Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hello all!

No new post today unfortunately - but check back next week for a new post, a new posting schedule, and an exciting (for me anyway) announcement.

Until then, I hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Casting off,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hi guys!

Sorry about the complete lack of posting lately, but between the upcoming holidays, scrambling to finish Christmas gifts, and a serious illness in the family, I've been swamped. So I'm going to hold off posting until the first of the year on a Tuesday/ Thursday schedule- which will hopefully give me time to get things in order! And if I find a free moment I'll be posting my Top 5 Weirdest Christmas Knitting Projects.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday and I'll see you all in the New Year!

Casting Off,


Monday, December 12, 2011

Ho hum

Hi guys-

No real post today as I'm working on listing a few new items for sale before the holidays. Be sure to  head over to my Etsy site and check them out! And check in on Wednesday though for my Top 5 Odd Geek Knitting Patterns.

And if you're not already, be sure to follow me on either Twitter (@ScarfAceKnits) or Facebook - or both - to receive an extra special coupon good for this last week before Christmas.

Casting Off,


Friday, December 9, 2011

Online Pattern Sources

Hello all! 

Sorry about the lateness of today's post - but I still managed to get it done!

In tandem with Wednesday's post about where  to buy your yarn online, I thought I would share with you all out there in the knitverse my favorite places to find patterns online.

Now books are fantastic source for patterns - as my poor over-worked bookshelves can attest to. But the internet is also a great to find new patterns from fellow knitters, to get free patterns (or fairly cheap ones) and even to publish your own. Often times these patterns can be downloaded in pdf format, which I love. I can store these pdfs on my iPod and carry dozens of patterns around with me all the time - no need to carry books or easily destroyed paper copies.

When I have an inkling to knit something new the first place I check out is the wonderful Knitting Pattern Central . I don't if it's possible to describe how much I adore this site. With literally thousands of free (!) patterns and tutorials - over 14,000  at last count - from all over the net and arranged in a few dozen categories, this should definitely be your first stop when looking for a new pattern on the web.

If for some odd reason I haven’t found what I'm looking for at KPC, I head on over to Ravelry to look around there. With over 66,000 patterns in 200+ categories, Ravelry is also a fantastic place to go pattern diving. Only drawback is that not all the patterns are free. Some cost a small amount of money, anywhere from $2 to $8, or are is a pattern from a book and not available for download. You do have be a member of Ravelry to access their sight - but this is a quick and easy (and free) process.

And there are still more options if you still haven't found what you're looking for. If you have a specific yarn in mind to work with, check out the yarn company's website. Chances are they'll have a list of free patterns to go with specific yarns. Some of these sights are better than others, Berroco, Caron,  and Classic Elite Yarn to name a few. Lion Brand Yarn's  website is also a good place to look - but I find their patterns are  a bit simplistic and geared more toward a beginning knitter.

And, with the internet being the vast pool of information that it is, there are thousands of other sites out there to get knitting patterns from. And heck, if you still can't find what you're looking for, then I guess you're just going to have to write your own, aren't you?

What's your favorite place to find patterns? Online? In a book?

Casting Off,


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top 5 Online Yarn Stores

Like most of you knitters out there, I have a favorite local yarn store (or two, or three, or a dozen) that I buy my yarn from. But what do you do when you just can't find what you're looking for at any of the local shops? If you're anything like me, you turn to the great big wonder that is the internet.

There are some fantastic places to buy yarn online, and there are some advantages to buying this way. For one, you can look at several different stores for the yarn you're looking for without driving all around town. For another, you can find some really good prices online - like really good. How does 1.50 a skein sound?

The only real downside to buying yarn online, other than not supporting your LYS, is not being able to feel before you buy. For me, the feel of yarn is something that makes me want to buy it in the first place, which makes buying yarn sight unseen (or touch unseen) can be a bit of a gamble. But if you don't mind the risk, or already know what you want to buy, here are a few of my favorite places to shop for yarn online.

  1. Yarn Market/Royal Yarns 
These sites offer pretty much the same things - good overall selection at decent prices. And if you sign-up for their e-mail lists, every once in a while you'll get a free shipping or a $5 off coupon.

