This review is long overdue - and I want to apologize for the delay, as I was given this yarn to review MONTHS ago. I'm not gonna pepper this with excuses, but I did want to do this yarn justice, and I felt that until I couldn't.
Let me start with the yarn, this is Briggs and Little Country Roving - when I first got the call for reviews, I Was skeptical, as I don't normally use bulky yarns, and frankly I was expecting a scratchy wool. I took a risk, and said yes. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Here's the spec list from the Briggs and Little website:
"COUNTRY ROVING – 100% Wool, 5 Strand, 11 sts = 4″ (10cm) on 7.5mm needles, 155 yds (141m)/8 oz (227g) Roll. Put up in an 8oz. (227g) roll
This yarn is suitable for: mittens, thrums, outdoor sweaters, vests, hats and crafts
Country Roving has 16 shades available"
When I opened up the package, I was thrilled to see the burst of color! I chose the mustard yellow so I could step out of my black and grey box that I've put myself in over the last few years. First, I was intrigued by the structure of the yarn, 5 strands of pencil roving, lightly (if at all) twisted together. While this makes for a not-so-sturdy yarn, it certainly makes for a lofty yarn. Secondly, I was surprised by how soft it was!
Recently, I have stepped away from knitting and crochet design, and have been focusing heavily on weaving and sewing, so I decided that I wanted to weave this yarn. I broke out my Zoom Loom, and got to work on a swatch. By doing the first warp layer, and then using the second warp layer as a guide for needle weaving, I created a bulky Zoom Loom square. Since I had complete control over the tension of the yarn, I didn't have any problem with breakage, and it was actually quite easy to weave with. I love the textile it created, almost a basketweave! Honestly, If I could trust my cats with woven wool (they like eating holes in it) I'd weave some throw pillows to add a punch of color in my studio too!
This is where part 1 ends. I have ambitions for this yarn: A handwoven jacket or vest, but I haven't quite worked out how I will accomplish this. For a large men's vest, I'd have to weave a ton of squares, but I am not sure this yarn will hold up to the tension of a rigid heddle or floor loom. Needless to say, I need to explore this yarn further to see what it can do! Who knows, maybe a wall hanging would be better....
When I was approached by Brown Sheep Company to review their new yarn Synchrony, a cotton/wool blend, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.
Synchrony is a 60%/40% cotton/wool blend that comes in 9 marled colors. While the singles aren't dyed separately to create the marl effect, the way that cotton and wool take up dye differently create the marl look.
I loved working with this yarn, and with the spring coming ever closer, the cotton/wool blend was just the right weight. The wool keeps the scarf lightweight, however the cotton gives that smooth, moisture wicking feeling. Being a wool-sensitive person, I took pleasure in the fact that I could wear this close to my skin without feeling itchy. To learn how to weave this technique, keep reading below!
I've been exploring weaving a lot more in 2018, and I plan on keeping that focus throughout the year. For this project, I knew I was dealing with a highly colorful yarn, and didn't need to do any fancy weave structures. I also didn't want to do a plain-weave only project.
I decided on revisiting a technique that I had tried when I first started weaving, crocheting up the gap of a spaced warp scarf.
Equipment: Schacht 15" Cricket Loom, 8-dent reed, US size N crochet hook.
Yarn: 1.5 skeins (315 yards) of Brown Sheep Synchrony in the Soiree colorway
Warp length: 80"
The warp will be a total of 8" wide, with a 2" gap in the middle.
Warp 3" in the reed, skip 2", then warp another 3".
Weave the whole scarf in plain-weave hemstitching at the beginning and end.
Remove the work from the loom. With a large crochet hook, slip stitch 3 threads at a time until you reach the mid-point of the scarf. Use another hook to keep that loop "live" as you do the same from the other end of the scarf. Slip stitch the loops together and then tie them together using a scrap piece of yarn, weaving in any ends. Tie knots in the fringe and clip short.
Wash and hang to dry.
Note: I did get some color bleeding when I washed this yarn with Eucalan, however I expected it since blue is a major color in this colorway. The resulting fabric was still color fast and didn't fade at all.
Since I learned how to weave over 5 years ago I have always wanted to try the waffle weave structure.
This weave structure utilizes floats to create a collapse weave, which brings the fabric together into a heavily textured structure. The symmetrical structure looks like little squares which end up looking a bit like a waffle.
