A Blog by and for the friends of The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company in Lafayette, Louisiana
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Welcome to The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company: the Blog!
Keep in step with YOUR local yarn shop! The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company blog compliments the newsletter I send out by email at the beginning of each month (The Vermilion Bay Light) and contains the current class schedule, highlights yarns, and provides useful tips and information to help you foster your passion for fiber art.
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Have You Seen?
Knitter's Summer 2012
Need a summer top? Cool summer wrap? The summer 2012 Knitter's has just arrived and it's just what you need. Pick up your copy of this latest issue. Knitter's patterns are well written and easy to follow for any knitter. It's not just entrelac any more! Fabulous patterns to spruce up your summertime wardrobe!
Looking for a favorite post or topic? Enter it here!
Beginning Knitting and Crochet: Beginning classes for knitting and crochet are scheduled one-on-one at your convenience during business hours. You may schedule lessons just for yourself, or for yourself and a few other friends. In beginning knitting, you will learn your stitches while you create a beautiful chunky yarn scarf. At the end of your mastery period, you'll have a fabulous accent you can actually use!
Classes a la carte: If you weren't able to attend a specific class, or you missed out entirely on one, here's your chance! Simply schedule the class topic of your choice at the time that's convenient for you.
How Much Do Classes Cost? At Vermilion Bay Yarn, we're all about getting you moving on your fiber projects and getting you going with new techniques. All classes (including beginning knitting and crochet) at VBYC are $20 plus materials. You do not pay each time you come in to continue the same class.
What's Available At Vermilion Bay
The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your local source for the fine yarns of Rowan, Classic Elite, South West Trading, Cascade, Plymouth, Schaefer, Malabrigo, Muench, GGH, Brown Sheep, Lana Grossa, Tilli Tomas, Universal, and many others! We offer high quality needles and hooks from Addi, Chiaogoo, Hiya-Hiya, and Brittany. Vermilion Bay Yarn (YOUR local yarn shop) is YOUR one stop for all your knitting and crochet notion needs: counters, holders, markers, darning eggs, tapestry needles, etc.
Knit Cafe: The Evening Fiber Art Group meets on Tuesdays from 6pm-8pm at the shop. Bring your project(s) and sit for as long as you like. Food, coffee, and soft drinks are always provided, and everyone is encouraged to add to the buffet.
Need something repaired? Favorite sweater with moth holes? Heirloom lace with a snag? Bring it in for an estimate.
Don't have time to knit or crochet it? The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your only local custom fiber art source! Please visit the shop for an estimate.
Knitting Parties at VBYC: Gather together 10 of your friends or colleagues and set a date/time for a knitting party at Vermilion Bay Yarn! Beginners and seasoned knitters can participate in the same party! Folks who've never knitted before will learn how and the experienced knitters work their own fun project! Contact the shop for details!
Our Return Policy
Now and then we purchase a bit too much, or decide that a different yarn might be better for a project than the one we selected. Here's how VBYC accomodates merchandise returns. This policy is also clearly displayed in the shop by the register. Thank you for your business!
Merchandise purchased at The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company may be exchanged/returned for shop credit only. No cash refunds. No exhanges/returns on special orders. Gift Certificates may not be redeemed for cash. Yarn presented for exchange must be odor-free and in new condition with the yarn band intact. Yarns wound into skeins are not accepted for exchange.
Knitting Rescue and Project Help
We are most willing to assist YOU, our customers, with quick help or to fix minor blemishes in your fiber work at no charge. As I see it, that's all part of what YOUR local yarn shop is about, especially if your project originated from VBYC. If you find yourself in need of frequent coaching on a particularly challenging project, or if you require detailed assistance with a project obtained elsewhere, we encourage you to make that project into a class ($20 fee applies) for the duration of your work.