  1. ColourMart

For all you lace knitters, this is the place to go. ColourMart is a British company that specializes in selling remainder luxury yarns - remainder yarn being the yarn left on the cone after a piece is knit or woven. Anyways, this is the place to go if you want lace weight yarn in bulk for  a really good price - anywhere from $15 to $40 (including shipping) for about 1500 yards of cashmeir, silk, marino or some combination.

  1. Ravelry.com

More just a place to find wonderful patterns and chat with your fellow yarn enthusiasts, Ravelry.com can also be a great place to buy yarn, especially discontinued yarn. Under the "Yarn" Tab at the top, either search for a specific brand or type of yarn you want or go browsing. Click on a specific yarn, and then either choose the "buying options" tab or the "stashes" tab to find out which other Ravelry members have your yarn and who is willing to sell or trade it.

  1. Knit Picks

To be honest, Knit Picks is really only a great place to buy yarn if you like KnitPicks brand yarn, which I do. They have yarns of all fiber types and colors at really good princes - 440 yards of baby alpaca lace for under $6? Yes and please.

  1. Webs 

For the life of me, I will never understand why this site is called WEBS instead of Yarn.com - but whatever. All I know is that these guys have nearly every yarn under the sun. And their closeout section is one of the best places around to find some amazing deals on yarn.

So - have you ever bought yarn online? If yes, where's your favorite place and if not, would you ever consider giving it a chance?

Casting off,


Monday, December 5, 2011

The (un)Importance of Blocking

 *pokes head out cautiosly*

Hi all!

Did you miss me? Sorry for the break, but between the holidays and a nasty cold that left me unwilling to do anything but sleep for about 16 hours a day, blogging was sadly low on my list of priorities. Yet never fear, I have kicked this cold to the curb and am back into the general swing of things - including knitting and blogging.

Today I'm going to wax somewhat poetically (ok - probably not that poetically) about something that I meant to post a few weeks ago - the importance of blocking, or unimportance as the case may be.

For those unfamiliar with the process, blocking involves taking your finished knitting project, wetting and stretching it. This can help to set stitches, bring out lace patterns or stretch a project to the correct dimensions. There are a number of different ways to do this, usually depending on what you're knitting, what kind of yarn was used and the general preference of the knitter. And sometimes it's just not needed at all.

Last point first - when to and when not to block. While this should generally be left up to the discretion of the knitter, there are a few common guidelines that you can go by. First, fitted garments, such as sweaters, should almost always be blocked. Blocking will stretch the sweater (or whatever) to the correct size and will help to even out the stitches to a uniformity. Second - Lace. Always, always, always block your lace. This will stretch the pattern and make your lace 100 times more appealing - and easier to see. This rule can some times also apply to cables - especially if the piece is small.  Beyond these two points, it's pretty much up to the knitter and the project.

Take scarves, my specialty, for example. I only block about half of my scarves, based upon if the pattern will show better if stretched. To better illustrate this point, here are a few before and after pics I took on my last Blocking day.

Lace Neckwarmer before blocking
And After

Men's Scarf Before

And After

Lace before

Lace before - but stretched out with fingers

Lace After

And more after

 See the difference? But like I said, it all depends on the scarf and the pattern.

Now, how to go about blocking is another issue. When I block I try to kill two birds with one stone. I handwash my scarves with a mild detergent (like Wool-Lite) before I lay them out and then pin them to where I want. You can also pin your item and then use a steam iron (but check and make sure your yarn can take the heat) or you can pin and then spritz it with a squirt bottle of water. Though I find this last technique doesn't get me the desired amount of stretch I want.

Pin them on what? you might ask. Well, Knit Picks sells a pack of Blocking Mats for 19.99, but I've found that a set of garage floor mats from Home Depot will do the job just a well for half the price.

Do you block your knitting projects? How?

Casting off,


Monday, November 28, 2011


Hi guys -

I am really sorry about the lack of updates lately - but between the Holiday season and a viciously brutal cold, I have had almost no energy to put towards blogging. That said, I'm going to try and get my act together and come back full and strong next week with my regularly scheduled posts.

Thanks so much for your understanding and I'll see you next week!

Casting off,