with a watchful eye toward ergonomics. His passion and experience in fiber arts combine with his expertise in physical therapy and ergonomics to create a unique skill set that he eagerly shares with the fiber community at local yarn shops, guilds, and major knitting events across the country. He is a regular contributor to Ply magazine.

Inspire Future Makers with Reading + Crochet

Crochet is magical. One simple process of pulling loops through each other makes practically infinite types of fabric. We are always on the hunt for products to engage children, and the book collection authored by Katrin Pabst doesn’t disappoint.  In late 2017, she presented the books at the BuchBerlin book fair in Germany. It’s a unique event celebrating both children’s and handicraft books.

What’s even more fun about her books is that you can use crochet to create the title heroes! Each book has instructions included… and since we carry these books in our shop, you don’t have to go to Germany to get them Check out the stories of Owlie and Owlino and also of Horsty, the little eagle kid.

Perhaps through crochet and reading you’ll inspire the next generation of makers!

Introducing Flair Needles and Hooks

Colored with a natural lacquer infused with vegetable dyes, by highly skilled craftsmen, the range of Pony Flair knitting and crochet tools is truly unique. The techniques used in their manufacture can find their origins in ancient Persia, where artisans were invited to India to make exclusive products for the local population. The craft set down its roots in India where it flourished for many years. Recently, the knowledge of this very special and rare technique is endangered. The original craft in its original form, only exists today in one tiny part of India, where a few craftsmen continue to preserve the craft by handing the knowledge down from generation to generation.

The production of Pony Flair knitting needles and crochet hooks is adding valuable income to this small community of traditional craftsmen. The pigmented lacquer is applied to each product by hand, using special flexible leaf fibers. Every item is unique and the beauty is a result of the years of experience in developing this exquisite skill.

Each piece is crafted of sustainable, high quality, German Maple. The sizes are measured in millimeters, the most accurate way to gauge knitting and crochet tools. (Remember, U.S. sizes are always approximate and vary from one brand to the next).

We invite you to explore this new artistic line of fiber arts tools. Click on a button below to be directed to a product range.