Remember this post?
It was all about this blanket:
This very same blanket, designed and knitted by our very own Michele Fandel Bonner and photographed at our very own shop now graces the pages of Cascade’s newest book, 60 Quick Baby Blankets. That’s it! The same blanket!
The book is full of great patterns, (60 to be exact!), all knit in the baby-friendly superwash varieties of Cascade 220 and 128. Michele’s blanket is knit in 128, a chunky weight yarn, so it truly is a quick knit.
As the mother of a 10 moth old, I can tell you, blankets always make great gifts. In addition to the usual uses like warmth and comfort, a summer baby, as mine is, will still need a blanket to lie on at the park, or to sit and play on at the house. Plus, babies never outgrow blankets! So come on down to Seed Stitch and get your copy of 60 Quick Baby Blankets today.
What’s in a name?
I had the privilege of being at the shop the day the Funnies yarn from Dibadu arrived. The trans-Atlantic journey from Germany did nothing to dampen the almost technicolor hues of the yarn that Michele and I eagerly unpacked from their dull cardboard box. This surprise of brilliant color and content inside an unassuming, everyday package reminded me of our own funnies – the Sunday comics section, bright and enticing and tucked inside the black and white of the rest of the news.
The name Funnies, however, came from the dyer’s desire to appeal to the majority English-speaking knitters and hookers on Ravelry while speaking to her goal behind such bright dye lots in the first place – to bring joy to the knitter and crocheter through color. Color is the way Barbara Wolff sees the world. Literally. Wolff is a synesthete. She sees color in words and sounds, she says she even tastes it. Her whole life is color. “Every day of the week has a colour, every tone I played on the flute every tune I [sing], every feeling, and so on.”
It made me wonder what color Wolff sees when she utters the name of her yarn company, Dibadu. Many fans of her yarns have guessed at the origin of the name. Some thought it was a combination of the owners’ names (Dirk and Barbara) plus du, the German word for you. Although Wolff likes the idea of a communal trinity between yarn makers and knitter, she confessed that the story was not as exciting. When she and her husband started selling her handpainted yarn, they didn’t know where their journey would lead them. “So we looked for a name without any associations which could be pronounced in nearly all languages without twisting the tongue.” And of course, as a modern international business, they needed a domain name that was still available.
I’d like to think, however, that the musical sound of the name transcends both meaning and language and was, if unintentional, perhaps an unavoidable unconscious decision. Wolff is, after all, a musician by training: she plays the flute and recorder. The German phrases which appear on each skein of Stitchpainters (the DK weight yarn) and Sockpainters (the sock weight yarn) are actually lyrics pulled from traditional children’s and folk songs. Though she wanted to appeal to a wide range of international knitters with her company and yarn names, Wolff also wanted to pay homage to the German music that has inspired her throughout her life. And if Dibadu is at once an unconscious lyric, a piece of music, as well as a word, what colors are composed in this name? According to Wolff, “Dibadu is midnight blue. A warm deep blue…”
If you are looking for a project to knit with your skein of Funnies, I would suggest creating a fabric with which to highlight the colorscapes created by it. Something with a simple stitch repeat like a baktus or a honey cowl would knit up beautifully with just one skein. Once you’ve finished, please share your projects with us by wearing them down to the shop or posting pictures here on the blog in the comments section of this post or on our facebook page.
Remember the Fraggles? As a kid, I loved these critters. And although I’m sure it was more her manner than her wardrobe, Mokey, in her long green sweater, was my favorite muppet. I had a Mokey doll that I played with every day, toting her around the house, she in her long green sweater and me wrapped in my closest approximation to the garment, a yellow and green fringed afghan crocheted by my mom. It only recently occurred to me that my over-sized, moth-eaten, green house sweater (which, despite it’s frumpy appearance, gets worn out of the house more often than not) may be a security blanket of sorts not just because it is warm and comfy, but because it gives a subconscious nod to something, or someone, of my childhood: Mokey.
But this post was not supposed to be about Mokey. It was supposed to be about the Doozers, those tiny neighbors to the Fraggles who built their subterranean structures out of what always reminded me of glue sticks. However, as you’ll learn from the following video, sometimes Doozers made more than buildings. Sometimes, Doozers knit!
Check out the video:
And if anyone ever finds a pattern for Mokey’s sweater, please pass it on to me!
Even though spider silk is not the fiber spun to create the silk yarns with which we knit, I couldn’t help but share this image of the tiny silk yarn-bombing I discovered in my backyard.