I used the Zen Yarn Garden Spring Quartet gradient set, which was comprised of four skeins of yarn in semi gradient with a pop of color.
I had been crocheting a wrap with the yarn, but something in me said “rip this out and weave with it!”
To be sure that I would use every last yard of yarn, I divided each skein in half. This gave me 110 yards per color for the warp and 110 yards of each color for the weft.
Using my warping board, I measured a 3 yard warp in the following pattern, 16 ends of dark grey, 16 ends of speckled dark green, 16 ends of speckled light grey, 32 ends of green, 16 ends of the speckled grey, 16 ends of dark green, ending with 16 ends of dark grey.
This by itself looked beautiful, almost like a beam of light coming through the forest canopy, or through a kelp forest under the water.
Having just finished a plainweave project, I decided that I wanted to do some sort of a twill structure. Based off of my calculations I needed to warp my loom at a sett of 16 ends per inch. Since I had a 12 dent reed on my loom, I sleyed my reed in the following fashion (1, 1, 2) across the loom. This guide can help you if you have the wrong reed for your sett
Once I sleyed the reed, I had to stop since I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. The waffle weave structure came to mind, so after “waffling” around for a while between that and another twill pattern, I settled on creating a 6 harness waffle weave. An 8 harness waffle weave would have been even more textured.
Waffle weave is threaded as a point twill, and then treadled in sequence. The magic comes from the tie up. The fabric while on the loom is quite textured, and it was fun to see how the pattern changed as I switched colors from the bright green all the way to the dark grey. However, the fabric really came to life once it was off the loom and fulled slightly. The ends were finished with some fringe twisting.
The amount of squoosh the finished fabric has is crazy! This is heightened of course by the fact that the yarn is a superwash merino sock yarn that has a ton of spring to it.
Project at a glance:
Yarn: 1 - Spring Quartet Gradient set; 220 yards each of; dark grey (DG), dark green speckled (DS), light grey speckled (LS), and green (G).
Sett: 16 epi
Warp: 3 yards
Color pattern: 16DG, 16DS, 16LS, 32G, 16LS, 16DS, 16DG. (128 ends total)
Leave 3 warp threads on each side as floating selvedges.
Draft: Thread in a point twill across
Weave 4 rows of plainweave.
Weave all of G, then LS, then DS, then DG.
Weave 4 rows of plainweave.
Cut off of loom leaving 6-8 inches of fringe on each side.
Finish the fringe with a 2X4 twisted fringe (twist 2 groups of 4 threads into one fringe.)
Wash and full in hot water, being superwash, this scarf is washable.
I love weaving. This may not come as a shock to you, but it hit me really hard this past week how much I actually love the process. I finished one project (that had been languishing on my Schacht Baby Wolf Loom for a year) and decided to warp up a new project immediately.
I just recently had finished my Neat or on the Rocks shawl using Anzula Luxury Fibers Gerty, a 100% American Targhee yarn they released this month, and calculated that I had enough to weave a decent sized scarf.
I had one skein each of Sexy and Shiitake, and less than half a skein of Black. I nearly decided on a randomly striped warp and then do stripes in the weft, but I figured that Sexy and Shiitake had enough contrast that I could do a subtle color and weave pattern. I settled on a 4 X 4 houndstooth (in a 2 X 2 twill) pattern framed by black borders.
Shiitake is a more variegated colorway than Sexy, and alternates between some lighter areas and some darker patches. In the houndstooth pattern, the areas where there were higher contrast, you can really see the pattern, but when the contrast is lower, the pattern disappears. What I loved about this fabric, is that the pattern is easier to see further away, and is so squishy!
I'll be exploring more variegated color and weaves in the future, so watch this space!
When Tahki Yarns unveiled their new yarns for Spring/Summer 2017, I absolutely fell in love with Skinny Jeans, their new denim yarn. This cotton/nylon yarn comes in 3 shades of denim blue, and I knew that I wanted to work with all three colors in a gradient. I wanted to go a bit further than just a gradient, and decided that introducing log cabin into the mix would be the great way to do this.
Here's what you'll need:
6 balls of Skinny Jeans, 2 balls each of color (Light Denim, Denim, Dark Denim.)
15" Cricket Loom (or other Rigid heddle loom with at least a 12" weaving width
8 Dent reed
Warp your loom with the warping peg 3 yards away from our back apron bar.
When you sley your reed, be sure to use the following pattern.