22 May 2012
Mini Course: Knitting Argyle
You can't go too far without realizing that color work is the trend. Of course single-color garments are always in, but now more than ever, more and more design collections and pattern anthologies are offering a wide selection of multi-color options. Argyles, stripes, paisleys, as well as traditional Scandinavian style fair isle designs. Even though using a single yarn/color will create a beautiful and appealing garment, a project that requires two or more colors will stretch your creativity and open up new vistas in your knitting. There are various ways to achieve colored fabric. The most basic method is simply to use a varigated yarn, in which lengths are dyed in sequence to create a marbled, random spread of colors throughout. Jacquard patterns are typically created using a stranding technique called Fair Isle, for which yarns are carried or "floated" along the back of the fabric until they are needed. Fabric that features large areas of contrasting color requires a specific technique called Intarsia. Spaces more than 3-5 stitches wide increase the likelihood that floated strands will either cause the fabric to pucker or produce loose garlands of strands that will snag and add extra thickness to the piece.
Butterflies hanging in order
Instead of carrying yarns along, Intarsia requires each area of color to have its own supply of yarn. These mini yarn packages are what we call "butterflies". Some knitters prefer to wind yarn onto intarsia bobbins -- containers that look like little spools or clips that hold yarn. My caveat on bobbins: they're heavy and since they're heavy, they cause the yarn strands to swing around each other like pendulums and create a big tangled mess. Also, the yarn doesn't always unspool smoothly. As a result, you're spending less time knitting and more time untangling and unspooling. Butterflies are light and the yarn travels from them as from a miniature central pull skeins. You'll need one for each color area. Here's how to make them: hold the end that will become the working yarn in your palm and anchor it in place with your thumb. Start winding around your fingers. If the color area is quite large, wind a good supply to avoid the frequency of yarn joins. Snip the winding end of the butterfly, slip the wraps off your fingers and bind them with the snipped end.
Twist Old and New Color
To attach the butterfly to your piece, simply hold the working end of the bundle up to your work, and start knitting, leaving a 6-8" tail that you will use to weave the hole that will normally form at the attachment spot (more about that in a bit). The butterflies hang from the needles along the row in the exact order you'll need them. The secret to keeping everything orderly is in not allowing the butterflies to hang down much more than 8" or so from the needles. Too much yarn between the butterflies and the needle will encourage the strands to twist around other strands and cause a tangle. Shorter lengths are harder to tangle. As you work the row, pick up the strand you need according to your color pattern. When you move from one color area to the next, it is vital that you establish a connection between stitches of different colors. In knitting, each stitch is connected by the working yarn as you move from stitch to stitch. With different colors/yarns, you are working with multiple working yarns and therefore you much establish a connection between them yourself. Otherwise, there will be a hole in the fabric (like the area where you joined a new butterfly) that you'll have to weave closed later. When you knit the last stitch of a color area, pick up the new color and twist the strand of new and old color so that they interlock. Continue in the new color. The twist will connect the two color areas and give the illusion of one continuous working yarn. As you continue your color pattern, you will see the yarn wraps on the back of the fabric along the edges of the color areas.
When hiding the tails in the place where a new butterfly/color was attached, you must NOT just tie a knot between two yarns. Knotting the yarns here will pull the fabric and distort the stitches. With the tail in a yarn needle, you must actually weave in the ends to establish a connection between the color areas and close of up the hole. Follow the progress of the yarn in the fabric and mimic how it would travel. The sign of a good weaving/finishing job in Intarsia is a clean wrong side that shows a mirror image of the front with color areas neatly edged with yarn twists. There should be no knots and no tails.
An important note on undoing intarsia: Not one of us, not even one, has escaped the curse of Eden unscathed. Among a host of other reasons, sometimes we may misread the pattern or count wrong, resulting in a flaw in the pattern, which goes unnoticed (typically) until the stitch count is off several rows later. DO NOT pull your work off the needles and just start ripping. Since intarsia is a series of multiple working yarns twisted around each other, drastic frogging will do nothing more than tangle your work. In order to undo this color work, you must unknit ("tink") each stitch back to the mistake. Besides tangling the yarn, drastic ripping off the needles will cause the fabric to unravel in all directions, not just stitch by stitch.
Intarsia knitting creates vibrant and extremely beautiful garments. It does take a bit of practice to master the yarn twists and to maintain your tension at the joins. As with most things, the only way to master it is to do it. And to be patient while you're at it. The more practice you allow yourself, the more proficient you'll get. Try adding some intarsia onto a hat or a small patch on a sweater, scarf or wrap. Intarsia also allows you to create marvelous color blocking effects on garments. Be creative!