Nature’s real knitters (or are they crocheters? or weavers? or spinners?), such as spiders and silk worms, are constantly creating their own fibrous masterpieces and they don’t even need the help of needles, hooks or notions. Though, if I were to suddenly have the power to spin my own yarn from my own person, I believe I’d prefer to do it like a worm, who excretes her silk from glands located near her mouth, rather than like the spider, who, unlike the palm-squirting Spiderman, excretes her silk from spinnerets located just below her anus.
If cocoons are the insect equivalent of sweaters, or perhaps afghans, then what of the web? Is it more fisherman’s net, or crockpot, or equal parts of both? And more importantly, is there a pattern for it?
Whether your want to hook your own cocoon-inspired blanket or knit some web-influenced reusable grocery bags, we’ve got plenty of silk yarns for you to choose from.
There’s Silk Gima from Habu. The same company that makes yarn from stainless steel, paper, and copper brings us this soft, matte silk. “Gima” is actually Japanese for “fake linen,” which makes sense when you see this yarn up close.
If you prefer your silk with a more traditional sheen, we have the lovely DK weight Mulberry by Louisa Harding.
Shibui’s Heichi is a gorgeous raw silk tweed. The fiber and color combinations make for a rustic worsted weight yarn perfect for fall.
We also have a variety of Araucania silk yarns, artisanally dyed in stunning shades influenced by the Chilean landscape and wildlife.
We have even more silk and silk blends in the shop including yarns from Cascade and Rowan. Forget the spooky polyester cobwebs strung about for Halloween. Instead, chain a few stitches and channel the spider through silk.
Looking for an interesting baby blanket pattern?
A blanket that’s perfect for both boys and girls…
…and timeless enough to carry from crib to college?
Coming soon in Cascade’s next 60 Quick Knits series, just the pattern you’ve been looking for, designed by our very own Michele Bonner! We’ll keep you posted on the publish date, but in the meantime, be sure to congratulate Michele when you see her.
In celebration of summer, I thought I’d do a little series showcasing some of the fabulous non-animal fiber yarns we carry. Even though wool is an all-season fiber (I saw a runner in town the other day wearing hand-knit wool running shorts!), it’s not the first fiber many think of when casting on for summer projects. When there are so many other fibers to choose from – bamboo, viscose, linen, and more – why not give the sheep a seasonal rest? What better, more basic, breathable fiber to begin with than cotton?
We carry a lot of cotton and cotton blends, and not all cottons are created equal. If you want a yarn with a silkier feel and sheen, try Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton. Like most types of Cascade, Pima comes in a wide array of bright colors that are perfect for summer. Because it’s a DK weight yarn, it’s super versatile and can be knit alone on smaller needles for a tight, clean stitch, on larger needles for an open, lacy feel, or even held double for a super fast, squishy stitch. It’s also machine washable!
If you’re looking for a summer garment to knit up in Pima, Connie Chang Chinchio’s Tie Back Shell would be a great match for this yarn. You can always count on Cascade for giving you plenty of yarn bang for your buck, and Pima is no exception. You’d only need five skeins to make this sassy summer knit in a medium or large. Another great yarn to easily substitute for the Pima would be Tahki Stacy-Charles Cotton Classic.
If you are motivated by more than just the weather for using non-animal fibers (I’m talking to you vegans and green-living gurus), then you will love Rowan Purelife Revive. Recylced cotton, silk and rayon clothing is spun together in nearly equal parts to make this tweedy-looking DK.
If you know a little girl in need of a sweet summer cardigan, cast on Analu. French designer Muriela made this sweater specifically to be knit with Revive. Pictured below is a lovely toddler-size version of the sweater by Gingergooseberry, which she knit up using a mere three skeins. You can also try the adult-size Lady Analu to match!
Looking for a cotton that is both environmentally friendly and machine washable? Try Kertzer Down to Earth 100% organic cotton. Melissa Schaschwary designed her gorgeous, flowly Plover Summer Beach Shirt with Kertzer in mind, so you’ll be sure to get the gauge and drape intended when knitting it. Melissa’s knitwear and accessories for both children and adults can be found on Ravelry. You can support both an independent knitwear designer and a local business when you purchase Ravelry patterns like this one through Seed Stitch. Just tell us the pattern you’re looking for when you come down to pick out your yarn, we’ll look it up and it will go straight into your Ravelry library!
If you still haven’t found the perfect cotton yarn, stop by and take a look at all the other cottons and cotton blends we offer, including more options from Rowan and Louisa Harding.
Next time in the non-animal knitting series: silk!