16 ends DD
DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D
D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD
DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D
D, DD, D, DD, D, DD, D, DD
LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D
D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD
LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D
D, LD, D, LD, D, LD, D, LD
16 ends LD
Leaving about 12" of fringe at the beginning then hemstitch.
Plain-weave in the same manner as you warped your loom.
Hemstitch, remove from the loom, leaving the long fringe at the end.
I was able to get 7 full repeats of the pattern out of my warp, meaning the woven fabric is about 7 feet long, plus a foot of fringe on each side.
Cut the rest of your yarn into lengths of about 16" to use as fringe along the bottom edge of the scarf.
Start on the edge by crocheting the fringe onto the fabric. Work with the Light Denim on the outer edges, move from the center with the Dark Denim, then fill in the gaps between those colors with Denim (mid tone.)
If you make one of these, please tag your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #benjaminkrudwig.
As I have been delving into sewing more while I have been focusing on a career in fashion, I have been making some pieces for my own wardrobe. I am currently focusing on t-shirts, as it has been unseasonably warm in Colorado. Last week, I focused on a traditional t-shirt, using my measurements and the style of one of my favorite t-shits that I already own. I used a light weight jersey fabric and a new serger sewing machine. Over all, I really like the fit of that t-shirt, and will be making more like it in the future.
This week I focused on re-drafting my t-shirt pattern into a raglan-style t-shirt. I prefer this look, as it looks a bit more sporty and fitted. I got my fabric from Crosscut Sewing Company, a shop based in Melrose, MA with an extensive selection of fabric, notions, and thread in their online shop. I purchased some knit fabric designed by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics. I chose a print named Mesh With Me that has a charcoal base with white hatch marks on top that look like a mock weaving. This is my style, not just because I am a weaver, but also because I love the punky-goth look.
I should have tested, but this knit was not as stretchy as the knit I used in my first shirt. Using the same measurements caused this shirt to be slightly tighter feeling. In my next shirt, I'll be sure to add a bit more ease into the armholes. Though it's a bit tight, I love the look of it, and I feel like I understand my serger much more than before.
A little bit more about Crosscut Sewing Company!
The ordering process was very easy, and the photograph of the fabric swatch is accurate to the actual fabric. I enjoyed being able to track my order, and my package once it had shipped. The shipping was fast, and before I knew it, I had my fabric in hand, and a complementary tool called a Bobbin Buddy, that attaches a spool of thread to the coordinating bobbin. I didn't know that I needed a tool like that until it was in my possession!
I would highly recommend ordering from Crosscut if you are looking for designer fabrics that you may not be able to buy near where you live. Also, if you do live in or near Melrose, MA then you should stop by their shop and say hello!
Late last year I was approached by Brooke at Sincere Sheep to design a collection of woven projects in the three different weights of her Cormo yarn: fingering, sport, and worsted. The other purpose of this collection was to be able to weave all of the projects on a rigid heddle loom. All three of these patterns were woven solely on a 15" Cricket Loom from Schacht Spindle Company. This collection quickly became a collaboration between me, Sincere Sheep and Jennie the Potter. I noticed a theme before I even started weaving, intersections.
I saw the intersections between me and three other American-made companies, coming together to create something wonderful. Thus was born the Intersections Woven Collection.
The first pattern is the Plaid Bib Scarf; a unique take on a simple scarf. This plaid scarf uses the Cormo Sport Weight yarn, and is a breeze to create. The crocheted details make the buttons pop, and add a bit of structure to the fabric.
The second pattern is the Double or Nothing Cowl, an oversized infinity cowl that is oh so squishy! Made by doubling the yarn in the warp and weft, the fabric created is dense yet pliable and has a ton of visual texture. Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted adds to this texture and the loft.
If larger projects are more your speed, and shawls are your go-to accessory, then the Intersections Shawl is the project for you! Two panels woven on one warp with Cormo Fingering Weight yarn, and then seamed together, creates a large piece of fabric that drapes beautifully. This project can also be worn as a poncho, utilizing the buttons and clever button hole technique.
I hope you enjoy this collection as much I do. I am so grateful to Sincere Sheep, Jennie the Potter, and Schacht Spindle Company for creating yarn, notions, and tools that helped to make this collection pop. If you have any questions about the patterns or collection as a whole, please contact me.
If you make any of these projects, use the hashtag #benjaminkrudwig on your Instagram posts so I can be sure to see them!
Five months ago I first blogged about this project, designing, weaving, and sewing a Victorian style topcoat. After co-hosting a Victorian make along with Kristin from the Yarngasm podcast, (I didn't finish the coat by October 31st for those keeping score,) I did however end up finishing the fabric, which I talked about in the second part of this blog series.
I learned a ton of lessons while working on this coat, which I will discuss after the image gallery. This coat ended up being about 5 inches shorter than I had planned, but I added a hood and different closures, so it all evens out. Please look at the photos below and then skip to the bottom where I talk about the process, and the lessons I learned!
At first, I was intimidated by this project. I had just woven yards and yards of fabric using a yarn with blend of wool and alpaca; not cheap stuff. I wasn't intimidated by cutting into the fabric, but was terrified of sewing the pattern itself. I think after the weaving, the next part that took the longest in this process was finding a pattern for me to use.
First Lesson: There are not a lot of men's sewing patterns out there, especially for outerwear, and even more so when it comes to Victorian patterns. There was a wealth of patterns for women's patterns, both modern and Victorian.
After realizing that I wasn't going to find a men's Victorian topcoat pattern I was going to have to find a suit-coat pattern and then alter it.
Second Lesson: There are a few suit coat patterns out there, but many of them are pretty expensive. I also learned that I could easily draft my own pattern based on my own measurements. So I decided to find an online tutorial and went to town.
I started by taking my measurements twice, just to be sure that I was going to get a good fit. The drafting process wasn't hard, though I wish I had bought drafting paper. I used pieces of sketching paper taped together which worked just fine in the end, and the resulting pattern pieces are more durable now.
Third Lesson: I used the cutout piece of the arm pattern piece to frame my fabric since it was two-sided to decide which pattern I was going to use for the right-side of the fabric.
Once I cut all the pattern pieces out it was time to move to sewing.
Anytime you work with handwoven fabric I would HIGHLY recommend using fusible interfacing to stabilize your fabric, I decided that my current skills were high enough that I didn't need to do it for this pattern. I decided to use the reverse side of the coat as a finished object as well, but with a punk twist, so a rough finish inside was going to be ideal!
I cut the pattern pieces out of the fabric with a generous 1" seam allowance.
1. I didn't want to screw up and ruin my fabric.
2. This was going to add to the punk look later.
Fourth Lesson: Lay out your pattern pieces on the fabric one more time before cutting. When I added the extra seam allowance this shifted my pattern pieces significantly, so I ended up having to piece together some pieces of fabric in strategic places.
Once I sewed the pieces up, It was just a matter of sewing in darts and finishing the punk side.
Fifth Lesson: I think overall, the lesson I learned from this project was "Be Fearless." I know I have mentioned this before, but when you're about to cut into fabric that took hours of preparation and creation, it means a little bit more. When you have a big idea, go for it with fierce intention.
Read Part One here. Read Part Two here.
Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with the cowboy life from the mid to late 1800’s in what is now Colorado. Thoughts of cattle-drives, horse-rustling, and all the John Wayne-esque gun-slinging raced through my mind. Now as an adult, I am revisiting some of these memories. This kerchief plays with the traditional triangular shape of a kerchief, but takes a modern turn. I used Mountain Meadow Wool Powell for this project, a 100% American Grown, Milled, and Dyed yarn, made in Wyoming.
Download a PDF of the pattern
Yarn: Mountain Meadow Wool Powell - Worsted
MC: 90 yards (82m) - Natural
CC: 110 yards (100m) - Fern
Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm)
Gauge: 18sts X 30 rows = 4” square (10cm)
Finished Measurements: 31” X 15.5” (78.75 X 39.5)cm
4 Stitch markers, button (optional) I used one from Balwen Woodworks
Sts - stitches
p - purl
k - knit
yo - yarn over
CO - cast-on
BO - bind-off
M - Place Marker
pm - pass marker
Using MC, CO 5 sts
Knit 5 rows of garter, pick-up 5 sts along one side, then 5 along your cast-on row. 15sts
Continue in MC, alternate MC and CC every 8 rows from here on.
Row 1 (WS): k3, M, p4, M, p, M, p4, M, k3
Row 2 (RS): k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Row 3: k3, purl across to 3 sts from ends of row, k3
Row 4: k3, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k, pm, yo, knit to next marker, yo, pm, k3
Repeat rows 3+4 for 20 more rows.
Powell Kerchief Shaping
Note: We will not be using stitch markers in the center portion of the curved panel, but each row is written out. The yarn overs will line up throughout the piece. You can put stitch markers in if it helps.
Row 1 (WS): k3, purl across to 3 sts before end of row, k3. (63sts)
Row 2 (RS): k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k, yo, k28, yo, k3
Row 3: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 4: k3, k44, k, yo, k30, yo, k3
Row 5: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 6: k3, k44, k, yo, k32, yo, k3
Row 7: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 8: k3, k44, k, yo, k34, yo, k3
Row 9: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 10: k3, k44, k, yo, k36, yo, k3
Row 11: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 12: k3, k44, k, yo, k38, yo, k3
Row 13: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 14: k3, k44, k, yo, k40, yo, k3
Row 15: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 16: k3, k44, k, yo, k42, yo, k3
Row 17: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 18 (RS): k3, yo, k4, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, yo, k3, yo, k4, yo, k, yo, k44, yo, k3
Row 19: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 20: k3, k60, k, yo, k46, yo, k3
Row 21: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 22: k3, k60, k, yo, k48, yo, k3
Row 23: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 24: k3, k60, k, yo, k50, yo, k3
Row 25: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 26: k3, k60, k, yo, k52, yo, k3
Row 27: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 28: k3, k60, k, yo, k54, yo, k3
Row 29: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 30: k3, k60, k, yo, k56, yo, k3
Row 31: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 32: k3, k60, k, yo, k58, yo, k3
Row 33: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 34 (RS): k3, yo, k6, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k5, yo, k2, yo, k5, yo, k3, yo, k6, yo, k, yo, k60, yo, k3
Row 35: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 36: k3, k76, k, yo, k62, yo, k3
Row 37: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 38: k3, k76, k, yo, k64, yo, k3
Row 39: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 40: k3, k76, k, yo, k66, yo, k3
Row 41: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 42: k3, k76, k, yo, k68, yo, k3
Row 43: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 44: k3, k76, k, yo, k70, yo, k3
Row 45: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 46: k3, k76, k, yo, k72, yo, k3
Row 47: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 48: k3, k76, k, yo, k74, yo, k3
Row 49: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 50 (RS): k3, yo, k8, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k7, yo, k2, yo, k7, yo, k3, yo, k8, yo, k, yo, k76, yo, k3
Row 51: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 52: k3, k92, k, yo, k78, yo, k3
Row 53: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 54: k3, k92, k, yo, k80, yo, k3
Row 55: k3, p across to 3 sts from end of row, k3
Row 56: k3, k92, k, yo, k82, yo, k3
Knit two rows even, on the second row, take out all stitch markers.
BO using a traditional but loose bind off.
Optional button closure:
On the triangular half of the shawl chain stitch button loops on the top edge to fit your chosen button.
Sew your button on the tip of the curved side.
Soak and Block to measurements.
As we learned in part one, I am a crazy person. However, I love a challenge, and sewing a Victorian Topcoat out of handwoven fabric is just the challenge to currently keep me going. I started this project in June, and while it is October, I haven't been slacking off, I have just been busy weaving.
I think this is a good time to talk more about the actual process behind my Victoripunk Topcoat, as we got more into the why in part one.
Let's first start with the yarn choice.
I picked out Blue Sky Fibers Extra for this project for a few reasons; I have knitted with it before and enjoyed it, I love alpaca fiber, I had quite a bit of Marsh leftover from a previous project, and I knew it weave up into wonderfully dense and warm fabric.
Next, the weave structure.
Knowing that this was going to be a garment (though it is outerwear) I decided that a twill would give me the flexibility and movement necessary for a comfortable coat. I also needed the twill to achieve the conceptual part of this project. Ivy snakes up the sides of buildings, and I wanted to replicate that look in fabric. The twill made that possible.
The fabric itself is actually quite fascinating. The right and wrong sides look different (which makes sense) but they really do give a completely different effect when looking at them. One side seems to show off the green more, and the other side, the green is more muted. I think I am still going to use the more bold side, but I am not going to make any final decisions until I see it on the mannequin. Another aspect of the fabric that I was not expecting, was that depending on the angle in which you view the fabric, the pattern changes.
If you look at the sketch, the overall effect looks more muted and blended, which will be the case from far away, but up close the fabric will be quite striking.
Stay tuned for part three when we get into sewing.